Surviving a Mile at a Time (The Marathon Chronicles, Part V)

02.8.2010 | 7:07 am

IMG_2157.JPGThe bicycle is wonderful for a near-infinite number of reasons, but perhaps the most extraordinary is the fact that, when properly built up, a bicycle can coast.

When you are going downhill, you can stop working and yet keep going; perhaps you’ll even go faster. You can take short breaks on level ground, too. You can, amazingly, even coast uphill briefly.

You cannot, on the other hand, coast at all when running. A fact I, until this past weekend, never really fully comprehended.

26.2 miles is a long way to go without getting to coast. Really long.


The last Saturday before the marathon, The Runner and I decided that we’d try to get in a big run mileage-wise, but would skip the big climbs and descents we’d been focusing on. By doing a flat 18 miles, we thought we’d have a good idea of what kind of day we’d have when running the marathon. And we did fine, finishing the eighteen-mile run in exactly three hours.

But the next day I was sore. Left hip flexor pain. And it hadn’t gone away — not really — by Friday night.

Also, the weather was a little uncertain. Normally a hot, dry place even in the dead of Winter, Death Valley had been getting rain and snow. So I brought a huge amount of gear — the clothes I’d need for a Summer run, a Winter run, or anything in between.

It rained most of the drive — through Saint George, through Arizona, through Las Vegas and into Death Valley.

The cactus looked very confused.

Auspicious Beginning

The morning of the marathon was overcast and humid, but not raining. Not yet, anyway. Independently, The Runner and I arrived at identical dressing decisions: long sleeve light wool base layer, Fat Cyclist vest, wool socks, and shorts. I also wore a light wool beanie. The Runner did not, seeing as how she has hair.

We figured we’d be good in cold or rain with that combination. If the clouds cleared and it got warm, we were screwed.

We boarded the bus to the start of the race, and then the wind picked up. And it got cold. We huddled together, wondering if maybe it would be OK if we just started running a little early. Nobody would begrudge us a head start, right?

Then, almost exactly one minute before the race began, I needed to pee. Badly.

“I’ll be right back,” I told The Runner. “These things always start late anyway.”

When I came out of the outhouse, it was to the sight of everyone running down the dirt road. I had missed the start of the race.

I swear, this has happened to me in dreams, but I would never have thought that I would ever miss a race start in real life.

With the odd thought that I was currently in last place, I began chasing the field. Juking left and right, I passed the back of the field, looking for blue shorts, a white vest over a black wool shirt, and a white cap with a ponytail coming out the back.

There she was. On the left side, slowly running so I could catch her, and looking back often, wondering whether I’d ever catch up. It was her first kind move in what would eventually be a countless number of kind moves during the race.

Settling Into a Groove

The first mile of this otherwise flat course is downhill. The combination of gravity, embarrassment-fueled adrenaline, and start-of-race eagerness made me ramp up the pace. “Slow down, Fatty,” The Runner said. “This race has just begun.”

Yes, she really does call me Fatty sometimes. In spite of the fact that I’ve asked her to please call me “sir.”

I slowed down, and we settled into a comfortable — or what passes for comfortable when one is running — nine minute pace, where both of us are able to talk.

We had decided during the bus ride to the starting line that the theme of the conversation for this race would be “early childhood.” So we traded stories about friends, where we grew up, and pets. The miles slipped by quickly, and I was happy to note — several times in fact — that I was enjoying myself

Looking at my virtual training partner on my GPS (we had set them for a 4:30 target time), I could see we were ahead and building a strong lead.

A few drops of rain fell on us. Maybe ten, all told. But it was cold enough that I was glad for the Smartwool baselayer the whole day.

Looking Around

I have an assertion to make now. All wilderness, no matter what kind, is interesting and beautiful. I do not believe there is such a thing as ugly wilderness. Based on things I had read about this course and Death Valley in general, I halfway expected to come upon the first exception to this rule.

But Death Valley is no exception. Running through the bed of an ancient lake that stretched flat to the horizon, with salt crystals growing up at crazy angles, was remarkable to look at, and gave an impression of vastness that is entirely different from the vastness mountains or the sea convey. And it was definitely beautiful.

Then, as the lake bed gave way to desert and tenacious scrub, then to wiry, sparse trees, I was just amazed at the changes in scenery that had happened in just a few miles.

This wasn’t the landscape I had wanted to see. But it was definitely worth seeing.

The New Order

For the first eleven miles or so, The Runner and I ran side by side, talking most of the time. I made frequent optimistic speculation on how well things were going and our projected finishing time.

“We’re not even halfway there, Fatty,” The Runner reminded me.

“Can’t you please call me ‘Sir,’ as I’ve asked you to?” I wheedled.

Then, just after mile eleven, I noticed a change. It was about then that we started seeing the fast guys coming back on their return trip. The Runner would greet them with enthusiastic cheers. I would silently wave. Conserving energy.

And then The Runner began pulling away. “What’s up with that?” I thought. “Why would she be accelerating away from me?”

I checked my GPS. She wasn’t pulling away. I was dropping off.

I stepped it up, nearly catching her, and then falling back. This game of yo-yo continued all the way to the turnaround and beyond.

Still, in spite of my evident slowdown, I had good news: we had done the first half of the marathon in just under two hours. We were well ahead of the pace necessary to finish under 4:39. Heck, if we could just hang on to this pace, we’d finish the whole race in about four hours flat.

Keeping It Together. Sometimes.

At mile 15, I fell apart. My hip flexor had begun aching, and my legs were just so tired. I began formulating excuses for why I couldn’t finish the marathon. I highly recommend this technique, by the way, for a way to motivate yourself to not quit a race. Just try to come up with a good explanation for why you should quit. If you can’t put one together that sounds so good that you prefer it to the story you might be able to tell if you did finish the race, well, then you probably shouldn’t quit.

Still, I needed to stop running, even for just a minute. So I slowed to a walk, and hollered out to The Runner: “I need a break.”

Then, a tenth of a mile later, I started running again. Well, “running” is perhaps a little bit of a euphemism for what I was doing. Whatever it was, though, it was faster than walking, and I was able to turn in consistent eleven-minute miles with it.

