Somewhere around mile 20 (before my legs started cramping) of Mayor’s Marathon last weekend, as I was passing another runner, he looked over and upon seeing my Marathon Maniacs shirt, quipped “does this get any easier when you’re a Maniac?”
At the time, I just sort of laughed and told him no. But as I ran on, I thought about it some more and realized that’s entirely the point – I enjoy running marathon precisely because it’s hard. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the great Tom Hanks quote from A League of Their Own:
“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”
I don’t think there’s a person out there who would tell you that running a marathon is easy. Whether they’re one of the elites finishing in just over 2 hours, or someone that takes 6 or 7 hours to finish, I think they would all agree that running a marathon is hard.
And that’s what’s so great about it. It’s a personal challenge, and there’s an amazing sense of accomplishment that comes with that. I guess that’s what attracted me to running this 50 miler next month – not because a marathon is too easy, but because I want to continue pushing and challenging myself, testing my limits and seeing what’s possible.
I have no illusions about this 50 miler not being hard. In fact I expect it to downright suck at times, and there will probably be times that I’ll want to quit. As they say, you just “embrace the suck” and keep moving forward. But once I’ve crossed the finish line, knowing that I pushed through all of the hardship and the dark places, and made it to the other side – that will be something worth every bit of hard that course can throw at me.