At the end of our long run each Saturday, there’s a point when the endorphins get to me and I’m struck with complete awe at what the human body can do. I inevitably gush to Scott and Becky at how proud I am of us and what we’re doing. Every long run feels like a big mountain, and finishing it feels like hitting the summit and seeing the breathtaking view below. No matter how tired or wobbly my legs are, after conquering the run I feel like I can conquer the world.
This Saturday was the Olympic trials for the marathon. Out of roughly 200 runners, three men and three women qualified to compete for the USA in London this summer. The men’s qualifiers (who are unlikely to even be medal contenders during the games) ran 26.2 miles at a pace of less than 5 minutes per mile. The women’s qualifiers ran at roughly a 5:30 pace. It blows me away.
Each of the qualifiers are inspiring in their own way. Ryan Hall trains completely independently, earning the fastest marathon ever by an American at Boston last year (he ran it in 2:04:58, or just a few minutes longer than my last HALF marathon.) Shalane Flanagan ran her first marathon ever in 2010, finishing second with a time of 2:28:40, the fastest NYC marathon time for an American woman in more than 20 years. Her and her teammates Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher are expected to give the Kenyans a run for their money this summer.
If I feel like I can conquer the world after 15 miles, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to run at that level on behalf of your country. It must feel like you’re running with the wind.