Daily Doable 1/24/14

January 24, 2014 in Daily Doable, Sharla

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How I lost 20 pounds after my third baby!

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Daily Doable 8/23/13

September 6, 2013 in Daily Doable

Move!

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 I box at Legends Boxing at Thanksgiving Point in Utah.  If you live near by you should come punch something with me!  Click the pic to visit their web site or click here.

Running to Boston Part II

August 3, 2013 in Guest Blogger

For those of you who may not know, my twin sister wrote a guest blog post for me about her experience qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  When I posted her story I had no idea that what started out as an inspiring story about perseverance would end as her being a part of national history.  Here is her follow up story, the day she ran The Boston Marathon in 2013.
<3, Sharla

My Boston Marathon 2013
 
First of all, let me thank everyone who have written to the All Things Fabulous Blog to ask if I was safe after the Boston bombing.  My family and I had cleared the area at the time of the explosions, although we were only a few blocks away.  That day my family and I were part of history however my story is not just about acts of terrorism.  My story started 3 years ago when I did my first marathon and dared to dream that I, one day, could be a part of America’s most historic and renown marathon.  The Boston Marathon.
 
In the summer of 2010 I made a goal to run a full marathon.  I accomplished my goal and in the process realized that I was actually a pretty fast runner.  In that evil way that endurance athletics are addictive, I set my sights higher.  It was possible to qualify for the Boston Marathon. 
 
If you have read my post “Running to Boston” you are familiar with my gut-wrenching (literally) story of woe at my Boston qualifying race in St. George, Utah.  Despite a grueling race of gastrointestinal issues I qualified to run Boston by the skin of my teeth!  I was so excited.  I kicked off my training for Boston on January 1st, despite a broken wrist from skiing.  I have run in all kinds of conditions but I must say, running in the Colorado mountains in the dead of winter really gave me a new perspective on the cold.  I learned that I would rather run when it is sunny and 18 degrees outside than sunny and 50 degrees.  I have always loved the outdoors but only tolerated the winter, but when you are the only fool running 14 miles through the snow there is a serene acceptance for mother nature and what she hands out on any given day.  I came to love my winter runs.  They were solitary and quiet.  I learned I liked my cold cheeks and coming in to the house still smelling like snow.  And, of course, I felt like a total bad ass.  :)
 
The winter weeks rolled by, training went well.  Soon, my family and I were boarding an airplane to New York where we would sight see of a week before the race.  From New York we rented a car and drove the 5 hours up coast to Boston.  It was a lovely drive.  None of us have ever seen the East coast or the Atlantic Ocean.  What a beautiful area.  It was a peaceful reflective way to spend my day before the race.  The trip to New York had been a lovely distraction and I was calm right up until the moment I saw Boston.  All of the reality of the race came crashing down on me.  Can I really do this? Am I crazy? Even the thought of my family supporting me up to that very moment, the time I spent away from them to train, the expense of a major race and travel, the sheer gratitude for this life! I was not expecting the onslaught of emotions.  We drove straight to the convention center to get my race packet which didn’t help my nerves at all.  If you have ever driven in Boston you know that it is a labyrinth of tunnels and one way streets.  Plus many streets were closed for race set up.  Not to mention all the people.  I felt swallowed up by it all.  We eventually parked, walked to the conventions center and got my packet.  I got a wonderful piece of advice from a close friend that I should buy one of the official Boston Marathon jackets. Packet in hand, wearing my sporty new jacket that instantly let everyone know that I was part of a super-secret, exclusive club… (well, it’s not really a secret club and defiantly not exclusive, but it is a fast club) we headed to our hotel so I could  pace the floor and stress out some more. 
 
Here is where I was mentally that day and the morning of the race.  This would be my third marathon.  My first two didn’t go so well.  I was fast but I was also very sick.  Both races I got dehydrating diarrhea, just managing to hobble across the finish line.  I had done so much research and talked to so many friends to try and solve my race day problem.  I came up with an all new food and water regimen. Even after all my planning I had this nagging feeling that if it happened again, that was the end.  I wouldn’t run marathons any more.  I felt that getting sick again was proof that my body just couldn’t handle the stress of the race and I couldn’t keep torturing myself.  Even though all my long runs were great, race day was always different.  And by different, I mean bad.  I had no time goal for Boston.  My goal was to have fun and finish strong, and hopefully not poop my pants. I did get some sleep that night but before I knew it my alarm was going off.  Three years in the making.  The biggest goal of my adult life.  A turret trail of tears and smiles and self-awakening was here.  Race day. 
 
