Delusions of Marathoning


TC Marathon RunnersToday was the Twin Cities Marathon, always a fun time on our block since we’re right on the route – the 14 mile mark, to be exact. It’s a great location for cheering and admiring the athletes. They still seem fresh and to be enjoying themselves. Some have the hard stares of focus and determination, but I cheer anyway and dance in place to the music blaring from the volunteer station. Approximately an hour into the cheering, I started to experience a contact high from the runners and began to wonder if I could run a marathon.

This is the point that I should back up and explain that not only am I the slowest runner in the world, I actually enjoy running on a treadmill. It took a while to get there, but I had the determination and desire to watch as much television guilt-free as possible and the treadmill seemed the best way to achieve that dream. That’s right, I see my morning treadmill runs as the opportunity to wield the remote with enthusiastic abandon, there is no guilt. Just me and all of the TV series that I have grown to love and obsess over now that I have the time to watch them. I’ll run hills and intervals, I do a “long run” on weekends which would probably give most avid runners cause to chuckle, but I love it and that’s all that matters, right? And now as I watched the runners, I started to think that if I could stream the right sequence of Netflix episodes to my cellphone, I just might be able to run a marathon. How could I test the theory? Should I try binge watching “Break Bad” from start to finish while on the treadmill to see how long I could run for? Would the series hold my attention as well as it did the first time now that I knew the bitter ending of Walter White? I considered….

Nearing the third hour of the race (the second hour of cheering), people started to look less enthusiastic. They were still plugging away and looking alright, but several had the expression of “I’m only HOW far?!” I started to think that perhaps “The Walking Dead” might be a better option for a marathon-running distraction. That show has almost caused accidents for me while watching on the treadmill, it might have the intensity that I needed for 26 miles.

That’s when the stream of runners started to thin out and I saw my first limper. She was hobbling along the route, favoring her knee. She stopped at the volunteer station and then pushed bravely on. Then it started to rain. The Mom and I sat under umbrellas continuing to cheer on the valiant runners at the end of the pack. I assume they were the first timers and while they didn’t necessarily look happy to be there, they looked determined and certainly appreciated our little cheering section that still remained. Many passing by thanked us for staying to cheer them on. I felt bad that they still had another 12 miles to go in the cold rain when I could go home now for a hot cup of tea. It also made me realize that if I decided to run a marathon, I would need a lot more than good television to get me to the finish line.

Best in Show.

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By Heidi Van Heel
Heidi Van Heel

Heidi Van Heel

Writer, freelancer, and believer in magic living in Minneapolis. In my free time, I love reading, exploring the great outdoors, and experimenting in the kitchen.

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