Friday, December 17, 2004

MARATHON FOOTNOTES (for those who didn't think I would really footnote a stream of consciousness thought):



Footnote #1



Academy Award Winning Best Picture Films from 1969 to the Present:

Midnight Cowboy, Patton, The French Connection, The Godfather, The Sting, The Godfather II, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Rocky, Annie Hall, The Deer Hunter, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Ordinary People, Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Terms of Endearment, Amadeus, Out of Africa, Platoon, The Last Emperor, Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Dances With Wolves, The Silence of the Lambs, Unforgiven, Schindler’s List, Forrest Gump, Braveheart, The English Patient, Titanic, Shakespeare in Love, American Beauty, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.





Footnote #2



Members of the band YES, from 1969 to the present:



In 1969, Yes is formed with Jon Anderson on vocals Peter Banks on guitar, Bill Bruford on drums, Tony Kaye on keyboards and Chris Squire playing bass. This group records two albums before Banks leaves and is replaced by Steve Howe. The incarnation of Anderson, Bruford, Howe, Kaye and Squire records one album before Kaye leaves the band. Replaced by virtuoso, Rick Wakeman, the “classic” formation of YES records two albums and most of a live album before Bruford decides to move on. Alan White, best known at the time as the drummer on John Lennon’s “Imagine”, replaces him. After one album together, Wakeman leaves the band and is replaced by ex-Moody Blues keyboardist, Patrick Moraz. This incarnation records one studio album before Wakeman decides to come back.



Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman and White record two more studio albums to close out the 70’s until tensions become so bad that Anderson and Wakeman quit. Strangely, they are replaced by the Buggles. Yes, that’s right, the guys who wrote, “Video Killed the Radio Star”. Trevor Horn becomes vocalist and Geoff Downes takes over the keyboards. After a successful tour, the bad decide that no one accepts Horn as the vocalist. They all go their separate ways.



Downes and Howe form a group called Asia. Horn becomes a prouder. Squire and White almost form a group with Jimmy Page. Yes is dead…. Or is it?



Squire is introduced to a whiz kid guitarist named Trevor Rabin. They write some songs. Squire runs into Tony Kaye and invites him to play keyboards. They start to record under the moniker Cinema. As fate would have it, Jon Anderson hears the tunes, decides to sing on them, and the band reluctantly calls themselves Yes. This version of Yes, Anderson, Kaye, Rabin, Squire and White (under the production of Horn) score Yes’ biggest singles ever, “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” The band will only record one other album by the end of the 80’s before Anderson decides that the band isn’t spacey enough for him. He goes off to form his own version of Yes with Bruford, Howe and Wakeman. But a judge decides that since Squire was the only member to be in every single incarnation of the band. He has the right to the band name. Anderson and co. decide to call themselves something original: Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe.



After a couple more years, the two groups somehow come together for a crappy album and a lucrative tour with all of the members: Anderson, Bruford, Howe, Kaye, Rabin, Squire, Wakeman and White. After the tour, Yes records another album with the lineup of Anderson, Kaye, Rabin, Squire and White. Them Rabin leaves. Kaye quits. Howe and Wakeman come back and the band records a couple of albums. But Wakeman is unhappy, again, and he leaves again. During this time, the band has picked up a second guitarist, Billy Sherwood and they bring into the fold a young keyboardist named Igor Khoroshev. This lineup of Anderson, Howe, Khoroshev, Sherwood, Squire, Wakeman and White records a couple of albums until Sherwood leaves and Igor decides he’s had enough of Anderson’s trippiness and Squire’s drunkenness. With four members, Anderson, Howe, Squire and White, they record an album with an orchestra. After that album, Wakeman decides that he really loves being in Yes after all and comes back. Today, the band members are: Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman and White.

RACE DAY FINAL THOUGHTS





Immediately following my conclusion to the race, I’m given a medal hanging from orange ribbon. Julie and the kids greet me with open arms and I’m close to tears. I can’t believe I finished this monster. Peter comes bounding over and we share a huge hug. I am so proud of him. He introduces me to his partner, Michael, and Euri takes one last group photo.



The, we splinter off to finally get out of the rain and go get warm. The first thing I want to do is find some food. Something healthy? Yeah, right. I want a cheeseburger from McDonald’s. They should have McDonald’s waiting for runners at the end of every marathon. Now THAT’S an innovative idea.



Julie Widmann and Lucy leave for home as we wind our way around Newport Beach searching for the golden arches. Sadly, we can’t find the place so we head back to the hotel.



Surprisingly, I feel pretty good. After the Honolulu marathon I could barely stand and I was so tired. Today I feel great. I'm sore, but nowhere near them pain I thought I might experience.



Back at the hotel, I jump in the shower while Julie begins loading up the van with our luggage. It takes me the full 20 minutes I’m in the shower to use up all of the hot water.. Isn’t it strange that a hotel room could run out of water? I am so cold, though, that even with the knobs cranked all of the way, and the water is still not warm enough. The best way I can describe the chill to my core is to recall those days of my youth when I would play outside in the snow for hours. When you came in from a day like that, your clothes would be soaked to the bone and it would take a good long hour and lots of hot chocolate to start feeling comfortable again.



After the shower we’re pretty quick to leave the hotel. We hope to beat any traffic we may run into. It being a Sunday and it’s raining, I expect it will take us a good 2 or 3 hours to get home. But first we have to find the McDonald’s.



***



A half hour later our mission is accomplished. With greasy fast food en tow, Jake gets a dosage of enzymes and we hit the road back to Santa Clarita. About 20 minutes into the drive, both kids are asleep, but I’m alert and having a great conversation with Julie telling her about the race. Amazingly enough, there is hardly any traffic and we get home in just over an hour. I guess God was watching out for us on our journey home,



Tonight we’ll all sleep well in our warm beds. I’m sure I’ll go over the race a couple of times in my head before drifting off to sleep and going over my plans for the next race.





