Patients → Personal Stories and Testimonials

Seth Margolies

My Marathon Article

Oh, someday girl, I don’t know when, Were gonna get to that place where we really wanna go, and we’ll walk in the sun, but till then tramps like us, baby we were born to run... Bruce Springsteen

Ok so now you know the song that played on my iPod shuffle as I hit the finish-line of the Los Angeles Marathon. Yes At Age 40 and 3 days I ran my first marathon. Not to be a blow hard but less than 18 months after surgery I ran the marathon and finished in the top 25 percent of all participants. I do feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Training for the marathon was the toughest thing I ever set out to do. It required a discipline that I did not think I had and a dedication of large chunks of time. I went online and I ordered the Hal Higdon guide to running a marathon and followed it to the letter. The last time I followed the rules like that I lost almost 200 lbs so I decided to once again listen to the experts.

And so with book in hand I set out to run a marathon. It was not enough to run the marathon. I wanted to run it in a respectable time and so I set my goal at under five hours. In order to see that I followed through with this I told everyone I knew that I was going to do this. My friends and support group members were soooooo sick about hearing about this but it kept me honest and it kept me going especially when I had to train doing 20 miles runs. My support group friends were actually very supportive. So much so they drove from San Diego to be at the finishline

Lets get this straight right now. I HATE RUNNING. It is boring boring boring. All you do when you go running is well run. And its not like you really go anywhere you kind of end up where you start so what is the point. It is also lonely. For the most part I trained alone except for a few Sundays when I ran with my animals vet, Dr. Easton. She has been such a help. One Sunday it was pouring and I was doing a fifteen miler in the pouring rain. Dr. Easton wears next to nothing shorts tee and a hat. She sees me in layers and gives me a funny look. By the end of the run I weighed literally twenty pounds heavier. She just laughed but was so kind as to not rub my nose in it. I learned an important lesson. In the rain, better to run almost naked than dress warmly. Lighter is better. I am glad I trained in the rain.

The training itself was eighteen weeks and as time progressed more and more time had to be given to running. I started to resent and hate it. I became irritable and unhappy. I would have quit if it was not for the fact that I send out evites to my fortieth birthday party announcing that I was doing the marathon. My friends were very supportive and proud and some even a little inspired. The truth was that I was almost four hundred pounds fourteen months ago and now I was running twenty- mile runs. It truly was a miracle.

In the middle of training I decided to do a hundred mile bike ride. I was just so sick of running. I don’t know if this was smart or what but it sure helped my sanity. I love going down a mountain forty miles an hour. It is a great feeling.
As the marathon approached I started to get more and more nervous. Did I bite off more than I could chew? Did it bother me that I was turning forty? Would I disappoint everyone who said I inspired them.

The last week of training was by far the most nerve wracking. A week before the race a couple of us from support group decide to go to Knotts Berry farm to ride the roller coasters. We now all fit on the rides. We all felt very sad and uncomfortable when some people were asked off the rides because of weight. It is sad but we all knew and we were all there. At some point I hurt my back. I was in a lot of pain. I emailed the office who told me that tylonol was not going to work for this and thus wrote a script for something stronger. Whatever she gave me worked because I was back on the road running in a few days. Then I decide to go to spring training with my wife and buddy from San Francisco. The desert air did not agree with me and I had an allergic reaction. OY nothing was going my way. I kept getting more and more scared. It got so bad that the night before the race I wanted to cancel my party and just run away. I never was so nervous in my life. But something kept me in. Maybe it was supportive emails from my friend Lynnda and Susi and Stace maybe it was fear of ridicule or maybe I just needed to follow through with a life long dream. Dr.Wittgrove and his staff gave me the tools to do this and I was not about to let them but more importantly myself down.

I hardly slept the night before. I tried on outfits and hats because I wanted to look my best. I know I’m delightful. I decided on yellow and long running pants with a yellow Lance Armstrong hat. I went to the computer and carefully picked out songs on the ipod for the race. Only the most inspiring and inspirational songs made the cut.

