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Milestone

July 17, 2012

Ten years ago I trained for a marathon.

I wasn’t much of a runner, but living in San Diego the every-day-is-75-degrees climate begs you to train for…something. So I started running regularly, slowly adding miles, and I still remember  going into a meeting at work and gleefully telling my colleagues “I ran five miles today!”  They were mildly impressed by my off-topic outburst, but as someone not necessarily known for athletic prowess, it was quite a feat.

It felt so good, I just kept adding miles.  Then I found it: The Long Beach Marathon.  It was on my birthday – my 26th birthday – so it was perfect: 26 miles on my 26th birthday. I printed out a marathon training program from the internet and started running.  It felt so good I ran more than the plan told me to run, and I felt damn proud of myself.  I had months to train, but the exhilaration of the miles adding up felt so good, I had to keep pushing myself. What would 10 miles feel like? 12? 14?

I got to 16 miles. I still remember it – it took forever, but I did it. Then I went home, ordered a Papa John’s pizza and ate the whole thing.  Both were bad decisions, as it turns out.

I pulled *something* in my leg. Hamstring, fasciitis? At 25 I didn’t know, as my body back then just..worked. And I didn’t think to go to a doctor, or chiropractor or anything. I had never really had a doctor before, never needed one, and chiropractors are for those old people, right?  Before long, I couldn’t run a mile without intense pain, and running– and the marathon– just faded away.

So that left me with 16 as the most miles I’d ever run.  This Sunday I surpassed that – barely – by running 17 miles.  It was a milestone because I exceeded my “record,” but also because I started to believe I could actually do this marathon. I still haven’t registered. I looked at the website the other night, and the route, and felt so overwhelmed. Like I’m pretending to be training for a marathon, going through the motions, but really it’s not something I will actually do. It’s too far. Too hard.

But after the 17 miles, I’ve started to believe it may happen.  My long runs have been hard. Really hard.  But I only have about 8 long runs left to complete. My body may just hold out for them.

And it may just be time to register.

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