I think I have 3 posts started about yesterday.  One to post around when we'd cross the start, one for around when we finished and a big thank you post.  Scratch that, I couldn't think clearly enough to put my thoughts down coherently enough, so I'm taking a stab at it now.

First, a quick recap of Friday and Saturday.  Friday my dad and I met downtown and had lunch.  Dave met us after and we headed to McCormick Place for the Expo.  It was HUGE!  Dave and my dad had fun pointing out the banners to folks and pointing to me.  When we checked in, to pick up my bib, the lady asked for ID and my dad asked if the banner over yonder would count.  Funny!

There was a lot to check in.  We checked out all the awesome Nike Marathon gear!  It was hard picking out a shirt!  I settled on the gray long sleeve one, with the cool circle and Chicago star image on it.  The Nike marathoner wall was awesome!

Meeting Bart Yasso was freaking sweet!  I loved checking out all the booths!

All in all, the Expo was a lot of fun.  I commented on the way in, that the giant banners made my junk look HUGE!  Super fun!

Friday night Pam and I went to the Bank of America VIP Kick off Event.  We had a blast, and got to meet most of the other 10 who are featured int he ad campaign!  We hung out with Merri and her husband Wedge, they're awesome!  I'm hoping they read today and shoot me an email!  Realized we didn't exchange contact info lol!

Saturday we laid low.  I headed downtown and was on Chicago Now Radio with Alex and Amy and Connie (Marathon Missfit)...if you missed it, you can listen here. We did dinner with the family.  I needed it, being with them kept me
calm.  I had fun and had a nice distraction from the race for a bit.  My dad stayed at our place that night, and I had my gear laid out before heading to bed, around 9, I think...not completely sure I was nervous and the day was a blur.

I've thought about yesterday everyday for the past year, thought about what I wanted to say today about the past year.  The last 48 hours, much like this year have been a roller coaster of emotions and I've had a hard time sorting them out.

Yesterday I tackled 26.2 miles of the city I love step by step, inch by inch.  My goal was to finish and enjoy the entire race.  I had a time goal in mind, 5:44:00, and it was doable.  I had a shot, but as you'll read, it was tough out there.

I knew I'd have moments where I would struggle.  I anticipated it, but when they hit, it's different.  Yesterday was a celebration.  When it got tough I tried to remember why I started running.

Dave, dad and I got downtown around 20 to 6.  We dropped our gear at the CARA Compound and headed for the start.  We wandered a little.  Dave wanted to try and get up by the Start for a quick pic and to see if we could find Coach Jen.  We saw Awesome Barb on our trek and Lauren's husband, John.  We couldn't get up to the start but got close enough.
We ran into Jen on our way back to Corral D and got a pic in.

After a quick bathroom stop it was time to line up. I teared up during the anthem and an odd feeling of calm came over me.  And we got moving...Dave and I crossed the start about 7:35 and got moving.  We realized we were moving really quick, and pulled a 10 minute mile. Shit! Way over the goal pace.  We pulled back and settled in.  We saw my dad just past mile 1 and it was a confidence boost.

Mile 2 was still faster than goal pace, but better.  I was amazed at all the people out there.  I think the first 5 miles I was in awe.

We made the turn onto LaSalle and saw the banners, I welled up a little running up LaSalle seeing them.  Mile 3 we hit just about on the money. My dad was there right about Hubbard.  Man, he's quick!  We hit the aid station there and saw Tom, the AHA Team leader! I gave him a shout and a high five!

I felt OK.  It was warm already and I was a little nervous at how hot it would get.  The trip north Dave and I chatted about where the Elites were already, and where Coach Jen was.  we joked, talked about the past year and talked about our first 5k together last December, where we officially met in person.  When Dave wondered if I was the inspiration for the Comic Book Store guy from The Simpsons.

Mile 5, my left foot started to hurt...on top.  It unnerved me a little, but it wasn't too bad.  More dull really.

The miles were clicking off and I was feeling pretty good.  We hit Boystown and all I have to say is...AWESOME!  Cheerleaders, color guard, Ace and Gary on stage dancing!  It was a great stretch.  We saw my dad around mile 8.  I told Dave, "dude is a ninja!"

This stretch south the heat started to get to me as we were in the sun a lot.  Mile 9 my right foot started to hurt, sharp pain.  And then my left foot thought that was a good idea.  Fuck!  I panicked a little but kept quiet.

I had a few folks catch up and pass, which helped distract me a bit- @jheath caught us and chatted for a few, shortly there after the Running Badgers, Lauren's cousin Katie and her roommate caught us!

As we made our way back into the city, I felt alight all things considered.  We were on our pace, hitting 13:00 miles.  We turned onto Orleans/ Franklin and ran past the Merchandise Mart.  I commented that I used to hate that hill.  Our office used to be in the Apparel Center and I walked up the slight incline everyday, and struggled.  Now, here I was running up it.

