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I Beat the Rhino - London 2018

This almost 60-year-old headed for Europe earlier this month. Marathon runners need to taper (rest) for a few weeks before a big race. I decided the best way to do that would be do a lot of walking and a little running.

My wife and I decided on a cruise for our honeymoon.

It was 10 days, 9 of them taking walking tours of various cities in England, Spain, France and Italy. This trip was a dream come true for us. The name of these countries were written down on various slips of paper in our dream jar a few years ago.

I wrote in my first book, "Follow your dreams, they know the way."

When you have had a significant illness, you begin to realize you may not have a someday. For me, I started living life right NOW. Congestive heart failure got my attention in 2011. I started taking vacations and spending more time with the people I love. Then I was diagnosed with cancer the first time, and the second time, and the third time, and the forth time. Sobering.

My pile of life-long dreams seemed to disappear before my very eyes.

When my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she immediately booked two weeks in Europe, came home from her trip, and never left the house again.

I had fitness dreams, too.

I wanted to run a marathon in every US state and one on every continent. Antarctica is a balmy 40 below zero in C and F. I would have done it. The Great Wall of China has a marathon too.

57 marathons was all I wanted out of life - and airfare and money for hotels. :)

I didn't run any marathons in 2016. I was too ill and had a number of small surgeries. In fact, three surgeries in one week. I missed San Francisco and Dublin. Once because of my first melanoma surgery, and once because I was too sick to run more than 8 miles.

I never made it to Cardiff, Wales to run the half there with my MFP friend, either.

The road to London was tough on me. I ran Berlin in September of 2017. It wasn't my best, but it wasn't my worst either. It was supposed to be a solid base for London. Sadly, I broke my leg in October and sat out 9 weeks.

I fell and ended up in the ER during my 11 mile run in January.

Fast forward to race day. It was hot, very hot for me. At the start, it was about 70 (around 20C) in the shade, for which there was none. I made small talk with Colleen in the starting corral. I was finally off and running by 10:45 am. The sun beat down, and there was no water at the start, or even on the course for over 3 miles! When I finally got some at the first stop, it was in a plastic bottle which I ended up having to carry to the next stop.

I was trying to connect with my wife and best friend, Tim. I missed them at the 10K mark by just a few minutes. There I passed the guy wearing a rhino costume. It must have been hot as hell in there, I thought.

By the time I got to 10 miles, I realized I wasn't going to even meet my goal of beating my time in Berlin.

I cried. I was feeling sorry for myself.

I pressed on in the relentless heat. At mile 11 my MFP friend Jo was on the sidewalk. I got a hug and kept going. I cried some more. I was just too hot. I had a number of summer training runs getting ready for Berlin. At least there was some shade in August. I started altering my course to walk a few hundred feet in the shade whenever there was some.

The guy wearing a rhino costume passed me.

I was looking for some Gatorade at the drink stations and there was none. They had some other stuff (Lucozade) which was just plain awful. It's no wonder the Brits aren't well known for their cuisine. I mean, have you ever heard someone say let's get some English? No, let's get Italian, French, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, or Sushi.

Never English. ;)

The miles pressed on. I walked more and ran less. It was hot. Repeat at mile 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18... I passed the rhino. I couldn't eat. There was no way I could replenish my hydration and electrolytes. I took almost 7 teaspoons of salt and a dozen candies along the course. I had had no food since my single fried egg and croissant at breakfast.

There were some folks holding a sign. "God loves you, run the race set before you." It was my promise.

At mile 18, there was a tap on my shoulder. It was Colleen who I had met in the starting corral. She had been sick and throwing up. We walked a while. The guy wearing the rhino costume passed me. I needed to get back to running. My wife and Tim were at the 35K marker.

I got a kiss and an I love you from Ruth, and a high-five from Tim.

Off I went, fighting the heat, leg cramps, hunger, and exhaustion. I pressed on. At 38K I was at least feeling like I might make it to the end. I didn't even look at my watch. I joined the throngs of overheated walkers.

Colleen pulled along side again. We just decided to finish it together.

We didn't really talk. We just put one foot in front of the other. 39K - my team captain gave me a hug and took a photo, 40K, 41K, 42K. Finally, we were near the Royal Palace.

I took off my hat, racing to the finish, I passed the rhino. I needed a good picture!

I crossed the finish line of my 5th world major! I got my medal, a couple of pictures, and a few sips of much needed water. I wished Colleen well and she went off to meet her husband, and me, my wife, Tim and Jo.

I was done!

As I was texting my wife to let her know where I was, I dropped to one knee. I felt nauseous and dizzy. I sat there and waited for them for a few minutes. I managed to get upright for a picture or two.

That's when my wife called a medic for me.

The medic gave me a sick bag shaped like a horse condom. They helped me off to a stretcher. There were 3 doctors who attended to me. I got some ice, and then they put bags of ice under my arms.