Aloha
RACE DAY Miles 24-25



The man in the powder blue shirt is now a part of our little posse. He passes me on my walk breaks. I pass him back.



I call Julie. I don't know how I sound to her. I think I'm speaking coherently. I just want to get to 25. She's going to get the kids ready and wait for me at the finish line. We hang up and I get a little jolt from hearing her voice. Just for fun, Mother Nature brings the rain down a little harder one last time.



Oh, you minx, Mother Nature.



I'm doping this for Jake.



Then, clarity comes to me that I haven't experienced while running before. The spirituality of this entire race sweeps over my body and I feel enlightened. I am one with myself and with God. I may never run another marathon, but I have experienced the "high" I've always heard about. I'm exhilarated! This is a great day. The rain. The knee. They don't mean anything anymore. I've won. I've raised over 11,000 dollars to fight Cystic fibrosis. And Jacob is healthy. And Sophie is the sweetest little girl in the world. And Julie, my Julie, she is a jewel, a strong remarkable woman.



I’m going to finish strong (mind you, slow, but strong). I can't wait to see my family... my beautiful, loving, goofy, fun, glorious family at the end. I gather the strength to pass man in the powder blue one last time and leave in my dust (well, a few yards behind me).



"You made it to 25." says a Park Ranger as I pass the final water table.



I'm one mile from home.





25-26.2



This is the longest mile. We have to run along a canyon, so the next mile is laid out in front of us. We have to go from point A to point B and the whole stretch is in clear sight. I think, "I have to run that far?"



In the distance the cheers of the finish line echo off of the canyon walls. So cruel. A half mile from the end, Robert calls. He and Peter have just crossed the finish line. Peter did it! Way to go, man. Ever the coach, Robert is going to run back out a quarter mile and meet me to run in to the finish line. This is exactly what I need, the final push to help me cross with my head held up proudly.



I see him, smiling as always, and I adjust my form.



"Way to go, Scott. You were a warrior today. Bad knees and all, you did it."



The rain has scared off most of the spectators and there is a small crowd gathered at the finish line. I don't care if there were 1,000 or 10; there are only three people I need to see. I have no trouble finding Julie, Sophie and Jacob. The kids are wearing new shirts with picture of me with each of them individually. Written across them are the words, "Run, Daddy, run!"



As I pass my family, I get sarcastic. "I thought it was supposed to be sunny today."



An announcer calls out my name over the PA as I cross the finish line with my fist pumped and a huge smile on my face. It's done.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

23-24



i'm doing this for jake

i'm doing this for jake

i'm doing this for jake

i'm doing this for jake

i'm doing this for jake

i'm doing this for jake

i'm doing this for jake

i'm doing this for jake

i'm doing this for jake

i'm doing this for jake

MILES 22-23



I have settled in with a group of people. We continue to pass each other, except the elusive you know who. At this point, I am running until my body tells me it’s time to stop and walk, which is approximately 1 minute and 30 seconds. So, I switch my watch to go off every 1 minute and 30 seconds. It will beep when I have to run and it will beep when it’s time to walk. I don’t have to think. But I must think, I can’t help thinking. God, thinking was easier to distract me when the campaigns were going on and it was getting so close to the election and I could go over everything in my head, but now, now there isn’t as much drama in the world. Well, I mean, there is drama. There’s this terrible war still going on. I don’t see an end; does anyone see an end? I’m scared what this war is going to do to our country. And I don’t know how those parents can handle receiving the awful news. How would I handle losing a child… oh, don’t think about it man. Damn you, Cystic Fibrosis! Damn you! Stop. Think of something else. Go over all the Academy Awards from 1969 to the present. This worked for you when you were a bagger at Churchill’s grocery store back in Bowling Green and you wanted to kill time. Remember Churchill’s? I shot two movies there. Now let me see. Midnight Cowboy, Patton…. Done. * [see footnote 1] Something else, I need something else. Wait, I’ve got it. Name every incarnation of the band Yes starting with the group’s first album in 1969. Let’s see, the group forms and its Jon Anderson, Peter Banks, Bill Bruford, Tony Kaye and Chris Squire. Then, after two albums…. ** [see footnote 2] Done. Where am I? UC Irvine? Didn’t we know someone from Irvine? Vicki. That’s right. Vicki who was dating Jason Franz, whom we used to hang out with just after we moved to California. She married him. Boy, he fell off the radar. Kind of like Matt. That’s such a drag. I miss Matt, but he just doesn’t want to be found. I guess he likes his life where he is and he’s moved on. I am so lucky to have such an awesome family and such great friends, both here and across the country. I love Julie so much. I miss her right now. Can I tell her I love her enough? How many times can you tell someone you love them before it starts to sound routine? Every time Julie tells me she loves me I take it straight to heart, I can’t believe we’ve been together for 11 years. She is my soul mate. She has forgiven me for stupid mistakes. Man, if I could go back and change some things. And the kids. I will die if anything ever happens to Julie and the kids. I have these horrific visions sometimes, of something terrible happening to them and I don’t know how I would ever cope. Dear God, please keep them out of harm’s way. If something must happen to the family, let it be to me. I have to take care of them. I have to figure out a way to make the savings last longer. We’re just getting by. We’re spending too much and we’re just getting by. What happens if the savings runs out? What are we going to do? Please, God, let the script sell or the movie get distribution. Oh, sure, Malchus, you don’t go to church for months and you think you can ask for favors? Now you’re praying? I wonder if it’s a new ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT tonight. Did we TiVo it? Am I watching too much television? I need to be writing. I need to finish that script. What I really need to do is write those thank you cards and to work on the blog. Man, I wonder if anyone really reads the blog? Glad I shaved the beard off, though, because I’d be tearing my face off right about now. I was staring to look like Johnny Damon. Johnny Daman. Man, I wish the Tribe had him. Though, they have a pretty decent outfield. Who is in left field? Why7 can’t I remember that guy’s name? Coco Crisp?