We hit the Franklin Street bridge and heard Dougie Fresh! Dave started screaming, I shouted I wanted to have Dougie's baby.  Yes, maybe we were a bit loopy.

Ask we crossed Wacker I asked Dave if he saw me.  He looked at me and said, "you're right here dummy."

I pointed to a print out of the 10-10-10 ad I saw waving...and there was my FIL holding it and smiling!  Pam, K, and Alice were with him!  They made it out early!  I almost tackled Pam going for a kiss.  I kissed K and kept moving...feeling good.  We turned onto Adams and I saw an old coworker and friend, Mike!  Standing along the route with a banner,
wearing his Hoosier red shirt and shouting!  I teared up a bit!  My friends Charlie and Myriah were at mile 12.5!  Wow, what a stretch!

We hit the half way point.  I felt good, tired but good.  I felt like I could finish, but as it was getting hotter, I wasn't sure of our pace.

We kept heading west, and I had to stop.  My stomach was a little upset, not cramping but I had to go.  I'm glad my dad had wet naps as there was no TP.  After a fairly quick stop we got moving again.  Holy shit I was stiff.

We hit Charity Village and were witness to the best moment of the race. YMCA started up and we decided we had to participate.  Neither of us was sure if anyone else would join in...but, they all did.  It was a sea of runners, doing YMCA running and celebrating.  It was awesome!

The stretch out west my feet were throbbing. My left foot eased, but my right was excruciating.  I compensated in my stride, and my left groin got tight....yet we were still pretty much on pace.

Mile 17, on the bridge over 290, we pulled to the side to stretch a little.  We continued down Halsted to Taylor and headed back West.  I was starting to doubt at this point.  I was tired and for the first time I wondered if I could finish.  Right before we made the turn we saw Alice, just past mile 18...she said the gang was just around the corner.  There was Pam, my dad, K, Joe, Pilar & Jeff, the Ws and my cousin Katie!  We stopped for hugs, and Joe had a giant bottle of

I felt better, re-energized as we kept moving.  Mile 18 was OK...mile 19 my stomach started cramping, badly.  We saw Awesome Barb again around mile 19 and got some salt.  I wasn't talking much at this point.  Dave worked the crowd and it helped.  I kept moving.  Then the cramping got worse.  I had to stop...I was either going to vomit or poo.  I was so cramped I didn't get a whole lot out.

We got moving again and as we hit mile 20, I got dizzy and weak. Everything seemed to spin.  I don't remember much of this mile.  I remember Dave holding me up and walking.  Both Dave and Phil (Going the Distance) said we saw each other.  I vaguely remember seeing Phil...I was out of it.  I remember seeing the 21st mile marker wand wondered why we were

For a minute or two I was bummed.  I knew we weren't going to hit my time goal, and hitting a sub 6 would be tough.  My competitive side was disappointed.  Then I snapped out of it.  This wasn't about a time...finishing the damn thing was the goal.  Enjoying the moment, that was the goal.  And I did.

Pilsen was loud and awesome, and we headed for Chinatown.  My first time...yes, I grew up in Chicago and have never been.  I picked a damn good day to go.  We hit the turn by the arch and saw the dragons...dancing to Neil Diamond! Awesome!!!

Those last 5 miles were fun.  I was moving slow, but was still moving forward.  I smiled, chatted, and soaked it all in.  I met one of Lauren's cousins, Theresa.  She hung back for a couple miles, and offered words of encouragement.  It was cool.

When we finally made the turn onto Michigan Avenue, I was happy.  We continued north and saw Amy Guth again...she said Connie was just ahead, and on her way to finishing.  She walked with us, yes I was moving that slow lol!  And right before mile 25, my stomach said, ok no...done.  Something has to give.  Dave and I ducked down an alley, and I stopped just short of a dumpster.  I doubled over in pain and thought I was going to puke.  Then it hit, nope...not gonna puke, wrong end.  I ducked around the dumpster, dropped the shorts and I don't think I can properly describe the sound that emanated from my body, but I'll try WRRRAAAAAAHAHHHHHHHHHPPPPPPBBBBBBB... Or as Dave described it, a poop cannon resonating off the wall.

Dave almost fell over laughing at the sound and at me wimpering.  I cleaned up quick, and we got moving.  I'm not proud, but something had to give.  A black or two up I realized my sunglasses were back on the dumpster.  Damn!

Michigan Avenue seemed endless.  Seriously.  Then, as we approached the turn on Roosevelt I saw the family...everyone who had been on the course, as well as my sister, brother-in-law, aunt and cousin.  Hugs again and tears...except I was too dehydrated.  It was an emotional moment.  I think I cried the entire rest of the way.  Dave worked the crowd up the hill.  We made the last turn and I tried to sprint.  I saw two more cousins!  I slapped high fives and I screamed, pumped my fist and celebrated the moment!  I think I stomped on the finisher pad.

