Friday, May 23, 2008

Marathon #1- May 23, 1999 San Diego California

Nine years ago today, I became a marathoner. I was in a select group of less than 1/10 of 1% of people that had the fitness to complete a marathon.

When I started training in January, my patient hero Kelly had just celebrated her 10th birthday and was in remission. In April, Kelly suffered a relapse and she and her family went to Seattle to begin another round of treatment. A colleague of Kelly's dad sent me an email informing me that Kelly had relapsed. I spent the day at work, wiping tears from my eyes.

Now nine years later and 14 more marathons, I can look back on that day and honestly say, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had trained and trained through painful shinsplints, arthritis in my big toe joint and made it to the start line along with 18,000 other hopeful runners and walkers. There was a sea of purple people wearing their Team In Training jerseys all with a common purpose, walking or running for someone facing a far greater challenge.
I don't really remember all that much about the day or the course. I think it took over 15 minutes from the time they started the race until we finally crossed the start line. Probably the best part of the course was in the early miles as we started in Balboa park and ran very close to the world famous San Diego zoo.

I remember some very friendly marines at an early water station. That was very cool.

Luckily for most of the marathon, we were under a nice cloud cover. I stayed with one of my TNT teammates for the first 20+ miles of the marathon and then sadly we got separated for the last 5 miles or so.

I remember thinking at the 23 mile mark, I am never going to do this again. 18,000 people plus bands at ever mile and I felt so alone. This isn't much fun.

However as I had done so many times in training and would continue to do so in the years ahead, I leaned on Kelly for support and inspiration. Her battle was so much harder and the finish line for her wasn't 3 miles away. I knew I could take the next day off, or the next week. Kelly was starting another round of chemotherapy the next day.

It was a very emotional moment for me when I crossed my first marathon finish line, seeing my wife and kids.

I was so tired, I couldn't even bend over to remove the timing chip from my shoe and tie my shoelaces. Laura tied my shoelaces for me and made such a big bow, it looked like something a clown would wear. We still laugh about that.

I would have never believed that I would do a marathon, let alone 15 as I have now. During my journey and evolution as a runner, I always had a clear purpose of why I ran. I ran to honor Kelly. My blogger ID is simply, Kelly's runner. I am so honored to say I am one of Kelly's runners.

She will always be my hero and I will always be one of her runners.

I love her and miss her so much.

1 comment:

  1. That was such an amazing day! I remember before the race we drove some of the course. You were almost giddy with excitement! It was so much fun being there with you, and I was so proud of you when you finished! I will never forget our first shopping expedition for the Grubb girls! we had so much fun picking out their souvenirs. What awesome family memories we have of those marathon trips! and how awesome it is to have your teenage kids look up and admire you so much. Not many fathers can say that!