Wait!



There he is. My nemesis. The man in the powder blue shirt.



I see you, man in the powder blue shirt. At 23 I’m taking you. At 23… or maybe 24.



Here it is. Mile 23. If… I…. Can… just…. find…. some…. extra….



I’ve done it! I passed the man in the powder blue shirt! 3 miles to go. Now, just get to 24. Get to 24. 24, 24, 24. Just gotta get to 24.



I start my mantra.



I’m doing this for Jake. I’m doing this for Jake.

Miles 20-22



My 3 minute run, 1 minute walk pace lasts for exactly 3 minutes.



Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Wall.



I slam into it gradually. It takes me a half-mile to realize that I’m about to go completely insane. So close. I’m so close to the man in the powder blue shirt that I can make out his features: He’s about 10 years older than me. He’s heavier than I thought. He has long legs that give him a long stride. There is sweat around the collar of his shirt (okay, maybe I don’t need to know that). This guy has been the focus of my run for several miles. I must catch him. I must. I will. I will catch him.



We pass mile 21 and he is now, possibly, five yards in front of me. 5 yards. Oh, man in the powder blue shirt, you are mine. I will catch you… as soon as I complete this walk break.



Someone hands me a mini energy bar. Hell, it’s better than almonds. If I never eat another almond the rest of my life it will be too soon. I scarf the energy bar and I will myself to overtake the man in the powder blue shirt. He’s so close now… my tormenter. Why has he taunted me for so many miles? I figure it out… almost 6 miles. I have been chasing some stranger for six miles. Oh my God, I’m a stalker.



He’s just ahead, if I can just excel down this little slop. That’s it; he’s within two feet. I can pass him.



Wait.





What happens after I pass him? Then what? I won’t have as much motivation. There won’t be that lifeline pulling me to the finish. Is it possible that the man in the powder blue shirt isn’t my tormenter but, in fact. My savior? Should I pass the man in the powder blue shirt? Should I?



I nearly have a panic attack. Not just butterflies, but a crippling, stomach aching, puking off the side of the bike path, paper bag heavy breathing panic attack. I have to slow down. And as I do this… he slowly runs away.



Nooooooooooo! I let him get away. Curse you man in the powder blue shirt! I will get you, yet!

MILES 16-20



Hello? Mr. Malchus?

Yes?

This is your second wind.

Really? So happy you could join me.



I have lost my mind. Not only have I begun speaking out loud to myself, but I am taunting the mile markers, you know, the cardboard signs with numbers written on them.



What’s that? Marker 17 thinks I’m a puss and I can’t make it? Well, I’ll show you, man. Wait a minute, who’s that I see? Why, it’s mile 17. Who’s the puss now? That’s right, I beat you 17. Huh? You want some of me? Can’t, man, 18’s calling me out. See ya!



Man in the powder blue shirt is still slowing down. I’m gonna catch him. You bet I am. He’s not far. I have more energy. Wait, slow down, man. Dear God! Don’t overdo it or you’ll crash and burn. You need some of this energy for the last 6, baby. Keep your cool. No, no water, thanks.



Water?



“Way to go. That’s 18.”



18? No, no, no. I didn’t see a mile marker. This is a ploy. 18 is trying to trick me. 18 wants me to get cocky and burn out before 19. Well it’s not going to happen!! I’m not believing anything until I see another mile marker.



Julie calls.



“Whazzzzzzzuuuuuup?” (Yes, I actually say that. Not only have I lost my mind, I also think I’m an African American living in a Budweiser commercial from 4 years ago).



“You’re sounding a lot better.”

“I feel good. Really, I feel awesome.”



She informs me that they have parked the van near the finish line. How lucky is that? Julie Widmann and Lucy are with them and the kids are watching ELF on the portable DVD player. Modern technology, amazing. I will call her at 22 with another update. Julie sounds very excited for me.



“I feel so bad about the rain, hone.”

“It’s okay. I’m soaked. I pretty much don’t feel it anymore. Love you. Bye.”

“Bye.”



Wha?…. is that? It is! It’s 19. Well how about that. 18 was too chicken to show its face. And now I’ve taken down the mighty 19.



BOO YAH! (Yes, I say that, too. The volunteers look at me as if I need immediate medical attention).



That’s right. That’s right. Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh uh huh uh huh!



The rain comes down a little harder and I begin my dialogue with God.



“Is that all you have? Come on! Bring it!”



And the clouds open up. It’s pouring. My glasses have spots on them. But I place my hand to my near like Hulk Hogan and continue to taunt the Lord Almighty.



This is between you and me, God. You’ve thrown everything at this family and we’re still standing. My son is sick! Why have you done this? What did he do to you? Is this a challenger for our family? Are we supposed to do something to make the world a better place with the insight we get from raising a son with an illness?



What? What is it you want from us? I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT!!!!!



I almost bend over and cry, but I have fire in my veins right now. I’m not going to quit this damn race. I’m running much stronger toward mile 20 than I did in Santa Clarita. I’m going to crush my time from Hawaii.



And the man with the powder blue t-shirt is getting closer.



I cram a handful of almonds in my mouth. I should have saved more of Julie’s awesome oatmeal raisin cookies. Ohhhhhh, those cookies. Delectable….Ach, splph, too many almonds. Blech, pleh, pleh, spit.



No more almonds. Only as a last resort.



20! It’s marker 20. Time is flying!