And thus began my new marathon-completion strategy: run nine-tenths of a mile, walk a tenth.

And try to ignore the pain while I did it.

Honestly, I don’t believe I have ever looked at my GPS so frequently and so desperately as I did during the final ten miles of that run. Every third of a mile or so, I’d check the display again; had i got to my next walking break? No? OK, how about now? And how about now?

How To Fix Fatty. And How Not To.

The Runner had told me that she intended to stay with me for the entire marathon, and to her credit, she did. Even as my miles got slower and slower.

This, naturally, had the effect of turning the marathon into a bit of a lazy stroll for her. And she had energy to burn, which she expended in the following ways:

  • Sticking her arms out like wings and zigzagging across the dirt road, making airplane engine noises.
  • Running backward so she was facing me, and cheering me on by doing “a round of applause” for me (executed by sticking your arms straight out and waving them in a circle as you clap).
  • Doing the “Watermelon cheer,” which is accomplished by pretending to eat a large slice of watermelon, then spitting out — rapidly — the pretend seeds.

As she did this, I discovered something valuable about myself, which I had not known before: Sometimes I have no sense of humor whatsoever.

“Please,” I said. “I need to do this my way.” I then went on to explain that I was in the pain cave, and that I would be retreating deep into it and not coming out for a while.

Adopting a new tactic, The Runner asked — around mile 17 or 18 I think — if I would like to hear her life story. “Yes, that would be great,” I said.

And so, for the next ninety minutes, The Runner babysat me to the finish line, just taking my mind off the run by talking to me.

If she hadn’t done that, I’m pretty sure I’d still be out there.

Big Finish

A strange effect of this course is that because there are no trees or hills for a big part of it, you can see huge distances. So at mile 23, I could see the buses at the start/finish line. It is so strange to be able to see things at that distance. It made me feel like I was much closer to the end of the race than I knew I actually was. I resolved to ignore them.

Which was a good resolution, because buses two miles away don’t look a lot closer than buses three miles away.

Little by little, we made it to the finish line. The final mile was uphill, and I had resolved to try to finish strong. The Runner and I accelerated.

And then, about fifty yards later, I decelerated. The Runner, however, kept going. “That’s good,” I thought, “She deserves to finish at least a little ahead of me after dragging me this far.”

But then she slowed to a walk until I caught up with her.

We crossed the finish line together, and I’m pretty sure I heard a spectator say, “Good one Fatty,” as we did. Thank you, whoever did that.

Our finish time was 4:27 — three minutes faster than our target time, and twelve minutes faster than my previous (i.e., seven years ago) finish time.

After I caught my breath, I asked The Runner why she waited for me at the end. “I waited for you the whole day,” she said. “It seemed silly to shoot ahead of you at the end.”

When you consider all this, you will probably not be especially surprised to learn The Runner and I are now engaged.


By the end of the day after the race, I was sore. By Sunday morning my hip flexor was so sore I had a difficult time walking. I didn’t really feel injured per se — just sore; after a few minutes standing and walking, I would loosen up and could get around, easily walking like I was no more than ninety five years old.

By this morning — Monday — things have improved even further; I can now walk as if I were no more than eighty.

But I daresay it’ll be a few days before I run again.

PS: Those of you who bet or otherwise incentivized me (you’ll find your bets here), please click here to donate to my 2010 Seattle LiveStrong Challenge. Thanks!


  1. Comment by Corey Hayes | 02.8.2010 | 7:24 am

    Congratulations to you and The Runner–on finishing the race in under 4:30, and starting a new life together. Well done, Fatty.

  2. Comment by Ashley | 02.8.2010 | 7:28 am

    Congrats on many things, Fatty!

    Am I going to see you in Philly this year?

  3. Comment by Penzance Steve | 02.8.2010 | 7:32 am

    Congratulations, you two!! (Oh, and for the marathon, too)

  4. Comment by Go Cycling | 02.8.2010 | 7:34 am

    Loads of kudos to you both. What a fine way to cement a relationship.

  5. Comment by Alice | 02.8.2010 | 7:47 am

    hmm – Some people get married right after the Boston marathon in April (???)

  6. Comment by Mike | 02.8.2010 | 7:52 am

    Congrats, congrats.

  7. Comment by bigease | 02.8.2010 | 7:53 am

    Many congratulations on finishing the race, and for the engagement. Down on one knee was it?……

    I am not sure you would have got up again!!

  8. Comment by Edie | 02.8.2010 | 7:56 am

    Congrats to both of you for finishing a race and starting a new life marathon!
    BTW – Aren’t you the same Fat Cyclist that once posted that he could pull an IRONMAN out of his butt without training for it???

  9. Comment by Karl | 02.8.2010 | 8:01 am

    Double congratulations. Awesome effort on both counts. You richly deserve to savour this – together.

    Radioactive Man
    (in the middle of radiotherapy)

  10. Comment by Sandra | 02.8.2010 | 8:05 am

    Congratulations! And good job on the marathon.

  11. Comment by Meg | 02.8.2010 | 8:09 am

    Wow. Wow!

    Congratulations on all of it, Fatty! What a story.

  12. Comment by justrun | 02.8.2010 | 8:18 am

    I can’t help but wonder if you got down on one knee after the marathon? And if you have gotten up yet? :)

    Many congratulations to both of you!

  13. Comment by Maarten | 02.8.2010 | 8:20 am


    next time, think about using ‘The Secret’ for running ;).


  14. Comment by Chris | 02.8.2010 | 8:20 am

    Wow! What a finish! Both the race AND the post. Congratulations. :-)

  15. Comment by Matt | 02.8.2010 | 8:22 am

    Congratulations! I ran my first marathon in 4:26- I know what it feels like…

    Does the runner have some sort of Boy Scout camp background? It’s very weird hearing about the “Watermelon Cheer” and “Round of Applause” and knowing exactly what both of those things are, even when I haven’t thought about them in almost 20 years…

    Yes, she was a cub scout den leader at one time. – FC

  16. Comment by Melanie | 02.8.2010 | 8:27 am

    Aw, Fatty, you made me cry again… the happy kind, this time! Congratulations!

