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.