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Jul. 22, 2008
100 and Counting
Star, Pace Leader for the CB Pace Team, weighs in on what it means to complete her 100th marathon— yeah, you read that correctly...

Marathon runners love numbers. We define ourselves by distances—we scoff at the 5K and 10K as just a warm-up, use the half-marathon as "tune-up." We know our marathon times, probably each one of them, to the second. We speak in our secret language of miles, meters, repeats and Yasso 800's.

And so here I was, on May 4, 2008, about to complete my 100th marathon. Quite a number. I certainly felt a sense of accomplishment, but not necessarily the need to trumpet it. Strangely enough, for a girl who spends most of her time on auto-rant, I actually became rather reflective.

I've been asked how I'll know when I've had enough. I’ve thought about it for many years but didn't have an answer until this past weekend. And it all came down to numbers and ego.

The grand spectacle of my one hundredth marathon came down to me thinking about everyone but myself. In that moment, I could have cared less about 100, 200 or 500 marathons. I just wanted my "kids" to get under that finish line.

This year's Flying Pig course was .25 miles longer than normal—there was a fire the night before the race, necessitating a last minute course diversion. Those of us back beyond the 3:50 finish time didn't hear that announcement. I paced an accurate and precise race—right up until the 26-mile marker, when I realized I had 50 seconds to cover the last .2 miles and wasn't going to make it.

My husband had met me at mile 25 to run in with me. As we crossed mile 26, he was elated: "This is it, baby, 100 marathons! Way to go!" And I was despondent. I was thinking about Blair, the first year neurosurgery resident who somehow found the time to get two Ironman finishes under her belt during medical school. I was thinking about Emily, the prosecutor from New York with the red ponytail, who put up an unbelievable fight from mile 21 on and never let me get away. The girl in the white shirt whose name I had forgotten because we're all tired at mile 26 and the guy who had told me he had never been able to run every hill without walking until this year.

I was thinking how relieved I was that my "kids," all those runners that had trusted something as sacred as their race to me, were ahead of me. At that moment I realized that the numbers didn't matter after all. Don't get me wrong, I love my numbers, but what mattered most, after 10 years and 100 marathons, were the people.

So to Darris and Catherine and Kira, to Tom and Tim and Bill and Dan, to Darrin and Brent and the Scotts, to Chris, Jack and Matt and all those I don't have room to list, thank you for being what matters, for sharing the trials of miles and miles of trials. As long as you matter more than the numbers, as long as those 5:30 am runs are the best part of my day, as long as we all forget the numbers as soon as we speak them, my life is abundant. If ever the numbers start to matter more, that's how I'll know I've had enough.

And that, in sum, is what 100 marathons have taught me.
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Events, Team Clif Bar

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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