Mile 1- "Remember when times get tough, Susan will be watching and pulling
for you! Who knows...knowing Susan, she'll probably be running along side you."
:) (Justin Turley)
Miles 2, 3, and 4- "Good luck as you gracefully stride completing miles 2, 3, and 4. Relax and enjoy this event with pride. Tis a good cause you're running for." (Bruce and Janet Mortensen)
Somewhere along mile 2 I ran into Elvis--- well, he actually almost ran into me...
Seriously, this guy (his 14th marathon I found out) ran the entire race in this costume and guitar. You see a lot of these people in big races--- I can't even imagine doing that!!! I had my hands full without a rock and roll costume and musical instrument.
Mile 5- "You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can't do something
themselves, they wanna tell you that you can't do it. You want something? Go get
it. Period."- The Pursuit of Happiness (Lisa Mortensen)
Just one of many bands, cheerleading groups and dancers we came across on the course-- I gave up trying to get pictures of all of them, there were just too many. But they were incredible and really added to the party atmosphere and experience. I just missed the picture of Elvis (from mile 2) stopping to get in a few dance steps with this group.
Mile 6- The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the promptings of a brave, determined spirit. Go Anna!!!! (Doug & Vicki Mortensen)
Mile 7- Divide your race into thirds, run the first part with your mind, the middle with your personality, and the last part with your heart. (Marty Mortensen)
I was kind of excited to see this thought again as I really liked it. I spent
a little time trying to mentally calculate just what 1/3 of 26.2 really was
(don't laugh... see how quick at arithmatic you are after running 7
miles)... fortunately some help came along from my mile 8 message...
Mile 8- "You know you're a dedicated runner when the trip to the race was longer than the race... You have completed about 1/3 already!" (John & Linda Digman)
Wow! Thanks John & Linda for coming to my mental arithmatic aid! :)
Ran past a very excited spectator holding signs and cheering us on with excitement. "Great job you guys! I'm going to run the half marathon next year! I'll be out there with you next year! Keep running!" How awesome! She got all kinds of support and good wishes from the runners.
Right about this point in the race my feet and shins begin to ache pretty significantly. I wasn't all that surprised, as just a day or so earlier I remember thinking that I had been on a schedule of tapering long runs for so long-- that I wondered if my body would remember how to handle them. I decided to go with the attitude that the pain would be temporary and to keep my pace--- good call, within 2-3 miles everything loosened up and felt good again.
Mile 9- The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare. (Annette Mortensen)
Mile 10- This is for Susan. (Chris Peel)
One of the things I love about big races in big cities is the mass of diverse supporters. We ran through many commercial districts where businesses had sent their employees out to the streets to offer food, water and support to the runners. The residential areas were no different. I stopped by one table a lady had set up in her front yard and took an orange slice from a bowl full of fruit. "Thank you so much," I said, "this is wonderful! Do you do this every year?" "Yes, I always look forward to it! I'm so sorry but I just ran out of brownies. If you can wait just a minute I've got another pan in the oven". I decided against waiting for a brownie, but left encouraged to again have confirmed how many wonderful people are in the world-- and was so grateful for events like this that bring them all together.
Mile 11- That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself
has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved. -Ralph Waldo
Emerson (Steve & Katherine Anderson)
Right around mile 11 I had a flash back to this same event last year when I was running the 1/2 marathon for the first time-- at mile 11 I was DYING--- this year I felt like I was just getting warmed up! It seems such a rediculously obvious statement-- but it really is amazing that slow, persistant practice at running really does work!
Mile 12- Giving up is a permanent solution to a temporary situation. -Gerta Weismann-D.C. Holocaust Museum (Steve & Katherine Anderson)
Funny mile 12 story-- just after passing through a water stop- I overhear one volunteer say to another in a very concerned voice, "You know what is scarey is they're not even half way there yet!" The runner next to me and I shared a good laugh over this--- Boy, they sure seem to have a lot of confidence in us- don't they?? lolMile 13- Never, never, never give up. - Winston Churchill (Marv & Janis Turley)
At mile 13- the half way point- I was physically feeling good-- but as I started to watch more and more runners excitedly greet friends and family among the spectator crowds, I started to feel just a little bit lonely running through the streets of Phoenix. Just as I was getting deeper into this thought, I see a small group up ahead who might be waving at me- but it was hard to tell... I get closer and they're still waving-- and suddenly I realize.....It's Randy, Kelly, Erin, Mark, Calley and Matt!!!!!! All there to greet me on a random street in the middle of Phoenix.
Words can not even begin to describe how excited I was to see them!! I think I did a little dance of joy right there in the middle of the street before running over to hug all of them.
After some more words of thanks and encouragement were exchanged I took of back to the running the course...still completely overwhelmed with the excitement and emotion of seeing my aunt, uncle and cousins all there for me. Any feelings of lonliness or fatigue that were starting to set in had completely vanished-- I could keep going!!
Just as I was getting back into my running zone, I spot two more excited wavers..... MY PARENTS!!!
I couldn't believe so many of my family had managed to find me in spite of extremely vague directions of from me as to where I might be along the course at what time. Seeing them there was just incredible!!!
Mile 14- Go Anna! You can do it! You Rock! Raisin and Truffles are cheering you on- ruff, ruff! Love From, Ashley and Laura Harris
I spent this mile thinking back on some of my best memories from my favorite families from my dog training days. How great to have a little canine support on mile 14! :) Thanks to Ashley and Laura I focused on giving high fives to as many child spectators as I could this mile. (Kids at these races collect high fives from runners like tokens of accomplishment-- it's fun for both the kids and the runners!) :)
Mile 15- Stopping at third base adds no more runs than striking out.- Anonymous Go Anna, you can do it!!!! (Marv & Janis Turley)
I took the opportunity at mile 15 to check in with myself physically and see how things were going. I took a short walk break to use my breathing machine, ate a package of fruit snacks, some extra Gatorade, and although could definately tell I was well beyond warmed up at this point- decided I was good to keep going.
