Free & Fit NJ - Atlantic City Marathon 2019 - Run & Blog by Timothy Cheux

Free & Fit NJ - Atlantic City Marathon 2019 - Run & Blog by Timothy Cheux

This October I had the blessing and privilege of running the Atlantic City marathon for the second time. Despite the changing schedule, demanding school deadlines and various obligations I had at the time I love to find a ryhtm, routine and to follow patterns, pathways and defined outcomes. The process of training for a marathon allows all of these things to happen. The 26.2 mile training season encompasses everything that a plan, focus and training require. The target was a personal best and qualification for the Boston Marathon. Even better a sub three hour marathon, but the Lord leads our steps and directs our paths.

On the eve of the day I had to eat a big meal the night before, travel to Atlantic City and complete the A21 walk for Freedom on Saturday the 19th October - all the day before the marathon. In preparation for the race I had to buy new shoes after trying my best to get my favorite Nike Air Pegasus 30, in a US size 13, I had failed to acquire my favourite and only marathon shoe. Having ran 7 marathons before this race I had always ran the marathon in this shoe.

I was in despair the month before the marathon and just 10 days before I found a steal of a deal on a discounted running shoe in the Hoboken Jack Rabbit. The shoes were not on the shop floor, the staff were not aware of any sale shoes in my size and only after my request to check the delivery did I find my shoes. They were hugely reduced from their retail price and gave me the license to believe these shoes were chosen and predestined for me to run my race and achieve my goal.

The night before I ate my traditional spaghetti bolognaise with a family style sharing plate from Bucca Di Beppo in the Ballys Hotel where we were staying and the start of the race took place. Liza and I had some left over, but I wasn't going to over eat the night before. Unfortunately, we left our leftovers in the Hotel so hopefully the cleaner cleaned out the fridge otherwise the next guests may have been in for a surprise! We loved eating in the italian restaurant, taking in the eve of the race and spending good quality time together on the build up to the day.

Usually I would start the race with my faithful friend, number one supporter and biggest love of my life, my wife, Liza. She very kindly massages me, prays with me and helps me get off the blocks well from the start, but this year it didn't happen! It changed my whole mood for the race and left me feeling somewhat empty at the start of the race when I would usually be full of steam, confidence and the thrill of the chase in the race. Thankfully she saw me along the route and helped me recover with a great water bottle, snack and shout of encouragement. What a lucky man I am, so much so that the police officer next to her told her so! Always thankful and grateful to her for her support along the route.

Throughout the race I remember reciting a scripture verse and singing songs along the route. My scripture is taken from Philippians 4:13 which in the Amplified version reads:

Philippians 4:13 Amplified Bible (AMP)13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]

Through the practice of reciting this verse I was able to remember the reason for the hope that I had in my Christian faith, recite the verse in my mind and embed it into my running. Every other mile I would recite these verse ten times, very similar to how Norman Vincent Peale would teach his readers through his great instructions and teachings. The song that I sang whilst running is entitled "This is How I fight my Battles." Again I would sing this song either aloud, meditate on its lyrics or shout them from the roof tops in a tough mile. Specifically the words "I am surrounded, I am surrounded, I am surrounded by you" really helped me to get around the course.

The race started to challenge me at mile twenty when the weather changed and the boardwalk started again. Despite being the route being flat the course contains at least eight miles of wooden boardwalk, in places it has uneven blocks of wood and nails sticking out of the floor and causes problems in the rhythm of completing the race.

Last year I had a nail go through my shoe and cut my foot whilst running a long the route. This year even though I was more aware of it I could not beat its impact on my legs. Especially between mile 24 to mile 26. At this point I decided that my gels, my watch and bag had to go. They were not going to accompany me for the rest of the route. So you can see in the picture above and below me with the bag and watch on and off at the finish line when I have no bag or watch! The last two miles were without a timer, stop clock or marathon minute regulator. I was able to relax, enjoy the race and engage with the crowd. A very rewarding experience given my pain, broken toe nail and blisters at this point.

After the race I seized up of course and had to receive treatment for my cramp, broken toe nail and tight muscles. The wonderful team on hand at the finish line gave me treatment and were able to relieve me of my pain, hurt and complaints. You can see afterwards the picture of me with the two guys who helped me out at this point and supported me in my recovery. So what happened? I hear you ask. How did I get on? Praise be to God! Hallelujah! The verses, the singing and the support of my beautiful wife all paid off. I had completed the marathon in a record time of 3 hours and 2 minutes with a qualifying tim