In a little less than two weeks, I will be running my sixth full mary: the Condura Skyway Marathon. Condura is special for a number of reasons. For one, it marks my first anniversary as a marathon runner. Condura 2010 was my very first marathon - the rite of passage that I had to endure in order to reach the next level. More significantly, however, Condura 2010 was both a tribute and a prayer. I dedicated my first marathon to my father, who, to this day, continues to miraculously defy the ravages of an affliction that can be stayed but can no longer be beaten. I ran Condura with a deep sense of purpose that I never had in any of my succeeding marathons - and it led to the irony that my slowest marathon finish remains the sweetest yet.
At Condura 2011, a lot of things will be different. I will be traversing the Skyway no longer as a first-time marathoner, but as an ultra distance runner training for a 102-kilometer ultramarathon. The target finish time will be a more aggressive 4:30, and simply finishing within six hours will no longer be acceptable. I will no longer be clad in the silly-looking apparel I had on last year (racing tights, iPod, a belt bag that held food and SPF 70 sunblock lotion!). On race day, I will be up to 14 pounds lighter, healthier, better-conditioned, better-trained, better-prepared. What a difference a year makes, indeed.
Oh-so-many changes, but one thing remains the same: I will run Condura 2011 for my father. No more DIY race bibs this time around, but the cryptic words that I wrote on my back almost a year ago are now indelibly etched in my heart, mind, and soul - not the least bit dulled by the passage of time.
A Son Never Forgets.