Harriman Nelson's Journal

My Friend Lee-page 34
The Creamsickle
The Invitation
Bike Week
The Java Connection
Lee's Tattoo
My Friend Lee-page 33
My Friend Lee-page 34
My Friend Lee-page 35
My Friend Lee-Page 36
My Friend Lee-page 37
My Friend Lee-page 38
My Friend Lee-page 39
My Friend Lee-page 40
My Friend Lee-page 41
My Friend Lee page 42
My Friend Lee-page 43
My Friend Lee -page 44
My Friend Lee-page 25
My Friend Lee-Page 26
My Friend Lee-Page 27
My Friend Lee-Page 28
My Friend Lee -page 29
My Friend Lee -page 30
My Friend Lee-page 31
My Friend Lee-page 32
My Friend Lee-page 24
My Friend Lee-page 23
My Friend Lee- page22
My Friend Lee-page 21
My Friend Lee-page 20
My Friend Lee- Page 19
My Friend Lee-page 18
My Friend Lee page 17
My Friend Lee-page 16
A Short Story
A 'Harry Halloween'
My Friend Lee-page 15
My Friend Lee-page 14
My Friend Lee-page 13
My Friend Lee-page 12
My Friend Lee-page 11
My Friend Lee-page 10
My Friend Lee-page 9
My Friend Lee-Page 8
My Friend Lee-page 7
My Friend Lee-page 6
My Friend Lee-Page 5
Life With Lee-page 4
Life with Lee- page 2
Life with Lee-page 3
Reflections-the 'In Between Years'
My photo-scrapbook album
About Me

Photo Finish

Today was the day. Today was the day that  Lee and Chip would finally finish the damn running thing. Not that I mind physical fitness. Indeed, it’s essential in our line of work. But truthfully, this marathon business has been a thorn in my side.

Pleasantly distracting enough to begin with, once I personally got involved, it changed into work. Hard work.  I even attempted running myself. I’d wanted to show the boys my support in a more tangible way than the odd ‘good luck’, and becoming a runner partner, or so I’d thought, would do just that.

 Happily though, I was soon disqualified for medical reasons. My shoes clipped, so to speak, I traded them in for a spot of sponsorship of the Santa Barbara Marathon.

The perks I’d gained for plunking down a goodly sized check?  Well, a lot of good PR for NIMR. And a front row seat in an air conditioned pavilion at the start and finish. Not to mention, behind the scenes access in the security station, full of TV screens (camera’s had been planted all along the course), and there were dispatchers who could contact the volunteers and medical teams by headset for when there was a ‘runner down’. These folks had been issued rather loud foghorns as a secondary alert signal. From medical assistance to simply escorting a runner off the track (when they’d regret having ever entered the competition) this was a sophisticated set up.

I arrived early, leaving it to Doc to get the boys to the start  up on time. Little did I know , that while I was being feted with one of the area’s finer champagnes and some really delicious finger sandwiches, that they’d had a flat.

That Lee had already been injured from a falling jack, I hadn’t a clue. Neither did Will, apparently as he finally joined me, after having given the official’s the  boy’s backpacks containing some nourishing goodies to be consumed along the course at some designated ‘aid’ stations along the way. Decided on  by Chip, as Lee’s trainer. Trainer…that’s a word. It indicates someone who has first-hand knowledge and experience. Only Chip had never run a marathon in his life.  Lee chose him, and all because of Chip’s mouth! Seems Lee thought with him along, he couldn’t dare give up if push came to shove. And it had. Lee had entered Chip as a runner as well, so all the time in the car, according to Doc, they kept telling each other they’d greet the other at the finish line.

In a way, they did, but in a convoluted way. It’s a long story. So I won’t bore myself with the details. Suffice it to say that well into the race, Lee had a bit of a collision with a lost dog, hurt his knee,(Lee’s, not the dog),  hurt his ankle, on top of an already damaged foot, which was going to make it a  bit difficult for him to continue quite as he’d planned.

The course medics did an expert job checking him out to insure nothing was broken, or seriously injured. They also  but also put on some special braces when it became too clear to them that he wanted to finish the race,  no matter what. And poor Will, while appreciated as Lee’s personal physician, well, at least aboard Seaview, the course doctors refused to pull Lee out of the race just because Will was ranting and raving.  They stressed that the ankle had only been slightly twisted, his foot only slightly swollen (from the trauma of a blunt force instrument) and his knee simply bruised, (the skin only scraped).

Jamie  was told in no uncertain terms not to yell at the fallen runner anymore, and was given the choice of either begin escorted off the course until after the race was over, or to my tent to enjoy my hospitality. I wondered if my check included additional champagne and Lobster Thermidor. It was surely going to take that and my skills as semi host to calm him down.

When it became clear that watching  a marathon is a little boring, we retired to the security truck and saw row upon row of monitors, from cameras placed all along the course, as well as a wall of blinking lights and numbers. The runners had tracers. While not originally the purpose of the mini electronics, it did make one instantly aware if a number stopped. Equipped with headsets and radios, the course was lined with staff and volunteers ready to call when a runner was down or in need of medical assistance.

“Could use this aboard Seaview,” Doc muttered. I wasn’t sure if he was serious or not.

We could even see the spectators and our own crewmen waving banners and signs in the hopes of seeing their Skipper and XO along the course to offer a bit of encouragement. Still, one could tell they were beginning to prefer the food vendors set up along the way for spectators. 

While it was going to be a long day for Lee and Chip, it was longer for us. Especially when it became apparent after a while that Lee was in trouble. Doc was beside himself, forcibly held back, pleading with the officials to check on him.

But as there was no indication from the runner to observant officials that he wanted to withdraw, no such luck.

And so we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, down the stretch they came. Lee was limping, and wincing but he and Chip were engaged in some kind of verbal cadence. United.  Dead  even. Neither was coming in last without the other right at his side. A photo finish. Tied for last place.

I had to wonder what would have happened if Lee hadn’t bumped into that dog; if the jack hadn’t fallen on his foot. Would they competed against each other? Not unheard of. They do tend to have a competitive streak with each other at times.  Makes life aboard Seaview and at NIMR interesting, that’s for sure.

But it was a moot point. Right  now, I was prouder of the both of them than if they’d won first place.  They’d finished the course. A grueling 26.2 miles. Not all of the entrants had finished. 

 Lee had helped Chip and Chip Lee, all the way to the finish,  in the true spirit of brotherhood. My boys. My sons.


Lee and Chip in training

Ski's sketch of Chip training

The start

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About an hour into the race

Just one of the runners

The Lure