This is a repost from March 5th, 2011. It was 2 years ago today, December 6th, 2009, that I ran my first marathon with my wife Michelle at my side the entire way.
My sister Rachelle inspired me to set my goal to run a marathon originally. When I started losing weight, I did two things primarily for exercise. I swam for an hour each morning during the week and I would go for a 20-mile bike ride on Saturday and Sunday. In August 2009, after losing about 90 pounds, I developed an umbilical hernia that needed surgery. After surgery, the doctor told me I couldn't swim until the incision healed. He suggested I try running which I reluctantly tried. I didn't really enjoy it at first but learned to tolerate it!
Rachelle had set a goal in the summer to train for a marathon over the fall. She wanted to get in shape to run the 2010 St George marathon the following year and asked me if I would like to follow the training with her. Here is my response to her via email on October 21, 2009, "By the way, when is the St George Marathon? When you asked me about it I thought you were crazy!"
Somewhere along the way, I learned to love running. I think the reason I didn't enjoy running in the beginning was it was too hard on my body since I was so overweight. As I ramped up the running, the weight continued to come off and I felt better than ever. I agreed to train for our personal marathon with Rachelle. She lives in California, so we would email or call back and forth so she could tell me what was on the training plan for the week. The long runs really scared me at first but I figured if she could do it I could do it right? We stayed on the same schedule for the most part but I ran mine a couple of weeks before her in December. After running for just over 3 months, I was able to finish in 4 hour and 18 minutes. My wife Michelle rode her bike along side of me and it was 20 degrees with a 15-degree wind chill from start to finish. Amazingly, I had a fairly even pace the entire time. Instead of hitting 'the wall’, I felt like I had more energy at the end. In the last mile, it felt as though I had someone pushing me to the finish and it seemed like the fastest mile of the day.
Rachelle was super excited for me, just as I was for her when she ran hers just after Christmas. Afterwards I told people I ran a marathon and the first question was always, "Which one?” Then I would tell people that it wasn't a ‘real marathon’, just me on the greenbelt. Somehow, that felt like less of an accomplishment when I put it that way. In my eyes, the distance and accomplishment is the same whether you are running in Boston or on the greenbelt. So, after a while, I started telling people it was the "1st Annual Ryan Anderson Invitational"...and there was only 1 invitation.
In the email where I told her she was crazy, I also told Rachelle, "You inspire me to accomplish great things that I could not envision without your example. Keep up the good work and I’ll try and keep up the pace!"
Thank you for inspiring me Rachelle.
P.S. Thanks also for giving me that lucky shirt you're wearing in this photo!