Boy..oh boy…what a winter this one has been. I can’t remember the last winter in the past 15 years where I haven’t wanted to be outside as much as this winter. Polar vortex…bipolar vortex…whatever you want to call it, I think we can agree on one thing…IT SUCKED!!!

And here we find ourselves. Less than 6 months out from the glorious day where we’ll step on to Court Avenue. Music blaring. Nervous energy in the air. The lines for the kaibos. Kids screaming how they don’t want to be in the cold with all of these people…OH WAIT!!! GATORADE!!!

Then the BANG of the starter’s pistol. You and a couple thousand of your closest friends will spend the next few hours talking about how training has gone. How over the past few months you’ve blistered and chaffed. How one day in July you ate an entire Casey’s pizza after your long run and you didn’t even remember doing it other than the grease dripping down from your chin…no?…hasn’t happened to you?…that’s weird…

You’ll discuss the weather and how much the wind through this one section of the course is terrible. You’ll talk about the time you washed your favorite shorts and they still had a gel in the pocket and it MAY have exploded.

You’ll talk about how the pace that the last mile may have been a little too slow and we should probably speed up…not that fast FLASH…

You’ll get high fives. You’ll see hundreds of signs for you and your fellow athletes. You’ll hear “Good Job!”, “You look great!” or “I think your shoe is untied” commentary from your fellow comrades.

You’ll talk about how this summer has been tough because of the loss of a loved one. You’ll talk about how someone you’re close with has had a rough patch in their lives and how this silly sport of ours has helped you to deal.

You’ll share intimate details of stomach problems with complete strangers. You’ll drop your banana slice on the ground and wonder if the “5-second rule” applies when people are watching you. You’ll take selfies and not talk about the fact that Taylor Swift’s “1989” album changed your life…no?…Just me?

Before you know it, you are making that turn back on to Court Avenue. The music will be blaring. The crowd will be cheering and for this one moment, all attention will be on you.

The hundreds of hours you spent training through the God awful Iowa summers will come to fruition with the placing of the medal around your neck. You’ll make your way through the chute and swear off running…maybe even walking…for the rest of your life, but that medal was totally worth it.

The next 6 months will be tough, that’s for sure. But know that on that one morning in October, you will be the champion. No matter if you finish first or if you are just making sure the cop following the last runner is earning their paycheck on that day. YOU are the champion!!!