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June 29, 2004
just keep going
Anne really wants to blog about the marathon . . . but she's working this morning. I've finished my laundry, washed the breakfast dishes, and fed the dogs, but I really don't feel like mowing the lawn right now. So until she gets the time to write, I'm going to share two miles . . .
At the pre-race dinner, John Bingham said, "At some point tomorrow, you'll know that you're going to finish. It may come at mile 5, it may come at mile 26 . . . but you'll know
. You will also have some miles that are great, some miles that are not so great, and some miles that are just awful . . . "
At Mile 9, I knew I was going to finish: the weather was great, I felt great, and we'd just finished the only tough part of the course. Mile 16 was the first "just awful" mile for me: my quads ached, and my arms felt like they were made of stone. A wind had picked up, and it was blowing smoke and ash from a fire in Mexico right into our faces. By the time we crossed Mile 17, I started to get scared that I may not finish. Maybe I'd spoken too soon at Mile 9.
"It may help to have a mantra," John Bingham had said, "to get you through those awful miles."
I recalled my mantra from the Avon 3*Day: The pain is temporary. The memories last forever.
It didn't work. The pain may have been temporary, but it was climbing up my legs and spreading across my lower back.
You can do it, Wil. You can do it.
No luck with that. I didn't know if I could do it. I called my own bluff and folded that idea.
Just keep going.
Wait a minute . . . that may work.
Just keep going. Just keep going.
Yeah! That works. Nothing to really think about, nothing to trick myself into believing. It's just a simple but effective motivation in three short words.
Just keep going. Just keep going. Just keep going. Just keep going.
I looked up at the horizon, relaxed neck and shoulders, and just kept going. I filled my conscious mind with my new mantra, and let my subconscious mind find a way to let my body continue moving forward. After a few minutes (I think) I put myself into a sort of trance.
Just keep going. Just keep go--
" . . . doing?" Anne said, from down a long, metallic tunnel. I barely heard her over the thumping of my feet on the ground, and my heart and breath throbbing in my ears.
"How are you doing?"
Just keep going. Just keep going. Just keep going. Just keep going.
"I'm fine," I said.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. Let's just keep going." Just keep going. Just keep going. Just keep going.
Mile 17 wound around the North side of Mission Bay, and through a residential neighborhood. Several families were out on their lawns, cheering us on. Children ran into the street and offered high-fives.
Just keep going. Just keep going. Just keep going. Just keep going.
After a few more minutes, the road passed between two tall apartment houses, and I discovered that I'd been staring at one of those blue reflectors in the middle of the street — the ones that we always drove over in high school (a stupid-but-incredibly-entertaining practice we called "Smurfing."). Next to the reflector, was a small laminated piece of paper with a paper clip at the top. I immediately recognized it: I'd seen several of my fellow participants wearing tags like this on their shorts, with the names of people they were running or walking for.
I stopped at the reflector, much to the consternation of the woman who almost ran into me.
I crouched down, and picked it up. My legs were so tired and sore, I felt like one of those dreams where no matter how hard you try, you can't move more than a few inches. I looked at the tag:
IN HONOR OF
The pain is temporary. The memories last forever . . .
In Memory Of Dennis T.
Jan. 04, 2004
If Kris can take 100 days of chemo and radiation, I can take a few more tough miles . . .
In Memory of Dennis T . . .
Just keep going . . .
Just. Keep. Going!
I stood up.
"What are you doing?" Anne said.
I showed her the tag I'd picked up.
"Someone was walking or running for these people, and it didn't seem right to leave them here on the ground. I'm going to take them with me."
"Okay," she said.
"How are you doing?" I asked.
"Okay. Let's just keep going." She said. I hear that women have been trying to find ways into their husband's heads for centuries . . . maybe she'd done it!
I stood up, and clipped the tag onto my shorts.
"Yeah. Let's just keep going." I said. Was she really in my head?
You're one hot mamma! I glanced at her, but she was focused on the horizon.
Hey, baby . . . huh huh huh.
"What?" She said.
"What?!" I said.
"Why are you staring at me?"
"Uh . . . I don't know."
