“Accidentally” running a marathon, performing surgery, pulling teeth are out

Categorized as Grounds for Insanity column, Rhonda's Posts

It may be one of the strangest stories of the year. In Amherst, Ontario, recently, a 34-year-old woman accidentally ran a marathon. A Canadian wire service, Postmedia News, reported that she took a wrong turn while running a half marathon, then ran the full one and won her division.

Meredith Fitzmaurice had signed up to run the half marathon in Amherst in order to train for the Detroit Marathon where she’d hoped to qualify for the big race in Boston. Somewhere along the course, she checked her watch, curious as to why she hadn’t crossed the finish line yet, and realized that she’d accidentally turned onto the full marathon path and had run 20 miles. This is seven (seven!) past a half.

After conferring with officials, she received the green light to keep trotting. And won the race. Then, in what may be the most bizarre statement ever uttered by a person who’s just run 26.2 miles, she said, “I didn’t do it on purpose.”

Didn’t do it on purpose? “Accidentally” ran a marathon? Sitting here in my pewter flip-flops that are fun as all get out, I cannot make this work. Even in my happily caffeinated state with every neuron firing, the numbers won’t add up.

First of all, hats off and two Nike swishes up to those who can run a half. That alone is more than I can fathom as I sit here not sweating in my not-Nikes. Right now, I can run just north of a tenth of a half. (If you need to caffeinate to crunch those numbers, go ahead.)

It takes a tremendous amount of purposeful training and plain old running to complete a marathon. One doesn’t just wake up one morning and say, “I believe I’ll run from here to a certain bakery in Shipshewana,” and then proceed to gallop happily from here to there as spring breezes blow and furry little bunnies romp in verdant grasses roadside.

Now if one were, say, a 4-baby, 40-something with a sedentary desk job, then that “one” should run there whenever she’s wanting their donuts. (Imagine her great surprise when the folks at Map Quest calculated an exact marathon distance, 26.2 miles, from her doorstep to theirs.) I said “should.” She should.

Anyway, there’s a lot of stuff you have to do on purpose, and most of it involves pain. Since my pain tolerance is somewhere in the basement (I run negatives here), this is about as likely as an asteroid hitting The Three and denting the barn.

It’s as likely as that or as me “accidentally” performing brain surgery after what started as a simple splinter removal in Mr. Schrock’s finger. To everyone’s untold relief, that will never happen, either. Which means that running until my legs are stumps is out, brain surgery’s out and, come to think of it, so’s dentistry.

Our friend is a dentist. Fearless fellow that he is, he cares for people’s gumlines, fills cavities, fights gingivitis and banishes plaque. Me? I’m too jumpy for that. The thought of sticking a digit in between all those teeth makes me nervous. Molars and incisors in gleaming lines, just waiting to chomp a probing finger? That’s life on the edge, right there. I know me. The least little hiccup while I’m in there, and I (and my digits) are past reception, out the door and halfway to the next township before the adrenaline subsides.

Perhaps my fear of tending teeth comes from a family story my mother passed down involving an unfortunate dental experience her father had. It happened back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the wheel had just been invented and dentists were still gassing patients. Okay. So there were no dinosaurs, and Firestones were everywhere. But there was really was gas in dental offices across America.

Anyway, the way I heard it was that Grandpa had an allergic reaction to anesthesia. So bad, in fact, that he began to hallucinate. Thinking that a train was bearing down on him as he reclined in the chair, he, well, responded to the threat. When the dust cleared, he had broken the sink and ripped the chair out of the floor in his adrenaline-fueled frenzy.

This came straight from the horse’s mouth (sorry, Mom) who got it straight from his. You can’t help but feel sorry for the dentist in this story, a plain fellow just looking to feed his family who sure wasn’t expecting his office to be destroyed by a patient trying to save himself and the town from an oncoming train. That wasn’t there.

Anyway, the moral here is that I will never “accidentally” run a marathon, dissect your brain or floss your teeth. I will leave all of this (yes, on purpose) to folks with the training to run 26.2 miles, rewire my noggin and floss my teeth.

Also on purpose, I will continue to drive, not run, the 8.1 miles to my favorite coffee shop. There, I will commence with my rigorous caffeinating program, not sweating in those darling little flip-flops.

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