Sunday, December 12, 2010

St Jude Memphis Marathon 2010 Race Recap

So, my first attempt at blogging begins here.  Many times before I have thought about writing about running.  I have even experimented with it on Facebook but this will be my first real go at it.  It wont't be fancy but I hope it gets the point across.  This race was way more important than running.

When I began running in March of 2009 I had absolutely no desire to ever run a marathon.  I only wanted to get in better shape so that I could play with my kids without getting winded.  I finished my first 5K and was hooked.   As soon as I finished the Mercedes Marathon in February, I knew that I wanted to run St Jude someday.  I had always supported St Jude and I had heard what a great event that it was. 

For some good reason, I love supporting St Jude.  There is a place in my heart that makes me want to do as much as I can to support the efforts of the hospital.  If you have never heard about what St Jude does, please look into it. ( In short, St Jude is a Children's Research Hospital that doesn't charge families a penny for their services.  They told us at the Heroes Dinner that they needed about $1.1 million to operate their facilities daily.  In my opinion, it's one of the greatest causes to support.  But hey, that's my opinion.  Check them out and decide for yourself.

One of the great things about going to this marathon is that my wife Torie got to go with me.  This was her first chance to go to a marathon with me.  Her work schedule had not allowed her to go so far.  Here we are just before the race.

She was able to take a ton of great pics.  It was also really refreshing to see her at several points during the race.

On Friday night we attended the Heroes Dinner where all of those who raised money for the race were treated to pasta.  More importantly, we were able to hear the story of a little girl who had passed away just last year.  Her Mom told of how St Jude had done so much to help her daughter.  After one round of treatment failed to rid her body of neuroblastoma her daughter decided on her own to not take another round of experimental drugs.  She told of how her daughter fought and fought.  At the end, she looked at her Mom and told her that she thought she could make it.  Her Mom asked her, "make what?"  She responded that she thought she could make it to her Mom's birthday.  If that wasn't enough to make you cry, there is more.  Just before the daughter passed (after her Mom's birthday month), she asked her Mom if there was anything that she would change about what had happened.  Of course the Mom responded that she would change the fact that she had cancer.  The daughter then told her Mom that she wouldn't change anything about her life.  She responded, "What if God is protecting me from something worse?"    If that statement doesn't make you put things into perspective, nothing will.

Here I am at the dinner with Jenn (@jenn_if_er), Ashley, (@ashleyjane36) and Sam (@operationjack).

Another great thing about this race was that I got to see some really cool people that I have met through Twitter.  Jennifer, Ashley, and Sam all ran the race too.  We met at the race expo just before the dinner.  Many would think it weird to be excited about meeting "internet" friends in person but I beg to differ.  So many people on Twitter inspire me to keep training everyday.  All for different reasons but they are all important to me.  Meeting these three in person was great and I look forward to seeing them at events in the future. 

Here are Ashley and Sam sporting their Operation Jack gear.  Ashley completed her first!  Sam was running #54 I believe, on the way to #61 to raise awareness for Autism!  Check out !!

I also got to see a high school friend of mine at the race.  Neat seeing someone you haven't seen in 20 years and you still are great friends.  Krista ran her first half marathon at St Jude!  We also got to hang out that night and watch Auburn win the Southeastern Conference Title!

The race itself wasn't my best marathon but it wasn't my worst.  I really just wanted to finish this race and enjoy the atmosphere.  I took my Blackberry along and took a few pics myself.  The support and entertainment along the course was amazing.  Very rarely did I run a 10th of a mile without seeing someone cheering.  There was music about every 3 miles and all of it was good.  There were two spots where they were passsing out beer.  If I remember correctly, it was mile 16 and 21.  (And yes, Ashley, I enjoyed me a cup of beer at both stops too!!)   

My buddy Randy, who ran his first marathon with me last month, drove down with his two sons, William and Josh.  Talk about a pick me up!  At about mile 15 I heard someone yelling my name out from the side.  I looked over and saw the three standing there.  If you are a runner and reading this post, you know how much something like that can mean to you.  It was awesome.  I also saw them a few miles later at a red light.  They drove beside me for a good bit and the boys were yelling, "Go Uncle Chris! You're doing awesome!" and "War Eagle!"  I have to say that was really cool.  Gave me a little boost of energy at a tough spot in the race.  Thanks guys!

Marathons are tough.  No doubt.  Some are a little harder than others.  Some of us struggle with distance more than others.  You go through many things both physically and mentally during a marathon.  What this race reminded me was that there are so many others that struggle with things so much more important than a run.  At mile 4 we ran through the campus of St Jude.  I had my phone out and ready to take pics of the kids as they cheered.  Well, I couldn't do it.  I was too emotional to stop and take them.  The kids and their parents were cheeirng and holding signs.  They said many things, but most stated their gratitude for our support.  As I ran by them, I wanted to do so much more than raise a few dollars for them.  I passed the campus again at mile 22 so I did stop and take a pic of the hospital.

One last quick moment that I experienced on the run.  I noticed after the halfway point that there was a couple running together.  They had orange tshirts on with a picture of a little girl on the back of them.  Not unusual for this race.  As I ran by them I asked them who the little girl was.  They both responded in unison, "Our daughter".  I wanted to ask what she was being treated for but I could only say "You guys are awesome!" and continue on.

That moment wraps up the whole experience for me.  Training for two marathons and running both of them in one month is hard, no doubt.  I experienced a good bit of cramping and pain Saturday.  I wanted to quit many times.  It was a mental and physical struggle.  With that said, my training and running doesn't even compare to the struggle that these kids and their families are facing. 

I am thankful that I was able to raise a little money for this great cause. 

I am thankful that many of you were able to help raise those funds.

I am thankful that I am physically and mentally capable of running marathons.

I am thankful my three children are healthy.

I am thankful...

I recieved a metal for finishing.  In my mind, the kids at St Jude deserve this metal, not me.  We could do so much more.  My site is still accepting donations,   I wonder how much more we could raise?


  1. It was great to see you at the race, Chris! I'm glad you had such a good experience :-)

  2. Great first blog, Chris. Still bummed we didn't get to meet you. Running through the St. Jude campus was so emotional. I started choking up as soon as I was approaching the entrance. There was a mom who saw me in tears and she just looked me in the eye and said "thank you". It really put it in perspective towards the end of the race. I wanted to quit because my knee was hurting so bad but then I started thinking about how those precious kids aren't able to just quit when they want to. Opened my eyes a little bit. You did awesome and great work on the money you raised.

  3. Chris, I enjoyed the blog post...I wanted to hear more about the race so the blog was a good way for me to do that. It is definitely the most emotional race I've ever run and it sounds like that's the case for you too. Great work on raising the funds for the hospital! I look forward to reading more from your blog. Take care buddy!

  4. Very nicely done! Congratulations on a great race. You write very well, and that sounds like a fantastic event. Recover well, and continued success!

  5. Great job on all counts. You sound amazing! I also get a lot of daily inspiration from Twitter runners and friends.

  6. Thanks everyone for reading and commenting. I only hope I accurately conveyed what a great event and cause this was! As I said, the kids are the heroes, not me.