My First Marathon Attempt May 1998 FAILED.

My first attempt was a disaster…but there were lessons learned, harsh lessons, but I did benefit from the experince….but, it would have been nice not to have gone through a weekend that kinda sucked to get here.

23 years ago, and I don’t remember everything…I do remember dry heaving at mile 20, and I do remember how stupid it felt to not finish, not a feeling I ever want to feel again….well I did, but more on that in stories to come?

Not sure if running the Okanagan Marathon in Kelowna, BC without any real training was smart, actually, well it wasn’t…it was stupid..but, I am a guy, I just say, ‘watch this’ and well…that’s what happens, and hey, at least I didn’t die?

I began my journey way back then, when I took a Learn to Run clinic at the end of 1996, ran a half marathon in August 1997 – which was a fun learning experience – a lot of friends were heading to the BC interior to run the full, and figured, why not join them?

I did run, I did train, some..I think I ran a few 20+Ks. …but mostly 5, 10Ks..with way too many rest days, and not enough sleep…

I remember, flying to Kelowna, going over my training journal trying to justify what’s I’d done during the entire flightm the training days I’d missed, and hoping I’d done enough……I hadn’t….but, could I still fake it?

The hotel I stayed in was right on Kelowna’s main drag, walking distance to the start/finish….but, still a long bus ride to the package pick up, and nowhere near the pasta party…….and noisy….but, I had a place to try and sleep…….

I didn’t really eat or hydrate that night before, ordered out for pizza, and again, hoped for the best…I even went out for a short training run…along the lake..that felt okay, but, well…..I didn’t feel so good the day before, the night before….

Then came the worst part….May 1998, Kelowna, springtime in Kelowna….Victoria Day long weekend…the weekend of the annual Kelowna Regatta – so busy, busy and NOISY…..also, even better, the weekend of a Hells Angels Convention…can you guess how noisy downtown Kelowna was? Bikes reving up and down mainstreet, ALL NIGHT LONG! Imagine how hard it is to sleep the night before your first marathon, motorcycles running up and down mainstreet, bellow your bedroom window, ALL NIGHT LONG!!!!!!

I don’t remember much about the whole race day…..I remember running with a group that included a few friends from home, lots of hills, Jeff Galloway cheering us on at the bottom of one hill, some residential, and a highway passed some fields somewhere, and really feeling awful…..running in the middle of nowhere, no lake or beach anywhere close…….we were doing 10 and 1s, and I was moving not so bad, about 3 hours in, 6.2 miles left to go, I stopped off at an aid station near and school, to take a break and just heaved…..I guess I hadn’t hydrated a lot, or maybe too much, and no nutrition…..but I was done..

My first marathon over…..6.2 miles from the finish line…..

Had to be the worst feeling ever……I caught a ride back to the start/finish in an EMS truck…as we drove back we passed my group, and I did think of getting out and joining them, I was feeling better, but couldn’t….then I waited and watch at the finish line… everyone, people I knew, finished…kinda happy for them…but, it sucked, nothing felt good…

Worse was of course flying back home…..failed.

I learned a lot…one, the main thing, you can’t fake a marathon (well, duh?)

you’re either trained or your not….but that’s not the reason I didn’t finish…cause it ain’t about the legs…….if you believe you can?…… have to wanna…

I knew from the starting gun, I wasn’t ready, my head knew it, and convinced itself…I wasn’t gonna get it done…

The body just won’t do when the head says no……

And yeah, you have to train – yeah that thing – and you have to be ready….

Can I do Vancouver again…..?

I’d like to do the full…let’s see how the training goes….fist let’s get to 21K…that may be it on May 1st………2022!…… step at a time, one day at a time…get better, go long, then maybe longer


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