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The Day the Music Died - 13.1

Daylight arrived along with the soft patter of rain on the motel deck. "Oh God help me, this is it," I thought, as I gave up the idea of falling back to sleep. My mind ran through a few desperate prayers, and I felt a sense of peace.

Today is the Hyannis Half Marathon. PICS

When I registered less than a month ago, I had visions of a cold, but sunny day. I pictured myself running along the beach and across the bridge in the marsh - it was glorious in the center of my imagination.

Well, that didn't happen. In fact, almost 2000 wimps did not even show up for the race.

The Start: My wife and 9-year-old dropped me off and I made my way to the Conference Center to get a coffee and use the men's room. I fiddled with my equipment (this probably should have been a new paragraph.), put on my headphones, figured out how to wear my electronics under my new running raincoat, and restarted my phone (Endomondo and Music!). I left the dry warmth of the hotel and walked to the 10-Minute Pace corral, crossing a torrent of runoff on the way.

I tapped Endomondo, and pressed play on the music. Nothing, just nothing! There was no music and no time for messing with it; the Star Spangled Banner ended and the crowd of over 3000 began to move towards the Start Line.

It took a full 3 minutes to cross the timer grid at the start line.

Mile 1: It was more of a walk than a run with lots of brightly colored runners clogging Sea Street. I didn't really get warmed up, so the slow start was actually good. My feet were still dry and the rain was light.

Mile 2: Things began to loosen up and Endomondo reported Mile 1?? It is working, but still no music!

Mile 3: I reminded myself of what my friend Tom said to me on Facebook: "let the race come to you." We turned the corner and headed past the harbor for the beach. A steady headwind blew rain in my face and I trudged on down the road, jumping the occasional puddle.

Mile 4: Running along the beach is where I met up with Team Joe. Joe was blind from diabetes. He had a fellow leading him with a lanyard warning him of obstacles. There was still a fair amount of traffic, so we could keep a conversation. We shared our survivor stories and then I picked up the pace.

Mile 5: Huge puddles covered the width of the road and we had to go up on lawns to avoid them; then the inevitable, too much water and vented sneakers. My toasty warm feet were now soaked. Water squished out of my running shoes with every step, causing sea foam to form around the lace holes.

Mile 6: The worst hill of the race took up most of mile 6. A lot of walkers, of which I became one through the water-stop grabbed a handfulof refreshment. I had a quick cup of H2O and ate a raspberry energy thingy.

Mile 7: It was here I started to doubt myself. God, it was windy, cold and even though the rain was light, it had soaked through everything. A gust of wind blew my glasses off. Here 3 kids, probably all under 10, were just so excited about the race they were high-fiving everyone - me too.

I had a breif thought, I was a heart attack survivor, and  I am running a half marathon.

Mile 8: I hit the next water-stop to stretch and massage my sore knee. I drank a few sips of water, and on I ran thinking about those 3 kids. It was surreal; like I wasn't even there - well, except that my knee was worse with the cold damp wind.

Mile 9: The right knee started feeling better, and a tailwind and a slight downhill contributed to my fastest mile: 9:35.

In the middle of an intersections there was a guy clapping and yelling, "This is New England running at it's best, come on let's pick it up!"

Mile 10: Honestly, I was wishing it would just be over, but I was just too close to quit.

Mile 11: Part of the route was on a state highway and they made us run 2 abreast. The shoulder of the road was 3 inches deep in runoff, so I walked on the outside of the cones for a few hundred yards.

Mile 12: I went into a trance of sorts, running through some of the neighborhoods. My arms were numb. I gave up dodging puddles and took the shortest route. A gal on the side of the road yelled a convincing, "You've got this!" and gave me a high-5.

Mile 13: I asked one of the race marshals, "how much farther?"

"You are almost there."

And then suddenly I heard music playing in the distance.

To The Finish: I rounded the bend and headed up the hill. Under their umbrellas, was my wife, her cousin and her husband, and my very wet, but excited 9-year-old cheering me on. A couple of high-5s as I cranked it up and raced across the timing strip passing a 6 or 7 runners in the last 100 yards.

The next few minutes were very personal and life changing.

It's hard to express how it feels to have been in ICU less than 2 years ago, have run my first 5K eleven months ago, and to have finished a half marathon.

The Aftermath: A 2" inch blister on my left foot, bleeding nipples (Yes, I wore all the right stuff!), very sore quads, and an overwhelming sense of awe at what I have been able to accomplish in spite of the song that had played over and over telling me I would never be a runner, it was too far, I was too old, my knees would give out. That song is dead.

I always look forward to votes and comments, but today, I just need to remind myself how, with God's help, there is a lot I can do.