    (Nice work, too, on finishing the marathon)

  17. Comment by Cactus Fantastic | 02.8.2010 | 8:35 am

    Congrats on the race AND the engagement!

  18. Comment by Eric | 02.8.2010 | 8:36 am

    Congratulations and CONGRATULATIONS. I think for the first time in my life, I can say I’m happy to have lost a bet. But I’m even happier to hear that you and The Runner are engaged.

    There is an awful lot to be said for being happy. Glad to hear the two of you are happy, together.

  19. Comment by El Negro | 02.8.2010 | 8:37 am

    Congrats Fatty! Way to start it off right!

  20. Comment by Deb | 02.8.2010 | 8:38 am

    Congratulations! Oh, and nice that you finished the marathon, too.

  21. Comment by eric | 02.8.2010 | 8:47 am

    I think it’s going to be a great 2010 at the Fatty/Runner household. Congrats and well deserved. When you two get married my wife and I will be happy to send a wedding gift to The Livestrong Foundation.

  22. Comment by Gillian | 02.8.2010 | 8:49 am

    CONGRATULATIONS! On many counts!

  23. Comment by TimRides | 02.8.2010 | 8:49 am

    Fantastic job on the marathon (my one and only marathon had walk five minutes, run five minutes for the last five miles, so I understand completely) and best wishes to both of you on your future life together.

  24. Comment by pgreen | 02.8.2010 | 8:51 am

    Double, wait, TRIPLE congrats. One for each of you finishing and on your engagement :)

    Fantastic news!!

    Best wishes to you both!

  25. Comment by Judgement free zone | 02.8.2010 | 8:57 am

    Congratulations!! I’m so happy for you both!!

  26. Comment by xtine | 02.8.2010 | 9:02 am

    CONGRATULATIONS! On everything! Good morning for some happy tears. (: Thanks once again for sharing with us.

  27. Comment by Weaky6 | 02.8.2010 | 9:08 am

    I’m thinking, running a marathon is cheaper than therapy for couples. Since “my runner” is a therapist, I going to recommend this to her as a strategy for her clients. Even if it is mall walking, what a beautiful way to learn about each other and their inner most feelings, thoughts, and history. Peace to you Fatty. How many bedrooms will you need in your home now?

  28. Comment by Russ | 02.8.2010 | 9:10 am

    Congrats to both of you! So happy to be following along.

  29. Comment by Therese | 02.8.2010 | 9:10 am

    Congratulations, that is all!

  30. Comment by MiaKatia | 02.8.2010 | 9:14 am

    Congratulations! On both the marathon and your engagement.

  31. Comment by Lora | 02.8.2010 | 9:17 am

    Congratulations to you and The Runner!

  32. Comment by Weaky6 | 02.8.2010 | 9:18 am

    oh yeah, I forgot. thank you for another matching photo. If you keep it up, I believe you might have quite the collection here in a couple months. (story idea). ;-)

  33. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 02.8.2010 | 9:25 am

    Congratulations Fatty and The Runner! Oh, and good job on the marathon, too. ;-)

    How long until you’re back on a bicycle?

  34. Comment by Paul H | 02.8.2010 | 9:25 am

    Double Congratulations! Will you be live-blogging the wedding ceremony?

  35. Comment by frankie | 02.8.2010 | 9:26 am

    Congrats! You two are lucky to have found each other! Cheers to your engagement!

  36. Comment by NancyP | 02.8.2010 | 9:28 am

    CONGRATULATIONS to you both!

  37. Comment by Dpotter | 02.8.2010 | 9:32 am

    Long time reader, first-time poster…congrats on the sticking through it and best wishes on starting your new life together. That marathon was a great foreshadowing of your new life together, it is important to find someone that will run the race with you, more importantly, beside you.

  38. Comment by Jeff | 02.8.2010 | 9:34 am

    Fatty, don’t you have a fixed gear for marathon training??? That would break the coasting habit in a heck of a hurry.

    Never heard of the watermelon cheer, but I bet my 9-month-old son will think it’s hilarious.

    And congratulations to you and The Runner!

  39. Comment by Jennifer | 02.8.2010 | 9:35 am

    Woohoo!!! Congrats to both of you! And way to stick together and finish the race. Kudos to The Runner.

  40. Comment by Sara | 02.8.2010 | 9:40 am

    Awesome run, awesome story, awesome news! Congratulations!

  41. Comment by NYCCarlos | 02.8.2010 | 9:41 am

    you sure snuck that little tidbit in there! only 1 line about the engagement!? CONGRATULATIONS!

    I’ll be paying up later today. I found myself cheering for your hip early on in the blog! :-P Seriously though, good job. I’m really impressed that with only 6 weeks of training, you managed to finish with a good time! $25 coming you Livestrong account’s way.


  42. Comment by Randoboy | 02.8.2010 | 9:41 am

    Congratulations to you both. I recommend a triathlon wedding, where you run to the church, swim down the aisle together, and then everybody bikes to the reception. Don’t get rice in your mankini in the transition zone, however. Cooking rice in your chamois can cause terrible chafe.

  43. Comment by rich | 02.8.2010 | 9:42 am

    good job buddy, knew you could do it. glad to hear about you and the runner too!

  44. Comment by costalrider | 02.8.2010 | 9:42 am

    Congrats and best wishes to both of you!

  45. Comment by Matthew | 02.8.2010 | 9:43 am

    Congratulations on both counts Fatty!

  46. Comment by linteater | 02.8.2010 | 9:44 am

    Congratulations on your marathon and engagement!

  47. Comment by AOA | 02.8.2010 | 9:57 am

    I actually yelled “Good one Fatty, way to go Fatty, now sprint to the finish”. The other finished runners who were urgiung people in looked at me strangely for calling you “Fatty”. I was not trying to be offensive. Did you get engaged in DV? My wife and I went there on my honeymoon almost 20 years ago January.

  48. Comment by Dr. Lammler | 02.8.2010 | 9:58 am

    Ditto pgreen @ 8:51 am.

  49. Comment by Bob | 02.8.2010 | 9:58 am

    What’s the “Med Tech Only” mean on the bib – is that like “Do Not Resuscitate”?

