In 2012, that’s how many miles I ran (give or take a few miles I lost track of.) Talk about big things that have small beginnings. It’s a very small thing, when broken down- each conscious step that became a stride that grew over and over into a mile, and then 2, and then 12, that adds up to a year’s worth of runs. Runs that have given me back to my sanity, my body, my happiness, and some days, I’m convinced, the best possible version of myself.
2012 was filled with some pretty world-rocking changes, of good, bad and neutral varieties, and for all the year gave me, the thing I’m second-most grateful for is the thing that helps me take it all, from the big decisions to the daily minutia, in stride.
I’m pretty easily convinced to talk running, and I recently had a conversation with a dear friend about it. While on this topic, naturally, it usually comes up that I ran my first marathon last year. The reactions I get to this are often of a weird strain of reverence, and hers specifically was followed by the notion that she could never do that. It’s not the first time I had heard this sentiment, nor I think, will it be the last, but what struck me this time was just how untrue it is (not to mention how defamatory to the sport). This reverence is unwarranted, I think. If I accomplish anything here, let it be that I inescapably communicate that anyone, anywhere, at any time, can run a 5k, a half-marathon, a marathon, an ultra (though I can’t personally vouch for this one…yet.) Any running goal you may have is achievable. In no way am I particularly gifted, coordinated, or even very radically determined, and I think there are a lot of much more accomplished runners than I who would concur.
Without question, you can do it. I promise you. And I’m not just writing this because I wish more people would run. It makes running great, this quality. Its unquestionably one of the greatest things about running in particular: that anyone and everyone can do it, live through it, and maybe even learn to love it.
Will it hurt? Yup.
Will you have days that defeat you? Undoubtedly, but tell me how that’s different from life in general.
Will you want to sit in the bath for hours eating Ben n Jerry’s and drinking wine? Almost every day (again, tell me how this is any different from standard operating procedure.)
Will you experience weird injuries and acquire a new affinity for stretching, ibuprofen, and icing? You bet.
The thing is, you won’t give up. Because if you’ve decided to do it, you’ll find the strength to get it done. Because if you’ve committed to the race, the capacity to complete it will follow. Because you’ll have experienced the riches that running stupid-long distances can bestow, and you’ll know that just like the individual steps that turn into the miles and marathons, the rewards are there in equal number.
So go out and do it, if you want to. In its essence, it couldn’t be more simple. Put your foot out the door, swing the other one around, and keep it going. Repeat.
One day you might even look back and realize you ran a marathon.