Training has once again commenced. I struggled during the off season with my decision on whether to run the Marine Corps Marathon again, or frankly any marathon. My 2016 marathon started out with great expectations, a realistic PR and a well trained body. However Mother Nature had other plans for me-the nearly 20 degree rise in temperature in a short amount of time zapped my body and left me drained. I ended up finishing more than an hour past my goal time.
It was heart breaking. It was frustrating. Frustrating not only because I had put so much training into the race, but frustrating because non-runners replied with “At least you finished” or “I couldn’t run a mile if I had to” Also, their lack of comprehension about WHY I was so upset. It is hard to explain to people sometimes why I so desperately want to qualify for Boston. Why I crave this seemingly elusive finish time. My simple explanation of it’s my goal doesn’t seem to squash their confusion. I often wonder if they have ever had a long term goal, or a burning desire to achieve the seemingly unattainable; it is the only reason that I can fathom why so many can’t understand my desire to achieve such a lofty goal.
I spent the off season wracked with doubts and questions. Can I do it? Should I really be a runner? Am I truly a runner or just someone that looks the part? Am I good enough?
A friend of mine that I have known for over twenty years, a fellow runner and all around awesome human being, was diagnosed with ALS at the beginning of the year. It was shortly after his 60th birthday. However despite, or maybe because of, the diagnosis he continued on with his life. He would make the necessary tweaks to his day to day routine but he continues to go and do….and run.
He completed several more races as a runner before the ALS robbed him of the balance he needed to stay upright. Now he races in a wheelchair-pushed by his “Wing Bitches”. As I struggled with doubt, I looked at John. If he can continue on and keep pushing, then what right as a healthy person do I have to give up?
When the Semper Fi Fund opened up registration for the 2017 Marine Corps Marathon-I signed up. I signed up because I want to raise money for wounded veterans, many of whom are my age. I signed up because John did. I signed up because I can run-who the hell cares how fast or slow I go-I can run. I signed up because.
For the next 18 weeks I will be pounding the pavement. Who knows what the outcome of the 2017 Marine Corps Marathon but I do know that I will finish.