  50. Comment by Claire | 02.8.2010 | 10:08 am

    Congratulations!!! I am very happy for you both. Well done on the marathon too.

  51. Comment by Khirsten | 02.8.2010 | 10:12 am

    Congratulations!!!!! So excited for you both. And good job on the race!! =)

  52. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 02.8.2010 | 10:15 am

    Congratulations. Donation made as promised.

    The last 6 or so miles are the worst, when your body has run out of its energy reserves and just wants to lie down somewhere and rest for a week or so. The Runner staying with you and keeping your mind on other things during those final miles was a wonderful gift from her to you. She gave you the day rather than making it hers. Kudos to The Runner. You owe her a day when it can be all about her.

  53. Comment by AngieG | 02.8.2010 | 10:21 am

    FC-As I said in my original bet, I knew you could do it. So you will see $200 bucks on your Livestrong account. The offer for the Fondo still holds though, bet or no bet. You and Runner would have a great time.

    I am truly happy for the two of you. You made my Monday!!

  54. Comment by Lizzylou | 02.8.2010 | 10:30 am

    I like that you stuck that engagement announcement in there as though it were an afterthought… and yet that is what most of the comments are about. Congratulations! With her kids and your kids you will need to start composing your own words to the Brady Bunch theme song.

  55. Comment by Jenny | 02.8.2010 | 10:32 am

    Paragraphs on the marathon, and one line on the engagement??

    I like it. Congratulations! Will we get a little more than one line later?

  56. Comment by KanyonKris | 02.8.2010 | 10:40 am

    Fantastic accomplishment! Oh, and your marathon was pretty good too.

  57. Comment by Wes | 02.8.2010 | 10:42 am

    I stayed with my wife for all 7 hours of her first marathon at Disney. There are somethings ya just gotta do :-)

    Congrats Fatty and The Runnner!

  58. Comment by Nathan | 02.8.2010 | 10:53 am

    Congratulations on everything!

  59. Comment by Bashzilla | 02.8.2010 | 10:53 am

    Congrats Fatty and Runner! Good job on the race too!

  60. Comment by Lloyd | 02.8.2010 | 10:54 am

    Nicely done.

    One word for next time: TAPER.

  61. Comment by Wheels | 02.8.2010 | 11:02 am

    Yay! Strong work, Fatty.

  62. Comment by bikemike | 02.8.2010 | 11:08 am

    Sooo, just how does one wave silently?

    Maybe a double Ironman for a honeymoon?

  63. Comment by Mike Robson | 02.8.2010 | 11:08 am

    Congrats on both fronts!

  64. Comment by Steve Z | 02.8.2010 | 11:10 am

    Congratulations on the run, but even MORE congratulations on your engagement. May many years of happiness come to Fatty & the Runner.

    Steve Z

  65. Comment by AJ | 02.8.2010 | 11:17 am

    Congratulations on a great marathon and a super big CONGRATULATIONS on the engagement! Best wishes and I hope you both are SO happy!

  66. Comment by XCTiger | 02.8.2010 | 11:20 am

    Congratulations on the engagement and the run. The fact that she hung back at the start when you had a “potty emergency” and missed the start, then sacrificed her time to stay with you the entire day kind of say to me that she likes you. Either that or she enjoys seeing you suffer.

    Good luck to you both, and to your families.

  67. Comment by Deuce | 02.8.2010 | 11:23 am

    I am constantly amazed at your depths of wisdom and ability to make me laugh out loud, but if I may…from one cycling brother to another…don’t insist that he Runner call you “Sir” after the big day! I’m just sayin’!


  68. Comment by Chris B | 02.8.2010 | 11:24 am

    Well done! Money spent. I still say it was mean to pick my flat course paved road finishing time for a course run on desert trails!
    And a big congrats on the engagement! We’re all invited to the wedding right? :)

  69. Comment by buckythedonkey | 02.8.2010 | 11:24 am

    Well, that is a piece of news. Congratulations to you both.

  70. Comment by Susan | 02.8.2010 | 11:25 am

    Well, félicitations on all counts-running that distance, beating your time…and oh yeah your ENGAGEMENT!
    Life..always amazing eh?

  71. Comment by Henry | 02.8.2010 | 11:26 am

    Well done, sir. Even better job to your fiancee. Congratulations.

    I am running my first ultra on March 15th. Thanks for scaring the crap out of me. I will try to take advantage of your tactic but starting thinking of excuses to quit now. I wouldn’t want to get confused in mid-race and actually finish the race by mistake because I couldn’t think of an excuse fast enough.

  72. Comment by Keenedge | 02.8.2010 | 11:30 am

    Nicely done and Congratulations!! Although I was a little worried when I started reading todays article. I did not see Sat. post & the partying from Sat. continued thru the Superbowl. Sat. was a monster party for the ann. of my wife’s twin sisters 5yrs Breast cancer free. Was very glad to pay my debt & thanks for making me grin with the description of you race.

  73. Comment by Kathleen Lisson | 02.8.2010 | 11:34 am

    Oh Fatty, I love how you just casually mention THE MOST IMPORTANT NEWS OF THE YEAR for you at the end of your post.
    Best wishes to both of you!

  74. Comment by Matthew | 02.8.2010 | 11:36 am

    Double congratulations!!! Awesome race report and awesome post race news!

  75. Comment by MrsEAM | 02.8.2010 | 11:41 am

    Congrats on both accounts! I think we need a longer post on the proposal though!

  76. Comment by Gil Middlebrooks | 02.8.2010 | 11:45 am

    Man, you buried the lead! I am happy for you and your new soon-to-be combined families.

  77. Comment by Pete | 02.8.2010 | 12:00 pm

    Congrats to you both!

  78. Comment by Scotty | 02.8.2010 | 12:02 pm

    Congrats on the run and even more so on the well deserved happiness.

    I am paid-in-full, and will be looking for you in Leadville.

  79. Comment by Stan | 02.8.2010 | 12:04 pm

    That’s great to hear. The marathon and the engagement. The Runner sounds like a very sweet girl, and I’m in awe of your great fortune to find her.

