Well we did it! The St. George Marathon was so beautiful and such a fun race. If you have a chance to do it, then do it for sure!!! My dad and I both had such an awesome experience. It is so motivating to talk to all of the runners and see how many races they have done and what they have accomplished. I talked to a lady that had finished 23 St. George Marathons and was on her 24th. Another man had done 18. It is motivating to see how many runners are there and how many hours each of those runners had put into training for this marathon. We were all working toward one goal…to finish running 26.2 miles! There is nothing like crossing that finish line at the end of the race!
Before I started training, my goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon. This past spring, I was able to go and watch my dad finish his 5th Boston Marathon. It was so motivating and inspiring to watch him and all of the other runners finish a race that they had worked so hard for. After watching this, I wanted to follow in my dads footsteps and make it to Boston! I looked up my qualifying time, which was 3:35, and decided to go for it. The average pace for a 3:35 marathon is about an 8:12 min/mile pace. I figured if I focused on a 8:11 min/mile, I could make it for sure. This sounded pretty fast to me, but I figured if I trained for it, I could do it. Every day I thought about that 8:11 min mile. I thought about how exciting it would be to cross that finish line and know that I had made it!
The night before the race, my family and I went to the Expo and ate at Pizza factory…carbo loading was definitely not hard to do at that place! I’m pretty sure I ate more bread and carbs in that meal than I had in the whole week haha jk but I did eat lots of yummy pasta, salad and a giant breadstick! I was feeling pretty nervous actually, but I was excited. I got in bed pretty early that night, but couldn’t go to sleep! I don’t know if anyone sleeps before a race haha I ended up getting some sleep and lots of “rest” though;) My dad and I woke up at 3:50, got ready and headed for the bus. We rode the bus up to the starting line. The starting line was awesome! There were TONS of people, music playing, and bonfires all over the place. It was a party! I got more and more excited as the beginning of the race came closer. When it was finally time to start, my dad and I took our sweats off and lined up. It took us about 9 minutes to reach the start line because there were so many people! As soon as I crossed that start line, my adrenaline kicked in, was so excited, and felt great! I looked down at my gps and noticed that I was going quite a bit faster than the pace I was planning on going. I didn’t feel like it was too fast, it just felt good so I kept it there.
The first big hill, “Veyo”, is at about mile 7. I had heard many people talk about this hill and how hard it seemed. It is a mile long and pretty steep. I saw the hill from a little ways back and already knew it was coming, so I was able to mentally prepare myself. Right before the hill, there were tons of people lining the streets cheering all of the runners on. My favorite sign that a girl held up read, “This is the worst parade ever”…. haha I thought it was pretty funny! All of the cheering gave me a major adrenaline rush and I was ready to conquer that hill! I do a lot of hill training at home, so luckily I kept a pretty good pace up the hill.
I kept a close eye on my gps the entire race. Whenever my pace got slower I thought, “Come on McKell! You have trained hard and you can do it!”, then I would speed back up again. While running, I saw this quote on the back of a guys shirt, “You are more powerful than you think”. I loved this! When I had a hard time during the marathon, I would think of that quote and realize how powerful our bodies really are! Races are mental games for me and if I can keep positive thoughts, I know that I can meet my goals. I just have to keep telling my body that I can do it!
When I hit mile 16 I realized that if I kept the pace that I had been going, I would not only meet my goal of 3:35, but I would probably beat it! This was a huge motivator to me and kept me excited throughout the race.
It was awesome to see all of the supporters along the race holding up signs, giving out Popsicles and water, and giving words of encouragement. As I approached the finish line, more and more people lined the streets and cheered. It was awesome running that last half mile with bystanders everywhere. Seeing that finish line is always exciting and crossing it was even more exciting! I was so happy when I finished and stopped my gps with a time of 3:22. I had hit my goal of qualifying for Boston and also made a personal record time. I don’t think I will be able to walk for a few days, but other than that everything about this weekend was perfect! haha
Remember to make goals and work to achieve them! No matter how big or small they seem, it is so worth it when you reach them. Have an awesome week!!!