The Long Miles
The Friday Cookbook faces the road ahead of us, and decides to make a stew.
Though it might be hard to believe, given the food and drink and general lifestyle I promote here, I’ve run five marathons in my lifetime, a fact I am obliged to shoehorn in mention of whenever I can. Running a marathon is both a wonderful journey and a horrible, lonely toil, and that duality only becomes truly clear around Mile 18 or so.
There’s some clear physiology behind this—the moment when runners tend to hit “the wall” is mostly a factor of the body’s capacity to store carbohydrates being fully exhausted. But there’s a psychological component to it as well. The nervous, excited of the start line, the “all-in-this-together” camaraderie of hundreds or even thousands of people standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the pre-dawn hours united against a shared challenge—that feeling is long gone by the later miles, as often are the cheering crowds. You’re out there alone with your thoughts, and each successive mile marker feels further and further apart. You’re too far in to turn back, but…