Over the course of training for a marathon you get to meet and know individuals not just locally, but globally through the wonderful world of social media. The encouragement from the virtual world has helped runners of all levels stay focused and motivated through their journey towards their next 26.2-mile adventure. For me preparing for the LA/SF Challenge is more than just throwing in the miles, while mixing in tempo runs, intervals and long runs with recovery miles sprinkled in between. To me training is greater than the race itself, it is the meat of what we do, and the race is just the icing on the top of the cake, not the cake itself. If we as runners only look forward to the finish that means are spending moments of our day to day life, enduring some pretty exhausting task and going toe-to-toe with what mother nature has to offer just for a tenth of a second as we cross the finish line for a photo. If a photo at the end of a race is all we went then, why not run a 5k instead of the marathon?

I know I can only speak for myself, but I have to say that most runners opt for the marathon for several reasons, it keeps us fit, it provides us goals to work for, we get to experience the world in which we live through our day to day running, we meet some pretty awesome people, and of course we run marathons for the bling! Outside of the bling, we get to meet some interesting people along this journey, like each moment in a marathon or training, each person has a unique story to offer and share. Imagine if we only got to know people during the time we were out on the course running the race, we wouldn’t get to know how awesome each person truly is.

Having my first marathon of 2013 less than 60 days away, I have been honored to already have gotten to know some pretty awesome San Francisco Marathon Ambassadors. Ten Ambassadors (Westly, Charlene, Meg, Courtney, Aletta, Luis, Keith, Lauren, and myself) will be taking on the Honda LA Marathon on March 17. Some of us will then continue 6 weeks later with another marathon running the Big Sur International Marathon, only to follow up and finish off the LA/SF Challenge on June 16 at the Wipro San Francisco Marathon.

Along with the ambassadors mentioned above, I have had the opportunity to get to know through the Twitter world is @Chavez_Ravine. A runner from Southern California, he too is taking on the LA/SF Challenge. He has a pretty amazing story as he goes after 2 marathons in 2013. The Honda LA Marathon will not just be the first of the Challenge for him but also his first ever marathon. Spending 2012 to get into running he started off at 352 lbs., he currently weighs 213 lbs. Over the course of the week Joey, puts in about 40 miles, but currently has goals to gradually up that total mileage to 60 per week. As Joey continues to step up his mileage and continues along his journey to the Honda LA Marathon and Wipro San Francisco Marathon, make sure to follow him on Twitter and give him some kudos and cheer him along. I know he has the goal, “to set the best example” to his family, but I can tell you this, just training and getting out there to log the mileage is already setting the example, crossing the finishing line just adds to your story.