143 votes + -


libland wrote 112 months ago:
Congrats on completing your event! And I bet you forgot all about missing the music after a couple of miles :-) I used to run with music but once I stopped, I can't stand to run outside with music.
RaineyLaney wrote 112 months ago:
WTG... what an accomplishment. Even with all that went wrong, you succeeded in your dream. :D
Snowridesbikes wrote 112 months ago:
So proud for you!!!
jessmastrilli wrote 112 months ago:
Congrats on your race! :)
johnwhitent wrote 112 months ago:
You've come such a long way, congrats!
aunienue wrote 112 months ago:
Awesome Dude! Poor race conditions suck for a race or long run. Good for you!
futuresize8 wrote 112 months ago:
You just make me tear up a little. Congratulations on so many things...this race being just one of them! YEAH!!
LauritaS767 wrote 112 months ago:
Amazing story! Congratulations on your first half marathon. You have inspired me! I'll be competing in my 3rd half marathon in May- and I'll definitely remember your story. Keep up the hard work!
Mustangsally1000 wrote 112 months ago:
I'm very proud of you Dave. You are an amazing man!
emily356 wrote 112 months ago:
Amen!! I would never have done it in those conditions!! I love to hear your testimony!
DEEDLYNN wrote 112 months ago:
You are an AMAZING man to me. I read this at my desk at work and tears are streaming down my face for your accomplishments, your dedication. You represent everything I'm looking for and can't find. Congratulations!!!!
MaryRegs wrote 112 months ago:
Wonderful...just are an inspiration and congratulations on a successful race!!
simplythebaz wrote 112 months ago:
Just... inspirational!
skinnyme47 wrote 112 months ago:
danimal5867 wrote 112 months ago:
Congratulations! Beautiful story.
jagfan wrote 112 months ago:
As always...well written. Love this! Thanks for sharing...sorry about your music! OMG - don't know if I would have made it - especially with the weather. Congrats on this awesome achievement.
jlc1243 wrote 112 months ago:
Fantastic work and wonderfully written! Way to Go!
sc5351 wrote 112 months ago:
I read this with tears in my eyes. You are amazing to me. You are inspirational to me. And I thank God for you. Congratulations on your great accomplishment!
liapr wrote 112 months ago:
That was so inspiring to read!! We're all very proud of you :) Great job!
rciszek wrote 112 months ago:
Sooooo proud of you! As I keep reminding you, you are such an inspiration and we now know that we can do anything as long as we face the fact that it's only ourselves that are holding us back!!
Flyer615 wrote 112 months ago:
Great story, man. You've really come a long way. I am inspired and re-invigorated by your story. Congratulations to ya!
odditblue wrote 112 months ago:
BEST EVER!!! Rock on with that song you're writing called the rest of your LIFE. You've beaten the odds. Let the beat go on. GO MAN GO!!!
WTF7 wrote 112 months ago:
TheNewo wrote 112 months ago:
Couldn't help but tear up just a little --Congrats man, you're an incredible inspiration
AllonsYtotheTardis wrote 112 months ago:
Awesome - simply awesome!
SloRunner25 wrote 112 months ago:
You are very inspiring!!!! I'm a beginning runner and I am running my first 5K on April 28th (and my second June 18th). I want to run a 15K in November (actually I've wanted to run it with my dad since I was 5...never in shape enough...until now!)and I'm crazy nervous/scared about it. Thank you for sharing your first half marathon story. It made me teary-eyed because I lost my grandfather to a massive heart attack and run in memory of him. Overcoming all those obstacles and being able to run 13.1 miles is AMAZING! Congratulations!!
HisLamb wrote 112 months ago:
WOW..what an inspiration! I had a heart attack when I was 28 (I'm 39 now) and I know the fear of knowing that "it was almost over." God has promised to always be there for us; in the good and the bad. On those days where we just can't hear the music and the days when we can't go another mile! God is Good ALL the time, isn't He :)
smor27 wrote 112 months ago:
WOW... What a great accomplishment. God is GOOD!!!... all the time!
Hoppymom wrote 112 months ago:
I think it is amazing when people run in nice warm weather. You did it in the cold rain! You are so driven and brave to come as far as you have. I am honored to be part of your journey. Congratulations Dave!
janzia wrote 112 months ago:
Love the recap, you did awesome! I'm sure you are very proud of yourself as you very well should be.
angieroo2 wrote 112 months ago:
Very inspiring post. Congrats on your 1/2 marathon.
Elliehmltn wrote 112 months ago:
There's nothing like crossing that finish line. Unless it's just seeing that finish line ahead and realizing you're going to cross it. Superb metaphor for life!
larryc0923 wrote 112 months ago:
AWESOME!! You have demonstrated that anything is possible when a person has the will and desire. Thank you for an excellent post. Take care and good luck with your future goals.
sassy_sandi wrote 112 months ago:
You give me hope; I am new to reading the blogs but won't be any longer! Congratulations on finishing the race; I also love all the God is Good comments for HE certainly is....ALL the TIME!
lavender22 wrote 112 months ago:
Amazing is all I can say:)
allie7383 wrote 112 months ago:
Amazing story! Way to carry through with no music and the non-ideal weather.. Major congrats!!
Sarah_with_a_h wrote 112 months ago:
Time2LoseWeightNOW wrote 112 months ago:
You did it inspite of all your proud for you!! Have you tried the little round bandages for the nips.... ??

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