ONE: BECAUSE IT’S INSANE.
Only a person who has slipped in some idiot juice and fallen face-first into a vat of “I’m off my tree” would even consider it. Insanity clean-up on aisle three!
Here’s a suggestion. Slip a stone into your shoe and walk around for 6 hours. Then see how on top of Ol’ Smokey and covered in failure you feel. Oh, and don’t forget to surround yourself with other insane asylum escapees who will happily throw little paper cups of sticky liquid in your face and call it “aid”.
‘Cause that’s a marathon.
And if you’re still going to do it, you’re playing footsies with your own delusions. You’re slick with the idiot juice. Practically pickled in it after four months of training.
And you’ll know you’re insane at Mile 18 of your precious marathon. You’ll shake hands with Mile 18 and discover it has a cold, wet-fish handshake that lingers a little too long.
But there’s more. Over mile 18’s shoulder, you’ll spot something else. In the distance. Here comes Insanity Check, riding over the horizon on a ruddy great mare. This sinewy thoroughbred will pull up right in front of you and snort in your reddened face. At which point Insanity Check will dismount and stick a fork in your thigh to see if any juice comes out. And none will.
‘Cause that’s a marathon.
That’s why insane people scream.
Which brings us to the second reason NOT to run a marathon.
TWO: IT HURTS MORE THAN YOUR NEIGHBOR PLAYING CELINE DION AT 3AM.
Unless you work at Marlene’s House of Pleasure and Pain (50% off on Bring your own Whip Wednesdays), you don’t have to put up with that shit.
Seriously, if your knees are crying like baby kittens left in a burlap sack, GIVE UP! If the arches of your feet are burning brighter than banned books at a bonfire, PACK IT IN! And when you see a couple duck out of the race and into the subway in Brooklyn, don’t think ‘Losers’. Think, ‘Now that’s smart.’
For God’s sake, don’t shuffle on.
So what if your friends are at a pub on First Avenue and 88th Street? So what if that happens to be mile 18 and their cheers give you the will to carry on? In the Bronx at mile 21 you’ll curse them to hell and back. You’ll resent them for not telling you to stop and come inside for a beer. A. Nice. Cold. Beer. And that pain in your foot? It’s not going to go away.
Hobbling up the hill on 5th Avenue - a hill that’s longer than a Kevin Costner directed epic - you’ll have a pain epiphany.
You’ll see your body for what it really is. A machine. A ruthless, selfish, hungry beast that is sucking every conceivable gram of energy out of you with its pistons and gaskets and hydraulic need.
It will feed on itself and steal what it can from your blood, your teeth and your hair. It will raid the cupboard of your daydreams and suck the color from the freckles of your face. And it will never stop.
There will be a point where even running through the sticky dried carpet of Gatorade on the road requires too much effort. Too much pain to lift your feet off the sticky tarmac.
The thought that you will need to willingly run though all of this and suffer the consequences in the days after - grinning wildly as you prop your feet up on a pillow - simply proves the first point.
THREE: PEOPLE MIGHT ADMIRE YOU.
Who the hell needs admirers? If you’re looking for buddies, get on Facebook and friend farm ’til the zombies come home. Join Twitter and follow someone off a cliff. Start blogging long and meaningful posts about your dog, then search optimize that puppy.
What you don’t need in life is random comments from real people who are standing right in front of you. Comments about how awesome they think you are. Or how proud they are of you.
You don’t need people to tell you that when you texted them at mile 11, just to let them know you had leg cramps and had stopped at a med tent for salt, it felt as though they’d just heard you’d been shot.
And you sure as hell don’t need someone telling you that when they saw you on First Avenue running towards them at 88th Street, they thought to themselves, “Holy shit, she’s really going to do it.”
Do you really need to see them jumping up and down on the side of the road, and screaming for you, and hugging and chasing after you? Really?
Because who the hell knows how to deal with that kind of in-your-face compliment? How do you even react to that kind of reality? That would mean you have friends. That would mean that you were actually doing something extraordinary.