When we passed mile 18, I looked at the clock, and realized that mile 17 had taken us almost 18 minutes -- our longest mile, yet.
"Let's see if we can take some time off this mile," I said. Maybe having an extra five sets of feet with me helped, or maybe it was some natural athletic rhythm that I didn't know about . . . but I began to feel better. My spirits lifted, and my legs started to feel better.
"I can't think about taking time off," she said. "I just need to keep going."
"That's what I've been telling myself," I said. "Just keep going. Just keep going. Just keep going. Just keep going."
"I've been telling myself that if Kris can do 100 days of treatment, we can do a few hours of walking." She said.
"I'm going to talk about the areas of my body that feel great," I said.
I mentally scanned my body, starting at the top of my head.
"The breeze on my face feels awesome," I said, "and my right forearm is nice and relaxed."
I reached out, and took Anne's hand.
"Now, my hand feels great," I said, as we neared a water station. A volunteer handed me a cup or water, and a cup of Gatorade.
"Thanks for being here," I said, as I took one cup in each hand.
"I am the Walrus, and the grasshopper hops to the East!" he said with a waggle of his gigantic, elephant ears, and a spin of his propeller cap. I was a little delirious, so maybe he said something different, like, "You're welcome," and tipped his baseball cap . . . I can't say for sure.
I gulped down the Gatorade, ate a Clif energy shot, and sipped the water. We were nearing mile 19 . . . and getting closer to the mile that would make 16-18 feel like an afternoon stroll through the park.
Posted by wil at June 29, 2004 11:39 AM
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» It's a marathon, not a sprint... from Doty for Southern Oregon
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well done trooper!
now go mow the lawn ;)
FIRST COMMENT! Man i've been waiting forever for this! I'll comment on the actual post next, i just wanted to make sure i got the first post first... if you get my drift!
ps i love you Wil! you rock!
your dreams of a first post have been crushed by my own lame first post..
but there's always tomorrow.....
I remember the feeling well, when everything hurts and you wonder if you really can finish. I walked the Maui Marathon in 2001 in memory of my grandmother. I had to quit at mile 21, though, when I realized it wasn't a good thing to feel my pulse in my teeth, and to have the tears on my face falling faster than my footsteps on the pavement. You found terrific inspiration in that fallen note. I'm glad it worked for you. Congratulations on finishing.
Way to go! I'm sure who ever dropped that tag appreciated you carrying those people the rest of the way.
I look forward to hearing the rest. Which I hope ends with you throwing the almighty goat as you cross the finish line.
Congrats Wil, I can't imagine 26 miles... That's impressive as all hell.
Hahahaha! oh well, close enough to first post i guess!
I have to admit I feel overwhelmed with admiration for Wil and Anne. Well done guys, i feel strangely proud of you. To do something for an other is truly special, but you two have done so much and continue to do so much making you both extroadinary people that we should all strive to be like! :)
NO worries Tyson, I think I'll survive... maybe!
Wow. I'm just hoping my boss didn't walk by and see me getting all sniffly over your post, Wil. You both rock.
I was reminded of the movie, finding Nemo
just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep going, just keep going
Mostly I just read your blog via the feed in LiveJournal, and haven't commented in ages. But this was just SO great! I wish I could see you at Gnomedex to tell you in person, but I'll have to settle for this instead...
Good Job!It.s nice that you two worked hard for a good cause.
I know the feeling well- between walking the Boston 3-Day two years ago and doing the Avon 2-Day walk last year.
You hit that point, and you just need something to push you on. For me, it was the picture of my mom on my shirt. She kept me going, through the pain, through the rain, the snow, the ice, the cold.
Good Job!It.s nice that you two worked hard for a good cause.
Man! I need a nap now! Good for you guys. Now go out and get massages!
Wow, what a great entry. I especially loved the idea that she was reading your mind. We can do that, I am glad she acted inocent at the right moment, almost blew it for the rest of us. he he
Great post! My sister flew all the way from Buffalo to run in the Rock 'n Roll marathon and she loved your post too!! Way to go!
