Guest Blogger Eric Jorgensen

The moment I decided to run last year’s San Francisco Marathon was a crappy one that I managed to recover.

The place was The Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. The time was Vegas o’clock in the morning/afternoon/night. You see, when you’re in Las Vegas you are in a time vacuum that doesn’t release you until all of your bank accounts weep. I don’t remember what time it was, but I remember I had a massive bag of M&M’s and one of those 10-foot tall, red-flavored something-or-other drinks.

So there I am, absolutely bleeding money on to the roulette table, single-handedly saving the Nevada economy. I started wondering why I was playing a game of chance as opposed to a game that requires at least a dash skill. I also had a revelation that seemed a bit random, but such is my typical stream on consciousness: I wanted to run a marathon.

I left the table and headed into the hotel’s cigar bar. It was March Madness, so every TV played basketball. This is also where I found my brother, who is a scary college basketball fan, and he had a couple handfulls of cash on the line.

Sitting next to my brother, I was still pretty disappointed in my inability to stop losing money, but I was also riding the high that was watching the roulette wheel spin. It made me want to find that next thrill, which is where my thought of running a marathon must have spawned.

I had considered a marathon in the past. During my triathlons, it was obvious running was my strength. This opened the door to the possibility that I might one day race a marathon. For fun, I had checked marathon dates, and San Francisco stood out as immaculately timed.

Maybe it was the smoky Vegas air and adrenaline, but I was ready to start attacking my bucket list, and a marathon seemed as equal a rush as sky diving or swimming in a shark cage. In the haze of that bar, I decided I was running The San Francisco Marathon. I leaned over and asked my brother if he wanted to run San Francisco with me. His reaction was quick, but excited. He was in.

Yeah! Cool!… Now back to losing all the money I possibly can.

Running this marathon was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I really like running, but training for and running in this marathon made me really, really like it. Running farther than most people drive in a day or week was a thrill. Not to mention it was liberating. Putting on running shoes, stepping outside and knowing most everything within 20 miles was within my reach was freedom. I felt like Simba: “Everything the light touches” was my kingdom, or at least runnable.

When I crossed the starting line of the marathon back in July, I did so with my good friend Nick. My brother injured his knee and couldn’t compete, though he still cheered us on. The next 26.2 miles were fun, cool, beautiful and what I was looking for back in Vegas: thrilling.

If you’ve committed to running San Francisco, you have your reasons for choosing to do so. If you’re like I was last year, looking to try something exciting and challenging, come join me July 29.

Eric Jorgensen is a magazine editor and blogger from the Kansas City-metro area. He once had a Coca-Cola commercial made about him for being one of the craziest college basketball fans in the country, which he still is (Rock Chalk). He has run a road race in full hipster garb, and has yet to drown during a triathlon. His first marathon was the 2011 San Francisco Marathon, which he live-Tweeted. Friend him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.