Running A Marathon Does Not Make You Mother Teresa

‘Tis the season to deck the halls, eat candy canes, and run marathons.

Oh, running 26.2 miles at the break of dawn doesn’t sound enjoyable to you? Too bad, sucker. That’s what all the cool kids are doing these days. If my Facebook feed counts as a scientific sample, then 83% of people in their twenties are currently training for, have just run, or are pretending to have just run a marathon. It’s an epidemic! An over-priced Lululemon wearing, cutesy motivational poster posting epidemic! The worst kind. You know, other than Ebola.

Naturally, I have a theory. Our generation’s sudden interest in running boils down to this: We’re a bunch of jerks. When we graduated college, just a few short years ago, we were wide-eyed and optimistic. Y’all, we were going to save the world! That job we took, wresting candy and toys from cancer-ridden orphans? Temporary. We just needed to finish up our Peace Corps application. Fast-forward a few years, when we’ve trashed the application altogether and are really enjoying our new gold-plated toilet. Shit. What happened to that spunky, quixotic kid we used to be? There must be a way we can recover that golden aura of inner goodness! Enter the marathon.

Pardon me, while I get a little academic up in here, readers. You see, I live for studies on body image and cultural perceptions of beauty. One of my favorites is the “What Is Beautiful Is Good” study, which basically found that we think attractive people are nicer, more successful, and have rectums made of rainbows. In America? Universally attractive = physically fit. And nothing says “I am a fashionably trim bad-ass who can delicately bench-press a baby elephant!” like training for a marathon.

It’s a big deal. I will grant you that. You have to train like crazy, go on carb-loading binges, and there’s the ever-present danger of chafing. It’s a lot of damn work. It has a pretty big pay-off, however. When you tell people what you’re doing, they will act as if you just cured cancer. You will be called disciplined, persistent, and amazing! People will probably make t-shirts with your face on them, then come cheer you on at the race. When friends set you up on blind dates, they include your new-found athleticism in your vital This Person Is Awesome statistics: She works as an orphan oppressor, speaks Farsi, came in second for Miss Travis County, and runs marathons! You are suddenly like a cross between Marilyn Monroe and a star high-school quarterback. Obviously, you are on the road to sainthood, one mile at a time.

Nope. Sorry to rain on your parade, but you’re still an asshat. You’re just an asshat who now brags about that crazy cramp you got in mile thirteen. I know it’s hard to believe, but running dozens of miles does not erase your fondness for drop-kicking puppies or that time you slept with my boyfriend. That’s okay. We all have disappointments. Drinking tea and adding a “u” to color hasn’t made me British yet either.

What’s more, marathons aren’t necessarily good for you. Hear me out. I’m almost a doctor. (Really.) Running is good for you, yes. Extreme running is potentially not. Your heart is actually worse off at the end of running 26.2 miles than it was before. Cardiac Troponin T, one of the signs of possible heart damage, may now flow through your blood like herpes on the Jersey Shore. In some cases, your heart has actually changed shape and its ventricles are less efficient! It can take months for it to recover. If you repeat this multiple times? If you become that holy grail of fitness, talked about in hushed, awed tones by others: a marathoner? You could end up with scarring on your heart and calcified arteries. Fun times!

Here’s my advice: Instead of signing up for that marathon, where you will exchange money for a t-shirt, paper number, and a case of mild dehydration, go volunteer. It will make your soul smile, will still fool others into thinking you’re nice, and won’t damage your heart! Plus, I will find you less annoying. Please, just don’t go to the animal shelter. They still haven’t found a home for that poor Goldendoodle you “walked.”

– Grace

Author’s Note: If you’re one of those people who purely loves to run, you may continue. Just understand that when I don’t compliment you on your new, glittery 26.2 bumper sticker, it’s not that I don’t think you’re neat. Unless you’re Ryan Reynolds, I just don’t give a shit about your marathon time.

Author’s Note Part Two: It should be noted that I don’t hate marathoners or runners or even Lululemon lovers. Follow your bliss, my dears. My point was this: running 26.2 miles doesn’t make you a good person. It doesn’t make you a bad one either. You’re just a person who runs a lot, good or bad. Happy Holidays!

