Really enjoyed a week in Iceland, and now I’m running the 42 km Reykjavik Marathon. Terrific weather, supportive spectators, beautiful scenery, and we’re running on a nice flat road next to the ocean. But the scenery doesn’t matter, because I’ve already run 39 km, my legs are tired, and I’m only thinking, “Three more kilometers to the finish-line and it’s over.”
Then, unexpectedly, I feel something strange on my leg. Look down and see an almost invisible coil of nylon fishing-line wrapped around my ankle and foot. Thinking, “It will just fall off” I keep running. But suddenly the line also ties up my other foot, and I go crashing down face-first onto the pavement. Lying there more dazed than hurt, I’m thinking, “Is this just a bad dream?” And I curse the fisherman who left a coil of fishing-line on the road.
Try to stand-up, but can’t because my feet are tied together. So roll over and sit up, then struggle to unravel the thin, unbreakable line tightly wrapped around both shoes. Notice a bleeding gash on my leg, but my only concern is, “Other runners are beating me to the finishing-line!” When really it’s a fishing-line that’s beating me.
Finally break free from the bonds, wobble to my feet, and begin running slowly, while the nice spectators give me a round of applause for being stupid enough to keep going. And it seems the sitting gave my legs a short rest. So I pick up speed, pass most of the runners who had just passed me, and finish in 3 hours 48 minutes.
It turns out 3:48 is the fastest of my last five marathons, and I place 2nd in Men 65-69. And who knows, maybe I also set a World Record for being the first runner to ever break through both a finish-line and fish-line in the same marathon.
And here’s the really strange part. This was actually my second fishy marathon. A couple of days before the 2014 Paris Marathon I was enjoying a bowl of good thick fish soup, when suddenly a tiny fish bone injected itself into the underside of my tongue. It really hurt and I tried everything to get it out. But it was too far back and too small to grasp.
By morning there was a big, sore lump on the underside of my tongue and swallowing became very painful. It was the day before the marathon and I should have been carbo-loading and stuffing myself with food, but I could hardly eat or drink. And next day during the race it hurt to swallow energy-gels or water. So eventually I became de-hydrated, had no energy, and agonizingly walked/ran for the last 7-kilometers to the finish.
Why do the world’s fish have a conspiracy to get me? Is it nature’s revenge because I grew up in Nova Scotia, near the ocean, and ate so many delicious fishes? And why do they attack me on land, instead of in the water? Until I find the answers, there’s no way I’ll ever do a triathlon. In the swim part, the fish would finally finish me off.