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I have often said I have only two strengths as a runner:

1. I don't injure easily.
2. I like to run.

That second one is probably the single most important reason I can think of to run. It has driven me since my childhood (in spite of the fact that I am not a gifted runner), and it is driving me now.

In 2001 I completed two marathons. Those races brought me both disappointment and satisfaction (both stories for another day), but what has stayed with me more than the marathons themselves, is the training. Much to my surprise, I found that I really love long runs. The 10 to 20 milers that are part of marathon training have a place in my memory, and, more than likely, in my imagination, that continues to draw me back in time to those days. I completed most of those runs with no one to talk to, no Ipod, no GPS device to tell me my time (just an old-fashioned wristwatch). I was surprised to find that I could settle into a pace and maintain it with astounding consistency, often running every mile within a second or two of the same pace--until I sped up at the end for some negative splits. The long runs have called to me over the last decade, like an old friend longing for an overdue visit.

Various obstacles have kept me from running those long runs for many years: a pulmonary embolism, the overwhelming schedule of my job, and, most recently, pain and fatigue associated with rheumatoid arthritis. But now, with the blessing of my doctors, I have been given the green light to train for another long race.

A decade ago I skipped from 10k directly to full marathon. That probably wasn't the best idea, although I don't really regret it. I have, however, regretted never trying the half-marathon. It is a distance that has intrigued me for many years. And so, I have made the commitment. I have picked the race (Famous Potato, May 19th), I have registered, and I have begun to run.

This is not a journey that fills me with confidence. On the contrary, I find myself filled with doubts about my ability to live up to the commitment. I am not sure I can consistently train during research-paper grading season and AP test prep. I am not sure how my ten-years-older body is going to respond. Basically, I am not sure my ability is equal to my desire. Nonetheless, I am ready to look failure in the face. And maybe, just maybe, I'll find success staring back at me.


  1. Replies
    1. I'm glad you're confident, Mac. I'll let you know when I need a pep talk.

  2. Hooray for half-marothons and hooray for doctors giving green lights! So excited for you.

    1. Thank you, my friend. Watching your amazing journey--and particularly watching you become a runner definitely inspired me to get moving again. I may need a pep talk from you too!

  3. P.S. I could read your writing all day.


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