I was in my hometown of Ann Arbor this last weekend. I don’t get home much other than the holidays or a wedding/funeral - and then usually not for long. So, I tried to see as many people as possible. One friend who I was looking forward to seeing was my old high school friend Todd Snyder - not only because of his new six-week old girl, or because we don’t talk to each other as regularly as we should - but, because he was going to run the Chicago marathon next week - and I’d heard through the grapevine that his training with the Hanson’s was going incredibly well. The rumor was that he had been training for a 2:13 marathon. That’s pretty much within spitting distance of the Olympic team.
So, after making the obligatory comment on his new born (actually she is very cute of course) I asked him about whether the rumors were true. He said that training had been going great until last week - when he some pain that had been developing in his foot got so bad he couldn’t run. They hadn’t done a bone scan yet - but the doctor thought that it was a stress fracture of one of the bones in his foot. Todd was his usual positive self - saying that the training had given him a lot of confidence about what he could do in the future, but it had to hurt - to get so fit and then not be able to show it.
I have to admit that at first my disappointment was more about the fact that I was going to have to wait awhile before he was anointed as the next Brian Sell - and I got to brag about beating him in middle school. But, then it made me think how dedicated these Hanson guys are to run 130-140 miles a week - giving up their lives for several years to chase down a dream where so many things can go wrong. But, I guess the seemingly random cruelty of the marathon is, in a perverse way, what makes it alluring.