A and my mom were more nervous than I was when we got to the race. My mother was genuinely worried I was going to defecate in my pants. She usually has a lot more faith in her potty-training.
(A and I, pre-race)
The energy at the starting line was magnetic. It made me feel as if I was humming with power and potential movement. This high persisted until the fourteenth mile, which dragged the most. P, it was like that night in Scotland where we walked for such a long time that I fell on the beach and refused to get up; there was the same sense of time unfolding on itself. I ran with a bouncy girl named L for about eight miles, up until the fourteenth. It left a bitter taste in my mouth to fall behind her, but a body can only do so much.
From the fourteenth to the seventeenth mile I ran by myself. This was the most intense part of the marathon for me. The fourteenth to seventeenth mile in a marathon are like your sophomore year of high school: you no longer feel like you are having a novel experience but there’s no end in sight. I’m glad I was running alone: the concentration I employed to continue putting one foot in front of the other left no room to pay attention to what anyone else was doing. At the seventeenth mile, a boy with “Where’s Waldo?” socks started running beside me and yelling encouragement. Apparently I looked like I needed it. I am inclined to believe this stranger was an angel; when I asked him he didn’t deny it. He floated onward at the nineteenth mile, when A came.
My mom and A were meeting me everyone two or three miles to deliver water and this gel stuff that started to stick in my throat after the fifth mile. At the nineteenth mile, A started running with me. She delivered a constant stream of motivation and encouragement for the next seven miles. I didn’t know it was possible for a human being to yell constantly while running seven miles to a non-responsive companion, but A did it. She didn’t just encourage me, but everyone within a ten-step radius of me. I don’t know how I ended up with friends like you and her, but somehow I won the bff-lottery.
(Me leaning on A post-finish-line)
There were two little hills right before the finish line. I sprinted up the first hill, certain that the finish line was on the other side. When it wasn’t, I actually started crying, but thankfully kept running. From the top of the second hill I caught sight of the finish line and started absolutely flying. I had planned to look cute, or at least smile, as I crossed the finish line, but I just ended up looking furious. I think I was still annoyed at the two hills.
Unlike my predecessor Pheidippides, the first Marathon runner, I did not drop dead when I crossed the finish line. I hugged my mom for a long time. She started crying. I think it must be a strange feeling for something that came out of your uterus to run twenty-six miles. She was very glad I had managed to keep my bowel movements in check.
P, I definitely recommend running a marathon if you ever get the chance. It leaves you with a satisfied feeling.
See you in three weeks in Boston!