Pu Pu Platter

A collection of running thoughts, quotes, advice, and observances… and a “Runner’s Alphabet.” I even threw in a poem, just for the heck of it. Eat hearty!

There are two kinds of runners in the world: weird runners and… Okay, there is only one kind of runner in the world. 

Race day advice: Don’t be modest. You must be confident to run well. Assertive. Fearless. Doubt masquerades as humility. Don’t buy it. No one ever worried himself to a PR.

One of my greatest fears is not that I’ll meet some terrible fate while running, but that the subsequent newspaper report will refer to me as a “jogger.”

“I don’t think I can” is another way of saying “I am afraid to.” “I can’t” means “I don’t want to.”

I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the blinking patterns of LED reflective gear. 

I run for the money. No, I don’t get paid to train. No, I don’t get paid to race. But I coughed up $95 to run a half marathon in March, and I’m gonna finish the race if it kills me. 

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell—who also happens to be an experienced runner and a member of the famous NYRR—once observed that running is “effortlessly international.” I think that is beautiful. 

A kick in the pants from Frank Shorter, the only American to win a gold medal in the Olympic marathon: “There is no shortcut to improvement. There are no secret formulas or cryptic training methods. The only ‘shortcut’ to improvement is putting in the miles.” 

The Runner’s Alphabet

A is for Age Group Awards.

CarbsB is for the Boston Marathon. Or for getting beaten by a guy in a banana suit.

C is for clock time and chip time and calf cramps and carbs.

D is for deodorant and the showers we don’t take.

E is for elite.

F is for fartlek and finish line.

G is for GU and GPS.

H is for hydration and hamstrings.

I is for IT band. And foam rollers. (There’s no “I” in foam rollers, but whatever.)

J is for Jack Daniels. (Your guess if I’m referring to the famed running coach or the whiskey.)

K is for Kenyan. Duh.

L is for lines. Start lines. Finish lines. Porta-potty lines. Oh, and limping.

M is for medals. Duh.

N is for “not today.” Like, that PR ain’t gonna happen today, bucko.

O is for overpriced official race merchandise.

P is for Paula and her 2:15 marathon. It’s also for packet pick-ups and PRs. But I mentioned Paula first because, well, PRs don’t always happen. (See “N.”)

Q is for qualifying, as in Boston.

R is for registration and race day and Rock ’n’ Roll races and refinancing, which is what you’ll have to do after your register for enough Rock ’n’ Roll races.

S is for split shorts and mile splits and race shirts.

T is for tapering and Turkey Trots and race t-shirts. (Wait, “S” is for race shirts. What’s going on?)

U is for “Ugh.” (See “W.”)

V is for VO2Max. And speaking with a German accent: “Do you vant to vin ze race?”

W is for THE WALL.

X is for cross country. (You know, “XC.”)

Y is running Yassos until your face falls off.

Z is for Emil Zapotek, who famously said, “If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”

Lastly, a poem, appropriately titled, “To Marathon”:

To MarathonTo pursue a goal you cannot see.
To apply what you have done to what you must do.
To sacrifice.
To dare.
To not fear pain.
To not fear hard.
To undertake both.
To meet the limits of endurance.
To push beyond.
To have a body with nothing left to give.
To have a mind that believes otherwise.
To be carried by a thousand cheers.
To know the strength in the words of a stranger.
To fall.
To be lifted.
To keep running.

Amy L. Marxkors is the author of The Lola Papers: Marathons, Misadventures, and How I Became a Serious Runner and Powered By Hope: The Teri Griege Story.  Click here to receive Amy's weekly article via email.

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