Today I completed an official marathon! It was not the first time that I’ve run 26.2 miles, but it was the first time that I ran in an official marathon and it happened exactly 1 year after that bad rock climbing accident I had that broke my skull and sent me to the hospital. The accident led to the discovery of kidney cancer that was removed exactly one month later. And then I ached to get back to normal for months! But it’s amazing what a difference a year makes!
On December 7th (6 months after my partial nephrectomy) I decided to force the issue and try to get my life back to normal by running a marathon. But there was nothing official going on so I just drove my car 26.2 miles out of town and ran home. Life-back-to-normal backfired on me at mile 6 when I tried to answer my phone and slipped off a high shoulder and sprained my ankle pretty good. I was determined to finish so I ignored the pain and finished anyway. It took me 7 hours and 53 minutes to complete. I called my wife and asked her to bring me a flashlight since it’d be getting dark. She met me with 7 miles to go and it took everything I had not to wimp out and just get in the car with her. Heather is so amazing that she didn’t even tempt me by offering me a ride home. She later said it took everything she had to drive away as she watched me limp on down the road. I paid the price for running 20 miles of my personal marathon on a sprained ankle and it took months for it to get back to normal.
A couple of months ago I was enduring my commute (over an hour each day from Tooele to Orem) and I saw a billboard advertising the Provo City Marathon. When I saw that it would take place on May 7th I immediately knew I’d be participating. The fact that portions of our registrations were donated to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation was an added bonus. My cousin had recently finished running the Boston Marathon in under 3 hours and I decided I’d be happy to double her time. She’s amazing!
The official marathon I ran today was quite a bit different than my personal marathon. This time I experienced the anxiety of not waking up on time which included a little nightmare that was all too real and left me waking up thinking I really had missed my alarm, despite the fact that I set three different alarms. I experienced a heck of a bus ride up to the starting line. Our bus driver had a trampoline seat and every bump had him springing 3 to 4 feet up into the air as he hung onto the wheel for dear life. He didn’t even know where the starting line was and had to ask us for directions. I experienced the cold and anxiety of waiting for the official start. For the first 6 miles I got to run with other people, but because this was the first year of this distance for Provo City there weren’t too many of us and things thinned out pretty good after that. I was able to experience the wonderful volunteers, a bib number, a timing chip and many encouraging honks, shouts and waves. And, best of all, I experienced the joy of seeing my family cheering for me at the finish line. My kids even ran with me hand in hand across the finish line. What a day!
So things are well with me. I’ve come a long way and I’m feeling so blessed that I’m alive and in good health. The temporary pain I pushed through today just reminds me that I am indeed alive!