I embark upon this preparation for the New York City Marathon with a number of fears and motivations.
Start with my fears to get the negative out of the way:
- Will my body hold up? That is not a question I was asking myself when I ran my first marathon nearly 10 years ago as a 29 year old. But as a 39 year old that just recently (January 3rd) underwent surgery on my cervical column. As a 39 year old that is much heavier (more on that later) than I was then it is definitely a question I ask now. As a former runner who left running in part because of the nagging injuries, now trying to become a runner again, this is a question I ask, and a fear I have.
- Can I discipline myself to make the time for training? I believe I can but this question lingers in my mind. As Christina reminded me the day I found out about NYCM, “Start training now, your last two marathons you entered you waited to long thinking you could just kick it into gear and failed to make the marathon on either.” She is right in 2010 I entered the Eye-Q Two Cities Marathon in Fresno/Clovis and ended up changing to the half-marathon two days before the race, and still ran a horrible half. Then in 2012 I entered to run the Eugene Marathon, and about a month out changed to the Eugene Half-Marathon, I ran that half decently under two hours, but still didn’t make the full as had been the original plan. So I’m starting early with the discipline this time around, I’ve already begun training.
- I just had surgery on my neck is this really smart? I was cleared by my doctor to return to my life, including running. In the days since I’ve been cleared (which by the way happened the same week I received news of my acceptance into the NYC Marathon) I’ve been consistently exercising, including running…if we can call it that at this point…and I feel amazing. Headaches I was having are gone. Some shoulder/neck tightness that was occurring is gone. Yet, despite the positives my doctor told me that I should expect that someday in the future I will need surgery again; I have some spots in my back that are about 10 or 15 years older than they should be 🙂 Will my back make it? (that question is beyond the “will my body hold up?” question above) That is a fear.
- Do I actually have the time for this? Honestly I do have the time, if I choose to be a balanced person. I am not a balanced person though, I know this about myself. I love to work, my wife, and I don’t wear this with a badge of honor, but my wife would probably describe me as a workaholic. Work often comes before most, sometimes all else. I have the privilege of leading an active, forward moving, large church. Due to where I serve there are several travel opportunities on the horizon, how will I navigate training in the midst of these global trips? And of course first and foremost, I must not neglect my Jesus time and or my family time for training. I do have the time, will I balance my life to make it happen? This is a fear I have.
My motivations to run the New York City Marathon:
- My sons. My dad when I was very young was a runner. He ran three marathons all of them either before I was born or before I was old enough to realize my dad was a marathoner. I have run three marathons, all of them before my kids were born or before they were old enough to realize their dad is a marathoner. In fact the last marathon I completed was the Chicago Marathon in October of 2009. Dayton my oldest son was only 1 year old. So I haven’t even run a marathon in the lifetime of Landon or Levi. I want them to see their dad accomplish this goal, and hopefully it will motivate them to one day run marathons also.
- My sons. Yep they get multiple motivations. Last year my two oldest sons ran cross country in a local cross country club. This year all three of them will be running on the team. At practices the coaches encourage the parents to run with their kids, especially the younger kids. I was unable to run with them after they started going beyond a 1/2 mile because I was so out of shape. I want to be able to enjoy the sport of running with my sons and not stand on the sidelines looking at my phone.
- My sons. I’ve had, though it is better now, high-blood pressure in the past. I have (currently) bad cholesterol. While I know that running doesn’t cure these completely, stress management and diet help as well, running will help me be around longer for my kids.
- Christina. My wife is fitter and more beautiful than the day I married her. The same cannot be said for me. While I do not worry at all about Christina loving me less or being less attracted to me because of my physicality, I do believe it shows her respect, love, and honor to maintain my health and hopefully “beauty” as she has for me!
- Christina. She gets more than one motivation too. I know that I will be a better husband if I feel good about myself, and self image effects a lot of our negative behaviors. So to be a better husband I want to run this race.
- Weight loss. Losing weight is one of if not the largest motivator for setting this goal. Losing weight actually impacts all the previous motivators related to Christina and the boys. When my friend Albert talked me into running my first half-marathon back in January of 2007 I weighed 193 pounds. By March of that year when I ran/jogged a 2:09 half-marathon in Atlanta I was down to 180 pounds, by the time I ran my first marathon (Nationwide Columbus, OH) in October of 2007 I was weighing in at 156 pounds pre-race, 154 pounds post race. I currently weigh, and I shudder to admit this publicly, 207 pounds. When I moved to Maryland a little over two years ago I weighed 191 pounds and I was disappointed with my weight then. I have gained 16 pounds…I actually got all the way up to 213 before I started going back down…so actually I gained 22 pounds in two years here. That shows some serious lack of health and balance in ones life. And I could give every excuse in the book: my job is stressful and the older I get the more I stress eat. The weather is not as nice year round so I am inside and less active than I was in California. I don’t have the running partners I had in California, etc, etc, etc. The fact is excuses are just that excuses. The time to change the bad habits of not just the last two years but even far before that is now.
- Fear of failure. A great motivator is fear. I am competitive by nature. I was raised by a dad that taught me to always compete as hard as I can. I’m not ready to say I can’t run a marathon again, to me that would be an admission of failure at this stage of my life. So I will compete to accomplish this goal.
- Life Change. When I sent Christina a text telling her what I’d done and that I had my name drawn in the lottery to run the NYC Marathon; by the way I still can’t believe that and yesterday I learned how much more amazing it is. This year more than 98,000 individuals registered to enter the marathon and roughly 16,000 were selected 16.5%. I’ve already heard of at least one person I know that entered and whose name was not drawn. So back to what I was saying, when I told Christina what had happened her text back was one sentence and I quote,
“Let this truly change your life.”