Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Marathon Memories

It was a cold and rainy morning in Park City, Utah in mid June 2004. My wife and daughter, as well as my aunt, drove with me to a mountainside school where I would join about 250 other people for my first marathon. Excitement and anticipation bubbled inside me as we headed toward the start line to join the throng. I was actually doing it. I was reaching my goal.

The race started, and I took off at a comfortable pace. Before long, I realized I was passing a lot of people. My confidence was rising, and I knew I would be able to do well in this race. After a few miles, I met up with a couple guys and began running with them. Tracy and Don were their names. They were both experienced marathon runners, and it was nice to talk with them and listen to their advice and experiences. It was then I realized that we were talking. I never imagined that one could talk through a marathon. Talking wasn't even making it more difficult, it was actually energizing! I was with them for about 10 miles, until about the half-way point. It seemed they were beginning to slow down a little. I was feeling great, so broke away from them. And I kept feeling great, even when the course became more difficult. It was about mile 17, just after I reached the highest point on the course, that I felt a sharp pain in my right knee. I thought I'd better walk for a while to give my legs a rest. It felt funny, but I thought it would be alright. I started to run again, but the pain persisted. I walked some more and soon Tracy and then Don both passed me. They both told me to take it easy, not overdo it. I still had about 8 miles to go, but I was not going to give up. I accepted the fact that I would be walking most of the rest of the way.

The sun had come out and it began to warm up. It was really a beautiful day. And even though I was walking, I was still having fun! This was so awesome! I was still doing a marathon--a little different than planned, but I was still doing it. I made several attempts to start running again, but the pain was still there, still as bad as ever. Eventually, I could see the finish--about a quarter of a mile away. I forced myself to run. I wasn't going to walk across the finish line. As I got closer, I heard the announcer say, "Here comes Reid from Springville, Utah." I then saw my family standing just before the finish cheering me on. It felt great! I had done it! And boy was I glad it was over. I finished with a time of 4 hours 30 minutes. Less than an hour slower than the time I was hoping for. I started thinking about how fast I could have been had the injury not occurred. I was getting excited to do it again. I had to do another one. And then another. I was addicted.


john said...

Congrats on your finish! How is your knee now?

Reid said...

The knee's fine now. This race was 4 years ago, and I haven't had a problem since.