A not-so-perfect ending to my perfect race

It wasn’t natural to feel this good.
As I ran in the St. George Marathon Saturday, I kept waiting for that moment when I felt I could go no farther. It has happened in the eight other marathons I’ve run. (Heck, on Wednesday it happened at mile 2.5 of a four-mile run. I ended up walking the last half mile home.)
Not that I was pain free. It wouldn’t be running if something didn’t ache or tingle or throb. But I felt great.
I kept telling all my new friends who were shuffling along with me how great I felt.
One friend, who’d survived stage four cancer twice, asked me how much of the Veyo hill I was going to run.
“I think I’m going to run the whole thing,” I said. “Well, I’m going to try.”
And then I did it.
I didn’t go into the race with much of a goal. The St. George Marathon is one of the state’s most beloved races. But I ran it two years ago when it rained (for only the second time in 33 years), and I hated it. Honestly, that was one of the worst running experiences I’d ever had.
So back in January it was bothering me that the race had beaten me. I wanted to make peace with the race. Okay, I really wanted to prove I could do better than 5 hours and 26 minutes. I wasn’t hoping for a lot better – just under five hours.
I know to serious runners that sounds like a terrible time.
But to someone who has no talent and very little work ethic (i.e. consistent training), it was an elusive goal.
So I returned to the scene of my previous defeat determined to run 26.2 miles in under five hours.
And then I felt fabulous. Even after Veyo, I felt great.
I was worried. Maybe I’d gone to fast. Maybe I’d had too much caffeine.
And then I ran into my friends from the Locomotion Running Club. I ran with Larry and we ran four minutes and then walked one. It’s Jeff Galloway’s method and I’ve done it before.
Even doing that, I usually hit a wall.
Larry kept me company until about mile 24.5 when cramps in his calves slowed him down. I left him my water bottle and good wishes. I had a goal to achieve.
I ran under that balloon arch in 4 hours and 54 minutes. My best marathon time ever.
Thank you St. George.
I felt great until I realized I didn’t look at the street signs when I parked my car at 4:30 that morning.
UGH! Who does that? I even thought to myself as I followed the trail of runners boarding the buses, “Hmm, I hope I remember where I parked.”
But then I thought, “Well, I followed a bus here, so I should be okay.”
The problem was that I am directionally challenge. I thought north was south and east was west. I thought I came from one side of the valley and I didn’t.
But I didn’t know this until I met St. George police officer Harding.
“You look lost,” he said from the comfort of a motorcycle.
“No, I’m not lost,” I said two hours and 10 minutes after finishing the race. “But my car is.”
I described it to him and he rode off looking for it. It wasn’t until I described how I came to there race, including where I started, that he revealed to me that my north wasn’t the actual north necessary to find my car.
He then found my car – ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PARK – and rode back giving me the thumbs up.
I do believe the extra walking tour of St. George made me a little sick, but nothing an ice bath and a nap couldn’t cure.
As I drove back to Taylorsville, I felt I learned two lessons about myself on this day. First, I might want to rethink my goals and aim a little higher. Second, I might want to look at the street signs when I park – or take a driver.
Happy Running!

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