(On February 14th, Dillan and his dad, Randy, ran a half-marathon relay in the LA Marathon. Here are some of their thoughts about it…)
It’s a huge task to run a marathon. Not a huge task for someone like me, but a mighty task for any person. I did it alongside so many people banded together by the mighty task. We all ran and we all became no one thing. I was not autistic running, I was only running. I was among thousands of people like me, not because they had some neurological problem, but because they were doing a simple, normal thing together. Any other time, I am a standout. I have noises. I do weird stuff with my hands. You know that because you are reading this blog by the amazing kid with autism who actually can have thoughts too. But in the marathon, I was only a runner like those others, and I crushed it!
So the LA marathon finally came and went. The weather turned out to be perfect and not too hot as they were all projecting. Dillan was calm and collected the whole morning and seemed really ready to run. We started our half of the marathon after our friends came in with a great time in under 2 hours. We congratulated them, took some pictures, and then headed off to join the pack for the second half. Dillan was amped up and went out hard. I had to keep telling him to relax and pace himself. We stopped to walk only for each water station to make sure we stayed hydrated. Dillan kept a very steady pace and didn’t waver a bit until maybe the last mile. He started losing focus and tried to walk, but I would not have it. I encouraged him to keep going as the finish line was in our sights. We ended up crossing the finish line arm in arm. When it was over, the official time clock showed 3:43 for the whole marathon. My Garmin showed we did 13.1 miles in 1:46.5 at an 8:13 average pace. That is by far the fastest recorded time for any distance over 10k for Dillan (and myself for that matter). I was so proud of him and he was even smiling right after crossing the finish line.
(Chocolate milk is the best “recovery drink” and Dillan loves it!)