Thursday, October 18, 2012

Goal #51: Run a 50 Mile Marathon

What is it about young men what they feel a need to prove they can do anything?  It seems the more bizzard the act, the more of a man we seem to be. That has always been such a mystery to me. I was 17 years old when I ran my first 50 mile marathon. I think it was a community sponsored event but I discovered that the Boy Scouts of America used this event to have their boys complete their 50/20 requirement (run or walk 50 miles within 20 hours). I have always loved running since I was a kid. At the time I was on the school’s cross country team so I was in pretty good shape to do this. I knew a few months before that I would do this so I made it a point to put in a lot of long miles.

I had never run a 50 marathon before and I didn’t know what to expect. I ran it in Laguna Beach, California along the Coast Highway and then through the back roads. The course was a 25 mile course which we ran twice.

My first year I ran it with my brother Tom and a couple of other friends. It was really a remarkable experience. I had never run so far for so long before. I had no idea what kind of running strategy to use or what I was in for. Tom and I ran the whole 50 miles in cheap tennis shoes that we bought at K-Mart. By the time we were done we could hardly walk. We were all chaffed throughout our crotches and under our arm pits. Both places were rubbed so raw that they were bleeding. Our knees and hips hurt so much that we could hardly lift our feet up on the curb without extreme pain.

Tom came in 11th place and I came in 12th. We crossed the finish line together with a time of 12 hours and 43 minutes.

It was weeks before I could walk without a noticeable limp. I guess that running something so demanding and so difficult is a lot like having a baby. It was such a long race and was so hard and was filled with so much pain that told myself I was never going to run that marathon again. But 8 months later, I was already making plans to run it again the next year.

I find it interesting that some people have this need to do things that put the body through such distress and torment to see what it can endure. It was such a hard thing to do, yet I did it again the next year. I ran it the second year in 8 hours and 23 minutes. I was planning on doing it again a 3rd time but I ended up going on my mission instead and never ran that race again after I got back. I’m quite proud that I can say I’ve done that and that I’ve done it twice.   

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