My disposition had not changed much by morning.  I was apprehensive but also excited.  The hotel was full of fellow racers and kind employees.  As I walked to the bus loading area locals on their way to work stopped me to wish me luck.  One lady thanked me for coming to race.  I was so touched by the kindness  that the locals show us runners.  It was so soothing to feel simple appreciation for my goal.  I smiled all the way to the buses.  As any racer knows the journey to the starting line is an adventure all on its own. The volunteers are friendly and chatty.  If you sit next to someone new on the bus, they are your new friend.  I sat next to three ladies that lived in the same neighborhood 13 years ago.  They have all moved to different states but once a year they meet somewhere and do a race.  This year is the first time all three made it to Boston.  I am touched and inspired by them.  We have a laugh when the bus takes a wrong turn and we are lost for a bit.  But the race was 3 hours away so it’ wasn’t stressful.  When we get off the bus an hour later we laugh that I should join them for a race next year.  We go our separate ways but again, I am soothed by their good humor and lovely story. 
 
At the start of a race there is a lot of waiting.  Waiting to ride to the start.   Waiting at the starting area to use the bathroom.  More waiting just to get to the starting line.  Lots of waiting but it is a party.  A live DJ, lots of food and coffee and plenty of new friends to chat with.  Plus I have my phone and update my Facebook status so my friends and family are in the loop.  I also email my parents who are out of the country.  As I wait the DJ stops the music.  He recounts the tragic events of the Sandy Hook shooting and asks for a moment of silence in memory of those affected.  Pure silence. Deep silence falls over 27,000 runners and a thousand more volunteers.  Far off I can hear a bird singing in a tree. Again, I am soothed.   
 
As I make my way to the starting corals I am just swept along.  I almost don’t have to move my feet. So many people both racing and watching.  The crowds on the street are so deep I can’t see where they stop.  And they are cheering.  Cheering for us, cheering for me. Just cheering for all the weekend worriers out for a run.  I shake my head in disbelief.  The starting line is amazing.  The horn sounds for our wave and we all start moving forward.  We are shoulder to shoulder.  Everyone gets stepped on or nudged.  Most are patient and good humored about how crowded it is.  I wait to put my music on so I can take it all in.  Besides, there is music everywhere.  Again, the cheering crowd.  I didn’t want to miss a thing.  
 
After a few miles the race takes over.  It is amazing that there are still so many people around me but I have a good pace.  However, my stomach is churning.  Fortunately, I don’t have the tale-tale cramps but I do feel the need to us the bathroom.  It’s only mile 6.  I start to fret.  Not again, I can’t do 20 more miles in agony.  I stop for a port-o-potty at mile 8.  When I come out I am discourage and frustrated.  As I stared to run inspiration strikes like lightning, I was missing my good attitude!  I had been so concerned about having stomach issues I forgot to just think positive.  I know it sound corny but it’s true!  If you think about how bad you feel, you will feel bad.  At times you many feel bad but that’s when you should focus on what feels good.  I assessed myself.  My stomach doesn’t hurt.  My legs still feel strong. I can defiantly keep going.   I have used this technique many times in training.  Instead of thinking “oh no, it’s only mile 8 and I am having to stop.” I said “Sharma! It’s ONLY mile 8! This is a MARATHON! It is going to get better!” Guess what…. That is exactly what happened.  
 