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624 thoughts on “Running A Marathon Does Not Make You Mother Teresa

  1. I run 5 and 10Ks and that’s my limit. I gave serious consideration to running a half marathon, but stopped for 2 reasons) 1. I’m too fat and I like it that way and 2. If I wanted to run that long I’d change careers and become a fulltime criminal.

  2. I love this blog! My new excuse to not running more than two miles will be, “it will ruin my heart.” Thank you for sharing such an open minded thought on marathons, you made me laugh. Great humor!

  3. Wow…in my recent Thanks(not)giving rant on my blog, I expressed a similar take on marathon runners. Nice to see I’m not alone!

    But it IS an amazing accomplishment. And I still remain jealous.

    πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks so much, Harold! Not going to lie, I’m a bit of biking groupie. While I don’t ride myself, I excitedly tune in every July for the Tour de France!

      • At least runners are generally friendlier than bikers. In my experience, bikers can be a bit snobby if you don’t have the “right” aka fancy enough, gear. Marathon runners are more welcoming.

        • I agree on the snobby bikers and the packs they train/ride in. I’m more into riding for fun and some exercise and to look around at where I am riding. Get out on to a path and everyone says hi. Well, except for those with the perfect gear on.

      • Grace, my dear, we don’t want to hear about your biking. It does not make you more noble than us. Please practice what you preach!

  4. Wow good for you! I am so sick of hearing the holier-than-thou runners who really do think they are doing something monumental…. if it’s really about you and your health, you can keep it to yourself, right? Interesting to hear about the health risks, my husband and I have always wondered, as the marathoners we see look malnourished and have been known to drop dead!
    I agree there is a need for exercise, try yoga, without telling everyone you are doing that to! I have found that it really tones you… Good B;log, and congrats on being FP’D!

    • Thanks so much for the comment, Evie! And you’re exactly right – if it’s for your health, why talk so much about it? There is definitely a need for exercise, whatever you enjoy & helps your health, but when you start putting bumper stickers on your car about it, we have to talk…;)

      • i’m sure there are plenty of runners out there who just like to brag, and yes i agree that is annoying, but as someone who loves to run and enjoys the challenge of training for and finishing a marathon (after never thinking i could ever do such a thing for most of my life), i like to talk about it because it’s a passion – and i also appreciate support from friends and family, as anyone would with an important hobby. everyone has something they love and like to share – sure i run to stay fit too, but running is about a lot more than keeping my weight down.

  5. So this might be the funniest and most honest posts I’ve read…ever! I ran my first half-marathon using a run-walk method last year. If I had to pound the pavement non-stop, I would shoot myself in the face from boredom and the nagging sound of my feet hitting the pavement. I still have the great relative who always likes to remind me that I did not RUN the 1/2..I ran/WALKED it! Ummm…Yea, your fuckin point ?? Anyways….when telling people I did the half, they were just like you said…crazily amazed like I had just did something very heroic. Of course I would start thinking ” now if I do a FULL marathon….damn, I truly will be something special!”
    I’m off to share this post on facebook, because it’s too good not to. ( of course…after 5:00 when I’m done working. Let’s not raise any red flags now πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks so much for the share!! And congratulations on your half-marathon! Your relative should simmer down – running OR walking 13.1 miles is a big damn deal, even if not quite heroic. πŸ˜‰

    • Tell your relatives that the run/walk method of running actually works better than straight running. Reduces injuries, re-sets your lactic acid build-up and conserves energy. I just did a marathon (and btw, YES I am FUCKING MOTHER TERESA for doing that πŸ˜‰ ) run/walking 10 and 1’s and I finished 45 minutes ahead of the cocky 28 year old (I’m 43) who tries to run it straight. So, good on ya for doing your half YOUR way.

        • I run to escape my kids too! Just figure I might as well have some other goal that trying to get away from them. C’mon, which sounds better, 1. I’m training for a Marathon or 2. I’m trying to get away from my kids so I can have some peace & quiet for a couple hours. Love the post Grace.

    • Thanks, hockeycoach! Good luck on the training! I’m sure lots of people care…just not me. Which is why I’m blogging anonymously, after all…I still want to pretend I care, so that the people I love don’t hate me. πŸ˜‰

      • If you do not care about marathons, why do you invest so much time writing this blog (uhm, about marathons) and answering comments?

