The eat, sleep, breath mentality of endurance building, which has been the central theme of my life these past 5 months, is finally complete. With 300 miles in the training bucket, if all goes well, next week I head out to Italy for what will hopefully be my third Rome marathon.

Considering that I had to train during the coldest and wettest months of the season, its a small miracle that I was able to get this 68 year old body with 150 year lungs into at least a moderate level of fitness for this race. Between the weather related delays, which took away week-long chunks out of my crucial endurance building schedule, and ongoing problems with improper fitting shoes, the constant pain in my shoulders from my neck surgery, and of course the added burden of just breathing, there were days I just wanted to pack it in and say screw it….why am I putting myself through this hell. I mean, it’s only a stupid foot race, right?

Ironically, its these stupid” foot races, adventures, physical challenges or whatever you want to call them, that make me feel the most alive. Taking part in these kinds of endurance events helps remind me that I’m not my disease, and that despite my tortuous breathlessness and the never ending cycle of asthma exacerbations and hospital stays, that life is still good. I may be damaged goods compared to other athletes, but I still have the ability to do a lot with what I have. I just have to work a lot harder at it. As with anything, you take the good with the bad.

Just like I’ve done so many times before, I was able to muster up enough inner strength to push through the bad times in training, until eventually I began to see small, but measurable improvements in both my speed and endurance levels. When that happens it changes your whole attitude about things. The negativity you had just a week earlier begins to fade. Those little “feel good” moments help motivate you to press on to the next step. If you have the drive and determination to stick with it, those little success stories add up and all of a sudden the ultimate goal doesn’t seem quite as daunting or as far-fetched as you originally thought. Suddenly its more doable. At the completion of my last long slow distance walk just yesterday (what they call LSDs), I literally had a huge smile on my face. I felt proud of myself for not giving up or giving in.

So that’s it. I’ve put in the time and done the hard work. Come March 19th we’ll see if any of it pays off. Either way, I’m happy for what I’ve achieved just training for it. I’ve said all along, that regardless of whether or not I finish this race, just being at the starting line will be a victory for me.

Wish me luck, or as the Italians say… In bocca al lupo.

Ci vediamo a presto!

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