By Derek Mandell

Derel Mandell had his game face on even in his Olympic credentials.

Derel Mandell had his game face on even in his Olympic credentials.

It was nearly six months ago when I stepped off the track at the Olympic Stadium in London, England. With my head sunk as low as ever, I felt as if everything that I worked towards in my running career was lost. A four-year long goal wasn’t reached and I couldn’t understand why. My training was at its peak, my nutrition was perfect, and all the energy I had was channeled towards two laps around an oval track. Sometimes, things just don’t go as planned. I debated retirement, but that debate lasted about thirty-seconds. I need running and I need goals, so I kept hitting the pavement and just kept running…a lot.

Thousands of miles and countless burgers later, I made a decision. What started out as a sarcastic comment eventually evolved into a serious endeavor.

“Since I’m running so many miles, I might as well not waste them.”

Anyway, enough blabber, long-story-short, I found a new goal: run a marathon and run it fast.

It’s only fitting that my first marathon will be at inaugural Guam International Marathon. I attended the press conference for the event at PIC and can confidently say that it looks like it’s going to be successful. Any time you serve prime rib sandwiches, chocolate-dipped dried fruits, and bacon-wrapped shrimp at a post-press conference luncheon, you know they mean business.

I’ve spent most of my running life on the track where you can get away with one hour “long” runs. I’m pretty sure those days are gone, for now. So for the next several weeks I’ll take you on my new journey: the ups, downs, and random observations. Nothing too detailed, though, my facebook has privacy settings.

We’ll see what happens. Run love.

Derek Mandell is a two-time Olympian and a GSPN contributing writer. He will be writing about his preparation for his first ever marathon on April 7 in the Guam International Marathon.

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