Take a moment to imagine…
The sound of a raging river rushing by, the soft pounding of 1,000’s of feet hitting pavement & the chirp of birds waking up with the morning sun; the view of a beautiful sunrise in between tall canyon walls giving the exposed bedrock and Lodgepole pines a red & yellow glow; & the cool, crisp, mountain air providing an exhilarating rush of adrenaline.
That was what it was like for the first 17 miles. Amazing. Spirits were high, the air was brisk & everyone’s legs were cruising down the hills. Just before mile 19, we had the most wonderful uplifting surprise. Our friends Kris, Roy, Rachel & Aspen all SCREAMING at the top of their lungs cheering us on & then running with us ¼ of the way up the only hill in the course.
That was truly incredible to have such fantastic & supportive friends that really knew how to give us a push & help us through the last 7 miles. As an added bonus, the aid station at the top of the hill was staffed by Athletes in Tandem volunteers who made sure to take extra care of us & cheer us on. Graham & I ran together for those first 19 miles at a quick pace (at least for us) & felt great. The next 7 really began to test us. Graham was in need of lengthening his stride, as you might be able to tell he is a bit taller than me & I pushed myself to try to keep up the pace & get to the finish too.
Between miles 22-24 both of us really wanted to pick it up, but if you’ve ever run a marathon or have done anything strenuous for over 3 hours, you might find your muscles becoming totally fatigued & that you are almost unable to get back up to the pace you hoped you might be at. At mile 26 we were both ELATED to be on a straight stretch to the finish line on a main road in old town Fort Collins & happy to see tons of spectators lining both sides of the road cheering everyone on to the finish. We were both fortunate to have our dear friends there once again on the road running with us, sprinting that is, to the shoot before the finish. That last .1 mile sprint was incredible. Everything was fatigued, we could barely hear the sounds of the cheering because we were mentally pushing ourselves to sprint & cross that finish line. About 50ft before the finish you could make out the time clock & boy did we both totally focus on that & run for our lives to get across that line as the seconds were quickly passing by.
We FINISHED & even received medals-
Our times exceeded our expectations, especially for Graham, because as of 4 weeks ago he was not even sure he could complete a 5k. What an accomplishment for the both of us. We couldn’t be any happier to have finished without walking or stopping throughout the whole race & to have had multiple areas where our friends cheered & pushed us along. What a day!
We cannot express our gratitude towards everyone again for supporting us throughout this process & for helping us spread the word about Athletes in Tandem. AiT is one of the most uplifting organizations we’ve been a part of & we cannot wait to race in shorter races pushing some of the most amazing people you have ever met. Your enthusiastic spirits were definitely with us throughout the race James, Libby, Zachary, Nick, David, P.j., Brian, Brady & Jaime!
We will be continuing to post this week & throughout the year. There will be more stories, volunteer opportunities & even more race training journaling so please stay tuned. The “Donate” button in the top left will continue to stay open for donations to Athletes in Tandem.
Also, if you are wondering if we are really sore & having trouble sitting & standing back up, you are correct. We will be consuming copious amounts of water, taking gentle walks around the neighborhood & enjoying (tolerating) the recovery process our body is experiencing from the strain we put it through.
On a side note we’d like to say CONGRATULATIONS to Wendy Mader, dedicated Athletes in Tandem volunteer athlete, for placing 3rd in the women’s overall division. She CRUSHED the course in 3 hours & 10 mins!!!!! She’s won the overall women’s amateur category in the 2008 Ironman in Kona & continues to train hard, volunteer & coach other aspiring athletes. You can find out more about her & training coaching opportunities here http://www.t2coaching.com/.
Once again THANK YOU to our sponsors, dear friends & family for supporting us with your encouraging words & making gracious contributions to provide more experiences for athletes of all abilities with Athletes in Tandem!