  6. I like to walk up the stairs at my apartment. Then I sometimes to stand by the elevator until someone gets off, just so I know which of my neighbors I’m better than. You could say I’m working up to the marathon πŸ™‚

    • Ah, yes. The Gloating Stair Walk! That’s my favorite part of marathon training, by far. I also love to perform it in subways, next to the people who take the escalators. Thanks for the great comment!

  7. This is a fab post. I’m a runner, but I don’t talk about it. Do I want to hear about someone’s work out at the gym? Hell no. So why would they want to hear about the time I went running for two hours. That crap is BO-RING.

    p.s. Adding a u to colour will also give you temporary Canadian citizenship! But you have to do a shot of maple syrup and wrestle a bear if you actually want the real deal.

    • Can I just say amen to your comment? Exercise is great! People should do it. Talking about it, however, tempts my brain to explode. I had a great Zumba class last night, but I refuse to dissect every minute of it to my coworkers today!

      And score! I’ll accept the temporary Canadian status! I could probably handle the bear, but the maple syrup shot sounds daunting…

      • We don’t want to hear about your Zumba class and biking. As you have preached, sports are not to be discussed at all…

    • You know, that’s one hell of an argument, fireandair. It’s easy to see why he would have too, as there really are studies upon studies about the negative side effects of such a feat. Thanks for commenting!

  8. Honestly, I find this blog post offensive. I think you are so out of touch with the reality of running an actual marathon. I ran a marathon because it was a goal of MINE. Not to make myself look good to others or to β€œact like I cured cancer” or to impress others. In regards to you almost becoming a doctor (really) it pretty much explains this blog post. You think your goal is above all others that you find pleasure in putting others goals down.

    • Sorry that you found this so offensive, FCS. I didn’t write it with the aim of becoming Freshly Pressed, so honesty ruled the day for this post. I think it’s great that you achieved a goal! Congratulations! However, there really are two sides to every issue, even long distance running. I’m sorry that we fall on different sides of the issue, but it happens. This post was meant to be funny, not offensive. I don’t begrudge you your marathons, I just don’t wish to participate in one myself or talk about it ad nauseum. Just like you probably don’t want to hear about my Zumba class or the dress I just finished sewing.

      • Rootie, another seamstress! So nice to meet you! I’m an amateur myself, but I absolutely love to yammer on about my sewing and see what others are making. I just finished a 1960’s pattern shirtdress…made with Liberty Tana Lawn. Can you say swoon? I’d even consider running a marathon, if it meant a lifetime supply of that fabric. πŸ˜‰ I would love to hear about your own adventures in dressmaking. Do you blog about sewing anywhere or have a PR or Burda account?

  9. As someone in the camp of those currently training for a marathon, and as someone who was recently “freshly pressed” for a post about running a half-marathon, I have to say that I found your article somewhat sad and not at all accurate. Obviously (based on your article and the comments you’ve received) some people DON’T care about the accomplishments of those who have run a marathon, or who are training to do so. But judging from my own article and the comments there (http://rinamarie.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/well-i-did-it-from-260lbs-to-half-marathon/), I can say with certainty that there are many people who DO. Why? Because as you’ve stated, we ARE experiencing an “epidemic” of those who are conscious about their health and want to do something about it. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve met who were previously mobridly overweight (myself, included) who have turned their lives around and used running distance as a tool. Those people (myself included) ARE encouraged and inspired by the acheivements of other marathon runners. And for those of us who have gone from couch potatoes who couldn’t walk to the mailbox without getting winded, to half-marathon and full-marathon runners, it IS an acheivement worth sharing. Perhaps you’ve never weighed 200+ pounds before, but for those of us who have, we’re not just bragging when we talk about how far we’ve come – we’re hoping to, and succeeding in, encouraging others that they can do it, too.

    • Thank you for saying that. Most distance runners I know do it for their health and a sense of accomplishment (impact cardio is actually really good for bone strength). Training for anything takes you out of the “I want to flap around on an elliptical and flirt with the boys doing dumbbell curls” zone and into a full assessment of every angle of your own health and mental stamina. It’s true, anyone can make absolutely anything into a flamboyant demonstration of their wit and of how special they are, including run a marathon. But also including cutting down people who are working really hard to accomplish a difficult task due to, perhaps, some personal insecurities or even sour grapes.

