I don’t know if any of you caught Jimmy Kimmel the other night (I didn’t. I had already been asleep for five hours). He said,
“Did you know it's illegal to run a marathon unless you tell 80 people about it all day every day for three months?"
Yes, runners can get a bad rap for bragging about their training and their races be it at parties, on social media, to the cashier at the grocery store or to the homeless man on the corner. Let’s face it – when you cover 26.2 miles you’ve gone on a journey of sweat, puke, shit, spit, tears, smiles and delirium. So, naturally you want to tell the world how you suffered, how you persevered. But, does the world really care?
Probably not so much.
Let’s face it. Marathon training hijacks your social life, your eating and drinking habits, your sleeping, your relationships, your bowel movement schedule, your clothing allowance and every muscle group you never knew you even had.
This hijacking leads to another phenomenon – tunnel vision. We runners get a bit obsessed and focused on the training-on the goal.
- We schedule our lives around our long runs – uh, yeah, I can’t go out Friday because my long run is Saturday and I need to eat the right foods so my colon doesn’t blow up and if I go to a restaurant I might not do that and I can’t go out Saturday because I’ll be recovering from my long run and I need to refuel and rehydrate with the right carb to protein ratio and well I might just need to go to bed.
- We get astonished and put-out when someone asks how far a marathon is – oh and next you’re going to ask me how far a half marathon is. NICE!
- We become meteorologists – okay so my long run is on Saturday, it’s going to be breezy with intermittent rain showers and a high of 49 degrees. There will be light cloud cover later in the day with winds out of the north-northwest.
- We count grams of carbs and protein – it’s true I used to just know that beer had a lot of carbs and that’s why I did keg stands in college, but now I am basically a nutritionist and dietician, or I think I am.
- We think we’re sick and dying and injured when we taper - okay I’m feeling this ache in my foot it wasn’t there yesterday I am sure it is a tumor or a stress fracture. Oh and I swear I’m getting a head cold which is probably pneumonia and I wont be able to breathe and then I’ll DNF and oh my god this is the worst week of my life.
Basically, we are consumed! Bitch-slapped by the marathon herself!
So, it’s only natural that when race day comes and we actually FINISH this mother task of completing 26.2 miles without an engine or a set of wheels, we are proud and accomplished. But, is there such a thing as over-sharing when people don’t really give a crap?
I’ll tell you my take on it. When I ran my first marathon in 2009 I had NO CLUE I would be able to go the distance because my longest training run was only 20 miles. Would I be able to cough up the extra 6.2? When I did indeed finish, I was on top of the world – boners all around! While I didn’t tell many people (except family and friends who called to check in) I did wear my medal home on the airplane (GEEK) but I was so proud of myself I could have cared less what anyone thought.
Nowadays my friends and family know I train and run races. I talk about it when they ask (unless they are runners then that is pretty much all we talk about). I don’t expect people to love running like I do and I respect the fact (although it’s appalling and unnecessary) that some people hate to run or are totally bored by the subject. In other words, I try to contain it somewhat. Maybe that’s why I have a blog!
Different strokes for different folks – I mean I would die if you asked me to watch a golf tournament all day (unless there was a lot of beer, pizza and sunshine or I could run around the course and set a PR).
How much do you share about your training and races with others? Humble and quiet or loud and proud?
PS: Funny video here of the “aid station” Jimmy Kimmel’s crew set up at the L.A. Marathon last weekend. Jello shots, green shrimp and water bottles glued to a table at mile 11.