Last updated: Feb 29, 2008

After the high of having completed a near-10 mile run, I did what any other completely insane person would do: I walked through my front door, logged onto the internet, and signed up for a half marathon.


Thats right–Aug. 4, I will participate in the Richfield, Minn., “Urban Wildlands” half-marathon. Its the day that, per my training program, I am supposed to run 14 miles, but I think Ill run a little less: 13.1, to be exact. It will be my longest run–and my longest race–to date. Ive run a handful of 5k races, a 10k, and the TC 1 mile, but my “distance” runs have never been in a race setting, and I am eager for the crowd support.

If youve never watched a race before–specifically a marathon–I encourage you to get out there and show your support. It is possibly the coolest thing Ive ever witnessed, and in fact, watching my brother run the Twin Cities Marathon in 2005 ushered me through the range of so many different emotions that youd think Id WON the marathon, rather than just standing on the sidelines watching.

You see everything: old people, young people. Skinny people, fat people. People in costumes. People in nearly nothing. You see people dedicating their runs to other people (as I will most likely do). The year I watched my brother run, I saw a man running WHO HAD NO LEGS. Now certainly, if a man with prosthetic limbs can run a marathon, I can get my two perfectly good–strong, even–legs to carry me 26.2 miles.

Most importantly, you see people on a journey with themselves: believing, trying, breaking down and picking themselves back up again…pushing themselves outside their comfort zones to accomplish something they never dreamed possible, and when they think they are all out of steam, the crowds emotions and support lift them up and provide shelter from the storm…an emotional halfway house for runners. When I saw the legless man soar by me, a HUGE smile on his face, my soul spoke too thunderously to ignore: “I want that. Me. Jessica.

When I say its insane to sign up for the half marathon, its not the attempt Im talking about. Rather, the insane part is my confidence that I can finish. Me. Jessica—the overweight girl who couldnt run 10 minutes, let alone 10 miles, when she started. Through some amazing miracle, Im actually good at this. Im not fast, but Im good.

Im diligent. Im disciplined. Im detailed. And most importantly, I am determined.