Can running a half or full marathon make you feel like a superhero? But of course!
Just go to almost any marathon and watch, and I am sure that you will be able to count any number of runners racing in superhero costumes. When I am talking about how running 13.1 or 26.2 miles makes you feel like a superhero, I am talking figuratively. But am I? Let’s take a closer look at how running very long distances can truly give you a sense of superhero-ness.
So what exactly happens to you while running 26.2 miles that elevates you into the superhero category? Consider the fact that you simply don’t go out one day and decide to run 26.2 miles non-stop for the heck of it, let alone run it at race pace. In the daily life of the average person, it almost feels like you have to rise to the level of a superhero to commit yourself to the discipline and physical effort that it takes to successfully complete running 13.1 or 26.2 miles.
If you are a mom or a dad with young ones to raise, for example, it literally takes the effort of a superhero to train properly for and then race a half or full marathon. You get up daily at 4 a.m. before the family arises, because it’s the only time of the day you can get your run in before the daily chaos of making lunches, getting breakfast ready, sibling squabbles, etc. By the time 8 a.m. arrives, you’ve already run eight miles with your running buddy, shuffled your kids off to school, seen your spouse off to work, and oh yes, even got yourself ready and presentable for your own full time job. Come 2 p.m., you begin to understand why the Spanish have the siesta, as a wave of tiredness washes over you, only to have to soldier onward in superhero fashion and continue working. You get your second wind later on – maybe with the help of a cup or two of coffee – somehow manage to slip into your superhero yoga clothes and hit that post-work late afternoon yoga class before heading back home. Come 4 a.m. the next morning, you start your superhero marathon training routine all over and continue it for the next sixteen weeks until race day.
Even if you are single with no kids and training for a half or full marathon, the term superhero most definitely applies to you, too. Once upon a time, you stood as a spectator watching thousands of people come across the finish line of a 13.1 or 26.2 mile race. Having never run that far in your life, each and every runner you cheered across the finish line was a superhero in your eyes, because to you, it would take a heroic effort to run that far. And now that you yourself are training for your first ever race, you are starting to understand that you weren’t far from wrong on the “heroic effort” part.
I think that as you become a long distance runner, you lose perspective of the gargantuan effort it takes to run a half or full marathon. Because of your superhero effort on a daily basis, you soon adopt it as your “normal.” Because you hang out with other “superhero runners,” what once may have seemed impossible, now is your norm. However, that will not diminish the superhero view that the non-runners in your life hold of you. When they say you’re “crazy” for just having run a 20 mile training run, they really mean, “Wow! You just accomplished what seems impossible to me!”
The funny thing is that in no way, shape or form do you feel like a superhero once you cross that finish line! You see people passing out, staggering, limping, throwing up, and yet somehow, that shiny finisher’s medal around each of their necks radiates the glory of a super-heroic effort. That’s when you take a deep breath, stand up straight and fling your cape over your shoulder, because you know that you really did give a superhero-like effort!
So the next time you see yet another runner in a Wonder Woman or a Superman costume, give a big high five and tell them you “get it.”