Wise Running

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run.

It just hit me! Bucket List Item #1 is Done!

Most of my posts are written to give advice and help my fellow runners.

This one is personal.


Tonight I was sitting in my comfy chair watching the X-Factor and thinking about the conversation that I had with my son tonight.  He just finished his last cross country season.  He was not the fastest runner on the team during his senior season, but he saw vast improvements in his personal record.  He just got to the point where he really started enjoying running and now it has come to a close.  I was talking to him about continuing to run.  I really do not want to see him stop now and then regret it a decade or two down the road.

But now, it was just me sitting in the living room and thinking about my own path.  I was watching another singer hit another awful note as I remembered how an unsolvable case of tendonitis had kept me from my dream of being a competitive marathoner.  I never thought about being world-class, but back in 1984 I thought I had a shot at gradually getting fast enough to win some smaller marathons or at least being in the top ten.   That dream faded as several doctors looked at my tendonitis and could not find a cure.  By the end of 1985, my dream was pretty much done.  18 years old and my biggest dream was dead.

I ran a few miles on and off through the years, but I did not run regularly again until late 2009.  I went to the doctor, this time about knee pain and he said it would be permanent.  “Run less than 3 miles and never run hills,” he said.  Thankfully, I did not listen to the doctors this time.   I gradually increased my mileage and survived the Oak Ridge Half Marathon in 1:59:27.

It has been nearly 3 years since that race.  I have completed 4 marathons since then.

Marathon 1 – Knoxville Marathon – April, 2010 – 5:34:38
Marathon 2 – Knoxville Marathon – April, 2011 – 3:55:59
Marathon 3 – Seven Bridges Marathon – October, 2011 – 3:27:27
Marathon 4 – Seven Bridges Marathon – October, 2012 – 3:22:44

The reason I only improved by 5 minutes between the last two is because I was sick for most of this year.  After 6 months of guesswork, the doctors finally figured out that I have become gluten-intolerant.  Despite this setback, I have managed to figure out how to get much faster.  Unfortunately, I cannot process all of my food effectively at this point.  If my gut heals well, I “should” see another significant jump in time.  I am always thinking about the next race.  🙂

What hit me so hard tonight, so deep down in my heart, was that my dead dream has been revived.  I am a marathoner.  I am not elite, but I am a good marathoner.  When I first started dreaming of being a marathoner, I thought this would happen well before 1990.  It took a few more decades than I planned, but I am a marathoner.  I haven’t made the top ten in a small race just yet, but…

  • I have placed 20th and 22nd in my last two marathons
  • I have won my age group in one marathon
  • I have qualified for the Boston Marathon (2014)

I am who I set out to be.  I am not done, mind you.  I will continue to train hard and aim for PRs for a while.  I would like to run 2:45 or better before I am done, but right now…

…to tell you the truth…

…I am a little choked up & trying not to cry…

…It happened 11 days ago, but it just hit me…

My dream was dead, but now has come to pass.

Bucket List Item #1 has been completed.  I am a good marathoner.


Train hard. Race easy. Happy Running!


The Gift of Running,by P. Mark Taylor, is now available in both paperback & e-book

Paperback Version – Amazon.com $9.00

Ebook Version – Kindle Store $2.99

Ebook Version for Nook $2.99

2 responses to “It just hit me! Bucket List Item #1 is Done!

  1. jeff November 2, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Mark, I’m so happy for you. We’ve been friends for awhile now, long enough where I’ve got to see you dedication and love for the run pay off. I wish you all the best the road has to offer, my friend.

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