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Why run a marathon? I have a healthy BMI, I can run three miles without dying, and I can fit into size 6 jeans. Okay, so they’re from the Misses department, but it still counts.  

A year ago, my lifestyle began to change when I found out I could no longer eat gluten. Not only were brezen, bier, and strudel verboten, but I had to say aufwiedersehen to most processed foods as well.

Despite the hardships of reinventing my food life, I began to feel better. I had more energy and actually felt like running. It wasn’t easy at first, especially when dodging manure trucks and enduring severe looks from ancient German farmers, but I kept with it.

Then I made friends with two people, who each happened to be marathon runners. The seed was planted. I wanted to run a marathon—the year I turned forty.

That deadline was a comfortable 4 years away. It occurred to me that my “goal” was just a way of procrastinating. Unless I do this now, my dreams of a truly healthy body will remain that: merely dreams.

But physical goals aside, I want to banish the echoes of childhood that tell me “Good try! But you’re not really good enough.” I don’t want to merely finish a marathon, but I want to run well. I want to learn about nutrition and its connection to my own physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. I want to enter my forties triumphant, not slinking in through the back door.

Here we go. I registered for the marathon last night. I have twenty weeks in which to train.


Height: 5’9”

Current weight: 162

BMI: 23

Dress size: 8-10, depending on fabric & bulginess factors.

Health & guidance: I have been running fairly consistently for the past 9 months and am using The Complete Book of Running for Women, by Claire Kowalchick, and The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer, by Whitsett, Dolgener, and Kole, as my guide books, not to mention countless bits of advice picked up from actual runners.


Maintain current height (I think I’ve got that one nailed!).

Achieve a true size 6 (where my jeans don’t leave pink marks on my skin).

Lose inches around the waist and other parts of the vast lower realm.

Build enough upper body strength to do 10 actual push ups (no sissy bent knees, and chest ALL the way to the floor).

Get rid of the muffin top. I don’t need washboard abs…just something less resembling a deflated bicycle tire tube.

Oh yes, let’s not forget: the ability to run 26.2 miles, without hurting myself or others.

Optional goal: My son says I should try to beat one other person in the marathon (basically, to NOT come in dead last).

This marathon is not about completing 26.2 miles. It is about a change in lifestyle that will contribute to a healthy life. And God willing, it will affect the lives of the people who count on me to have good health mentally, physically, and spiritually. Those are the things that matter most, in the long run.


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