*I wrote this on Oct. 15, 2005.

Are you there God? It’s me… Melanie… and I think I want to run a marathon.

Yes, a marathon. A 26.2-mile, life-changing journey. The grueling feat that has claimed lives, millions of hamstrings and probably billions of toe nails. I don’t know why, I just have a yearning to do it. Well, to try to do it. I’ve been running off and on for two years. Usually just one or two three-mile runs a month. Then in the spring I did the Corporate Challenge and got bit by some weird running bug. Ever since then, the word “marathon” has been flitting about in my mind. I didn’t do Chicago’s LaSalle Bank Marathon this year. I reasoned that I needed more time to train. Well, the 2005 marathon has come and gone and I’m glued to all of the media coverage about it, reading every snippet in the newspapers trying to catch a taste of how great it must feel to finish a marathon.

So 2006, here I come, right? In the weeks after the 2005 marathon I’ve been asking a few people who have run one before whether they’ll do it in 2006 and they shrug and say “I don’t know yet, why are you running?” Inside I say “Yes. It’ll be my first.” But I really just shrug noncommittally and say “I don’t know either.” Truth is I’m looking for a running buddy, someone to chat about the training, get tips, share stories and fears that all lead up to The Big Day.

Last week I got up the courage to ask my dad if he’d come cheer me on if I ran the marathon next year. He, being the typical manly man from a small Kansas town who doesn’t see why on earth anyone would want to run 26.2 miles, responded he’d have to see what else the family had going on to know whether they could come. I was crushed. Not to sound like a spoiled brat, but I was hoping for a “sure we’ll be there.” My mom caught word that I was wanting familial support in Chicago and sweetly said she’d come to see me anytime. But the past few years have proven that statement to be a practically impossible goal. But before I delve into the family drama too much, I’m thinking about building a fan base, you know, the people who I hear help get you through the last six miles of the race or something. So far I’ve got a good ten people that I know I can count on to cheer for me along the way. As of now, though, only one knows of my secret dream to run the marathon.

My biggest fan is my husband. He’s the greatest guy and such a great support that I probably only need him in my cheering section to finish the race, but I’m still going to recruit folks. He has already signed on to jump in the race and run the last mile with me. (I read in the newspaper about a guy who did that in this year’s race.) He believes in me more than I do, telling me that even if my legs were to give out before the end of the race that I would claw my way across the finish line because I’m so stubborn. He’s right, I am very stubborn.

Hopefully I’m stubborn enough to follow through on this marathon goal. Time will tell.


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