106 days and counting…

This is not my first rodeo in the world of blogging. I have poured my heart and soul (in my younger days) via Live Journal and in more formative years (undergraduate life) through Blogspot.

But, I believe the purpose behind this latest endeavor is much more meaningful and significant than my previous resume.

I will be running a marathon in 106 days – this will be the topic of choice for this blog for the next 106 days (very thematic). Yet, after 106 days, I will move on to my next big goal. Believe me: they are vast and numerous.

Why am I running a marathon?

This is an excellent question. If you had asked me three years ago, I would have kindly explained that you were speaking to the wrong person. I, Katie Paulson, would never, ever run 26.2 miles for pleasure. Then, an ironic twist of fate:in June 2007, I tore the interior meniscus of my left knee playing soccer on Georgia Tech’s AstroTurf. Prior to this day, I never described me as a runner.

After visiting with a specialist, I was pressured to proceed with surgery. But, with my cross-country road trip to my new home in North Carolina a week away, I decided to forgo such a drastic measure and elected to let it be.

October 2007: I was atop the treadmill at the local YMCA, psyching myself up to take my first running step. I did. It was uncomfortable, and I huffed and puffed through one mile. But, I did it. And, I became a runner.

Now, in October 2011, I am proud to identify as a runner. I have done many 5ks, a few 10ks, and my biggest achievement to date: the Inside-Out Classic Half-Marathon in May 2010. I believed 13.1 miles was a reasonable amount to tackle in my lifetime.

But, here’s another thing: I’m not just a runner. I am also a daughter.

When I began my running career, I talked to my dad quite extensively about running. He has been an avid runner, and I have witnessed him completed several half-marathons and marathons. During one of our telephone conversations, my dad discussed his goal of running a marathon in each decade of his life. His 60th birthday fell on August 2, 2011 but he shared this with me in late 2008. So, I, half-jokingly, agreed that I would run a marathon with him after he turned 60.

Ha ha?

The reality didn’t quite sink in until after his 59th birthday. Yet, I remained committed. I have been fortunate enough to enjoy much with my father throughout my life: fishing, camping, perusing bookstores, going to movies, playing Gin Rummy, and watching sports. Now that I live 2000 mile away, I yearn for those times that we had together.

Even though we are physically separated during our trainings, we chat about our progress often and help motivate each other. We cheer on our successes (pacing goals!) and inspire during those hard days (it’s how many degrees in Phoenix today?)

I found yesterday to be one of the most challenging days as of yet: the 10 mile run. The previous long runs of eight and nine seem to pale in comparison to the double-digit monstrosity awaiting me. I still have not quite wrapped my mind around running 26.2 miles, much less 20, 17, 15, 13.3. Luckily, the weather was perfect; the crisp, fresh air revitalized me as I tackled the American Tobacco Trail from the 54 entrance, to downtown Durham, and back. I did it and even ended with a smile on my face.

Still, there are 106 days to go.

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