Sunday, March 16, 2014

26 miles of fun!

If you're not running Boston, you may not know this, but this past week was when the Bib numbers and corral/waves were released to all the competitors. For a few days thereafter, there was a deluge of numbers on social media. "I got bib number x and I'm starting in corral x/wave x". It really illustrated how numerically fixated the running community can be. And clearly it's not limited to just race times and finishing places. People were getting excited about bib numbers, which to me is pretty funny. BUT it did get me thinking about numbers, well one number in particular: 26.2.

26.2 miles, for those non-runners out there, has been the distance of the marathon since the 1908 Olympics when it was extended from the previous distance of 40 kilometers, slightly less than 25 miles, per the British royal family's desire to have it end at Windsor castle. The purview of the royals changed what most modern day runners view as the ultimate distance(and qualifying for Boston as the ultimate accomplishment). Not only are there now half marathons(which like the name implies is 13.1 miles), but also ultramarathons(anything longer than the 26.2). Even long-distance triathlons use the 26.2 miles for the Ironman race. 

But 26 is not just the miles you cover when you run a marathon. It is also twice the unlucky number 13. Does that mean it's twice as unlucky? Sometimes running one it feels like it. But there are times that everything goes just right and those extra 13 were what did it. So maybe two wrongs do make a right and the 26 is what we all need. 
Sometimes I feel like this: 

And Sometimes I feel like this:
Thanks Scott Mason for the photo
Also, did it occur to anyone that there are also 26 letters in the alphabet? Boy, there are some marathons that I think psychologically it would be a lot easier to cover mile markers V-Z than 21-26. I know that I would eventually correlate the last few miles negatively with those letters and probably stop using them in sentences. So no victories for me. Couldn't go to the zoo or have pizza anymore. The biggest downside would likely be the Y. Ooops, likeleee. And I would  have to go to the -MCA for a workout. 

And did you know that Amber's favorite place to eat in Florida, Java and Juice, is on the 26th parallel? 

Ever hear of a little man called Teddy Roosevelt? He once said: "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." Oh I digress. He was also the 26th president!

Notice how you get paid every other week? That equates to 26 pay days. The funny thing is saving is kind of like running a marathon. It's easy to save money when it's January and you've made some New Year's resolutions, but it becomes a lot harder once you get closer to Christmas where you're output may be more than your income. But like saving, if you persevere you will reap mighty benefits.

But that kind of diligence takes a strong mind and one that's fully developed. And scientists have found that males brains don't fully develop until around 25 or 26. Coincidence? I don't think so. 

And personally it wasn't until I was 26 years old that I first qualified for Boston. 

Oh and this year's Boston, I will be wearing 1947 which happens to also be the year my late-aunt Laura was born and I will be running for her. 

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