Wednesday, October 31, 2012

5 Years of Marathons

By Ross Forman

It’s hard to believe the 5-year anniversary of running my first marathon – in Florence, Italy – is only a few weeks away.  The Sunday after Thanksgiving 2007 was when this 26.2-mile running adventure started – wearing relatively-new Brooks shoes and a bright yellow t-shirt supporting the National AIDS Marathon Training Program, the endurance-training program that benefited the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC).

I smiled, cried, grimaced and grinded along for hours to cover the distance and claim the bling.  Months earlier I never thought I could or would cross the Finish Line after running 26.2 miles … I have now done so 17 times.

And my 18th marathon is only a few weeks away: the Honolulu Marathon is Sunday, Dec. 9, and it will be the fifth consecutive year I have run this race.  I will be wearing Brooks shoes, as always, and still am supporting AFC’s endurance-training program, now known as the Team To End AIDS (T2).  I run in red for T2 and also have been a T2 Coach for two years.

The annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October was, as always, incredibly memorable.  Seeing the faces of the T2 runners before, during and after the marathon is priceless.  Same for those post-run hugs with that “We did it!” emotional grip.  Running most of the marathon with Jamie was so much fun; I am so proud of her awesome finish.  Seeing so many friends along the route was so uplifting; am glad Ed was able to draw a smile out of me every time he pointed his camera in my direction, regardless of how much pain I was in at the time.  Seeing my Dad twice during the marathon was great.

The 2012 Chicago Marathon was, without question, the most emotional, tear-filled marathon I have ever run.  Thanks to those who gave me a hug or simple word of encouragement that Sunday, including Coach Jamie and the T2 runner from Washington D.C., who I had never met and, unfortunately, I don’t even remember his name.

Also in October, I ran the annual Monster Dash Half Marathon (13.1 miles) in Chicago, plus two 5K races (3.1 miles), one in Chicago on a runway at O’Hare International Airport and the other through downtown Houston. 

Running for me has never really been about the finishing time of a race.  But rather, just finishing.  That said, my times have steadily dropped over the years, on all race distances, and I’m very proud of that.

I have a long-standing marathon time bet with Chuck that goes back to that Florence Marathon, and I have to give him credit, he hands over that $1 the next time we see each other if I win.  I know Dell and Nick, my running partners for Honolulu, have a time goal for us – and I plan to push it, so we can all hit it together.  That would be really cool, so memorable.  I also have a time-related bet around the Honolulu Marathon with T2 runner Paul, who will be running Honolulu for the first time.  We bet based on his finishing-time to cover all 26.2 miles in Hawaii – and the loser will donate $1 to AFC in support of the other. 

I’m not sure what path my marathon journal will lead in 2013, but I’m considering a return trip overseas for the annual Tel Aviv Marathon in March, where I set my Personal Record (PR) time the lone previous time I have run that race.  Other than that, the calendar and the world are open.  Give me my shoes, I’m ready to run …


P.S.  Congratulations, Kelley, for running your portion of a Half Marathon a few weeks ago.  And, Konesha, I am holding you to that 5K.

No comments: