Several years ago, in November, 2012, to be exact, my wife & I attended our son’s high school cross-county banquet. We were seated with another couple and I got to talking to the dad about running. At the time, I was just a casual runner. My longest run up to then was something like 7 miles. He asked me if I had ever considered running a half-marathon. I told him something like, “That’s crazy. I could never run a half-marathon.”
I have since run 4 half-marathons (five if you count the one I did in practice).
After that brief exchange, I began to ponder the idea. How did I know I could never run a half-marathon? I had never trained for one, never even tried. Thus began an obsession. I set as a goal the St. Jude half-marathon in Memphis the following year (December, 2013). That would give me 13 months to prepare for my first half-marathon. I trained like crazy, and even ran a half-marathon in practice 12 days before the scheduled event. (I remember it as the Monday before Thanksgiving, 2013.)
And then the race was canceled due to an impending ice storm.
I transferred my registration to what was then the Country Music Marathon in Nashville the last Saturday in April, 2014. That became my first half-marathon. I’ve done every one since, a total of 4 now.
Since the half-marathon-that-wasn’t four years ago, I’ve wanted to run the Memphis course. I just never have followed through. After last year’s race in Nashville, I wanted no part of half-marathons for a while. For whatever reason, that race (2016) was harder on me than any of the others, and I was a bit emotional after it was over.
A few months ago, I went ahead and made a hotel reservation in downtown Memphis for the night of December 1, just in case. Sign-ups for the St. Jude race opened this morning at 10 a.m., and it will also fill up before the day is out, so I jumped on it right when registration opened.
If last year’s half-marathon was difficult, this year’s was nearly impossible. It happened to take place on what would end up being the hottest April day in Nashville’s history. My time was 22 minutes slower than last year’s, so if there were ever a time to be turned off half-marathons, it should have been this year. Instead, I found myself psyched over the idea of running the Memphis race on December 2, and so I resolved to do it. It might be a case of wanting redemption after Nashville’s sweat-fest. It might be age. I’ll be 48 by the time the Memphis race rolls around. I don’t know how many more years I’ll be able to run like this. Hopefully, I’ve got a few more half-marathons left in me. But as long as I am physically able, I might as well capitalize.
So, Lord willing, four years after what would have been my first time running the St. Jude half-marathon in Memphis, I’m finally going to do it.