Man in the powder blue shirt, I’m coming for you. I’m coming for you.



I switch up to a 3-1.

RACE DAY MILE 15- 16



Peter and Robert are out of my line of vision. I have to set a new goal for myself, something to keep me moving. The hard reality is that this rain isn’t going to stop. In fact, it’s almost a joke to me now. Funny, until, say, you step into an ice-cold puddle and soak your shoes through to your skin. Ha. Ha,



At the moment, I’m focused on getting to 16. It’s the method I thought I would be using from 20-26, just trying to get the next mile under your belt. A little disappointing to have to resort to this tactic so soon, but I have no choice. The knee is feeling a lot better, though, and the right knee is pain free, as well. I’m very surprised with this bit of news, too. The last time I ran without my support on the right knee was the San Francisco half marathon. Trying not to think of the pain, though. Focus on 16. 16.



Then I see them, a couple running together, perhaps a half mile in front of me. She’s wearing a white long sleeve and black spandex leggings. If it weren’t for her companion, she would blend into the crowd. But her companion is tall, over six feet, and heavy-set. He’s wearing a powder blue t-shirt. It sticks out amongst all of the white shirts and singlets. More important than their wardrobe is how fast they’re running. Already, I can tell that they’re struggling a bit. They are stopping way too many times. Is it his weight? I don’t care.



I am going to catch them.



Impossible, you say? I can do it. They’re running slower than I am. This is the motivation I need. But I have to be patient. It’s going to take time. First I need to pass someone closer to me. Passing someone is going to build my confidence. It will lift my heels and…. And there you go. I’ve just passed a woman in spandex biker shorts and a yellow singlet. I feel… I feel… I feel good! Wait, is that… it is… it’s the 16 mile marker.



RACE DAY MILES 10-14



And now…. We enter the 5th circle of hell.



“Based on the map,” Peter says, “I think this is the toughest part of the race. It just loops around for 4 miles.”



Who mapped this course? Have they ever run a marathon? Don’t they understand the psychological setbacks of running and not feeling like you’re getting anywhere?



The next four miles are a blur and blend into one another. As we approach mile eleven, there are runners heading back to mile 15. I look for Wes and Darby almost sure I won’t see them. What are the chances? Hey, there’s Darby! I cheer her on as she runs in the opposite direction.



We loop around this way and that and then around that way and over this way and loop again back the way we come out of the inferno and the 13th mile marker is within sight. Thank God. That took forever, and my knee is really becoming a problem. Still, I’ve done a half marathon and I feel pretty proud about myself, all things considered. I ring up Jules and tell her about the knee.



“Well, why don’t you switch the knee support to the other knee/”



Hey, why didn’t I think of that? Wait a minute, she’s right. Hearing her say it makes it seem more logical now. It’s like she’s telling me, “Switch it. Stop analyzing. You have 13 miles to go yet.”



She’s concerned about the weather, but I assure her it’s not so bad. I think she can hear through my bluff, but she cheers me on. I am so lucky.



And what’s that up ahead? 13.



13? Didn’t we just pass that? What the….? I thought… oh that was the last loop and, oh this is so frustrating!



Robert calls back. He’s waiting between 13 and 14.



Finally, that’s it, I have to switch the knee support. I stop cold and make the change.



“Peter, if you need to go on, I don’t want to slow you down.”



He laughs. “And have to run by myself with Robert? No thanks.”



The support is warm from my other knee and, man, it feels great on this left knee. It feels good, real good. I have a sudden burst of hope, just in time to meet Robert, wearing a garbage bag, standing at a bus stop. The three of us run together, continuing the 2/1 pace Peter and I began a hundred years ago. We get about a hundred yards into it before I have to stop and adjust my knee support.



“Go on, I’ll catch up.”



They keep going while I tighten the Velcro straps. I take a couple more steps and have to fix it again. Before I know it, Peter and Robert are a quarter mile away from me. It’s okay, though, I can catch up. I slowly start running after them. Now they’re a half-mile away. It’s now use, I won’t catch them.



A wave of sadness passes through me. I’m not going to finish the race with Peter. I’m on my own. Strangely, I suddenly feel a little relieved. Now it’s just my race. This was always about me and my struggles with cystic fibrosis and trying to find a way to contribute to the battle. My fears and anger have manifested themselves in this physical journey. After several calming deep breaths, I make a pronouncement:



I will not be beaten today. I will kick this marathon’s ass.





Wednesday, December 15, 2004

RACE DAY (CONT.)



Miles 6-9



It’s cold. No, I mean Ohio, mid-October, damp to your bones cold. This is not good. Seriously. This can’t keep up. And then… here comes the downpour. Not just some typical California drizzle. No, it’s a thunderstorm. It has not rained in years, so it makes sense for it all to come down today. The temperature has dropped at least five degrees and being that I’m dressed so appropriately…. I’m going to freeze.



The miles become a blur as we fight the pelting raindrops.



Mile 7. The pain kicks in. The same knee. The same damn knee. My left knee. What’s up with that? I had surgery on the right knee! I have a knee support for the right knee. The pain is bearable for now, but if it gets to be anything like I experienced during the Santa Clarita run…



Sudden, sharp pains trip me up every half mile or so. The best way to describe it is to have you make both hands into fists, press them together as hard as possible and begin to grind them. I can hear my mom’s voice; “You probably don’t have any cartilage in your knee.” Of course, she was talking about the other knee. The right knee.



A thought comes to me: What if I switch the knee support top the aching knee? Maybe that would help. But what about the right knee? This is too difficult. I will be a typical guy and try to live through the pain.