Your "just keep going" post reminded me of the one and only time I went to Havasupai. Havasupai is a little Indian village in the bottom of Cataract Canyon, a little side tributary of the Grand Canyon.
They say all 50 states are in Arizona, and if that is so, this is where Hawaii is -- lush vegetation around beautiful cascading waterfalls pouring into blue-green water, all strangely surrounded by high cliff walls in the middle of an inhospitable desert. It is wonderful. (http://www.havasupaitribe.com/waterfalls.html)
It is about a 10 mile hike to the bottom, which is easy going in, but coming out is straight up the side of the canyon. I remember thinking that I was going to die in the heat, especially the last 1/3 when I ran out of water, that sun was beating down, and that 40 lbs pack was weighing down.
When I finally stepped off the trail at the top, there was no way I could have even taken one more step. I just collapsed in a heap in the the shade.
Anyway, that was a number of years ago now, and I have not thought of it in years. However, your post reminded me of that. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
Just Keep Going.
Sometimes in life we get too caught up in "why am I doing this" and "is it worth it" that we forget to "just keep going" and achieve our goals. A nice story which helped remind me, at least.
As I read the post I recalled my first marathon...I recognized the quick pick me up in your attitude following mile 18...I guess the brain's own natural painkillers kicked in!
Aw, Wil! Quit making me cry at work!
Great entry. Truly.
I haven't gone running in awhile (I really need to) but when I was running - training for a marathon in fact. A friend of mine who had done it before helped me plan. He told me never to run a full marathon in training but run to 20 miles. When 20 miles comes your body dies. Literally, there is a burial and everything. Most runners call it 'The Wall'. I hit the wall during my marathon. I died and was buried and my tombstone said "here lies Tim. He hit the wall." Unfortunately my brain didn't die with my body and it kept telling my now zombie limbs to keep moving and they listened! Once you make it past the wall , your sole motivation is willpower. You can't stop after 20 miles but before it's over...you can't wimp out.
Reading this post relived all that pain and pleasure (of finishing). Thanks Wil!
Just keep going... and mow the lawn. ;)
Wow that really is amazing. I have done that before... that mantra really does work. You get to a point where your full concentration is focused on just doing it and not the pain you are feeling. It is almost magical. Great JOB!
Wow. You and Anne are really synced, Wil. It's a great thing.
My aunt just fell to cancer and I am so glad to see how many folks out there are fighting for the cure. Just keep going...and I will, too.
I have nothing but praise to heap upon both you and Anne. And "just keep going" is a perfect mantra. I used to use "this will end" until the final Matrix ads saturated us all with "everything that has a beginning...", now I can't use my old mantra anymore without thinking about that. Incidentally, I hit some pretty severe foot pain in mile 15 running the Chicago Marathon a couple of years ago, and I managed to finish ("this will end, this will end...") only to find out that I had gained some nifty stress fractures in both of my feet. So just remember that mantras are good but listening to your body is pretty smart, too -- I now deal with foot pain on a regular basis. But through TNT the money I raised still went to a good cause, though I didn't raise nearly what you guys did! Congratulations you two, and thank you for being involved in a wonderful thing.
I have a bad bad, and am too overweight to do something like a marathon. I've always thought it would be a great thing to do, but didn't feel I could participate. But you've just given me a great idea. I can be the walrus! I can hand out gatorade! I can drag my giant carcase out there and help the runners.
Why didn't I think of that before. Thanks Wil.
And oh yeah, for pain you can tap behind your ear and release natural endorphins. Or at least that's what that Cockney half alien said.
That should have said "bad back".
what an inspiring post. and funny! and thoughful. thank you!
I think somebody wrote that this reminds them of Finding Nemo - I had the same thought and now it's stuck in my head (Ellen DeGeneres singing "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming, just keep swimming.......)...
I have to thank you, Wil and Anne, for doing this. My grandfather just passed away from cancer on the 25th. The funeral was yesterday. This is the second family member I have lost to cancer in ten months. I really appreciate all that you have done to raise money and awareness among your readers. Thank you again!
"I called my own bluff and folded that idea."
Too much poker!
