Yesterday I learned what a marathon physically means, and you'll get to read about all of that with pictures.
Today I'm realizing what a marathon mentally means.
In approximately 26.5 miles (since I suck at running tangents) I learned more about what it actually means to be a runner. I learned about the secret places on a marathon route that are not detailed on any course map: The places where space and time swirl around and stab you at the core. Where deal-making and mental tricks begin in honest earnest and end up in full-out bargains with the devil. I've learned about that little place where a complete stranger's words are a lifesaver at that exact second in time. Where limits are pushed, where goosebumps live, and where heart is on the breakfast menu -- and breakfast is served all day long.
For now, I can say I finished. And I can also attest to when Dick Beardsley said, "When you cross the finish line, it will change your life forever."