Ever since I was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006, I have wanted to participate in various triathlons and other running/walking events. In fact, one of my goals after being declared cancer-free was to complete a sprint triathlon within a year of my diagnosis. That goal forced me to work hard to regain some of my strength and conditioning after leaving the hospital. I achieved that particular target 11 months after being diagnosed by finishing the Green Bay Triathlon in June of 2007.
Over the next four years I slacked off quite a bit and did not participate in any of these events. But readers of this blog may remember that in August of 2012 I completed the swimming portion (1.2 miles) of a half-Ironman relay (my dad did the 56-mile bike, and my sister did the 13.1 mile run). I also did a 5k race in October.
This year I have set my sights on a few loftier racing goals and the first of those took place earlier today. At 6:30 this morning, my wife and I joined with over 20,000 other runners and walkers for Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon. We were there to walk the half-marathon. I had originally hoped to finish in under three hours and have been training for a while, but with less than a month to go before the race, my wife said that she would do it with me. So my training for the past month has been a little bit slower, but it’s been a lot more fun having her by my side.
We kept up a pretty good pace for the first six miles and then we reached the hill. The Eden Park area of Cincinnati includes a climb of about 350 feet over the course of a few miles. I felt good after the climb, but it was really tough on Casey. At the ten mile mark, she told me to go on without her so that I could finish in under three hours. I took off and ran much more than I expected—more than I ever have since my battle with leukemia—and finished in 2:56:06. I know that isn’t a fast time, but that’s okay, not too many 6’9″ guys are built for distance runs (I didn’t see anyone close to my height out there today). Casey did great too, coming in at 3:09:52 (her goal was 3:30). It rained for the last three miles, so we were soaking wet at the “Finish Swine.”
Other than a couple of nasty blisters and some expected soreness, we feel good. The race was a lot of fun and the folks of Cincinnati did a great job of getting out there to support the runners. It’s always fun to participate in these events and see how encouraging people can be. I was especially happy to see so many purple Team in Training shirts (this is a group I may join because it raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, something that is obviously close to my heart). I saw some unique outfits, funny signs, and plenty of pink pig costumes. God even blessed us with a rainbow right at the start of the race.
The main reason I wanted to take part in this race was to see how I would feel after going 13.1 miles because I hope to someday do the half-Ironman by myself, and a half-marathon is the final event of the half-Ironman. As of this moment, I’m not sure I want to go through 13.1 miles after swimming 1.2 miles and riding 56 miles (all of it must be completed in 8.5 hours). I still need plenty of work on the bike, so that will be my focus for the next month as I gear up for the Aurora BayCare Triathlon in Green Bay. I haven’t registered yet, but I’m planning to attempt the Olympic distance (800 yard swim, 29 mile bike, 6.2 mile run/walk). If all goes well, this will help me decide if I’m ready to try the half-Ironman. Even if I’m not ready yet, I’d still like to take part in a half-Ironman relay or two this summer. So if you need a swimmer for your relay (or even a walker), let me know.
There are a few other races I’d like to enter, but they may have to wait a year or two due to finances and vacation time. I’d love to do one of the marathons or half-marathons in the Redwoods (Humboldt Redwoods Marathon or the Avenue of the Giants Marathon, the latter was just run today). I’d also like to do the Nation’s Triathlon in Washington DC, which is the only triathlon in DC and it raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
I have really enjoyed training and participating in these events so far, but these have eaten into some of my writing time. As a result, I haven’t been blogging as much, and I’m still working on book 6 of the Truth Chronicles series. I’ll keep you posted on any future races. Thanks for reading.