Genghis Khan Grassland Extreme Marathon: Extreme for a Reason
    2012-07-04 11:38:26      Web Editor: Duan Xuelian
I personally came away from the Extreme Grassland Marathon with a complete newfound respect for what 42 kilometers is.

Slow and steady will at least get you to the finish line. Running is for show-offs. [Photo: Wang]

Eight kilometers left to go. I was walking about as much as I was running. Or more. I wished my shoes were cushier. I wished the race was 36 kilometers long, instead of 42. I was dying. "This isn't fun anymore," I complained to myself.

Finally I was back on the road. The last stretch to the finish line, which was actually in view. But this was in fact the most tortuous and deceptive part of the run. That finish line was still actually 6 long kilometers away. It crawled closer at a slug's pace. "Oh, it's only a few K away. I can run the rest of the way now," I kept thinking. But my legs kept refusing to cover more than a couple hundred meters.

A crowd of kids chanting "Jia you!" in unison forced me to fake a smile, holding my hand out for high fives. I managed to jog past them, slowing as soon as they were behind me.

That despicable strip of asphalt was a sliver of eternity. The treadmill dream of running but not getting anywhere. 42 kilometers felt like it should have been 3 kilometers behind me.

"Don't think about it," I thought, grasping. "Look at those stores. How wonderful. Don't think about it." I don't think it worked, but I did somehow finally reach the end. I even ran the last few hundred meters. I shocked myself that I somehow ran across the finish line going fast.

The next moment, I barely noticed someone putting a medal around my neck, and then another person asking for my timing chip. Blood was rushing to my head. "Oh God, you actually expect me to bend over and untie my shoelaces?!"

I limped away, so that my friends can laugh at my state of exhaustion. I joked about the race, but my sense of humor was more cynical than usual. I felt a bit bad that I'd somehow turned into a complainer.

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