Its been a little more than a year now since my last marathon. I'm still smarting. And it wasn't my first. It was my fifth. That doesn't exactly qualify me as a "marathoner", but I also shrug off the label of "runner" like its an 80's ensemble. I just don't consider myself properly in that category. Yes, I've put one foot after another for 26.2 miles on several occasions and for 13.1 miles on even more occasions, not to mention the scads of 3, 6, and 10 milers I have under my belt. Yet still, in my mind, I am not a runner.
Almost a decade ago, I ran the most difficult race I've ever done, the Grandfather Mountain Marathon, rated one of the hardest marathons in the country. And you know what, I didn't train. And no I don't mean, oops, I only did a couple of long runs. I mean my hardest training run was a 40 minute hill workout on the treadmill. I will save the unimportant and uninteresting details related to why I didn't train, but suffice to say I was being obstinate in a way that only hurt me. And as I looked ahead at 26.2 miles and a 1000 foot climb, I told myself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and I took to heart something my husband said as I watched him leave me in his dust at mile 3 - "relentless forward progress".
I (Laura and I) have written a novel. A good novel. Not to mention several short stories, countless legal briefs, and more than a hundred pages of a second novel. Yet I still have difficulties considering myself a writer. But as I look ahead at another 200 pages of that second novel, with callous-free fingertips and a word processing program that hasn't received a creative words in months, I remember what my husband said at the Grandfather Mountain Marathon - relentless forward progress. It took me across the finish line at Grandfather Mountain and I can't help but believe it will take us to the final chapter here.