  80. Comment by GenghisKhan | 02.8.2010 | 12:10 pm

    Mawwage. Mawwage is what bwings us together today. Wove, twue wove… So tweasure your woves forever.

  81. Comment by Orbea Girl | 02.8.2010 | 12:11 pm

    Wishing both of you, and your respective families, many, many years of happiness together. However, your readers need details of how and where you proposed. Have you bought a ring? If so, what’s it like? When’s the wedding etc etc

  82. Comment by Elisabethvi | 02.8.2010 | 12:16 pm

    Congratulations on the marathon and the engagement! I signed up to ride my first century this June and am amused and encouraged by your tales. I won’t be placing any bets on my ride…I just hope to finish. I’m very happy for you and the Runner. May you have a lifetime of happiness together.
    Thanks for an awesome blog! I love it!

  83. Comment by Alyson | 02.8.2010 | 12:16 pm

    Awww, congrats to you both.! That is awesome news!

    Fatty, we do need to know EXACTLY how you proposed?? Did you go down on one knee? Did you beg? Did you cry? Did you beg & cry???
    Come on, we need to know these things from a “Man’s” perspective!! Please!!

  84. Comment by John | 02.8.2010 | 12:22 pm

    Fantastic – a day you will both remember forever. So did you pop the question at the finish line? We’re you hallucinating at mile 23 and offered to ‘marry the first person who gives me a GU!”

    I’ll submit my $50 to LiveStrong today – and look forward to riding some tasty trails with you when & if I make it to UT

  85. Comment by GuyO | 02.8.2010 | 12:28 pm


    Well done on both fronts. Tagging along with you has been a real honor! Thank you!

    If I ever decide to add a bike to my running routine, I will re-read your marathon adventure as the cautionary tale it is.

  86. Comment by Bo | 02.8.2010 | 12:32 pm

    So happy for the both of you. Congrats on both milestones, and all the happiness in the world to you as you start a new life!

  87. Comment by blinddrew | 02.8.2010 | 12:35 pm

    Congratulations and congratulations again! Now answer me a serious question please, i don’t have a credit card, how can i stump up my bet?

  88. Comment by monkeywebb | 02.8.2010 | 12:54 pm

    Well done, Fatty! And congratulations on finishing the marathon as well.

  89. Comment by Pip | 02.8.2010 | 12:57 pm

    Awww, Fatty, congratulations!

  90. Comment by Chuck | 02.8.2010 | 12:57 pm

    Congratulations to the both of you, in the near distant future, can we stsrt refering to the Runner as Mrs. Fatty?? Maybe not, the Runner fits just fine.

  91. Comment by Todd | 02.8.2010 | 1:03 pm

    Congrats Fatty!

  92. Comment by USARMYCPT | 02.8.2010 | 1:08 pm

    Congrats in finishing the marathon upright and not on a stretcher! and to your engagement! AWESOME!

  93. Comment by Peter | 02.8.2010 | 1:14 pm

    Congrats Fatty! Oh, and even though running is no fun, nice work on that whole marathon too.

  94. Comment by Mike Roadie | 02.8.2010 | 1:17 pm

    Congratulations on the great news…..and I don’t mean the marathon….but congrats on that, as well. For some reason you did not accept my bet, so I will donate to my own page anyway in your honor.

    Are we sure she really accepted???

  95. Comment by cyclingeurope | 02.8.2010 | 1:21 pm

    Wow, I’ve got tears in my eyes! And a big grin.
    Susan is no doubt very, very happy for you right now!
    The Runner is a gift from God.

    Way to go Fatty!

  96. Comment by Shuffles | 02.8.2010 | 1:22 pm

    Bravo Fatty, and best wishes to the Runner!

  97. Comment by Barb Douglas | 02.8.2010 | 1:23 pm

    Congrats Fatty & The Runner and good marathon too!

  98. Comment by MattK | 02.8.2010 | 1:25 pm

    Way to hang in there Fatty and finsih despite the pain. And kongratuations on the engagement!

    And btw, you have no idea what a hassle it is getting my name and all my ID’s _hanged, being as you so _asually took away the _ from the English language last week. I now have to spell my last name with a K, thank you very much. Ni_e. I’d visualize my hip working normally again, and leave the letters alone! Just my 2 _ents worth.

  99. Comment by my middle name is fred | 02.8.2010 | 1:35 pm

    WOO HOO!!! Nice job.

  100. Comment by Jason Crane | | 02.8.2010 | 1:35 pm

    Huzzah! Much love and happy wishes to you both!

  101. Comment by centurion | 02.8.2010 | 1:38 pm

    Ok Good, you got the girl, can we please get off of this running stuff, and get back on wheels? Please?

  102. Comment by Michele | 02.8.2010 | 1:38 pm

    Congrats x2!

  103. Comment by Minh Nguyen | 02.8.2010 | 1:45 pm

    Wow! you move fast (not running wise, but relationship wise) lol. Congrats though, she’s definitely a keeper!!!

  104. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 02.8.2010 | 1:47 pm

    The Runner is a gem! Congrats on your engagement…you are one smart cookie!

    Way to finish the race Fatty-it sounds extremely tough. My knees hurt just reading the post. Huge accomplishment!!

  105. Comment by chad | 02.8.2010 | 1:54 pm

    congrats x2!

  106. Comment by Moose | 02.8.2010 | 2:13 pm

    Congratulations to the both of you! Awesome work on the marathon!

  107. Comment by DrBryce | 02.8.2010 | 2:23 pm

    CONGRATS!!! Way to go Fatty for the finish and for the Engagement!

    Now for the business at hand: do you want the $50 deposited to your LS Seattle event or do you want to collect on the $450 in diagnostic services in light of the hip flexor complaint (and prior foot slap/drop, etc)?

    I’ll await your reply by way of an email before I deposit into the LS Seattle account.

    Allez Fatty!

  108. Comment by Carl | 02.8.2010 | 2:29 pm

    I’ve paid off my bet. Congrats on your engagement and great job on the marathon. I wish you both all the best.

  109. Comment by Joel P. | 02.8.2010 | 2:29 pm

    Congrats and much happiness to the both of you, although my joy is tempered as I am worried about the cacti in their confused state.
    Joel P.

