"Say what you have to say, and not what you ought."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Running in the Rain

Yesterday was race day in Ogden, Utah. In mid-May each year O-town hosts the Ogden Marathon and Half Marathon. It's always one of my favorite weekends with the town full of runners and fans. It feels like a giant party! I love the vibe of community support, encouragement, accomplishment and fun. The course is a nationally ranked favorite, winding down scenic Ogden Canyon, along the Ogden River and then finishing up in downtown Ogden. This video gives a birds-eye view of the entire course. Ogden Marathon Course

I've run the Ogden half marathon twice. Yesterday I ran as part of a marathon relay team, one of five people running legs of varying distances for a total of 26.2 miles. I ran leg four which is five miles down Ogden Canyon. Here's our team at the finish line--cold, wet, hungry and proud of our finisher medals!
Foley's MMA Training Center Relay Team
Tom, Shawn, Justin, me, Mike
It rained all day yesterday with a constant drizzle coming down from early morning throughout the entire race. At several points during the day there was a serious downpour! The rain didn't seem to dampen anyone's enthusiasm though. I think it even added to the enthusiasm for some of the runners. Although I wasn't excited about the rain, I didn't mind running in it. Being wet is much, much better than being too hot and getting dehydrated. The rain also made for some amazing scenic views. The mix of gray granite canyon walls, lush greenery and misty clouds was gorgeous! Mike ran the second leg and took this picture during his six-mile run through upper Ogden Valley. 
Mike McAuliffe photo
Marathon weekend is filled with memories and meaning for me and I tend to get very emotional when I run the course. I ran my first Ogden half three years ago, which I wrote about in this earlier blog post: Chasing Pavements. It was a real accomplishment for me. I'd trained alone and I ran the entire race alone. Looking back now, I'm pretty impressed at my level of dedication and training. I was focused and determined. My life was in a really good place in May of 2010. I was 40, I was fit, and very happy with my friends, family and life in general. 

The weekend is also forever linked to my memories of Julie. She was with me that weekend in 2010 and it was the last time I saw her alive. Those memories and feelings are overwhelming to me. Yesterday, I slept at Mike's house in Ogden Canyon so I didn't have to get up so early to catch a shuttle bus to my relay starting point. I walked the mile up from his house to my relay exchange point. 

Walking up the canyon is rare. It isn't wide enough for foot traffic and very unsafe for pedestrians, but on race day it's closed to vehicles for several hours. I was alone in the rain, walking next to the Ogden River, surrounded by lush, green beauty. Runners from the full and half marathons passed me in the opposite direction, happy and waving. It was one of those rare, peaceful, completely content life moments and it made my heart hurt so badly I could hardly breath. Moments like that never fail to make me think of Julie. She didn't just leave me and everyone who loved her, she left this beautiful life and world. She left those moments like yesterday of being alive, healthy and strong on a beautiful day. And of course, she left me, which I think about every single time I run. I miss her horribly on race days. She was my inspiration, my cheerleader, my coach and one of my biggest fans. I used to run races looking forward to the finish. The finishes and the victories no matter how short or long the distance are different for me now. They make me both happy and sad. I want her there waiting for me at the finish line. I always will. 
Our last picture together
May 15, 2010


  1. The work you are doing to help others avoid Julie's fate are exemplary, and the fact that you are still hurting so much is perfectly normal, Keicha. I applaud your writing, raw and honest, and wish there were some way to lessen the pain. Only time can do that... sending you and your mom Sally some virtual hugs today.

  2. Keicha, I have to believe that she IS waiting there at the finish line for you -- maybe you can't see her in the flesh, but you can see her in your heart, which is where she is each and every day of the year. Maybe she'll be there in a photo in your pocket or a special stone or something you can touch, too. But she'll always be in your heart.

    I am so proud of you for your running and doing races of all kinds, which I think is tremendous achievement. But running this race especially takes a different kind of courage and strength and my heart is filled with admiration for your accomplishment.


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