Come on pansy, suck it up!
it's amazing how that little mantra "Just Keep Going" can work. I used it while going through field training in the Navy
Your marathon reminds me of my attempt to climb 12,600 ft. Santa Fe Baldy in New Mexico last summer. (I had climbed it 40 years earlier, in my 20's). Needless to say I didn't make it to the top. Living at sea level didn't help. A group of local senior citizens passed me up and made me feel an inch tall. After ten miles I could barely walk--one more step, one more step.
Two months later I was still hurting.
Anyway, thanks so much for giving us a glimpse into your walk for a great cause. One month and counting to your big 111one!!!
your mantra reminded me of "Dorey" in "Finding Nemo" "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming." This is something I have to say to myself on those days when life feels like it has hit me square in the chest and has taken all my breath away. I just keeping swimming through the objects thrown at me. It's crazy I know but I just love Dorey, she reminds me of myself so much. I can watch her and laugh at myself. Well that was completely off the topic... Again congrats on the marathon!
My kids and I were stationed at mile 10, waiting for a friend of ours who flew in from Baltimore to do the walk. I kept my eye peeled for you too, hoping the kids and I could toss a coupla goats your way, but we didn't see you. I was stunned by the number of people walking, and think it's so cool of you and Anne to do the walk for Kris. You so totally walk, er, rock, d00d! And yes, our friend made it, too.
Right on Wil! Good call picking up the tag you found. I'm betting that once you did, those people on the honor list felt it and sent in some mojo to you guys. And Dennis T. must have sent some Mojo from the Great Beyond as well.
Sounds like the last few miles were quite the chore. But, I'm guessing the "Just Keep Going" mantra worked, because, as I recall, you mentioned that you and Anne did, in fact, finish. And you know what?
That is what matters the most. You set out to do something for Kris. You trained. You took donations. And you even found room for others on your journey. You both proved that you have some of the biggest hearts around, and that's what counts. You did it for Kris, for everyone on that tag, and for every person ever touched in some way by Cancer. Noone can ever take that accomplishment away from you.
WIL AND ANNE WHEATON ROCK!!! \m/
Congrats on the marathon. I remember my first century (cycle 100 miles), one of the best experiences I have ever accomplished.
Another Dorey - "just keep swimming" thinker here.
Your writing just reaches out and pulls me right in Wil. I can't wait to read the rest and read Annes blog!
awesome! i can't wait to read more!!!
wouldn't it be something if the person who had been walking for the names that you found was a WWDN reader?
In football, my coach taught me something that was so stupidly simple and yet it worked, kinda like your "Just keep going" line.
Pick your knees up.
When you're doing sprints and the legs are sooooo heavy, you don't have to worry about how far you have to go. Just pick your knees up. Or when you're running stairs and you're exhausted and only halfway up the stadium, just pick your knees up.
It's stupid but it works. Glad you guys made it through!
Heh, mile 19 (or 20) is a really bad one, that late in the game, when you need to make it up that overpass. I was lucky to have my crew meet me just before that point, and the mental energy I got from seeing them helped me soar through.
Friends and family are the best.
Have you read Stephen King's The Long Walk? It's a short novel he wrote as Richard Bachman. It's a fascinating story, and one I think you'll have a special appreciation for ;)
The tag wasn't dropped; it was left there on purpose for you to find...
This post reminds me of back in 8th grade, I did a 20-mile walkathon (Walk For Mankind) at Stanford University and surrounding environs. The only thing that got me to finish was this jerk of a guy from one of my classes who said at the start I'd never make it; I totally collapsed at the end, but I did it!
Hmmm...maybe if I start now, I can get in shape for next year's Human Race in Mountain View...
You truly are a wonderful human being, you and Anne both. I must be the only one who didn't think of Dori in Finding Nemo...remember those Walk for Mankind walks they had in the late 70's-early 80's? I walked a 20 mile one when I was 10. If I still lived in SD I'd like to think I would be walking in that one, too.
Congrats on finishing the marathon. You now know what the rest of us who do this know - that you can overcome incredible levels of fatigue and finish, and that it's absolutely, positively worth it!
