Corunna volleyball coach overcomes pain to complete first Marathon

Corunna volleyball coach Kari Carnell.

Corunna volleyball coach Kari Carnell.

CORUNNA – Volleyball coach Kari Carnell ran in her first Free Press Marathon on Sunday.

It was an experience she’ll never forget.

“My skin hurt, my fingers hurt, every part of my body hurt,’’ said the 29-year-old high school coach. “I don’t know because I was bouncing around for 4½ hours or what. Everything hurts today.

“It was my first Marathon. It was awesome, but hard at the same time and very emotional. I didn’t expect that at all. The rain kind of put a damper on it a little bit, but it was fun. I’m proud. I feel very accomplished. I’ve run the International half (marathon) before. I had never seen the U.S. portion of it. So that was kind of fun.’’

Carnell finished in a time of 4 hours, 38 minutes. Most of her training consisted of 17- to 20-mile runs on Sunday’s with two other runners and a couple of runs during the week at 4:30 a.m.

Despite what she thought was extensive training, the mental stress of running 26.2 miles got to her.

“It was probably miles 17, 18 and 19,’’ said Carnell. “Just the pains that you feel that you have never felt before in your training. Mentally, it was hard. It was draining. Just overcoming I can do it, I can get there, but I still have six or seven miles to go. I think that was the most frustrating for me. just overcoming the block of mentally wanting to be done, but wanting to finish.

“The pain threshold. … One of my favorite things to describe my pain is when I was growing up I was a competitive gymnast and I played college volleyball at Aquinas. It was probably six months to a year after I was finished playing college volleyball and I remember I’m going to get back to working out. I told myself I was done with volleyball. I worked out and got done and I was in so much pain. I don’t remember being in that kind of pain. As a gymnast you are trained not to feel pain. Having to overcome the pain has been one of the hardest things about running. You feel everything.’’

Four keep 39-year streaks alive in Detroit’s marathon

Overcoming the pain to accomplish the goal drove Carnell.

“It has always been a goal,’’ said Carnell. “I don’t know why, but I really enjoy running. I ran the Crim (Race) for the last 5 years. I’ve done several half-marathons and I’ve always said before I was 30, I was going to do a Marathon. That has been eight years in the works and I turn 30 in a month.’’

She never was able to get comfortable after the race. Even when she got home she didn’t feel right.

“I never felt like myself yesterday at all,’’ she said. “That was probably the best shower I’ve ever had in my life, trying to warm up from the rain and relax.’’

The last couple of miles were a blur.

“At about mile 24 it went on forever,’’ said Carnell. “At that point you could see the end. I remember everything about it probably until 23½ to 26. I cannot tell you where I was. I don’t think I could go back and tell you which way we went. I just wanted to be done. Somebody posted a picture on Facebook and I was looking at my form and it looked like I was trying to trudge through. I was like ‘oh boy.’ ‘’

Will she run next year?

“Can you ask me in about three months?’’ she said. “I don’t know.’’

Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.

Bessemer’s Alan Peterson is men’s winner of 2016 Detroit marathon