Running for It, Epilogue: In which I finally wrap up this whole wretched exercise

I put on the ol’ green eyeshade today, whipped out a calculator, and did a little figuring on just what this marathon thing has entailed. To wit:

  • Number of weeks spent in training: 32 (calendar-wise, just over seven months)
  • Number of miles run in training and in actual races: approximately 754.3 (that’s like running all the way from Kansas City to, say, Glenwood Springs, Colorado)
  • Number of emergency dumps taken: innumerable
  • Number of blog readers and Facebook friends alienated by constant scatological references: all six of them

That’s kind of humbling, actually. In the midst of it, when I was just taking it one run at a time, I certainly didn’t think of it in those terms. Doing so probably would have scared me off the thing from the beginning. So I guess it’s for the best that I did these calculations now, instead of back in late February when I started this thing.

Wow… late February. It wasn’t that long ago, really, but looking back on those early posts it’s like I’m reading words written by a completely different person. Look at the guy complaining about having to run six whole miles! Look at the guy stunned–stunned!–when he learns that you can’t run 10+ miles on an empty stomach! Look at the whiner complaining because a run did not go absolutely perfectly! So sweetly naive, I was, with so much to learn about what it would mean to give up every weekend for the better part of a year to run for hours on end with nobody chasing me.

Something’s different now. I can’t put my finger on it, but I’m not the same person I was when I–perhaps rashly–made the decision to run a half-marathon and a marathon in the same year, despite never before having run more than three or four miles competitively. I don’t quite understand how, but I’m just now beginning to see that somehow a switch inside me has been flipped. Frankly, I’m not sure I even grasp quite what that switch controls, and I’m willing to bet the wiring isn’t up to code, but that switch was thrown anyway, and I am not the same.

It wasn’t just crossing the finish line in Chicago after nearly five hours of perspiration and effort… it’s just as much a product of the long road I ran to get there. The early mornings when I dreaded the sound of the alarm… the exhausting, sweat-soaked exertions of July and August… the peaceful, long runs in the cool of September… They changed me. I am not the same.

After all these months of training and cross-training, I am unquestionably a better runner, a better athlete. I’m not necessarily a faster runner, but that’s not what this was about, even if there were weeks when speed was all I could think about. No, for me at least, it’s been about learning to endure–to push on when you want to stop, when it seems like the only rational thing to do is quit, when the little voice inside your head suddenly turns BIG and will not stop screaming for you to QUIT because FOR GOD’S SAKE why are you trying to kill yourself? You endure.

I endured.

And I’m going to do it again. Oh heck yeah, I’m going to do it again. I’ve run one marathon now and I have to say that I’ve developed a taste for it. I can’t let all these gains fall by the wayside. I can’t just check the “run a marathon” box off my bucket list and move on to the “climb Mount Kilimanjaro before the snows melt for good” box (note to self: need to discuss the African mountain climbing with the wife). I want to do it again. I want to do it better.

And I want to do more: maybe I’ll do a triathlon. Or an ultra-marathon. Or one of those crazy runs where you have to jump through fire and crawl through mud and dodge wolverines and stuff. Some have suggested I try for the Ironman. (Let’s get real, people. I mean, come on.)

Then again, who knows what the future may bring? Besides, of course, the inevitable robot apocalypse.

But… perhaps I’ve said too much.

And so ends “Running for It,” this weekly series of blog posts which have chronicled the struggles of an aging, bony nerd to prove that he still has a little life in his aging, nerdy bones. I hope they’ve been worth your time, maybe even inspiring in a way. Look, if I can do something crazy like this, then what can you do? Probably more than you think you can. So get up! Try something audacious, something rash, something that seems impossible! Just remember what yer old Uncle Price taught you:

Endure, endure, endure, endure, endure… and always stay within sight of a toilet.

4 Responses to “Running for It, Epilogue: In which I finally wrap up this whole wretched exercise”

  1. anne Says:

    Didn’t read this till now. Bravo! Love it. :)

    And again - congratulations. You are definitely an inspiration.

  2. anne Says:

    So you finish the marathon and just cease with all posting?!

    PFFT.

  3. Price Says:

    Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

  4. anne Says:

    Nooooooooooo!

Leave a Reply