Going To Grandma’s

Did anyone ever tell you, "Never say never." It’s one of those words I don’t like, and rarely use. But I thought it was pretty safe to say I’d never run a marathon. It just didn’t appeal to me, and besides, the amount of training it takes to complete one appeared to be far more than what my work schedule would allow.

As a runner, I constantly find myself setting new goals: which race to run next, how to improve my race times, finding a challenging new course. After finishing Dick Beardsley’s half marathon last fall, I figured I’d just keep finding local 10k races to enter. Friends told me I was ready to run a marathon, something I told them I’d never do.

It’s ironic, then, the topic came up again in January. I despise winter, and hate the cold, but suddenly the idea of running a marathon didn’t seem all that crazy. Some of my friends were joining the Red River Runners marathon training course and asked if I were going to join.

The idea lingered in my thoughts and I started looking around at Web sites for marathons. It was only a few days later, during a brief conversation at work, I made the commitment: I was going to run a marathon.

There really wasn’t any debate about which one I was going to run. Ever since a child, I’ve loved Duluth. As a child, I’d go on day-long truck routes with my uncle, who delivered grain to the massive elevators there. Lake Superior and the massive ships caught my imagination. In college, I visited there and walked along the pier, and I drove the North Shore on trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for summer vacations.

And Grandma’s Marathon, from all accounts I’ve heard, offers everything I would want in my first marathon: It’s one of the biggest in the country, enjoys a rich tradition, provides great support and terrific post-race party, and finally, is set along a beautiful course in one of my favorite places I’ve visited. Plus, the only real difference in my running schedule and training for a marathon was the distance of my long runs.

So my training has accelerated on this adventure and I’m going to Grandma’s. Somehow, I believe that will probably be just the end of the first chapter in my adventures as a runner.