It was a good day to run my 5th marathon. It was hot, but not too hot. It was humid, but not too humid. The cool breeze was soothing and helped keep the core temperature comfortable for the return. My time wasn’t anything to write home about, but I’m not at all disappointed. I’m just happy to be alive and kicking; alive with such an amazing family and group of friends supporting me every inch of the way. I am fortunate to be alive, and so well cared for. I am humbled with the love that embraces me.
My 22 year old son, his girlfriend, and my wife cycled the course from mile 14 to the finish. Every four miles they handed me fresh, ice cold Powerade and some gels mixed with cold water, and snapped some incredible photographs. My sister, her partner, and her daughter met me several times on the course to cheer me on. Many friends along the way shouted out good cheer at different points along the course. It was a day of positive energy and good vibe. I can’t thank you enough for your support.
I joined up with a 4:15 pace group led by and amazing young man named Oliver. He held a rock solid pace and kept us all safe and believing that we are capable of reaching our potential. I had to stop at mile 16 for a pee-break and I couldn't quite catch them after that point. I met up with Oliver after the race and thanked him. Oliver, if you're reading this, thanks!
I developed a serious stitch from mile 18 to about 24 which was uncomfortable and slowed my pace a tiny bit. I walked and stretched and did some self-massaging. It finally disappeared and I could refocus on the race. At mile 22 a runner joined my side and offered some grapes. I took three... they were unbelievably delicious. (Memo to self... bring some grapes to next marathon).
At about 120 feet from the finish line I noticed a young women runner wobbling on the track I ran to help stabilize her, but before I could reach her she stopped and vomited. Still thinking I could help her across the line I reached for her arm, but again she vomited and a couple of volunteers rushed to her aid. I stepped around the puddle and zoned in on the line. My family was in the stands and they yelled. I crossed the line happy, smiling, and on my own two feet. I went directly to the popsicle stand and devoured two popsicles. Then off to the bag check, and finally to the tee-shirt stand. It was a great day!
I'm participating in a cardiac study for age 50+ marathoners. The medical team was at the finish line and whisked me off to an onsite portable hospital where they took a second echocardiogram and then transported me and 15 other participants to the St. Boniface Hospital for another series of tests.
Stay tuned for the second race report and thanks for reading! It's a good day to be alive, but you already figured this out.