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Marathon Recap: The DetermiNation to Finish in New Orleans

March 13, 2012

My experience as an American Cancer Society DetermiNation athlete in New Orleans was nothing short of amazing.

Okay, the lovely Sarah and I experienced a bit of a travel hiccup trying to leave Knoxville. In brief, we ended up flying out on Saturday morning instead of Friday afternoon as intended because of a mechanical issue with our plane to Atlanta and a bunch of oversold flights to New Orleans. We got to town just in time to enjoy the DetermiNation athlete brunch, where my teammate Becky Polite and I were recognized for being top fund-raisers.

This is the top fund-raiser bib I wore on the back of my singlet along with the Honor and Memory flags of the wonderful people for whom I was running this year.

So far, I’ve raised $2,855. I would love to get to an even $3,000, so if anyone is interested in helping me get there, just click here.

After the brunch, the lovely one and I walked a few short blocks from our hotel to the marathon expo, which was held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

In front of the epic DetermiNation display at the marathon expo. I look tired, and I'm not even at the starting line!

After the expo, Sarah and I enjoyed  a carb-loading dinner at Coop’s Place, with our friend Tracie. Then, it was back to the hotel to get my feet off the ground and dream of race day.

We were up early for the all-team walk to the start line. Had a great time chatting with a number of my colleagues, who were also athletes or supporters. Then, it was race time! The weather was perfect: mid 50s to lower 70s by the time I crossed the finish line. The course was flat which, for a guy who has no choice but to train on the hills of East Tennessee, was a joy. And the support along the course was wonderful.

I was slow, but I knew I would be. It didn’t help that an urgent need to use the port-o-let at mile 10 threw me off my rhythm. And, my calves started cramping around mile 16 (note to self, compression socks next race). However, in addition to the names I was carrying on my back, which definitely kept me moving, I had four words rolling through my head: Do Not Give Up.

And I didn’t. I walked more of the race than I intended, but my calves were unrelenting despite downing salt tablets and more electrolytes than I had before. Still, my finish time of 6:21:11 was about 15 minutes faster than my last marathon. So, PR for me — woo hoo!!

After crossing the finish line and changing clothes, here's me with my race bling.

The bling!

Best piece of DetermiNation swag ever!

It was a great race and I can’t wait for my next DetermiNation race. Now to decide which one that will be: Savannah? Seattle? Chicago? Philly? There are so many great choices. If you’re interested in joining me and other DetermiNators from across the country, click here for information on all DetermiNation races.



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  1. Lynda permalink

    Congratulations on your PR! And thanks for being an inspiration 🙂
    You truly are.

  2. Michael, I am so proud of you! You truly are inspiring. Watching you, I know there’s nothing that I can’t do if I set my mind to it. I’m proud to call you my friend!

  3. Jeffrey Rowe permalink

    Michael, you continue to impress me and touch my heart. I am honored to be one of those cancer warriors for which you were running. Quite often friends and family say, “I’m with you every step of the way.” Although it appeared I was only there as a tag on your back, my heart was with you every step of those grueling 26.2 miles . You are a shining light in my life and I am so proud of all you have accomplished with losing weight, running and living a healthy lifestyle. You are an inspiration, my friend.

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