I’m running my first marathon in 32 days.

I’m not quite sure what I want to write about this inevitability, that I’m pounding asphalt for over 26 miles in 32 days, but I know I want to share that I’m finally admitting to myself that I’m intimidated.

I went for a bike ride this morning, cutting north through the valley along the Bear Creek Greenway. This is the path of the Rogue Marathon, held on September 20th at 7:10 am. The initial intention of the ride was to meet up with my friend Deanna for biscuit sandwiches at Buttercloud Bakery in Medford, but I realized that I was also feeling out the marathon course along the ride. I’d see the Mile 19 marker and think: great, by the time I get here I’ll have done 19 miles! And then I’d think: great, by the time I get here I’ll have 7.2 more miles to run! And then I’d think: great, holy shit.

Since freshman year of college, running has been casual for me. This past January my friend Jacqui and I started to sign up for local races to motivate us to run more. In spite of running five races in six months, it all still feels casual. In spite of training with longer and longer runs (six miles to 10 miles to 13 miles), I still don’t feel like I can call myself a serious runner. Although this sounds silly even to myself, I feel like I can officially proclaim myself a runner when it gets easy. But I don’t think it will ever get easy. Running miles and miles and miles without being chased by a wild animal or trying to save a loved one’s life, potentially permanently compromising your knees and ankles, dehydrating and exhausting yourself…why?

I’m not sure yet. For me, writing is like a slow leakage of brain junk that, if not purged, can begin to fester and direct my life in unideal ways. I feel inspired to write about my self-created training experience, my relationship with running, and perhaps to provide an answer to why I’m becoming obsessed with running.

I hope you enjoy and are inspired by the purging.

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