Mile 16- The anticipation of extraordinary performance. (Fred & Shauna Mortensen)
This thought was accompanied by a small photocopied picture that was difficult to make out-- but as near as I could tell might be Darth Vader wearing a baseball jersey??? Not sure just what was going on with this picture- but it definately gave me a good laugh!
Mile 17- Your determination is inspiring! Chin up, you can do it!! (Karen Rodrigue, Kristen Kennedy, Girard Bischof)
Mile 18- The great lesson from the true mystics...is that the sacred is IN the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's backyard....so keep running for an unordinary woman, Susan. Your strength is sacred today. (Monique Mendel, Jim Garrison & Family)
Mile 19- She who has a strong enough WHY can bear ANY how. (Rob Bever)
Mile 20- "Victory belongs to the most persevering." - Napoleon Great Job...Keep going...Only 6.2 more to go. (Tim and Janet McClellan)
Very true-- I had at last come to the infamous mile 20 wall so famous in marathons for being the beginning of the end for once hopeful marathoners. I was definately feeling it. Mentally I was still really excited to go forward, as from this point forward every step I took would be further than I had ever run before. But physically the pain was definately starting to set in, my feet were starting to feel numb, I was starting to get really hot-- for the first time that little voice came up that said maybe this is more than I'll be able to handle....
But before I get to think about that for one more second.....
It's Randy, Kelly, Erin, Mark, Calley, and Matt again!!!!!!! This time I was so surprised and excited to see them I nearly had myself an asthma attack on the side of the road. I couldn't believe it, they had found me again!!! What a boost this was for me at mile 20!!! Mentally I started to feel like I was headed to an altered state of consciousness brought on by heat and fatigue, evidenced when a few moments after I left this second happy reunion I realized I had forgotten to get a picture. I paused briefly, seriously considering running back-- but at last decided it would be in my best interest physically to save those 50 feet of extra traveling for later--- I may not have any to spare to get to the finish line.
Back to the road.... Now running through all the commotion of downtown Scottsdale-- when I meet my parents again!!! What a welcome sight their encouragement was and their bag of food and Gatorade, which I rifled through looking for extra nourishment each time I saw them.
Mile 21- Remember when you see a man at the top of a mountain, he didn't
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. Keep Going!!!
Love ya! (Kent & Gail Mortensen)
Mile 22- Anna, Mile 22, 4.2 to go. According to our calculations, when you
finish you will be part of a select group of people. Of all the people who
have ever lived on this planet, we estimate that less than a tenthousandth of 1
percent have ever run a marathon. Quite an accomplishment! Love, Randy, Kelly,
Erin, Mark, Calley, and Matt
Mile 24- You know you're a runner when you have to think of your run schedule to remember what day of the week it is. We love you Aunt Anna! Hugs!!! (Dylan & Tyson Mortensen)
Mile 25- When you were a little girl you told me it wasn't fun to ride
ponies when no one was watching, well, today everyone is watching and cheering
for you! Go Ann Marie! Love, Grandpa Mortensen
Pretty funny message from Grandpa-- and he was right.. with the finish line just a little over a mile away people were everywhere...including a few firefighters dousing runners with water hoses- the most welcome sight of that mile!
The finish line was no where in view and I couldn't tell which way the course went up ahead. Someone from the street shouted, "keep going, just two more quick turns and you're there!" Jeez I really needed to hear that at that point, I just hoped he wasn't one of those guys who thought he was funny by giving hopeful runners false information. Fortunately...he wasn't.
Mile 26- Way to go Ann Marie! You're almost done. All that training, planning and pain are worth it. You've almost accomplished your goal. Keep going...you're awesome! (David Mortensen)
I was going to make it! I started to prepare for the party that I really hoped was around the promised next corner. At the last water stop I doused myself with water once more and picked up my pace just a bit.
2. to the finish- Dearest AWESOME ANNA, Just put one foot in front of the other and keep your eyes on the finish line. Susan's strength and enduring spirit will supply the rest. We are so proud of you we are busting our buttons!
Just the emotional lift I needed to get me this last little ways-- keep putting one foot in front of the other-- I could do that! What I couldn't do very well was see or think-- I was really out of it by this point. I turned the last corner and it took several moments to process the faces in the crowd ahead of me. It was my great friends Amanda, Shawn, Alyssa, and Noah-- I couldn't believe it!!! She had promised they would be at the finish line-- and there they were-- could this mean I'm done?
Just to show how really out of it I was by this point, Amanda grabbed me from across the barrier and gave me a huge hug. I saw the rest of her family on her right, so what do I do? I step to the left and hug the person next to her (some surprised lady I didn't even know). At this point I was so tired, confused and fatigued I couldn't even figure out how to step the other way and say hi to the rest of Amanda's family-- and very regrettably I was way to far gone to remember to take pictures at this point. I was so glad to see them! I was going to make it!!!
I turned to my right and it was true! The finish line was right there! I just ran...no plan, not the emotional moment I expected to have for the moment! I was just SO TIRED!!! I still have that goofy smile on my face so I'm pretty convinced at this point that my muscles had spasmed permanently into that face.
And then it was over. After 5 hours and 13 minutes (chip time anyway), I could stop running! And stop I did, again to meet my favorite family members and friends just across the finish line.
Post-race pictures and reflections still to come..... :)