In November 2015, members of the Skid Row Running Club ran the Revel Canyon Marathon. It's a mostly downhill marathon and while you would intuitively think that is great for us runners, but downhill running while easier on the lungs is absolutely brutal for the body.
For many marathoners, when you hit miles 20 - 22, you often hit "The Wall," the point where your body runs out of sugar and you start to become lethargic. Imagine hitting "The Wall" and having your legs beaten to a pulp.
To prepare for the Revel Canyon Marathon, I spent a lot of time lifting weights in the gym to prepare my muscles for this beat down. (More on this in a later post.)
At mile 22, I was feeling good and running well. But then I came across an unusual sight: one of our runners cursing in the middle of the street. Onlookers were horrified. Not necessarily because of seeing a runner who hit "The Wall" since this is a common occurrence at marathons. But Josh, had his shirt off and his entire body was covered in gang tattoos. Josh was a gang member. In his sour mood and with his menacing tattoos, spectators were scared.
I ran up to Josh, put my hand on his shoulder. He turned around.
"Don't touch me! I'm going to kill you!. Oh, it's you."
"How are you doing?" I asked.
"What am I doing out here? My body hurts, it hurts to breathe, it hurts to walk," was the reply Josh gave me.
I looked at Josh intently. "If it hurts to breathe and hurts to walk, why not hurt and run?" With that, I began to run. Josh followed. We ran the last 4.2 miles together. As we neared the finish line, this former tough guy began to sob uncontrollably, shouting "I can't believe it! I can't believe I am about to finish a marathon! I was ready to throw in the towel and quit."
Afterwards Josh hugged me, he was very emotional. I told him that less than 1% of the US population finishes a distances 26.2 miles.
Josh realized that he could accomplish whatever he put his mind to. From that day forward, his life took a very different path...
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