Here goes nothing.
If you happened to read Jo’s end of year post a few weeks ago, you might have noticed her casual mention of an upcoming activity that could very well do me in—I’ll be running my first marathon. A full marathon—all 26.2 miles of it.
Monday was my first official day of training, and all I can really say is—that hurt. We set a modest goal of 1.7 miles for my first run. You’re probably wondering why we chose such an odd distance. Well, as I work toward this goal of 26.2 miles, the only thing I’m absolutely sure of is that I can run .2 miles. So for every run on my training schedule, I’ll be tacking on that extra .2—kind of as a catalyst to remind me that it all starts with the small stuff. I have to remember that no matter what, I can always run .2 further than I think I can. And when race day comes, all I’ll be focused on is the first .2, then the next, and so on.
I was thinking I could handle this 1.7 mile run no problem. It’s a far cry from a full marathon, but you gotta start somewhere, right? I’d been looking forward to my first run for weeks, and every time I imagined it in my mind, I looked strong, my breathing was steady, and I remained fully upright the entire time. Honestly, I thought it would be a piece of cake.
But it wasn’t. Turns out I would have been better off running to the mailbox and back because by the time I rounded the first mile mark, I was gasping for air and it took everything I had not to keel over right there.
I started to wonder if this was a bad idea after all.
Some of you might be feeling a little blindsided, because you (wrongly) assumed that behind the Chip Gaines you know, there’s this super-fit guy who goes on long-distance runs in his spare time. But don’t be fooled—I haven’t “gone on a run” since college. In fact, I’ve always thought that folks who ran marathons were a little crazy. Certainly talented, but also batty. I mean, who runs that kind of distance at one time, willingly? But there was a part of me that always thought: Bet I could do that.
Then, a few months ago I was in New York City with Jo, and I happened to meet Gabriele Grunewald (Gabe) as she was running through Central Park. She clearly knew what she was doing, so I got to talking with her and it turns out, she is actually a professional runner. I asked her how long it would take for an average guy like me to train for a marathon, and she convinced me that with some old-fashioned hard work I could be ready by the beginning of summer.
Come to find out, back in 2009 Gabe was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC), a rare form of cancer—so rare that it only occurs in 3.5 out of every one million cancer patients. But from what I can tell, this young lady hasn’t let her diagnosis or treatment slow her down for a minute.
After hearing Gabe’s story, I realized two things: I didn’t want to spend another second standing on the sidelines, and secondly, given what she’s gone through, I didn’t have any excuse not to give this a shot. So I committed. Good news for me is that Gabe has agreed to train me all the way from her home state of Minnesota. (Check her out on Twitter: @gg_runs. She is absolutely amazing, and her story might just change your life as it has mine).
I guess after all the big talking I did in my book last year, it’s about time I take my own advice:
“Getting started is equally as triumphant as crossing the finish line. Your goal is too far off to have a straight line of sight to it, but I’m going to need you to keep it firmly fixed in your mind’s eye. The only way this is going to work, the only way that you’re gonna get there, is one foot in front of the other. You have to keep moving forward. And when you think you are about to die — trust me, it’s just a tiny bit further.”
Unfortunately in this particular scenario, it’s a whole lot further. But even so, this couldn’t ring truer for me after Monday’s run. There’s no doubt that I’m looking forward to crossing that finish line, but every day of training up until then is something to be proud of—because I’m making it happen! And 26.2 doesn’t sound so long when you think of it like 2.62 x 10. That somehow sounds doable.
If you’re reading this, I want you to know that as I’m chasing after this goal of mine, I’m also cheering you on toward whatever dream you’ve been secretly scheming. For those of you who, like me, have always dreamed of running a race, but have never taken that first step or even said it out loud—let’s tackle this thing together! Listen to me—you can’t lose unless you don’t try. We’ll be hosting a marathon right here in Waco, Texas in early May of this year. We’ll also have a 5K and a half marathon, so there will be something for everyone. Choose a race that challenges you.
So start training. Why not start tomorrow?
WHO’S WITH ME?!
Join me on this crazy journey by following me on Twitter. I’ll be chronicling my training there regularly. (@chipgaines). And Magnolia will be releasing more info about the marathon really soon. See you down the road!