Monday, October 11, 2010

There are no miracles in the marathon

The marathon doesn't care if your dog died or if it's your birthday. It doesn't care if you think you should be a X:XX marathoner. It doesn't care if you trained for five months only to find yourself injured or sick. It doesn't care if the weather is 20 degrees above normal. It doesn't care about your hopes or aspirations. It doesn't care if you've sacrificed beer and burgers and fries for a few less pounds.

The marathon doesn't care about the dark days - days of changing into your running clothes after work only to decide after a few painful strides that running today would make things worse rather than better; days when you give up because the heat of the summer makes your planned workout impossible; days when you know after only a few miles of a race that today will not be your day.

The marathon doesn't care except for the hundreds of thousands of people supporting you along the way; except for the well wishes from friends and family; except for the deep bonds made with the few members of your tribe who truly understand. The people who understand dodging cars, listening to unoriginal comments from adolescents, waking up way too early to beat the heat for a two hour run witnessed by nobody except for the trail and your watch.

There are no miracles in marathons unless you count the blind and lame running free. There are no miracles in marathons except for a society increasingly marked by obesity, sloth, and selfishness celebrating tens of thousands of people committing to pushing themselves to their physical limits and helping others along the way.

The marathon might not hand out miracles like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny but marathons provide an opportunity for the everyday miracles that we take for granted to be observed and recognized.

That's why even though I had a rough day yesterday, I know I'll eventually be back for more. Eventually I'll look at a calendar and plan six months of training. But for now I drink a few strong ales and rest. For now, it's over.

8 comments:

THE KRIS said...

i was just telling somebody that my 3:55 marathon (1:33@the half) was probably the running accomplishment that i'm most proud of. by this point you've proven many times over that you aren't a quitter, but i think there's something valuable in continuing on when you know you won't meet your goal. or maybe i just tell myself that. either way, enjoy the down time.

RM said...

Superbly written Ben.

At first I thought maybe you thiefed it from someone.

But then I realized it was your winner's speech at the inaugural marathon, in which you beat Pheidippides to the line.

But seriously this was a spectacular post, I want to submit it to RT or RW or something.

whattherun.com said...

I feel your pain.
Relentless Forward Motion. There's no other way.

New Chris on the Block said...

That really was well written. I was inspired.

Meg said...

Best blog post this year. I want to put the first paragraph on a T-shirt or something. Thanks for the perspective. I will definitely keep that in mind this Saturday while I'm trying to run a PR on a bum leg.

Dart said...

Inspiring Ben. Beautiful writing: Real. Exceptional training ethic: Your diligence is scrupulous. You ran your heart out, to remind us to live life on life's terms. Savor the moment.

KLIM said...

Yes, excellent post. You SHOULD fwd to RT or RW.

Ben said...

thanks everybody - don't know what to say - I guess pain is the best muse.