On Marathons (The Unfun, non-Netflix Kind)
Two Saturdays ago, I finally brushed a chip off of my shoulder that has been sitting there since I crossed the finish line of my first 5k back in tenth grade. After months of training and telling my friends I had to go to bed at 9pm every Friday night, I ran my first full marathon.
Was it hard? Yeah. Am I still sore? Yeah. Were the pancakes I had at IHOP on the card afterwards the greatest thing I’ve ever eaten in my entire life? YOU BET. But massive caloric deficit aside (shoutout to the half-dozen Jake’s Bakes I demolished by myself), I can safely mark Saturday among my greatest achievements so far. Closely followed, of course, by the time I cranked out a paper for my 1000W class in less than an hour that night.
The race in question was the Nashville marathon, sponsored by What Do You Run For? (from whom I got a rad sticker for my water bottle, so that was an added perk!). We ran from 1st Avenue and Broadway, down Music Row, through The Gulch, and across the bridge to LP Field…and then we did it aaaaallll over again.
Here’s the thing about running a marathon. This might surprise you—it’s a really novel realization—but somewhere around mile 21, I started to realize that marathons are really, really long. I was starting to contemplate a walk break as we passed through LP Field for the second time until I saw a sign that said “Run Now, Dessert Later.” This made me start to contemplate things like the aforementioned Jake’s Bakes, Commons brookies, and—to really look ahead, to a time and place where my legs once again functioned after recovering from the abuse of 26.2 miles—maybe walking down to the Jeni’s in Hillsboro to get some gourmet ice cream. There are few things quite so motivating than the prospect of future desserts.
Few things, that is, except for turning the corner and realizing that the finish line was three blocks closer than I realized. I went pinwheeling down 1st Avenue, legs barely able to handle the impact of my adrenaline-fueled sprint, to cross the finish line. I was greeted there by two of my sorority sisters, carrying signs and still willing to hug me even though I had just over four hours’ worth of sweat drying on me.
The thing is—as happy as I was to be done running that day, I will admit that there’s no better way to explore your city than to do it on foot, being greeted by cheering spectators all bundled up to encourage a bunch of aching, panting runners trying to enjoy the uniquely awful taste of Gatorade goo packets.