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“In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm… in the real world all rests on perseverance.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Eight months ago when I decided to do my second marathon, I was very excited at the idea. I then proceeded with the training, taking it seriously, following a plan and overall I felt great. At 48, I am in the best shape of my life. Yesterday, I did the work to prepare, to finish strong. I rested and drank extra water on Saturday and Sunday, well-hydrated, I thought.

All week, the meteorologists predicted pouring rain all morning. 8:00 am start – blue skies and mid 40s, a perfect running day. It usually takes me a few miles to warm up. Mile 6, I was achy and had a headache. My brother John had dropped me off, parked near the finish line and biked back to meet me at mile 10 on the course. Mile 13, I told him I felt like I was tanking, only half way there, and I thought, “I may not make it” but I turned up the music and pushed on. I took some more electrolytes and kept going. Mile 16, calf cramp and light headed. Mile 17-20, a few light showers followed by an ankle and groin cramp (first time for this one, delightful). My legs felt like stumps. John kept riding ahead, stopping, getting off the bike and clapping as I went by. At one point, a woman looked at me and asked my name, I told her and she yelled, “you can do it, Kathie!” At least one of us believed it.

At mile 21, I knew I would finish even if I crawled in on all fours. Friends and family were gathered at mile 25 so my goal was to see them, be upright and smiling. My niece Emily surprised me coming back from school (3 hours away) to be there. Right down the line, hugs and kisses for friends and family. Emily ran me in the last mile with John still riding along the side, the longest, slowest bike ride he’s ever done. Mile 26.2 – done. Amen.

Walking back up the hill to mile 25 to see family and friends, I figured I’m too old for this. Where did I go wrong?  I described what happened on the course and Terry asked, “did you drink more water than usual?” – Sure did, needed to be hydrated. Well, it turns out, you can drink too much water – the official term – hyponatremia – I washed all of the electrolytes. He did the same thing on one of his marathons. All the symptoms matched with what happened on the course, with the exception of seizure and death. Glad I missed those.

While I wanted to finish strong, I endured to the finish. Life is about showing up, trying, failing, getting back up, trying again, giving, receiving, fun, faith, family, friends – all those gifts that describe the past four months that culminated yesterday morning. Choose your “marathon” – whatever that is and pursue it with all you have.

20 Comments Post a comment
  1. mvobsession #

    Don’t you think sometimes the marathon chooses you 🙂

    October 7, 2013
  2. Kathie,
    Thank you for sharing your journey and casting light as you travel.

    October 7, 2013
    • Thank you. There are enough shadow casters. Shine your light!

      October 7, 2013
  3. My second marathon felt the same way! I had to remind myself few people will ever run a marathon let alone two. So proud you finished.

    October 7, 2013
  4. Congratulations on persevering and completing your second marathon, Kathie.

    You’re inspirational!

    October 7, 2013
  5. Congratulations! I was thinking of you as I knew the race was this weekend (my son goes to school at the U) and keeping you in good thoughts. As I ran my mere 6 miles this morning, I am in awe that you can run 26.2 miles. Good job for hanging in there and finishing, you inspire us all to do whatever we have been called to do . . . and to keep going when it gets tough! 🙂

    October 7, 2013
  6. Kathie, what a tough fight, but you always persevere and find the nugget of truth in the matter. Brava!!

    October 7, 2013
  7. Wow, Kathie, I’m inspired..!
    That’s a great reminder about drinking too much – been there, done that; not pleasant…! 😉
    Congratulations, you deserve it… 🙂

    October 7, 2013
    • Thanks – opposite of what you wily think – good reminder for all!

      October 7, 2013
  8. ly #

    Yeah!!! Don’t know how you guys can do that! Congrats!! You shine…

    October 7, 2013
  9. Congrats on finishing. If marathons were easy, everyone would do them! Way to persevere! You are a 2-time marathoner!!! 🙂

    October 7, 2013
    • Thanks – good reminder. Do something that’s hard and a bit scary. Worth it, even and especially when it’s hard.

      October 7, 2013
  10. Hooray for you!!

    October 9, 2013

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