COLUMN: Thoughts along the way

Observations from a first-time runner of Saturday’s Top of Utah Half Marathon:

– 5:40 a.m. Holy crap, that’s a lot of people waiting in line for a bus in the pitch dark. We should be soundly sleeping in our beds. We’re really stupid.

– 6:40 a.m. Lines and lines of people waiting for their turn at the crapper. Didn’t anybody “go” before they left home this morning? Thank goodness I didn’t have to so I could find some fresh air.

– Mile 3.5 Some girl dashes into the shrubbery on the side of the road. I don’t think she was chasing a bunny. Didn’t we just leave like a million port-o-potties a little bit ago?

– Mile 5 Every time I see port-o-potties on the side of the road, girls are waiting in line to get in. Must be something about the female bladder that I thankfully don’t understand.

– Several firefighters along the road in Blacksmith Fork Canyon as a precaution. Runners cheer and thank them for their service. Bashful smiles fill their faces.

– Mile 5.5 Some of the first real visible evidence of the fire that scorched the hillside. As we come out of the canyon near mile 7 we see charred earth everywhere, right down to the roadside. Now and then you can smell ash.

– A brisk, morning canyon wind pushes us along out of the canyon. The cooler temps and wind at my back help me maintain the fastest pace I’ve ever had.

– The further along the route we go the more signs of encouragement we see. Some of the notable signs along the race today: “Worst Parade Ever”, “In My Mind, You’re All Kenyans”, “Push This Button For More Power”, “Training for the Zombie Apocalypse”.

– The final push seems a lot longer than I anticipated, but ran it at the best pace of the whole race.

– Seeing family members near the end help me finish strong. Their happy faces and words of encouragement give me new life.

– Finishing at 2:07:42 blows my mind. I thought I would finish around 2:30.

– Going back 1.5 miles and finishing the race with my lovely wife wasn’t as tiring as I thought it would be. Crossing the finishing line with her felt far more fulfilling than when I crossed alone.

– Great feelings of accomplishment and of achieving a goal we set four months ago.

– Full marathon next year? Ask me after my knees, hips and calves chill out

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