I needed a  little rebound time but by mile 13 I was gold.  I felt great.  The crowds of people on the side of the street never went away.  We ran past frat houses giving out bacon.  We went pasted a girls-only college giving out kisses!  The signs people held made me laugh out loud!  “Use lube, you’ll go longer” “This is the worst parade ever!” “My arms are tired”.  DJ’s and live bands were everywhere.  Kids that wanted a High-five lined the street.  This race is the most fun I have EVER had in a race.  I was getting faster as the miles ticked off.  Mile 21 brings the infamous Heart Break Hill.  Not a problem.  Now I know this race is mine.  I feel amazing, I am having the time of my life and the energy from the Boston people is electric.  As I approached town the crowds get thicker and  I am passing runners.  I remember my last 4 miles in St. George and all the people who passed me.  Not today.  I am running up hills at a pace of 7:45 and descending them at 6:45.  I know this is it.  I feel like I am going to crush the end of this race.  My favorite picture from the race is at this point, I didn’t even see the camera man but I am full on smiling! Part of me wants to cry but there is no time for that, I have a finish line to cross.  Again, I pick up the pace.  As I approach mile 26 I start searching for my family.  They said that’s where they would be waiting to cheer for me.  I look and look but the crowds are huge.  I don’t see them so I sprint in the last mile as fast as I can.  The last 5k of my Boston marathon is my fastest of the whole race.  When I cross the finish I get my phone out right away and call my husband.  I am elated.  Completely energized from the race.  I laugh and cry and smile.  As I work my way down the runners shoot I am struck, not for the first time, at the amazing organization of this race.  The number of volunteers.  The perfect efficacy.  Within 10 minutes I have gone through the runners coral, got all my goodies, my bag and I am with my family.  That race was awesome…. Just awesome. 
 
I stop to put on some warmer clothes and chat with a few other finishers.  We take our time and soak in all the fun.  I did it.  I achieved my goal, didn’t get sick, and had a blast.  Who could ask for more? It is a feeling I will take with me for the rest of my life.  So much of endurance athletes is hit and miss.  Luck favors the prepared and it’s nice when good fortune is on your side.  When I need a pick-me-up, or doubt my ability to achieve, or even when I am having a bad day, this moment is my happy place.  Being with my family, reaching my goal, and this crazy experience is the stuff that makes Tinker Bell fly.  For me, this moment is the most potent memory of the 2013 Boston marathon. 
 
As we walk away from the race I hold my daughters hand.  There are people everywhere.  Racers and locals, still congratulating me.  We are about 2 blocks from the finishers coral when we hear the first explosion.  It sounds like a cannon.  Everyone on the block stops and turn toward the race to see what the noise is.  We can see a huge plume of smoke rising.  For a moment we are all silent, confused.  There are a few other runners by us and we all turn toward each other. “Are they doing fireworks?” one asks.  I don’t know, it’s my first race.  Did the bleachers collapse? No, the smoke was on the opposite side of the street from the bleachers.  As we all look on in confusion and question we hear and see the second “cannon” and smoke.  Again, we are silent.  Another runner in the area comments “It’s hard not to assume the worst”.  We agree but tell the kid’s it’s probably fine.  My 10 year old son looked me right in the eye “are you sure?” he asks. No one replies.  We all wait a few minutes.  We are listening for screams and watching the exit to the runners coral. There is no evidence of panic.  We decide to go back to the hotel and turn on the news to see what’s going on. 
 
I remember this as a very surreal walk.  As we walked through the very crowed park and down town I had no explanation for what had happened.  I refused to believe it was something bad.  We only made it a half a block when we began to hear sirens.  They were getting closer.  Then it was a steady stream of siren after siren.  For me it was so odd because all these people were just going about their lives.  I remember looking into the faces of people we passed and silently asking “do you know something has happened?”.  Everyone is still so normal, but the sirens are still coming.  I stop and text my sisters.  “Just so you know something happened at the race.  I don’t think it’s bad but we are fine and going to the hotel”. They respond confused and I tell them to turn on the news and see what’s up.  At first nothing is on.  After we walk another block my sister writes “It’s a bomb.  Two of them.  It’s on all the TV channels now.” As we make our way to the hotel my sisters fill me in.  By the time we are in our room it is the only thing on TV.  We watch the story unfold with the rest of the country.
 
