Broken to Marathon: Adventures Crossing the Street in Bangkok

This book chronicles three years of my life in Thailand, from being hit by a truck while crossing the street to unlocking my true potential for running a marathon. I faced many challenges along the way, from kicking an opioid addiction in the hospital, to a grueling rehabilitation from a walker to crutches to a cane, and perfecting my flip-turn for continuous freestyle lap swimming. In part two, I return to my occupation of teaching English classes, overcome the need for a cane, provide unique insights into Thai culture, and battle a smirkingly corrupt insurance company to pay for a second surgery to remove the titanium plates in my leg. In part three, I go through the rehab process to walk again, explore the sordid world of dating Thai women, and then reach beyond my perceived ability to run in a marathon; thus, completing the transition from victim to champion.

Part 1: Broken to Freestyle
Emergency Room to
Freestyle Lap Swimming

In part one, I wake up drugged in the emergency room, kick an opioid addiction in the hospital, face a grueling rehabilitation from a walker to crutches to a cane, and then overcome my irrational fear to nail the proper flip-turn timing for freestyle lap swimming. 

Chapter 1 extract: Although deeply medicated, my mind registered that something was very wrong, and my internal alarm bells started ringing as I noticed a tube coming out of my arm and the constant beeping of a heart monitor. This fuzzy awareness quickly shifted to a mind-shattering pain that summoned a guttural moan, which escalated to an anguished howl as tears blurred my vision. They must have given me more drugs as I slowly faded into a dark fog, with just a few fleeting glimpses of the ceiling tiles moving overhead as they wheeled me into surgery.

Chapter 15 extract: Although my muscle memory knew exactly how this worked, executing a proper flip-turn requires a brave commitment, as it must be done just a few inches from the pool’s edge. Nevertheless, the dreadful anxiety that plagued my mind was an irrational fear that if I didn’t tuck my legs with the forward flip, I might hit my injured leg on the pool’s edge. This fear made me repeatedly hesitate, leading to a pessimistic frustration, but I knew I could overcome this barrier if I just believed in myself and my body’s ability. It took a few days of stubborn determination to effectively add this final hat trick to the Freestyle program. However, once I did, my confidence that I could achieve anything I set my mind to helped me see that the glass is always half full if you choose to push beyond your comfort zone and bring your dream to reality.

Part 2: Freestyle to Cane
Teaching English to
Dangers of Financial Freedom

In part two, I return to my occupation of teaching English classes, overcome the need for a cane, provide some unique insights into Thai culture, and battle a smirkingly corrupt insurance company to pay for a second surgery to remove the titanium plates in my leg.

Chapter 16 extract: One of the unexpected bonuses of being a lowly contractor at my language school was admission to the U-club, whose ironic namesake is the missing letter U when spelling the number forty, which is commonly misspelled by our clientele. We were a gregarious brotherhood of expatriates from English-speaking countries, hailing from Australia, Scotland, England, Canada, and the US, who gathered for evening meals to salute our victories and complain about the burdens of our scholastic endeavors while drinking ourselves stupid.

Chapter 27 extract: From the first indication of Thanos’ dishonesty by refusing to cover my monthly X-rays, my litigious instinct had been to take legal action against them to collect the full auto insurance policy to cover the second surgery and lost wages during rehabilitation. However, their war of attrition had weakened me into a financially desperate situation where I ate one can of tuna a day, and mounting a legal defense was beyond my means. Now that I had a few solid paychecks in the bank, I started making appointments to discuss my case with several lawyers, but their legal advice absolutely crushed me. 

Part 3: Cane to Marathon
Second Surgery to
Bangkok Midnight Marathon

In part three, I go through the rehab process to walk again, explore the sordid world of dating Thai women, and then reach beyond my perceived ability to run in a marathon; thus, completing the transition from victim to champion.

Chapter 32 extract: At the eight-week mark, I transitioned from using the walker around my condo to hobbling about with my aluminum cane, yet this slow mobility left me gasping in agony. Despite the pain, I had calculated this second leg rehab was progressing three times faster, and I anticipated being mobile in the next month. Aiming toward this goal, I challenged myself to descend the four flights of stairs to the ground floor with my cane. It took a dozen attempts over the next two weeks, but I finally made to ground floor, and then out to the pool; going a few steps farther each day.

