It all started in March 2004 when I weighed 285lbs, 52" waist, 18 1/2" neck. By May 2004 I had lost 60lbs and at that point decided to run a marathon. I'm 46 years old, had been working out 6 days a week and knew that if I was ever going to run a marathon, this would be the year. I had not reached my weight loss goals yet, but figured I would so I found a flat marathon that should have good weather and taking the advice of the marathon books I had purchased, I told my family and friends that I had just registered for the Jacksonville, FL 2004 Marathon. I was committed, no turning back now.
During the 7 months between my decision and 19 Dec 2004, I lost 94lbs, 14" off my waist and 3" off my neck. I trained for and rode the Multiple Sclerosis 150 mile, North Carolina Ride To The Beach in September 2004, the Hickory, NC 1/2 Marathon in October. I was sidelined twice for 3 weeks for shin splints and a back injury I got lifting a grill.
In June of 2004 I received an email with the picture of 2 girls who had just finished the Disney 2004 Marathon, holding their Mickey Mouse medals. I immediately signed up for the Disney 2005 Marathon on 9 Jan 2005 which was only 3 weeks after my first marathon in Jacksonville. After doing two marathons in 3 weeks, I don't recommend this, especially to new marathoners, trust me on this.
So you can see, I had to run this marathon, stay healthy and recover in 3 weeks for the Disney marathon. The experience in Jacksonville was wonderful. Many people had told me to start slow and I did. The water stops were 2 miles apart. I had trained myself in Charlotte and Atlanta to drink every 2 miles so I was ready for this. The temperature at race time was 40 F with light wind. I was wearing gloves and an extra long sleeve shirt that I got rid of about 2 hours into the run when things warmed up.
The first 16 miles went by so fast, almost effortless. I did experience knee pains at 5 and 9 miles but these only last a few minutes. I had gotten hurt on the MS 150 bike ride and had to deal with nagging knee pain most of the summer. But I was very blessed to not have these problems today in Jacksonville.
At mile 18 I started to get lactic acid build up in my quads and gluts. This continued until the end of the run. At no time during the run did I ever get negative thoughts that I had read about or did I ever get tired or consider quitting. I think getting up at 4:30am everyday since March 2004 until December 2004 had built in a winning and can do mental attitude that carried over to a winning marathon attitude. I had read so much in the marathon books about, "the wall" and was concerned. This didn't happened for me either. What I learned, was that each person deals with their different limitations and struggles when they run their marathon. For me, I was concerned about my knees and some of the training that I had missed because of the two 3 week periods I was recovering from injuries and I had to finish this marathon ready to go for the next one in 3 weeks time.
At mile 23, a lady who was part of a group, cheering runners along, looked straight into my eyes and with much enthusiasm said, "what an accomplishment!" That was all it took and I started to cry and she did too. I knew that in three miles, I would be a marathoner.
As I entered the stadium, I ran across the chip reader which gave the announcer my name on their computer screen. My name was announced to the crowd that I had entered the stadium and 15 seconds later I crossed the finish line. When I greeted my friends and got the first hug, the tears came like a river. I had done it. I had come so far this year and now completed a marathon. This truly was an awesome accomplishment for someone who 9 months ago weighed 285 lbs with a 52" waist.
Three weeks later I started and completed the Orlando, Disney 2005 marathon and received my own Mickey Mouse Marathon medal.
If you are reading this, you can do it too. You can loose weight. You can get into shape. You can run a marathon. Don't let anyone tell you, "you can't," because you can. Go for it. It's your time.
For me, I'm looking to run the Los Angeles Marathon on 6 March 2005, the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati on 1 May 2005 and the Marine Corps Marathon on 30 Oct 2005 and then back to Disney in 2006 for the 1/2 marathon and full marathon challenge to run them both on consecutive days, Saturday and Sunday.
I pray somehow I can stay healthy and have a great time at each of these cities.
Have a wonderful day and go for it.