I use the word "glory" a lot when describing marathons. If I had to describe how I've felt after each of my four marathons, it's that way. Glory. Glorious. It is the ultimate glory.
Dictionary.com defines glory this way: something that is a source of honor, fame or admiration; a distinguished ornament or an object of pride.
That pretty much nails it.
A marathon to me is a source of honor. It's hallowed ground. The distance, 26.2, is something so daunting and intimidating yet majestic and magnificent at the same time. Terrifying and fearful, sure, but that's part of the allure. There is a distance, a challenge, the ultimate line in the sand waiting for you. Are you up for the challenge?
Not a lot of people are. Of course, it does not make you less of a person if you do not run a marathon. And I don't think it makes me more special because I have done it. That's where the honor comes in, though. I feel honored and privileged to be able to participate in marathons and long-distance running. It's like I'm some lucky guy who was able to lose weight, change my lifestyle and now I'm among people that I never thought I'd be around, doing things I never thought I'd be doing and not only getting through them but enjoying them.
There are some outstanding people out on marathon courses, people who have overcome many obstacles, people who have put a lot of work, effort, blood sweat, tears, their whole lives into a marathon. And somehow there I am, trudging alongside of them.
I'm not going to win any races nor am I going to place in my age group. Hell, I'm not going to get anywhere near the top of any category. My times won't blow people away, I can guarantee you that. But I'll be out there on Sunday, at the LA Marathon doing my thing. I'm going to be running my fifth marathon there, chasing glory once more, further proving to people that nothing is impossible, that if you set your mind to something and dedicate yourself to something, that it is possible whatever "it" is.
I am the unlikeliest marathoner; just look at LB circa 2005 to see that. But I am also one of the more grateful runners too. Every run is a gift. Every race I can participate in is special. I take nothing for granted.
The only thing I want is glory. I'm addicted to it. I want to cross the finish line, raise my arms in the air and bask in it. I want to point to the course and say "Look at what I did. Look at what a former 300-pound man did."
That's the ultimate glory, and I can't get enough of it.