Knew it would be challenging when walked out of hotel to drive to the start and had to scrape ice off the car windshield! December Arctic cold front poured down the East coast and locked-in ice box conditions. 26 degrees at the start. Five minutes before the start and most of the southern, thin-blooded runners not wanting to come out of the heated clubhouse! Ice crystals in the water and Gatorade cups at the Aid-Stations. AlaskaMan smiling, gleefully clicking off 8 minute miles like Boston-Marathon-qualifying clockwork, when just past Mile 8 marker, left foot jerked back on unseen patch of black ice on the road. Sharp, knife-stab pain in center of hamstring. Stopped running; furiously massaging warmth and comfort into leg, imploring fingers questioning if hamstring gone? Limped a mile, then dared to trot, then gritted teeth and tried to open it back up — but the pain complained. Learned on this beautiful resort and nature sanctuary outer island that nothing is a ‘given.’ Amazing how within the same framework of 26.2 miles, each race is totally different. No matter how many marathons run, each time starting all over. Instead of cursing the ice or my leg — relaxed (not easy when tides of runners came flowing past). Listened to the pain; didn’t force the (t)issue and managed to carry on through to the finish. Not a fast time (4:04:31), but from “its-the-journey-not-the-destination” perspective — an effort I’m very proud of. After the race, visited with the great author Pat Conroy in his hometown of Beaufort, South Carolina. Met Pat when we both were Guest Speakers aboard a Crystal cruise ship off Africa. Beaufort, so picturesque with the centuries-old oak trees dripping with Spanish moss and the southern mansions haunted with Pat’s personal history and incredible cast of characters from his novels. He pointed out where Barbara Streisand stayed while filming “The Prince of Tides”; Robert Duval during “The Great Santini.” Wonderful evening with Pat and his wife, Cassandra King, great novelist in her own right, in their cozy home on an island in the salt-marsh, low country. We sipped wine and talked about books, creativity, travels in front of a crackling fire. “My soul grazes like a lamb on the beauty of indrawn tides.” –Pat Conroy.