Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Florence Marathon

Today was the Florence Marathon. No, I didn't run it. I'm a sprinter, not a distance runner. And you runners can tell me that a marathon is just a series of sprints, but the reality is I only have about 5 good sprints in me on a good day. That and a bus ticket will get me to the finish line.

I went  for a walk today and couldn't believe my eyes. There, casually walking down the street like they hadn't just run a bazillion miles were some of the runners on their way home. They weren't staggering down the sidewalk. They weren't using the buildings to hold themselves up. They weren't being tenderly carried by loved ones. They were walking. Many of them were smiling. I don't get it.

I spent a few blocks thinking hard about what must go on in the mind of a runner. I certainly couldn't run all those miles and then still walk home. I'm sure there's some kind of runners wisdom that says you should keep moving after running and not collapse into a boneless, muscle-less heap. I can't think of what it might be, but I'm sure one of you will tell me. I still think I would like to be carried home like Cleopatra on a divan carried by four extremely strong and beautiful men. Not that I could do anything with them at that point, but the view would be nice.

I was walking towards the finish line and suddenly I seemed to be surrounded by people wearing shiny foil blankets and pretty metals. I was starting to feel a little lazy and thought a climb up to Piazzale Michelangelo would make me feel more athletic. And it did, at first.

I climbed the 200 or so meters to the top and congratulated myself on making it up without stopping. I turned to look out over the city and behind me were some of the runners climbing up behind me so they could have their picture taken at the overlook after running the marathon. I felt a little less pleased with myself then.

On the walk home I wondered if perhaps I should, just once in my life, do something athletic. Not running, because we have already established that I am not a runner. But if we use the broadest definition possible I could be called a cyclist. I think I should just once in my life participate in a long ride that ends with me wearing a silver foil blanket and wearing a pretty medal. Just so I can say that I did. And I can feel less like a couch potato and like a more active and upright vegetable, like a snap pea.

Or this could be the lamest idea I've had in years. I guess we'll find out.


  1. Michele, typically after running a marathon you WANT to collapse into a heap, but then getting back up is a challenge. Seriously. After my first one I could barely lift my leg to go up the CURB! It is better to keep walking, and after you get some food into your tummy you do feel like smiling.

  2. Wendi, I'll take your word for it. I've never experienced the "second wind" or that damned euphoria that runners go on about either. I think, like I'm not a brunette, I'm not a runner. It's just not in my genes. I can live with it. And cheer on my great friends who can do something I can't.