There was no rocking or rolling for me in the 2012 Las Vegas Rock N’ Roll Marathon. What was supposed to be my first competitive marathon turned into a painful night in Vegas. As the horn blew, I remembered to stay calm and relaxed. The game plan was to draft the first mile into the 30 mph winds and then open up when we received the tail wind. I was a little nervous as the start approached but was able to have a quick chat with Steve DeKoker (2nd), and his relaxed demeanor reminded me it was just another race. Everything was feeling great and looking to be a great race all the way to 10 miles. It was then that my stomach started to feel upset. I had a great vomit at mile 11 and thought I would regroup; this, however, was not the case. I began gagging and feeling like I had the flu from then on. My attempt at slowing the pace and drinking water bought me time but brought me no closer to feeling better or to the finish line. By mile 15 I had slowed to nearly a walk and by mile 20, I was walking. When I arrived at the aid station around mile 20, I sat down on the curb. They watched me wretch and gag but there was nothing left to vomit. Medics and a couple volunteers encouraged me to turn in the towel, saying that I would have other days and a runner like myself would gain nothing but injury by finishing. It was then that I explained to them that my friend Mick had died just one week earlier, and I had promised to run for him. Then and there, I knew that Mick wouldn’t care about my time, but that I did my best, and he and I both knew I could finish. So I laid down on the ground in the fetal position for 30 minutes hoping my stomach would settle, that the almost fever would break and I could hop up and cruise in. This was also not the case, and after 30 minutes, I decided to just walk. I walked miles 17-24. I have never been more humbled, as runner after runner passed. I prayed and trusted that my promise would get me through. At mile 24 my stomach had settled enough that I believed I could jog. I managed a 19 minute time for the last two miles and finished. Those miles taught me so much about faith, about strength, and about promises. My faith kept me from bursting into tears, and reminded me that despite the sympathy claps, I was not alone. It was my strength that kept my legs moving. I may not be able to bench press 300lbs, but my legs have gotten me through an ironman, a marathon, and countless other races. The promise to race for Mick was the final ingredient that got me to the finish line. A promise is a reflection on myself, and I refused to break this promise.
When it was all said and done, I barely broke 4 hours with my last 13.1 at over 2 hours and 30 minutes. From the amazing expo to the finish line it was a well run, well organized race. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to race and to be part of the Brooks family. The Rock N Roll is a fun series, and I encourage you to give one a shot. Not the day I had planned, but I would not be denied. The future is bright for anyone who refuses to give up. When life does not go according to plan, we must stick to our faith, our strength and with our friends and family or the promises that we have made to them. 2013 is wide open for me. Thank you so much to all those who tracked my race, who prayed knowing something was terribly wrong and for all those who have found encouragement in my running and my desire to live life to the fullest.