A little help from my fellow participants

ParticipantsMy name is Karen Beacom.  I recently ran my first full marathon on October 18, 2014 at the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds.  I was so very impressed with the city itself and the electric feeling of being a marathon participant.

I ran my first half marathon at the IMT Des Moines Marathon in October of 2013.  I finished that race with a time of 2 hours and 35 minutes.  I figured I would probably double that time and get behind a pacer of 5 hours and 15 minutes.  That is exactly what I did.

At 6:45 am, on a beautiful 34 degree fall morning, I got behind the 5 hour and 15 minute pacer.  I had my Garmin watch on and started it as soon as I crossed the start line.  I was running like I normally do, until I got to mile 8 and then something just kicked me and I began running 9 minute miles.  I think this was partly because of the big downhill slide of the course.  I ran many hills throughout my training for this marathon; however, the down hills were never as steep.  I didn’t know how to stop myself from running as fast as I was.

I had my husband and two daughters with me and they saw that I was behind the 5 hour and 15 minute pacer and I asked them to meet me at three different locations with water, food and Gatorade.  Because of my pace they were not able to catch up to me until mile 19.  They all had to run about 3 miles in order to get to me.  My oldest daughter was in awe of my energy and my youngest daughter filmed me asking me how I was feeling.  I felt amazing at that point.

I hit mile 21 and my calves started to cramp up.  I met up with a 4 hour and 45 minute pacer, and she gave me a mustard packet.  She told me to swish it around in my mouth and then spit it out.  I did this and I walked a few more paces and felt like I could run again.  I ran for about 6 blocks and my calves gave out on me.  The next thing I knew I was on the ground.

There was a guy on a bicycle with the marathon and I thought for sure he was going to tell me I was done running, but there was a girl behind me who literally picked me up and told me to stretch out my calves.  She said someone had done this for her the year before and she totally appreciated it.  The guy on the bike just asked her if she had this and she replied, Yes.  Then there was a guy that has done this marathon several times and he told me I needed a salt tablet which he had in his belt.  He asked a gal in front of him for some water so that I could take the pill.  She graciously gave me her water bottle.

participantsThere were a group of ladies doing this marathon for the bride to be the next weekend.  They all had shirts on that said, “26.2 before I say ‘I do.’”  One of the gals was the sister of the bride and she gave me the rest of her food and ran ahead of me.  I began to walk, knowing I probably would not be able to run the rest of the 4.2 miles when another girl that was a part of the 26.2 T-shirt group began walking with me and talking to me.  This was her 2nd marathon and she didn’t care what her finishing time would be.  She worked at the hospital that the bride worked at.  Her name was Rachel.

We talked and walked for the next 4 miles, and she said if you feel like you can run, go for it.  I was able to run across that finish line.  I lost track of where Rachel had gone.  I wanted to thank her for getting me through such a traumatic experience.  She was my guardian angel.

The picture that my daughter took was of the finish time.  My official finish time was 5 hours and 9 minutes, but the finish time my daughter took a picture of said 5 hours and 15 minutes.

I hope all of these people realize how very humbled and grateful I am for each and every one of them.  I never knew strangers could be so generous in caring for others.  I do know that Rachel was a physical therapist at the same hospital as the bride.  She has a 17-year-old daughter who motivated her to start running.  I wish I knew more about the girl who helped me up and the man with the salt tablet and the pacer who gave me the mustard packet.  What a wonderful group of people.  An experience I will cherish in my memory forever.

Karen Beacom, Sioux City, IA