By the time you read this, I’ll be close to quitting.

No, not quitting this column or even this life. I’ll be near quitting the crazy race I’m running with my running group, Running for Rhet.

The race is the California International Marathon and it’s been held in Sacramento for the past 30 years on the first Sunday in December. As marathons go, this one is popular for its lack of hills. Many runners use the net drop in elevation to qualify for the Boston marathon, but I’m just hoping to finish in five hours and remove it from my “bucket list.”

No, this isn’t a sports column. It’s still a spiritual column, but this time I’m not giving spiritual support, I’m asking for it. I figure that telling you and a few hundred thousand other readers that I’m running a 26-mile race is the best insurance against quitting.

Still, if you’re prone to bet, there are several reasons you might not want to place your spiritual currency on me to finish.

For instance, we’ve trained for 16 weeks, but I’ve missed much of the coaching sessions because I was deployed or vacationing.

Plus, it’s supposed to rain. For the past several weeks, I’ve been telling my coaches, Rochelle and Will Hightower, that I’d be a no-show if it rains. But now, I have to go because I’ve told you I will.

I suppose I should be thankful that it shouldn’t be the cold rain we usually get in Northern California.

Of course, if you are a superstitious bettor, you oughtn’t place your wagers on me. My race number is 1313 or depending on how you say it, “thirteen-thirteen.”

To add to all of those whining excuses, I’ve strained a calf muscle and this will be my first run since Nov. 16.

Despite the odds of finishing, I’m feeling a bit like the character Forrest Gump in the 1994 movie of the same name. Forrest was a seemingly simple-minded mama’s boy whose leg braces caused him to be the constant target of school bullies.

As he’s running, the braces miraculously fall off and Forrest outruns his bicycle-riding pursuers. At that moment, he realizes for the very first time in his life that he is good at something.

I started running one year ago and a lot of things have miraculously fallen off. I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds. Much of the self-doubt went with it. I now feel like I can accomplish nearly anything if I simply keep a steady pace of improvement.

So, if you are betting on me, visit after 10 a.m. Eastern Time and type in 1313 to see where I am or see the results.

Then I want you to put your nose to the computer screen and start chanting, “Run Norris Run.” I’m hoping it just might help.