“Let me tell you something. I’m from Chicago. I don’t break.” ― Barack Obama


Marathon training starts NOW, my physical therapist said to me as I’m doing 45-second plank repeats in a sweaty, shaking, jaw-clenched, huffy-yet-focused sort of determination.

I haven’t run in six weeks, and who knows when I’ll get to restart, but marathon training starts now.

I don’t like to plank. I don’t like to lift weights, or squat, or cycle, or row, or stretch, or swim, or ride the elliptical. I like to run.

And everything about that statement is all the reason I am in physical therapy in the first place.

But if I work hard and stick to the program I’ll be running again in no time—just in time to get ready for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October, he said. It’s not like you’re trying to qualify for the Olympic trials, he said, just go have fun. There’s even enough time for me to get back to running, re-injure myself and recover again. (Thanks for the awful yet weirdly reassuring thought, dude.)

I chose Chicago for my first marathon because 1) it’s a great race, and 2) it feels like home. I’m not from Chicago, but 2-ish hours to the east in Indiana, and have lots of memories tangled up with roving around the big city in episodes of youthful tomfoolery. I even tried to move there after college.

Have you ever felt like you had an unlived life someplace else? That’s how I feel about Chicago.

Now I will run-rove the big city with purpose, praying just to make it pain-free to the finish line.

But the starting line is not set up for me Oct. 11 – it’s in front of me today, and I must squat and plank and lift weights and do whatever it takes for six months to reach that finish line goal.

I have faith I will, because I’m focused and I don’t break.