Since 1982 I've written a newsletter, Running Commentary. A new issue appears here each week, and material is archived.

Wed, 28 Feb 2001 08:46:06 -0500

In Other Words

RUNNING COMMENTARY 345

I don't know Charlie Lyons, but like what he's doing. That is compiling a book of marathon quotations.

"Can you supply a few fresh quotes?" he asked. Those few grew into 10.

I couldn't offer much fresh material that hadn't shown up somewhere before. But at least I didn't look up and recycle the exact wording.

-- A marathon doesn't start at the starting line but months earlier when you decide to train up for this event. The longtime commitment makes the marathon memorable.

-- The hardest part of the marathon is the training. Raceday is graduation day, when you celebrate with fellow graduates and supporters who've helped you come this far.

-- None of us gets to and through the marathon alone. Dedicate your marathon to someone who runs alongside you in spirit on the big day.

-- For most of us, a marathon is less a race than a survival test. The big question before a shorter race is, "How fast will I finish?" The big one before a marathon is, "Will I finish at all?"

-- Work against your natural pacing instincts. Hold back when you feel like pushing in the first half-marathon. Push when you feel like slowing in the second half.

-- No marathon is easy. It's supposed to be hard. If it weren't, then everyone would run it.

-- Don't count all the runners ahead of you and feel intimidated. Instead look back proudly at all those you're leading, especially those you can't see because they never reached the starting line.

-- Even the latest finishers aren't back-of-the-packers. They're the back of the front, still among the elite one-tenth of one percent of Americans who can and does finish a marathon.

-- Runners say about marathons what pilots say about landings. Any one you can walk away from is a good one.

-- A marathon doesn't finish at the finish line. Exciting and memorable as finishing is, the effort leaves behind physical damage, both obvious and subtle, that takes weeks to clear. Recover well.

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