Just a few weeks ago, I was in a truly special place physically—undoubtedly the best shape of my life—finely tuned, conditioned and prepared to attack my first full marathon. I was strong and sturdy, focused and confident.
And now I’m broken.
Six months ago, I set out to run the Dallas Marathon. It wasn’t an end goal; it was a beginning. I’d run Dallas in December, Oklahoma City in April, then New York City next November and Houston two months after that.
My aspirations are never modest in size or scope.
I did the requisite research and established a training program that I thought would best prepare me for the race—a means to an end. What I learned along the way is that training is the race, for most intents and purposes. The event, itself, is really just a celebration of the preparation.
From mid-summer through the end of fall, I routinely logged my morning miles before the sun showed up. I set early alarms on Saturdays so I could fit my long runs in front of a day’s worth of college football. My friends—who eventually got used to receiving 5 a.m. text messages—thought I was nuts; their reactions were almost always a combination of marvel and disgust.
I loved it.
As we get older, the available avenues for pushing our physical limitations dwindle. But endurance sports provide an environment for continued competition, with the clock serving as a constant, indomitable opponent. That being said, I started running to offset my affinity for pizza and beer—and unwittingly rediscovered my inner athlete in the process.