I am running my 20th marathon on Sunday, Sept. 22 – the 38th annual Omaha Marathon, so here are 20 memories from the 19 marathons that I have run since first tackling the 26.2-mile demon:
1. I went to my first marathon training-program meeting during the spring of 2007 at Evanston Library, run by John Beach. I wonder if John truly thought I’d run the Florence (Italy) Marathon on the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2007 – my first – and still be running marathons six years later. I’m guessing not.
2. Seeing Coach Katie in the park near the end of the Florence Marathon was awesome. Her smile and words of encouragement that day still shine. I hope I’m half the coach Katie is. She is the best … and she better have some Rice Krispie treats for me when I return from Omaha, or she’ll fall from my good graces faster than an elite runner.
3. The fan support along the course of the Chicago Marathon is incredible, the best of any marathon that I have run. So many familiar faces at so many points along the route, and boy are those cheering fans a motivation.
4. There were a lot more hills on the course of the Nashville Marathon than I expected, but nothing compares to the Jerusalem Marathon – a course that is up and down, up and down, up and down, for all 26.2 miles. But spending time in Jerusalem with Irit, Jennifer, Juan Valdez, and others was so much fun!
5. I enjoy listening to Edge of Glory from Lady Gaga moments before marathons start. Wady gets a lot of credit for that, and I’ll never forget the video he produced after the 2011 training season.
6. Some people run to the port-a-potties regularly during a marathon. Not me. I go to the bathroom usually just once during a marathon – and it might not be in a port-a-potty. Trees work for me.
7. Splitting away from Dell early on in the 2012 Honolulu Marathon due to his leg problem was disappointing. Can’t wait to run with him again this December – for my 21st marathon, through the streets of Waikiki. You too, Nick.
8. I have run the Honolulu Marathon for five consecutive years and have always said that I will jump in the ocean to celebrate minutes after crossing the Finish Line. Never have, but that will change this December. So excited to watch Meg & Fred cross the Finish Line in Honolulu this year. Patty, too, among others.
9. Before registering to run the 2011 Tel Aviv Marathon, I considered many other marathons which also were being held within a week or so of that spring event. I also considered running in Seoul, Rome, Milano, Barcelona, Madrid and Jerusalem, as well as Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta. So happy I registered for Tel Aviv.
10. I wish there was water available between miles 18-21 of the 2011 Tel Aviv Marathon, especially since there seemed to be several water-stations rapidly in succession from miles 22-24.
11. I ran the Nashville Marathon with Katie and Dan, and they had matching white halter-tops with pink lettering. Dan’s shirt said PRETTY; Katie’s said SEXY; and my traditional running shirt that day said ROSS. So we were, Team PRETTY SEXY ROSS.
12. My favorite post-marathon meal is a steak (filet), and I won’t turn down the French fries. Often, though, I’m not very hungry for hours after finishing.
13. My preferred carb-loading meal is pancakes, not pasta, even for dinner. And hopefully with bananas cooked inside.
14. I had an evening flight from Chicago to Los Angeles after running the Chicago Marathon a few years ago. My legs weren’t comfortable at all, even in first-class.
15. I read as many of the signs that onlookers have in support of runners, and give as many high-5s as possible while running.
16. At the end of every marathon, I look for a runner who has finished and walked back onto the course while wearing their Finisher’s Medal. The first person I see like that, I make my way over to him or her, slow down and get that person’s attention. I touch their medal, usually with my right hand, and then continue running. Just my personal motivation.
|With Kevin Nash|
18. I don’t like running outside in the winter, or anytime it’s cold. I once did a 20-mile training run on the treadmill at my gym. Talk about boring, but still better than braving the temps.
19. I have made so many friends through running, hundreds who have run thousands of miles alongside this Brooks shoes-wearing runner, and countless others who have supported, encouraged, donated or simply cheered me on this wild run. So grateful. The Team To End AIDS (T2) and Team In Training (TEAM) have brought so much to me, and hopefully I’ve given back equally to each.
20. One of my biggest motivation’s for my first marathon back in 2007 was a $1 time-related bet I made with Chuck. Will admit, he won. But I claimed that $1 on future marathons. Wait? I earned $1 for running 26.2 miles?!?!?! Yeah, this is crazy!
Here’s hoping the next 20 marathons are as memorable,