A Runner’s Life

"Excellence means asking more of yourself than others do." – The final entry in my 2008 desk calendar

On a run earlier this month, my mind began to wander a bit and I started thinking about what I’ve learned on the road – or more concisely, how the sport has reminded me of a lesson from my youth.

Running has reminded me that to never say never. Seriously.

When I first began running nearly 2 years ago, I had a simple goal. It was a challenge to myself: Roundup 3 running co-workers to join me for the 2007 Fargo Marathon relay. When I first started, my rationale was that it would help me cut a few unwanted pounds to better sculpt my physique as a bodybuilder. And I was adamant that I’d never trade weights for running shoes once the marathon relay was over.

Somewhere in the middle of running my relay leg, I found myself on a runner’s high. And although I said beforehand that 6-mile leg would be my longest run ever, I soon found myself training for a half marathon.

When friends urged me to train for a marathon, my response was simple: "Never."

Last winter, fresh off the half marathon and committed to keep running a part of my workout routine, I found myself bored and discouraged from the winter blues. My friends’ words of encouragement started to set in, and I signed up for the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth. 

Soon, I found training for a marathon was as simple as extending the distance of my Saturday runs. It soon became official – my addiction to running had taken hold of me and I was curious to find out how far I could push myself. The challenge of completing a marathon became a major priority in my life.

In the middle of marathon training, I signed up for a second – the Twin Cities Marathon. So, before finishing one marathon, I was already committed to a second. And, figuring most people would think I was crazy, I kept it a secret until I finished my first marathon in June.

Days before the Twin Cities Marathon in October, I said I’d never do two full marathon training cycles so close to each other. But I had so much fun at the Twin Cities Marathon that the drive home began a planning session about which marathons to run in 2009.

While it is cliche, running has again taught me to never say never. And although I started late as a runner, I’m determined to find out how good I can be. I’m driven by the challenge of running further and faster, helping out others along the way and finding paths I never once considered trekking. Now running has become more than a part of my life – it has become symbollic for how I want to live it.