When I set the goal nine years ago, it didn’t have nearly the immediacy it will have after tomorrow. I’d just finished my second marathon, which meant that my body was, in fact, built to handle more than one marathon in our time together.
Not one for big goals or plans, I caught myself by surprise the first time I said it aloud to someone else.
External Me: I’m going to run 10 marathons in 10 years.
Internal Me: Wait. Who said that.
And so I started.
At first, it was one race per year. As I’d skipped a year between my 2002 marathoning debut and my second goal-inspiring race, I realized I’d need to run two races in one year to meet my goal.
It happened the year I ran both Chicago and New York City. I’d imagine this not to be much of a problem were the two races not separated by two weeks.
I finished both.
The back-to-back racing left a mental scar. I didn’t run for a year. I was back in the same predicament.
Heading into 2012, I’ve run 8 marathons in 9 years. I know it’s not much when compared to ultramarathoners or people who embark on quests like Dean Karnazes’s 50 in 50 in 50.
You have to understand, I wasn’t supposed to be a runner. My boyhood clothes came from the “husky” section. My P.E. grade was a mercy pass. The only R word I’d ever associated with myself up to my first day of training was reader.
And then I started running.
Now, it is a part of me.
It is a key to my identity.
I know more about myself and what I can do because I am a runner.
I will never be the fastest or the trimmest, but I will be running.
This does not solve my problem. I have two races to run. My habit of approaching goal setting with a minimalist’s penchant gives each greater heft when I do commit.
I’ve two options.
The first is a Spring race and a Fall race. This would put a marathon smack in the middle of my Spring semester of grad school. Consequently, it would mean training for a marathon throughout the first half of the semester. I’d have to dig deep for the moxy.
The second option is two Fall races again. Because it was my first, I’ll be running Chicago this year. I just have to decide if I want to re-visit the gauntlet of two races in close temporal proximity to one another.
I’m open to suggestions. No matter the decision, I am thrilled to run these races, to do something 5th-grade me never considered.