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My Marine Corps Marathon Experience … Revisited

As many of you know by now, I was unable to run the Marine Corps Marathon as planned.  Long story short, after completing the course of antibiotics, and cough medicines and steroids and two types of inhalers, my lungs continued to feel like they were on fire, even after only a few short minutes of exertion. 

On race day, I awoke, got dressed, put my race number on my shirt and headed outside to test the temperature, still thinking that I would somehow “push through” 26.2 miles.  But after barely jogging up the 400 meter hill to the front of my house, my body made it painfully clear that today would not be my day.  Surprisingly, I found myself calm with the decision to postpone something that I had worked the better part of 6 months to complete.  But upon arriving at the marathon to cheer on friends and fellow runners, my tendencies toward calm were overcome by brief emotions of anger and frustration.  Luckily, my father was in town, which meant drinks were in order and soon enough emotional calm was restored.

I would summarize my marathon experience two-fold

First, NEVER run a marathon!  It is bad for your body, and who knows, the training may actually cause bronchitis.  And second, EVERYBODY should train to run at least one marathon.  I know, 2 completely contradictory statements, but hear me out.  I initially decided to train for a marathon with the goal of proving how damaging marathon training is to the body.  Based on the number of people I know who never even made it to the starting line, I can safely say that marathon training is excessive, and for most people and most body types, also very dangerous to muscles, tendons and joints.

But having said all of that, what else are you living for? 

Marathon training is if nothing, else a study in focus, goal setting and perseverance.  How many people can wake up every day knowing that today is yet another step towards tackling a life goal?  And how many life goals do you really have left ahead of you?  Don’t most of us simply wake up, eat, work, and then go back to sleep just so we can repeat it again tomorrow?  I can recall on numerous occasions mentioning to my wife, how fired up I was 1-2 days before my long runs on Saturday.  It was like I was getting ready for the High School game, and when was the last time I felt like that?

Having gone through the process, I am probably now more of the mindset that marathon running is excessive.  In fact, I would say that Half Marathons and 10 Milers and probably less restrictive, less oppressive and generally better for you.  But just like my sister once told me that you haven’t lived until you have seen the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, I believe I haven’t lived until you have finished a marathon, so it is with that belief that I still have business to finish, and I am certain I will get there soon.

Remember, Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying!  🙂

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