  110. Comment by j2dahizzay | 02.8.2010 | 2:37 pm

    Awesome! Wool in Death Valley and an engagement? What a wild weekend. I am impressed.

  111. Comment by Routing for Fatty | 02.8.2010 | 2:52 pm

    Congratulations to you both, you deserve happiness, thanks for sharing a little slice of your lives with us.

  112. Comment by Michael G | 02.8.2010 | 2:56 pm

    Congrats to both of you on your engagement ..

    Much happiness to the both of you.


  113. Comment by FNEditor | 02.8.2010 | 3:21 pm

    Took you long enough, I mean the proposal, not the marathon. We better get a write-up on how you (begged and pleaded with her) proposed to her.

  114. Comment by Tenntrace | 02.8.2010 | 3:30 pm

    Congratulations to you both! I’m glad she decided you are worth the trouble – both to run marathons with and to marry!

  115. Comment by Rob Churchill | 02.8.2010 | 3:42 pm


  116. Comment by rexinsea | 02.8.2010 | 4:03 pm

    Congratulations on the engagement and the run. Love the scouting cheers. I’m sure they provided extra motivation having been both on the giving and receiving side of similar forms of encouragement.

  117. Comment by MattK | 02.8.2010 | 4:13 pm

    Hey Fatty…on a serious note, isn’t it about time you put the links to the LiveStrong team pages back up on your site?

  118. Comment by Triflefat | 02.8.2010 | 4:14 pm

    Well played sir! I am paid up. I reckon I detected at least $25 worth of suffering in your run report.

    Now let’s hear no more of that running nonsense.

    And good luck to the Runner with putting up with a vain, egotistical, blogging superstar!

  119. Comment by kathleen | 02.8.2010 | 4:20 pm

    thousands of congrats. and virtual hugs to the runner too!

  120. Comment by DeLynn | 02.8.2010 | 4:23 pm

    Congratulations to you both. Many blessings on your journey together.

  121. Comment by ChrisInAtlanta | 02.8.2010 | 4:31 pm

    May you have many more happy miles together. But don’t let her turn you into runner, please! You need to convert her to our side.

  122. Comment by Barbara | 02.8.2010 | 4:31 pm

    There are 3 things I’ve discovered that are better about biking vs. running – you can coast, you can do it more comfortably in hotter weather, and you can stop for breakfast (or whatever)in the middle of a ride. Try doing that in the middle of a long run! Things that are better about running: efficiency in calories burned and cardio training effect per time invested, able to do it anywhere, minimal gear required.

    I’ll tell you what my bro-in-law told me when I was just a wee lass starting out running marathons – next time run it in 3 hours, you’ll be a lot less tired than if you are out there running for 4.5 hours!

    Congrats on the marathon and the happiness together!

  123. Comment by Fiona | 02.8.2010 | 4:33 pm


  124. Comment by Kermitsgirl | 02.8.2010 | 4:34 pm

    Wishing you many happy miles together!

  125. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 02.8.2010 | 4:36 pm

    Double congratulations!

  126. Comment by Alex | 02.8.2010 | 4:36 pm

    Hooray! Congrats to Fatty and The Runner! Reading about your engagement just made my otherwise dull Monday that much better. Best to both of you!

  127. Comment by Frankenhip | 02.8.2010 | 4:41 pm

    Congrats! & Congrats again! I am on my way to pay up now.

  128. Comment by Greg | 02.8.2010 | 5:07 pm

    Congratulations on the Maro (and the engagment is not bad either)!

  129. Comment by BamaJim | 02.8.2010 | 5:08 pm

    Congratulations on the marathon and the engagement. Paid up on my bet last night. I’m not too surprised things got difficult the last part of the race – I’ve had similar experiences in a couple of marathons, though without the benefit of having someone running along trying to cheer me up. Consider yourself blessed.

  130. Comment by G | 02.8.2010 | 5:12 pm

    Congratulations, Fatty. On all counts.

  131. Comment by bobbie | 02.8.2010 | 5:45 pm

    Congratulations on both the marathon AND the engagement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  132. Comment by Heidi | 02.8.2010 | 5:47 pm

    YAY! WOOT! And all other exclamations of a congratulatory nature!

  133. Comment by Diane | 02.8.2010 | 5:49 pm

    Barbara’s comment reminded me: my daughter ran the Logan, Utah Marathon last Sept. in 4:30. It was her first marathon. My son ran the St.George Marathon in just over 3 hours and qualified for Boston. My mother, their grandmother, said to my daughter after she saw her time: “Lara, you’re a much better runner than Paul. You ran for 4 1/2 hours, he only ran for 3″. I loved it!

    Congrats on the race and on the engagement. You make a great couple.

  134. Comment by GJ Jackie | 02.8.2010 | 5:58 pm

    @GenghisKhan (12:10 pm) Funny!!!! I’ve always loved that part of the movie.

    Wow, Fatty, how on earth did you find this saint of a woman? You do indeed live a charmed life. You have the privilege of sharing your life with not just one amazing woman, but two. You must be doing something right. Congrats!

  135. Comment by TonyS | 02.8.2010 | 6:03 pm

    Congrats, Fatty & The Runner!

  136. Comment by Tree | 02.8.2010 | 6:07 pm

    Thank you for your wonderful story. It gives me hope that their are “keepers” out there. I was recently dumped by my fiancee who told me I would stand in the way of his athletic achievements, despite the fact I was his biggest cheerleader, supported his training and never once complained about him being gone to races.

    He would have never gone slow and stayed with me a whole race. The closest I got was he went ahead won a race, took a breather and then came back to meet me and finish in with me…and I was thrilled with that!!! What a special special lady you have and I’m glad you’ve got a ring on her finger! She is definately a keeper. Does she have a brother???? ;-)

  137. Comment by Paulscarlett | 02.8.2010 | 6:14 pm

    congrats to you both yet again
    nice job digging deep Fatty, well done
    @joe – good eyes
    @Dpotter – really nice sentiment, well put

  138. Comment by schmei | 02.8.2010 | 6:20 pm

    Congratulations on the marathon and the engagement!

    This is another vote for the triathlon wedding.