I did it! I'm a marathoner!!!  I take back my earlier comment, finishing was my favorite moment.  I was taken aback as I heard the song playing as I raced to the finish..."Know Your Enemy" by Green Day.

The song just seemed to fit this year, and was moved when I heard it blaring at the finish!

Check out the pics above, and then check out Pilar's pics on FB.    Dave has some posted as well on facebook...check them out!

I set four goals last October...
1. Finish the 2010 Chicago Marathon, in under 6 and a half hours.  DONE! In 6:11:04!

2. Lose weight, specifically an average of 1-1.5lbs per week for a total of 100lbs by race day. DONE! I lost 112.3lbs!

3. Create a better self image, instill confidence in myself.  DONE!  After yesterday, I know I can do anything I set my mind to!

4. Raise money and awareness for the American Heart Association. I would like to raise $5,000. DONE!  I raised roughly $6300 this year!

I didn't do this alone.  I had a lot of support!  Yesterday, as much as I ran for myself, I ran for all of you who helped me get me ready for this.  You've all had a hand in getting me here and I thank you.

Dave, thank you for taking me under your wing and for being my mentor. I said it yesterday, thanks for picking my email.  I will forever be grateful!  You are the man!  When we met, I was intimidated and scared shitless.  You saw something I didn't.  I'm proud to know you and to call you a friend. I feel lucky to have had you as my wing man yesterday.

Jen, you led the way to today. Through the ups and downs, the tough runs and small victories, you put together an awesome plan, answered every question and helped keep me on track!  No matter how many questions I had, you were were there!  You never doubted I'd be ready, even when I did.  You are awesome!  Thank you for getting me ready!

Mark & Pom, thank you both for your support.  I remember my first trip in, telling Pam as we were walking in how nervous I was.  I felt so out of place, but as soon as we started talked I was at ease.  You have always answered all of my questions and have been awesome! Thank you.

Beth, I appreciate your help and guidance this year!  I was worried I would have to make a complete overhaul of the way I ate.  You showed me I had some changes to make, but nothing super drastic and nothing scary!  I'm glad we had a chance to work together! Thank you!

I ran for my wife and daughters.  Pam, I love you.  I know I heaped this onto our already hectic lives, my only regret is how I sprung this on you.  We've talked a lot about this as the year has gone on.  I didn't necessarily do this to try and make you proud of me.  I did this because I love you and I want to spend as much time as I can with you.  I want to grow old with you, see our girls grow up; the way I was going, I felt I would have cheated you and the girls. You have been so supportive this year; you let me chase this dream even though it hasn't been an easy year.  Thank you, I love you and am glad I married my best friend.

Kaelyn, Penelope...daddy loves you so much.  I don't know how much you'll remember or understand about this year.  I
hope you know I did this for you both and for mommy.  I hope my chasing this dream shows you that you can do anything you want.  Don't ever let anyone tell you what your limits are.  I ran to show you that anything is possible, let your imagination run wild and chase your dreams.  Mommy and I will always support you, cheer you on and be here
for you, no matter what you do.

Dad, I love you.  I'm glad you are here this weekend.  Having you here to celebrate this was awesome!  I really feel like this year has brought us closer, and I'm glad for that.  I'm proud to call you my father, thank you for coming up!

Joe, Alice- thank you!  You've always supported Pam and I, and I thank you.  Thank you for your help this past year, especially this weekend.  Thanks for helping with the girls and for being there!

To my sister, aunts, uncles and cousins...I love you all and am glad I have you in my life.  Thank you for being there this year!  I'm proud to be a Malinski because of you!

Pilar, thanks to you for keeping folks online updated, and for providing me with a record of what happened yesterday!  I appreciate the help!  I'm glad Pam, the girls and I have you, Jeff and big & lil W in our lives! You guys rock!

Charlie, Myriah- thank you both for being here.  I know you went through a lot to get up here.  Know that I appreciate it.  Can't wait for April 30th!!!

To Lauren, it was your story that inspired me to email Dave. You are an inspiration and I'm glad to call you a friend.  I remember the day I met you, at Halloween Hustle.  I figured we'd say hi before the race and run our races...but you stayed with me through my first 5k!  That meant a lot to me.  Thanks for that and for being there this year!

Barb- awesome Barb, I'm glad I met both you and Mike this year.  You guys really are awesome.  I'm happy to call you friends...from the emails, to the early morning texts of support, thank you!

To the American Heart Association and the Start! Running Team- thanks for letting me run with you.  I am grateful for the chance!  You've supported me this year, and I want to thank you!

