In January of this year, our oldest daughter phoned Ford and asked if he would be her training buddy to run a half marathon (I will refer to her in this blog as "S"). The Utah Valley Marathon was scheduled for 12 June 2010. The route: from a point just south of the tunnel in Provo Canyon straight down University Avenue turning west into the Prove Towne Center Mall parking area in south Provo. She had also enlisted one of her sisters, our second daughter, (who was not living in Utah) to train and run it also (I will refer to her as "E"). "S" had a great plan worked out on how to get them all in shape and be able to train on a schedule preparing them for a half marathon. She sent them each a guide so they would all be working from the same information. Each would run certain days on their own. Ford and "S" would get together once or twice a week and run together. As often as possible, "E" would make arrangements to be in Utah to run with them. They began running portions of the route increasing the distance each time. Together they had set a goal for finishing the race under 4 hours, easily doable without creating stress or injury. They wanted to be able to enjoy this whole experience as well as accomplish the actual running of the race.
They made a great team supporting each other. As they began to progress, their confidence increased with their abilities. They talked, planned out every detail, and they ran.
There were a few days and weeks that Ford had to take off due to injury. Usually this was when he had tried to work beyond the scheduled training and push too hard. (Great learning opportunity.)
The day came to pick up the race packets. The excitement really began to build. "E" came to Provo several days before the race. The big day came. The runners had to be delivered up to the starting point early.
If I remember correctly, there were over 1,000 runners in the half marathon category. The full marathon runners were starting their route further up the canyon at the Wallsburg turnoff. The weather was cloudy and cool. Not long after dropping them off, it began to mist in the canyon. It rained hard along the route.
Ford, "S," and "E" stretched, warmed up, and then, after a bit of a delay in the start, were off and running. They talked each other through the jitters and excitement of wanting to take off too fast in the beginning. They kept to the pace and strategy that they had worked on. Family members were leapfrogging along the race route to cheer, encourage, and give them support. By the time the runners began exiting the canyon, the rain had stopped. The three of them looked good all the way. They were talking and smiling and giving the "thumbs up." At about the turnoff point from University Avenue into the mall area, "E" got this burst of energy and began a sprint. Ford and "S" pursued. Ford felt great and easily caught up and they crossed the finish line in with great strides. They had not only completed the race and enjoyed the run, they exceeded their goal by running it under 3 hours. For their first time, they felt this was awesome! Most all of us have felt that just training and running the race was awesome. The two daughters have plans to continue running, however Ford said that he was done and will return to his recumbent trike and frisbee.
The response of each of the doctors that Ford has follow-ups with is basically the same. They express amazement at how good he looks, shake their heads when they hear that he has run a half marathon, and are delighted with his continued progress.
That about sums up the response and feelings most of us have. That and an immense feeling of gratitude.