It is my understanding that a 150-pound person burns about one hundred calories per mile. A runner's body can store 2000 calories. Simple arithmetic suggests that there is nothing left at Mile 20, hence "the wall" that amateur marathoners frequently reference. Nutrition, training schedules, good shoes, stretching, and snacks high in carbohydrates can all make a difference. In the sense that a rum flavored life saver can help with the savage torment of childbirth. A run life saver tastes good; but it doesn't do a whole heck of a lot for the suffering. There's a reason they call it labor. Similarly, no one is having any fun with six miles to go. No footnote needed here. I am speaking from a number of person experiences and interviews with my running buddies as the following actual dialogue from a recent marathon event will illustrate:
Lovely supportive fan clapping and cheering at Mile 20: Way to go! you're doing great! Only six miles left!
One of my desperately impaired running buddies: The heck with you!
Another of my desperately impaired running buddies: And everyone who looks like you!
Yet another of my desperately impaired running buddies: And the horse you rode in on!
This gracious spectator was met with opprobrium. Not nice. One of my running buddies has a suggestion having nothing to do with etiquette: don't try to fight the discomfort. Welcome it. Rather than taking out your self-imposed misery on innocent fans, talk to the pain directly: I've been expecting you. Where have you been? What took you so long? He says there's no reason to pretend. Be polite; be accepting. Engage in conversation: you and I are old friends. Glad you're here. You can't do anything other than continue running or drop out. "We are both men of action," Wesley tells his captors. "Lies do not become us."
Speaking of stretching, would it be too much to suggest that raising healthy kids in the unhealthy world has less in common with a sprint? When children are little, they are so cute you want to just eat them up. When they are teenagers, it occurs to you that you probably should have done so when you had the chance. Sweat shirts balled up in the living room; aversion to putting away clean laundry; missed curfews; rolled eyes that can be seen from outer space.
Rather than reminding your partner that it wasn't your idea to have children 17 years ago, that you would have been just as content to live on top of a snow covered mountain somewhere without food or electricity because at least there was the possibility, however slight, that the mountain might express some gratitude for your sacrifice and commitment, why not just welcome the teenage years? This was my choice, this is what I signed up for, I knew these days were coming.
Because you are strong. And you can do anything. You got through childbirth; you dealt with sleepless nights when your babies were little; you balanced work and family to the best of your ability; you did the best you could even with sequestering and infection everywhere. All things considered, you did pretty well.
Adolescence is Mile 20. You are a beast. You got this.
I'll be rooting for you. From over here. 🙂