To the friends I've made this year through running.  Part of the thing I'm happiest about is having the chance to meet all of you.  You've supported, commiserated, and helped me stay focused.  I haven't even met some of you in person yet, but I'm glad we've connected.

To my coworkers...you've seen me almost everyday, or chatted with me every day and were along for the ride.  I thank all of you for humoring me, for supporting me and enabling me to get here.  I appreciate it, and am so happy to work where I do.  It's like a second family, and that's awesome!

To my friends who have shared this journey from a distance, thank you for following along and for your support.  Logging in to facebook and seeing over 200 messages of support was really moving.

To Jimmy, and the entire Chicago Now community...thank you for letting me share my story. Thanks for the support and letting me be a part of Chicago Now.  I'm glad to be here!

I know I'm leaving people out, and it's not intentional.  There are so many people who have helped, motivated, supported and shared the love- it's overwhelming.

To all of you, I will forever be grateful.  You've helped me get healthy and helped give me a second chance.

Part of me doesn't want this year to end because I've had so much fun, met some awesome people and learned a lot about myself.  But honestly, just because this chapter is over doesn't mean anything is ending.  This is a beginning.  I've got a blank slate.  I don't know what I'll do next.  I'll talk to Coach Jen and to Pam, then think about it before deciding.  I'm excited for what the future holds!

I hope that I've helped inspire someone to get active.  I hope someone who has read along now thinks that it's OK to dream and follow those dreams.  I hope I've been able to pay it forward.  I think that is one goal I will add to the list...pay it forward.  Help others get active, follow their dreams, set goals and knock them out of the park!

Thank you all for following along this year.  Even though I'm not sure what's next, I hope you'll continue to read as it continues to unfold!
me and k.jpg

More later!

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  • You are simply amazing, Dan. Congratulations on an awesome day out there!

  • In reply to RunningJayhawk:

    Thanks Barb! I think I was starting to space out when we saw you in Pilsen...

  • (TEARS) Congratulations, Dan! You are a true inspiration. I'm so lucky to know you!

  • In reply to cmanning:

    Thanks Cate!

  • In reply to cmanning:

    The miracle isn't that you finished. It's that you had the courage to start.

    Congratulations Dan!

  • Dan, so happy for you. I read your post from start to finish. And I'm so moved and touched by your journey. CONGRATS!!!!

    And, on a side note, very brave of you to write about your dumpster moment. Things happen to runners out there and you've gotta do what you've gotta do. Way to put it out there! :) Much respect.

  • In reply to kirstenemiller:

    Thanks! It has been a fun year! Now to think about what next!

  • WOOT!

    Great post. Thanks for showing us the good, the bad, the ugly, and the just plain poopy. It's a reality of running and way to go for putting it out there.

    Love ya!

  • In reply to mariapilarclark:

    I had fun doing it...even the poopy.

  • "Went through a lot to be here"???

    Myriah had to drive a couple hours, and I had to take a short flight. Next to what you have accomplished, that's nothing! We wouldn't have missed it for the world!

    We were honored just to be a small part of your journey. Congratulations on EVERYTHING that you have accomplished!

  • In reply to illinifan1280:

    Thanks dude! Let me know when you want to go for a run!

  • Dumpster moment was funny! I had to take a leak in Lincoln Park myself! I saw your support groups at several parts of the race.

    Congrats, what do you say about 10/9/11?

  • In reply to illinimatt81:

    They got around fast!

    I'm leaning towards yes. Going to enjoy the moment, and think about it...give it a few days and then decide!

  • In reply to illinimatt81:

    Congratulations, my friend. :)

  • In reply to illinimatt81:

    OMG, my friends and I have had conversations wondering what one does during a marathon when nature calls. Now, finally, a definitive answer! Yikes!

    But seriously, CONGRATULATIONS on your accomplishment, SO MUCH.

  • In reply to illinimatt81:


    many congrats on your inspiring journey! If you get the chance check out this ESPN article, http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=5651802. A friend sent it to me after a post I had about sudden bowel issues.
    Congrats again! I can't wait to see what you do next.

  • In reply to illinimatt81:

    The family and friends will never forget 10-10-10. You did it step by step, inch by inch, stride by stride. I am so proud to know you! What's next Nephew?
    Auntie Chris

  • In reply to illinimatt81:

    I am so proud of you. You have been Steven's big brother and you have now set another example for him. Perseverance, pain and growth to meet a goal!

  • In reply to illinimatt81:

    It was a fun day, a real celebration of the past year. You have proved yourself by exceeding all of your goals. I am very proud to be your father.
    mab was in tears while she read your and Dave's blogs, yours is a truly inspiring story.
    Our love and blessings to you and your family.

  • In reply to txrobski:

    Love you dad, I'm glad you were here!

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