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Published February 17, 2012, 11:30 PM

Turnberg: Now is the time to set a goal and just do it

“Oh, I wish I could run.” “I could never run a marathon.” “I don’t know how you do that.”

By: Michelle Turnberg, INFORUM

“Oh, I wish I could run.”

“I could never run a marathon.”

“I don’t know how you do that.”

I’ve heard these comments many, many times, but let me tell you this: It’s easy. Simply put one foot in front of the other.

It’s the time of year again when people with a unique conviction decide to register, train and run a marathon.

I’m getting ready to run my ninth. And while I’m proud of the accomplishment, my reason for running isn’t about any sense of triumph. It is about the activity. To me running is such a stress reliever I can’t imagine not doing it. It got me through a lot of trials and continues to guide me through the trenches.

It was exactly four years ago when I was wrangling with divorce. I had always been fit and active when I was younger – running, teaching aerobics, lifeguarding. Then I had kids and forgot what it was like to take care of myself.

It was when I found myself going from taking care of others to often being alone that I decided I needed a goal. I remember thinking one morning I was either going to crawl back into bed and stay there or do something completely different. I got to work that day and saw an ad for the Fargo Marathon.

Though I competed in both cross country and track while in high school, I hadn’t run with any conviction in years. I filled out the entry form, paid my fee and mailed it in. I then told five people so I couldn’t back out.

That day I bought a new pair of shoes, came home and ran five painful miles on the treadmill. I did it and the feeling of accomplishment was priceless.

It’s not always easy to go the gym, or find time to squeeze in a workout. But having that carrot dangling in front of me made all the difference. When I know a race is approaching I am inspired to keep plugging away.

I restarted my running “career” in February 2008. That May I ran the Fargo half marathon. Then came Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, and the Twin Cities Marathon.

In a few minutes I’ll hop on my treadmill and hammer out 11 miles to get ready for my next race.

If you’ve ever considered entering a race, I’m telling you to do it! Now is the perfect time to sign up and train for a half, 10k or 5k.

It might be comforting to know that people of all shapes, speeds and sizes participate, and their ages range from 6 to 86 (and sometimes beyond).

Many years ago, a family friend once told me the three most useful words he knew were, simply, “do it now.” Now is the time.

You can go to any running store in town and they will be happy to help you with a training plan, or send me an email and I’ll try to help you find someone who can help you out.

The great thing about running is it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, what your time is or where you finish. It’s about having the courage to get to the starting line and the determination to cross the line.

Michelle Turnberg writes a weekly column for SheSays.