I got up at 4:30 am, walked the dogs, showered and lubed my nipples. YES I said it. Eighteen weeks of running and the only injury I had was nipple bleeding.I was standing in a Starbucks one morning after a run and some guy walks up to me and tells me I’m bleeding from my nipple. OY VEY. From then on I had lots of Vaseline. I walked a mile to the subway. Yes folks Los Angeles has a subway and it was the cleanest I have seen since Moscow. I got out at Pershing square and proceeded to the Westin hotel where I snuck in sat down read the paper and ate a banana. My carbo- loading. Being a S/P GB RNY large quantities of carbs are not good for me and thus, I stayed complex carbs, organic oatmeal and fruit. I would have loved the spaghetti but oh well. I watched television called my brother who told me he had gout and prepped my gear. I had a camel back with water packet of GU and my beloved ipod shuffle Am I plugging Apple or what. Hey it just split and my cost average basis is 6 bucks a share I love Apple. I was so nervous I went to the bathroom seven times in an hour.

Finally it was time and I went out the front door of the hotel and walked around the hotel and down three blocks to the starting line. If I only went out the back door of the hotel I would have been three. I must be a runner because I’m definitely not bright. We wait. And at 8:30 am after listening to Randy Newman’s “I Love LA “ for the fifteenth time I run under Muhammed Ali,literally who greets the runners and start. My best buddy Scott got me an autographed Muhammed for my birthday.

It is packed, The game is to get around the walkers and slower runners. People in LA run like they drive, SLOW IN THE LEFT LANE UGGGGHHHHH. The day before at the expo I bought this watch that gave me splits. And so lap one was a little slow at 10 minutes 55 seconds. After mile one I started to get a groove and run around 9 minute 30 seconds a mile. At mile eight I learned that in LA we indeed have a Walmart. I was so excited I called Deb on the phone to tell her. She loves Wally World, The atmosphere was terrific. People in all different neighborhoods lined the streets to cheer you on. Your name was on the bib so they would shout your name and cheer. It was very cool. At mile twelve my friends Alicia and Matt sprinted to catch up to me. She was in pain so I gave her some Tylonol from Canada and water. We chatted for a few and then I darted off.

It is true what they say. The first twenty miles is a warm-up for the last six. I was great for twenty. At twenty-one I called the program to have a chat and thank her for coming to LA and getting me fixed up. At Twenty- two my legs were shouting demanding to secede from my body. How dare I do this to them? But I kept going. I was too close to the end. My time slowed up from 9’s to 11’s but I kept going forward. It was very exciting. At mile 26 Bruce Springsteen’s “ Born to Run” appeared on the shuffle and I just went nuts. I was singing at the top of my lungs getting the crowd to cheer and sprinting to the end. When I crossed the finish line I expected to collapse but instead I do what I do best. Talked on the cell phone. The girls from Support Group dressed in yellow and came to greet me at the finish. Susi, Jen, Stace and her daughter Brittney were waiting for me. Susi got me a sweatshirt and baked sugar free cookies. It was the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for me and I love them so much for it. Even as I am writing I am getting choked up thinking how lucky I am. They were so supportive and loving.

The marathon finished but I had my own birthday party to go to. Jen drove me home and. I showered got dressed and went to the party. The first people to show up were all marathon runners. I made them all get their medals and we took a photo

The fortieth birthday party was a great success. People from my whole life showed up including several support group friends and Dr. Wittgrove, and Tracy Martinez. I was so touched that these people came from such distances to support me. They are truly amazing people. I was proud of myself. I ran a marathon that day that was easy. The hardest thing was not having a piece of my own cake. Funny after 26.2 miles I was just not hungry. Will I run another marathon. Hell yes I am planning on doing one in San Diego in June. I won’t bore you with those details. Im hoping some of you reading this will join me. All it takes is a dream and the will to follow through with that dream.

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