Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Walk (Run?) Down Memory Lane

It really started a few years ago, when I drove to Logan, Utah to watch my brother Keith run the Top of Utah marathon. It wasn't his first or his last, but standing at the finish line waiting for him changed me. I watched a Marine cross the finish line, having carried a full-sized American flag 26.2 miles. I watched countless people cry as they crossed and I watched one guy jump impossibly high in celebration, on what must have been completely spent legs. I watched my brother cross and by then I had been crying for some time. Never had I seen such a concentration of human triumph.

Up to this point, I had been running a little (all on a treadmill, all at the gym and only 2-3 miles in a go). After this point, I determined to try and run a 5k. So, I kept running, registered for the Strawberry Days 5k in Pleasant Grove, and pushed myself a little harder at the gym. Jeff ran the race with me and we both came in around the middle (beating out the senior citizens and the people with baby joggers--yeah!) and it was around this time I started getting to know Kay. I mentioned to Kay that I wanted to start running (like, really running) and she offered to be my running partner. We were a little unevenly matched, she the Arabian purebred and I, Ol' Glue Stick from the pasture.

Kay is very patient.

She pushed me through the summer to prepare for the Provo River Half Marathon. We completed the race in fairly good time (for me, not her!) and I was amazed, even while running, that I was able to run so far. Afterward she asked, "So, a marathon next summer?" And a year ago next Saturday, we ran the St. George marathon together.

Getting ready... like 3 in the morning!

It was freezing last year. We wore pants and jackets up to the starting line, where they had bonfires and hot cocoa.

I wasn't sure if Kay would want to run the whole thing with me, since it was my first time and I was so much slower. But, in her words, "We train together, we run together!" And I love her for that!

This is mile 21? 23?, where we finally saw Jeff and smiled for some pictures.

In the last mile of the race, Kay kept saying, "It's just around this corner. The finish line is just around the corner." So we finally rounded the corner, and WAAAAY down the street was the finish line. That was the hardest distance of the marathon for me; the last quarter of a mile.

Kay and I have a million inside jokes, now that we've gone so many miles together. I never could have done this without her. She was the best coach/motivation/friend.

I thought maybe I'd cry when I finished- but I didn't. I was just happy- and pretty tired. I wore my medal for the next two days.

P.S. Kay is running St. George next weekend and hoping to qualify for Boston. Good Luck, Kay!!


Hannah Johnson said...

You are amazing! I have another friend who did her frist triathalon just last month-I just don't know how you guys do it!

I love to exercise. But I'm an aerobic, weight lifting girl. I get bored out of my mind running. Even listening to music.

I can't imagine what it must feel like to accomplish such a great goal. CONGRATS!

Cindy said...

Amber--that is really incredible. I still can't believe that any human being can run that far...and to think I knew you when! ;)

Jessica G. said...

Hooray! I'll cheer you on from the sidelines.

And I agree, Kay is totally awesome.

Jessica said...

Yep, you are awesome! I still can't believe you guys run that much! Good luck to Kay!

Sullivan Family said...

You are so fantastic in my book for doing that!! It really takes alot of dedication. Keep it up, I would totally do one with you if I lived there!! GINA

wemt007 said...

Whether you dare to admit it or not you are among the elite athletes of the world.

Of the 300~ million Americans only 405,000~ finished a marathon in 2007. If you do the extremely complicated math you'll find that ~.001% of Americans finished the amazing feat of a marathon in 2007.

You are amazing!

If the arduous training, the 26.2 miles of St. George grandeur, the exhilaration of crossing the finish line, or the amazement of such an accomplishment weren't enough. know that you number among the great!

I am proud of you!

Misty said...

ok, so, you inspired me to get out walking again this AM. I used to run on the treadmill but, we don't have one here. I just walk in the neighborhood. I need a jogging baby stroller!

AmShaZam said...

nice job! And those baby joggers really are revolutionary.

Luv2run said...

Thanks for the great memories that we went through last year. I was in St George this weekend thinking about you, and I just got back. Check out my posting on my blog on how I did. I did it!!!! I qualified!!!! Hooray!!! :-)