Peter has a brisk walk. I feel like I’m holding him back. Great. Now the guilt. Not only did I tell him to throw away the poncho, but now I’m slowing him down. Stop it! Stop it! You’re not in the Midwest anymore. They don’t have guilt in California. This is L.A.--- sunshine, swimming pools, movie stars…and painful rain in December.



Around mile 9 we head on to a bike path that slopes down along the river. Yes, an actual river in Southern California, and it’s swelling. There are signs posted that read, “Caution, path may flood with heavy rain.” Wouldn’t it be ironic if that happened? Hey, it could be the OC Bi-athalon. Parallel to us, across the river, is another bike path. Runners are heading in the opposite direction. Could there be a turn around up ahead? I think I see a mile marker. That could mile 10. That would be phenomenal. Then, we run up an incline and head off in another direction. Those runners I just saw were passing mile 15. 15? We’re not even to 10 yet.



Man, I‘m being so negative. Focus, Malchus. Clear your head. Clear your head.



“How ya doin’?”

“I’m managing. The knee’s killing me.”



Robert calls. He’s somewhere around mile 11. I think we’re close to 10 so he’s going to slow down for us to catch up.



“Oh boy,” Peter laughs, “you better be with me. Robert scares me. Ah don’t know if ah can keep up with him.”



Boy, do I know what he’s talking about. I recall vividly, in Hawaii, between miles 22 and 23. We ran together and I nearly died. He’s a machine. The Terminator (though, I like Robert’s politics better than the original T-100).



“Don’t worry, it won’t be that bad, Peter.”



A couple more steps and I have to walk again.



“What do you think?”

“I’m okay.”

“You want to stop?”

“For a break?”

“No. To stop.”



I smile at Peter. He has a big heart. He doesn’t realize that I don’t quit in the middle of anything, not when I’ve committed to someone and raise a lo0t of money. I’m not out here for me; I’m out here for my son. This is about Jacob. This is also about Peter’s nephew. I’m crawling across that finish line if I have to (hopefully with a better time than Hawaii).



“No way, Pete. We’re running across the finish line together.”

RACE DAY- CONTINUED



Miles 4-5



I have a new plan. All of this surface street running is going to be murder on my feet and knees. Any chance I get, I’m going to run on the grass or dirt, such as this nice long stretch of lawn on the median to my right. Oh, that’s nice. Much softer. Yes, a good plan. Peter decides to stay on the street. I think he’s fearful that he might twist his HOLY @*%#!. THAT HURT!



I just twisted my left ankle. Ohhhhhhh. Mmmmph! Same one as in Honolulu.



It’s okay. Run it off. Run it off.



“Y’okay?” Asks Peter.



Sure. I do this all of the time. I’m surprised my foot is still attached to my leg. It’ll be fine in a couple of minutes



***



Over the course of the next mile, while I limp on my tweaked ankle (and pain throbs up my calf), I comment to Peter how much better it is to have a running companion. During the Santa Clarita run I had my MP3 player full of 5 hours of music. But some of those songs are too personal for a day like today. Nature is bringing me down. The gray skies, the cold air…if I wasn’t running I’d be holed up in the house watching a movie with the kids.



God, I miss those two right now. I need to see their smiles. I need to hear their laughs. How can so much love come out of two little bodies?



If I were to hear Badly Drawn Boy’s composition “I Love NYE” from ABOUT A BOY, I would lose it. It’s this beautiful instrumental from the soundtrack to the film. I used to listen to this song and release a great many tears when Jacob was hospitalized the first time, especially at the end with the strings begin to build. As I’d drive to the hospital, I’d get the sadness out just so I could put on a strong front when I was with him. How did Julie stay so strong during that period? I was a wreck.



Peter is a good ear. I tell him a lot of this stuff when we’re running. I can’t believe how much I’ve opened up to him these past months. And he’s a compassionate man.



“Do you want to stop?” He asks as I continue to walk with a limp.



“No, it’ll pass.”



I believe this. There are bigger pains ahead and I don’t want Peter to have to run this thing by himself. As long as we’re together and we have this huge crowd around, we can feed off the energy of everyone and we’ll be fine. Who am I kidding? I’ll be fine. Peter’s doing great.



By the time we pass mile 5, the two of us have settled into long periods of silence while we’re running. Already, this race is tougher than Hawaii. I have a distinct thought: This is NOT as much fun as Hawaii. It’s going to be long day. But I’ve trained better than I did last year. I’m more prepared. We can do this.



Julie calls for the first time. Man, it’s good to hear her voice. In the background, the kids are watching “Higglytown Heroes”, their new favorite show (catchy theme song by They Might Be Giants, by the way). Neither of them wants to say hi. Can you blame them? Who wants to talk to their dad, huffing and puffing, when they can watch day glo animation?



I make plans to call Julie back at mile 13. I predict that I’ll have a rough idea of around what time I should be completing this race.



“At least it’s not raining.” I say.



She hangs up and it’s just me and Peter and the 200 folks in front of us and the 200 folks behind us. Up ahead, a volunteer begins directing runners in two different directions. It’s the split between the half marathon and the full marathon. The half marathoners are waved to the left and we are told to run to the right. And just like the mass exodus after a bad Starship concert (did they REAALY build that city on rock and roll? I think not), the 200 in front of us splinter off to the left.



What the? Wait a minute! As we veer to the right, I look back. The 200 behind us have gone left! No! So much for feeding off of the energy of a big crowd. Whereas we were in the middle of the pack, Peter and I are now near the end of the race. The stragglers. Great, just great. The race just got longer.



I know, I know, I’m not out to win the race; I’m just out to finish it. I’m doing this for Jake. My mantra calms me down and we pass mile six.



