I have 274 days to prepare for my first marathon. I’ve been down this road before. And for those of you who weren’t there the first time, here’s how it went…..in November of 2009 I awoke early on Thanksgiving morning, met a friend for a 5 miler in downtown Cleveland and hatched a plan to run the 2010 Cleveland Rite Aid Marathon. The best laid plans are laid while you’re running 5 miles in the wet, windy Cleveland winter and looking forward to turkey and pumpkin pie……or not. Training for this race began on the day after Christmas and continued right through May of 2010. I spent nearly 5 months running with, or chasing, three much faster teacher friends. When a nagging pain started to develop in my left hip and knee, I ignored it. When that pain got worse, I continued to ignore it. When race day arrived, it refused to be ignored. At approximately mile 10 of the race, during a slow and steady climb, my knee gave out, buckling under me and forcing me to take the dreaded DNF for my first marathon attempt. I cried, I limped, I visited the doctor. Then I spent 6 weeks in physical therapy for ITBS, illiotibial band syndrome, an inflammation and irritation of the band of muscle connecting my hip to my knee. I’ve returned to racing, faced other minor injuries, but the marathon has lurked around the corner, eluding and evading me. It is time to plan, to go run and to make 2013 be the year I find my way to the finish line.