Thursday, October 10, 2013


Me, Jay, and my dad ran the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon in July.

I've always wanted to run a marathon. It probably has something to do with being the daughter and sister of marathoners and waking up at 5:00 am with the young men and young women of my ward for ten years in a row to volunteer at the St. George marathon. We passed out cups of water and Gatorade at mile marker 25, and believe you me, we saw some pretty disturbing sights. Many runners were staggering by that point, their motions jerky, their eyes glazed. Some had blood on their clothes from chafing. Despite the somewhat masochistic nature of the event, I thought it was inspiring. I vowed I would run the course someday.

{Jay carried the camera during the race and snapped this shot}

Fast forward ten years later. I have trained for a marathon twice: The first time was right after my mission; I injured my knee two weeks before the race on my 14-mile run. The second time was two years ago; I stopped training around the time I got pregnant (I'd only worked my way up to 6 miles and hated every second of it). 

{Before the race. After this picture was taken, Dad and I didn't see Jay for over two hours}

I'm not sure how Jay talked me into running with him this year, but we signed up for the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon together and started training. Running is hard for me. It hurts. But we kept going, usually three mornings a week, with Jay pushing Kate in the jogging stroller and leaving me in the dust. He was kind enough to run with me for part of the time (a true sacrifice when you consider he is almost twice as fast as me). And, almost imperceptibly, I got better. I didn't improve much in the time department, and every run still felt pretty brutal, but I didn't hate it anymore (it was more of a resigned dislike). 

{Before the race; about 5:45 a.m.}

I was afraid to run so far by myself--I didn't know if I could do it. Jay wanted to be speedy, so I asked (well, begged) my dad to run it with me. His "out of shape" is still better than my "in shape," but he sacrificed and stuck with me clear to the end.

The weekend of the race, we stayed at a cabin just outside of Boulder, UT. It was remote and beautiful. The day before the race, Dad took us on a pretty grueling eight mile hike to a lake so we could fish.

Dad taught us how to "jig" for fish. I caught two, Jay caught none, and Dad caught about 15. Turns out there is more skill to fishing than I realized.

We were in a big hurry to make it back to the cabin quickly, and I overexerted myself. My quads burned so much while I was lying in bed that night that I was worried I wouldn't be able to run the race the next day.

We woke up at three the next morning, threw on our running gear, and stumbled out to the truck. It was an hour and a half drive on deserted, winding roads. I can still see the truck headlights cutting through the darkness, illuminating dozens of tiny field mice and rabbits scampering across the road. Through some crafty maneuvering, I think Dad only hit two.

The beginning of the race was perfect: cool temperatures, gorgeous views, stunning sunrise. I felt pretty good the first couple miles, high on adrenaline and the thrill of running with so many other people. By mile two, my quads were burning. By mile five, my knees were hurting. I had to stop and stretch every couple miles. Other than my sore muscles from the day before, I felt good, but I worried about injuring myself. Eventually, though, around mile eight, all my muscles were so tight that everything kind of hurt equally, and it wasn't so bad. 

Dad and I saw a lady break her arm around mile 10: she was running backward along the median line, offering encouragement to her teenage daughter who had fallen a bit behind. I called out a warning right before she ran into a large cone, but it was too late and she fell spectacularly. We stopped to offer assistance, but it was quite apparent that she had broken her wrist, so we moved on and Dad alerted the emergency response vehicle when we passed it. Dad also secured a banana for me from some people he knew along the route right when I was getting hungry and shaky, so he's basically a hero.

The last few miles were pretty brutal. It got hot fast, and there was no shade. I was so tired, but I had a few goals that kept me going: 1. I didn't want to finish last. 2. I wanted to run at least as fast as my sister did a few years previous. 3. I wanted to catch and pass a guy from our home ward who was a few hundred yards ahead of us.

With my dad's help, I accomplished all three. I battled some serious nausea for the last mile or so, but I made it. Dad (literally) pushed me into a sprint for the last tenth of a mile or so, at first grabbing my hand and pulling me, then putting his hand on my back and propelling me in front of him. 

We crossed the finish line at two hours, thirty-two minutes. It was significantly slower than I'd hoped to run it, but all things considered, I was just happy to have finished. If I ever run another half marathon, I won't go for a long hike the day before and be a bit more hardcore about my time (my running app said I spent over 12 minutes stopped to stretch throughout the course, but my quads sure needed it!). 

I am so grateful to my dad for running with me--he made a hard task enjoyable. He may have ruined me for future races, though--I'm not sure I want to do another one unless he does it with me!

It was a beautiful weekend and a great experience (even if I could seriously hardly move the rest of the day). It was a good reminder to me that I can do hard things and that working toward goals is important and fulfilling.


  1. you are so awesome! i dont know how you did it- so amazing!

  2. You are amazing! I was audibly cheering you on as I read the post :) Alex thought I was crazy until he read the post (and he was cheering for you as he was reading your blog post, too). And you have rather spectacular men in your life, too. Miss you. Come visit soon :)

    1. You are awesome. Jay read your comment and said, "we need to visit them." So... hopefully we can make that happen soon! I miss you!

  3. My gosh! I'm a little sick just reading this... I was a runner in high school, but it was very difficult for me and never something I had the natural aptitude for. I'm so proud of you. Doing hard things is scary and challenging and seeing what our bodies can do when our minds have given up is a strange thing. If you can run a half marathon you could do CrossFit no problem :) I am glad your dad was there to encourage you, although grabbing your hand and helping you sprint sounds challenging! I sure love you guys, and wow- is Utah ever gorgeous! And can we please talk about how Jay can run with a DSLR!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!

    1. Thanks, Katie! And Jay ran with our point and shoot--I don't think the DSLR would have made it :)

  4. Welcome to the fun world of long distance running...and congrats on your half marathon! I always compare running to childbirth, the pain and the benefits are all so worth it. :)

    1. Melissa, I admire people like you who can run consistently and enjoy it. I hope I'll keep up with it, but so far it's just not a passion. I'm glad I did it, though, and maybe I'll even do it again someday!