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The Palm Beaches Marathon: A Confession From a Cheater

On Sunday, I decided to do a tune-up run for January's ING Miami Marathon. Problem is, I'm not in good enough shape to run 26.2 miles, so I signed up for the Palm Beaches Half Marathon, figuring to run 13.1 miles -- slowly, ten minutes per mile or so.

After paying the steep half-marathon entry fee, I joined the 4,000 or so people at 6:15 a.m. running south from West Palm Beach. I felt so good at the point where marathoners kept going and half marathoners turned north that I continued with the big boys.

Once I got to between 11 and 12 miles, I decided to turn around. My longest run had been only 13 miles before Sunday, so I figured 18 was just fine for my tired body.


A proctor tried to tell me I was taking the wrong turn, but I yelled "training run" and

kept going. A couple of minutes later, I was heading north when people started cheering loudly. They offered me high-fives and yelled encouragement. A sweet lady on a bike even paced me.

Nice!

Then someone yelled: "You're in second place."

I felt terrible. I told everyone who cheered that I had cut over.

"Can't you see how slowly I'm running?" I shouted to one lady.

"They all look the same when you are standing still," came the response.

A few minutes later, I watched as elite runners zoomed by. As soon as the full marathoners' path joined back up with the half, I moved into the half-marathon lane and finished there. My final time: 18 miles in three hours. Just fine for me.

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