• Running is to me what sweaters are to Bill Cosby.
• True love is letting someone run in front of you on a single-track trail.
• I believe that if all members of Congress were forced to train for a marathon together, our government would get a lot more done. I also believe we’d have a lot fewer members of Congress.
• I would run even if running made me fat. I know this because cake makes me fat and I still eat cake.
• Last month, Meb Keflezighi beat a stacked field of elite runners from around the globe to become the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983, a feat for which he earned $150,000. Albert Pujols makes over $161,000 per game, even if he doesn’t play.
• Nothing is sacred in distance running. There are no genteel scruples at mile twenty. If you’re a prude, sign up for a marathon. The distance will whack the prude right of you.
• I run for the money. Namely, if I’m gonna dish out $120 to run a marathon, I’m going to cross the finish line, even if it kills me.
• Top three phrases that should be outlawed:
“How long was your marathon?”
“Run, Forrest, Run!"
“You’re almost there!”
• Running is the ultimate egalitarian society; it is capitalism in sport. It promises equal opportunity, not equal results. You must risk everything to reap great reward, but even then, nothing is guaranteed.
• Who started this “just the half” business? A half marathon isn’t half of anything. If it were, you wouldn’t get a finisher’s medal.
• Runners dish out training and racing advice like it’s going out of style, but they follow it like it already has.
• Napoleon Bonaparte is a surprisingly inspirational source of quotes for runners, even though he was 1) French and 2) a tyrant. I have a feeling he would have been one heck of a track athlete—a short, annoying, egomaniacal track athlete.
Top Three Napoleon Quotes for Runners:
“A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.”
“Victory belongs to the most persevering.”
“The first virtue in a soldier is endurance of fatigue. Courage is only the second virtue.”
• I’ve seen people who look fast but run slow, and people who look slow but run fast. I find this wonderful.
• Nothing tastes as good as a post-run coffee because nothing tastes as good as a post-run anything.
• Mexican food after midnight can be a bear at mile fifteen. A flatulent, dyspeptic bear.
• Runners are the nicest group of backstabbers you’ll ever meet. We’ll ask you your goal time, your pacing strategy, your PR, and your age group. We’ll humbly tell you that we’re “just trying to finish.” We’ll wish you luck and say we hope that we can hang with you—and we’ll almost start to believe our own magnanimity. But don’t be deceived. No one in your corral is your friend. From the moment we find out that your goal time is within five minutes of our own, we devote our souls to taking you down.
• I’m really good at making bad training decisions. Not because I’m trying to make bad training decisions, but because I always seem to forget to make good ones.
• In racing, some days you win, some days you lose, and some days you end up in the medical tent.
• It’s not worth worrying about aches and sluggishness during your taper. Advil and adrenaline go a long way on race day.
• “Bodily haste and exertion usually leave our thoughts very much at the mercy of our feelings and imagination.” Truth for any runner, courtesy of George Eliot’s first novel, Adam Bede, published in 1859.
• My biggest fear in racing isn’t that I won’t be able to go on. It’s knowing that no matter how badly it hurts, I can.
• Running is the only sport in which you compete on the same playing field on the same day at the same time as the pros. You can’t waltz onto Lambeau Field for a game of flag football. You can’t play wiffle ball at Busch Stadium. You can’t schedule a round of eighteen at Augusta in the middle of the Masters. You can, however, turn to Meb and say, “How ‘bout that finish on Boylston? Great day for a race.”
• When you think about it, NBA uniforms in the 1980s and track and field uniforms in the 1980s weren’t all that different. Like, at all.
• The running community is real. We are a united people, a nation bound together by shared experience. Age, gender, nationality, language, occupation, and tax brackets don’t exist. There is only the unfiltered humanity of the miles. We can look at another runner passing by and, with a subtle nod, speak a thousand words of understanding. It is a transcendent empathy. It is real.
• Who invented the split short? And when that person did, was there a subsequent improvement in finish times across the record board?
• No, but seriously. Somebody get some race registration forms for Congress.
Amy L. Marxkors is the author of The Lola Papers: Marathons, Misadventures, and How I Became a Serious Runner. Her second book, Powered By Hope: The Teri Griege Story, will be released in 2014. Click here to receive Amy's weekly article via email.