Flashback to November, 2013. I ran my first ever race, a 5k charity event held at Give Kids the World here in Kissimmee, FL. My intention was to do whatever it took to cross the finish line before my 17-year-old daughter. At age 44 I wasn’t completely sure that this was possible, but I wasn’t going to give up. History shows that I crossed the finish line almost 18 minutes ahead of my daughter, and she was so exhausted from that 3.1 miles that she has said that she will never run another race.
Since that day just over a year ago I have set goals to run further, faster, stronger, and more often. I was not a runner before the 5k of November 2013, as in I hadn’t run one mile since 1987. Since that race I have run over 1,200 miles and competed in race distances of 5k, 10k, 15k, 10 miles, and four half marathons. I have gotten up early before work to run, and even earlier on the weekends to run. I have also set 19 PRs in 25 races. I have also found a couple hundred supporters through social media. The running community is amazing in the way that people will go out of their way to help out a fellow runner, even if they’ve never met.
So what has this all led to? Where am I going with this? In just seven days I will be in a starting corral contemplating the 26.2 miles that lie ahead of me. My first marathon is almost here. There is much excitement in my mind every time I think about how quickly that day is approaching. I signed up for this race a full six months ahead of time to allow for plenty of training time. About a month ago I still questioned whether or not I was ready for this. I asked my friend Krissy for some input since she has been running marathons for a few years now. She said that I had nothing to worry about. I responded with, “But you’re a marathon runner. I’m not. Yet. Didn’t see butterflies coming 45 days out”.
“You will soon be one,” she said, “and your life will be forever changed”.
I told her that I’m “looking forward to it and petrified at the same time”.
“Then you are ready”.
This is what I’m talking about with the running community. Krissy is just one person that has made the effort to see what I have done and know where I need support. I believe her. I also believe the others who have sent me similar words of encouragement. I believe that I am ready. I also believe that my experience one week from now at the Space Coast Marathon will be one that I will long remember. I’ll also be the owner of one of the coolest finisher medals that you’ll ever see.
In one week I shall be a marathoner. Forever.