The Daily ReTORt

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Monday, March 21, 2011

It's safe to say that I'm hooked....

I used to think that I was a fairly balanced person overall, but it’s clear that I continue to exhibit a certain pattern of behavior that is clearly out of balance in most people’s minds. 

That being the fact that I’m a marathon and half-marathon junkie….

Yesterday, I completed my fifth full marathon – this one was the 39th Annual Virginia Beach Shamrock race.  Here are a few pictures that my wife took of my daughters and I after that event – I’ll post official photos from the race organizers as they become available over the next few days.

While I didn’t set any land speed records, I managed to finish the 26.2 distance in 4 hours and 34 minutes.  That marked a personal best for me and netted out to 5.75 miles per hour or an average 10:45 per mile pace.

I understand that those numbers might not mean much to anyone, but my slowest marathon took 6 hours and 20 minutes – so this race was a major improvement. 

Statistically speaking, fewer than three percent of Americans will run or train for a marathon – and there’s good reason for that – namely, a marathon is controlled, self-induced trauma and pain to your body.  That’s reason enough to avoid distance running altogether.

It’s funny, when people find out that I run marathons they try to psycho-analyze what exactly it is I’m metaphorically “running away from or trying to escape” – but they’re underlying premise is incorrect.  I think I’m actually striving or running toward something. 

I find the challenge of training - coupled with the accomplishment of actually finishing the race – combine for an incredible experience that’s invigorating, affirming and worthy of repeating.  For me, preparing and training for a marathon requires a commitment of time and energy that I pay for mentally and physically, yet the ultimate sense of accomplishment that accompanies crossing a marathon’s finish line is difficult to describe.

But I can say that during the race itself, and its ultimate completion, there can be a profound assignment of meaning to the preparation, time and pain that was previously invested.  By that I mean, the hours of training and every resulting joint ache or blister have an enhanced significance, which implies that the race could NOT be finished unless each of the aforementioned hardships were endured and overcome.  That’s similar to virtually every great activity or undertaking in life.

Personally, that’s what makes each training program, marathon and culminating success gratifying while simultaneously whetting my appetite and interest for more.  Additionally, marathon training helps an individual take a longer view toward a given race situation while sharpening a sense of perseverance and patience. These life lesson extend well beyond a race course, and it’s my ultimate goal is to instill those insights into our two girls.

Who knows, perhaps we may become a marathon-running family some day? But we’ll take it one step at a time together – literally and figuratively – fully recognizing that “we need to walk before we run.”


  1. Congratulations! I will be running my 1st 15k at Mendon Ponds (Spring Forward) in less than 2 weeks and the Flower City 1/2 (also a first!) on May 1st. Love reading your blog - you are truly an inspiration! I agree, I don't feel as if I'm running away from anything but for once running towards a healthier and more fit ME!

  2. @Tina, That's fantastic to hear! Please let me know how you do in both races, I'm genuinely interested to know! Good luck and thanks for posting the comment!

  3. sadly, i will never be a junkie of running...

  4. Wow! Congrats on another well run marathon! There aren't too many people who can say they've even run one ... you have 5 under your belt - simply amazing!

  5. Congratulations! I love running but a marathon is out of my league. Happy running!

  6. @MK, looking forward to seeing you and the family later today. Since you don't foresee yourself as a "running junkie" what's been your preferred activity to keep your weight off? Just curious....

  7. @IT, thanks for the support and encouraging comments. I think the first one was the most difficult - but each one has special place blister on my, um...I mean place in my heart ;-)

  8. @Luana, I used to think that the farthest I could run was 2-3 miles. However, after reading a couple of running books and meeting a friend who encouraged me to try - a marathon became at least feasible before it became a reality. I highly recommend any runner visit - it offers free tips and training schedules for any level of runner. Thanks for the feedback!