State Rep. Michele Reagan, RScottsdale, felt like 2003 was a marathon when her first year as a lawmaker included 213 days in legislative session.
Now, Reagan is in the final days of preparing for her first real 26-mile run.
The 34-year-old will be among the estimated 30,000 taking part in P.F. Chang’s Rock ’n’ Roll Arizona marathon, passing through Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe.
The race will come Jan. 11, one day before the Legislature returns to the state Capitol for its 2004 regular session.
"It could be better timing," Reagan said. "I’ll be really stiff for several days. So the thought of sitting on the (House) floor listening to the governor when I want to be in bed . . ."
But Reagan won’t consider dropping out. She’s running for people such as MacKennah White, a 7-yearold leukemia patient in remission who attends second grade at Pueblo Elementary School. Reagan and 400 other participants are raising funds to support research sponsored by the national Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
"That’s a great opportunity, if I’m going to do something like this, to be able to do it and raise funds for sick children," Reagan said. "It’s a good motivator."
The Jan. 11 marathon will be one of the leukemia society’s national fundraising events. So the runners are hoping to bring in at least $400,000, Reagan said.
Reagan has some experience racing at shorter distances, including a 10-K event in September in Portland.
"I’ve always wanted to run a marathon. But I had no idea how to do it, or even how to get started," she said.
Reagan learned about a leukemia society program for new marathon runners from David Gulino, chairman of the Scottsdale Planning Commission. Called Team in Training, the program is designed to prepare anyone, including "couch potatoes," to jog 26 miles after four months of training, Reagan said.
Reagan started the program in October with 6 a.m. jaunts that progressively grew longer and weight training to bulk up as well. She managed to stay with the regimen even after the Legislature went into a lengthy special session that, in the early weeks of December, kept lawmakers at the Capitol for 12 hours a day.
"There are plenty of mornings where you are like, ‘I don’t want to go,’ " Reagan said. "And then you think about, ‘OK, I have to finish because I’m raising money’ and you do it. It was a good motivation for me to continue training because there are many times you want to quit, that’s for sure."
She’s confident she’ll reach the finish line.
"Isn’t it just crazy?" Reagan said. "But everybody I’ve talked to who has run a marathon, generally, they have never run 26 miles until that day of their first event."
To find out more about the National Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program, visit