The Marathon Diaries: Kicking off the Training

Let's get this straight:  I don't like to run and the idea of running 26 miles makes me want to hurl.

Yet when my dear friend, former intern sidekick and now Outside's Assistant Managing editor, Alicia Carr (also known as The Material Girl), asked me to run a marathon with her for Outside Online, I couldn't say, 'No, thanks,' or, more appropriately, 'Are you freaking crazy?'

After all, I used to run with Ali when we were interns together at Outside.  And, for a time, running was the one sport where the pain in my side was enough to submerge the thoughts in my head:  Did I remember to fact check that photo caption? Eh...sorry, eds. Will I ever be able to afford a dog, let alone a house, on a journalist's salary? Yes to the dog, no to the house. Should I really spend so much money on margaritas at The Cowgirl BBQ. Clearly.

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Me (left) and Outside's Assistant Managing Ed, Ali, in Escalante National Park, Utah

Running, off and on, has been a type of yoga practice for me. It allows me to block out my life and just be. Two years ago, I moved to Jackson, Wyoming, and gave up trail running for three-day, dog-friendly adventures like mountain biking, snowboarding and long hikes with my moose-chasing mutt, Santos. I still ran on the rare, rare occasion; but it was always stress generated and was never, never, more than six miles long.

Yet, here I am running, again, almost every day. For fun? For work? Out of loyalty to a dear friend? Because I'm reverting back to my hyper-competitive intern persona?

I'm not sure but I've got almost seven months to figure it out. Who knows? I might even get addicted...

Our inspiration: Justin Nyberg's story, Yes You Can: Run the NYC Marathon, that appeared in Outside Magazine's March 2010 issue.

Up Next: How to run in moose territory

— Christina Erb, www.christinaerb.com

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