If you have ever watched the finish line of a marathon, you’ll see a lot of carnage. Runners struggling those last few steps to reach the end of 26.2 miles. Strained faces, painful winces and arms raised in victory are just mere samples of body language spoken so often by marathoners. Dare ask an accomplished runner if they’ll attempt another marathon right after they’ve crossed the 26.2-mile finish, and you’ll get the anticipated answer, “never again.” But do not be deceived. Because 20 minutes later, you can ask the same question and get a completely different answer.
Runners are a different breed. We push ourselves 26.2 miles, 50K, 50 miles, 100K and 100 miles. Hours at a time. One foot in front of the other. Mentally wavering from mile to mile. And then we cross the finish line, and it’s over. And all those memories of struggle, perseverance, pain, weakness and instability disappear before we can say lactic acid. For many of us, the wheels in our heads begin to spin, dreaming up the next big challenge. Let’s try this again. After my recent marathon, a friend reminded me that once I finished, I was quoted as saying, “remind me why I do these things.” She reminded me because I am currently planning on running another in less than a month.
My friend Cory just finished his first 50K last weekend. The day after, he was searching for potential 50-mile races. There is no question that running takes both physical and mental strength. As runners, we seek to push our body to it’s limit, and then some. And we keep doing it. Because the feeling of accomplishment is one so gratifying, it’s hard to replicate. And so, we keep running.