Sunday, April 1, 2007

San Francisco Marathon

This was our plan: run 3 half marathons this year and when we felt good about that and our bodies had hardened to steel (as hourly trips before the mirror would attest) we'd talk about running a marathon. New year would come and we'd go to a restaurant, and one of us would eventually say 'pass the chips and salsa, honey, and by the way what do you think about running a marathon?' And then we'd make a very careful plan to run one, if we wanted to. Or we'd say 'running a marathon doesn't MAKE you a runner, let's just see if we can knock some time of our 5K time?'.

This is the reality: we decided, after running one half marathon, that this is the time. We're in decent shape, it's exactly the right amount of time until our 'home' marathon San Francisco, and although I hate to admit this, it seems like almost everyone we know has run one or more at some point. Some of the people we know run ultras on regular basis. That means they run MORE than 26.1 miles at a time. Much more, usually. Some are even champions at, you know, 100 mile races across mountain ranges.

Compare this to our little teeny weeny half marathon that so recently whooped our 10:30 min/mile butts. In the face of this kind of peer pressure, we are forced to admit we suck.

But here's the thing: one third of American are OBESE. I'm thinking they can't run a half marathon (stop me if I'm unfairly categorizing obese people, but I think not) and, more directly, 75% of Americans don't get enough exercise to save themselves from possible heart failure. So a couple of Google searches for statistics later and I feel much better. Suck is relative.

And another thing. We had plenty of time sitting about the start line to our Half Marathon in which to survey the competition. They were some fit people. It was like an issue of Calves Illustrated. Okay, so there was a few people who looked like they shouldn't have been there, but the ambulances picked them up as they fell. But as I ran I thought 'these are really fit people and I'm running with them.' And in the last couple of miles, I was passing them too. Again, suck is relative.

So, back to the marathon thing. Once you admit that 1) You are not going to win. When my mother and/or father was not Kenyan, or of any particular running pedigree, I was never going to win. Or place. Or probably break 3 hours. Ever. 2) I wasn't going to qualify for Boston. Maybe one day I will, but frankly that seems easier when I'm old and slow instead of young and slow; and 3) that most people don't know a good finishing time from a bad one. When they ask how long it took they are fascinated that you might be out there running for 5 hours. How could you run for 5 hours, they are thinking? They are not thinking 'dude, if I ran, I'd do it faster.' Or, 'doesn't that Kenyan guy (what's his name?) do it in 2 hours and change?'

So, come the 29th of July, we'll run a first marathon content that it is not really about time. The goal will be to finish. And to finish a marathon is to not suck.

After that I can maybe do something about my 5K time.

1 comment:

MK said...

you make lots of good/funny points about running a marathon and i'm glad i'll be running alongside people like you. i'm not fast and i too strive to finish, hopefully in 5 hours and not suck, too much that is :)

mk #3349