    • Congratulations on your weight loss, your half marathon, and your Freshly Pressed post! This post wasn’t meant to be offensive, but it did come from an honest place. Obviously, I think keeping fit and healthy is wonderful, even if it’s marathons that help you do that. However, I also have a right not to run one or talk about running them. There are plenty of ways to keep fit and everyone’s choice on the matter is different. I’m thrilled that you found one that works for you!

      • Grace, of course you have a right not to run marathons or talk about running them, and of course there are plenty of ways to keep fit! Although, from a purely brag-worthy standpoint, saying you completed a 90 day course of P90X just doesn’t sound as good as saying you ran a marathon (to add to the points you’re making in this article.) πŸ™‚
        What was offensive to me, and I think, to some others, was the sarcasm through which you chose to express your opinions. I understand that you meant to be humorous but you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t think calling others “asshats” or accusing them of being bragocious when they share their excitement over training for an accomplishing an incredibly difficult goal is funny. Personally, I think running a marathon should absolutely be included in my “this person is awesome” list of statistics. Because for many of us who dedicate large portions of our lives to accomplishing this sort of task, it does, in a number of ways, come to define a part of who we are.
        I don’t mean to offend you or any of your readers, but it seems to me that the vast majority of those who agree with what you’ve written here are those who have never run a marathon before and have no desire to do so. To poke fun at someone over something you’ve never done before – to call them jerks and asshats and accuse them of doing it for purely superficial, selfish reasons – when you have no idea what kind of journey they’ve been on that has led them to the marathon, IS offensive even if you didn’t mean for it to be so.
        As for your mention of marathon running being bad for your heart, you might want to consider this article, quoting studies done by a woman who IS a doctor, an instructor at Harvard University and the director of the Women’s Health Heart Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.
        http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-241-285–11405-1-1X2-3,00.html
        I appreciate your willingness to respond to those who have felt your article is offensive. And if anything, your article has served to remind me that running a marathon is a PERSONAL goal, something that will ultimately serve to make me a better person – if for no other reason than that I persevered in something difficult and achieved a personal goal. We marathoners (or half marathoners, in my case so far!) can certainly suffer from puffed head syndrome. We’re just so durned proud of ourselves, we think the rest of the world should be, too!!! Thanks for reminding me that sometimes less sharing is more. πŸ™‚

        • So agree with you Rina. What’s with the hate with this blog, and so what if people display their accomplishment? Why are you so bothered about it huh? Are the ones proclaiming their accomplishment committing a crime? Are you dying whenever you see the FB posts about Marathon from your FB friends? Just so let them display the bumper sticker or their finish time. To the writer, grow up dear!

          • To each their own. I can see both sides of the issue, and I fall more on the end of someone who has lost 70 pounds and has kept it off through diet and exercise, which includes training for marathons…and joining a group of runners that holds me accountable and shares a passion of running with me. So frankly, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I can see how some are offended and some are entertained by this post. People are going to say what they want to say and there will always be critics. I will continue to be passionate about fitness and running and will continue to share my love with whoever is inspired enough to listen. Until then, write what you want and express yourself and I’ll continue to do the same.

            • I too do not understand the hate associated with long-distance running. What strikes me most about this article is that the author is a doctor. Almost everything she writes could be applied to medical school. “When you tell people what you’re doing, they will act as if you just cured cancer. You will be called disciplined, persistent, and amazing!”

              I suspect the author wishes she could complete a marathon, just as she had the desire to complete medical school. For the rewards, prestige, etc., but she was unable to do so, and needs to gather comments from similarly envious people to put down the sport just to feel better.

              I am sure we could find similar hate-drizzled articles from people who did not make medical school calling students “ass-hats” for prancing around in shiny white coats.

  10. I have been running more to keep in shape, but since I have only recently been able to do 2 miles at a time without turning into a tomato-faced, wheezing mess, 26.2 isn’t even on the radar…and probably never will be. You know how the dried salt from sweat plus fabric shirt shaves your nipples off? Yeah, gonna skip that one. I’d like to see if I could run a 10K at some point, but that’s as far as I am likely to push it.

    • Oh, geez. I forgot about the nipple side effects. When my dear Kate was training for a marathon, she would regularly call me with the newest crazy side effect she’d read about. That was one that really solidified my decision not to run one! Yikes.

