Running a marathon is like sex. A lot of confusion among sweaty bodies, euphoric feelings being stirred for brief moments that really can’t be described in words whatsoever, and an extreme amount of chafing. That’s pretty much what I was exposed to yesterday when I pulled myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 4:15 a.m. and packed myself on to a bus full of people using Icy Hot as perfume.
For full effect, come over to my house and download the playlist “Hippocratic Addiction” from my iTunes account that includes many motivating songs from Linkin Park, the Foo Fighters, the Rolling Stones, and of course my favorite band Muse, and play all 108 songs at maximum volume for exactly 3 hours, 54 minutes and 27 seconds.
By the way, don’t judge me if I’ve been laying naked in my bed curled up in the cramping fetal position for the last 36 hours. I absolutely have a right to this honor.
What possessed me to run a marathon you may ask? Who did I lose a bet to that forced me to sign up for this madness? How much alcohol did I consume while drooling over the application process online? I have no idea. All I can say is that for some strange reason the logical side of my head decided to throw in the towel six months ago, forcing my preparation to run to Hell and back, all so I could give you an entertaining blogpost the first weekend in October.
Whoever actually does decide to run a marathon at some point in their life must have received some form of brain injury. If we think that abusing our bodies in the manner that we do for 26.2 miles, combined with the hundreds of hours of training beforehand is worth the plastic medal we get while crossing the finish line, we must have experienced some type of severe head trauma as children. The fact that I have a 78-year old geezer with unkempt nosehairs talking smack to me epitomizes that.
Braided Nosehairs: “How’s it goin’ sonny? You liking this race?”
Me: “Yeah, it’s been great. Yourself?”
Braided Nosehairs: “I’m doin’ fine. You like the fact you’re getting passed by old farts like me? See you later, ya sissy!”
Along with the demented noggins, runners are also a pretty gross group of people if you think about it. And marathons bring out their ugly extremes one mile marker after another. There are the snot rockets, the salt stains, the bloody nipples. Yes kids, you read that correctly, if a runner foolishly forgets to tape up his chest before the starting gun goes off, you will see him about three hours in with an entire outfit covered in caked-on blood from nipples sliced open by his sweaty shirt. That’s the kind of pain we sacrifice ourselves to go through in order for the glory of finishing the race.
We are that crazy.
As far as my lapse in sanity is concerned, I probably looked like a lunatic to any given bystander yesterday. I was singing half the time, I had probably two fistfuls of Vaseline shoved down my shorts that made it look like I was running around with a dirty diaper. Never mind the part of the run where I found a little white salt capsule laying on the ground and randomly popped it into my mouth to combat the cramping in my legs. To anyone else I would have looked like an escaped drug addict who didn’t know how to change his own diaper, but in my mind I was running a marathon, and that’s all that mattered.
Again don’t ask me why we do this, and don’t ask me what demon filled out the online application and reduced my pocket book by $100 six months ago, all so I could be surrounded by a bunch of poncho-wearing, booger-blowing, wall-hitting nutcases asking for Icy Hot rubdowns at every aid station. They say that running a marathon gives you a feeling of accomplishment. I say it gives you a burning sensation in your crotch that turns you into a hobbling gimp for the following three days.
I guess if you’re looking for a reason why people run marathons, I would say it’s the emotional rush that you get. As Boston would say, it’s more than a feeling. To cross the finish line in a dead sprint, with your entire hometown fan base screaming their faces off, meanwhile Cake’s “Going The Distance” chorus starts playing on cue. Yeah, I’ll endure 26.2 miles of physical torture just to know what those last 10 seconds feel like.
Chafed nipples and all.