My 2013 Chicago Marathon experience…

Posted: October 16, 2013 in Uncategorized
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On a quaint day in October of 2012 as I watching people cross the Chicago Marathon finish line, that was the day I decided “I’m running a marathon.” They were passing out, they were vomiting, they were exhausted… and I said “I’m going to run the 2013 Chicago Marathon.” I’ve only been running since 2010 and at that point had run many 5K’s, a few 10K’s and 3-1/2 Marathons. I started running on 1.1.10 when I weighed 310#, so running was not really running. I was tested for sleep apnea in 12/09 and when the 400#+ woman behind the counter of the sleep apnea place told me I didn’t have sleep apnea but that I should probably lose weight that’s exactly what I was going to do. In 2010, I lost 135# with no pills, no potions and no surgeries.

I started training on 6.11.13 for the 2013 Chicago Marathon. I decided to follow the Hal Higdon Training Program for a Novice.


As I looked at the number of miles I had to run during the training, I thought “What have I decided to do, a 20-mile run in week 15. I can’t do this. Well, during the 18 week training program, I did do it. Matter of fact I ran 435 miles leading up to the BIG DANCE day on 10.13.13. I ran in the cold, heat, rain, thunderstorms, lightning storms, wind, sunny days, cloudy days. I ran on trails, blacktop, concrete, golf courses in Napa, California, through the streets of Boston, Massachusetts and all around my home city of Crown Point, Indiana.

Leading up to the BIG DANCE, it was nerve racking. The week before the marathon I couldn’t sleep at night and then my friend Debbie Shaffer told me about melatonin. 1 pill at night and restful sleep for the next few days. On marathon morning awoke at 2:15 A.M. to get to Valpo, IN to catch a charter bus taking us to Chicago. It was cold that morning around 40 degrees of so. Slept on the bus a little and then walked to the OE tent with Debbie and Lorie Arnold. We were in our starting corrals at 7:15 a.m. We crossed the start line at 8:30 a.m., and then it was off to run 26.2 miles. I was doing exactly what Hal Higdon said run 2:00 minutes/walk 1:00 minute. At times I ran with my friend Angie Sohacki and her pace group and before you know it the 5-mile Cal Strider water stop was upon me. As I continued it was remarkably easy and 13 miles was in my eyes. Continuing on I realized that the Marathon winners were long done and in some hot tub somewhere. Heard after, that the winner set a new course record and ran 26.2 in 2:03, that’s crazy.

My knees felt great, but my toes felt like my shoes were too small, but I struggled through. At mile 20, I wanted to stop as I saw the bus to take me away because I couldn’t finish. As I was walking toward that bus, I thought of my 3 daughters and wife and said they would be really mad at me if I quit. I thought I’m not a quitter, so I turned around and started running again. I hooked up with a group of 4 people from OE that were run/walking 1:00/1:00, so that worked for me all the way to the end. Jose Lopez and I were playing the passing game. At one time, Jose passed me carrying his shoes and running in his socks. I thought about doing that because my toes were exploding out of my shoes. I sucked it up and dealt with the pain. At mile 24 the pace car passed me. (17-minute a mile pace car). I thought, NO, No, NO… I ‘m letting that car beat me so I sucked it up even more and ran the last 2.2 as hard as I could to beat that car. I finished my 1st Marathon ever in 6:54. Six hours and 54 minutes. Wow! What an accomplishment. I did it and I got my medal just like the winner did who crossed the finish line in 2:03. We are both “MARATHONERS”, and that is something that only 1-2% of the worlds population can say.



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