I've done 30-35 marathons (I've lost count) and every one of them is different. Sometimes I'm well trained and things go incredibly well (no, that's never happened - something ALWAYS happens to make it "interesting".) Mostly it's getting through some problem - bad weather, inadequate training, the guy you shared a room with who snored horribly all night preventing ANY sleep - but finishing anyway.
Welcome to the club!
Congratulations Will and Anne! I knew you wouldn't let that wall stop you! Things are more meaningful when they come from the heart. Wil, I am anxious to hear Anne's experience of the marathon. And I REALLY can't wait for my copy of JAG! Keep up the good works.
This post made me teary-eyed. My sister survived, and three years later she's still feeling the aftermath with her short term/long term memory and overall strength. Everyboy needs someone to run for them, and the thing that makes me the most sad is people who don't have anyone to run for them. Thanks for picking up someone elses' tag.
I used a similar mantra myself when walking long distance with a friend (in our case we were actually trying to get somewhere, it wasn't for a good cause or anything. Long story.). 'Just keep walking' was the answer to everything.
Looking forward to hearing Anne's take on your day!
just keep posting!
Congrats on the marathon. Now why don't you have a gardner to mow your lawn, and a house keeper to clean your house. You are a movie start you know...:)
As Tom Waits would say when he felt like things were to tough to continue...
"Anybody can quit...."
Did you ever found out who the tag belonged to? They probably would have loved to know that it made it across the finish line. I'm looking forward to reading Anne's post. Good job Wil!
"Just Keep Going," I don't know how many times I have told myself that during my life time, and your right it does work.
Awesome job with the Marathon. Your two miles has only made my mouth water for the rest.
Congrats on doing a job well done!
This doesn't have anything to do with anything but I just saw it on TV:
Data: Sensors are picking up humanoid life forms with isolated carbon combustibles nearby.
Wesley: Campfires, Data.
Data: Is that not what I just said?
Remember those lines, Wil?
Great Jorb, Stramstar!
Stephen King might well approve of your "Long Walk"! (great story reference for a marathon, eh?)
Congratulations--both of you!
Wil, your skills as a writer are astounding.
I was able to visualize so much of your marathon
story. I could even see you picking up the badge.
I felt I was really with you and Anne on the run.
Thank you for bringing this worthwhile event
just got "Just a Geek". Did you disclose who was writing the foreword already? That is real cool. Congratulations.
you. fucking. rock.
seriously - coolest blog ever. You make mine look like scrawls on bathroom walls.
At a truck stop.
You and your wife are doing great things. Keep it up.
Well done, Wil. You inspire me so much. Just by reading that makes me want to go out and voluteer for anything and everything, and I'm serious about that. Hey, that's one more thing to remember when you are doing things like this. Always remember that there are thousands, perhaps millions of people that will follow your footsteps because of your kind and warming heart. I thank you. GOD BLESS.
Wil, this has been said but needs to be said again:
You are a GREAT writer.
You and Anne are AWESOME people.
As a current lymphoma patient, I owe you and Anne a huge THANK YOU!
p.s. can't wait for JAG!
Wow, I don't think I've ran 24 miles in my entire life, let alone all at once. My hat's off to you. :)
Glad you kept going on your miles thinking positive stuff. I am sure who ever dropped that blue tag would be glad you picked it up and brought them to the finish line. I kind of don't think she was in your head, she just probably knows how you feel since you both have been together for so long, like joined by the hips in a way.
As for you both running the race I know it will help current patients and future patients. My grandfather passed away few years ago from lung cancer, it got into his whole body to his head. He was a WWII and a Vet. He fought hard for years fighting this off but he couldn't fight it anymore. The treatments were hard on him. Thank you so much for doing the race.
I just wanted to say, I was watching "The Screen Savers" on G4TechTV today and it turns out Pat's leaving the show; Kevin said they were still trying to figure out who would be the new co-host, and Pat stage-whispered "Vote for Wil Wheaton!"
That was just damn cool.
I just saw tonights show as well. Patrick did indeed 'hint' that Wil Wheaton would be a good replacement. It is the best show on G4TECHTV.
