Behind that finish line smile

Posted on Posted in Achievements, Asthma, Asthma Symptoms, Asthma treatments, Boston Marathon, Exercise&Fitness, Fitness Walking, Leg cramps, Marathon Training, Marathon walking, Marathons, Mobility Impaired Division, Nebulizer treatments, People, Places and Events, Racewalking, Shortness of Breath, Walking, walking events

Ok, so I look really strong in some of my finish line photos, but believe me.. looks can be very very deceiving. I’m an expert at hiding what I feel inside (I think most asthmatics are, to some degree.) Behind those smiles were waves of excruciating pain shooting down my legs. My breathing was really labored at times and my calf muscles felt like they were going to explode, but I told myself at the start of this race that if I made it past mile 21, that no matter how bad my breathing was, or how much pain I might be in, that I would push on with positive thoughts in my head and a smile on my face….And that’s exactly what I did! And if for no other reason, that’s why I’m so proud of myself for finishing the race in style.

If you look really deep, you can see the pain starting to come through
(Finish line photos)


I don’t care how healthy you are, even if just walking a marathon, when you get to a certain distance in a race, your body starts to hurt really bad (I think that’s what they mean by “Hitting the WALL”). The problem is, you can’t really stop moving or you run the risk of your whole body cramping up. It’s happened to me before, and I’m telling ya..it ain’t a pretty scene. A full body cramp would end the race for you , right then and there. So after 20 miles, you do whatever you can to stretch out those muscles while you’re moving, but you never stop.

So what did it take to get this 55 year old severe asthmatic across the finish line at the Boston marathon?
Well, how about lot’s of training, lots of medications and a ton of determination and willpower! Having a good friend walking along side of you , who makes you laugh constantly, probably helps as well.. Thank goodness for Lizzy.

Here are couple photos I left out of the main photo set. I think you know why…


(Had to stop to sneek a neb treatment about every 7 miles along the course… this eats up a lot of time )


( Needed 3 neb treatments back to back after crossing the finish line. )

Here are a few other things you probably didn’t know

*To control my asthma during this 26.2 mile race, in addition to the neb treatments every 7 miles, I took appx 24 hits off my inhaler ( about 3 puffs per hour). On top of the inhaled drugs, I swallowed 10 mg of prednisone every hour , chased by an antacid to control the stomach burning that the prednisone causes in the first place . Thank You Jon ( our spotter who went and got me some TUMS in the middle of the race.

*To control the pain in my calve muscles and the metatarsalgia pain in my feet, I took 2 Motrins every 2 hours along the course, 6 in total.

*For energy and hydration , I consumed 2-4 oz of plain water every mile, alternating with Gatorade every other mile. I did this for the first 20 miles, then switched to a 50-50 blend of electrolytes and water (2 oz) every mile for the rest of the race. In addition, I swallowed one Powerbar gel ( tangerine with double caffeine) every 6 miles.

So as you can see, doing this race ( or any other for that matter) wasn’t as as easy for me as most people might think. I just make it look that way:-)

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2 thoughts on “Behind that finish line smile

  1. SUPER proud of you, Steve! You know, just for being you, and doing what it took to get you across the Boston finish line, the second time around, even if it wasn't easy. And, in the words of Incubus "Love hurts, but sometimes it's a good hurt, and it feels like I'm alive, love sings when it transcends the bad things". And, I (we) know how much you loooove walking.

    And thanks for sharing with us what really went on behind the scenes.
    You did it, dude!!

    . . . You know why I call you EPIC Steve, right? 'Cause it's completely true.

  2. Steve is amazing. I would look over my shoulder and tease Steve throughout.
    He promised that if things got bad, he would let me know. He was also
    to let me know if he needed anything. I feel so honored that both my Team Wheezy
    teammates trusted me enough to be honest about what was going on.
    Yeppers – Steve was tired and maintaining himself along the way. I nearly
    gave myself an asthma attack catching up to him. We had to tell the other to slow
    down every so often. And would I be Sherpa Shepard again? You freaking bet!
    Anytime, Steve! Same rules apply and now you can let me know what you need
    along the way and at the end of the race!
    Love ya! Dizzy Miss Lizzy a.k.a. Sherpa Shep!

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