Chapter 37 extract: Historically, the Songkran Festival is based on making a merit blessing for the coming rainy season to provide abundant water for the rice fields. Traditionally, the ceremony is to pour flower-scented water over the hands of the family elders to show respect, and also over small Buddha statues to earn merit for future prosperity and good fortune. However, in the modern era, this water festival has transformed into a hilarious street battle with everyone wearing colorful flower-printed shirts and shooting plastic water guns at each other.

Chapter 41 extract: The second inspirational awakening of each day was at 5pm, when the sun had given up its ferocious intensity and I could relax on the balcony to stretch out my sore muscles with a lazy yoga routine. As the sun drifted down toward the aquatic horizon, it gradually transforms into a yellowish-orange color which produces a magical phenomenon known as golden light. With the cooling temperatures, I sauntered down to a beach bar and ordered a cold bottle of Bintang beer while patiently waited for the evening’s entertainment of the spellbinding Lembongan sunset. To be clear, I have watched thousands of dazzling sunsets around the world, but there is something unique about Lembongan due to its geographical location. The island of Nusa Lembongan is located 20 kilometers off the east coast of Bali Island; therefore, the sunlight is traveling through the polluted air above Bali and farther west Java island. Their poor air quality is a sad reflection of the third-world, but vividly enhances the sunlight and produces an amazing color palette upon the stretched-out altocumulus clouds that never disappoints with its mesmerizing beauty.

Chapter 44 extract: At the finish line, I happily accepted my finishing metal and smiled at myself with a deep satisfaction of completing a project successfully. I drank several half-liters of water that were being handed out by the sponsors and gleefully poured some over my head; what an amazing feeling of accomplishment. It only took about ten minutes for the pleasant endorphin chemical high to wear off, and when my feet regained their sensitivity, they were quite sore and stiff, with random stings of juicy blisters on my toes. Then, like the onset of the seasonal flu, I had an overall body ache of sore muscles throughout my lower back, hips, legs, and calves that had me walking bowlegged like an old cowboy. Me and my sore nipples collapsed at the base of a tree and took a selfie with my finisher’s metal and posted it on Facebook with a prepared text. I was proud to have finished without needing the crutch of pain medication, and thankfully my leg bones were not hurting more than the rest of my aching frame, which was a proof positive that my injury was fully healed.

Thoroughly exhaustion, I negotiated a Win motorcycle taxi to the local Sanam Chai underground MRT train station. I almost fell asleep on the train and the walk back to my condo was rather awkward, but I was grateful to shower and collapse on my bed. My ego’s final sentiment echoed Julius Caesar, who said: “I came, I saw, I conquered.” However, I recognized that my success was directly related to my personal time, dedication, and education; patiently learning the biomechanics of running and ran 300km over two months in preparation for the event. Thus, the moral of the story is: Don’t stop wanting to learn because the world will never be done trying to teach you. A key element of learning is allowing yourself to make mistakes along the way, learn from your mistakes, and try not to make the same mistake twice or thrice! I reckon if you never try, you will never fail; if you never admit your failures, you will never challenge yourself; if you never accept the challenge, you will never be the hero that slays the dragon!

2019 Marathon
2019 Marathon
2020 Marathon
2020 Marathon
2021 Marathon
2021 Marathon
2022 Marathon
2022 Marathon
2023 Marathon
2023 Marathon

More Travel Magic

world globe

Lighting The Path

I developed this site to inspire you to go explore this big blue marble and discover the transformative magic of personal empowerment. Guiding your wanderlust, there are regional maps of the world that illustrate some Magical Places among the multitude of tourist traps. 

To help you succeed, I created Travel Advice pages divided into:
1) Before You Go: Basics, Documents, and Medical;
2) What To Take: Luggage, Clothing, and Technology;
3) On The Road: Immersion, Philosophy, and Books.

Lighting the path, the Travel Magic eBook series shares my personal experiences and takes you away to exciting locations; joining me to go cycling across New Zealand and backpacking throughout Vietnam.

I sell these adventure stories as digital eBooks exclusively on Amazon.  Click on any book cover image to visit my Amazon Author Page.