One year ago I ran my first race: the Philadelphia Half Marathon. The sea of 20,000+ competitors, the beautiful 13.1 mile course and the bins of freshly baked soft pretzels waiting at the finish made the experience a complete joy. While before the race I wasn't initially excited about the idea of paying to run ("Something I could do for free" I told myself), the moment I crossed the finish, I realized why these races were so special: the competition, cheering crowds and sight of people pushing themselves to accomplish something they hadn't thought was possible.
Racing is amazing!
From this experience in Philly last year, a passion was ignited and over the last 12 months I've toed the line at ten other races and competitions. From costume 5ks in Fremont to trail runs in Carkeek Park and 50-mile ultramarathons on Crystal Mountain, I jumped in head-first.
While I initially questioned my interest in competing in running races, I now get a little tingle each time I pin a bib number on my back.
It is only fitting then that this Sunday I will be coming back to where it all started, Philadelphia, and will be running the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon (the full one this time).
The course will be unchanged from last year and starts and finishes adjacent to the Philadelphia Art Museum (and just feet from the Rocky Statue). Wish me and the 23,000 other runners luck!