Obstacles to Dreams
I had accepted that I was not going to run a marathon even though I thought about it for years. My first attempt was when I about 38 years old. I ran my first ½ marathon in May of that year and got into and trained for the New York City Marathon. I had just headed out for a run one September morning when I stepped on something that turned my ankle hard enough to fracture it. With only six weeks to go, the race was off.
Once I got out of a running routine it became hard to get back to the fitness level that I needed to try to attempt a marathon again.
After two or three seasons of trying I couldn’t find the time or motivation to get me back to the level I was when training for New York. About 10 years later I found myself running a lot and was building up good weekly base mileage. One morning while out for a trail run around a lake, I was enjoying the view and the day I started to think that maybe I was ready to try another attempt at a marathon. I remember thinking I could run a local ½ marathon and then train for the full marathon a few months later. SNAP, as soon as the thought came to me I stepped on a root turned and fractured the same ankle in the same way I had done it before. I took this as an omen. I accepted that I was not going to run a marathon.
My Daughter became a runner and soon had the same desire to run a marathon. When I turned 59 and was ruing turning 60 she said Dad maybe you should try one more time, we can do it together. I wasn’t looking forward to the grueling training that was to come but knew I wanted to do it with Kristen, so we made our training plans and began. We live about 50 miles apart, so we couldn’t run together, but compared our progress. We signed up for a few local races, so we could get used to running together. We did a 5k a 10k and the Suffolk County ½ marathon.
The Suffolk County race was three weeks before the marathon, not the proper training run for that day, but it was our only chance to do a long run together. Over the course of our training we would motivate each other through phone calls and texts. This day Kristen was struggling early in the race and I tried to talk her through it. The finish line was in sight when she collapsed, EMTs rushed her to the medical tent, and she was given IV fluids and ice packs to cool her body. Although she had regained consciousness she did not remember what happened. After some time in the hospital she said, ”What am I doing here?”. When I explained what happened she got upset and said, ”Does this mean I can’t run the marathon?” After going through tests and spending the night in the hospital, the Drs said she was fine to keep running. She had suffered from severe dehydration.
Marathon day arrived, and the day seemed to be going well, and at every split we were running the pace we had trained for. Around mile 24 1/2 was the last water stop. I was running up and reaching for a drink when someone jumped in front of me and almost ran into me. To avoid a collision, I had to leap out of the way and ended up falling and hitting my head on the road. I got up and was getting ready to go when a few people stopped me and said I should get help or at least sit down for a bit; I was bleeding above my eye. Someone at the water station got me some paper towels and a band aid. They insisted I should not try to continue and offered a ride to the medical tent, I kept saying, “I have to finish”. With my race in doubt I told Kristen to finish without me, she refused and said we would stay together. After about 5 minutes the bleeding stopped, and we decided to finish.
In the end we were overcome with emotion knowing how we both got past our setbacks and were with each other as we finally achieved our goal.