My first ever competitive race that I paid to enter was a marathon.
Let me repeat that.
The first race I ever paid to enter was 26.2 miles of pure hell. It's not hyperbole to say that the marathon ate me up and spit out my carcass sometime around mile 23.
Back in October 2001, at mile 13, I was on top of the world. I felt strong. I had just looked at the clock and saw 1:53.12.
And that was the official time clock, I didn't get the starting line at 00:00:00, there was a good 00:30 between me at the start line, so I was more than likely at mile 13 at 1:52:00.
That's almost two hours, but again, I was feeling free. Strong.
Here's the thing about the wall. It's in your head. But your head is pretty good at making you think it's in your legs.
At mile 20 of the marathon, my head noticed something about the next step. It noticed that each step was the longest my legs had ever gone at one time. In training for my first ever "I paid for this" race, I'd run many long runs. It was normal to bang off 12, 14, and 16 miles on a Tuesday night.
But the longest of those long runs was a 20 miler. So at the 20 mile mark, as my legs began to get annoyed at all the work they were putting in, my head pointed out the fact that this was the longest they'd ever been asked to run.
They didn't reply until mile 23. At mile 23, they said "no mas".
Before you think this has a sad ending, my brain convinced my legs to go a little further and I finished. I think because Rhona and my parents were at the finish line.
Since then, I’ve ran the fun corporate challenge/turkey trot, St. Patrick’s get drunk races. These are the kinds of races where there's a party at the end of each race.
I'm telling you all of this because I'm in the process of talking my dad into running a half marathon with me. If he agrees, this will be only the second race I’ve paid for that didn’t have a party attached to it.
But we'll keep you posted. Because we'll require a party at the end.