Chris giving Peck a hug of gratitude after the finish
Angela giving an emotional Chris a squeeze at the end of the race
Bob, Chris and Ed just after Chris finished the race
Almost a week later I am finally taking at moment at naptime on Friday to write our experiences from the San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon.
I will begin by explaining what Chris and I got out of the marathon: I received a beautiful Tiffany necklace that finishers of the marathon received (assuming most of them are women, the necklace is a fitting finishing gift), while Chris got Rhabdomyolysis.
I am enjoying my necklace right now, wearing it proudly as a person who has never and will never run a marathon, but did a fantastic job as a spectator on Sunday. Chris is slowly recovery from his condition. Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle tissue. When this happens there is a release of toxins in the bloodstream caused by muscle trauma or strenuous exercise, such as a marathon. In healthy people, the kidneys filter out the toxins and with tons of hydration the body just heals itself. In unhealthy people, Rhabdomyolysis can cause kidney damage. Luckily Chris falls into the healthy person category.
Chris is insisting that I mention that other than the Rhabdomyolysis, he also got a tremendous sense of accomplishment and a real emotional connection to those people fighting blood cancer, or who have lost someone they love to blood cancer.
So, I will condense a very interesting experience for me, with many stories to tell, into an abbreviated tale with just the most important points covered.
We woke up at 5:30am Sunday morning and Chris geared up like he was someone going out for battle. We realized late how accurate this analogy actually is. He had layers of clothes, gu galore (the energy gu runners consume during the race), iPod, electrolyte supplements, racing bib, Garmin GPS watch, and his belt ‘o waters. We got out there in the dark and the energy was amazing. Tens of thousands of people filled the streets and lined the sidewalks waiting for the race to begin. There were so many people in the race that it took Chris, Bob and Ed 10 minutes to cross the start line after the starting gun was fired . After they passed us at the starting line Angela, Heidi and I got ourselves a Starbucks and headed out for a morning of spectating and cheering.
I didn’t realize ahead of time that I was on this journey with the “super spectator” or I like to cal her the “spectator nazi”, my dear friend Angela. I was the driver and Angela and Heidi led us to the next place to get out and cheer the boys on. Angela had her map that outlined at which mile they would be at approximately what time and we would drive like maniacs around the city, find a park and run to the spot and watch for them to come by. We had our Team Trevor banner that we held up at each spot and I quickly realized how important this must be and how much it means to Bob and Angela to be at these races. Runners and walkers would come by and yell “go Team Trevor” at us and kiss Trevor’s face on the poster, which made me realize that these races really keep Trevor’s memory alive and well.
By the end of the race, we made it to the finish line and watched as each of the guys, who had gotten separated during the race, came across the finish line. Chris was in tears at the sheer difficulty and emotional achievement of the 26.2 mile run. There were difficult hills and times when Chris wasn’t sure he could go on but he had so much support along the way. Our neighbor and friend Kathy stuck with him up until the last 10 miles supporting him. Then another friend Peck stepped in the last 10 miles and kept him going all the way through to the finish line. Chris says he may not have finished the race without Peck supporting him that last ten miles. When Chris was having one of his lowest moments of the race, when he hit “the wall,” a woman ran by him and yelled “Team Trevor – woo hoo!” then turned around and ran back when she realized Chris was having a difficult time. She said “I want to tell you how much this means to me what you are doing. You are the real honoree of this race. Because I am a cancer survivor they always want me to speak at these events but I never do because I always feel like the real heroes are the people who are fighting for the cure and raising money and doing all they can to cure cancer. “ Chris was running along feeling like he was barely alive when this woman came along. Her name was Kelly and her boyfriend’s name was Op. They ran with Chris the rest of the six miles to the finish line. Ten minutes before crossing Chris said to Op, “tell me about your name Op” and he said, it is short for Optimism. Chris finished in 5 hours.
It was a very amazing weekend with lots of new experiences for Chris and I. I would like to thank Angela, the spectator nazi, for making this last weekend amazing for everyone, especially our running husbands. Thanks for the cool hats and all of the organization on race day. Trevor is proud of his parents for sure. I am proud of Chris for raising more than $6,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and for persevering through the pain and finishing the race.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.