Prior to 2012 I’d never run a marathon before – which left me in blissful ignorance of how far 26.2 miles actually is. Now I’ve run two, and it turns out its pretty far. Both times.
The first one, in Disney World, was a huge occasion, with a firework-filled, massive mouse-hosted start that was a lot bigger than I expected. I started a lot more slowly than I expected because of the crowd, but that was probably a good thing as it stopped me from pelting off as I have done in training.
The middle miles passed relatively calmly, enjoying the spectacle of running through all these parks and watching the sun gradually come up. But from mile 20 was when that ‘wall’ I’d been hearing so much about reared up and smacked me in the face. My legs started to sputter like a broken engine, stopping to walk at shorter and shorter intervals as my body screamed “For pity’s sake man, we’ve been through THREE theme parks and you haven’t stopped to ride at any of them! WE DEMAND REST!”
As it was, I had enough left to run the last mile, spurred on by the amazing crowd, the music and the grandstand full of spectators by the finish line. Oh yeah, and the gospel choir, which I heard before I rounded the corner and saw them and therefore thought I was hallucinating for a moment.
The second marathon, in Cambridge, was pretty much the complete opposite of that. About 400 entrants, no giant mouse, lots of cross-country and it rained. The whole. Way. Round. It rained for so long that the arrows showing the route fell off the trees and I made several wrong turns. It turned the cross-country sections into bogs and found me standing in a field, not another soul to be seen, hysterically shouting at the sky. It started to snow as I crossed the finish line.
Still, it can’t get any worse, right? Right?