"My armpits are dripping," I proclaimed.

My feet were elevated and who knows what else was happening. They took my blood pressure and checked my blood sugar.

Soon I felt better.

"How are you feeling?" asked one of the doctors.

"I beat the rhino."

65 votes + -

29 comments:

farmboyphotography wrote 6 months ago:
Good stuff as always. You've been a real inspiration to me. Stay strong. I still have plans to be inspired by you again!! ;-)

This really stuck with me: "...you begin to realize you may not have a someday..." YES. THIS. THIS THIS THIS.

Also... for the second year in a row at Goldy's Run, a college student carrying (wearing?) a tuba beat me to the finish line. One day, I will beat the tuba guy!

Good luck to you and many blessings.
luluinca wrote 6 months ago:
Absolutely amazing!
jyarring wrote 6 months ago:
You are amazing!!!!
Snowflake1968 wrote 6 months ago:
I am happy to see your writing, I have been looking for an update.
izzybelle2013 wrote 6 months ago:
I am so proud of you. I will print this blog and hang on to us for my measly little 10k coming up in July. When I feel I am about to die, I will remember you. Great job! I want to be just like you when I grow up (if I grow up).
barneshall wrote 6 months ago:
Thrilled for you, well survived???
Dootzy1 wrote 6 months ago:
What an adventure. Does not sound fun to me. Happy you finished!
ronjsteele1 wrote 6 months ago:
I have anxiously been looking for updates. You did it! Congrats for finishing another one of your goals. I am greatly enjoying reading your book right now.
brittvshows wrote 6 months ago:
Relieved to see your post. I was wondering, waiting, hoping for the best for you. You made it! You made it for all of us. Thank you for your inspiration!
Anonymous wrote 6 months ago:
I sure do get he part ere you say “you realize you may not have a someday”. You lead the way, my friend. You’re just downright awesome!
JeninBelgium wrote 6 months ago:
you are amazing!

I imagine you do know about the famous "going for an English" skit...
I cannot find the version I had first seen but here is a live one
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWkUbyjEsTY

and a poor copy from facebook

enjoy! https://www.facebook.com/BritishComedy/videos/1785549561662341/
dsjohndrow wrote 6 months ago:
Ha ha - never saw that.
Laura80111 wrote 6 months ago:
You set a goal and did it! Great writing as always and congrats on beating the Rhino ;)
aliciaaw wrote 6 months ago:
As I read your blog, I get real emotional. I'm so happy you never give up. I wish you nothing but the best for you and your wife Ruth.
bluesrockerman wrote 6 months ago:
You keep us all grounded and inspired my man! Great job!!
suttercm wrote 6 months ago:
I heard something on the news the other day about the London Marathon and I though "Hey, I know someone who was there". Glad you made it through and beat the Rino. Sounds like a new mantra: "Just beat the Rino!"
marlown wrote 6 months ago:
THIS made me cry. At my office computer.. Thanks::(!Happy, sad, regretful, determined, hopeful tears; for myself, for you and yours, for all of us who wish we could or would have done something. Thanks for sharing. You continue to be my hero and your writing is moving. You finished - again! Congrats!
ggeise14 wrote 6 months ago:
Sometimes there aren't words....Congrats!
pizzafruit wrote 6 months ago:
I'm still in awe. Congratulations!
zydeco69 wrote 6 months ago:
Congratulations! Loved the Blog. Very inspirational. You are Awesome!
Thehardmakesitworthit wrote 6 months ago:
Like others, I was waiting for this update! You are a life liver not a someday wisher. I get it. Very inspirational piece and my deepest congrats to you sir. Damn Rhino anyway. LOL.
simpletonuk wrote 6 months ago:
You and all the others did amazingly in the heat - well done
FIT2125 wrote 6 months ago:
Congratulations David .. It was a tough run. But you pushed through and made it .. So Prooud !

and Above all you Beat the Rhino :)
FIT2125 wrote 6 months ago:
Congratulations David .. It was a tough run. But you pushed through and made it .. So Prooud !

and Above all you Beat the Rhino :)
franklin505 wrote 6 months ago:
OK so I am English but I kinda agree with the food comment, well done for beating the Rhino.
poisonesse wrote 6 months ago:
Fabulous, FABULOUS story, loved every last minute of it! You should be SO proud of yourself for finishing that race... and especially so for beating that danged Rhino!!! :-D
ADeCapua wrote 6 months ago:
I'm glad you were able to finish the run. Right now, I could not even hope to begin the run! I can't run! I'm lucky to even be walking to Leslie Sansone DVDs. You are an inspiration. Go you!
BexB42 wrote 6 months ago:
I love that you beat the rhino. :)
Lois_1989 wrote 5 months ago:
Congratulations! You beat the Rhino, and you completed the hottest London Marathon on record. Double thumbs up.

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