Our hotel is about 10 blocks from the finish so we knew we were safe from evacuation but we were asked to stay in for the rest of the day. This turned out to be convenient because my phone was going crazy with Facebook, email and text message from friends and family who knew we were at the race.  I sat in my stinky race clothes for 4 hours on my phone replying to messages of all kinds.  I was astounded by the concerned we received.  Friends from high school offered their Boston area houses for us to stay in.  The Grand Junction local paper called my work to see if they had heard we were safe.  I feel like every person I had ever had contact with in my life checked in on me.  And my husband, too.  And our family members got calls from their friends and family.  It was so touching and kind.  It was like you could just feel the nation knitting it’s self together.  All those distant knots tightening just a little on that common thread to create this amazing support net.  Our hotel had a restaurant in the lobby where everyone gathered to eat and talk about the events.  Again, there was a sense of unity.  There was also sadness and disbelief.  Many still talked about the race itself.  This lightened the mood and kept conversation happy.  Our family went to bed early and I was sooth to sleep by my memory of my race.
 
The next day we wanted to enjoy what Boston had to offer before our departing flight that night.  We walked down to the finish area because we wanted to take a “Duck Boat Tour” which was a half a block from the race finish area.  There were lots of other people out that were just like us.  Some had traveled from other countries and wanted to explore the town with the time they had left.  We were all trying to make the best of the situation.  Our family was doing a pretty good job of it until we came to the roped off finish area.  It was like a desert. That is my best description.  My memory held my spectacular finish with all the people and fun and life.  What was behind that yellow police tape, was the opposite.  Crushed paper cups still littered the ground.  Mylar blankets gathered in the corners like tumble weeds in a ghost town.  There were quite a few reporters out and since I had my official and fabulous Boston jacket on we were stopped and asked to do an interview with a few.  After 4 interviews and a long detour we finally found the tours. Although we had set out from the hotel in high spirits we now felt both deflated and uplifted.  There was defiantly a sense of sadness in the city.  What uplifted us was the locals.  They continued to congratulate us.  The stores were still open. The tour guilds were cheery and friendly.  It was like Boston itself defied the previous day’s events.  They refused to acknowledge the acts of terror as a unified front of survival.  I was so honored to be there and be a part of the day after the bombing.  It was surprisingly healing.  The people of Boston gave that to us.  The city of Boston was the start of the nation’s healing process with it’s quite strength.   
 
In September the Boston Marathon will open its registration for the 118th race in April.  In the last 3 months since the race I have talked to many others that were in the Boston Marathon last April.  Most stories are the same.  How orderly the events unfolded.  The race was the most well organized event most of us have ever attended and I know that organization saved lives.  The calm sense of urgency everyone in the area felt, even those that just crossed the finish line collected their medals and food and looked over their shoulders, still confused about what was happening just yards away.  Even those athletes that watched on TV from across the country and world, we all share the same desire.  An act that is more than a race, it is hope and defiance against terror and an offering to those that suffer from terrorism.  We all want to race Boston next year.  So wish me luck.  Registration will be tough but I am hoping to continue my journey to The Boston Marathon.
 
Sharma Phillips
 
“If you are trying to defeat the humans spirit, Marathoners are the wrong group to target” Mighty Brighties on FB

Running to Boston Part I

August 3, 2013 in Guest Blogger

Running to Boston

All right, all you “new year resolution”-ers out there, this post has, literally, been 3 years in the making.  This time of year brings a strong desire to look back on the past year and take stock of what we have accomplished and look forward to what we would like to do in the coming months.  Too frequently our look back makes us want to crawl back into bed with a whipping stick to make ourselves pay in silence for all that we promised ourselves we would do, but didn’t.  And the look forward fuels a nation wide workout frenzy born straight from guilt and self loathing.  BOO TO ALL OF THAT!  All a new year means is a fresh start.  No guilt, no shame.  The post you are about to read is not meant to do anything except MOTIVATE YOU!  It doesn’t have to motivate you to run or bike or even work out.  It is meant to motivate you to step out of your comfort zone, experience something new and difficult and when its done, look at yourself in the mirror and know that YOU will not hold YOU back.

In that spirit I am pleased to introduce our next guest blogger, my twin (yes identical), Sharma Phillips (she’s beautiful, isn’t she).  She graciously agreed to share her experience of accomplishing a long time goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  I want to give a special thanks to her for taking the time to share her story with us.  She is one amazing lady, and I know you will be inspired by her story just like I was. <3, Sharla

 

                                                                Sharma Phillips (that’s me) 

I am at my computer writing a training schedule that will kick off next week for my first race of 2013.  This is not a “New Years Resolution”.  When you pay money to do a race it turns from having a goal to having a job.  Most people don’t have a “resolution” to go to work this year, it is just what we do out of necessity.  That being said, writing a training schedule for a new goal at the new year makes me think of the successful and unsuccessful goals of last year. 

