In the same breath the legs yell:
faster than you, even that barefoot guy, hurry man, hurry....".
Regrettably, the legs won over the brain .... sigh, again. I went out too fast. I was enjoying the ambience, chatting, laughing, and having a grand time. This is just fine, even admirable... unless you want to improve your time. A good brain will give you a negative split, something I have yet to attain. A bad brain will give you a 22 minute positive split. Bad brain, bad! Now there's a lesson here.. even a goal for my next Mary...slow it down Mikey, look for the elusive negative split. Listen to the brain from mile 0 through 10.
My legs felt good, really good in fact, to about mile 15. This is where we approached Mary Hill for the second time in the looped course. Mary Hill is shown in a couple of pictures below. It's about 1.5 miles in length and averages out to a 4 or 5% grade. The first climb at mile 5 was a piece of cake, the second at mile 18 was tough, really tough. The legs slowed, planked up, became heavy. I walked a bit, ran a bit, set tiny goals... run to that pole, walk to that tree... I split the hill into manageable chunks because the legs were beginning to sputter. It was a long climb, a slow climb, my brain and my legs were failing me. As I crested the hill at mile 17 I knew my legs were losing power. Too early. I need the legs to get me to mile 20 or 22, but here I am at mile 17, legs thick, brain thick, heart rate too high. Too early to pass the baton to the heart. The heart can only carry me so far. It can carry me for the last 5 or 6 miles, but I had 9 remaining. It's too darn early for the legs to quit, too early to transition to the heart... too early to depend on the heart to take me to the line.
I entered the last third of the marathon 5 miles too early, the final third, the most difficult portion, the heart. By heart I mean spirt, drive, determination, resolve... not the organ in your chest. Or is it? I could sense my heart rate increase to an uncomfortable level. Too early for that... darn. Ignore it, keep moving. The legs ache, the brain's cooked, it's the heart that will get me across the line... that beautiful line, so skinny, a chalk line really, so meaningless to billions, and yet such a goal, such a challenge. What does the line mean? Why are we so drawn to the line? David, marathon number 88, says he's always one marathon away from quitting. Bob's barefoot, and enjoying it!. We hurt damn it. Why do we do this? Why are we drawn to the edge? Hunter Thompson understands. He says of the edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. We don't run to the line, we over the line, past the line.
To laugh? To run? To dance? It's the slow dance.. the moment when we surge past the line. Images flicker like old 8 mm movies, black and white, sun spots, out of focus, powerful imagery. I exist. I am alive. My past is focussed. My future glows before me. I dance across the line... I dance, we dance, I dance.
But then again, that's just my opinion.
It's a good day to be alive.