The journey to my first marathon began about two years ago, at the age of 45, after a trip home to visit my dad in Germany. He wound up in the hospital during our visit due to a complication from type 2 diabetes. It occurred to me right then and there that the man did not have good eating habits and had never exercised a day in his life. That’s when I realized: I don’t want to end up in the hospital at 80. I want to live to a healthy 100. I immediately committed to a healthier lifestyle. I was already watching carefully what I ate, so I decided to take up running.
At first, I couldn’t even do a mile. Those first few days, I would walk half a mile, run half a mile, and then walk half a mile again. I found that I really liked it, so I increased my distance. A few weeks later on a Saturday morning, I ran three miles. I came home and said to my wife, “I just ran a 5k!”
I was hooked. Every week, I’d increase my distance a little bit until I was doing 8 miles at a stretch. At that point, I decided to step up my game and signed up for my first half marathon, which was an exciting experience. Once I started running longer distances regularly, I realized that the act of running was almost more important for my brain than for my body. I understood what was meant by the "runner’s high.”
Running the marathon was the most exhilarating communal and motivating experience I’ve ever had. I recommend it to anyone who has toyed with the idea. I’m now training for this year’s race. As I prepare, I think about the things I learned along the way and I have a few tips to share: