Strava Marathon (Falmouth, MA)
Finish Time: 4:23
Temp: 86 degrees
Conditions: Humid and Hot
Run For: Kerry
As a coach with Team Challenge, I get to talk with people who run or walk at our weekly group trainings. Every Saturday during a season, we all get together and do our longest training of the week as a group. We have people on the team from all different backgrounds, various careers, completely different ages and abilities. Some have run a half marathon before, some have run full marathons and there are also some who have never run before. Kerry had never done a half marathon, but what she has gone through in her life with ulcerative colitis is equivalent to running 100 marathons!
How I coach the group training sessions is simple, run around all over the place, touching base with as many participants as I can during the scheduled distance we are running that day. For those that know Kerry, they know how incredibly sweet and nice she is right from the start. She is so easy to talk to and is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. She’s honest and tells it like it is, especially when I would ask her how she was feeling. Kerry mentioned in her story that she was “as slow as a sloth” but speed is just a number and at the end of the day she was covering the same distance everyone covered, in fact if it took her longer that meant she was working harder for a longer period of time. She was getting in more work and using more energy to accomplish the same amount of miles. Personally, I’m glad she was “slow” because it made me happy knowing I was able to run back to find her and spend some time talking to her.
Naturally, it is during this time that I hear all these stories being shared with 26.2 For You. I saw and heard from the real Kerry. I heard about her struggles, about a lot of the things she has dealt with and still dealing with today. I’ve seen her not feeling well or being injured, but still fighting despite what is going on. I saw this nice, sweet friend be as tough as anyone with a determination that I wouldn’t want to get in the way of. The one thing I immediately saw with Kerry is that she does not quit. The time I get to spend with her talking during our group trainings is so enjoyable to me. Kerry isn’t just nice to me she is nice to everyone on the team and genuinely cares for all of us. Her son Jackson is lucky to have her as a mom, but we are too because she is like a mom to our team. Running a marathon for her while sharing her story means the world to me and I couldn’t have been happier to do it for her.
As for the marathon today, it was a little different than any of the other marathons I’ve done. I decided to run this marathon, while incorporating the Falmouth Road Race (7.1 miles) as part of the distance. The plan was to arrive early to the race, run quite a few miles leading up to the start, run the race and then finish running after the race until hitting 26.2 for the day. I thought it was a good plan, never done something like this before, it’ll be cool.
Disclaimer, I do not like running in the heat and humidity! I have always struggled to run in these conditions and my running performance always suffers.
When I started running this morning at 6:30 it was already in the 70’s and it was 100% humidity, with no breeze. Not ideal for me and especially not something I was hoping for this early with 26.2 miles to cover. The Falmouth Road Race is a point to point race, means it starts in one spot and then you run to another, no loops or no running on the same roads twice. You begin here and end 7.1 miles away. I decided to run from the finish to the start before the race, figuring it’d be a great way to get in some miles. I didn’t bring anything with me for fuel or hydration, rookie mistake. It was overcast but like I said the humidity was 100% and I figured no sun so it wouldn’t be that bad. By the time I got to mile 4 I was soaked and knew it was going to be a tough day. I got to the start of the race and managed to cover almost 9 miles and there was plenty of water to hydrate there but that was it. There was a little down time before the start and I was able to catch up with a group of runners from Team Challenge, including our manager Brianne, that were all there running the race, having fund-raised on their own for the Foundation. We took a group picture and it was great to see some familiar faces and meet some new friends. The race started and I went out a little quicker than I should have, again I should have known better, and then I hit a wall. It was now warmer and still humid as ever (remember my disclaimer) and I hit the wall. My energy was zapped and I started to struggle! With just water and the lack of fuel, this resulted in my ability keep a constant and steady pace out the window.
I was struggling and I knew it was going to be a long day, but I also knew I would not quit or stop. I channeled my inner Kerry and just kept pushing mile after slow, hot, humid mile. With about a mile to go in the race the sun finally came out and the temps rose quickly which just made me have to push harder and struggle a little more. After finishing I took in some much needed fuel at the finish and quickly kept moving running back to my truck where I had Tailwind waiting for me, hot as tea water, Tailwind. That stuff has been a life saver and I knew would help give me the boost, like spinach does for Popeye. After a short break, some wonderfully warm Tailwind and quick text message of encouragement from Sharon, I headed back out to finish the 26.2 miles. A few one mile out and backs and some much needed energy I was able to get it done and complete this marathon. It was hard today for sure, and I struggled for a good portion of it, but I never once wanted to quit. To be honest, I wavered once or twice, but I know it isn’t an option. Everyone runner questions their ability when they struggle, especially in conditions they know are not ideal for them. It’s natural and the mental game has to be played, with the mind convincing the body, you are struggling but nothing hurts, everything is fine, you are just tired and you need to keep going. The mental aspect of endurance running is so important and today it definitely played a part.
The run today is done, thankfully, and even though it was a struggle, it was worth every second. I’d do it all again tomorrow if it meant cures for Kerry and everyone else fighting each and day. My struggle today was temporary, their struggle doesn’t end. We need to change that and put an end to IBD!
Thank you Kerry for all that you do for those fighting these diseases. You are my hero and your 4 half marathons that you have run for Team Challenge are so inspiring. You are the perfect example of determination and perseverance, showing that you can do anything you set out to do. Marathon #32 was tough, but it is complete and we are another 26.2 miles closer to a cure. Thank you again Kerry for everything!!
This 26.2 was for you Kerry! 26.2 For You!