"Oh, I bet it's a father and his 14-yr-old daughter that ran the marathon together," my husband observed as he read the Bismarck marathon results in the newspaper. "Wow, that's cool!" I remark. What a neat thing to do togeth...waaaaait a second! A FOURTEEN-year-old ran a MARATHON?!
When I was 14 the only running that consumed me was the race to the pimple cream aisle at the local drug store. Or the dash to the bathroom mirror to check for popcorn in my braces. Training and then running for a 26-mile run?! Absolutely not. I might mess up my hair!
But even as an adult, I can't imagine running for hours upon hours. If I had a few consecutive hours all to myself, you think I'm spending it like that? Even if I was a devoted runner, it takes its toll on one's body! I can't even comprehend how a 14-yr-old could physically do it.
Personally, I just don't get these marathon runners. Do I admire them? Absolutely. Do I understand them? Not in the least.
Take, for instance, the statement the first place finisher gave to the Tribune, "I hit the wall at 10 (miles)," he said. "I was just struggling the last 16 miles."
Just struggling the last 16 miles.
Um, I don't know about you, but how does a person struggle for SIXTEEN miles?? I can understand struggling for a mile or two at the end. But if I knew I had 16 miles to go, and I was hurtin', I would be looking for the closest coffee shop with a couch.
Call me crazy, but I'm not a big fan of struggling. And that's probably why you'll never see me donning a pinned number to my shirt anytime soon.
But like I said, I definitely admire these athletes. One of my first days at the gym after we moved here, I noticed a woman who was incredibly physically fit and lean and turned to my friend and said, "I need to do what she's doing because she looks amazing!" My friend turns to me and quite candidly replies, "You don't want to do what she does. She runs for hours. And hours. Do you really want to spend that much time just running?"
She makes a good point. Because the answer is a resounding NO. I would like to run, oh, maybe two miles a day, and look like that. Is that possible anywhere in this universe? Also a resounding NO, you say? Bummer.
What really blows my mind is the length of time it can take a person to complete a marathon. Now, our struggling champion glided on in just a little over 2-1/2 hours after he began.
Honestly, I don't think I could run a half marathon that fast! When the marathon runner passes the half-marathon runner in the homestretch is he dying to say, "What's taking you so long?! I just ran twice as far as you!"
But I digress.
The last place finisher sauntered in around 6-1/2 hours after she took her first stride. I'm guessing she sauntered. I don't know, maybe she sprinted in, saving it all for a big finish? Or maybe she was gasping for air and fell to the asphalt upon crossing the finish line? Either way, it was likely dramatic because FRANKLY, she finished 26 miles!
For a lot of runners, the goal is simply to finish.
That would certainly be my goal. Right after the goal to not actually die. Because when the reporter comes up to me for my interview, I'm telling them I hit a wall about the time the gun went off and just struggled with the last 26 miles.