Everyone remembers his first time

24 Mar

Earlier this week, I was emailing with my friend/running buddy MJ and told her how notable it was that this weekend, while I’m running the SunTrust National Half Marathon, will mark one year since she, Epod, and Heather all ran out first marathon at the same event.

She quickly informed me that last year it was held the weekend before so that day had passed.

Oh.  In that case, I told her, “Happy anniversary!”

One year ago we ran what I would have never thought I could do.  When I first started running, I would go for a mile on the treadmill at 5 mph and then get off and think, “Well, that was far.”  Then I ran an 8K and thought, holy shit, that was a ridiculous distance.  Then I ran my first half marathon and thought, how could anyone go even one step further than that?

The truth is, anyone can accomplish anything.  It’s only in the shadow of inexperience that we cower from our goals.  My dad, who last August couldn’t walk after surgery on his foot and had become overweight in his 60s?  Ran his first half marathon in January and crossed the finish line beaming like a 5-year-old.

My sister, who would only get off the couch to get more soda, was inspired by my and my brother’s love of running and ran her first 5K a couple of months after watching us run a half marathon together.

So on Saturday, even though I will be running “only” the National Half Marathon and not the full, I’ll still remember my first marathon and be reminded by how far I’ve come since September 2008, when the treadmill felt like a torture device.

It will be my 39th race.  And when I’m done, I will stay at the finish line to cheer on all the marathon finishers.  And think back to my own first time.  And wish myself a happy anniversary.

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