Sunday was the big day! After hours and hours of training, after 750+ miles logged in, the IMT Des Moines Marathon was upon us. For myself and the iCan Running Team, it was a restless night, but the night before race day usually is … especially when it’s your first marathon as it was for so many of our team.
I have the greatest running partner in the world! Kara has helped me prepare for my second marathon as she readied herself for her first. Today was the day that we put all our miles of training to the test and cross that line together. Kara had some IT band issues during training, so she had the area taped with KT Tape. I’ve been having bursitis issues in the left hip, even after an injection. We were both hoping that we wouldn’t have issues during the run.
We met up at my place at 6:30 a.m. and headed for downtown. My wife, the saint that she is, got up and went with us when she could have slept in. Not only did she go with us, but she went to numerous areas, fighting road closures and traffic, just to cheer us on. Not something I would want to do when its 41 degrees out.
We met up with Coach Loran and the rest of the iCan team, chatted and took pictures. We tried to calm each others nerves, but before you knew it, we were heading to the starting line. Suddenly, we were off and Kara and I started a steady pace and stayed together.
The first 7-8 miles is pretty hilly, but we were prepared for that. We stayed steady, running about 10:20 to 10:30 miles. We even finished one mile of hills at 9:53! We were moving along, chatting and laughing like we always do. The last hill started to bother my hip, but I figured that once we got out of the hills, we would be home free.
We crossed the 13.1 mile mark at 2:10:35. That was great! I was hoping for 4:30 finish, and if we stayed the course, we would be right on time. It was a perfect day, perfect weather, beautiful scenery … you really couldn’t ask for more.
At mile 14 everything changed. Kara felt pain in her right leg; her IT band was screaming at her. We stopped and she stretched it out, and we walked a little bit until she felt ready to go again. I don’t know why, but it was then that my bursitis started to really go off and I had sharp stabbing pain in my hip socket (or at least it felt that way). We both stretched and decided to try again.
A couple of miles later, we had to walk for a bit again. The pain was too much for both of us, but with little breaks we were going to manage it. Kara is a trooper. There is absolutely no quit in that woman. She said we were going to cross that finish line together, no matter what it took.
Well, slow and steady wins the race. Using our run/walk method, we finished the marathon in 4:52:55, which is a PR for me. While it wasn’t the time I wanted, I got more than I imagined. I got to watch someone I love dearly become a marathoner. Not only watch, but hold her hand as she crossed that line and joined a very exclusive club. When we crossed the line, we were presented our medals, and then Kara turned to hug me, and the tears started flowing. She did it! We did it! Together, just like when we started this journey.
We gathered our composure and turned to see our other running partner Stephanie, standing by the side of the finish line. We went to embrace her, and the tears flowed again. Stephanie helped us along so much on this journey, that words cannot express the love and gratitude I have for her.
We then met up with friends and family, took some photos, and headed home to clean up and meet again for dinner. Sore, tired, and very hungry, our significant others listened patiently as we told our stories of the day.
Special thanks to Coach Loran of Ironworks Athletics, for working with us on this journey, to all the iCan Running Team members, to Stephanie for all her help and guidance, to my wife for not only putting up with this again, but running around and freezing just to cheer us on, and to everyone else for their help.
And to my running partner, my friend, my little sister in spirit, and one of the nicest and kindest souls you could ever meet, Kara. Thank you for helping me along all those otherwise lonely miles. Thanks for the advice, laughter, smiles, and companionship that we had and I hope we continue to have. It has been a blessing to train with you, and to get to know you, as we seem to discuss everything when we run! I love you to the moon and back! You are, and always shall be, my friend! Relax and rest now, you have earned a break …
Until we start triathlon training! Get ready!!
Live healthy, be happy!