Friday, June 14, 2013

Filled With Emotions For 26.2 Miles

I’m always emotional at the start of a marathon.  Am not sure if it’s the nerves, the excitement, the adrenaline, the National Anthem which often is played, or what.  I’ll admit, I often am teary-eyed in the minutes before the starting-gun goes off.

That said, as much as I’m looking forward to running the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon on July 4, on Sauvie Island just north of Portland, Ore., I’m sure the emotions will be full, if not overflowing, before I take those first few strides on the 26.2-mile journey through scenic, though often remote, portions of Oregon.
With Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai

I’m dedicating this marathon to Michael Michaelevich, the Israeli military member who died in March after running the Tel Aviv Half Marathon, which I also ran.  I didn’t know Michael, nor do I know anyone in his family, including his parents (Albert and Carla), his wife/widow (Gal) or his sister (Shulamit).  I have, though, spoken by phone with his dad, whose English is limited and my Hebrew is, well, basically non-existent.  Still, I told him what I was doing to honor his son and am sure he understood.  He was happy and, in an email he wrote to me, said he was honored – and I am too, just to be able to do it.  Michael was 29.

Also when I step to the Starting Line in Oregon, I will think about Brant Gniewek, who died in late-May.  Brant was a friend who I had seen literally three days before I was writing his obituary.  Brant’s commitment to running in 2013 is showcased with a charity that he founded, 52 For 52, in which he was planning to run 52 races this year of varying lengths, each to help someone affected by cancer.  Brant died unexpectedly of a heart attack.  He was 30.
At the Dead Sea

In addition, since running the 2012 Chicago Marathon last October, I have worn a pink wristband for my Mom who I know is cheering for me in every race I run – and she loves when I come home after a race with “her medal.”  Yep, it’s become customary in recent races to give her my medal, which she always wears with pride – and it’s just as touching for me to see her with the medal around her neck.

In early-June, I was back in Tel Aviv and, naturally, running along the beach path adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea.  It’s always a fun run, a fun route, with lots of eye-candy everywhere – whether heading toward Jaffa or the opposite direction, toward the Hilton Hotel and beyond.  I’m sure the bicyclists can’t stand us runners in Tel Aviv, just as is the case in Chicago along the lakefront path.  Thankfully, if they cuss me out in Hebrew, I just smile and wave, not understanding a word of what they just said.  

In the Dead Sea
Several times I ran past the Dan Panorama Hotel, and of course thought of the countless runs back home in Chicago I’ve done with Dan Cornejo.  It also was reflective as the Dan Panorama Hotel is near the Start and Finish Lines of the Tel Aviv Marathon.  It was just a few months earlier when I crossed the Finish Line after running 13.1 miles through the streets of Tel Aviv.  It also made me sad that Michael didn’t get to cherish his medal from the Tel Aviv Half Marathon – which is part of the reason I’m running the Independence Day marathon in Oregon for a complete stranger. 

Michael, no doubt, contributed to Israel’s independence and strength through his Army service – and Israel has become one of my favorite spots in the world.

The Foot Traffic Flat Marathon will be my 19th marathon run in just under six years.  As of now, the Honolulu Marathon in December is slated to be No. 20, but who knows if I decide to add another marathon between now and the end of the year.  I’m already registered to run 26.2-miles from downtown Honolulu, out to Hawaii Kai and ultimately finishing at Kapiolani Park, steps away from the sand of Waikiki Beach – and I truly can’t wait to run in Hawaii for the sixth consecutive year with Dell, and hopefully Nick, too.

Filled with emotions, I can’t want to hit the Finish Line of the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon,


P.S. Go Blackhawks!
With Blackhawks star Patrick Kane

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