26.2 Miles of Thoughts


I’m often asked, “What do you think about for 26 miles?”  First of all, I think about the 0.2, the POINT TWO, because that is the most important, gut wrenching, “I’ve got this”, part of the 26.2 miles.  The 0.2 is when you are at your most tired, your most weary, your most pained, but you dig so deep to run your hardest to finish strong–always finish strong. So what do I think about for 26.2 miles? Recently I completed my 5th marathon, the Marine Corps in DC back on October 25th. I compiled a list of thoughts.

26.2 Miles of Thoughts…

  • Ah here we go, again.  I love this!
  • Announcer at Start: You’ll get the 40th Anniversary sparkly finisher metal at the end.
  • Get your mind wrapped around running for the next four hours Matt.
  • It’s raining, great.
  • I hope my legs don’t cramp.
  • I hope my hamstring and calf strains don’t impact my running.
  • Head. In. Game. Matt.


  • Hills already?
  • I’m hot.
  • 4 miles down!
  • The rain is letting up, nice.
  • I wonder what it would be like to be in the Marines?
  • Oh, look at those Marines!
  • Hey Boys!
  • That guy is crazy running with no shoes on.
  • Overheard: This is my 92nd marathon.  I want to run 8 more in the next year to make Marine Corps my 100th.  I’m 64 years old. Holy S*** that guy is my hero!  My body could not do 92 marathons.  I think this is my last one.
  • I wonder what it would have been like to grow up in the 50s when my parents did, like Leave It To Beaver?
  • 7 miles down, ugh, 19.2 miles to go.
  • A dude running in crocks, one red, one blue.  Crazy!
  • Pizza, I want pizza.
  • Oh, and cookies too!
  • 40th Anniversary race–it’s cool this race started in 1976 the year I was born and I’m running the 40th race.
  • I still remember the day I came home from school in September 1994 and got my acceptance letter to Michigan State! I read it twice.
  • My legs hurt.
  • Is this over yet?
  • Cupcakes!


  • So it’s “Oorah”, not “Oprah.”  Huh?
  • Overheard: This is my 107th marathon. There was barely anything to that guy, skin and bones and he wobbled to the right.
  • Remember that 1983 Olivia Newton John concert on HBO with Magic, Suddenly, Physical, Make a Move On Me and Xanadu? Man, I used to love performing that around the house in my mom’s knee-high winter boots!

  • I used to hate running in high school, now I do it for fun.
  • Is this almost over?
  • I’m not running another marathon.
  • Oh hey, Paul, the guy who retired and I took his position at my high school. (We ran 9 miles together).
  • Paul: If I say I’m running another one of these, slap me. ME TOO!  Hit me right across the face.
  • Man, the 60s, what would it have been like to grow up in the 60s? All those changes?
  • Kurt! Jeremy! Love you guys!!!
  • I can’t wait to have a drink!
  • My legs don’t hurt as bad as I thought they would today. This is a pretty good race.
  • Oh hey Washington Monument!


  • That guy is running with prosthetic legs. You go guy!
  • That 1990 American Music Awards opening with Paula Abdul singing “The Way That You Love Me”.

  • Remember Martika “Toy Soldiers”?
  • Oh hey Lincoln Memorial!
  • Go Green! Go White! Spartan fans along the way.
  • “Go Matty” some random stranger I’ve now seen twice.
  • Pizza!
  • I need a break!
  • “All at once I’m drifting down a lonely stream, holding on to memories, hurts me, more than you know, oooo, hurts me more than is shows, all at once, all at once…..”  Whitney Houston “All At Once” in concert 1994.
  • I have such a great life!
  • I wonder if I try really hard could I learn the “If” dance?

  • 18 miles down, feeling pretty decent around the Capitol.
  • Yay!  Michele and Jason cheering!!!  Hey!
  • I can’t wait to have a drink!  Did I think that already?
  • What would it have been like if I had been out in college?
  • The Jefferson Memorial.  My favorite memorial.
  • Oh hey Washington Monument again.
  • Run Forest, Run!


  • 20 miles down, I want to be f***ing done!
  • This is my last marathon.  Why do I like this?
  • I’m going to retire, “like Cher”.
  • My legs hurt.
  • Is this over?
  • The sun is out!
  • Cookies.  Pizza.
  • Remember the 1987 American Music Awards when Whitney won 5 awards?!?

  • Oh hey Spartan fans again, Go Green! Go White!
  • Isn’t it wonderful the Supreme Court ruled in favor of equal marriage rights for all?!!
  • I’m tired.
  • I am only running half marathons from now on.
  • Miles 12, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, I’m not doing this again.
  • 23 miles down, my IT band is starting to act up.  Make it to the end!!
  • My legs hurt, why do I continue to sign up for these things?


  • Oh hey that stranger who has been cheering me on, thank you again!
  • Cocktails! Cocktails!
  • Pizza!
  • My boyfriend!  Kurt!  He’s running with me in his rain boots and gear and with a backpack of my post-race stuff!  I love you!
  • Oh, he’s playing Britney “Work Bitch” on his phone, “You can do this Matty T, you can do this!!!”
  • Kurt is still running with me!
  • I love my life.
  • I’m almost done!
  • Vodka.  Bourbon!
  • “Cause once you know what love is, you’ll never let it end.”  Whitney “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”
  • I can get under 4 hours!  I can!!!
  • Mile 24 f***ing be over!
  • “Go Matty!”  That stranger one last time!
  • Oh hey fake “marines” in no shirt and really short green shorts.  hey hey!
  • Diva Chant: Whitney!-Britney!-BeYONce-MaRIah-MaDONna-Janet!
  • Mile 25 I’m so close.  I can do this in under 4 (tears, choking up).
  • Mile 26!!!
  • Crowds. People. My head is fuzzy.  My eyes are blurry.
  • Are you f***ing kidding me with this steep hill at 26?
  • You aren’t kidding with this hill.
  • I can do this!


  • Mile 26.2!  Haul Ass!  YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!  OORAH! OORAH! OORAH!
  • “Can you take me high enough.  Can you fly me over(fly me over) yesterday!” Damn Yankees-Not sure why?
  • I’m done.  I’m done! 3:59:27!!!


I pushed through there at the end thanks to my boyfriend running with me and playing Britney and Whitney on his phone.  I’m a lucky guy that he loves me so much. Overall, the race went well for someone who was injured and slow throughout the training season. It was wonderful to run the streets of DC and Virginia. That last 0.2 was a bitch, the hardest finish I’ve ever experienced. That is when the mind takes over, your gut kicks in, you run as hard as you can on legs that have been running for 26.2 miles and you finish and all is right in the world!!

  • Ok, maybe I’ll do another one!

There you go, 26.2 miles of thoughts. I don’t know if I’ll ever run another marathon. If I don’t, I think I’m good. If I do, it will surely be a joy….to finish. What I know for sure is that running has taught me physical discipline. Running marathons has taught me that the human body is a machine and it can outlast. Running marathons is mental too and the strength it takes to finish is surely powered by the mind. I have seen so many miles of asphalt as I try to remind myself to “look up” and I’ve seen miles and miles of beautiful sites, smiles, and scenery.  Who knows if I’ll run another marathon, but I surely will keep on running because running brings me joy, pride, and these kick ass toned legs.  Wham!