  11. Hahaha, I loved this. You’re freakin’ hysterical, but you are so right! Who gives a rat’s ass about running a marathon and being labeled “F’in awesome”?
    I don’t run, don’t care to run, don’t want to run. I power walk just about every day and do weights. Above all, I exercise my mind and I mean that literally.

    Gotta say, you nailed this. And your advice about the effects of running are worth the time to read.

    Val
    http://valentinedefrancis.wordpress.com

    • Thanks so much for the comment, Val! You have exactly the outlook on exercise that I think is great – do it, but realize that it’s just one of many important things. Your mind is, by far, the best part of your body to exercise religiously.

  12. You should encourage people you dislike to run marathons. First, all that training will eat into their evil doing time. Second, aerobic exercise is supposed to have a positive impact on cognitive abilities. This might lead to a clearer understanding of their wickedness and possible repentance (assuming Socrates is right). Third, if marathons are as harmful as you claim, it will lower their life expectancy thus reducing the amount of ass-hatery they can engage in.

    • Thanks for the comment! Isn’t that study amazing? It’s one of the most interesting parts of modern psychological research – people’s outer appearances really play into how we view their personalities, as well. They’ve also done a ton of research into hair color, glasses wearing, and other things that affect first impressions. It’s staggering.

      And, you’re very right – the same attitude that gets people running marathons is the one that gets them volunteering overseas and researching disease cures.

  13. Congrats on the Fresh Press! Great post — You gave me my best laugh of the day. As a casual, short-distance runner, I feel like there’s an attitude from marathoners that you’re “not good enough/not a *real* runner” until you’ve reached the Holy Grail of the 26.2 finish line. Boo hiss to that. You’ve inspired me to volunteer in the time spent NOT training for a long run.

    • Hooray! I’m so glad you got a laugh out of this post *and* some inspiration! And you are so right about the real running = marathons attitude – I hear complaints about that all the time from my runner friends. People need to chill out. Running is running is running. However long people choose to do it for is their business! Thanks so much for the great comment (and for having an awesome username).

    • Thanks for the comment and the reminder, Cultfit! I’ve repeated to myself every time this post offended someone today…which was more than I thought possible.

    • Ah love this haters gonna hate…thats what you are doing Grace…think anyone wants to hear about you becoming a doctor? Because I dont care about that, maybe I should dedicate a blog to all you asshats πŸ™‚

      • So true, so true. I am sure Grace had pictures of her over-glorified “white coat ceremony” and diplomas gingerly decorating her walls. Doctors are the ass hats of this country!

        Even Grace said it herself: “the same attitude that gets people running marathons is the one that gets them … researching disease cures.”

        Scores an 11 on the hypocritometer!

  14. what the what?! was serious about doing a marathon in 2012 but the whole ‘cardiac scarring’ thing doesn’t sound that great… what to do?! I may have to continue being a jerk. And I thought I’d come so far http://www.trivibe.com

    • Accepting your jerk status is the first step towards redemption. πŸ˜‰ And, really, as long as your train thoroughly, you can combat the effects. It’s building up slowly that really helps prevent the heart issues. Good luck on your marathon! And thanks for the great comment!

  15. awesome! I’ve been using the reasoning of “I don’t enjoy running, I don’t have gym class anymore and you’re not the boss of me” when my coworkers and friends start talking about creating some sort of group running/race-entering extravaganza… now I can tell them I’m being heart-conscious… and I still don’t run unless I’m being chased by something/someone particularly terrifying.
    congrats on FP

    • Thanks for commenting, Lexy! Don’t you hate those group race initiatives? It’s so hard to get out of them, without looking like a bad team player. Glad to give you another defense against them!

  16. Did I just read in the above comments that some of them took you seriously? Really? We can E-mail news of battles won and battles lost now. Then we can follow it up with a phone call to see if they got the E-mail. We don’t run to give news in person any more. Way worth the read. Thanks.

    • Thanks so much for the comment and especially the support, millodello! I thought it was pretty tongue-in-cheek, but I obviously didn’t come across that way universally. Thanks again!

