Monday, October 4, 2010

The thing about a Marathon is...

...that the first guy to run one died as he finished. What I really want to know is, who in the world was the first person to say "hey. that killed him. I think I'll give that a try."

I woke up sick today, more than likely a product of the heat exhaustion and overall torture of my body Saturday.
I spent the day on my couch and had a lot of time to think about how I actually felt during the marathon, and I've also had a lot of time to read blogs of people who also ran the marathon Saturday.
There seemed to be a consensus among bloggers and other people I've talked to about the race and it is this:
Somewhere around mile 18 life got really tough.

And that, without question, was the case for me.
Up until that point I felt awesome. I even remember thinking:
"I don't know what everyone is talking about. This is embarrassingly low-key."

This is a laughable thought when compared to what I was thinking around mile 23, which was:
"I will give birth to 1,000 children while simultaneously ripping my fingernails out with those floss needles they give you when you get braces so you can floss between the wires before I run another mile of this awful race."

You may think that last statement was a little graphic when in reality it is the severely edited version from what I was really thinking.
Pain. A lot. of. pain.

I spent mile 18 and 19 yelling at myself, in my head, to keep going. This had a limited affect because it had gotten so hot that even my mental arguments had become delirious, which is why it was a miracle when I ran past my friend Cheryl Yip who just so happened to also be running the marathon.
For the next 7 miles I got yelled at in her little Singaporean voice (because she's from Singapore so she speaks Singaporie, a language offered at select high schools in central California where there is a large concentration of Singapites) which was exponentially more encouraging considering the fact that the voice in my own head had drifted more to the "quit now and go buy a Dr. Pepper" side of things.

I (literally) ran into quite a few people I knew throughout the course of the race, which was kind of weird. I'd like to think that seeing people on the course of a marathon is pretty similar to what it would be like to be in Hades' big river of dead souls that always freaked (freaks?) me out when I watched (watch?) Hercules.
You're all just floating along the same downward spiral and you can chat and make jokes and compare Ipods or whatever but when it really comes down to it, you're all just on a direct route to hell.

Okay, okay, so I'm making this sound terrible. The unfair thing about marathons is that the worst part is at the end.
In reality, I could go on forever about how inspiring it was to stand on the starting line with 7,500 other people who have been training for months for that very moment. Or how beautiful it was to see the sun rise over the red mountains I love so much. Or how much I appreciate the volunteers who handed out gatorade, water, and oranges and who icy-hotted my legs at every single aid station the second half of the race.

And the finish line. I am NOT a crier, but I did come awfully close. If it hadn't have been for the thousands of strangers standing there watching I probably would have lost it right there.
What an emotionally transcendent experience to push your body to the ultimate limits like that.
Approaching that finish line, I turned to Cheryl and said,
"Cheryl............we ran a marathon."
And we high-fived as we crossed.
Because nothing says "I've been to hell and back" quite like slapping palms with a Singapite.
You're the best Cheryl. :) Thanks for getting me through it.



  1. you're amazing katie.
    i'm proud of you.

    write a book already, would you?
    or a collection of short stories.

    something. something i can turn to and go back to and highlight and love upon all the days of my life. i'd even buy it in hardcover.

  2. okay wait at first i was like there is NO way you guys all looked that good the morning of the marathon when you took that picture. but now that i think about it you probably took it another day. makes alot more sense.

    i love your writing.