Yes, it's true. I've run about seven marathons. Not bad for a guy with flat feet and ankylosing spondilitis (a kind of arthritis). I've run in Twin Cities Marathon several times, Grandma's a couple of times, Chicago, and the Mayor's Midnight Run Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska.

You might notice that there are more than seven medals here, and you're counting ability would be correct. Some half-marathons also give out medals, and one of them is from a karate competition, the Diamond Nationals, held in the 80's in Minnetonka when I was in college.

If you're considering doing a marathon, there are a few simple pieces of advice I have for you. First, get new shoes. Like, from a running store and everything, where they're going to get you into the right pair for you. Second, it helps to join a group even if you like running by yourself. Forcing yourself to meet the other runners when the weather is not to your liking is going to get you out the door.

And finally, once you've done all the training and are ready for it, for goodness sakes GO SLOW. I can't stress that enough -- you're going to feel like a million bucks after the taper phase of training, and with all the excitement it's insidiously easy to get pulled by all the other runners and go faster in those first miles than you should. People who do this are what we typically end up calling "road kill", i.e. people who had to stop. So go slow, especially on your first marathon. You're just trying to finish, so keep your head up, too, and enjoy the experience of a lifetime!