Sunday, August 17, 2008
This is Glendale Junior/Senior High in Glendale, OR, "Home of the Pirates." Never let it be said that these guys lack in school spirit.
I think that I must be insane. After a twenty miler yesterday, I could easily have taken today off. Nope. Or run less than the nine miles that I had had scheduled for Saturday. Nope. Or at least not run it at the 10 minute pace. Nope. OK, I could have at least picked a pretty flat route. Nope. I went out and popped off 9.2 miles in 91 minutes, over a couple of the worst hills in town. It was very, very tough!
I thought a lot about Paula Radcliffe. Paula Radcliffe, a British runner, was one of the favorites for a gold medal in the Women's Olympic Marathon last night. She had led the marathon in Athens in 2004, but dropped out. Some in the press -- undoubtedly people who couldn't run a mile without coughing up a lung -- called her a quitter. So she had something to prove in Beijing. But she lost a lot of training due to a stress fracture, so this just wasn't her day. She hung in there gamely for well over half the 26 miles, but faded back, and just managed to chug home in 23rd place.
I don't know what it's like to be Paula Radcliffe. I don't know what it's like to feel the pressure of a whole nation riding on your back. Her "lackluster" finish was so much faster than I'll ever run that it's not even funny. She had to finish her run on world-wide television, and I finished mine in the roaring silence of a quiet Sunday morning in my little town. But we have this much in common. On Sunday morning, August 17, 2008, we both really, really felt like giving up and packing it in, but we both gritted our teeth and girded our loins and just kept on running. In that much, we are kindred spirits. Paula, I salute you! Keep on running!