The 11th edition of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is once again upon us, and this year I’m trying a new approach: not running.
My decision should in no way be seen as a commentary on the race.
To the contrary, I think the Memorial Marathon is — tied, of course, with the arrival of the Thunder — the greatest athletic thing ever to happen to our city. It’s a first-class marathon that has rightfully earned national and international accolades as it has grown steadily since its birth in 2001.
Yet due to a long-standing medical issue, I’ve decided that I’m going to get some much-needed treatment the week before the race. As a result, come Sunday, I’ll be in no shape to run.
You have an unbroken track record of not running marathons. Any advice for me on how to prepare for my non-race?
DR. PRESCOTT PRESCRIBES
Listen to these excuses about why you’re not running. If you’re going to be a real non-runner, the first rule is don’t apologize. Notwithstanding what you and your rail-thin friends seem to believe, running 26.2 miles is not a natural thing. Were it so, we would have been born with pouches (a la the kangaroo) to hold our water bottles and energy gels.
So there’s no need explain why you’ve chosen not to tax your body to its natural limits. The real question is why anyone would engage in such self-torture in the first place? As far as non-preparation is concerned, rule number one is to avoid Italian restaurants the night before major marathons. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still very important to consume outsized portions of delicious carbohydrates. But if you do it at a popular pasta restaurant, it likely will be packed with runners loading up for the next day’s race. And nothing ruins your appetite like trying to stuff yourself while surrounded by fit, healthy people.
Come race day, if you live anywhere near the course, get up good and early. Don’t worry — I’m not urging you to do yoga or a brisk walk in some sort of show of solidarity with the runners. I just want you to be able to head out before the race gets going and shuts down countless major thoroughfares in the city, thus preventing you from getting your latte or doughnuts.
Most importantly, do not watch the marathon, either live or on TV. Viewing thousands of fitness buffs as they display the effects of consistent, intense training will only create a desire for you to return to similar activities as soon as possible.
On second thought, ignore my advice. Recuperate well and get back out on the roads as soon as possible. And in the meantime, cheer on all those dedicated athletes who will be making the 2011 Memorial Marathon a run to remember.