Why Would Anyone Run That Much? and Other Quandries

Let me just put this right out there: I do stupid things.

Sometimes frequently.

One stupid thing I did recently (during the time that I wasn’t writing stupid things on this blog, coincidentally) was run a couple of marathons.

The idea to become less fat and run an impossible distance is one that my wife and I have been working toward for about two years now. We got hooked on minimalist shoes (I occasionally run totally barefoot, in fact) and really started churning out the miles. We limped through a 5k and were hungry for more. We limped through a 10k, nostalgic for the days when we stopped at a 5k – so easy those days were!

Then we ran a half marathon.

Then we ran a marathon.

We ran and ran and ran. By my loose guesstimation, we ran about 500 miles during 2010 and about 1,000 miles during 2011. We wore through several pairs of Vibram Five Fingers, our ridiculous-looking shoes of choice. We chafed in places that human beings should not chafe (or at least I did). Then, we decided that we needed more, so we registered for the Goofy challenge at Disney World. We would run 13 miles in the half marathon on Saturday morning and then we would run 26 miles in the full marathon on Sunday. We would run 39.3 miles in a little over 24 hours.

News Flash: Running past beautiful scenery is still running.

It totally sucked.

Don’t get me wrong. Disney goes all out for everything, and they went ALL OUT for these races and made it an incredible occasion full of the most fun you can have while running a marathon. You’ll notice an important qualifier at the end of that last sentence.

It was just so awful, doing that much running. There’s no way around it. Around mile 20, I remember specifically, my wife turned to me and said, “This is starting to be bullshit.”

It was, but we finished anyway. In fact, we went to Florida in early January with a large group of friends, and we all finished anyway.

Pictured: Proud Morons

I am glad we did it, but I’m even more glad that I’ll never ever do it again. If there is one thing I wish to note for posterity, though, it’s the fact that I finally experienced a true runner’s high toward the very end of the full marathon. This is something I’ve never felt before; no matter how often I heard people talk about it, I assumed it was a filthy lie designed to sell more Nikes. But from mile 25 on through the finish and for about a half hour afterwards, I was what can only be described as totally tripping balls. I felt awesome. When I saw a friend cross the finish line, I was so excited that I picked her up and whirled her around like she weighed nothing – even though my legs and back felt like they’d had a cheese grater dragged across them for six hours. When I saw another friend cross the finish line, the following exchange occured:

Me: You!

Him: *terrified look*

Me: You! I could kiss you on the mouth right now!

Him: I’d really prefer it if you didn’t.

We laughed, we cried, and we walked around for the rest of the week like we’d all endured violent exams at the hands of an amateur proctologist. It was the vacation of a lifetime.

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