I run because I hated running. Hear me out. Throughout high school and college, I was a rower. Sitting behind an oar, I was at home. In fairness, I still am, rowing twice per week and racing 7-8 times per year. The last thing that I wanted to do back then, however, was any kind of non-rowing physical exercise. This, of course, included the simple 0.5-mile jog at the beginning of each practice. Don’t get me started on the land practices where we would have to run miles (plural!) at a time. Throughout this time, I was very overweight, certainly beyond the point of obese. In January 2017, my final year of college, I decided that I wanted to change that so I began eating differently and dropping pounds, though not shedding my distaste for running. In August of the same year, I was on a business trip to New York City and the hotel gym, like most, didn’t have a rowing machine. With limited options and in need of a work-out, I bit the bullet and got on one of the treadmills. I did about 5k that day. And the next. And the next. When I returned home, I realized that my hatred for running had less to do with running itself and more to do with my personal frustration tied to my inability to run for any worthwhile distance. Over those eight months, I had unknowingly lost weight to the point where running was actually okay. I just hadn’t tried it recently. I signed up for a Turkey Trot 5K because the competitive spark was still glowing strong. At this point, I had to prove to myself that this wasn’t a fluke. That I could really do it. The 5k went better than I expected and I knew I was onto something. Looking ahead to a long winter, I saw the Middlebury Maple Run Half-Marathon in May 2018 as a good (albeit ambitious) target. Nevertheless, six months later, I completed those 13.1 miles. I was proving to my former self that I could do it, I just needed the will-power. The competitive spark, however, didn’t die. In fact, as I crossed the Maple Run finish line, I was instantly dissatisfied with the word “half”. If there was anything that I disliked more than running in the years prior, it was doing things half-way. I knew that I had to try for the full length. I had to push the old, downer-me away and prove that I was better. After spending a few months to convince myself, I signed up for the Vermont City Marathon. I had watched it often as a kid (my grandfather’s house is on the course!) so it was really the only marathon I had any sentimental ambition to do. If you had told me back in January 2017 that I would be running a full marathon on May 26, 2019. I would have laughed heartily and called you crazy but here we are, one week away and I’m ready. I didn’t train for over 500 miles this spring just to let it go to waste. And don’t worry, once the marathon is done, I have my eyes toward the remainder of the RunVermont Grand Prix. It all comes back to one, painfully-ironic thing: Because I hated running so much, I guess I kind of like it.