And face it. We all know that’s just not you.
FOUR: MEETING PEOPLE. IT’S IRRITATING.
Runners belong to the worst kind of cult. They have secret codes and a language with words like fartlek and GU, but they don’t have a well-fortified compound.
They just start conversations. Randomly. With anyone. It’s annoying. They talk to you at the start of a race, about all sorts of messed up shit. Like how to avoid chaffing like wheat in a threshing machine. And you’ve never even met them before in your life!
It’s like they think that just because we’re all sliding around in our body glide together, they have some right to slide all over you. That you really want to feel like you’re part of something, and here’s your chance. Pfftt!
And then there are the ones that live on the other side of the country, who will randomly read your pathetic running blog on weendure.com and oh, wait for it, start a conversation with you.
Through the Internet.
They will spend four months encouraging and inspiring you to keep slogging away at your marathon training.
YOU WILL BE VERY IRRITATED!
Because that person (and yes, Lonn, I am talking about you) is now watching you. And you want to quit, but you can’t because then you’d have to explain why to that person. That you’re too lazy. That it’s too hard. That your knees hurt. It’s too hot. You’ve got blisters. You’re too hung-over.
You can’t use these excuses because he’s doing the same marathon you are and you’re supposed to meet up at some point, face-to-face.
There’ll also be a surprise. You’ll find out that not everyone you meet on the Internet is an axe-wielding, homicidal psycho billy. Because you’ll meet up with them in a public place (you never can be sure, so pick somewhere crowded), and find out that runners are runners are runners and they’re a very irritatingly lovely cult, whether you meet them in the start corral or online.
Still, the Internet is filled to the gills with psychos. You might want to write that on a post it and stick it on the side of your monitor.
FIVE: YOU MIGHT LIKE YOURSELF.
The Supreme Being is totally against that. You need to always feel just a little unworthy in life. Aim to be at the top of the worthless class - the Valedictorian of Self-Loathing. Running a marathon is not going to help you achieve that goal.
Running a marathon will burn your body right down to the nub, while also flooding your soul tank with gallons of “I am the shit!” fuel. Who wants that?
Those last three miles through Central Park where you decide to run the rest of the way just to get it over with faster - what do you think that’ll do for you? Make you feel like you’re achieving something? Make you think that you’re overcoming the hardest challenge you’ve ever had in your life?
Do you really want people cheering you, and saying your name as you run past? Like you’re special or something? Trust me, you don’t want to feel special. It sucks.
If you’re running a marathon, you’re an idiot. You should be crying as you turn the corner at Columbus Circle. Because holy crapsticks in a crayon case, look at how wrecked you look on the JumboTron. Don’t throw your arms in the air just because you’re 500 yards from the finish. Drop out. Now. No one cares.
Actually, why aren’t you crying? You know, insanity hurts the whole family, and it’s not natural to feel this good when you’re actually feeling this bad.
To top it all off, now your face is hurting from the huge smile that you can’t seem to eradicate as you cross the finish line. More pain? Really? It’s over, and you can’t even walk. No medal slung around your neck, or silver blanket around your shoulders is gonna help you get to the truck where your bag is. A truck that’s even further away because you have the misfortune to have a surname that starts with an M.
And do you really think that your pain is gonna slip away like hot oil when you see your friends outside the park? Their hugs will just continue to trip the needle in your internal awesomeness meter to condition red. You don’t need that.
Trust me. If you know what’s good for you, don’t run a marathon. Stay in your safe little unchallenged cocoon because it’s easier. It’s nice and comfortable. And face it; after you’ve run a marathon, nothing lives up to that. Everything else is…bleh.
Just don’t do it. I dare you.
Noodle completed the NYC Marathon in 5 hours and 46 minutes. She plans to complete it next year minus the foot pain in 4.46.
Here endeth the missive
©Janeen McCrae 2007