It’s funny how the answer to a single question can alter your entire life. Sometimes those are huge questions like: “Will you marry me?” or “Will you accept this job offer?”
In my case the question that altered my life wasn’t huge. My best friend, Brian Dawson, called me in the spring of 2003 to catch up on life. He was finishing his first year of medical school and I was finishing my senior year of college.
We talked about how demanding medical school was and how he had taken up running as a way to deal with the stress. He told me he was planning to his first marathon later that summer. Then he mentioned there was also a half-marathon that was on the same course.
That’s when the question came: “I’d love for you to come, would you have any interest in running the 1/2 marathon?” I didn’t hesitate, “Sure, sounds like fun.”
We chatted a few more minutes and he told me how to find the race and sign up and that was the end of our conversation.
You would think that I spent the next several months training for the race, but you would be wrong. I got off the call and thought: “Half-Marathon, how far could that be?” I ran that race and to my surprise I got 3rd place in my age group with out even training.
It was a very small race so my odds were a little higher, but I still got that trophy. I was pretty sore for a week after that race because I did almost no training at all. Yet, I was also excited to have found something so challenging.
I got hooked after that. I started actually training. I’ve run 10ks and marathons, 5ks and triathlons; and it all started with a single question.
That’s how I started running, but it isn’t the end of the story. For this marathon I’m starting from scratch; as if I’ve never run before. I want to be a beginner, because in a lot of ways I am a beginner.
I’ve put on 80 pounds in the last 10 years. Despite my activity level remaining high, the weight kept coming. I am facing the hard truth that I can’t outrun my fork. My metabolism isn’t the same as it was in my 20s or my early 30’s.
So, I’m starting over with a pair of shoes and a plan to run a marathon with my friend, the same way I did 18 years ago.