  17. Great post.

    It’s also hell to be in a writing group or class with any Runner (capital “R”), because they inevitably write a terrible essay about some transcendent experience running through the rain, or through the snow, or through the fog, or around the lake, or over the hill, or under the bridge, or through the alley, or through the garbage, or away from their problems, or toward their problems, or away from their past, or toward their future, or away from their family, or lover, or ex-lover, or imagined lover, or with their dog, or without their dog, past the city, past the suburbs, past the countryside, past the mountains, past the bayou, past everything, over a burlap sack of motherless kittens, over the rainbow, around the benevolent winos (who they always feel compelled to mention but not to help), and it never, ever stops.

    • I once trained for a marathon (got up to about 18 miles and decided, nope, I don’t like running that much, and quit) and I’m definitely one of those people that used the marathon as a comparison in an article for a website. And now I kind of want to slap myself every time I read it!

      • Thanks for the reply, Kate–

        I’m not so much opposed to running as I am to hearing about it every…single…time…I’m in a workshop setting of any sort. Makes me want to *run* out of the room.

    • Jordan, your comment made me cackle…loud enough that I startled my poor dog awake. I’m pretty sure we’ve taken the same writing classes. The number of short stories I’ve read which use The Great Running Metaphor has to number in the dozens. They always make me want to write another story, where a pogo-stick riding narrator solves all her romantic problems through the simple joy of the pogo. Thanks for the laugh!

        • Stella, quite frankly, you’re two years late to this article. Could you stop now at this, your ninth comment in twenty minutes? My cardiovascular fitness is great, but my fingers are tired from approving your comments and your eyes must be tired from reading these threads. I get it: you think I’m a bitchy doctor who wishes she could run a marathon. You don’t know me, I don’t know you, and this article is ancient history. Let’s agree to disagree and move on, ok?

  18. I am a massage therapist by profession and I argree with you. There is always a periodic resurgence of equating the good with the beautiful in some circles but it’s a fashion and a fad like everything else. It comes and it goes.

    • Thanks so much for the comment! Isn’t it interesting how changeable we are when it comes to opinions on “traditional” beauty and its inherent value? I’ve started to see so many articles and sites that seem to going the other direction, which gives me hope that we’re cycling back around.

  19. Whoever you are, you hit the nail on the head! I never undstood my decade-long dream to run a marathon until reading this post. Between, Nike and Lululemon, I feel like I’m really missing out on some big phenemenon. This has been a much appreciated read.

    -A slow, short distance runner

    • Thanks for the comment, Solomon! Isn’t it amazing how much companies push the marathon? I hate to be so cynical, but the more we run, the more we do wear out our running gear…

  20. I think you are all full of SH_T!! Ya there are those runners that won’t give you the time of day and think they “Shoes” don’t stink, but thats in any sport, you guys are running with the wrong people.
    I started running 3 years ago and have met some of the BEST people in the world. Seeing the same people running through the park highlights my day, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve ran without somebody saying Hi of good morning without a smille. I’m just saying……

    • Sorry this hit you the wrong way, Heath. I wasn’t saying runners are bad – I love runners! Some of my favorite people are runners! I just don’t think becoming a runner is the cure to personality ills. Rather, if you’re a jerk, running a long distance won’t make me think you aren’t one. That’s all.

      • Maybe your title could have been If You Are a Jerk Before the Marathon You Will Still Be One After.
        It came across somewhat, to me, that you thought runners were idiots. It seems more that you believe idiots are idiots, and simply running does not exalt you to a higher level, (except maybe a higher level of idiot).

  21. Wicked. I loved the pretending comment. I have never pretended or run a marathon, but I have dreamed of it long and hard. Now I have a good reason not to, even if I could. πŸ™‚ Thanks.

    Kate

  22. Great post – was good to read a different angle of running marathons, since we don’t usually see posts that cover this side of things! Congrats on being freshly pressed! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for the comment, Dounia! I’m glad you liked it – running is one of those odd things that seems to be almost universally praised. I think if you love it, then it’s great. If not, then I just want people to know they’re in good company. πŸ™‚

  23. I’m 18 and I’ve run two half marathons and a full…honestly I think after all this I’d rather put my time to better use than ritualistic running that makes me emaciated…but nonetheless, I’ve got that pride factor now haha

    • Wow. Logan, I have to sincerely congratulate you. Running all that by 18 is pretty dang impressive…you deserve every inch of that pride. (And thanks for taking this post as humorous!)

