Sunday, August 5, 2007

Why run a marathon?

My wonderful wife decided she wanted to do a triathlon (or 2) to get into shape before we got married. So I coached her on running and started back doing some races myself. I wasn't too bad for someone that hadn't run much in almost 20 years. A year after we were married, we dicided to run the Hood to Coast relay together. It was fun, but painful. 22+ miles in less than 24 hours with little to no sleep (and poor nutrition) led to a 7.9 mile leg in the heat, through rolling hills, and a headwind. It was hell, but I did it.

Two months later I started having a problem with my left foot. It was swollen badly between the 4th and 5th innerspace. Shoes were painful to wear. We tried several things including lancing the area, MRI, x-ray, antibiotics, and cortisone. Nothing changed. Exploritory surgery was the only option. So in we go for my first ever surgery at the age of 38. It was not successful. The swelling and infections came back with a vengance. I was referred to another specialist for another round of stump the doctor. This time he went deeper, much deeper and removed a large (benign) growth. To this day we don't know what it was (although it was named Ringo in honor of the Beatles room at the doctor's office). I have a scar as well as almost daily discomfort as a permanent reminder. Sometimes it's just numbness, some times it actually does hurt a little. But it never bothers me when I am running. Today, that's all I care about.

A little over three months (and several agruments with the doctor) after the second surgery, I was finally cleared to run again. I started working with the same coach my wife worked with (Julie Browning) so that someone would keep me in check and help me build back up slowly. While I was waiting (and waiting) for the clearance to run again, I was trying to decide what my goal for the year would be. I had several options to go on, but nothing very clear at the time. After a month or so of training, I got this notion into me that I should run a marathon. Actually, it wasn't a notion, it became more of an obsession. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do this. The more I became confident that I could do this.

Not only should I run my first marathon, but I should try and qualify for Boston (3:20:59). My first race back from surgery was not an easy one, but I averaged 6:33 pace over an 8K (just short of 5 miles).

I have the speed, but the question is, can my legs hold up the pace I need over 26.2 miles...

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