If I can do it, so can you…uh, not so fast.

Recently, I noticed a few stories on Facebook regarding the common questions a runner receives. They cover the gamut who, what, why, how, when-questions. Each article is on the mark; however, it took running a marathon for me to become the subject of the questions.

The first question with good reason is always “you ran a marathon?” with the follow-up, “how many miles is that, 5 miles?”, and finally the self-deprecating, “I could never run 26.2 miles.” If ever faced with such a comment, you could respond one of two ways: nodding lightly without evidence of confirmation, or making a statement to diminish their self-deprecation: “if I can do it, so can you.” Now, hold on just a minute. I don’t think so!

Before you stop reading and decide to chastise me in the comments, hear me out. I’m not saying that they CAN’T run 26.2 miles. I would never say that. Indeed, anyone could. However, it takes a particular type of person to go through the rigorous training regimen to complete a marathon. The statement, “if it were easy, everyone would do it,” is true. Less than 1% of the population of the planet has attempted to run a marathon. There is a reason. Running a marathon is hard. Training for a marathon is even harder. A marathon is just the celebration after the 16 weeks of grueling tempo runs, Fartleks (yes, a real word), long runs, and recovery runs. It is the realization that you’ve conquered sprains, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and hairline fractures (I know something about that). The preparation to run a marathon is like putting together a puzzle in a calendar. You can’t take shortcuts, and you can’t rush. You have to change your nutrition intake, change your habits, adjust your schedule, and re-prioritize your life. It is NOT easy!

Anyone can technically run a marathon if they have the determination. Yes, even new runners can beat my PB of 4:53:03; however, they’d need to work hard, train, make sacrifices, and show up at the starting line to do it. The moment you cross the finish line, I will welcome you to the fold.

Sometimes you need to hit that ENTER button

There are two words that runners hate: DNF, referred to as “did not finish” and deferment. The former is awful and leads you to wish you had done the latter. Deferring can be as painful as the reasons you need to defer. It can feel as though you’re giving up and quitting. You sit, staring at your screen, hovering over the ENTER key waiting for a supreme force to take hold of your hand and to make the decision for you. Everything else is easy in comparison. Defer your favorite desert over the holidays? <ENTER> ; defer your company Christmas party? <ENTER>; defer a visit to see opinionated relatives? <ENTER, ENTER, ENTER>. The thought that 16-weeks of training has come to the ‘D’ word can be tough to accept.

I’ve deferred a marathon once; last year at this time after suffered a stress fracture. This year, I find myself in a similar situation; major interior shin splints or what doctors like to call medial tibial stress syndrome or the fancy term for ‘you’re running all wrong and have weak hip flexors.’ The cure, rest while doing strengthening exercises and work on weak areas that caused the shin splints in the first place. This advice is not conducive to training for a marathon, especially when the beginning of the year is as equally as busy as the last part of the year. So, the decision had to be made. Defer the Charleston Marathon again for the second year in a row.

It’s not all bad. The realization that healing could prevent future injuries, lead to a new PR, and prevent future deferments is what needs to be in anyone’s mind who is about to push that ENTER button. Am I upset by it? Of course, I am. However, this is what I signed up for when I decided to become a runner. I’m also excited about the possibilities ahead in 2020. That is something I’m not going to defer.

A Christmas Miracle

It was Thanksgiving day that I received word that I had been accepted to the Alzheimer’s Society Team for the 2020 BMW Berlin Marathon. I was also given an amount that I needed to raise in order to obtain a spot in this prestigeous World Marathon Major. That amount was 1,000 Euros or approximately $1,200 U.S. dollars. Even though this was a large goal, I knew it wasn’t impossible; especially, given my supportive family and friends.

After receiving many generous donations from my wonderful family and friends, I received the donation that helped me to reach the 100% mark on Monday. This very generous donation came from, no other than my brother Jason and his wife Marisa. I am extremely grateful to them and all of the other supporters who helped me reach this mark in such a short time.

I may have reached the 100% mark; however, it will take more than my goal to help reach a cure. My initial goal may have been $1,200 but I’d like to raise much more. If your heart moves you to support my cause, please donate. To those who already have; I thank you from the bottom of my heart.