The Countdown Begins

In mid-May, I ran across Brooklyn, from the Botanic Garden all the way around Prospect Park to Coney Island. I ran 13.1 miles, a half marathon. Then I ate one and a half hot dogs.

For some people, running comes easy. Their lithe bodies bulge with sinewy muscle. They seem born to run. I am not one of those people. For me, running has always been difficult. Running used to leave me so breathless I convinced myself I had been born with one lung. I used to tell people about my supposed deformity. “It’s amazing I can run at all,” I’d say, “considering I only have one lung.” (I later realized that such a massive defect would surely have shown up on the chest X-ray I had as a teen).

Even now, more than a decade after I first started running, it doesn’t seem easy. In fact, the Brooklyn race was brutal. By mile 10, I was ready to collapse into a whimpering ball. But I have some dignity. And I am vain. So I kept running.

After the race, my legs and feet ached. The next day I could barely walk. But the pain and suffering associated with long-distance running fade fast. Just as mothers contemplating a second child never seem to remember the agony of childbirth, I never seem to remember how much it sucks to run for hours on end. The euphoria I feel crossing the finish line drowns out the torture of those last few miles.

This may explain why I decided to sign up for the New York City marathon just days after I finished the Brooklyn half marathon. That’s right. Come November I’ll be running twice as far. My 26.2-mile journey will take me to all five boroughs. It will be farther than I’ve ever run. Hell, it will be farther than I’ve ever walked.

Why put yourself through this, you ask? To prove that I can. I am the most unlikely of athletes. I like to think that if I can run a marathon, nothing is impossible.

For the next five months, I’ll be in training. I plan to use this blog to update you on my progress. I hope my posts will be entertaining. And I hope that you’ll consider supporting me by donating to Camfed, the charity that is sponsoring my entry into the race. Your contributions will help girls in Africa pay for their education. That includes shoes, uniforms, schools supplies, boarding, and enrollment fees. Learn more about Camfed here.

My goal is to raise $3300. That’s enough money to pay for 11 girls to attend high school for one year. You’ll hear more about Camfed and my training in the coming months. So stay tuned . . . this is just the beginning.

2 responses to “The Countdown Begins

  1. Good Luck ! NYC marathon is very noisy but it is definitely an experience you will never forget! It can also get very cold in the last 4-5 miles. When I did it in 2002, I was moving very slow and getting colder and colder after I made the turn in the Bronx and headed towards Central Park. It probably did not help that I took about 6 hours to finish – which explains why I finished in the dark. But like you said… selective memory kicks in and I’ve signed up for an even longer race!

    If you are interested, a friend of mine, Croix Sather, ran across the country and I’m sure he would be happy to give you some ideas. He was a casual runner before he did 100 marathons in 100 days so I’m sure he would have some good tips. Let me know or you can friend him on Facebook. His website for the run across america is

    Best of luck!
    Dave Wheeler

  2. You go girl!! What an amazing undertaking. You’ll understand if I think you are CRAZY, but then it runs in the family. Love and good luck from your old Aunt Sharon

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