Los Angeles Marathon on March 21, 2010.
Here’s the e-mail I sent to family and friends the day after the race:
Good Morning Everyone,
Thanks for the congratulatory e-mail messages yesterday. I feel pretty good this morning. Angela and I made a great team. She could do about a 4:30 Marathon on her own, so her job was to get me safely to the finish line. In fact, she had a done a Marathon twice before when in the Air Force. Those were with a full pack at White Sands Missile Range and the event is called “The Bataan Memorial Death March.”
At about 18 miles, Angela claimed that I was walking in an odd manner after I kept assuring her I was OK. Finally she said, “Are you being truthful with me? Dee Dee will kill me if you get hurt.” She made a lot more stops than I made (since I made zero stops until the finish line), such as going to the restroom, stretching, and trying every free pain reliever like spray and patches offered along the course. At times she even ran backwards. Meanwhile I plodded along on the right side of the street so that she could find me when catching up. I was easy to spot since we had matching “Team D&D Los Angeles Marathon” tee shirts with a logo designed by Angela. The only difference was that mine said “Dad” on the back and hers said “Daughter.” They were my birthday present from Angela. Thus, everyone knew my name and kept yelling out, “Way to go, Dad. You too, Daughter.”
Our code words were pretty simple. I said “uphill” when I needed to walk and “downhill” when I wanted to jog. I kept track of the pace on my GPS watch and at 24 miles I could see that we might not make the 6-hour goal if we kept walking, so I said, “Downhill to the barn (my name for the finish line).” In the last half-mile the cheers of the six-deep crowd lining Ocean Avenue caused my adrenaline and afterburners to kick in. Angela noticed that and said, “We’re accelerating.” I said, “Yep, I feel great.” Her left hand and my right hand locked and we raised them above our heads for the last 50 feet as we finished in a sprint. We finished in 5:53:20.
After the medal ceremony, Dee Dee, my sister Jan and brother-in-law Frank joined us for a post-race celebration at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company on the Santa Monica Pier (compliments of Frank). They were initially shocked to see how swollen my hands happened to be and how I could barely walk. When I went inside to get a beer, I was lucky enough to order two Bud Lights while standing next to a Bud Light distributor and she bought the first round.
This was my one and only Marathon. I never plan to do another event where I have to eat “Gu” (an energy gel that tastes like molasses and is squeezed from a tube into the mouth) or energy bars. The stuff does work though because energy never was an issue. Oh, by the way, the L.A. Marathon is calling us “legacy” runners since we finished the first Stadium to the Ocean Marathon. If I return next year they’d give me a legacy tag. Not enough inducement.