How My First Marathon Completely Fell Apart

 

I called my brother, Jeremy, as I approached mile 20. I had a long way to go considering my pace, and I needed someone to talk to. He’d been tracking my progress online, so he wasn’t totally surprised to hear from me. He knew something was up. I vented and complained for the first 10-or-so minutes, but that eventually gave way to fantasy football updates and three-way calls with my parents.

The next four-plus miles were humbling and humiliating—and a little infuriating.

I was constantly passed by inferior runners, and the encouragement I’d enjoyed from supporters during the first half of the race now sounded patronizing. I wanted to tell them that I was better than this. I wanted to explain that my knee would no longer bend; that running was no longer an option. Instead, I avoided eye contact and said nothing.

As the finish came into view, Jared and Katie took turns walking with me. Katie said she was proud. Jared said he was sorry. I was both.

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About the Author

Kolby Paxton

Kolby Paxton is the running editor of ACTIVE.com and—you guessed it—an avid runner. Arguably the least impressive football player to play stand on the sideline at the University of Oklahoma, Paxton eventually graduated from a directional school you’ve never heard of in a town you’ve never heard of before the Associated Press named him Oklahoma’s Best New Journalist—while working at a paper you’ve never heard of. After earning a master’s degree he’ll never use from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Paxton and his wife relocated to Dallas, Texas, where he would become the self-proclaimed voice of the common runner. In his free time, Paxton enjoys hanging with his beagle, cheering for the Rangers, and yelling at the Cowboys. Follow Kolby on Twitter or Instagram.
Kolby Paxton is the running editor of ACTIVE.com and—you guessed it—an avid runner. Arguably the least impressive football player to play stand on the sideline at the University of Oklahoma, Paxton eventually graduated from a directional school you’ve never heard of in a town you’ve never heard of before the Associated Press named him Oklahoma’s Best New Journalist—while working at a paper you’ve never heard of. After earning a master’s degree he’ll never use from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Paxton and his wife relocated to Dallas, Texas, where he would become the self-proclaimed voice of the common runner. In his free time, Paxton enjoys hanging with his beagle, cheering for the Rangers, and yelling at the Cowboys. Follow Kolby on Twitter or Instagram.

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