November of 2009 was the second time I had run California’s “Run the River” half marathon course, so I knew what to expect. The American River, which cuts through Sacramento, would be just inviting enough to make me wonder why I was running rather than fishing, but not clear and fishy enough to keep me from paying for the race.
The last .1 of the 13.1-mile course would feel longer than it should because the noise of the finish line crowd carries. After 13 miles, one-tenth of a mile is nothing, right? Just around the corner. Nope. Just around the other corner. Nope. One more. But I knew this so I waited until I saw the end to get excited. Having gorged on post-race eats, my buddy Nate and I walked back toward the shuttle bus that would take us back to my truck. There was a woman struggling through the last few corners, crying.
“Almost there, you got this,” Nate said.
“No, I don’t. Don’t lie to me.”
“Seriously, it’s just around that corner.”
“No it’s not; don’t lie to me. This will never end.”
She was broken.
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