Ten years later

Ten years ago next January, I ran in my first and only marathon. It was the Walt Disney World marathon. I was a young, only 27. I was unprepared but lucky--I only trained for 4 weeks, and yet I finished in just over 4 hours (and barely under a 10 minute mile).

I was also foolish. I wore a white cotton t-shirt, and by the end of the race it looked like someone had shot me twice in the chest because of the bloody red circles on the shirt made by my bleeding nipples that had been rubbed raw from the hours of friction. It was around mile 8 that I remember seeing volunteers holding buckets of petroleum jelly out for runners, and I recall thinking, "What in the heck is that for?" By mile 20 I knew its purpose, but it was already too late--the skin where my arms brushed against my sides and my thighs brushed against each other was already chafed and raw. I remember passing the mile 25 marker and thinking, "Thank God, only 1 more mile to go." When I saw mile marker 26 near Epcot's Spaceship Earth and no finish line, I asked a race official where in the heck it was? Yes, I was very unprepared. A marathon is 26.2 miles.

I've recently lost my "pregnancy weight" and am down to under 150#. What--guys don't gain sympathy weight? I do. I put on over 25 pounds during both of my wife's pregnancies with our daughters and then promptly lost it. So I'm not overweight and am in decent shape, but I really want to get into the habit of running. I know myself, though. If I don't set an end-goal, I'll continue my habit of semi-regularly going out for a run. This is something that has been on my mind for several weeks, and I've decided to make the jump: you'll find me at Walt Disney World on January 7, 2007, spending the morning running 26.2 miles. The last time I did this, I trained and ran with a coworker. This time I'll run alone. Training starts this week. Wish me luck!