A little more than a year ago, I read Christopher McDougall’s fantastic book Born to Run about a Mexican tribe of ultra marathon runners. The way McDougall described long-distance running, I was instantly inspired to run a marathon. Only problem: I was in miserable shape. I had never run more than 5 miles at one time and I was carrying a little more than 190 pounds on my 5-feet-9-inch frame.

So when I started my quest to compete in at least one offbeat, obscure, wacky, or just plain ridiculous event each month, I decided to add some more traditional events to the list. A marathon was the ultimate goal.

One year later, I can proudly call myself a 165-pound marathon runner. Not to mention a potato decorator. And a CN Tower Climber. And an idiot, a hollerer, a pack burro racer, a stone skipper, a pepper eater, a warrior, a half marathon runner, a polar plunger, an ugly sweater loser, a doughnut-eating failure, and a national champion egg tosser.

And I owe it all to you. Yes, you, blog reader. Your comments, support, and blog views over the past year have been an incredible source of motivation to run farther than I ever thought I could go (26.2 miles, to be exact), without stopping (not even once), 20 minutes faster than I planned (3:37:21).

Whether you were my adventurous wife/No. 1 fan Carie, who was willing to sacrifice vacation for an opportunity to watch me run with donkeys; my co-national egg toss champion (Mike Hepp); my supportive family; a generous friend who designed my logo (Thushan); a frequent commenter like Rob, Andy, Pumpkin, or Mike M.; a superfan like Jodie, Megan, or Jim; a co-worker who regularly asked about my training; or an anonymous follower—you inspired me to keep going.

Thanks again.

And don’t forget to check back later this week for a year-in-review video.

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