Monday, October 05, 2015

No Feeling in the World

There's no feeling in the world like running strong in the closing miles of a marathon. I didn't say it was the best feeling in the world, although it's definitely in the top ten. I didn't say running strong for the closing mile or at the end of a marathon, although those experiences are nice too. No, by closing miles, I mean something like the last three to seven miles or so.

It's truly unique. Running strong at the end of a 5K or even 10-miler does feel good, but not as good as a marathon. I suppose that running strong at the end of an ultramarathon might be as nice too.

The thing is, for many of us, these situations are exceedingy rare. Out of my 102 marathons, I would guess that less than 30% saw a strong finish. Of those, probably half were considered by me to be long training runs and not full-blown efforts. That leaves us with perhaps 15% of the efforts where the finishing miles are what I'd call strong. Strong being faster than the average pace for the rest of the race.

Now that the definitions are out of the way, I would like to try to describe the feeling itself... But I can't. There's no way to talk about it; it simply has to be experienced.

And being so rare, it may take a lot of tries. But it's worth it. Worth all the times when things didn't go so well. Every single one of them.

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