Rarely do I come across something that gives me the chills. But that’s what happened when I came upon a story today.
Actually, the air conditioner had just kicked in at work and I sit directly under the vent, but still.
But to the beginning. Longtime readers will recall that my pal Jill ran a sterling marathon recently after a maximum training run of 12 miles.
I said to myself, wow, a strong marathon despite a max 12-mile long run. What I failed to realize was that it could be BECAUSE of the max 12-mile long run.
While working today for the Wichita newspaper (try saying Times-Record News five times fast) I had an epiphany. Actually, I had a Hershey bar. But the two are similar.
The column, by Zach Duncan, (an excellent writer whom I enjoy greatly despite my Pavlovian conjuring of “Saved by the Bell” images at the sight of his byline) recounts the story of a guy who goes to Fort Worth. He is there to cheer for his brother, who is running the Cowtown Marathon.
His brother says, as long as you’re here, why don’t you run the 50K, being held there at the same time. Yes, it was a Double Dog Dare. The kind that leaves you attached to flagpoles. The brother, of course, said OK. Why? Because he’s a guy. And all guys are idiots. For this, we are proud.
He signs up for the 31-mile run. What was his longest training run?
The air conditioner kicks in. HIS LONGEST TRAINING RUN WAS 12 MILES!!!!
So naturally he wins the race in 3:18:18. Zach’s column is here.
This made me think. What if Coach Jill has found the secret here? What is all those long runs are just wearing us down? What if even the Hanson boys’ mmm-bop 16-miler max is 4 too many?
Maybe 12 miles and a little good karma is really all you need.
My best marathon ever was done on two 6 milers a day with no long runs. Hmm. Two 6 milers. How many miles is that? Beats me. Where’s the Jenster when you need her. Yeah, I know. At a seedy bar showing off baby photos.
Twelve. It’s the magic number. A dozen eggs. “The Dirty Dozen.” The number of Dallas Cowboys in the huddle before the flag gets thrown. It’s perfect.
Maybe it’s a coincidence. Maybe it’s genetics (the guy’s brother won the marathon). Or maybe someday people will look back on Jill and say: “Despite her tendency to wear cheap, mismatched clogs, all is forgiven because she was the inventor of the 12-Mile Long Run plan.” And then they will get the chills.
Damn air-conditioner vent…