I'm Truly Sorry For This, But You're About To Hear All About The Last Marathon I RanCommentary • Opinion • health • ISSUE 48•31 • Jul 31, 2012 By Michael Cowie Listen, it's great catching up with you, and believe me, I'm really enjoying this conversation we're having, but I'm afraid I now have to do something that will make this exchange very awkward and unpleasant for you. I feel absolutely terrible about it, and so I want to give you fair warning: You're about to hear all about the marathon I just ran.I'm truly sorry, but I'm going to have to go pretty in depth about my months of preparation, talk all about the encouragement and support I received from friends and family, and give you a mile-by-mile assessment of my state of mind and physical condition during the race. I hate to say it, but it's going to take quite a bit of your time.Mile split times, cramping, hydration levels, chafing—you're about to hear all of that. Plus, I'll be dwelling on one point around mile 17 when I considered stopping but then decided to keep going because I'd already come so far. There's a lot to cover, so I want to be upfront and apologize right off the bat.This is going to be pretty unbearable.I'll inevitably start with how I carbo-loaded the night before the race, which by itself will not be a particularly long or objectionable story, but let me assure you it will segue right into an excruciatingly detailed explanation of the diet I maintain to stay in peak physical shape. And that, in turn, will lead into my training regimen, my special lightweight marathon gear, and, unfortunately for you, a lengthy period during which I expound upon the health benefits of distance running.I know this isn't the kind of thing you want to listen to—hey, no one does—but I'm going to include several anecdotes about my running partner Erik, a person you don't know and couldn't possibly be interested in hearing about. You'll learn that he's an attorney and a rock climber and that we're part of a team that does the Run for Leukemia 10k every year, which will be another whole five-minute aside right there. Sorry.Believe me, if I could stop myself from talking about this, I would. But I can't, and so I'm going to tell you all about my personal best time, and you're going to think to yourself, "This guy's the fucking worst." But here's the truly awful part: Out of politeness, you will have to pretend to be impressed by that number, even though to you it will seem completely arbitrary and hold no meaning at all.You'll also be hearing quite a bit about the sense of accomplishment I felt upon finishing the race. You're going to hate that, trust me. There will be detestable phrases like "I never thought I could do it, but I did" and "It truly was a life-changing experience" and "It's a huge commitment, but definitely worth it." I'll be repeating the number 26.2 an infuriating number of times.My God, I can barely express how insufferable I'm going to be.I'm so sorry, I know you've done nothing to deserve this, but right when you think I'm finished talking—just when you get your hopes up—I'll mention how this wasn't my first marathon, and then you're going to hear details of my three other full marathons, as well as a half marathon and a couple marathon relays I did. I can't even imagine how horrible it will be for you to hear how I believe I've progressed as a runner, but by that point in, there just won't be any getting around it.And while it is at best tangentially related, I may at any moment during the conversation launch into an agonizing digression on the merits of five-day juice cleanses. I beg your forgiveness.Worst of all, though, I'm definitely going to run other marathons in the future, so I'll have to tell you all about the various races I'm thinking about entering and the pros and cons of each course. Please, accept my deepest apologies in advance, because as excruciating as today's discussion is, it won't end here. Every single day during my weeks of preparation leading up to the next race, I'm going to make you stop whatever you're doing to tell you the number of miles I ran the previous evening. Isn't that awful? No one should have to listen to that.I'll also have to tell you that you should run one of these things, too. I honestly can't convey how intensely sorry I feel that these words will soon be coming out of my mouth, but I will actually say to you that if I can run a marathon, so can you.Wow, I'm really, really sorry. I don't know how you'll be able to tolerate this.But anyway, here goes.