I ran a marathon today. True, pretty slow, but it was jogging. I had alot of time to think about what I was doing there. I contemplated not only my pain, my reality of a slow marathon, but that of the others there who were planning on 2 or 3.
First, I noticed the rituals. Never before did I really get this, that these are rituals. It was a small group. The race director started off asking how many were 50 state marathon clubs, how many had run 100 marathons, 200 marathons (etc), marathon maniacs, their first marathon, etc. Then, a prayer, a moment of silence "for Boston", the national anthem, and go.
Um, Boston had nothing to do with running. It was about terrorism in public events. They just wanted people to blow up and they happened to be in Boston.
The categorization of people: how many marathons have you run? Or, during the race, a guy asked me what number Marathon Maniac I was. He then judged me based on where I was compared to him.
Besides the people in the race, many people in the park were there on their own, just doing miles. I wondered why I was getting a medal instead of just doing miles. I jogged 3 miles with a 68 year old guy who has completed more than 1020 marathons. I walked another couple of miles with a lady who has a torn meniscus. The race course was near the end of an airport runway. 727 after 727 took off and landed. What about all those people and jets? There was a trash transfer station, a bus and train station, water treatment plant, rowing club, non-Canadian geese, non-Mallard ducks, and a white swan.
I am not on a quest for 50 states. I am not on a quest for 100 marathons. I am not on a quest for daily marathons. It seems that I am no longer trying to go bigger, longer, more outrageous. Could I please just run this race and like it for itself?
I did really well with today. But, my foot hurt enough that I decided not to do another marathon tomorrow. I decided it was not worth spending the night and doing a half marathon early in the morning. My friend tried to convince me to stay by saying she was in pain too. I had to apologize, "I'm sorry. I don't see the point."
I didn't make it as an ultra marathoner because I don't like pain. Now, if I hurt after one marathon, I stop.
I zipped back to the hotel. Got checked out and a refund on tonight's room. I zipped back to Houston and I am at home with 2 more holidays to ponder this situation.
For me I am at a cusp. I am not on a quest. One marathon is enough. I like not hurting. But it is not the human condition to stop at one. For an American, what is the meaning of life if you are not somehow getting ahead?