What a thrill to race again! The porta-potty lines, freezing in the starting corral, stumbling through the post-race food line. All beautiful memories I’ve missed since the racing world shut down in 2020. And while I will genuinely treasure those experiences, in this my last article, I want to share the things I will most treasure from my IMT Des Moines Marathon.

The camaraderie of other runners is such a powerful thing. I ran three marathons virtually during the pandemic but with little joy. Sunday, I enjoyed the company and energy of hundreds of other runners, all working toward the same goal: finishing upright. I ran without a pace group for the first time, and while I missed the relationships I often develop in those four grueling hours together, I enjoyed the random conversations I had along the way this year.

The support of so many beautiful neighborhoods is such an encouragement along the way. To see entire families sitting in their front lawns bundled in winter gear to cheer on strangers is moving. It keeps me moving forward. The parent of a former student went out the night before and left a two-sided sign in the median to see one message at mile 10 and the second message at mile 14 after the turnaround point. I had tears streaming as I passed it both times.

The feelings of absolute exhaustion, perseverance, and joy as you cross the finish line are both overwhelming and supremely satisfying. I’ve never felt that exact emotion in any other circumstance. It always brings me to tears. Having spent the last four hours waging war with my mind and body and knowing that ultimately we all came out victorious is richly rewarding. Running marathons has taught me that I can do hard things. I can do things that seem impossible if I make a plan and stick to it even when I don’t feel like it, even when I’m exhausted, even when I have a million other things on my to-do list.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I have enjoyed the opportunity to share my struggles, victories, and thoughts with you as I trained for the IMT Des Moines Marathon weekend. I wasn’t quite as “fast” as I’d hoped on race day, but I still managed to shave off a few seconds so I could call it a PR. Most importantly, days later, I’m still smiling as I reflect on miles three through nine with the bulk of the hills and miles twenty through twenty-six when the end still seemed hopelessly far away. I did that. Oh yeah, I did that!

by Jamie Logan

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