Sunday, December 6, 2009

2 hours until the last marathon...

It's 0408hrs in Las Vegas and the sky is black, the air is cold (33 degrees), and the Strip is completely blocked off with police cars and race officials. In two hours and seven minutes, the gun will go off and the final marathon of this ten race, twelve month campaign will be underway. 

I've had mixed emotions about this race in the weeks leading up to it. I've had little if any time to focus on the logistics, or anything really having to do with the race itself. Work has been relentless and my drained body is struggling to multi-task more than two items at this point. That said, client needs won out completely, and Vegas has been an after-thought at best. Once you land here though, it's impossible not to be taken in by the 'Vegas experience.'

The course itself is perfectly flat and despite a meandering tour around the Strip--which amazingly, will be entirely closed off to traffic--the full marathon course winds through the desolate communities and desert landscape that surround the glitz, glamour and neon lights of this poker-fueled desert oasis. I must say, Elite Racing has done an excellent job putting together not only a Vegas-centric course, but also a first-class event in general. Dan Cruz, the PR director for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series, is one of the hardest working guys in the business and it's reflected by this inaugural race selling out in spectacular fashion. 

Right now, my eyes are welling up from the Icy Hot on my legs, and the Vicks Vapo rub on my congested chest, throat and sinuses. My body is exhausted and since the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 25, it's been revolving more and more each day. Tired turned to fatigue. Aches turned to consistent pain. Motivation...well, that hasn't changed. I have the same clarity of purpose this morning, that I did on January 25th down in Miami as I was waiting to start the first of ten marathons. There, the air was warm, the city lights were bright, my head was shaved, the excitement was palpable. Now, eleven months later, the air is cold, the lights are bright, my hair has grown out, the excitement is building, but the bouncing, nervous legs of January, have been replaced by a sense of peace, pride, and dedication to the fulfillment of a promise I've made to young service men across the country.

Twelve months, ten marathons, thousands of miles, dollars, smiles, tears, Aleve, icebaths, Icy Hot, hugs, high fives, low tides, midnight cramps, Nikes, 180s, Nasal strips, workout logs, break-ups, make ups, shreaded shoes, broken hearts, and uplifted spirits, I can finally see the proverbial finish line in sight. It will take me quite a while to wrap my head around the totality and depth of this transformative journey--both intellectually and emotionally. To say it's been an experience, would be a dramatic understatement. Until then...

26.2 miles to go.

Doug Eldridge
DLE Sports