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Archive for 26.2

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)