Tough Enough to Marathon

I woke up this morning to a startling and frightening realization:  I have ten fingers…and for each finger, I’ve only one day until my second marathon in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Yes, McGyver, I was already familiar with the total number of digits attached to my arms.

It’s just that The Thing About Marathons is that you sign up for them so friggin’ far in advance that by the time they actually roll around, you have a hard time remembering what in the tar-nation made you think it was a good idea.  They’re a lot like most other voluntary and major life events: graduation, weddings, child birth…but really they’re mostly like child birth because of the pain and gastro-intestinal difficulties involved.

I’ve signed up for five marathons in my running life.  The Marine Corps Marathon was beyond anything I’d ever expected and I just wasn’t prepared.  That, and at my second attempt, I was tripped by an errant sweatshirt and then stepped on by the World’s Largest Man in Spandex.   I was in tears before I even crossed the starting mat.  So: two failures in DC.  For the Atlanta marathon, I changed my entry to the Half.  Glad I did.  Last year I finished the OBX 26.2 and have signed up for it again.

I will be signing up for the Bataan Memorial Death March in New Mexico next Spring…26.2 miles of dust and mountains while carrying 35 pounds on my back:

I am sometimes left wondering what hubris made me think I could accomplish something so huge to begin with…me with my beyond-embarrassing lack of coordination, my huge back side (my old Pilates instructor once compared me to a Clydesdale…I didn’t like that guy much), and general lack of athletic ability of any kind.  I passed Phys Ed because I held the teacher’s clip board, and that’s no joke.

I’ve had three kids with no epidurals (not at the same time, mind you) and I figured I was Tough Enough.

“Private Joker’s silly and he’s ignorant, but he’s got guts and guts is enough.” Gunnery SGT Hartman, Full Metal Jacket.

So that’s me.  Private Joker.  …although I don’t have a “born to kill” pin or a contract to make Gross Anatomy.

I hope I’m Tough Enough in ten days…either Tough Enough to finish or Tough Enough to take the disappointment…

I’m pulling for the finish, because, after all, marathon t-shirts are snazzy and relatively hard to come by.

Also, I enjoy the looks I get when I walk through the grocery store in the manner of a wounded walrus because of sore muscles and oozing feet. It’s great.  You should really try it.


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