The Night Before
The night before, both David and Joel used carbo-loading as an excuse to binge on everything they could find in the refrigerator. This included Tuna Pasta, Noodles, Wraps and Sandwiches. In fact, David started his carbo-loading the week before. The arrival of his best friend Alistair and his lovely wife Suzanne from London, meant that David could carbo-load on many jugs of beers between them.
Somehow, an endurance race would spur the weirdest behaviors of first time participants. Some break out in cold sweat the night before, others run madly for miles just the week before, but David very suddenly became extraordinarily organized. He can't even sort out his underwear drawer to divide the boxers from the briefs. Yet, the surprising thing for me was to watch David carefully hang his Gorilla suit on a hanger behind the bedroom door, with his race bib already attached to the suit. It was funny to watch because usually, even with a big business meeting the next morning, he wouldn’t bother with getting his suit ready the night before.
I fetched David and Joel to the venue as early as 5.15am on the morning of the race day. They said they needed about an hour to warm up. However, I found out from Joel that David was having fun flirting in front of the cameras snapping away at him, entertaining whoever wanted to have a photograph taken with what the other race participants thought was an event side-show.
When the race was flagged off at 6.30am, the two of them made their way along the route around Universal Studios at a relatively quick but steady pace, apart from a pit stop to forage for food. By the time they got out to the 10km mark, that’s when David’s calves started to twang around like a broken guitar string. He suffered the dreaded cramps.
Throughout all that, Joel had been the biggest supporter cheering on his Pops, and encouraging him to brave the pain and push it to the end.
I tracked them every hour via text through Joel, and had several text messages from concerned friends who ran past the two of them at various spots along the route.
I waited for them at 10am near the finishing line, still getting blow by blow accounts about David’s painful legs, the weight of the suit weighing down on him and the heat of the morning sun becoming increasingly unbearable. In fact, David admitted that he was close to giving up. However, with Joel egging him on, he continued to soldier on.
By 10.30am, I began to worry because he was supposed to have arrived at the finishing line by then. Joel informed me that he was still trudging along at the Flyer, slowing down his pace to accommodate his exhaustion. I sent a text telling him to take his time and that no matter what; he needed to complete it now. He was just 2 km away from the finish line.
The Gorilla Finally Made It
Finally, I spotted David and Joel at the bend just 150m from the finish line. I was almost near to tears, both from worry and pride. When they saw me at the sidelines cheering them on, their strides picked up enough to have them cross the finish line at 11am. 4 ½ hours to complete a half marathon for the first time, with not much training and wearing a stupid suit. Not bad at all!
I am so proud of the both of them. David really came through with his promise. He made that pledge to carry it through for the Children’s Cancer Foundation, and he owed it to the support he had gotten from everyone who was behind him. Joel, was the perfect run partner. He admitted that if his Pops had decided to throw in the towel, by hook or by crook, he would be pushing David from behind. I found out hours later that the reason Joel was bouncing off the walls while David was completely exhausted was that Joel had finished the entire pack of candy and left David with only 1. I packed in 4 buns for breakfast in their little kit bag, and Joel finished 3 of them, leaving David with only 1. David finally had to fall back on the energy gels which thankfully did not lead him to the queue at the portaloos.
So this was their little adventure. Never again, please. However, with the bottom of our hearts I'd like to thank Fulford PR, Spectrum and all our wonderful friends who supported the cause.
About the writer:
The writer of this blog post is a 43 year old mother of one, who spreads her time between her day job as a marketeer at a financial institution, her hobby as a certified professional tarot reader and numerologist, and her family which includes a 19 year old son. She's married to a Scot who has been affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" and prays that he does not find out that the term when translated, has labeled him as a "Ginger Head".