Julia K Garling (MM3960) – Revel big cottonwood was my 16th marathon for the year, my 296th lifetime marathon, and my 33rd state for round 4 of the 50 states.
It was amazing to see my running family again and even better to see them crushing it down that mountain. I have no idea how I could have possibly thought it would be an easy race for me. I planned on taking it easy and practicing my pace for the following marathon, Berlin. I wore my special barbie pink MM shirt which was a gift from my running inspiration Michelle Walker thinking that I could channel her fast twitching muscles as I ran.
The first half was much faster than I planned. I made a rookie mistake and started out too fast. Living on the east coast there is just no way to train for something that steep; starting at 9696 feet and dropping very quickly in the first couple of miles, I was actually afraid I was going to fall on some of those S curves, which are made more for skiing than for running if you ask me. I found myself going out way too fast while still using effort to throttle back instead of just leaning in and going with momentum.
While I had a fun couple of miles in the first 10K, I knew I had to seriously throttle back, or I would regret it. When we came out of the canyon, and the sun started cooking us, the party was over for me. Being up that high and completely exposed, it got way too hot, it was 80 at 10am and I still had 2 hours of running ahead of me. While it wasn’t the race I envisioned, I am grateful to say that I am one step closer to my goal!
As I was struggling the last 10K, I reminded myself that nothing in life just happens, you have to have the stamina to meet the obstacles head on and the focus to overcome them. Our purpose is hidden in our joy, our inspiration, our excitement for life and I started dedicating miles to those I loved.
Mile 20 was dedicated for my grandmother, who’s birthday just passed and she would have been 92; mile 21 was dedicated to my mother, who I miss every single day and I asked her for her strength as I started climbing uphill, mile 22 was dedicated to my baby nephew AJ who’s turning 2 next month, I thought about how much I love him and what a gift he is to us and what I would tell him if he was struggling, as he was learning to use his body, and so on it went. Eventually, I passed mile 25 and the pain cave was finally over! The last mile is always pure joy for me and it proved true on this race too, I started thanking my body for what it could do today, how much it could endure, and no matter how challenging it is on the course, its not like having cancer and so as my joy appeared, it become infectious, I picked up another runner, woman from OR, along the way and we ran that last mile together much faster than we were doing the previous 5. I finished just under 5 hours, 15 min slower than I planned on originally, but I stuck it out and I got it done and that is what counts.
Taking the stairs to the train yesterday was certainly interesting, it reminded me of running my first marathon back in 2005, where I couldn’t walk right for 2 weeks. But today, I am proud to say I’m 90% healed. The body is a remarkable machine and capable of healing itself in ways that I am always amazed by. Marathon 296, check; UT X 4, check, feeling like a newbie marathoner again who had trouble walking down the stairs yesterday, priceless.
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