a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

the final stretch

< by Jill >

What does it feel like to run a marathon?

Each mile deserves its own profile, but no mile matches the rigor of the final 0.2 of the 26.2. In order to experience it, you have two choices: Run a gal-dang marathon, or follow these instructions (Caution! This is intense!):

The next time you’re in the shower, center your head directly beneath the spigot, planting your feet about hip-width apart. Rest your hands on your ears and close your eyes. Inhale deeply, exhale, and breathe in once more, this time inflating your lungs to their limits. Stop and hold in the air.

Keep holding it in.

Notice what happens. At first your lungs feel open and satisfied, content at full capacity. Then, slowly, a burn sets in, spreading from your heart outward to your sternum. Without conscious effort, your mind seeks distractions — the clouded, thunderous sound of the water, the pressure of each droplet as it crashes on your scalp, the fluctuations in your feet.

As soon as your mind notices your feet, it notices your balance — or the lack thereof. Your feet waver, tipping forward to the ball-mounts, then backward to the heels, inward and outward until you can no longer stand up straight.

Your eyes, ears, and mouth open. You flush out the expired air and breathe in desperately, greedily, like you’ve never loved breathing so much in your whole darn life.

This, my friends, is how it feels to run the final 0.2.

The crowd roars like the rushing water. Your lungs burn, and your legs feel wobbly. And when you cross the finish line, you breathe in desperately, greedily, like you’ve never loved breathing so much in your whole darn life.

The finish line of the 2011 Twin Cities Marathon  From left: me, my dad (Mark), my sister (Ann)


  Turn Around and Swim Life | Lessons| Laughter | Love wrote @

Love the imagery. I only have a half marathon under my belt and actually felt like this at the last 2.0 of 13.1 but I eventually crossed over…maybe to the dark side…but also over a finish line.

  abreakfastserial wrote @

Haha! I think 13.1 is the perfect distance. 26.2 is really the dark side. Sometimes I wish I never endeavored to do the full marathon because now nothing really compares. It’s a sickness!

  amphomma wrote @

Thanks for the link! What a great way to describe those last tenths! I also ran a marathon with my dad, which made our years of running together even more special. My one and only marathon was in Houston, and it sleeted. I remember trying to use the Porto-Potty with numb fingers…hmmm, maybe I’ll have to make a blog post out of this! Maybe I’ll find out in another post of yours, but do you plan to run any other marathons? I’m not sure…I’m in a season of life that doesn’t allow for a whole lot of personal endeavors!

  abreakfastserial wrote @

I definitely plan to run more marathons. One fact about me: I always say “this will be my last marathon” and I mean it, I really do, when I say it. But then, as soon as I cross the finish line, I think I NEED TO DO THIS AGAIN! It’s a very spiritual experience for me and I can’t imagine life without building a base, ramping up to high mileage, lining up on raceday. And heavens, the porta-pottys! I’m sure I could do a whole series of stories on just porta-potty stories. If you want to share yours on this blog, please do!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: