It’s official, I am a marathon runner. I am a one-percenter (less than 1% of the world population have completed a marathon). Back in December, I committed to running a marathon to raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. In that 10 months, with the help of friends and family, I helped raise over $5,100 to help try and find a cure for Crohn’s and Colitis.
This journey was a marathon to say the least after not running for a year and a half, but marathon day was incredible. I came into the day ready as I would ever be. The temps were about perfect in the mid 50s, but the rain and wind really made it not so desirable conditions. Right when my wave was to start and we were moving up towards the starting line, the rain started. It was a light rain so it wasn’t too bad. When I got to mile 7ish, the skies opened up while on the northern most part of the course and the wind coming off the lake. It was cold. I then thought, it can’t as bad as Boston from what I have read. The rain lasted for about the first 15 of miles. I was doing great for the first 16 miles and running 8:30-9:30 minute/mile and was feeling great.
I then hit mile 16. I had heard of hitting the wall, but Kevin Hart said it best in his summary of the Chicago Marathon, “…there was somebody on the roof with a cramp gun and shot me in my a**, calf and hamstring…” I was tracking my under 4 hour mark through those 16 miles and then it call came to a head. The last 10 miles was a struggle to say the least. I was down run/walk status. My family (all 7 kids, wife and parents) hit 4 different spots (miles 4, 12, 21, 26) on the course and they kept me going with their cheers and encouragement. I would hear people on the sides of the street cheering everyone on and that kept me going and take it to a slow jog. I came around a corner at about mile 23 and there was one of my Crohnnies that I profiled on the blog several weeks ago, Crystal. She gave me a little bit of energy as she ran beside me on the sidewalk and we did formal introductions while running. I thought about those other 25 people that I profiled and I was not going to quit and give up. I was going to finish this thing.
I came into the final Cheer Zone (the last 1.5ish miles) and put my head down and pushed through the pain. People were lined up probably 5 deep on each side of the road. It was a surreal feeling with all of those eyes on you and cheering on all of the runners. It was a slow run, but I kept on going. I hit that 26 mile turn, saw my family at the turn waiving and yelling, and looked at the final hill in front of me (who puts a hill at the very end of a marathon anyway?) and just kept my legs going. I dug deep and got up the hill without stopping and made that final turn and I could see that finish line. I dug deeper and thought of those again that I was running for. Yes, I did have a tear or two as I saw and crossed the line. The final time was 4:42:01. Wow, I just ran 26.2 freaking miles. 26.2 for myself and for my Crohnnies that can’t run due to their disease.
When I crossed that finish line, my phone literally blew up with texts and Facebook messages. Without all of the support of my family and all of my friends, I don’t know if I could have done it. The running community on social has been awesome as well with the encouragement. People have asked if I would do it again, and that is still to be determined. I want to relax and recover and will decide that next step. The one thing that running has done is it has seemed to help me with my Crohn’s. I haven’t had any flares during this time while I have been running. Coincidence? I don’t know, but one thing I do know is that I am feeling the best I have ever felt physically. I guess we will see in the coming weeks when registration opens up again for 2019.