Some days I feel completely committed to my marathon training plan. Other days I feel I've committed a grave mistake. Only on race day will I know how it will all turn out. Because I've made a commitment; to run the Surf City Marathon on February 1, 2015. It'll be my first marathon. But it might also be my last.
I started running exactly seven years ago. Most people don't have a life changing story; a day when they made a conscious decision to commit to running. But I'm not most people. And I have a story. It all starts with a conversation with my very sick brother in late August 2007.
My big brother and me enjoying lunch at Hot Dougs, 2006
In the middle of a typical daily phone conversation, a nearly wheelchair-bound Dave blurted out "if I had your legs, I'd run." I responded with a barely audible "okay," figuring I'd just shrug the comment off. Instead, at that exact moment, my running career began. A runner was born. After a few initial runs (I'd never run over 5 miles in my entire life) I signed up for the first race of my life; a half-marathon. Then I committed to a running plan. And most importantly, I kept to it.
Six months later, Dave and I had one final chat. It was January 25, 2008 and I remember the evening perfectly. I didn't know it at the time, but that particular Friday night conversation would be our last. With my mom holding the phone to Dave's ear, he asked me how I did in my race. I told him I hadn't run it yet. It was coming up the following Sunday. I was nervous, but I was also prepared. We then went on to talk about other trivial things, like baking cupcakes and turkey sandwiches. Later that night, Dave went to sleep and never woke up. I spent the week grieving with my family. But I was still in half-marathon training mode and because it was winter in Chicago, I had to run a little every morning at a nearby indoor track. But I knew Dave would understand.
One week later, on February 3, 2008, I completed my first half-marathon. Then I sat down with friends and watched the Super Bowl. I don't remember anything about the game. I do remember being so proud of my accomplishment, despite my completely broken heart.
I've run too many races to count over the years.
Including my first, the Kaiser San Francisco Half-Marathon
But those events didn't turn me off to running. On the contrary, I knew I'd continue to run. I knew I'd have many more 13.1 mile races. And I have. But what I never could have known at the time was that I would eventually commit to running a marathon. That wasn't even in my wheelhouse as any kind of possibility. It wasn't an idea I ever passed around, not to others, not even inside my own head.
Then one day I committed myself to running 26.2 miles. And I was going to do it in front of my friends, family, and a ton of total strangers. All that was left was to actually say the words out loud, find a training plan, and think of a good marathon that was 24 weeks away. Easier said than done. Until I found the Surf City Marathon on February 1.
Seven years into my running career, I have come full circle. On the exact date of my very first race, I'll run my most ambitious. It's been a long journey. Running has always been tough for me. My feet are covered in blisters. I've had to sneak out of the office numerous times to head out on a run before the sun went down. I've cancelled plans too many times to count, given up alcohol, and spent countless hours on amazon shopping for gels, compression socks, water bottles, athletic tape, running shorts, and more.
I never set out to run a marathon on my race day anniversary. I never meant to put so much importance on a specific time period (the week leading up to the Super Bowl). It's just how this year turned out; the date when my marathon training plan completed. The time has come for me to lace up my shoes and step up to the starting line of an actual marathon. Which I will complete. Because I've already committed myself to seeing my friends and loving, supportive family on the other side of those 26.2 miles.
The Huntington Beach Surf City Marathon is sold out, but you can come cheer on the runners if you live nearby. www.runsurfcity.com