Back before I ran my half marathon, probably in August or September, we were up at my grandparents house and I was asking Grandpa about when he ran his first Marathon in St George. While we were talking Grandma went over to a cupboard and pulled out a three ring binder with a bunch of papers in it and handed it to me. It was full of letters Grandpa had written to my mom on her mission. She turned the pages and found the letter he had written about running the Marathon. She asked me to read it out loud for everyone. We sat for over an hour while I read page after page of his experience running his first Marathon. His detail was incredible, it was really like a journal entry, every thought and feeling he had, the details of the landscape. It was so incredible and beautifully written. I looked up half way through to see my sweet Grandpa in tears, which in turn made me tear up. Something about running and training and working that hard for a goal goes beyond a physical level. I was right in the thick of it as I was only a few weeks away from my first half marathon. His story was so inspiring and so memorable. When we left that day my mom asked me what I thought about going to St George and photographing my grandpa and the landscape and such to make a photo book that would illustrate his story. We planned it out and made it happen on conference weekend when the St George Marathon was actually held. It just worked out perfectly, everything, it was as though Gods hand was involved, making it possible to create this book for Grandpa. We photographed the Motel 6 where he had stayed. We drove to the finish line which was all set up in preparation for the marathon the next day, then we went to the starting point of the race. It was so cool, the flags of so many countries, firewood piles for the fires the next morning. Part of Grandpas story said that there was a line of porta-potties that went on for what seemed like forever. No joke, the line of potties was exactly as he described. I couldn't even get half of them in one photo. Grandpa wore his t-shirt from his race in 1985 for pictures that day. He was all a glow that night, reminiscing, I can only imagine. Looking back on that time so many years ago, when his body was much younger and stronger. It made me almost sad, watching him walk out of breath around the start of the race, he is an incredible man. We photographed the rest of the race with fake signs that matched his description of the signs. It is a beautiful course. The next day when the race was held I needed to put in my long run, my long runs are always on Saturdays when Taylor can watch the kids. I knew I needed to get in at least one 11 mile run before my half, and I wanted enough recovery time after to not be dead for my actual race. I had been struggling with my knees and shins though and didn't know how long I would actually last. So I planned for at least 6 miles and anything else would be a bonus. There is a biking/running trail that runs right along the highway where the St George Marathon takes place. The house we stay at is right off that highway also, so my run was right there with the Marathon. I got major runners high running with all those people to my side. It was empowering, it's like you are part of a community, something bigger than yourself. You all work so hard and train for so long and you just have a commitment that is powerful. I made it 11 miles that day and had Taylor come pick me up at mile marker 22 for the Marathon. There were so many people cheering and holding signs all the way down, and you could see the marathoners were so tired at the end there. I just wanted to scream "Keep going!! You're so close!". My grandpa told me, everyone should run a marathon at least once in their life. I felt completely motivated to do it after that day. Haha, now after my half marathon I don't know that I would still agree ;) haha. I just love my grandpa and the amazing example of strength and hard work he is. He is such a hero to me.

This picture of him gets me every time. I sure love this man.


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