And, as if on cue, the rain begins.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

RACE DAY - Pt. 2



After a capable singer does his best with the national anthem, some bodiless stranger's voice booms through the loudspeakers that the race has begun. There is some cheering, but I swear that some of it is only halfhearted...probably that portion of us who are running the marathon. There are dark clouds rising from the desert floor.... wait, I have Springsteen stuck in my head. There ARE dark clouds rising, from the ocean, though. But I do so a promised land ahead.



I try to fool Peter and myself that those dark clouds don't mean a thing and that everything's going to be fine. We pass the electronic mat that reads our computer chip and we're off! It's cold. My legs are a little tight. Peter's exhilarated about his first marathon. We're in this mass of about 1,000 people, and I feel like...like...like it's just another weekend and just another long run in our training.



That's right, I'm not feeling any different than I have during the past six months. What gives? Where's the rush I got in Hawaii? Or the butterflies? Or any kind of adrenaline? I'm a little bummed, to be truthful. Still, I have Peter to keep me company and that should help make the run enjoyable.







Miles 1~3



Okay, it's pretty cold. My hands are getting into that rigid, locked position and I'm constantly flexing them. Peter and I are having a good time, though; our topical conversation is full of laughter. I don't recall how much I've told you about Peter, but he's from Louisiana and he's a very friendly southerner (even though he's live in California for some time). Almost every sentence contains the colloquialism "y'all". For instance, every time we pass someone cheering us on, he says "Thanks, y'all." I try to thank people as well, but so far he's been doing it for both of us and I don't open my mouth as much. Great, how nice do I come off, now? Anyway, we're having a good time right now. That's the thing about the first few miles of a race (at least, for slow people like me); you have plenty of energy to talk, laugh and meet people, which is what we're doing.



Today we've decided to run a 2/1 (2 minutes running. 1 minute walking). I figure that I'm not out to win this thing, only beat last year's time. And Peter is just out to finish. If I can save my legs, maybe I really can break the 5:39 from Hawaii. I have to, right? I'm not carrying water, the weather is comfortable and I'm avoiding Gatorade and excessive water. Honestly, I’m full of confidence, even a little cocky. That's right, I'm a badass marathon runner, don't mess with me.



These first miles are fairly easy. Although, what were they thinking having the entire first mile UPHILL? I have to say, this isn't the most scenic run, either. San Fran? Lots of cool architecture and a lot of city history. Hawaii? Well, come on, it was Hawaii. Newport Beach? Eh. No offense intended. However, the volunteers are great and really cheering everyone on. It's nice to have that kind of encouragement. Thanks, y'all/



Throughout these 3 miles I continue to poke fun at Peter's poncho. I keep telling him that it's not going to rain and that the extra clothing is really going to become a burden. Yes, the new glasses have made me a meteorologist and now an expert on marathons. We roll past mile three and it's time to shed the long sleeve shirt. My body is warmed up enough and I toss the shirt.



WHOA! What was I thinking? Okay, it's pretty chilly. But I know my body will continue to get hotter and if the weather stays the same I'll be dripping sweat by the end of the 26 miles. Peter joins me by throwing off the poncho. We hum a bit of "Xanadu" before chugging along.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

RACE DAY (Sunday 12/5/04) ~ Pt. 1



I am sitting on the toilet eating a bowl of oatmeal in the cramped bathroom of our hotel room. A sure indication that you have either a) lost your mind or b) are far too dedicated to running is when you somehow enjoy Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar out of a paper bowl with a plastic spoon at the crack of dawn.



Rested fairly well last night. I believe I woke up two or three times. I recall getting out of bed around four to check the clock. As far as ever getting into a deep sleep, that never happened. Had some bizarre, disturbing dreams about being called to duty for World War II and having to assemble with hundreds of troops for some type of prewar rally. Good times.



Breakfast is done so it's time to get dressed. Shorts, shirt, singlet (with my number pinned on), watch, three socks (one for my left foot, two for the smaller right foot), long sleeve shirt, and then my shoes.



Julie is up now. It's around 5:30. I've finished reading portions of the new People Magazine (Julia Roberts...Twins!) and I'm brushing my teeth. For about three minutes when I woke up I contemplated taking a shower. I'm glad I didn't. It gave me time to read the gossip in the back of the magazine.



Jules didn't sleep well either. She seems more worried about the race than I am. She's checked outside and it rained last night. Could it be that the thunderstorm headed our way passed quietly in the night? I can only pray. There's nothing worse than running with wet shoes and I remember vividly what happened to my "good" knee during the last two miles of my 20-mile run a month ago. As soon as the rain came, my knee felt like it was bone on bone. That, I think, is my biggest fear for today.



It's 5:40 now and I'm ready to leave and head down to the lobby to meet the others. I pack some Advil and grab an apple from the fridge. Then, I wrap my right knee with the support, put on my snack belt and give Julie a kiss goodbye. That she's up to see me off is the greatest feeling. Even though I'm the one running, I truly feel that we're all in this together. The last thing I do is turn on my phone as she closes the door behind me.



5:45 am



Most of the CF team is waiting when I show up. There are Peter, Robert, Euri, Rebecca and Julie Deliema (Rebecca’s co-worker from the Foundation). Both Rebecca and Julie are running the half marathon, as are Julie’s father and brother, who are also lounging on one of the lobby couches. Julie and her family are training for the L.A. Marathon. Hopefully they’ll have better weather than we’re expected to have. Wes arrives and we all head out to the parking lot to wait for a shuttle bus to take us to the starting line.



Outside, it’s pretty chilly. Windy, mostly. I have to say, my four years at Bowling Green really prepared me for days like this. While everyone is complaining about the wind, I kind of like it.



Today I’m only carrying snacks (almonds and some of Julie’s fabulous oatmeal-raisin cookies) with me on the run. No water bottle today. There are water stops at every mile so I should have no trouble staying hydrated. Plus, I’ve drunk enough water in the past 48 hours that I’m practically floating.



