My Date with Donna - A Runner's story

Oh Donna...

Warning - this story will include harsh language.  

Just typing her name brings chills.  The year was 2009.  I was at work.  Whilst speaking with a co-worker, is when I first heard her name.  Casually introduced to me and highly encourage to get to know her.

So I reached out.  Paid my dues so to speak and the date was set.  February 21, 2010 was the date.

Let me give you a little background on Donna.  Donna was a local to the area.  A local celebrity of sorts before Instagram.  A striking personality.  A fighter.  A breast cancer survivor.  And also a runner.

Now if you know my story, you know damned well I was NOT a runner in 2009 or 2010.  But not wanting to be a total disappointment, I put forth...  "some" effort.  Yeah, not really much.  I mean, I went out jogging a few times.  Even survived a 7 mile jaunt which almost caused me to face plant into concrete, but yeah...  I didn't take Donna that seriously so...  Yeah.

So Donna in all her bubbly personality and her ambition to bring awareness to the local masses, put on this 'lil' run.  Now nationally known as the Donna Deegan Breast Cancer Marathon and Half Marathon.

Yeah...  I signed up for a freaking half marathon under the pressure of a couple of co-workers to save the freaking "ta-tas!"

I'm a fan of ta-tas, but damned I had no clue what I was getting into.

So on my famed date with the Donna half, I show up early and meet with my coworkers who are more than prepared for this run.  I had no clue what I was doing, but here I was at the start.

National anthem, countdown.  5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and away we go in our wave.

I knew absolutely NOTHING about pacing, burnout, going out too fast, or what the hell I was here any way.  The first mile flew by.  Caught up in the crowd and the excitement.  By mile 2 or three someone in the crew mentioned we need to slow down as we were going too fast.  Yeah it was already too late for me.

Fast forward to the entrance to the beach.  Yeah, beach!  Depending on your distance, there were miles on the beach! 

For the uninitiated, beach running is vastly different than running on a road or a trail.  Beach running saps your soul one step at a time.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  As we entered the beach, the wonderful volunteers were handing out GU packs for runners to stay energized.

Runners know the saying "Nothing new on race day."  Yeah I didn't know about that rule or saying, so I reach out and grab one and throw the package contents into my mouth...

Taste buds freak out and I fight back my body natural convulsion urges, as I struggle to determine what skunk ass juice I just ingested!

Oh the horrors.  It took the next couple of miles on the sand to get over the horrid experience I subjected myself to.

As we departed the beach around mile 6, I was still in the game.  Albeit with a slight soreness in my right knee where I had torn the meniscus a couple of years prior.  First step on the concrete and...

I've never been in a fire fight.  Neither had I been to war in Iraq or any other armed conflict where bullets were involved.  But that first step onto the asphalt from the beach, a pain shot through my right knee that I would describe as a war injury!  Oh 😶

I reach down to grab it and notice it feels better with pressure.  Now I have a pink bandana tied tightly around my knee as if to cut all blood circulation off to everything!  But we still in it, I say to myself as I hobble along in a weird freaking Thriller dance like jog.

As we make our way to mile 8, I hear the screams of sirens behind.  Despite my self pity condition, I'm no where in as bad of shape to where the ambulance has had to come and pick me up off the ground.  The sirens get closer, my brain rushes through all the scenarios that could have caused such an injury.

I'm thankful it's not me injured as a motorcycle rushes by with sirens blaring.  Spectators began cheering to my surprise.  A speeding blur passes quickly to my left.  Before I can process what the hell is going on, a second blur.

It's the freaking leaders of the fucking marathon!  I'm not even at mile 8.  These fuckers started the same time we did.  Okay, they had maybe a 3 or 5 minute head start (the race wasn't as huge as it is now in 2010). 

But really!  These freaks of nature are at their mile 20 - 21 with a FIVE minute head start and I'm hobbling along at mile 7.5!?   Here I'm thinking some poor soul has had a major medical catastrophe requiring the need to have sirens on the course to expedite their need to get to the nearby hospital at the start line, but noooooooo!  They need a police escort to move slow fuckers like myself out the way so they can continue on their speed domination! 

By mile 8.5 - 9, I'm mentally destroyed.  My knee hurts.  It's hot out here.  I'm sweaty.  I haven't even met Donna.  I'm not having fun.

My crew, who run and were more prepared than I, are being the most patient and motivating people they can be.  Bless their hearts.

I curse them out!

They go on their way.  I begin walking.  I don't know why life exists anymore.  I can't even begin to tell you what happened through mile 12.

All I know is a little past mile 12 on the bridge I had given up.  I realized somewhere around mile 11ish, golf carts were picking up people who were tapping out.  All I needed to do was to secure one of these carts of liberation whose capacity had not been reached.

So I sat on the side of the bridge.  Waiting.

I tried to motivate myself.  I thought about all the folks, the women, who were participating who had overcome breast cancer...  Good for them.  I ain't got breast cancer and I'm glad they survived, but this shit ain't about to kill me.

Even thought about my mema who is a breast cancer survivor.  Oh well.   Good for her. 

 I thought about a dear coworker, who was a dear friend whom I admired for her overcoming breast cancer.  Her attitude is so positive and she would encourage me to continue on the final half mile.  Yeah, fuck her.  I ain't got a damned thing to prove to her or any other motherfucker!

Where the hell is that fucking golf cart.

Determined to get on the next golf cart as I sat there with my head down.  Not because I was disappointed, but because I was that damned tore up from the physical beat down and heat.  I just wanted to lay the fuck out!

In the distance, I hear a difficult to describe metal sound.  I look up...

What da fuck!  It's a one legged fucker cruising by with a fucking smile on his face with a pacing crew.

My dear departed grandmother would gladly tell you I'm hard headed, but I do have some pride.

No way in hell I'm about to let this one legged smiling ass dude finish this shit when I got two perfectly good legs, despite the sheer discomfort I feel.

I stand up....  Oh gawd the pain that shoots up from below my wait from my two skinny stilts I call legs.  I focus on this one legged dude now about 20 yards ahead of me and away we go over the bridge, down the on-ramp, under the underpass, to the finishing chute!

I don't remember crossing the line.  I don't remember much thereafter.  Hell I didn't even get to see Donna!  Byotch stood me up!  (LOL!)  Well, not really.

See it took me over three hours to complete 13.1 miles.  But my pride got me there.  I swore never to do anything like that EVER again. 

Little did I know that day, Donna and I would have yet another date with Donna four years later.  But that's another Runner's story for another day. 

But if you're looking for a nice half marathon with a cause in the beautiful state of Florida, which includes a run on the beach, check out the Donna Deegan Breast Cancer Marathon and Half Marathon.  It's a great race for a great cause, just be properly prepared.  😉 #savethetatas

1 comment:

  1. Dude this is an amazing story. And the writing had me hooked the whole time.


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