What a difference one year makes.
A year ago this time, I was getting ready to run my first marathon. In February 2009 I was (improperly) training for my first half-marathon. In February 2008 I'd never run more than three miles at once. In February 2007 I weighed 250 pounds and in February 2007 I weighed more than 300 pounds.
And now, February 2011 I'm getting ready to run my third marathon.
I'm excited about what I'll be doing on Sunday. Not all that excited about the pain I'll feel towards the end of the race and immediately afterward but it's a means to an end.
What end is that? Bragging rights? Pride? Ultimate confidence? All that and more.
Running is who I am, it's what I do, it's what defines me. It allows me to fit into my size 34 pants, it's what allows me to enjoy food and not worry that every bite I eat will add inches to my waistline, it's what allows me to feel good about myself and allows me to think "Hey, I don't look half bad."
I'm not quite sure where running will take me. I hope I still have the fire and the ability to run marathons in 5, 10, 20 years. I'm definitely laying the groundwork for such longevity but you never know... I could shatter my knee or some other gawdawful thing could happen to keep me from running.
Anyway, I'm a runner. I've earned the right to be called as much and I don't feel brash or arrogant or anything when I think that. On the other hand, I feel as if I need to constantly prove myself to maintain that status.
I'm a runner.
I'm a marathoner.
On Sunday, I'm going to prove it.