Left Lowell's house at 4:22 to pick up Amanda and Kirsten at Dr. Hansen's to meet Toby, RAD and Teena at 4:45 at the southeast corner of the park for bus ride up. Lowell missed a turn but we still made it there at 4:50. The bus lines were long but moving pretty fast. So happy I got to sit by Toby. Across the isle was my neighbor Scott seated next to Lowell. We snapped a couple of pictures after we got off the bus. Then everyone dispersed to do their various pre-race business. The flags' blowing direction indicates a tailwind! Temp was probably in the mid 40s. Perfect!!!
After making couple of pop stops, it's time to shed the warmups and toss the drop bag. The announcer said the race would be delayed because there's still one more bus making its way up to the start. So I took my sweet time to get to the spot (next to the right side ENTRANCE flag) where I've designated to meet with my peeps and wait to jump in with the appropriate pace group. Lowell, Amanda and Kirsten found me and soon joined by BeMo (Julie Ann). We cheered on all the runners walking by, never did see Teena. Toby and RAD came up following the 4:15 group but RAD stopped and stood by us until we left with the 5:00 group. Within the first mile or so, RAD came whizzing by weaving around all the slower runners. Not sure what her game plan was but she sure was having fun!
So, Lowell, Amanda, Kirsten and I stayed pretty close together wearing matching throw-away shirts and carrying flashing light sticks that Lowell gave us. We lost BeMo after couple of miles. The first 10Ks went by pretty quickly. Amanda occasionally ran fast ahead to hit the pop lines then would join back with us. A friend's daughter, Kassi, running her first ever marathon, heard me talking and recognized me so I started running with her. By the time we hit bottom of Vejo, my bladder was busting full so I had to stand in the pop lines and watched my running buddies went on without me. When I took off my throw-away shirt, I must've accidently hit the stop button on my watch. Didn't realize it until about .25 or so miles later when walking up Vejo. I don't ever remember it being this crowded at the back of the pack...anyhow could not find any of my peeps which is just as well because I was doing quite a bit of walking. Whenever I felt my breathing labored I'd take a 60 seconds walk break.
In the Dameron Valley miles, I spotted Kassi so I slowly reeled her in and started running with her. She was having some tight calf issue so she was taking quite a bit of walk breaks which suits me just fine over these rolling miles (10-12). It was around here that I spotted Maynard running along the right road shoulder so I ran over there and said a brief hello. That guy is amazing running with painful L5-SI joints...tougher than nails! :) I didn't want to loose Kassi so I left Maynard and chased after Kassi. After the half, I felt pretty good and decided to pick it up a bit and left Kassi.
At around mile 15 I spotted Lowell and caught up to him at the aid station before the Snow Canyon crowds. He was still wearing the long sleeve shirt so I told him he needs to shed it as it was getting pretty warm. He then looked for a little boy among the spectators to gift it to. Then I spotted Amanda running back up on the course. She's been running ahead to each aid station's pop then run back to keep Lowell going. Apparently Kirsten felt good after the Halfway and decided to go for it. Amanda and I started running together for the next mile and when we realized Lowell wasn't right behind, she ran back to look for him. I'm not in good enough shape to run up so I kept pressing ahead.
Around mile 17 I spotted Brent Z. wearing the bright yellowish-green Grand Slam shirt that I also would wear in running halfmarathons. So I caught up to him and we ran the next couple miles together chatting and catching up on each others' families' going-ons. It's so good to see such good ole' dear friends as BeMo and Brent Z. I sure miss many of our former ForumFlyer friends. I've been kinda "hiding" from the running community, ashamed of my slowing and out-of-shape self.
Hubby called me just before the Ledge on the last uphill of the course so I walked and talked to him on the phone. He wanted to know if I was running with Lowell because Susie tried to call him with no answer. By mile 21 my calves and shins started to cramp so I would slow to walk and bid goodbye to Brent Z. I stopped at the aid station to have the volunteer rub some icyhot on my lower legs and nearly fell over when my right calf started to cease up so I limped off and kept going. I then remembered I had a packet of the "Leg Cramps" tablets given to us in our race packet. I remember the lady at the expo said to take it sublinqual (under the tongue) when you feel a cramp coming on. So I did just that and within a few minutes the cramp would ease up. The cramp would return whenever there's a change on elevation or pace and I would take one of those tablets. Thankfully there were four tablets and just enough to carry me to the finish.
With 0.5 mile to go I heard a lady saying that there's no reason why we can't go under 5 as she calls out the time of 4:50...4:51 and she said she's going to ease back on the pace so she would come in just under 5. That's when I realized it was the 5:00 pacer talking so I focused on not letting her/them pass me. I heard a spectator yelled out "Bruce!..." and I looked over to my left and saw Bruce F. just a few strides ahead of me. I wanted to say hello to him as I passed but was afraid I would cease up so I kept going and then heard Susie calling out my name and a bit later heard and saw my hubby cheering. Since my watch was inadverdently stopped back at mile 7 for about 0.25 mile, I had no idea what my time was. When I crossed the finish it read 26.04 miles in 4:53:27. It wasn't until later in the afternoon when Slick texted me and congratulated me of a 4:57:11 finish that I knew my official time! Hehe!!!
As soon as I crossed the finish I spotted Kassi's mom standing to the right side of the fence so I went over there to talk to her and together waited for Kassi to come in. After she crossed the finish we took some pictures and then went to gather our medals. I looked for Amanda's son and Kirsten's daughter, the two teenager volunteers giving out medals. I spotted Amanda's boy, Landry, who bestowed the medal to me. Then we went over to the left side of the fence and talked to Kirsten who finished in 4:15. We saw Maynard come in and waited a little later for Lowell and Amanda to come in. I do not remember the finisher corral and the park being this crowded this late in the race in past years. Hubby said he had to drive several blocks northwest of the park before he found a parking spot. Walking to the car couple miles away actually felt good.
So, that's all folks...marathon #68, SG #12 in the book! I had a lot of fun. We treated Lowell and Susie to movie (The Stray) and dinner at Texas Road House in the evening. The next morning, after attending the 8:30am sacrament meeting, Lowell and I went for a 2 mile walk with his dog Molly. Larry and I drove home after a delicious lunch cooked by Susie and got home around 6pm.