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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Oops! I Did It Again!

After running the WDW marathon in January 2011, I truly believed that would be the 1st and last time I would run 26.2 miles in one morning.  Boy was I wrong!  By the fall of 2011 I had completed several other races, and I was feeling really confident about my running and how far I had come in just two years.  The pain that I had experienced during the last few miles in Epcot was all but forgotten.  I wanted to feel the exhilaration of finishing a full marathon one more time.

One of my longtime friends and former colleagues, Michelle, had recently moved to Arizona.  I was anxious to visit her, but knew that I would need to persuade my husband as to why I should get to go to sunny, warm AZ, while he was left behind with our four sons in dreary, cold IL.  After doing a little digging I discovered a really small marathon taking place in Apache Junction, AZ called The Lost Dutchman.  It happened to fall on my birthday weekend, and I knew he couldn't say no to sending me as my gift! :)
My plan worked, and I began training for marathon #2.  (You know, the one that was never going to happen.) According to my Nike+ account, I logged a monthly record high 213 miles in January 2012.  Crazy!  Needless to say, between my positive training experience and knowing my friend was volunteering at the finish line, I felt more ready than ever to PR in AZ with 529 other runners!  Unfortunately, things didn't quite go as planned.

I rarely get sick, but found myself coming down with a cold the day before I was to fly to Phoenix.  Michelle met me at the airport and we headed to packet pick up, before going to her new home in Cave Creek, AZ.  Catching up with Michelle and spending time with her beautiful family, was definitely the highlight of my trip.  Despite downing Zicam and fluids like crazy, my cold continued to get worse, and I was far from the fun guest that I had planned to be!  However, I was determined to run the race, despite feeling like garbage.  I promised my mom that I would stop if I needed to.  Her advice, "there's a fine line between stubborn and stupid.  Don't cross it."

The best part of The Lost Dutchman for me was the starting area where race organizers host a unique campfire lit by the fading moonlight.  During the first thirteen miles I actually felt amazing, and was stunned by the gorgeous scenery that surrounded me.  (Including coming face to face with a bull.) I was on pace to finish in about 4 hours, killing my 1st marathon time of 4:33.  Then around mile 18 I started fading... FAST.  There were so few runners that by this point we had all really spread out.  I slowed down considerably and spent several miles walking.  I did run through the wall at mile 24, but barely.  The whole time my mom's advice kept running through my mind...I wanted to cross the finish line, but I did NOT want to cross that "fine line" into the stupid zone.  People were passing me right and left, but knowing that Michelle was at the finish line, and that she would be the one to present me with my medal, inspired me to keep going.
I finished in just under 5 hours, taking an hour longer that I had hoped.  Michelle was there waiting for me, and was phenomenal! Not only did she make me feel like a champ, but she could tell how much I was hurting, and got me to my hotel in record time. (Including a quick pit stop at In n' Out Burger, which I had been craving all weekend!)  Michelle is the absolute definition of a true friend, and if you're looking for a small race, The Lost Dutchman is second to none!!

Needless to say, I flew home early the next morning, convinced that THIS really was my last marathon!  Or so I thought...


  1. Susan,
    I am touched and laughing all at once! I was impressed that you pushed through with such a head cold. We had fun and you inspired me as you inspire so many. YOU DID IT and OOPS... you'll do it again. (Song reference) The bulls, the In-and-Out, the head cold and celebrating your birthday in a whirlwind: These are examples of life. How you handle it makes the difference my friend. I was so excited knowing you were visiting and running the marathon and so happy that the volunteer coordinators allowed me to help at the finish line. What a thrill to hand out medals to the finishers... especially my dear friend Susan! Such a memorable trip for the both of us. My marathon walking days are over but I'll gladly volunteer at the finish line for you anytime!

    1. You are the absolute best! The funny thing is that in these pics I look happy as a clam...not in even an ounce of pain! Must be because you were by my side! <3 you!