It is remarkable that there are only enough runs left that you can count them on one hand. Today I am resting, and tomorrow I have five miles to go. As a matter of fact, there are only five milers left to do with exception of Sunday, which is nine miles. I’m going super rogue on the schedule, but this whole training time has had me running almost daily (I have managed to get 3 in a row for a few weeks of the process). I get the importance of adding miles on, but if the goal of the last two weeks is to give me time to recover, I’d rather do it safely: back to every other day running like when I started just to give my knees and Achilles time to heal up.

I’m so ready for this, I wish the marathon was tomorrow. Oh well. 

I spoiled myself today with a double patty burger with fries, something I haven’t really done (ever). I’ve been so hungry since stepping up this training, but the end will be here soon and I can go back to getting by with protein bars and the occasional hot pot.

It may be better suited for words next week, but I have been doing a lot of reflection on what motivated me to start all of this. I visited my AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, just in case you aren’t one of my donors who decided to give this a read) page and read the raw emotion behind my spark to run. I unboxed my singlet for the first time since it came and stared at the back of it that has a fill in spot. It reads:

With a lot of blank space. I still don’t know what to put in there. I can think of the names of people who inspired me to keep fighting through my depression, those who took chances on me when I really didn’t (and still don’t some days) feel worth it, or those I wish I could have helped and lost.

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Something that happened to me in this process I didn’t think would...people were inspired by me. I think it is the natural desire of any guy who grew up looking up to heroic figures that they want to be a hero at least once in their lives. I grappled with a personal dilemma through the entire fundraising process, questioning if what I was doing was making a difference at all...my donors were the ones making an impact, not me, I just gave them an outlet to do it, after all. I didn’t think I could actually make it to the marathon at first, and I started feeling like I was going to let everyone down. Those thoughts creep into your head and they don’t let go. It only got worse when I would stay up at night in pain from my knees reminding me what happened the last two times I did marathons. They were there through both of those- running didn’t put me there, an unfortunate collision did.

But something happened. Slowly, people opened up with their stories and told me I was giving them hope and how they were doing their own fundraisers and how they had their own bouts with affliction that they were going strong at...and that I was helping them with a boost. I took the message “nothing ventured, nothing gained” (my grandmother said this to me long before I heard Okabe say it by the way...) personal and started believing in myself. I knew it would hurt. Goodness, I knew it would hurt. But after a few months, my legs gained tons of muscle and the knee pain started to go away. I was completing long runs without feeling like I was signing part of my life away when I did it. I was posting career numbers and feeling fresh as can be afterward. Somewhere in my free fall I was going through at the same time, I realized that the hardship would always be there in life, but I had made it through. I always found a way to make it through, and I wanted to take that resiliency to the next level and help others. It was more than just getting mad about a YouTuber that inspired me in the first place, I wanted to commit my life to doing all I could to help, even if I gave up a lifetime for a small change.

So what message goes into “I run for”? I didn’t want to stick to one name and wanted to put in a quote that really got me going. It could be a paragraph even. Well, I’m still a dork who eats up those heroic figures. I know, it is totally unredeemable. Most of my donors knew me as DilKokoro, not who I was personally. It felt like it would only be natural that I stick with something anime. The first ones I was bouncing around were ones like Klaus from Blood Blockade Battlefront (“If a man truly understands the adversity that is before him, and yet he still chooses to struggle towards the light, then his spirit cannot be broken.”) or All Might in season one of My Hero Academia (“Now for a lesson, you may have heard these words before, but I’ll show you what they really mean. Go beyond, PLUS ULTRA”). Just a few days ago, one of my favorite shows I’ve seen this year wrapped up its dub- GARO: Vanishing Line. In the second to last episode, there is a fantastic showdown with what is admittedly a pretty cliché villain, King, and the main hero, Sword. Bad name for a hero aside, Sword rattles off a fantastic monologue right before making one last push against King and I loved it so much, I wrote down a paraphrased version of it to write in the tons of space below the statement I Run For...

Let’s just say life is complicated. On one hand, it hurts like an absolute sonuva...I wouldn’t go so far as to call it ugly, but it sure knows how to make a face. On the opposite end of the spectrum, life is beautiful- Champagne, roses...in the middle, there’s the wild card: a little thing called hope. That’s where we come in. See, pain is what makes the job hard. But hope? That’s what makes the job mean something. I’m no stranger to darkness, I just don’t give it the last word...it’s what it means to be one who protects.

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Yeah, it is pretty cheesy. Yeah, it probably is too much. Yeah, it might not work out of context, but it means a lot to me. I’m the one carrying it on my back, and the name of our cause on the front. What am I if I can’t live by those words?

I’m ready to make good on what I promised. I said I would get under 4:05:00 for this marathon and I will. I’m going to crush this, even if it is the last run I do. I will set a career high and light the way. Thanks for staying through with me.