  24. You’re right, being deeply involved in any one thing, whether it is running, or anything else, shows only that you have an interest and massage it. My teenager is a long distance runner, which means he is generally limited to 5Ks at this time. He finished his first half marathon a month ago but kept the pace to a training level, and felt good about the achievement. He is also involved with singing in the school’s chamber choir, is an honor student and is now organizing a 5K run for charity in our town. Stretching more than muscles, be well rounded (even if thin).

    • Thanks so much for the comment! And congratulations to your son – a half marathon as a teenager is an amazing accomplishment. I came off a bit harsh against runners, but its really those people who let that define them, instead of how they treat others. I am in your corner, the most important thing is being well-rounded…in both body and mind.

  25. Just signed up for half a marathon today, but will of course make myself sound even better when I can mention that I used my last 5k race as an excuse to have my friends open their wallets and donate money for UNICEF…that must at least make me on the road for Mother Teresa fame?!?

    • Oh, aclundin, you’re definitely on the road! Anything that gets support going to a good cause is bonus sainthood points. Thanks for the comment and good luck on your half marathon! πŸ˜€

  26. I’ve ran marathons. Hated them. I swore off running anything but a peaceful trail and then switched to endurance mountain biking. I don’t do it for the fitness, compliments, or to save the world, I do it to play in the dirt and feel like a kid again.

    • Thanks for the comment, Mia. In my opinion, that’s the best reason to do anything – because you absolutely love it. Also, I’ve got to say, endurance mountain biking sounds like a hell of a lot more fun that endurance running. I can imagine why you love it!

    • Oye ve! The darn bumper stickers! It makes me want to start putting my accomplishments on stickers too. “Sews an excellent dress!” and the name of my literary agency just don’t have the same cache though. πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for the comment!

  27. LOL I recently noticed the marathon epidemic spreading among my friends too….I started to think something was wrong with me that I had no desire to run 26.2 miles at 6 AM on Thanksgiving. Please. I can barely run around the block, which is why me and my heart enjoy Bikram yoga. Stretch it out. You’re hilarious.

    Side note: The “26.2 Mile Princess” bumper stickers are multiplying at an insane rate here in Dallas. I think I’m the only car in the parking garage without one. πŸ™‚

      • Finally!! An answer to all of the bumper stickers I’ve been seeing in the DFW area.

        I had no idea what 13.1 or 26.2 meant – I was stuck on it being a radio station or secret cult!!

        Congrats on being FP’d!!!

      • Karaboo, thanks so much for the comment! And – no worries – you are so not alone on the bumper sticker confusion. It took me way too long to figure out what those meant!

    • Bikram shout out! Thanks for the comment, Rachel! Also, can we just discuss how ridiculous the Dallas marathon is, especially? I swear, most of my Facebook friends were up super early over Thanksgiving holiday just to run it. Oye ve. I’ll take some more sleep and a slice of pumpkin pie, please.

  28. Bahahaha! I don’t understand running, period. I run towards food or if someone’s chasing me. (Or chasing me with food?) Marathoners are crazy. I watched my sister run a 1/2 marathon and some guy almost died. For real. He had a heart attack RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. There are easier and less heart-exploding ways to give to charity. Love the blog:)

    • Jessie, thanks so much for the comment! You know that’s always my dad’s exact same argument – he’s heard of way too many people having heart attacks while marathoning. I will take my moderate exercise without the chance of death on the side.

  29. I’m actually speechless after reading this. In a good way. It’s all the sentiments I’ve felt about people who run marathons all jotted down in a way that I could never word properly. I love it. You’re a fantastic writer and I can’t wait to read more posts! You’ve picked up another subscriber!

    Cheers! (I’m still not British either despite my sever addiction to British TV and use of ‘shag’, ‘cheers’, ‘wicked’, and ‘flat’. Maybe someday!)

  30. I used to like me some running but am into rowing more, lately. That’s right rowing. Not in a boat but on a machine in front of a lofted plasma screen. And those elliptical thing-a-majigs, those are cool too.

    This message has been provided by the Bureau of Physical Maintenance.

    • David, you’re my kind of exerciser. While I do love fresh air and all that jazz…I’m a bigger fan of my gym’s personal TV screens and air conditioning. Thanks for the comment!

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