  139. Comment by Frank | 02.8.2010 | 6:32 pm

    Congratulations to you two! Maybe you guys should get married in Austin at Lance’s ranch after the Livestrong Challenge. I’m sure the whole Team Fatty would be there to throw one hell of a party :)

  140. Comment by kentucky joe | 02.8.2010 | 7:17 pm

    Congratulations FC and the Runner!
    oh and a nice run too..

  141. Comment by Miles Archer | 02.8.2010 | 7:36 pm

    Congrats to both of you.

  142. Comment by Linda | 02.8.2010 | 7:36 pm

    Oh Fatty, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Such wonderful news–I just knew it was coming! Love how you snuck it in there, but I definitely hope there is another blog post coming soon with the full story!

    Many happy years to you both and your soon-to-be joined families!

    P.S. I love that you now have 3-Day banners on your page–I am a 7-time walker and it has truly changed my life!

  143. Comment by Gordon In Melb, Australia | 02.8.2010 | 7:43 pm

    So I was right….refer my previous comments below(from last year when The Runner first appeared) especially about “4 bikes and a wedding”, surely I deserver a Michael Rasmussen signed bottle or something….or to to be told to get back in my hole.

    Go team !!!

    The whole “Letter to Johan” is, in my opinion, the story of the year ….but….now there is more, The Mystery Runner. I sense a Hollywood block-buster pretty soon. First there was tragedy, then triumph of raising an absurd amount of money(and showing Lance who is the boss on Mt Lemmon) and now romance. I think it will be called “Four Bikes and a Wedding” or “An un-named runner Fatty desires” or my last one “2010: A Runner Odyssey”. Then again Runners daughter needs a bag so perhaps a Brady Bunch kind of series.

  144. Comment by Born 4Lycra | 02.8.2010 | 8:35 pm

    Well done and all the best to you both.

  145. Comment by jill | 02.8.2010 | 9:20 pm

    Congratulations on all accounts!

  146. Comment by Derron | 02.8.2010 | 9:44 pm

    I know it has already been said before (at least 90 times), but congrats to the both of you for beating your goal time on the marathon and for finding one another. It sounds like it was meant to be! Best wishes on a long & happy life together!

  147. Comment by MVSC | 02.8.2010 | 10:23 pm

    Sweet! well done to both of you (and to Joe who spotted the sparkle in the earlier post!)

  148. Comment by Geoff Bridges | 02.8.2010 | 10:44 pm

    Congrats ‘Runner’ and Eldon, best wishes and my prayers to you both.

  149. Comment by Geoff Bridges | 02.8.2010 | 10:47 pm

    Congrats ‘Runner’ and Elden, best wishes and my prayers to you both.

  150. Comment by co | 02.8.2010 | 11:21 pm

    Death Valley Man – 580! Gopher It!

  151. Comment by co | 02.8.2010 | 11:23 pm

    Guess your clean-up site cuts out angle (insert value here) brackets. Let’s try again with square (optional) brackets:

    Death Valley Ma[ratho]n Man – 580! Gopher it!

    (from the great closing photo!)

  152. Comment by J A Y | 02.8.2010 | 11:25 pm

    That Runner MUST REALY be in LOVE, because she looks so much smarter than to fall for sombody called “Fatty”. Just Kidding. Congrats to both of you, much happiness!

  153. Comment by michwea | 02.8.2010 | 11:28 pm

    Excellent race report–one of the best I’ve read in a long time. Congratulations on the engagement. Best wishes for a very happy life together.

  154. Comment by Tiff | 02.9.2010 | 12:32 am

    Well done! I’m relieved the marathon went so well, that the pain is subsiding and that your future is full of love : ) Nice way to sneak in the engagement news. Congrats to you both and the Fatty and Runner families!

  155. Comment by Alex from ZA | 02.9.2010 | 1:38 am

    Congrats! Best wishes to you and your families (family?) for the future.

  156. Comment by pmyers42 | 02.9.2010 | 1:45 am

    Congratulations on both fronts. I’ll be busy with my credit card on both your Livestrong site and mine tomorrow.

  157. Comment by Rienzo | 02.9.2010 | 1:55 am

    Well done Fatty. I feel like you’re a friend even though we’ve never me (which could change if you ever choose to visit South Africa), and I’m super stoked for both of you, and your children! Well done man!

  158. Comment by eandjmum | 02.9.2010 | 2:01 am

    You’re one amazing man… $10 to your LiveStrong campaign from me in little old Christchurch, New Zealand…. great place to come for a honeymoon LMAO! You are welcome at our home anytime. We will find somewhere else to go and you can borrow our house! We have some wonderful roads to ride and trails to run!!!! And a really fast marathon (SBS Marathon – June each year) course – it’s all flat and an out and back around our beautiful garden city … time for more betting Fatty!

  159. Comment by Jenn | 02.9.2010 | 2:44 am

    Congratulations to you both on all counts! And, as always, thank you for sharing – it’s nice to start my day with happy thoughts!

  160. Comment by Razor | 02.9.2010 | 3:38 am

    Yes – way to go!!

    Some people ask – how do you know the right person to marry. My response, proven once again by you two, is that you will just know. Mrs Razor wrote to me almost every day for my first six months in the Australian Army. I knew then. That was 1991.

    Champagne! – For everyone!!

  161. Comment by beerbiker | 02.9.2010 | 5:21 am

    Slipped that one in under the radar! didn’t you.
    Congrats from the ‘BeerBiker’ & the ‘BeerBabe’ over here in the UK. It’s good to see ya jolly again.

  162. Comment by Alex M Lewis | 02.9.2010 | 6:05 am

    Congratulations on the actual marathon and the one you are now starting. I am really happy for both of you and wish you all the best for the future.
    I believe you both deserve it

    Fatty remember the most important five words of a relationship:
    “Oh Yes Your Right, Sorry”

    Alex M Lewis

  163. Comment by Cardiac Kid | 02.9.2010 | 6:47 am

    Congratulations Fatty and Runner !!!

  164. Comment by Wine Dog | 02.9.2010 | 7:13 am

    But you finished.

