As I headed toward my starting position outside the University of Washington Huskies stadium, I felt like I was running in a home race. I grew up in Washington and several of my family still lives here. As a teenager, I left home to attend the University and being a Huskies fan, the stadium holds some good memories!
What made this race even more special was I was running with my nephew, Flip Herndon, who was a former collegiate track athlete. He agreed to set the pace, as opposed to running his own race and leaving me in the dust.
From the first mile of the 13.1 mile race, I knew I was in trouble. My right leg and foot – leftovers from the stroke, from doing a half Ironmen two weeks earlier, and running too many miles in between the half Ironmen and half marathon – were fatigued and dragging. Flip knew where I was because my right foot kept scrapping the pavement. Needless to say, after the race was over, I threw the running shoes away. Had it been a marathon, I would have been running in my socks! Without my TurboMed 3000, I would have been in running in my right sock by about mile 6!
Still, Flip kept up a decent pace. At the start, before I knew I would be having a problem my with right leg and foot, I had told him that I would finish at 2:15 mark. He kept encouraging through his occasional spoken word and pace, especially when I would slow down.
I have never broken 2:30 in a half marathon. To be fair, I had only run the half marathon once before, and ran the distance a couple times after swimming and biking in a triathlon a couple of times. Truly, running (as well as triathlons) is new to me. I was surprised to learn that I had finished in 2:16! As an “old” man who’s been running under two years and who has survived a stroke, I was pleased.
I couldn’t do this alone. Special thanks to Flip and TurboMed, as well as God, my hard working wife, my family, and all of you, many of you I haven’t met. Again, thank you!
What’s next, you ask? In December, I have the Honolulu Marathon, and in April 2018, I’m planning to participate in the Boston Marathon! Who would have thought that five years ago, I didn’t like running, to being wheelchair bound, then participating in triathlons, including the World Championships Ironman (2016), and Boston Marathon (2018)!
I never saw the stroke coming, and I never saw the results athletically coming. Don’t ever give up hoping for a brighter tomorrow, and for me, it all started with exercise, starting with lifting my right arm and taking a haltingly few steps, the biking, then swimming, and then running.
All this to say stroke survivors CAN!!