E. Smith Productions

Dad’s First Marathon

09.30.11 | 03:17 PM CDT

It was time.  Time to step up to the big leagues now.  My Dad had run a couple of half marathons and several other middle distance races, but not the big one.  It was time to make a crack at the marathon.

I believe it was soon after he ran the Illinois half marathon Dad decided he wanted to cross off running a marathon off his bucket list.  He felt good, had the time to train and had the desire.  It was time.

He printed out a beginner’s training schedule and set his sights for September 18, The Fox Valley Marathon.  We ran some of the longer runs together when I was home.  It was good to discuss race strategy and goals.  Misery loves company on those long runs.  It was fun getting in that last 20 miler leading up to the race.  Keeping track on our Garmins, he wanted to know when we hit 18 miles, the longest he’d done up to that point.  The uncharted territory was tough, but he knew that just another 6 after that and he’d have his finish. 

The race started at 7:00am.  The morning was dark, cool and rainy.  Actually it didn’t start raining until just minutes before the start.  We would run the next 5+ hours together in the rain.  It didn’t let up.  The course was very enjoyable, mostly along the well-paved Fox River Trail system.  One of the original rails-to-trails projects.  We ran through St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, and Aurora.  The rain stayed with us.  I’m pretty sure we were both getting pretty tired of the tromping through puddles and just the non-stop beating the rain was giving us.  It surely kept us cool, but it would have been nicer to stay dry.
Dad and me at the start

We kept a steady pace up until the turn around mark, just around the 14 mile mark.  It was motivating to see some of the really fast runners on their way back.  Most everyone would tell you “good job” or “looking good.”  You know, standard runner motivation.  It got harder, but Dad seemed to be enjoying the run.  I would say it didn’t get really tough until the 22nd mile.  We were at “the wall” and knew we were close, but still had to nail those last few miles.  The rain was taking a toll on us.  We were cold and tired and just wanted to be finished.  As soon as we could smell the barn, he perked up and was excited that a finish was imminent.  We rounded the corner and saw our cheering section.  We had this!
Almost done 

I think it was pretty emotional for Dad when we finished.  He had done it!  Finished a marathon!  We finished in just a little over 5 hours.  He put in the training, sacrificed, and conquered.  I don’t take for granted any of my past marathon finishes.  I think this was my 8th or 9th marathon, but after each one, I’m always a bit emotional.  This was no exception for Dad.  I was sure beaming after we finished, proud of his accomplishment.  I can’t tell you how lucky I am to be able to run a marathon with my Dad.

I hope that the pain endured during the run is now a distant memory and his desire to complete another one remains.

2011 Fox Valley Marathon race results


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