START: The buzzer, gun, horn goes off. Adrenaline-crazed runners sprint across the start line. You say, 'stay calm, don't go fast, stay on pace." In other words, 'Lunatics' (as Clements says). Then of course, you look down at your Garmin and realize, you join the sprint at a 8 minute mile, which is almost 2 minutes faster than your pace time.
Mile 1: You are pumped. You look down at your Garmin and notice you're at a 8:30 pace. It is, of course, all downhill from here, because you know you went out way too fast.
Mile 2: You run the body check. Shoe laces, tight. Leg muscles, loose. Knees, okay. All is good. For now.
Mile 3: Your bladder starts feeling full. "What the heck? Maybe it will go away."
Mile 5: Oh good, you don't have to go. Wait, now you have to go number 2. "You better stop. Where's the Porta-potty?"
Mile 6: You find a porta-potty, you go. The spectators who are there, stair. Luckily, there is no-one in line.
Mile 8: You start feeling exhausted, tired. "Should I walk?" "no" this is only the beginning, take it slow. Maybe you can do Galloway. Not a chance, walking is for wimps.
Mile 9: 1-2-3-4 We-hate-gallo-way. Your feet slap out of rhythm. Your self-confidence starts to crack.
Mile 11: You take a quick sip of water, see if you can walk. No, no walking.
Mile 12: A silver-haired woman passes you on the uphill. "What the heck?" She looks strong. You hate her.
Mile 13.1: Run a negative split, yeah, right. Not! Qualify for Boston, out of the question.
Mile 15: "What did you get yourself into?" Why are you doing this?
Mile 16: You stare at your watch as you try to calculate your per-mile pace. Take 16, divide it into two and a half hours, which is what, wait...
Mile 18: You drift off, daydream of any food and pinot noir. Your legs slow.
Mile 19: Okay, water stop. I'm going to walk the water stop. You grab water, guzzle it and take a few steps before you cringe and start up with a run cadence again.
Mile 20: You have a brief moment of clarity, you wipe the salt from your face, and wonder will you make it?
Mile 21: Your quads scream.Your body is toast. You want to walk. You desperately try not to, but that thought is gone.
Mile 22: Running a marathon is like living an entire lifetime, they say anyway. No matter how wonderful your life is though, it, according to this run, always ends badly. The death march has begun. It is no longer about going fast, it is about who slows the least.
Mile 23: There is only 3 miles to go. You see a runner ahead, bend over, clutches his quads and says, "he's done." It seems reasonable to do, but you don't.
Mile 25: You pass a scowling runner with two streaks of blood running down his shirt, he's the man too proud to put band-aids on his nipples. Ouch!
FINISH: You walk-run slowly toward the finish line. You stagger to get your medal and then to the food table.
Thanks for the idea Jonathan. When Jonathan Clements is not writing blogposts, he writes for personal-finance column for the Wall Street Journal.