One day a year I am a sports fan. Usually I shake my head unsympathetically when I read about sporting events interfering with people's productivity at work (March Madness: who cares? and why?), but on Patriot Day I keep refreshing Twitter for Boston Marathon news.
Maybe it's because I have more of a referent for distance running than for other sports. I have a pretty good feel for how long I could maintain a 5:00 mile pace. (Answer: about 7 seconds. If I were being chased by a bear, maybe 8.) And so the idea of Rita Jeptoo knocking out a 4:48 mile 23 -- that reduced me to a blithering pile of wargle flungle zppt last year. (And then when she flunked her blood test after Chicago! Oooh! I was mad! Was it a clean win in Boston, do you figure? Either way, I still can't watch Shalane Flanagan's interview from last year without tearing up.)
Today I was pulling for her again, and for Meb Keflezighi. Neither had a great day. Meb says he threw up 5 times after mile 23. And this -- this blows my mind. If I throw up 5 times in one day I am going straight to bed, where I will rest not only on my pillow but also on a vast cushiony raft of self-pity. Throwing up 5 times puts my barfometer's needle right up in the red zone. My list of things to do after throwing up 5 times includes "drink small sips of ginger ale" and "whimper." Meb's list of things to do after throwing up 5 times includes "bust out a few more sub-5:30 miles and then talk to the media about how I wish I'd gone faster."
I guess that's why he's an elite runner and I'm...not.