The thumping of music, the pounding of your own feet, and the steady rhythm of your breath becomes the music of a marathon runner.

Just like the blisters, the black toenails and the funny way you walk become a badge of honor when you re done.

I ll never forget the day I finished my first half-marathon. I turned to my brother-in-law and asked, Why in the world would anyone want to run a full?

That was eight months ago. I ll be running the 26.2 grueling miles on Sunday in the White Rock Marathon, something 40,000 other runners will do as well.

Running is natural. If you have healthy knees and hips, then you could do it, too.

Running a marathon isn t about athleticism or skill. It s about determination. Just take a look at the runners on Sunday morning. There will be all kinds of people.

It s likely I ll be passed by someone double my own age, or by an amputee wearing a shirt honoring the men killed in his unit in Iraq.

If you re looking for inspiration, you ll find it on Sunday -- if not in the runner that crosses the finish line first, then in the one that crosses the line last.

I m not some great athlete. I didn t win state in high school. I didn t run in college. In fact, every long run I do is my longest.

But I ll finish the race running, and that in itself is amazing.

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