WE DID IT!!
Terry and I, together, crossed the finish line of the Suzuki Rock "N" Roll marathon and with that last step completed a 3,500 mile journey.
This marathon is one of my favorites. It's in a beautiful city, it's put on by an organization [Elite Racing] that cares about every runner, from the first to the last. And it showed today.
The morning dawned cool and overcast. Just about perfect for the task ahead of us. Had we still been on the motorcycles, in might have seemed too cold. But, for running is was ideal.
As promised, the bands and music were everywhere. In the early miles we would barely stop hearing one band before we started hearing the next. Their rhythm became our rhythm. We adopted the tempo of the music we were hearing and ran along in a strange mix of rock, pop, country, heavy metal, and latin beats. It was fantastic.
When our spirits started to drift, there was always someone there to pick them up. Terry and I were judging the high school cheerleading competition, so we were treated to extra special screaming and holloring.
Every volunteer at every water stop seemed to know exactly why they were there, and why WE were there. Long after the elites had finished and made their way back to their rooms, the volunteers stood by and gave all of us the support that we needed.
I think Terry was surprised by how considerate and dedicated the volunteers were. He expected them to be eager to get going, and anxious to see us go past. Not so. To the very last water stop the volunteers were enthusiastic and helpful.
To say that Terry was 'not quite trained' would be kind. But, his life has been hectic lately, and running has had to take a back seat. But, even so, with the perfect weather and the music and the cheerleaders, we were able to stay right on target for the first 20 miles. YES.. for the first 20 miles we ran and walked and were with our pace team.
The last six miles of a marathon are often ugly. Today was no exception. I could see Terry trying to find some part of his feet to walk on that wouldn't hurt. And he wasn't having any luck. But we soldiered on. We soaked up the emotions of the crowd, and pressed on.
At mile 23, Terry's wife Holly, my wife Karen and , and Terry's 71 year old grandmother [my mom] joined us. From there the 5 of us just followed the yellow brick road. And 14 days, 5 hours and 49 minutes after we started, we finished.
Nothing, NOTHING has ever come close to the last two weeks. The ride was extraordinary. The marathon organization and execution set a new standard for excellence. And together, one father and son got to have the experience of a lifetime.
It just doesn't get any better.
My thanks go out to everyone at Elite Racing and Suzuki for all their help in making this dream come true.