January 25, 2008 at 7:43 am
I saw Spirit of the Marathon last night and the only bad thing about the movie is that they didn’t play any previews before it. When they said it started at 7:30 they really meant it started at 7:30. I should have left more time to figure out how to use the automated ticketing machine and to make a bathroom run. Instead, I entered the dark theatre just as the title credit was coming up and had to sit pretty far up front because the theatre was packed.
Spirit of the Marathon is a documentary about a ghost who haunts a marathon. Okay, no, it’s actually about several people training for the Chicago Marathon – from newbies to elite athletes. It also covers the history of marathoning and explores what drives people to run over 26 miles. It was playing as a one-night only engagement across the country, and it occurred to me as I was watching the film that I should have mentioned this on the blog in case anyone wanted to go see it. Lucky for me, the web site says there will be an encore performance on February 21, in selected cities, so go see if your city is selected. I might go again just to see if I missed anything important before the opening titles. If you are interested in long-distance running, I’d definitely recommend that you see this movie. The “I” word gets thrown around a lot here, but it truly was “inspirational.” I wanted to go run a marathon as soon as I left the theatre. Then I got outside in the 4 degree weather and decided to walk quickly to my car instead.
When I saw footage of the training group running along the lakefront path in Chicago, I started bouncing in my seat thinking, “I’ve been there! That’s where I rode a bike and Kathleen tried to kill me!” I was also strangely happy to see that other people had foot and knee problems too. I’ve attributed my injuries to my own non-athleticism and lack of proper stretching knowledge, so it’s reassuring to know other people make the same mistakes or have bodies victim to wear and tear too. It’s not just former fat girls.
I was also surprised by how many running pros I recognized in the movie. They’d flash people’s names under their faces and I kept thinking, “Oh yeah, Paula Radcliffe. I’ve heard of her. Hal Higdon. Yep, him too. Kathy Switzer. Of course, first woman to run the Boston marathon. She rocks!” And on and on and on. I guess I know more about running than I thought I did. It was also obvious that the theatre was packed with runners because they laughed at things that a non-running audience wouldn’t have. When one of the first-time marathoners was talking onscreen about telling her friends that she was running the race, she said they’d ask her, “Cool, do you think you can win?” The theatre erupted with laughter.
I learned several things about women in running too. Women were banned from long-distance running events for a long time because of an incident where a group of women ran in very hot weather and started collapsing. It was thus determined that women were delicate little flowers and should only run short distances. Some people also thought long-distance running would cause a woman’s uterus to fall out. (That one really had the crowd in stitches.) Big props to all the women who came before me and paved an easier way for me. Kathy Switzer had to register as K.V. Switzer to run the Boston Marathon and some guy jumped at her and tried to pull her out of the race. All I had to do to sign up for my half-marathon was give the Internet my credit card number.
But, as jazzed as I am, I’m still planning on skipping my Saturday morning training run tomorrow because 1) I want to give my foot a few more days to heal and 2) It’s been freakin’ cold all week and I don’t think it’s going to stop tomorrow. As I write this at 7:42 in the morning, my weather widget says it’s 0 degrees out. As we all know, 6 degrees is my limit.