Just got finished watching The Screen Savers on Tivo and like BrianP said, I heard Patrick whisper your name as a possible co-host??!
Wil on TSS would ROCK!
I'll be pullin' for ya Wil if you decide you're interested :D
Seriously, that was the best news i've heard all week (no comments about my lack of a life). That'd kick ass because i'd have an easy way to come harass you since i'm down in Diego.
You, Kevin, and Sarah all in one building? Oh my... O_o
Wow. I have to say that I enjoy your writing more and more every time I read it. I laughed aloud at least twice while reading this (The walrus joke and your "omg is anne in my head?!" moment) and definitely teared up when you picked up that person's wayward tag. I would totally do something like that, spot on man.
I think the both of you are great friends and really good people for doing this walk. (I bet "walk sounds like an understatement by now)
I'm really happy I was able to help raise themoney, even though I could only give very little, I was glad because I gave my own money. And I gave because you were so genuine in your wish to raise themoeny for your friend and because it's a good cause, not because my favorite celebrity ever supports the cause and I'm trying to make them happy. Anyhow I don't know what I'm on about by now but I know I had a point here somewhere--ah yes, thank you for doing this! I don't even know anyone but I feel like I do now that I've read about Kris and sent her mojo.
I learnd something and I helped a good cause.
Anyway this all rules. Yep.
Nicely done. :)
I'm a pretty long-standing reader, although I almost never comment. But I've seen you put forward gmail4troops, and I wondered if you'd also let folks know that they need other things -- like help staying cool in hundred-degree temperatures. They're asking for things like Chillows and gel dog mats, to make it easier to sleep, but I'd imagine anything that would help them stay cool would be welcome.
I really love your sense of humor!
I was almost crying at the water station description --
You might like the song "Just Keep Goin' On" by Eric Bibb:
You're my hero,
This is the first comment I've made to your blog, and I wanted to say first off that the waitress at Hooters, while obviously just young and misinformed, looks like she's done you some good. And a few others.
I've been reading for a while and never had anything much to say.
I've known 5 people who have passed away in my life to different sorts of cancers and have been told that I am pretty well headed toward treatment myself for cervical cancer. At 23 that's a scarey prospect. I have two small children and a husband who is not only supportive but absolutely my best friend.
The latter aspect I see in the way you talk about your wife as well.
Feel accomplished you have walked for someone, because it's through fundraisers like marathons that people are able to have the money for research toward cures. While it seems so far away from the research itself, it is in itself such a big part to play toward nearing cures.
Every chance we get to help humanity in some way is one step closer toward breaking the stereotype that people are inherantly evil.
You and Anne should come to Bermuda next year. Every year we have an end-to-end walk. You walk from one end of the country clear across to the other. 26 miles. (We're a damn small country). Gives you the bragging rights to say "I walked across an entire country in one day" and not be lying :)
Usually takes place in late April/early May, so the weather is cool, and about a thousand turn out. It's always done for charity.
Well done on your accomplishments, both completing the walk, and raising the money for a VERY deserving cause.
As a caregiver for my father who's batling colon cancer, may I just say a big THANK YOU to you & Anne.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
my tear ducts needed a workout :-)
i don't have any other words to describe this post.
you rule, wil.
Hardly anybody gets to see the best movies made every year. Movies with heart, soul, real emotion. At the Spiritual Cinema Circle, we go to dozens of film festivals every year to find great movies that will never make it to your local theater or video store. If you liked Whalerider, Field of Dreams, and The Matrix then you're going to love the undiscovered treasures the Spiritual Cinema Circle finds for you. Bryian. Visit us at http://www.Spiritual-Movies.com
Congratulations! I wandered here from a friend's LiveJournal and saw you had run/walked the San Diego marathon for LLS. I just completed the Chicago Marathon myself - first marathon of many, I hope. I can completely empathize with your write up of the 2 miles. You can see my review of the marathon - the non-blurred less painful moments - and a few pictures at my blog site (http://onthedial.com).
I hope 2004 rounds out to be a great year for you and your family!
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