COLUMN: Road to the marathon/ Genesis of a challenge

In Fitness, Sports

“I won.”

Those are the words that I am going to say when I collapse over the finish line of the Orange County Marathon in May.

While I’d dare not compare my future accomplishment to the glory of Pheidippides’ last words (“We won”) after his legendary run from the battle of Marathon to Athens in 490 B.C., it will have great meaning for me.

I started running nine years ago and have not stopped since. While I’ve taken time off to cope with injury and illness, rest assured I wanted nothing more than to be out on the road again.

I take my shoes with me whenever I travel. I’ve been drenched in my own sweat while running in the Georgia heat, I’ve basked in a kinder sun while running Hawaii’s coastline and I’ve almost been hit by cars while looking the wrong way running the streets of London.

I ran cross country and track all four years of high school. While I may not have thought of those years fondly while suffering through an interval workout on the track, I will always remember them as the best years of my life.

As I finish my last semester of college, I can’t think of a better end to my educational career. After nine years of training, this will be the ultimate final exam.

Many may see athletics and academics as two separate endeavors.They’d argue that intelligence isn’t being developed while shooting a basketball, throwing a punch or running around a track. In reality, playing a sport is one of the best compliments for developing a strong mind.

While I may not be the sharpest person of my class, it’s the discipline and the work ethic that I have learned from running that has given me the ability to perform in school, develop my skills as a journalist and lead a team.

Even the most passionate and talented professor could not have matched the teachings of the road.

Aside from the 100 mile ultra marathons, I see the marathon as the ultimate test for endurance runners. It’s 26.2 miles of pain and mental fortitude that has been run since the first Olympic Games in 1896. This race is not confined to professionals either. Thousands of people across the world, young and old, compete against themselves every year.

If they can do it, then I surely can … and you can too.

I’d like this column to chronicle my journey to the starting corrals and give anybody who has ever been interested in running a marathon the knowledge and training methods that are needed to complete one.

I will scour the Internet to find the best training schedules for runners of all skill levels. I’ll reach out to expert sources in order to bring you the best tips possible.

And finally, I will chronicle my progress over the next couple months, documenting my mileage, cross training, lifestyle adjustments and diet.

Whether its a marathon or jog around the block every now and again, it’s my hope that I’ll manage to convert a few readers to runners.

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