Four years ago, I had the ambitious goal of running the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon. I trained pretty darn hard, going as far as 20 miles in my training (for more on that incredible September-morning run, you can read my giddy blog post). But it wasn't meant to be. I took on a part-time job teaching that same month, my training suffered, my weight went up, and I wasn't as confident as I wanted to be going into my first marathon.
I haven't trained for a marathon since then. I've barely trained for the half marathons I've done.
To be honest, I haven't given the MCM much thought over the past few years, though every October, I do get wistful. Last year on my way into work (my first year working in D.C.), I may have shed a tear or two as I passed the limping men and women wrapped in mylar blankets and decorated in their 26.2 medals get off at my Metro stop.
But with my weight going up and up, the marathon wasn't even worth thinking about.
On Thursday, while waiting for the Metro with a friend, there was an announcement about the transit system opening early Sunday for the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon. And my face lit up (so noticeably that my friend laughed at my reaction). Just hearing about the race makes my heart skip a beat.
Tomorrow is the day, and I plan on heading down to watch part of the race before my work shift begins. It will be early in the marathon (mile 2) when legs are fresh and optimism is high. Then, ideally, I'll head out to the Mall a few hours later and try to catch the truly inspirational parts -- miles 19-20 -- when legs are tired and runners are digging deep within them to find the strength and determination to continue.
My reason for going out there is purely selfish. I want to be inspired.
On Tuesday, I will turn 39 years old. It will begin my 40th year. And while I am not one to have such goals as "Run Marathon By Age 40," I've decided I'd like this to be the year I give it another shot.
Not to be a pessimist, but I realize it's a long shot. I am 60 pounds heavier than I was when I was last training for a marathon. So Part 1 would mean losing at least 40 pounds by the time training begins in April. Doable. But with my history, I know the odds. How many times have I been here before?
The only way I'll gain the confidence I need to train is by making the progress that has eluded me for so many years. And to make that progress I need to keep my eyes on the prize.
Tomorrow, I hope to not just observe those runners, but feel their pain and euphoria, their fear and excitement, their determination and, ultimately, their accomplishment.
I know I will be at that starting line one day -- and that finish line. Whether this is the year remains to be seen. But -- if I may very loosely quote "When Harry Met Sally..." -- when you realize exactly what you want to accomplish in life, you want to start that journey as soon as possible.
So let's just see where it takes me.