There’s a woman I see on my way to work every day on Broadway. She’s not a hooker like most of the women I see on Broadway, though, so don’t get too excited. She’s a runner. Well. Kind of. Coming from an athletic background, I see running as something one does to get from Point A to Point B with speed and some sort of biomechanical rhythm. Clearly this woman and I differ in our definitions. This woman looks like she’s hobbling down the street while dragging a dead leg, and the look on her face is that of someone forced to participate in a death march. Or death jog, as it were.
Marathon runners, I do not understand you. I mean, I understand running one marathon. Just to see if you can do it. I understand the concept of training for an event and completing that event as a way to prove your body to yourself. I did this. I endured. I may not have won, because marathons aren’t about winning (and what is the point of that), but I came out here and I did this thing.
Now, I’m never going to do a marathon, but like I said, I come from an athletic background and spent nearly 20 years of my life pushing physical boundaries just because I could. I tore muscles, aggravated asthma, got concussed, and ruined my knees. It was pretty awesome.
But I never did anything as awful as a marathon.
You know why people do marathons? Brennan told me today. (He runs in races but not marathon length, and if he ever does one, I’m not being his friend anymore.) Anyway, a marathon happens because in ancient Greece, some army won the Battle of Marathon, and a dude ran 26 miles to the next village or whatever to tell everyone there about the victory. Then he died. He died. I can’t possibly be the only person in this world to see the correlation between running marathons and dying, can I?
Marathon runners are fucking crazy. They’re not even the good kind of fucking crazy, like the kind that knows about the good bars and the good drugs and the good lawyers. They’re the fucking crazy kind of fucking crazy, because not one single person running a marathon looks happy about it. At mile 17, everyone wants to die. Their faces are purple and contorted, they’re doing this awkward little skip-drag sort of jog, and sometimes, they shit themselves.
Yes. Marathon runners shit themselves.
Because the human body is generally unused to enduring 26 miles of jiggly, low-hydration, oxygen-deprived trauma, it signals its bowels to begin pushing out their contents. Think those are exercise cramps? Not fucking likely. Those are poop cramps, and if you continue ignoring them, soon you’ll be running this thing with your silly racing underwear shorts full of human garbage.
And oh my god, you guys, they don’t even care. Not only do they not even care, they like it. It’s a point of pride among marathon runners to shit yourself in public. It means you’ve pushed yourself to the limit or whatever. You’re cresting a runner’s high, which is a fancy way of saying that you’re fucking hallucinating and if you don’t stop doing what your body is telling you not to do, you’re going to fucking die. This is reality, and in reality, you shit yourself and then you die.
Know who else probably won’t be running marathons anytime soon? Val Kilmer. At least, not if The Val Kilmer Project* has anything to do with it.
*formal introduction tomorrow! Everyone get excited!!!