Today's Run: Just over 4 miles at marathon pace. Loved it. Felt a bit like flying.

"Journalism will never hold you."

One of my college professors said that to me on the last day of class. It was a literature to film class that required me to find unique analogies in filmmakers' interpretations of books and plays. I loved it. I was so deeply absorbed that I became temporarily obsessed with every version of Romeo and Juliet I could get my hands on. I wrote a dozen page paper just on the use of color in the films, detailing how it foreshadowed events, exaggerated character emotions and helped set the the tempo of each scene.

The thing I remember most from that class, though, was not Leonardo DiCaprio running around in Shakespearean tights. It was that one statement: "Journalism will never hold you."

Of course I was a journalism major at the time; almost double major in English. I was fully committed to my path and exceeded my own academic goals as a straight A student. But my professor stopped me in my tracks. I never thought beyond my university universe: Finish top of my class. Get a job right out of college. Become a successful writer and editor in the real world. I chuckled at the idea that I may go further than all that (I was thinking like a 20 year old), but I knew he was serious. I just couldn't fully comprehend his words.

I'm still thinking about it today. Only now I apply it to several aspects of my life. Am I pushing myself to my full potential at work? Am I doing all I can to make my loved ones happy? Can I really qualify for Boston?

Running is one area where I am proud to have broken through my little mold. 5ks didn't hold me. Half marathons didn't hold me. The day I finished a marathon... that was the day I opened a door to a world of possibilities. What began as a way to stay healthy and in shape (a means to an end) has turned into the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and an ongoing motivation.

I intend to think big and continue opening many more doors in the future. I hope others find the inspiration to do the same. Until then, choose your own adventure and trying telling yourself "Fill in the blank will never hold you." It will get you thinking.
The days are short, the work hours long and the holidays are fast approaching. All the more reason to finish 2009 running strong.

About this time last year I was ramping up my mileage for my first marathon: Big Sur. I'd only run short road races and half marathons prior to my decision, and frankly I was bored with running. It was time to go all in and achieve a lifelong goal.

Run. A. Marathon.

Why Big Sur? The website sold me. On the top of the BSIM homepage, you'll see the quote:  "If we were told that we could run only one marathon in our lifetime, Big Sur would have to be it." - Bart Yasso, Runner's World

I took Bart's word for it. Just in case I decided not to run another.

Fast forward a long winter, dozens of days running in rain, sleet or tripping over frozen snow, and a lot of anticipation. Not only did I finish Big Sur, but I finished it strong, and I had one of the best experiences of my life.

Now the year is ending and I can proudly say I've completed not just one, but two marathons, three half marathons and several road races. I can't wait to destroy my times next year and keep thriving off my newfound running inspiration.

Everyone needs a little push. After 20 years of running, I finally found the push I needed to pursue my full running potential -- and more. I'm also studying to become a personal trainer and a running coach. I love the new path I'm on and I can't wait to see what's in store for me in 2010.

Until then, I've got two road races left and a 16 miler to train for in January. I hope you, too, find your inspiration and finish the year running strong!