I ran the St. George Marathon in 2009 for the first time. I finished with a time of 4:41:40. To this day, that is my PR...until 2012...I hope. My family has been aid station Volunteers since the first race ever, when my grandma started taking her Scouts to help out. I was 8 the first time I volunteered at aid station 13 and ever since then I had wondered what it would be like to actually finish a marathon. When I finished in 2009 I was 24 years old. It lit a fire in my family, and the runner in us seemed to come out of the wood work, every once in a while someone would always say in passing, "I might do it this year." In December of 2009 I found out I was expecting, my son was born in August of 2010, and so I wasn't able to run in 2010. My sons father was pretty abusive and our split was really hard on me. I trained as much as I could, and used running as my outlet for pain, something that my therapist recommended anyway.
My youngest brother, Jason, started training with me, and when April 2011 rolled around, I was suprised to see him sign up for the marathon. We are St. George residents, so we don't have to draw out of the lottery. As soon as he pushed "register" that was all she wrote. We were in, and we knew it. Now all that was left was training. We trained daily together and we were good together. We paced together which was strange. He is over 6 feet tall, and all legs. I come in at just over 5 feet and have to break my neck to look at my baby brothe in the face. For some reason, we never had to focus on pacing, side by side, mile after mile we were in sync. The months flew by and we were more excited every day for our up coming race.
A week before the 2011 marathon we ran the Swiss Days 5k to get us pumped for the race. He set the pace for the short distance and was running pretty fast for my short legs. I struggled to keep up with his youth and his height. After the race, I told him, "That can't happen for the marathon. It's a long race, and if you burn out quick, you won't make it." He promised me that I would set the pace for the marathon and that we would finish together, no matter what.
Race Day- The bus ride up was as electric as ever. The vibe inside the bus is incredible in only a way that a runner can understand. You're surrounded by people who are your peers. All the race talk that gets old to your co-workers and family members is in the air, and everyone there understands it. You spend the whole ride up talking about Boston Qualifying and Veyo Hill. Taking advice from the Elitist sitting behind you, and trying to calm your nerves down. We got off the bus and walked to the second to the last fire on the left, where we met a lady who was there alone. Her first marathon ever. Her name was Charlene Meers, and she told us an amazing story of her life, losing weight, and finding herself along the way. She is from Washington state and she came to Utah alone to accomplish this race solo. We stayed with her the whole time before the race but at the starting line, we split up because she was aiming to finish in under six hours, and Jason and I were up with the 4:00:00 pacer. The gun went off, and for the first few hours, we kept our headphones off and just listened to the thousands of racers that all shared the same dream- FINISH THIS RACE!
If you were there that day, you know it got hot, and it got hot quick. Right as we entered Veyo we saw a man pass with only leg. I had to fight back the tears, and reached over and squeezed my baby brothers hand. We were really doing this together, I couldn't be happier. We climbed Veyo and were cruising ahead of the 4 hour pacer. We were making incredible time...
Until I came down wrong on my leg. My knee squished and that was it for me. We hadn't even made it to the 13 mile aid station, and I was hurting from it. We walked for a bit, and then jogged for a few miles. By mile 15 the 5 hour pacer passed us, and I kept telling my brother to go finish it. It was his first, and he deserved a good PR. He refused to go. I jogged when I could, but was in serious pain. The shuttles kept asking if we needed a ride, but I wasn't going to let down my brother, and was set on finishing. As we made out decent off the hill leaving Winchester, I was holding back the tears, and I wasn't alone, a girl passed us saying loudly, "don't cry. Don't cry. Don't cry." The tears rolled down my cheek and I picked up the pace. As we got to Bluff street, I was leaning on Jason for support, he still wouldn't go ahead and was all but supporting my weight for me. We passed the mortuary and I called to a volunteer, "Do you have a phone?" She said yes, and I said, "Call my mom and tell her we're still coming! We're here and we're finishing this!" She asked if I was serious and I yelled out my mothers phone number in response. By the time we got to time square my mom was running toward us, yelling for us, and cheering us on. She stayed with us until the end, on the side of the street making sure I was okay. When we finished, our time was just over 6:30.
Let down, and discouraged, and unable to walk, I sat down with my finishers medal and cried at the park. Not from pain, not from anger or frustration, but from love. My baby brother who was filled with so much pride, and so ready to kick the marathon's butt, and have an awesome PR sacrificd everything for family. He stayed with me for 26.2 miles and never once even thought about leaving me on the course. He will always be my hero.
Later that week I went to the Dr, I had dislocated my right knee less than half way through the race, and was lucky that I didn't do permanent damage. To this day he is still mad at me for not taking the shuttle down the mountain. I can't explain why I wouldn't quit. Maybe because I felt responisible for my baby brother. All I know is that I finished, and I have the medal hanging on my bedroom wall right next to my 2009 medal.
After recovering and running again, you can bet that April 1, 2012 I was online signing up once again. Now I find myself in better shape and better prepared for this years race. Jason signed up too...he's going to be there with me again, and Charlene drew out of the lottery. I can't wait for this October for the 3 of us catch up and tackle this run again. It's more than a race, it's a lifetime goal. It's part of who we are, and the joy that we get from running it out weighs the pain, ten fold.