As I sit in my hotel room in Chicago, mentally preparing for the weekend ahead, I felt the need to share a little more about the importance of this upcoming race. As I write this my family (wife, 2 kids) and I just finished a wonderful meal in the hotel in which we got to spend some time with my mother in law, Judy, my sister-in-law, Tammy and the guest of honor, my father in law Butch. For those of you who haven’t followed my blog, I am running the Chicago marathon in his honor. Butch was diagnosed with Leukemia this past April. This led me to compete in another marathon and raise money for LLS with team in training(which I raised over 20000.00) *. So my first priority is to make sure that everyone has an enjoyable time and secondly, finish the race in one piece. This might seem like a given but sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Some of you that know me already know this story so I will give you the cliff notes which will help you understand my mindset as I stand at the starting line, both physically and metaphorically. I am no stranger to running as I have been doing it regularly since about 2005. For those who don’t know, I don’t do anything half way (my wife says I have OCD). I did my first race in 2005 (a 10k) and I was hooked on the whole man vs. race course thing and it is so much more but I don’t have time. It made me feel like an athlete. So I figured if I can do 6.2, whats another 20? Right? So with the help of my coach and now my best friend, Steve, we did the Chicago marathon in 2006. Everything went well for my first time but I needed more. I did a half mary in 07 after recovering from an Achilles rupture. So I was ready for another full. I didn’t get into New York I signed up for the Kiawah Marathon. Training was going fine until I got mononucleosis that summer, I promise I wasn’t kissing anyone but my wife. I ran into one of my students shortly after that was in the shoe business and offered me a free entry into the Marine Corp Marathon which was a couple of months earlier than Kiawah. I thought this would be a great opportunity to take the family to D.C., do some sightseeing and do a very slow marathon and treat it like a training run for KI. Skipping ahead……….At about mile 12, I started to feel really bad as if my body was shutting down for some reason. I was fully trained so I knew that it wasn’t that I wasn’t prepared. By mile 18 (which I don’t remember running), I was spotted bobbing and weaving. I woke up in the back of an ambulance, severely dehydrated and catatonic. I didn’t know it at the time but my heart rate was about 255 (nearly heart attack rate). After a day in the hospital, getting hydrated and back to normal, I saw a heart doc and they found nothing wrong. Several tests and more checkups including a couple of months ago, NOTHING. We think it was the mono, but don’t know for sure. Needless to say, it took my wife and kids a long time to get comfortable with me running another race. Shortly thereafter I started a running streak of 300 days in a row (OCD, nahhh). I set a personal record in the half marathon last December, just to prove that I was alright. It was a very scary deal as I thought I was going to see Jesus a little sooner than I imagined. This is why this is a very important race for me. Obviously I am aware of the symptoms and will have no problem stopping and walking if necessary (which I didn’t do last time, high pain tolerance as well).
This is no different than what Dustin Johnson experienced at the P.G.A. , (with the exception of the life threatening part). We all have bad rounds and make mistakes that we regret. You have to be mentally tough and hang in there. Not to encourage stupidity but sometimes we need to stop running and catch our breath or take a few weeks off and just relax. But I encourage you today, if you believe something and you believe in yourself…. Push yourself past your doubt and fear which is the number one reason Jack Nicklaus says people fail….FEAR! I have always prided myself on being mentally tough and I try to instill this in my students. No excuses and no doubts. What do I do? I sell HOPE EVERYDAY. Hope will win in the end if we stay positive and live everyday as if it our last. Lastly I am such a mindset of thankfulness tonight and I want to send out my list of thank you’s:
1. my wonderful wife, Tiffanie, who puts up with my disorders and drive, thank you for being my rock, my life and soul mate and the reason I push so hard everyday.
2. my kids, Brittanie and Nicklaus….the loves of my life and my biggest fans and supporters.
3. My parents that raised me and taught me work ethic and the willingness to be scared and face my fears
4. My father in law Butch, for never giving up and staying positive while battling this awful disease.
5. My running buddy and friend, Steve Hightower for providing wisdom and clarity through injuries and pain. All the great talks we have on our long runs are priceless. Someone needs to make another “spirit of the marathon and follow our group” It would kill. Golf and Life lessons on the run.
6. To my trainer, Mark Kane and my massage therapist Summer who keeps me healthy and strong. Mark, you are truly the best in the business. kanetraining.com
7. My “shoe pimp” and friend, Steve Sheridan who keeps in great shoes and gu. Awesome.
8. To my marathon and ultra running friends and students, Hal “Dean Kanazes jr.” Hawisher and Darryl Dewberry….spending time with you guys makes me a better person. I have learned more from you than I can ever teach you.
9. To all my students that are so faithful and make my job the best in the world. I am so lucky to have met all of you.
10. And lastly but not least important, All of you that donated your hard-earned dollars in the likes of this down economy….Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are so giving and generous.
Thank you for letting me dump and vent but I wanted you all to know what I was taking to the starting line this Sunday. I will be running with all of you on my mind as I guarantee that (Just like Dustin Johnson winning the BMW Championship) the HOPE WILL PREVAIL and I will give GOD All The Glory.
See you on the lesson tee,