Tuesday, May 21, 2019

“You’ve done some crazy things, but two marathons in eight days? I think you have finally lost your mind.”

That was my wife’s reaction when I told her last year of my plan.

(This was planned? You have lost your mind.)

It didn’t start out as a “two in eight days.” I wasn’t sure if I would get into the New York City Marathon for 2018, so I registered for the Marine Corps Marathon (which takes place a week before.) Turned out, I got into both events.

The first thing you need to know about a marathon is that it’s 26.2 miles long.

(Why is that?)

No one is really sure how far Pheidippides ran when he carried the message from the Battle of Marathon to Athens in 490 BCE.

(Or if he ever actually existed.)

That is not the point.

(What is the point?)

The point is in 1896, the marathon distance was fixed at 25 miles.

(Where did the extra 1.2 miles comes from?)

At the 1908 Olympics, the race terminated 1.2 miles from the King’s viewing box, so the race was lengthened so the King could see the finish.

(You mean the same king who caused men to leave their bottom jacket button, unbuttoned because of his girth?)

Yes, but that is a completely different story.

The next thing you need to know is that you just can’t show up on the morning of the race and start.

(Yes, we know training is involved here.)

No, I mean yes. I mean there are security procedures that prohibit you just walking on to the course. For one, you have to go to the expo days before the pick up your race bib. For the Marine Corps Marathon in DC, I had to have someone pick it up for me.

(You didn’t want to spend the weekend down there?)

No, that would’ve been the sane approach.

(God forbid you should try that approach).

I took the 11:30 p.m. Amtrak after Shabbat ended and arrived in Washington D.C. at 2:45 a.m.

(When did you sleep?)

From 3:30 a.m. - 6 a.m.

(You slept two and a half hours?)

It seemed like a good idea.

(Where did you sleep?)

My athlete Matt Lovell offered that I stay with his family, so I did.

(For two and a half hours?)

   I woke before the alarm. 

(You must have been dead.)

   I felt rested.

   (This story isn’t going to end well...)

I met my friend Dave Weiss at the start.

(Dave was the friend who picked up your bib?)

Bingo. Once we got passed the soldiers with attack dogs, it was a short walk passed the Pentagon...

(The Pentagon?)

...to the start.

The first 20 miles went well.

(The first 20? I  feel tired just reading this).

I passed several marching bands, the Washington Memorial and the Capitol Building by that point.

Then my knees started to tighten. By mile 23 I was getting a little worried. “Was I going to make it at my current pace?”

(Why not slow down?)

I was on target to break my five hour 24 minute record.

(So you kept pace).

No, I ran faster!

I sprinted the last 1/2 mile, up hill to the Iwo Jima Memorial and almost threw up on a marine.

(Think they would have minded?)

Probably not, but I made my goal: 5:22:33

(So, then you collapsed?)

So, then I...

By David Roher 


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