As I consider what it will take to complete the Twin Cities Marathon a week from today, I know what it takes, or at least what it has taken in the past, when I was younger, thinner, in better shape. It's a good thing that aging happens slowly, because it's hard enough to take the way it is.
But it's inspiring to see what the human body can do, and I don't mean mine. Yes, I think I'll be able to survive the 26.2 miles that the marathon requires. I need to do that to earn my finisher's t-shirt. But I am amazed when I think of what some of the speed demons do, like Haile Gabreselassie, who won gold medals in the 10k in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics and owned the world record in the marathon at 2:03:59. At least until today.
Running in Berlin on a flat and fast course, Gabreselassie ran up front until late in the race, when he stopped for a minute, rejoined the race, and then stopped again for good. It may be his last days as a marathoner.
In the meantime, a new runner claimed the world record, which means running FASTER than Gabreselassie 's 4:44 per mile pace. It's Patrick Makau, who churned through the marathon in 2:03:38, 21 seconds faster (less than one second per mile).
Nobody will run that fast in the Twin Cities, but at about two hours and eleven minutes or so, I'll imagine what it must be like to be finishing at that time. And then I'll run (and walk) the last 12 miles or so.