 Last year I had 3 major goals.  The first was to learn to swim and compete in my first triathlon.  With the help of an incredible women’s organization geared just for new female triathletes, I accomplished my first goal.  My second goal was to ride a century.  That is, to ride 100 miles on my bike.  Although  it was one of my first goals of last year, I am disappointed to say I have not accomplished it yet.  I will in time and I have patience for that time to come.  Endurance athletics gives you that kind of understanding. My third goal, and defiantly the biggest was to run the St. George marathon and qualify for the Boston Marathon.  This is the story I have decided to share.  When I think about all the goals I have ever set for myself, this is one of the most raw experiences I have ever had.  Here is the story of my journey to Boston.

              This is a few of the girls from the TRI group.  We finished our first Olympic distance race.

 The Boston Marathon is the oldest marathon in the United States.  Last year there were 26,000 people who ran and over half a million spectators.  The city of Boston declares race day (always a Monday) a state holiday.  The race represents 30 countries.  Running the Boston marathon is highly sought after by runners of all athletic ability.  Because of the popularity of the race the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) initiated a time requirement for runners to fulfill at other races before they could even apply to run in Boston.  These particular races are “sanctioned” races.  St. George is one of the most popular sanctioned races and close to home.  My course seemed clear.  Last spring (2012) I entered to run the St. George marathon.   Besides helping me to my ultimate goal (Boston) I have always wanted to run St. George.  It is a great course, very well organized, and I knew a ton of people who had and were running.  St. George would be a fun race.   

I started my training in May.  I used the Runners World website to build a training schedule.  I ended up basing my training on a goal time of 3 hours 20 minutes.  That’s a 7 minute 40 second-pace for the duration of 26.2 miles.  To qualify for Boston in the 30-34 year old division I need to run a 3 hour 35 minutes race.  I knew I was aiming for 15 minutes under the necessary. I figured I would need the time cushion to account for unforeseen race issues and I thought I was capable of running that time. 

So, I trained.  Religiously.  I missed almost no miles I was scheduled to run.  Every side race I did I watched my pace.  The days passed.  I must admit I was nervous.  The closer the race got the more I wondered if I could really keep such a fast pace for the whole race.  Only time would tell.

The morning of the race I woke up surprisingly refreshed for 3:45AM.  Went down my checklist.  As I was sneaking out of the hotel room my son woke up.  “Good luck, mom”  and a sleepy daughter echoed “good luck.”  Deep breath, now I’m ready.

On to the bus that took us runners to the starting line I, ironically, was on the same bus as my friend from my women’s triathlon group back home.  There was about 6,000 runners starting but she got on the same bus as me. Good sign.  It’s about 43 degrees at the starting line.  There is a huge line of mini bomb fires.  There is music, flood lights, flags from every nation… it is a party!  Soon enough I was getting in position for the race.  In the St. George marathon Clif Bar provides pacers.  These are runners that carry a cluster of balloons with a finish time written on them.  That is the pace that particular person will go for the race to finish at their designated time.  I position myself between the 3:25 and 3:35 pacers.  I had trained to finish the race in 3:20 minutes but to qualify for Boston I had to finish in 3:35.  My strategy was to take my time and hang back for the first half of the race.  This is logical since there are so many runners it is difficult to pass for a few miles and most of the uphill is in the first half.  I knew I would be able to conserve energy and make up time on the downhill in the second half.  Finally the countdown starts.  I am so excited, my stomach hurts a little.  I didn’t get to eat as much breakfast as I should have but I have plenty of food with me to eat on the run.  The horn sounds, the race starts.  We stand still…. still waiting… still not moving… after a minute or so we finally start walking forward.  It is common in big races for runners to wait several minutes just to cross the start line after the races has officially started. There are electronic mats at the start that read a timing chip attached to the racers bib number.  Your official time starts when you cross the mat.  All the clocks on the course are the “gun time”.  This is an important fact to understand because the race clocks are a bit faster than your official start time since it takes that extra time to get across the start line.  Eventually we are over the timing mats and the race pace picks up. 