As we’re waiting in line, friends of mine from Santa Clarita, Bill and Kate Povletich, are standing right in front of me. Man, I haven’t seen Kate in, like, three years. The last time I saw her we had just moved into the house. They’re both running the half marathon, too. Just how many people ARE running the half marathon? Something tells me that I should be running the half marathon as well.



6:10 am



Wes and I ride over together on the bus. We’re both in good spirits. Our conversation ranges from work related topics (Wes is a voice over agent) to children. He says he hopes to adopt someday, with or without a partner. I hope that works out for him, I think Wes will make a fine dad. His heart is definitely in the right place.



6:30 am



So, we’re outside the same theater where we saw THE INCREDIBLES yesterday. The team huddles together and we’re introduced to Darby, a runner from San Diego who is also fundraising for CF. She has been training virtually through Robert’s program and has no ties to Cystic fibrosis. Turns out she heard about the program and thought the CF Foundation would be a good organization to help out. God bless her.



Robert and I bombard Rebecca and Julie with our marathon fundraising ideas and how we feel the program could have a national status, much like the AIDS, Leukemia and Stroke foundations have done. They both respond favorably to our ideas. Not sure if they’re really excited or really tired. Since Julie and Rebecca are both runners, I see my out and feel like I can pass the ball to them. Then, Robert says something about the four of us meeting to discuss. And I agree!



Who am I kidding? I want to be involved. This is a way I can contribute. Marathon fundraising is something I’ve become good at and I believe in it. It’s my hope that soon the CF Foundation can attract more people to help us.



7:00 am



Somehow, Peter, Wes, Darby and I have wound up together, waiting in line for the port-o-potties. Peter’s wearing a gaudy yellow rain poncho and he and Wes are having a blast making fun of it. These two are a hoot. Wes says that they should run another marathon together, this one dressed in matching yellow ponchos with the word “Xanadu” emblazoned on it (I believe in sparkling disco letters). They’d run in platform shoes and have someone following them on roller skates with a boom box blasting Olivia Newton John and Electric Light Orchestra.



I will never get this image out of my head for the rest of my life.



After our last minute pee breaks, it’s 7:30 and time to head to the starting line. Just as we climb up a hill to the mass of people gathered at the line, I thank Wes and give him a strong embrace to thank him for everything he’s done this year. He’s raised $15,000 and really raised awareness of the disease. It’s actually an emotional moment for me. Wes repeats that the entire experience has been a gift to him and he would do it again.



I promise Wes a plate of Julie’s oatmeal raisin cookies. He tells me that that alone is worth running the two marathons. And then, he and Darby head to the front of the line while Peter and I move to the middle of the pack.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Posting for Saturday, 12/4/04





8:10 am



Decent night's sleep.



Weather update: It is gorgeous outside. Clear skies and the sun is shining. A storm is heading our way, though. "Moving fast," is how the Weather Channel described it. Possible thunderstorms.





4:30 pm



Ran into Peter on the elevator ride down to the Health Expo. The two of us checked out the vendor booths and stopped by the Cf Foundation table. Meanwhile, Julie and the kids stayed back at the hotel. Earlier today we went to se the new Pixar film, THE INCREDIBLES. I liked the movie a lot. However, it was a little too intense for Jake and Sophie at times ("This 'credibles too scary." to quote my son). Still they sat through it with that sort of "I'm too scared to look, but too scared to look away" fascination. I must say, I felt the rating was a little skewed because it is an animated film. I felt there was just as much violence and peril as a movie like SPIDER MAN 2, and that got a PG-13 rating.



After the movie we headed to the food court of the Fashion Island Mall for lunch. Jake had his usual, french fries. It's really getting to be comical what this kid will eat. Comical, yet disconcerting. We constantly worry that he’s not getting enough in his diet.



The kids and I then rode the merry-go-round. It was interesting to see how Sophie has become more reserved when we ride the merry-go--round. Jake is a pistol, screaming "Hi Mommy" every time we went round and round. Sophie, on the other hand, just smiled and stayed quiet. I remember a time when was just as loud as her brother.





9:30 pm



Dinner with the CF group was fun. Robert and his wife, Euri, met us at an Italian restaurant. Rebecca gave all of us runners some nice gifts for raising money and running the marathon. Julie Widman (Julie's friend) and her daughter, Lucy, had met us earlier at the hotel and were also with us for dinner. You may recall that Julie's son, Cooper, has CF. Julie W. and Julie met through the Foundation. They see each other every couple of months but talk regularly on the phone. I understand why they are friends. To be able to talk to someone about the disease and what we're going through (someone other than your spouse) is so crucial. And to have someone who KNOWS what you're going through makes it that much easier. Yes, Julie and I talk about everything, but sometimes you need another person's ear. And sometimes you really need someone else’s ear that is experiencing everything you are.



We arrived late due to crummy traffic on the 405. He hit a nasty rainstorm. Hopefully that's all of the wet weather coming our way and tomorrow will be a quiet, cool day.



The two Julie's left early and took the kids back to the hotel. This allowed the team time to compare notes and talk a little about the race tomorrow. I haven't seen Wes in a while. I really think he’s a remarkable person. He exudes confidence, that's for sure. He was a little nervous about the marathon, though, and ran 8 miles this morning (!). I'm not sure that was such a good idea, but I think he needed a good long run to help him prepare mentally.



I returned to the hotel to find everyone playing Monopoly and having a much better time in the hotel room where they weren't confined to a table. Sophie really likes Lucy, a precocious little girl. While they played, I put my running gear together (my "armor" as Robert called it) and set my alarm for 5:00 am.



