Jake’s Journal: Welcoming another member to the club
When the race began, we started our respective Forerunners (Ryan uses the 110 for its small size and simplicity; I like 310XT for its vibration alerts and how it distracts me with so much data), and the bobbing and weaving through the bunch was officially under way. Six miles in, we saw Garmin's Carl the Caddy cheering us on, and we later wished he had brought his cart for the later miles. A quick glance at our average pace and lap pace told us that we were making up time as the group thinned, and this was confirmed by every pace group we picked off. Great news welcomed us at the halfway point when we covered 13.1 miles in the same exact time that Ryan had raced his first half-marathon in the spring – and we had plenty of fuel in the tank. But sometimes fuel alone isn't enough.
The cruel reality of any endurance race – or any competition or milestone event, really – is that everything has to fall into place. On the day of a marathon, unseasonable weather can wipe away four months of perfect training. Or perfect weather can be wasted if a flu bug visits that weekend. Or in the most traitorous example known to athletes, despite ideal preparation and steadfast dedication, the body can stage a mutiny over the brain. You can preach mind over matter all you want, but running through an injury is agonizing. So I knew something was amiss when Ryan started telling me that his knee was hurting around Mile 16.
Trying to troubleshoot his injury while simultaneously coaxing him down the street and keeping spirits up, I couldn't help but remember my knee problems last fall. Having gone through ACL surgery a decade ago, I was relieved that I hadn't suffered structural damage. Yet there I was, wondering where the "ice pick" sensation under my kneecap had originated. The worst was when I descended a steep hill that day and almost started bawling with the sharp pain. So when Ryan told me during the marathon that he couldn't run more than 100 feet before succumbing to the pain, which worsened on the downhills (a torturous irony as the climbs were all finally behind us), I guessed that it was his IT Band as well. With more than three miles left and Ryan grimacing every few feet but making steady progress, always steady progress, I had a last-ditch idea. To ditch him. Here's how he later described it: "Around mile 23, Jake started to pull away from me. 'Good. I can finally suffer in silence and lower my head and shuffle my way to the end.' But then I see Jake soon enough … and he's at an Aid Station waiting for me with a roll of gauze."
Wrapping his knee to take pressure off the IT Band might have done the trick, but I doubt that I'm that good with medical solutions. And regardless, I know that it didn't cure his other ailments that I saw later – several blisters on his feet, the one on his big toe being the cherry on top. (No, really, it was on top of his big toe and the size and color of a cherry. Sorry for the visual.)
Running side by side with 90 percent of the course behind us, we let determination – our wives would call it stubbornness, sportswriters would label it "moxie" – carry us to the finish line. And that's where Ryan joined a closeknit group of runners – and a much, much smaller percentage of the general population – by completing his first marathon. And I say first, because he has more in him. Heck, he's already signed up for a half-marathon in Nashville next month, and a couple weeks later, we'll do another local half. And just as he did throughout our training, at the Patriot's Run, during Bike MS, and in finishing the Kansas City Marathon, Ryan will do what members of the marathon club do best: Push themselves and propel everyone around them.
The post Jake’s Journal: Welcoming another member to the club appeared first on Garmin Blog.
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