Sunday, December 7, 2014

California International Marathon

I guided Dan Berlin in the California International Marathon today. The weather in Sacramento was ideal for running: 50s F and cloudy. A few minutes before the race started at 7 a.m., we were clustered with thousands of jittery runners loosening up and jumping around. The imminent sunrise scattered the eastern sky with soft hues of orange and red, balanced on the opposite horizon by a fat, full moon glowing behind a gossamer cover of clouds. The transcendent moment disappeared quickly as the race started, however, and my attention quickly shifted from the stunning morning sky to the throng of runners surrounding us. 

Guiding a blind athlete demands attention to details, like avoiding small divots in the asphalt, raised reflective markers in the pavement that are just high enough to cause a stumble, and the obvious problem of other runners cutting in front. It can be helpful to have more than one guide to look out for obstacles, and today I was joined by Eric Waterman, an accomplished runner who took turns holding Dan's tether. 

Although he only started distance running a few years ago, Dan is already an experienced marathoner and knew how to pace himself to cover the distance. He struggled with foot cramps and lower back tightness in the final 8 miles of the race, but was able to hang tough and "embrace the suck." That quote came from a participant in one of my recent CEO workshops, who liked my idea of embracing the value of discomfort. Dan adopted the saying, and we took solace in the phrase as we suffered from exhaustion near the end of the race. 

It's hard for me to express adequately the respect I have for Dan and his outlook on life. It was an honor to serve as his guide today.

Here are some pics:
4:45 a.m.: Leaving our hotel for the race start. Dan with his 14-year-old daughter Talia, who volunteered to hand out water on the course.

The final stretch of the marathon with Dan Berlin and fellow guide Eric Waterman

With Dan and Eric immediately after finishing

1 comment:

  1. congratulations to 50% of my amazing team!! i'm proud of you guys.... you make it all look easy.