Aside from the obvious reason of raising funds for much-needed cancer research and patient support programs sponsored by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training, that is.
Training for a marathon represents a HUGE symbol of my progress physically. On 9/11, I weighed just over 300 lbs. In October, 2006 I weighed roughly 289 lbs, and in April/May 2007, I was hospitalized for the first time in my life with cellulitis. After never spending a night in a hospital for over forty years, I was hospitalized twice in one month! I got cellulitis first in one leg, and then a few weeks later in the other. Real fun - NOT!
Long story short, I apparently got it due to severe cracks in both my heels, thanks to working in a job where I was on my feet for about five hours straight each day. I worked for an all-natural vitamin & nutritional supplement company (funny, huh?:-) and part of my job involved packing all of the previous day's orders and getting them ready for shipping. Another fun side effect of the job was severely cracked fingers and palms of both my hands. All of this was later diagnosed as eczema, but I felt like I had the plague. Some of you reading this will remember those fun days.
At any rate, thanks to a wonderful dermatologist, an equally wonderful podiatrist and getting fired via FedEx (another first) from the job at the nutritional supplement company due to my "recent and planned extended absences" (umm... I was sick and in the hospital - I was not out having the time of my life in Disney World), my hands and feet slowly began to heal. I have been completely "crack-free" for just over a year now.
Fast-forward to November 2007, when I walked into my first Weight Watchers meeting. I weighed in at 271 lbs. While I had done charity walks before, the possibility of me actually walking in a marathon never entered my mind. The end of this month will mark my 2-year anniversary with Weight Watchers, and I currently weigh in at 186 lbs - 85 lbs less than when I started, and about 120 lbs down from my heaviest weight.
Training for this marathon represents all of the progress I've made over the past 2 years. The fact that I can walk a 10K in under 2 hours and not need an oxygen tank or CPR afterwards feels pretty good. The fact that my feet can handle all this walking without having to deal with painful cracking and splitting is amazing. The fact that I can now walk a mile in under 15 minutes is pretty miraculous! (Hallelujah! She can WALK!:-)
So for me, in addition to the importance of raising much-needed funds, this marathon also represents a celebration of my new life, because I never would've been able to do I of this 2 years ago.