I get so excited whenever anyone shares with me their desires start running. Running has given me so much over the past five years. Running gave me a fresh perspective on my life in a time when I needed it most. As a result, I am eager to share my love and experience of the sport with anyone willing to give it a try or listen.
Kayla, 21 years my junior, whom I once would kindly refer to as a co-worker, through running I now can confidently call my friend 🙂 would drop in my office occasionally and talk about her desires to run. When she was ready, I ensured she had the right gear and equipped her with a signed copy of Train Like a Mother! The wisdom between the pages of the orange covers benefits any female, no kids required. Kayla set her goals high and planned to run a half marathon. We had many conversations around her training ups and downs, and I encouraged her along the way. It was exciting to watch her interest in running move from something she was simply curious about to something she came to love.
I was giddy with excitement when she crossed the finish line of her first half marathon. I was even more excited when she said she could not wait for the next one! We all know in running you either love it or hate it! So naturally when Kayla said she thought she was ready to conquer a marathon, but was scared to death. I told her I would happily run by her side and get her across the finish line. I never second guessed my offer to get her across the finish line but I also don’t think I fully thought out how challenging a task this might be. Failure was not an option she was to become a marathoner if I had to carry her! Which I had knew was possible, since I carried her the month before at Tough Mudder.
We decided on Kiawah Island Marathon in South Carolina. I needed the check off the state of South Carolina so this was perfect. My only goal was to get Kayla across the finish line…this was all about Kayla!
Race Day! We were ready. We walked .6 miles to the start from our adorable cottage. Fortunately the forecast of rain held off and temps were mild in the 50’s. A little warm for my liking but no rain. We were thrilled to be joined by running buddy KMac who registered last minute for the half. We were off!.
The course was fantastic! The course provided you with beautiful views of the South Carolina low county (water& marshlands), and some of the biggest houses I have ever seen. Huge! There was always something to look at. The aid stations were excellent and very organized. The volunteers handing out Gatorade wore yellow jerseys. So smart! There was musical entertainment in several places along the course which was nice touch but for the most part the course was quiet and serine. Absolutely my favorite!
KMac, back from injury, was having a great day and she took off. Despite the warmth and humidity I was feeling good. Kayla, was quietly struggling, not verbalizing how she felt. I knew she was not 100% and was careful not to pester her about how she was doing. I threw out my attempt at distractions, casual encouragement, and we keep moving forward. Unfortunately, Kayla started feeling worse having to utilize her inhaler several times. She was feeling like crap, so I need to move to plan B and fast!
We moved to a run walk segment and that is when things starting to turn around. She finally started to talk a little, and honestly just looked better in general. It was a relief for me but we still had 13.1 more miles ahead of us.
The blessing in disguise was Kayla’s mental fortitude. Despite feeling like crap, she was determined to cross the finish line. She told me ” I will finish this marathon. It may take me longer than I intended but I will finish”. Music to my ears! Her strong mental state made her goal of finishing achievable. She was mentally strong and nothing was going to stop her.
At mile 25.5, I tripped on the bike path and hit the asphalt. Stunned, scrapped, and little bloody Kayla extended her hand and pulled me off the ground. I brushed off the asphalt and we kept going. It was a little slow and with a limp but we literally were almost there.
We were thrilled to see our friends Mary Anne and Kmac with their kids waiting for us before the finish chute. Always great seeing familiar faces. The kids joined us for the final run to the finish.
I am so incredibly proud of Kayla for overcoming her adversities and pushing through! I was honored to cross that finish line with you! Welcome to the Marathon Club Kayla!
Kiawah is an amazing regional Marathon! The after party provided local brews and a full buffet of AWESOME food. Not your standard bagel and bananna. Real yummy food! Amazing considering registration is only $70. Excellent destination marathon that won’t disappoint. In my quest to run a marathon in every state, I have vowed not to repeat any marathons but if I were to repeat Kiawah is on top of my list!