Remember where it all began

It all started in the wee hours of a dark and stormy Wisconsin morning. That’s how these “life story” things start, isn’t it? Well for me that’s true for the day of my birth but not for the birth of my marathoning life. No, for me marathoning came from something very different. My birth came with all the fanfare of a rather violent northwest Wisconsin summer storm. My marathoning life came, in fact was conceived, due to the absence of fanfare.

Like most middle class 17-18 year olds, I knew who I was going to be when I got older. I knew that by the time I was 26 years old I was going to be married. I knew that by the time I was 30 years old I’d have made my first million. By the time I was “really old”, and in my 40s, I was going to have the nice house (probably my second), the Ford Mustang in the garage and a wife with 2.4 children. That was the future reality that in 1984 I was certain waited for me.

Then I woke up one day in 2004. I had a wife and we had a house (our first) but it was empty of children. Fate, bad luck or genetics had put a stop to that. There was no Mustang in the garage but there was horse poop in the back yard. As for the first million….I was still working on that. I realized that I was going to have to work out a new plan….and that my 40th birthday was right around the corner.

I know I’m not the first person to get motivated to start marathoning by the approaching of my 40th birthday. Some people don’t even start running until their 40th birthday. I was at least a bit ahead of the curve there. I was a sprinter in high school. While I used to think that anyone who ran more than once around a track was nuts, we all had to invariably do a weekly training known as LSD…long slow distance. Run nonstop for 40 – 60 minutes. Hmph!  Run for an hour! Who does that? Life is not without it’s interesting ironies.

I started slow but I never quit. It took me over a year to work up to a 20 mile training run but I did it. Then I did it again and again. I stood at the starting line of the 2006 Disney Marathon on a frigid 32 degree morning (for Florida at any rate) and with the sound and illumination of fireworks, my marathoning life was born.

I’ve run 19 more marathons since that first one on January 8, 2006. I’ve been to 14 different states. Wisconsin will make State #15 this year as I no longer live in the state. I’ve been across the Atlantic and run the Dublin Marathon just last year. I’ve even been admitted into the Marathon Maniacs running club. (Maniac #4367) I earned my admission by running two marathons (Hartford and Newport) in a weekend. By the time I arrive at the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, I’ll have the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati behind me as well! And the best part? None of this was planned by that know-it-all kid back in 1984!

So welcome to the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon! Train hard, eat well and be sure to stay hydrated. Take in the energy of the crowd, the friendliness of other runners and the sight of the world’s greatest football stadium! When May 19th comes to a close, and the marathon is now just a pleasant memory, know that you are now not the same person who started. Now you are part of an elite group of 0.5% of Americans who will complete a marathon this year…..and you’ll have a medal to prove it!    See you at the starting line!

James Daly
Red Lion, PA

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1 thought on “Remember where it all began

  1. Thanks for this! I didn’t start running until just before my 40th birthday (last year) and after a crazy year of running last year, Cellcom 2014 will be my first full marathon! If someone would have told me 2 years ago (let alone 10 years ago) that I would be a runner, I would have told them they were crazy! Now I look forward to all the places my feet will take me!

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