I Will Run a Marathon

I attended the World Domination Summit this past weekend. And now I have a new goal, something I’d like to complete in the fall of 2015.

I will run a marathon.

OK, let me back up. I’ve been reading Chris Guillibeau’s blog for a while, following him on his quest to visit every country in the world. In his blog, he mentioned an event that he hosts every year in Portland, OR called the World Domination Summit. The first one was in 2011, and it’s been growing since then. Each year, he would link to a bunch of blogs written by attendees. I would read these stories, and it sounded really interesting. And at some point, I asked myself, “What would happen if I went?” Granted, it seemed like a lot of people were entrepreneurs (or seriously planning to start a business), and travel bloggers, and other things that basically weren’t me. But I thought the speakers had some interesting messages that might be useful to me.

Last year, on September 25, I signed up for WDS 2014. The second thoughts started around September 26.

I had a few rough stretches along the way where I questioned pretty much every decision I was making. At my lowest points, I wondered if my spot at WDS should really go to someone else who is much more capable of doing great things than me. But I made the hotel reservations, then bought my plane tickets, and last Thursday, got on a plane and headed to Portland.

Throughout the weekend, I found a bunch of really great people. Everybody was really supportive and friendly, and, even for someone as introverted as I am, easy to talk to. (Side note: I’m having trouble tracking down some of those really great people that I’d like to re-connect with, so if you were at WDS and you remember me, or even if you don’t, go over to my about.me page and contact me through e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook.)

I could probably write a book about my trip (Hmmm…), but for now, I just need to hit the relevant highlights.

Friday morning, one of the attendees, Nicole Antoinette, organized a 5K fun run, so of course I signed up for it. It was a really nice course, mostly along the Willamette River. I had a pretty solid run.

On Saturday afternoon, there was an attendee who was walking around, asking people to state their dreams, and recording them. While recording, he would give you a pair of goggles to wear, that he claimed would make the dream come true. Yes, I know exactly how crazy that sounds. But I did it anyway. He asked me my dream, the first thing that popped into my head. And as you might have guessed by now, the first thing to pop into my head, for better or worse, was to run a marathon. So he recorded me wearing the goggles and stating that I would run a marathon, and as a first step, I would run a half-marathon this year. I’d already made plans to run a half in November, so that’s not a big deal. Deciding to run 26.2 miles is a bit more ambitious.

Sunday morning, I decided I’d better go for another run. I had to make it short, since I didn’t want to be late for the morning sessions. So, 2.2 miles, and my pace was much better than I expected.

During the first Sunday session, I got my WDS Brave Bot.

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I decided my One Brave Thing, of course, is to run a marathon. Yes, my Brave Bot will be with me when I do it. And yes, my shirt features a pair of running shoes and says “Life is good. Gotta run.”

Then Elise Blaha Cripe spoke, and we got the stickers that said “I ________.” to describe what we do. And then she showed examples of what we could put on them, and one of her examples was, of course, “I will run a marathon.” So that settles it. I wrote it on my sticker with a Sharpie, and I’m all set. And this morning, I even registered iwillrunamarathon.com, just in case there was any doubt. (Edit: iwillrunamarathon.com is now live.) Also, I saw Elise walking around after her talk, so I showed her my sticker with her example, and she took a picture of me with it. That was pretty cool.

During the last talk of WDS I had one more revelation. All weekend, I had been hearing about people doing great things that made an impact on other people’s lives, and in the back of my mind, I was thinking that my goal, while extremely difficult, doesn’t have much impact outside of myself. But when John Jantsch mentioned the janitorial services company that helped out its employees, something clicked. I can help other people through running. I can do fund-raising for a charity, or maybe even something to help other people start running. I haven’t settled on the details yet, but I know it’s possible, and I can just keep running while I figure it out.

Finally, I want to share something I wrote down after I got back to my hotel Sunday night (which was technically early Monday morning) after a very long and absolutely amazing day. It’s a little bit of advice to my future self. (If I ever write a book about the weekend, I’ll explain the cape and blue face paint.)

Remember the moment when I was walking down Taylor Street by myself, back to the hotel, around 12:30 AM, wearing a cape, with blue paint on my face, and a backpack sporting my “I will run a marathon.” sticker. I was laughing uncontrollably. Sure, part of it was extreme fatigue, but most of it was extreme joy.

Remember that feeling at Mile 21. And Mile 22. And…

As much as it scares the hell out of me, it also excites me, and I’m proud to say it again.

I will run a marathon.