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Column for 4.18.12
It usually takes me about two hours to write a Boonville Herald newspaper column. I once wrote a column in 45 minutes, but it wasnít very good. Another time it took me six hours to write a column, which wasnít very good, either. But it usually takes about two hours and some minutes to write the 500 to 600 words.
Iím writing what you are now reading on Monday, April 16th, which is Patriotís Day in Massachusetts and the date on which the Boston Marathon has been run for the past 115 years.
The time it takes for me to write this column will be about the time it takes the winner of this yearís Boston Marathon to run from the start in Hopkinton to the finish line in downtown Boston.
Iím proud to say Iíve run nine marathons, although never the Boston Marathon. All marathons are 26.2 miles in length. Some courses are tougher than others but the word ďeasyĒ will never be used in front of the word ďmarathon.Ē
Iíve heard people who have never run a marathon tell this old joke: ďIt isnít the 26 miles thatís tough, itís the last point two miles.Ē
Trust me, it gets tough a lot sooner than that. Those last few yards are actually the fun part because you know you are going to finish and you can savor those last few minutes. The tough part starts around 20 miles, a point when you arenít sure of making it.
That isnít the only thing Iíve learned from running marathons. And the other things Iíve learned have as much to do with life as they do with running, maybe more.
Although it has been many years since Iíve run a marathon, I have not forgotten things learned, including the following:
Surround yourself with good, supportive people. Negative people will drag you down to where they are. Supportive people boost you up.
Donít look too far down the road. Break things down into smaller and more manageable parts. The tougher it gets, the smaller the parts should be. (I once held on during a marathon by telling myself to just run as far as the next telephone pole. Then the next pole and the one after that. There are many telephone poles in a mile.)
Tenacity is better than talent. Slow and steady really does win out.
You donít have to be the best, you just have to do your best.
All things are possible. Some things are just harder to achieve than others.
Some pain must be endured. Some pain should not have to be endured. It isnít always easy to figure out which pain is which.
The bigger the accomplishment, the bigger the dedication required.
Water is a friend.
When youíve accomplished something big, something that has required months of training and discipline, give yourself a reward.
There will always be someone faster and someone slower. You probably wonít finish first, but you probably wonít finish last, either. The key is to finish.
Donít give up. Ever.
A small irritant ignored can turn into a big problem.
Thereís something left, even when the gas tank is on ďEmpty.Ē It is possible to go a long way on fumes.
Thatís some of what Iíve learned.
A postscript: The 116th annual Boston Marathon was won on a very warm Monday in Boston by Wesley Korir of Kenya in a time of 2 hours and 12 minutes. This above column was written on a very warm day in Boonville in a time of 2 hours and 35 minutes.