As is the tradition of TBR Dream Marathon, after the race, I post anecdotes about the marathon that I receive in my Inbox from our new marathoners. My inbox gets inundated with stories of triumph, love, gratitude, passion, and empowerment that it’s too much of a waste if only I read it. Through this series of stories (one every week for the next couple of months), may you all be inspired to run a marathon or dream big in your own lives.
Mark’s story struck me. I had never read a race report with such raw emotions. He spoke from the heart and held nothing back. If you think of it, he probably wrote it the same way he ran the marathon.
His story is one of sadness, pain, strength, and triumph all rolled into one. It shows the mix of emotions one undergoes not only during training, while running the marathon, but also after the race. As for Mark, it was even more emotional as he ran the race for his dearly departed wife.
TBR DREAMER: MARK AGBULOS, BIB NO. 008
[CHAPTER 1: Marathon High]
I dedicate this run for Aubrey, my beloved wife who passed away last December 2012. She whispered words of encouragement and motivation. And, threw flying kisses from heaven. She teased me about all the crazy stuff I did while she was gone. She told me she supports me in everything I’ll do …and that she’d be there whenever I need her.
Only the crazy run a marathon. Jim Lafferty, co-founder of The Bull Runner Dream Marathon said, “at 10:00 this moring, you will say something that 99.99% of the world population cannot say. You are going to be able to say, I am a marathoner!”
Now, I am even crazier than the 0.01%. I ran the marathon with fever, colds, and cough on a tough course – at Nuvali. There were 60 degrees long inclines and declines, as described by a friend and fellow marathoner. Pushing it beyond your limits is an understatement. Running this marathon was going to hell with all its demons pulling you deeper into its depths.
– Mark at the early portions of the race –
Sanity almost got the best of me. Even before reaching the 21K mark, I wanted to quit. I was sick. I felt really terrible. It’s a good thing I posted earlier that I would come home triumphant. I didn’t want to eat my own words. I made sure I was overflowing with nutrition. Also, Jim Lafferty said that you could never DNF.
I cried as I neared the finish line. But, wiped my tears before crossing it. I didn’t want tears in my pics.
I thank my personal pacer, Paolo Agbulos. Without him, I would have DNF’ed. And I would also like to thank Aubrey, who sent kisses and ran the marathon with me.
Now, I’m wasted. My whole body is sore, with elevated fever. Fortunately, the organizers and volunteers made the race fun. Seeing odd and funny stations like a Kikay Station (to make you look good for photo ops), a Breast Feeding Station (for marathoner/mothers), and a Beer Station (with a tiny “root” before the word beer), among many others, lifts you up.
Completing a marathon sick is still quite an accomplishment, even with a slow time. No, it is a big accomplishment. I AM A MARATHONER!!!
I’m feeling a little low. I’ve learned I’m really tough.
My heart, mind, spirit and body has been through extreme challenges and survived. My whole being has reached its peak.
I know I can face anything. I have the capability to give it everything I’ve got. I did it. I’m a winner. I fell into a deep hole, climbed out, and ended up reaching the peak of the highest mountain. I was happy to see… the sunrise for awhile… But lost meaning.
So, what now?
Sure, I could set higher goals and achieve them. I could become stronger. But, why?
Right now, I rather be weak if that would mean being with the person who makes me happy.
Aubrey fought all the battles with me, even in the events before the marathon. She was there every step of the way, to help me during my darkest hours, and even consenting to all the craziness I did. All the trials ended with completing a marathon at my worst physical condition. She ran with me, too. But when I crossed the finishline, everyone else was there, and she was gone. The person whom I share challenges and victories with is gone.
Last night, I called out to her. She said with a smile, “Victory is all yours. Look at you. You don’t need me anymore…”
* Editor’s Note: We highly discourage runners from participating in races especially marathons when they are ill. Please prioritize your health.