On running a marathon

A few weeks ago I ran the LA Marathon in about 4.5 hours. It wasn’t pretty but I’m glad I did it. I appreciated most the daily training and how it imposes a certain structure onto your life, which you dislike a lot at first but then it just becomes part of you.

  • The marathon gets its name from the ‘feats’ of an Athenian courier who ran about 25 miles, gasped the words “Joy to you, we’ve won”, then collapsed and died; today marathon running is a sport. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about people…
  • I’d wanted to blog about my training efforts but decided against it. I’ve started to think like Derek Sivers: that sharing a goal can, ironically, make you less likely to achieve it
  • The race itself was a good experience, but there was a lot of pain — and little elation — at the end. This was disappointing; after my first half-marathon, I was on a new endorphin high. But 26 miles – the last 8 of them with leg cramps and dehydration — fried my mental and physical circuits. I laid in bed the remainder of the day and found eating and sleeping to be disappointingly unenjoyable
  • If habits form skills, goals supply will. It was a helluva lot easier to run 5-10 miles a day for 6 days a week, knowing those distances paled next to 26
  • For some, running 10K is their goal. Others want to finish a marathon. Still others strive to do it in 50 states. But everyone, once they’ve crossed their personal finish line, realizes the same thing: the hard part wasn’t finishing, it was that they did something with a “hard part”. Now that it’s gone, what’s next?
  • Murakami was my catalyst. I admire him so deeply, and he enjoys running so deeply, that some transitive magic happened. I now understand this quote of his a tiny bit better

I will probably attempt another one in a few months. But like eating Ichiran ramen and listening to Garth Brooks, it works best to enjoy the wait.

If you’re an active runner, let me know!

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.