Our story begins in 2002. We initially enrolled in the 10k clinic at the Kensington Store in Calgary. Were we athletes? NO! Did we have the drive to run marathons? NO! So what happened? Kevin started running because he always did enjoy it when he was younger and I started running because Kevin was running and this just might be the time we could do something together. After running numerous 10k races separately; multiple half marathon races separately, we finally made the decision to run a marathon together. A marathon is a milestone like no other and we wanted to share that milestone with each other.
When did this goal creep into our heads? We attended many of John Stanton's motivational talks and every time, we had the urge to run further and further. To this date, we cannot pin point exactly when the idea popped into our minds, but we remember the day we told our friends about our intentions. It was exactly 55 weeks from the 2004 Honolulu Marathon. We picked the Honolulu Marathon for a few reasons. One, I doubted my ability to run the distance within an allotted time. The course doesn't close so there wasn't any pressure. That was one thing I didn't need, in addition to the other stresses of running a marathon. We also wanted to run a marathon when we were both 40 years old. Another reason for Honolulu, it was the first vacation that we have gone on in nine years of marriage. A milestone and a holiday - who could ask for anything more! Once we told people of our intentions, our commitment was made. We had 55 weeks to prepare. Our goal was set!
Now the training…we are very thankful that we both trained for our marathon at the same time. Training is hard, both mentally and physically. Having each other made it easier to understand what each other was going through. Our entire household was in "marathon training mode". We made daily meal plans, weekly dinner and supper preparations, depending on what was our scheduled training, as well as a specific schedule for housework and laundry. Honestly, we found it very hard to fit other things into our life besides training and recovering. I could not fathom it would be like if only one of us trained.
We had one rule when running the marathon - Kevin was not allowed to keep on asking me "How are you doing?" Kevin was only allowed to ask me every 10 kms. When he kept on asking "how are you doing?" it was like opening a can of rotten worms. I wanted to reply, "How do you think I feel - crappy, sore, tired, and grouchy." Instead, when Kevin had the urge to ask, he would say "Look at the palm tree". Now instead of hating him for saying it, this made me laugh instead.
With the help of our friends and family during our training, we found a new strength within ourselves. We asked everyone we knew about running marathons. We were on a quest for knowledge. We ran some of our long training runs with friends such as the "Chicago" girls and many others from the Kensington Running Room. Their experiences and knowledge became the nourishment we needed to pursue our dream.
On race day, we reflected on all our past training runs; the sacrifices; the hours run; the miles run and all the encouraging words of friends and family. Were we ready? YES! On the start-line, we lined up with 27,000 other marathoners. There were fireworks which made me cry…"I can't believe I'm here!" Then the national anthem of the United States…sent shivers up our spine! As part of our normal race ritual, Kevin and I kiss and tell each other that we love each other. Normally we would say, see you at the finish line, and go our separate ways. This time, we set off together on our marathon goal.
We ran the first part with some of our running friends from home that also ran the marathon. As the race went on, our group thinned to the two of us. We laughed; we cried; we encouraged each other and we stuck with each other - through the good and the ugly. What an experience!
As we approached the finish line, we ran holding hands. We expressed our love. We expressed our pride in each other. The taste of crossing that finish line with the person you love is sweet! We shared our milestone to the finish line! Our dream of running our first marathon became a reality, with a little help from our friends.