My husband is a FINISHER!!!

Well, it's over! The weather was in the low fifties, high rained 90% of the time (15% down pour) so it wasn't the best of conditions, we'll put it that way! Things started off great, Stephen and I felt good and were actually feeling the time fly by. Around 12km (sorry, but we've converted to km's to make it easier) my knee started to hurt, but I was able to push through the pain for a while...until 15 km (9 miles). I was running and singing out loud (by no means out of endurance) when my knee just gave out. I asked Stephen to slow down with me to see if I could run through it...but it wasn't going to happen. I couldn't even really walk without pain. This outcome was expected...but it didn't make it any easier to accept. It's very emotional to train for something for that long for something completely out of your hands require you to stop. I had to focus, though, because Stephen needed to finish and bring home a medal.

He carried on...and I was given Richard's (the couple that came with us- Michelle, his wife, ran with Stephen) bike to see Stephen throughout the race, he still had another 27km to go.
After about half an hour, I was absolutely freezing (wet from rain, sweat, and the temperature was really cold when not running) so I stopped in a cafe to warm up so I could get back out and do some supporting. Richard carried on though to support the two runners, and then came back to give me the bike about an hour later. At that point, Stephen was on 25km... past the "threshold" and past his farthest run to date (17km to go.) From that point on, it was all new territory for him, but he continued to press on. The course began to meander away from the city, and away from the spectators. We had already run a stretch away from spectators, but we were together. This one he was alone, but he said he was in a zone and by 30km he realized he was going to finish. The course didn't come back into the city until 37km so Richard rode out to check on him and came back with the goods news that though a small cramp in his left quad had slowed him down he was still running.

I was so emotional watching him. The pride I felt was overwhelming. I rode alongside him from about 37km to 39km (until getting yelled at by a pseudo-drunk German volunteer) and then made my way to the finish to be there for him when he was done! He said that by 35km he had resigned to walk a few minutes every other km. By 40km, the course turned into the shopping streets and went along the gorgeous cathedral (see pic in post below). At one point, he said he needed to walk and only 5 steps into the walk a nice German man came up behind him and encouraged him (in English!) to keep going. They ran together for about 1.5 km and talked about their experience. It helped take his mind off the pain and tiredness. Next came Mt. Everest (or at least that's what it feels like for the runners after 41.5km, and even myself on the bike with a bum knee) which consisted of a climb over the bridge and then a few hundred meters until the finish!

I have to say, for both of us, the finish was the most emotional thing. To watch someone you love so much complete such an arduous task was amazing! HE FINISHED! He hadn't worked out in two years when we started training. The most he ran during training was 23km...and that was over a month ago. It was insane...I'm so proud of him! He's incredible! And the medal is pretty cool, too :)

Thank you so much for all of the prayers and well wishes for the race. We appreciate them so much!


LeClair Family said...

Yes I actually started crying while reading your post... so proud of you BOTH!!! WAY TO GO!!!

Kampen Family said...

Hooray Dotsons!!!! I'm so proud of both of you!

Kat said...

So proud of you guys!! I can't even imagine running that far or long...Katie, you know what I'm talking about :)

cindy gatewood said...

Way to go, you two!

Anonymous said...

Steve/ Katie - I've told you both face to face but it's nice to have on record. You showed real courage in terrible conditions and I know what kind of pain you both ran through.

It's very motivating to see people take on and overcome such challenges. So many of our limitations are self imposed. I hope you find other amazing things to do.

Katie - go see the doc and come back stronger. Maybe see you in Paris?!

glenda said...

I have told you both already how proud I am of you, but it cannot be said enough! Thank you Katie for challenging him to the task and for motivating him......I am so sorry that injury prevented you from completing it as I know how much you trained and wanted it.
Stephen, again, so proud of you....not just for the accomplishment of the goal itself, but for setting the goal, training for it, and willing yourself to complete it. Knowing that Katie was injured, had to be a big disappointment and worry for you, but you presevered nonetheless. Your strength and fortitude never ceases to amaze me. love, g

WingfieldsInBrussels said...

Congratulations!!! I am so proud of Stephen for finishing and for Katie for getting half way there even though she was in a lot of pain. I am in awe of y'all because I don't think I could even run one kilometer!