Reading all the marathon posts lately I’m struck by a recurring theme.
For those running their first marathon the question that pops up is ” Why am I doing this?”
I can’t answer that for any of you but I do know that after 9 marathons that question doesn’t come up in my head anymore. I stopped asking that question a long time ago because I know why I’m doing this even in those valleys of despair around 20 miles. I’m doing this because I like to run, I love to push and challenge myself and I can’t imagine any other place I would rather be than right where I am at that moment.
In one marathon I swore that the mile markers were incorrect and that kept being moved further and further apart so that I’d never see 26.2. Really, I guess I was bordering on hallucinating but to know that the finish line was within reach and that eventually I would get there was a great comfort even in my frazzled frame of mind.
After my first marathon I made the mistake of trying drive myself home in a car with a manual transmission, a 5 speed gearbox and yes, a clutch. You can drive for a long time in second gear but I don’t recommend it.
Finishing a marathon is like joining a club and even though Groucho Marx famously said, ” I wouldn’t want to join a club that would have me as a member” This a club that I do want to be in. We all know all about the dues and what the initiation rites are.
I find it interesting that when a co-worker finds out I have run a marathon their non- runner response is ” You ran 26 miles?” “I can’t even run around the block.” We runners are not like everyone else and I’m happy for that one thing, actually, those 26.2 things that sets us apart and makes us special in our own eyes.
Yogi Berra once maybe said that baseball was “90 percent mental and the other 50 percent was physical.” I think that running a marathon is 100 percent mental and 100 percent physical. And there is probably a third 100 per cent involved in there too. It’s 100 per cent of you and your heart.
When baseball or football players get to the World Series or the Super Bowl the veterans on the clubs always caution and advise the first timers to enjoy this, soak in the moment because you never know when or if you’ll be back here again. That holds true for running a marathon too.
So, why do we do this? We know even if we can’t put it into words.
The answer to the question becomes real clear at 26.2 miles. Good luck, run happy and enjoy the moments.