 This is my favorite part of every race.  The beginning.  I felt amazing, the energy just swept me along.  It’s still dark outside but here is this huge group of people.  We are a collage of 50 states and 13 countries.  We race a band of ages from 18 to 78.  We are of all walks of life, all different stories but for the next 26.2 miles we are on one path.  It doesn’t matter what the goals are or how or why. All that matters is the finish.  Together and separate most of us will get to the end.  I truly feel privileged to be a party of this race, and life.  

The next 16 miles are wonderful.  I am right on pace for my plan.  I enjoy it all and try to take in as much of the surroundings as I can.  The canyon is beautiful.  Despite how much fun I was having there were a few little signs that things weren’t going as well as I thought.  For example, I had to stop at the port-o-potty around mile 8.  This is unusual for me, while training I could do all 20 miles without any gastrointestinal issues.  Also my slight stomachache from the start had never gone away.  It wasn’t affecting my run but it did affect eating.  I couldn’t finish my Clif Bar and later had to choke down a GU.  In the beginning of the race the 3:35 pace guy passed me but I passed him around mile 13.  I knew that if I stayed in front of him I would qualify for Boston. 

At mile 16 I stop for yet another port-o-potty.  (I am up to 3 stops) Now the happy loving feelings from the first half of the race are gone.  I am worried about how much I can’t eat and why so many stops.  Also, I have run 16 miles, I am wearing down.  I put my mind to it and work through the next 5 miles.  Now my quads are aching, my stomach is in knots and my confidence is slipping.  At mile 21 I stop at my 5th port-o-potty.  I am in there for a long time, all the while the time clock is ticking.  I knew the pacer for 3:35 passed me while I was behind that fiberglass door.  I am no longer in position to qualify for Boston.

When I came out of that port-o-potty I was not thinking clearly.  I tried to calculate the miles I had left and how much time and come up with a pace to keep me on track.  No use, I couldn’t hold it all in my head, I started to reach for my phone I had in my shirt pocket.  I wanted to call my husband.  He would do the math for me.  I also wanted to tell him I am coming, I hurt, I am slow now but I am still working.  I fumbled with my shirt for a second and then my clear true inner voice sounded in my head for the first time in that race.  Like the clarity of a bell my voice said “Sharma, you are in a race, just go” Ok, I tell my voice.  I start to trot. I look down at my Garmin to see what my pace is and the voice sounds again “Your pace is GO”.  I didn’t look at my watch for the rest of the race.  I knew right then that it would be futile.  I was just going to have to go forward with everything I had and hope that it would be enough. 

 Mile 22 brought a stitch in my side that stretched from my left armpit to my hip.  I ran the full mile with my arm over my head trying to loosen the stitch.  No use, it was part of my race now.  The abdominal cramping was more like a clenched fist in my torso.  It was unrelenting.  Around mile 23 I see one of my old friends from Salt Lake who is there with her husband.  I was so happy to see her I called out her name in the most desperate crazed yell that just bubbled right out of my stomach.  I startled her but she recovered in time to cheer and shout for me.  Here is my first smile for a long time. 

At mile 23 there is a timing clock.  It is a few minutes faster than when my actual time is but the clock tells me I have 30 minutes to run 3 miles if I want to make my qualifying time for Boston.  On any other day this would be great news.  That’s only 10 minute miles, no trouble with that math.  I can do that….. right? “Just go” rings out from inside me. 

The last two miles of that race will stay with me forever.  I wish I would remember them forever because I experienced some miraculous recovery from my stitch and cramping.  This is not the case.  I couldn’t hold my body straight because of the cramps.  At times I was almost doubled over.  By now dehydration had set in.  In that last two miles I felt like every single person in the whole race passed me.  They all looked so amazing and strong.  It was demoralizing.  People I had passed 8 miles ago, caught me.  I tried to go faster but my cramps flexed in my stomach and I felt dizzy.  I knew the race was slipping through my fingers like water.  I wanted to walk so bad but the voice came again “If I don’t make Boston it will NOT be because I walked”. 

