Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ran With A Heavy Heart

As you know, my friend and fellow marathoner Tim Feeney passed away on December 18th. I had been scheduled to run the Jacksonville Bank half-marathon on Sunday, December 21st. I had thought about not running, but decided this would be a good way to "celebrate" Tim's life. With all the things going on in the days prior to the race, I had not eaten or slept properly. I was concerned that it would be a futile attempt. A group of runners from Orlando were going, so it helped to have the support.

We drove up to Jacksonville on Sunday morning, leaving the Orlando area at 3:30am. We arrived there just before 6:00am, the race start was scheduled for 7:00am. I felt better as the start time came closer. In tribute to Tim, I wore the shirt from the 2006 Disney World Marathon. That was the only marathon Tim and I ran together, it was his first. The weather was nice about 60 degrees at the start. The cannon sounded and we were off. I wasn't sure how I would run the race, something I usually have planned well in advance of the start. I decided to let Tim's spirit guide me. I knew I was being well taken care of.

My splits were good averaging about 8:15 per mile for the first half of the race. It began to warm up in the second half of the race. I remember reaching mile 10 making the turn onto Baymeadows Road. I was starting to tire, but felt a gentle push at my back easing me forward. I knew Tim was with me giving me that extra little push I needed when it got tough. The last 300 yards of the race is on the track at the Bolles School. It is a beautiful synthetic track with spectators around the perimeter as well as in the stands. I wasn't exactly sure of my pace or time at that point, but I put on one final charge into the last turn and down the home stretch. When I saw the clock at the finish, Tim and I had achieved a new PR of 1:51:53.

The photo was taken following the race.

On Monday, we had a memorial service for Tim and said "goodbye".

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Finish Line - Tim Feeney

This is a post that I hoped I would never have to publish. Recently, I had a post telling you about Tim and Susan Feeney. I wrote about Tim's battle with brain cancer since June 2006.

Below is the e-mail that Susan sent out this morning.

"Tim lost his courageous battle this morning at 5:15am, with me at his side. It was peaceful. He ran this marathon for a long time with strength, dignity and grace. Approaching each mile marker with always the most positive attitude. He ran a 30 month race and we crossed the finish line today, together. But I stopped and he ran on. I know he's reached that special place by now and he's at peace. He will be greatly missed."

When I spoke with Susan today, I mentioned I was supposed to run tonight. Her response was instantaneous, "you better, Tim's watching!" We ran our usual route, only tonight we stopped on a dock that goes onto Lake Baldwin. We paused, gave thanks to Tim and knowing that he was watching, moved off quickly.

The evening before Tim's passing I had the opportunity to visit him one last time. Raymond and Sheri from our running group stopped by his house. Tim was resting peacefully as we spoke to him. There were no outward signs from Tim that he heard our voices. We then visited with Susan for about one hour. As we were leaving, I returned to Tim's room. I leaned over him and told him we were going to run another marathon one day. He stirred, I know he heard me and was saying, "lace them up and let's go". At 5:15 am he left us to get a good spot on the starting line. I can hear the angels telling him to go to the front you earned the elite position.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

OUC Half-Marathon & 5K

Another week, another event for the Orlando runners. The photo is of some of the people from our running group; Shannon, Carol, me, Sheri, Bob (Hemingway) and Heather. They all ran the half-marathon, me I ran the 5K. I'm not sure who stuck the bottle of beer in my hand.

Over 2,500 runners participated in the event. It was a great morning for a run. The temperature was in the 50's and it was overcast. In past years this race has been run on very warm days.

Prior to the race I saw Maddy and Shirley in the crowd.

I have a couple of weeks off until the Jacksonville Bank half-marathon on December 21st.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Space Coast Marathon

Just a quick follow-up to my last post. As you can tell the theme is all about the astronauts and space travel. Above are a few of the "perks" of the race. They redesigned the finishers medal, making it about three times the size from previous years. Instead of a mylar blanket at the finish you get a colorful beach towel. The award for my 2nd place finish in my age group, is a photo of Florida taken from a space shuttle...awesome! It was a fun race.