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The day before the marathon was fairly busy.  The boys and I headed to co-op for just the first class (that I had to teach) and then we left early.  I wanted to go to the chiropractor one last time before the race and we had tons of packing to get done before my husband came home early so we could head to PA for the race.

By Friday afternoon, I was exited, but really nervous.  I have had IT band issues on and off over the past month and really tried to rest it by doing lots of cross training, but for some strange reason, it was hurting during regular activity.  For those who do not know what ITBS is: the IT band, is a tendon that runs from your hip to your knee.  If it becomes inflamed, it can work its way into the area of the knee cap, causing severe pain every time the knee cap hits the IT band (ie: every step you run).  I had it flare up in three different runs and had only attempted to run through it in one.  So, I had no idea what would happen if I tried to run through the pain for 26.2 miles. 

After my hubby got home from work, we packed up the car and left.  We went straight to packet pick up and the pasta dinner. I ate dinner, but truthfully, I was on edge.  I had heard so much about "the hill" during the race, that I wanted to, needed to see it before I ran it the next day.  I looked at the elevation chart, but truthfully, who can figure them out?  I looked at it and could not translate it into what I would see on race day.  So, after we ate, we drove the first 7 miles (and last seven, it is an out and back course) of the course so that I could see the hill.

Off we drove.  We got to an incline and my husband looked at me, "Is this the hill?"  I looked at the map and just shook my head.  We then proceeded to drive closer to the MOUNTAIN in front of us.  I guess I should have read the race description that said that the race took place in farm country at the foot of the Welsh Mountains.  What land is flat at the foot of a MOUNTAIN?  Oh, boy.

We drove further and began to drive a steady incline up into the mountains.  The boys were in the back of the van commenting on how beautiful it was and how cool it was that Mom (me) got to run here and get such a view of the town! Meanwhile, my stomach is churning and I was getting more and more nervous by the second. Then we got to the down hill.  Now, most people would think, "Oh, a downhill, Katie, you can run fast down that!"  But, all I saw was the possibility of each step going down the hill being excruciating (downhills are the worst for IT Band Syndrome, it is most painful going downhill).

By this time, I was practically in tears.  Fear was seizing me. And, I will be honest, I did not think I would even be able to get through the first 7 miles of the race, let alone the last 19.2.  The boys were still in the back of the van talking about how beautiful it was and how I was so lucky to be able to run it the next day!

We drove back to the hotel.  I told my husband, "You really need to pray for me."  We prayed, got the kids to bed. And, surprisingly, I slept well.

Race morning I woke up.  Ate an almond butter and honey sandwich in the bathroom (so as not to wake up the whole family), showered (yes, I shower before all races I run), taped up my IT band (and prayed that the tape would help) and got ready to head to the start. I also prayed that God may give me my boy's eyes during the race. The night before, I was so focused on the huge hill, the obstacle before me and all they could see was the surrounding beauty.  I wanted to run the race with their vision.  I did not want to be so focused on the obstacles of the 26.2 miles ahead of me, but rather the beauty around me.  So, I prayed to have their vision.

I am blessed to have an amazing husband who was willing to pack up the kids and go with me to the start.  I had told him that I needed them there at the start.  I was so nervous. We got there about 1/2 hr before the race would start and as we walked around, and I was amidst all the runners,  I started to get excited again and a bit emotional (OK, I teared up!).  I was about to embark on my first marathon.

About 5 min before the start, I lined up and headed to the back of the runners.  Most of the runners were running the half marathon (or were a part of a marathon relay team) and so they would be running a much faster pace, so I knew I would be one of the slowest there.

Before I knew it the horn blew and the pack of runners was moving.  I waved good-bye to my hubby and kids and set off on the journey of my first marathon.

To be continued tomorrow . . .


  1. Oh man, I can't WAIT to hear the rest...

  2. I remember driving the course to my first marathon and seeing the hills too. I was dealing IT band issues as well and almost cried at the sight. So I can totally relate. I can't wait to hear the rest of your story!

  3. I love so much that you got to do your marathon. :)


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