 One mile left, the home stretch.  There is a time clock at mile 25 and I see that I have 4 minutes to cross the finish and qualify for Boston.  Maybe there is a 2 or 3 minute grace period since it took me that long to cross the start line but even a 7 minute mile was unthinkable.  My race was over.  I still ran, I tried to go faster but the black tunnel would close in on me.  So I kept my sad steady pace, trying not to think about my lost goal.  I told myself that the bright side of not qualifying was that I would never have to run a marathon again.  I looked for my little family who had been tracking my progress.  I just wanted to see them smiling at me.  I knew my husband would understand.  The finish line crowd was huge and I didn’t see them in the stands cheering my name.  I crossed at 3:41.  That was it, I didn’t make it. 

         This is my very sad crawl across the finish line.  Check out the guy in front of me, happy bastard.

I went straight for another port-o-potty and called my husband from inside.  We agreed where to meet.  When I came out of the potty I had to sit in the grass for a bit, I just couldn’t go on.  An EMT came by and took my vitals.  I remember thinking “Yes, you should check on me, I don’t feel right”.  Eventually he lets me go get a Popsicle.  I wander over to the area I will meet up with my family and plop down in the grass.  I took out my phone to see who the many texts have been coming from and right at the top was a text from my two training buddies.  These girls followed me with the text updates and watched me cross the finish line on the live feed. They had been with me every step of my training.  The text stared “I know you are disappointed, don’t…” That’s when I start crying.  I was so glad they didn’t try to say “good job, you did great”.  I couldn’t bear that, I was so glad they knew, I wouldn’t have to tell them I fell short of my goal.  And they, maybe more than anyone knew my disappointment.  Right about then my family found me sitting in the grass crying holding two melting Popsicles.  Pathetic.  They all sat down with me and patted my back or leg.  But my sweet son, 10 years old, cried right along with me.  Seeing his tender sympathy caused me to stop.  There was so much in that moment I wanted to say to him.  I wanted him to know that it’s OK to try and come up short.  You can do your very best but it may not be your day.  That’s life.  The point is not the destination, it’s the journey.  

I picked myself up and ate my Popsicle and did my best to start to feel better.  We bumped into my Uncle and my triathlon friend. Hugs and congratulations all around.  I smiled and was grateful for their kind words.  I got my official time (3:38:48).  Back to the hotel to get cleaned up but I just had to log onto the Boston Marathon website.  I just had to double check the qualifying times, just to be sure.  Yep, ages 30-34 had to run 3:35.  But this is the age of the runner according to the day of the Boston marathon, not the qualifying marathon.  On the day of the next Boston marathon I will be 35.  That puts me into the next time bracket (35-39) who need to run the marathon in 3:40.  3:40!!!!! I made it by 1 minute and 12 seconds.  Relief, excitement, frustration that I didn’t look closer in the beginning.  I submitted my application for the Boston marathon right that minute. 

 5 days later my application was accepted for the 2013 Boston marathon on April 15th.  There are a few residual feelings from the St. George race that cling to my memory.  Those last two miles, I can’t forget how difficult, physical and emotional they were.  In those miles quitting never even crossed my mind.  That clear voice that urged me on.  And the feeling of wanting to “dig deep, push harder” but I couldn’t.  I just couldn’t do more that I was doing.  That was the edge of my ability that day. 

 The training schedule I am starting this week is for the Boston marathon.  I have other goals for the upcoming year.  One being the dropped goal of my century ride.  But that’s the lovely thing about a new year. It’s  not a clean slate, it’s a second chance.  I have had my eye on running Boston since 2010 and when I  go I will have no shame in admitting it took me 3 years to get there.  There are so many people that helped me along the way.  Supported me and cheered for me and swore at me when I needed a different kind of motivation.  But the truth is, I would have done it with or without them.  After all, it was my feet that hit the pavement, my legs that carried me and my mind that held my training and ultimately my race, together.  For me, that is the foundation of endurance athletics.  There is certainly camaraderie, training partners,  amazing spouses and family members that support and encourage along the way.  Without them the journey would be lonely, even less fulfilling.  But in the end they don’t get you out of bed at 5AM to do a tempo run before work.  This was my goal.

I started running for fitness.  But over time that act of running evolves into a connection with myself and the open road.  In that quite time with just my legs I learned new things about myself.  Running changed me with every mile.  It makes me a better person.  I know that someday I won’t be able to do this but today I can, so I will.  See you in Boston.