“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Far removed from adventures on both coasts, and 15 marathons, I found myself at a crossroads just 5 months ago.
Unquestionably, I reached a low point as a runner – weight gain, self doubt, a lingering ankle injury and lack of motivation. Each run brought excruciating pain shooting through my legs. It was going to take a lot of work to regain fitness and a passion for the sport.
A series of events then played out in May:
- On the morning of the Fargo Marathon, I tried to talk myself out of running the half marathon. With my friend Jason battling cancer, though, I knew there were no good excuses to skip the race, even if it was going to hurt.
- Next, trips to the chiropractor and a physician helped determine the source of several ankle and foot issues while ruling out structural damage.
- Finally, accepting that I wasn’t going to be the same runner as I had once been, I decided to just be consistent. Run every day, even if for only a few miles.
Weeks and weeks passed passed. No weight loss. I bought gym shorts for my workouts because I couldn’t fit into my usual running gear.
My mind raced, covering a variety of topics, while during Saturday long runs on gravel roads south of town. Sometimes I wondered if it was always this difficult. Other times I doubted whether I could run twice the distance to complete a marathon again. At times I remembered Jason’s battle with cancer, moments when my mom was still alive and fun times with Riley, who had ran with me while training for each of my previous marathons.
There were so many times I wondered if I would consider my past good enough. Would I actually be trained enough to run the New York City Marathon? And I vowed that I would not go there simply to complete it – going through the motions is simply not in my DNA.
Along the way, running became very personal to me. Fitness improved but I couldn’t outrun my thoughts. My body didn’t break down during training. Instead, my legs felt stronger each week. The weight began coming off. Running became a little bit easier, even during the oppressive humidity of July and August.
My goals began to build as I aimed to run more each week, each month. I logged two-a-days with the Wild Hog training group on Wednesdays. I fought off fatigue to keep my streak of consecutive running days going. Perseverance never seemed more powerful.
So when my co-workers gave me a big send-off this week for New York, my voice cracked and I struggled to hold back my emotions. Running has become personal. Training for this race has been personal. The journey has been a symbol of what its taken to get to New York, and how I’ve been shaped and influenced in all my life. That history is captured in this video slideshow.