We're meeting in the hotel lobby at 5:45. No big deal. What a difference a year makes. In Hawaii, I was so nervous about missing the race and how well I would perform. Tonight, I'm more concerned about whether or not I should shower in the morning.



Aloha

Monday, December 06, 2004

12/3/04 Update



8:45 pm



After a 2 and a half hour drive that covered a mere 85 miles, we arrived in Newport Beach. Before leaving home, Julie, Jake and I went to the school to see Sophie receive an award for reading. She's excelling so well in reading books. I am so proud of her.



The hotel is nice. It's in the heart of the city and very close to the John Wayne Airport. We dropped off our luggage and headed out for an overpriced dinner at some close by place called Gulliver's. They serve meat. I believe there were other things on the menu, but the kitchen was right there in the middle of the restaurant and they sliced off prime rib for diners while they watched. In the restaurant an electric train was set up and running circles around a tall Christmas tree. To distract the kids (Jake mostly) we went over to look at it. Sophie grew bored with it quickly and headed back to the table, but Jacob was fascinated with the lights and the little elf figures on each of the miniature boxcars.



As we kneeled on the carpet and stared, he repeated "cooool" as the Santa engineered train passed by again and again. For some reason, I took this moment to reflect on why we were all there, in this restaurant on a cold December night somewhere in the heart of Newport Beach, California. I stared at Jacob's wide blue eyes and that huge, toothy grin of his and thought, "You're cooool, little guy." He's the reason we're here; he's the reason I'm running tomorrow. I have to remember that.



It's my mantra. I'm doing it for Jake.



We returned to the hotel and so far we're having a good time on this little escape from our real lives (though, we never escape the medicines and the treatments). Tomorrow we're going to check out the marathon health expo and probably take in Balboa island, this sort of amusement park/island area that is close by (I realize that this is a lame description, but come on, it's been a long day). We've been to the island before a couple of years ago when Budd and Karyn won us a free night at the Four Seasons Hotel of Newport Beach.



At this moment, "The Return of Frosty", a sub par sequel to the TV classic is on the television. Man, is Sophie WOUND up. She's literally bouncing from bed to bed. Getting her to go to sleep tonight is going to be a challenge. All four of us will be turning in soon. According to Robert, it's not the night before, but two nights before that it is most important to get a good night's sleep, primarily because the night before many runners get butterflies and have a difficult time falling asleep.



In the mail today was a generous donation from Tony Gardner's company, Alterian Studios. With that sum, and the other three donations we received today, we have raised over $11,000! Wow! Last year's total has been matched. Unbelievable. I can

really rest easy tonight.



I am so ready for Sunday.



Aloha

Friday, December 03, 2004

We leave for Newport this afternoon, so I won't have access to a computer until we return Sunday night. Got up this morning and my head was really congested. I almost didn't make it out for my run, I felt that crappy. But I decided I had to go just to keep my legs in tune. I'm glad I did. I feel a lot better since I woke up, although my ears are really clogged up.



It is supposed to be lovely all day tomorrow... and then rain all day Sunday. Great.



Whatever is thrown at us, I still plan to slog through the weather and finish the marathon. I've been training too damn long to not complete it.



This should be a fun weekend, and I'm really looking forward to spending some time with Julie and the kids without the worries of cleaning the house, prepping for the holidays, etc. That's all for now. I will give a complete rundown after the marathon.



Aloha

Thursday, December 02, 2004

With just three days until the race, I woke up this morning and crawled out of Sophie's bed (where I slept because she was occupying my space in my own bed). My head was clouded from this cold I've been battling and what did I have to greet me as I took my first steps into the hall? Something wet and warm.



I nearly slipped on the feline droppings left for me, but I was able to retain my balance and survey the brown mess slowly soaking into the beige carpet. "Wonderful, " I thought. Of course, it was my own fault. I forgot to open the cat door to the garage before I went to bed last night.



Perhaps my attempts at yoga had paid off and I was in a completely Zen state of mind. Maybe I was just too tired to really think about how long it would take me to clean up the foul glop (nothing solid form my cats, thank you very much). Then again, it could have been that I was just to congested to care.



No, I was calm and relaxed because I was still feeling good about my accomplishment yesterday.



Around midday I sent out my final push email. The fundraising tally was hovering around $9200 and I thought, if just, like $600 more is raise, we'll pitch in another $200 and we'll call it done at ten grand. That was my hope. So I attached the cutest picture of Jake from Halloween of him in his Woody (from "Toy Story") costume and sent out about 50 or so emails.



The response was instantaneous and remarkable.



With a majority of these letters sent to people I know at work, I surpassed the $10,000 mark by day's end. In fact, one man I work with (Jim Duffy, who has made contributions to every one of our fundraisers) was in my office about 10 minutes after I sent out the email. Incredible.



I've pretty much been on cloud nine since last night. Once again, the people at this company surprise me and pitch in. Both Jules and I have discussed that we were unsure whether I'd even make five grand. And just last week, I was content to settle with $9000. So, to achieve this amount again this year has really been a pleasant surprise.



What does all of this mean for me on Sunday? It means I'm geared up and ready to run this sucker. I'm ready to see what I have in me. I'm ready to see if the new energy I've found in my legs will transfer to the race. And I'm ready to make each and every person, friend, family and stranger, proud of me and proud of the work of the Cf Foundation.



I can't believe how much more relaxed I am from last year's race. And I can't believe how casual I am about everything I need to do to prep.



Drink lots of water all week? Check.

Get enough sleep? Check.

Don't over train? Check.

Stay positive? Check.



I know that the weather may be nasty (cold and rainy... what is this, Ohio?), but it's not fazing me.



I'm as relaxed as I hoped I would be. And I think this will translate to a good race on Sunday.



Now, if I could just get those "thank you" cards done...



Aloha