    If there is someone who does ART in your area, I’d go see them. Those guys will hurt you pretty bad, but they can also release that flexor in about 10 minutes.

  165. Comment by Andrew | 02.9.2010 | 8:42 am

    Atta boy. Congratulations on the accomplishment—that’s a respectable time.

    And a big congratulations on the engagement—she’s a keeper and you both deserve each other!

  166. Comment by Alice | 02.9.2010 | 9:00 am

    Where are your children? Will they be in the movie?

    Where are YOUR children? Oh, and be sure to include lots and lots of information about them, so it will be easier for anyone who reads this to kidnap them.

    You see my point? – FC

  167. Comment by Ashley | 02.9.2010 | 9:34 am

    Hey guys, would love if you could throw some spare change towards my livestrong page :)

  168. Comment by PennyPue | 02.9.2010 | 9:38 am

    A finish and a start!

    How wonderful!!!
    Congratulations on both.

    (running, unless someone is chasing you with a weapon, a big weapon, is sheer madness!)

  169. Comment by Anonymous | 02.9.2010 | 9:47 am


    Great job, you’re an inspiration! And congrats on your engagement. :)

    Take care of that hip flexor. I’ve been fighting with the exact same injury (left hip flexor) for over four months after overdoing it at running and not wanting to quit. Be careful or you will too.

  170. Comment by bo | 02.9.2010 | 9:51 am

    Congratulations, Fatty!

  171. Comment by Sara | 02.9.2010 | 11:19 am

    Hearing that you’re engaged was the best part of the story. Congratulations on the race and the engagement!

  172. Comment by Kyle | 02.9.2010 | 12:43 pm


    so, since you lost my silly bet I’ll donate the $ to my livestrong austin page…in honor of you and the runner of course…

  173. Comment by Carl | 02.9.2010 | 12:48 pm

    Fatty… I “think” all your readers would agree with this statement: We read your blog because we like you, your message, and your cause. You are not the President and people who don’t agree with you don’t have any reason to read what you write. PLEASE delete the negative posts that some people feel they need to write. We don’t want to read them and they only serve to detract from the enjoyment we get from visiting your blog.

  174. Comment by JJ | 02.9.2010 | 1:08 pm


  175. Comment by sllym | 02.9.2010 | 1:08 pm

    Congrats and Best Wishes to you, The Runner and your families. :-)

  176. Comment by Lizzy | 02.9.2010 | 2:44 pm

    WOW! I totally didn’t see that coming, but it makes complete sense. If you two can run a marathon together, you can walk a life together.

  177. Comment by Joel | 02.9.2010 | 3:46 pm

    Congratulations on everything.

  178. Comment by Kala | 02.9.2010 | 6:04 pm

    Congratulations, Fatty. You should be proud of all the accomplishments you have made, including this one.

    You and the Runner are very lucky to have each other. I wish you two the best of happiness :)

  179. Comment by jason | 02.9.2010 | 6:06 pm

    Holly cow Fatty I was not expecting the end of that post. Congrats on the big engagement. Would love to see you two on a tandem in your tux and her wedding dress.

    Keep on keepin’on

  180. Comment by Greg | 02.9.2010 | 6:09 pm

    I hate to pry, but we obviously need more info about the engagement.

  181. Comment by SuomiTri | 02.9.2010 | 10:36 pm

    Congrats on both. Hope that hip flexor heals up for the SGIM and related training…

  182. Comment by Dobovedo | 02.10.2010 | 12:44 am

    Well.. that went pretty much exactly as I would have expected it to, having gone through much the same experience three months ago.

    Right up until the point where you two got engaged.

    Add my congrats to the top of the pile (and bottom of the comments list)!

  183. Comment by BionicCyclist | 02.10.2010 | 1:28 am

    Congratulations to the two of you. You are an inspiration in so many ways!!

  184. Comment by Mark Kynaston | 02.10.2010 | 3:51 am

    Chapeau Fatty!

    All the very best to you and the Runner – may you both be very happy

  185. Comment by Claire | 02.10.2010 | 4:56 am

    Congrats, Fatty and The Runner – for both the marathon and the engagement!

  186. Comment by Nic Grillo | 02.10.2010 | 12:47 pm

    Congratulations Fatty! I think you’ve earned a rest day or two!

  187. Comment by R A N T W I C K | 02.10.2010 | 12:59 pm

    Wow. I thought “All wilderness, no matter what kind, is interesting and beautiful” was the best line of the post. I mean, you hit the nail on the head there.

    But then the engagement punchline came! Best wishes and good vibes to both of you, man.

  188. Comment by stirling | 02.10.2010 | 6:50 pm

    Congratulations on both accounts!!!

  189. Comment by Jenna | 02.10.2010 | 8:46 pm


  190. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 02.11.2010 | 8:40 am

    Congrats on the successful finish and your engagement! Best wishes to you both!

  191. Comment by Clydesteve | 02.11.2010 | 12:51 pm

    thought so. well done. as per my bet my happy to do it payment will be delayed, but it will be sure to come.

  192. Comment by anji | 02.11.2010 | 4:51 pm

    congratulations on your engagement and… not dying out on the marathon! Good job :D

  193. Comment by Bob O'Bryan | 02.11.2010 | 10:21 pm

    What an auspicious day, Fatty! I’m so happy for you! Great job out there.

  194. Comment by Wendy | 02.12.2010 | 7:48 pm

    Yea Fatty! Congratulations to you both the race and the runner. :-)

  195. Comment by BikeCopVT | 02.14.2010 | 5:18 am

    Fatty & The Runner,

    Wow life gets busy I miss a few posts and look what happens. Congratulations on the engagement way to hide it at the end of the post. What did you figure by then nobody would be paying attention?


  196. Comment by Lisa | 02.14.2010 | 9:39 am

    It does my heart good to see you go from heartbroken to happy. Congratulations to you and your lovely Lisa {great name!!} Peace…

  197. Comment by Andy | 02.21.2010 | 10:07 am


    You win, and I paid up. Congratulations.

    If anyone else if feeling in a giving mood, I am collecting for the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure ride here in Virginia. If you want to see a cure for diabetes as well as cancer, send a few bucks towards my fund raising account.


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