“Why would you do that?” It’s the number one question I get asked about why I would willingly run 26.2 miles. And one I used to ask before I started running two years ago. Why would anyone run that far? That long? Oh sure, it’s pretty cool to get the sticker for the car window and the race t-shirt, but clearly it takes more than that!

26.2 shirt

My new cute running shirt hanging on my closet door until I’ve “earned” it!

I think the answer must be different for everyone who chooses to challenge themselves in this way, but I firmly believe that anyone who achieves this only does so when they are crystal clear on their reason. Here’s mine: my whole life, I did not believe I was athletic. I did not think I had what it took to be an athlete. It was not in me. Then I did the Couch to 5k program, and discovered that not only could I run a 5k, but also that I love this running thing. So I wondered, could I do 10k? It turns out that I could. By then running was a part of my life. So, I set my sights on a half marathon. And with each goal I got a little better, a little stronger.

Even as I trained for that first 5k, I began to understand the kind of dedication, perseverance and sacrifice required to train for a marathon. It’s so much more than being physically able, and I admired that tremendously. But, was it in me? Last summer, I decided to find out and committed to run the Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis Marathon on October 21, 2012. Even before Sunday, I know the answer: Yes, it is. It is in me.

John Bingham quote

I’m going into this weekend with a bit of an injury. I strained my hip flexor, which meant taking the last week and a half completely off from running, along with receiving physical therapy. My body is not at 100%, but my mind and heart are. So injured or not, I’m going for it. I have to be realistic, though, and simply hope to finish this race. I am staying positive about my ability to complete this, but if I have to bail, it’s OK. I will get it next time because I know my answer.

Why would I run a marathon? Because I found the athlete I didn’t know I was. And that feels simply amazing.

Enjoy your weekend!