Shit man. Don’t let any of these fools like me who wax all poetic and shit about running persuade you. Somewhere… say… oh *I don’t know*… between mile 1 and mile 18, your shit starts to hurt, and running becomes less about running and more about blindly putting one foot in front of the other so that you can actually get to where you’re going without having to crawl there or pay for a cab.
Ah yes, here we are once again for our weekly installment of “Lou Gets Her Lazy Ass on the Lakefront Path at Stupid O'Clock in the Morning to Run Stupid Far and then Bitches and/or Imparts Wisdom to You Lucky Folks Who, for Whatever Reason, Keep Reading Her Blog.”
I find -- and perhaps some of you experience this as well -- that there’s often a moment during a training run when you know… you just know you’re going to make it. On the flip side, the runs when you don’t make it, there’s a moment when you give up, give in, and throw it away. At that point, you’re done, and even if you try to get it back, all efforts are in vain and short-lived. You already made your decision, even if you’re trying to fool yourself into believing that you haven’t. Like the time I left Boston for a job in Chicago. But that’s a different story. Of course, there are, from time to time, the runs when neither happens, and you battle it out. But you’re never quite sure you’re going to make it until you make it.
This run I knew. I knew on Friday night. Barring injury, insult, or illness, I would be doing this, and I knew I could. So yeah. With the exception of walking all of maybe three minutes after two hydration stations, I ran 18 relatively uneventful miles this morning. Just your typical, "shit running really far is hard and stuff" stuff.
You might be wondering, where’s the fanfare Lou? Where’s the joy? Where's the overcoming of adversity? The triumph in the face of impossible circumstances? I suppose eventually you reach the threshold of diminishing returns. The runs get harder and the inspiration that comes from pushing one’s self gets… well… not as abundant. Yeah. I'm there.
You know how we are. I mean, let’s be honest. Some – and by some I mean all – of us do this crap because it makes us feel good about us… maybe a little too good sometimes if you're... say... me. At some point, that shitty grin that comes from thinking I'm awesome because I train for ridiculous athletic events, gets wiped off my face. Right around... oh... mile 15. There are fewer thoughts. There is no wisdom. It’s mostly just a string of expletives that rotate through my brain like an electronic message board. Something along the lines of... Fuck. Shit. Fuck. Shit. Fuck. Shit. And then I start to realize, “Holy crap, those people who say this marathon stuff is insane are right! Why on earth am I still running? I’ve been running for three hours and my entire life.”
There’s other crazy stuff too. I noticed today around mile 14.5 that my ability to count became compromised. I got confused about how far I had gone and how far that meant I had to go. Wait… Am I running 17 miles or 18 miles? If I’m at 15.5 does that mean I have 1.5 left? That doesn’t sound right. At mile 16, I started to wonder if I would find God (or perhaps gods) in the midst of the last few miles of the marathon. Or, given the opportunity, would I make a deal with the devil? One never can be sure, but I reasoned, “I think the thing with this God fella is that its about finding the strength within myself to get through the hard times, while the devil would just do it for me, and that sounds a lot better. Regardless, I’m pretty sure I could sell my soul and still be incapable of finishing this shit in less than five hours so maybe eternal damnation isn't worth it after all.”
And then it was hard. And it hurt. And finally, it was over. And I realized that on October 12, 2008, when I reach mile 18 I’ll only have eight more miles to go.
And then I realized how totally fucked up my thoughts are. I mean, *ONLY* eight miles. Only? ONLY? Some people go their whole lives without ever running eight miles. Not once.
Here’s what’s even weirder. As much as I was all, “good riddance,” today, I knew I had a good run, and I could have gone two more miles. I really believe I can do 20 miles (and we’ll find out if I’m right in two weeks!). But after I hit mile 20 at the marathon, I’m guessing I have a solid hour fifteen before I see the finish line. One hour and fifteen minutes!?!?! Some people go their whole lives without ever running one hour and fifteen minutes!!!! I’m just going to go ahead and do that after I’ve been running for… oh… *I don’t know*… venture a guess... addition... subtraction... carry the crazy... four and a half hours give or take 15 minutes.
Bitching aside, consider this an official call for friends who run but were smart enough not to sign up for the marathon. If you want to jump in with me for a mile or two, between mile 16 and the finish, I will love you forever and reward you with one or more of the following: 1) stone cold silence; 2) vomiting; 3) whining; 4) crying. Sounds tempting, I know.
So. There you have it. Shit. A dozen times over. I’d like to spend the rest of my day being spoon feed pizza and ice cream by a hot, half-naked dude who will also be in charge of the clicking the clicker on my command. Who am I kidding, that’s how I’d like to spend the rest of my life. And yes, MM will do just fine in the roll of dude who feeds me and changes the TV channel and generally does my bidding. Unfortunately, he's not here right now.