Broken to Marathon: Adventures Crossing the Street in Bangkok

Before the accident, I was just a carefree globetrotter weaving my way across Asia, pausing in Bangkok for a teaching job until my luck ran out when I was knocked down crossing the street. This book chronicles three years of my life in tropical Thailand, from being hit by a truck to unlocking my true potential for running a marathon, learning that change is inevitable, yet growth is optional. I faced many challenges along the way, from morphine withdrawal to a grueling rehabilitation from a walker to crutches to a cane while perfecting my flip-turn for continuous freestyle lap swimming. With improved mobility, I return to teaching English classes and overcome the need for a cane while battling a corrupt insurance company to cover a second surgery to remove the titanium plates in my leg or choose to never run again! The letter-writing scheme prevailed, and I did a second rehabilitation to walk normally without a cane, progressed to jogging, and then got seduced into a 21km half-marathon. The first attempt was cringe-worthy, but I knew if I dedicated myself to learning the biomechanics of efficient distance running, I could complete my transition from victim to warrior to be the hero who slays the dragon!

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 continuous 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 corrupt insurance company to cover a second surgery to remove the titanium plates in my leg or never run again.

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: Mr. Harnee was brutally honest with me about how the legal system in Thailand really functions, putting my odds of winning a court case [as a foreigner] at 20%. With my back against the wall, I offered her [CFO’s Secretary] advice that the one thing Thai corporations fear most is being exposed for their dishonest deeds in the media, which would cause them to lose face publicly. He pondered this for a while and agreed that the squeaky wheel gets oiled, but we needed to proceed cautiously.


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

In part three, I learned to walk again, progress to jogging, and reach beyond my perceived ability to run in a marathon. The first attempt was cringe-worthy, but I knew if I dedicated myself to learning the biomechanics of efficient distance running, I could complete my transition from victim to warrior to be the hero who slays the dragon!

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 it down and then out to the pool, going a few steps farther each day.

Chapter 37 extract: 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. 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 44 extract: At the finish line, I lowered my PM3 headset to hear the spectator applause and was grateful to be done, knowing I had given my best effort toward achieving this goal. I happily accepted my finishing medal from the race staff and smiled at myself with the satisfaction of completing the marathon successfully. I was soaked with sweat and feeling lightheaded after the prolonged exertion, but I forced myself to continue walking with deep breathing to bring my heart rate back to normal. I drank several half-liters of water handed out by the sponsors and gleefully poured some over my head; what a fantastic feeling of accomplishment.

The pleasant endorphin chemical high only took about ten minutes to wear off, and the effects from two hours of pounding the pavement were felt. When my feet regained their sensitivity, they were tenderly sore and painfully 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 I took a selfie with my finisher’s medal 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 proof that my injury was fully healed.

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

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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. 

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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.

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