Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Why run a marathon?

This is a question I get asked a lot ever since I started telling people I was going to be running a marathon this year. 

More importantly, this is the question that I ask myself at o'dark thirty (right now, 5:30 a.m.) when I'm supposed to be getting up and getting ready to go to the gym.  I'm pretty sure I've written about my answer to this question previously (probably early on in this blog), but I'm going through it again because I need to be able to not only remember the answer at o'dark thirty but to believe in it.  At least enough to get my ass up and out of bed and running.

My answer?  I think it all boils down to this:  Because I can.

A marathon has always been one of those things that whenever I heard about it, I always thought "I can do that."  Even when I hated running for years and years (and even now it can be touch and go), 26.2 miles sounded doable.  Not running the whole thing, certainly not running it at a pace anything resembling fast (relatively speaking, "fast" for me is anything under a ten minute mile; for argument's sake, let's say "fast" is under an eight minute mile).  But I believe I can complete 26.2 consecutive miles.  Even though I have no basis in life to, well, base this on.

Another reason is that it is estimated that only around 1% of people have done a marathon.  One percent.  That's a really freakin small number.  I know I'll never be in the Olympics.  I probably would never be in the Special Olympics.  I'll never climb Mt. Rushmore or Mt. Everest.  Hell, I'll never climb much above ten feet.  I will never skydive or bungee jump.  I may never take a cruise, go to Europe, Asia or Africa or even South America.  Or even Hawaii.  I may never get married, have a baby, or buy a house.  But a marathon?  My little cilley brain always says, without hesitation:  Yes, I can do that. 

I think it's the 1% thing that really gets me, given that there are so many other things people will do in the course of their lives, truly spectacular things when you think about.  Get into a tin can and hurdle yourself thousands of miles per hour through the air even though physics says you shouldn't be able to do it?  Check!  Jump out of a plane and not end up a pancake?  Check!  Shove another human being's skull through a teeny little opening between your legs?  Check!  I mean, really, what do you need for a marathon?  Got legs?  Check!  And you don't even actually need legs!  A marathon is so mundane to my way of thinking, why isn't everyone doing it?  Climbing a mountain, that, I don't get.  Going from point A to point B in 26.2 miles?  There's a finish line at point B, man -- how could you not wanna?

I'm thinking that may be my marathon tattoo:  1%. 

Not that all this is to say that I think a marathon will be easy.  Just doable. 

But again, how to translate this into morning motivation?  Help me out here:  why do you want to (or why did you) run a marathon?  What gets you up and out and running?

the CilleyGirl 


  1. I think you covered a lot of it - because you CAN & because so few DO.

    I did it because it makes me feel all strong & awesome, and because, with the exception of my running friends, it impresses people when I tell them.

    I think morning motivation might need to be "I CAN, but I can BETTER if I get up & train." :)

  2. That is the BEST answer! FYi you will ask yourself more times that you can count Why oh why?? But once you cross that finish and join the 1%, you will forget that you ever asked yourself why...

  3. A marathon is completly doable...for all the reasons you mentioned. However, after completing that marathon, I bet there are many more things on that "I'll never do" list that may become aproachable. It gives you that strength and determination, that with a little/lot of effort....you really can do anything!