I had started to get sick a few days before the race. Right away I was having doubts that I could even run a marathon but since I had already paid the registration fee and asked for the time off I figured there was no way out. It was snowing pretty good when we left Salt Lake with an outside temperature of about 9 degrees. Normal weather for January in Utah. It was a 12 hour drive to Phoenix, Arizona and the P.F. Chang’s Rock n’ Roll Marathon. I drove the car straight through with no break except to get gas. I could tell there was something wrong with me but I kept telling myself that I could do this. We arrived late Friday evening and the race wasn’t until Sunday morning so it gave me a day to adjust. The weather was a near perfect 73 degrees.
The morning of the race was a chilly 45 degrees but I was very anxious to get things started. This would be my first marathon of 2011. I had run 2 marathons before this one. The Salt Marathon in April and the Bear Lake Marathon in May. The course was nice and flat and the houses and scenery were beautiful to look at. Phoenix is a really nice city I wouldn’t mind living there one day. Right off the bat several dozen people had run by me to talk and ask me questions about my prosthetic. I love talking about it so I was having a great time. The miles went by quickly and before I knew it we were coming up on mile marker 15. My Stepson Bobby lives right at the 15 mile mark and when I passed he and my Wife and my Stepdaughter Vicki and her husband T.J. along with my Grandson Jax were there to cheer me on. I love it when people I know show up to give a little support.
I was feeling pretty good so far but then something happened around the 20 mile mark. My stomach started to feel noxious. I felt like I needed to throw up and my head started to spin. I reasoned it must be because I was getting sick and chose to run anyway. Here I was at mile 20 with just 6 measly miles to go so it didn't really matter to me how bad I felt nothing was going to stop me from crossing that finish line. I mean heck, my Grandmother could run 6 miles in snow while wearing shorts so if she could do it in combat boots (at least this was one of the stories she told me growing up)I certainly could do it in beautiful downtown Phoenix with the warm sunshine and a 73 degree breeze blowing on my back. Being a Rock n' Roll Marathon there were a lot of great bands playing a lot of great music. Music always helps when you're running long distances. Finally I approached the last mile mark and as I have always done I started to speed up. By the time I reached the last 1/2 mile I was at a near full sprint. They were playing Queens 'We Will Rock You' and that really helped to get me going. I crossed the finished line at 5 hours and 50 minutes. I know, I know I'm not going to win any records for speed but hey I finished and they put a nice heavy medal around my neck and gave me a good hug and a firm handshake and after all isn't that why we do it?