Desire Over Reason
David’s 1st Marathon
January 15, 2006

What a year!!

One year ago I weighed 350 pounds. (159 KG) and smoked almost a pack of cigarettes per day.
One year later I’m under 220 pounds (100 KG) and I just finished my first Marathon.

At the beginning of 2005, I made a decision to improve my health and get in better shape. On January 2, 2005 I started the diet and exercise program and committed to stick with it as long as it took.

The exercise program consisted of daily walks. I increased the time and distance gradually over the first 2 months. The diet was what I liked to call “Third Grade Math”; burn more calories than you consume. Pretty basic, but effective.

By Spring, I’d lost enough weight to add some slow jogging to the walks. By summer, the walks had turned into runs. I was also doing strength training. In July I was starting to think if I trained properly, I could complete a Marathon. This was a pretty wild idea considering where I was in January.

The Houston Marathon is an extremely well organized event. There are 3 “warm-up” races, 20K, 25K, and 30K.
I entered each of them to gauge my progress  and determine if I could complete a full 26.2 mile (42.16K) Marathon. After completing the 30K race in December, I decided to go for it and I signed up for the Houston Marathon.

The Marathon started with a beautiful sunrise. The course made a single loop winding its way through several Houston neighborhoods. There were 15,000 runners entered for either the half-Marathon or the full Marathon. Thousands and thousands of people lined the streets of Houston to cheer on all the runners. There’s hardly a moment during the race when there’s not several people enthusiastically giving the runners their full support.

At the nine mile mark the half-Marathon runners split off from the full Marathon runners. At that point I was still feeling pretty good. I felt a little envious of these runners turning off the course and heading for the finish line. I never thought I’d ever be envious of someone running 13.1 miles!

My family was amazing. Mary and Rodney saw me off at the start and then met me a the 6 mile mark, the 10 mile, 17 mile, 21 mile, and the finish. Bear in mind that the Marathon runs on a closed course. All the streets that made up the course were closed to traffic. Mary had to find a way to each spot by going back roads, parking, and getting into position before I arrived at each mark. (Fortunately for her, I’m pretty slow!)

My parents and three of my sisters were also at several points on the Marathon course. I never went more than 2 or 3 miles without seeing someone form my family. I will always remember the support of my family. I can honestly say that I could not have done this without Mary’s full support; not only on race day, but also during the entire 4 month training period.

Mary also printed my name on the front and back of my shirt. All during the race, the people that were lined up to cheer the runners would call out my name as a ran by. I felt like a star. She also printed the words “Desire Over Reason” on the shirt. This became my motto. Several runners on the course thought those 3 words summed up the mindset for running a Marathon.

I had hoped to run a faster time. Everyone told me that the goal of your first Marathon is to finish regardless of your time. Even so, I wanted to finish in less than 5 hours. My time was 5 hours 23 minutes.

Mary planned a big reception for me after the race. Friends and family came by all afternoon wishing me congratulations. The diet was off for the day, so we had Mexican food, Margueritas, and beer. (Hey, I deserved it!)

As I write this I am still very sore from the race. 15 minutes after I finished the race, Rodney asked me, “So Daddy, when is your next Marathon?”

“Not tomorrow,” I replied.


Links of Interest

David and Rodney (peak weight, 350 lbs.)

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go." - T.S. Eliot

David runs in the first warm-up race, the Houston 20K

On a few t-shirts:

“My sport is what your sport does for punishment”

Overheard from a runner after the race:

“I feel pretty good, but I will NEVER do this again!”

On a runner’s shirt:

“I eat 26.2 for breakfast!”

Rodney after the Marathon:

“So Daddy, when is your next Marathon?”

On the poster my sister made:

“RUN David RUN!” (the name Forrest was crossed out)

Some memorable quotes!