Regardless of how quickly (or slowly) one runs the marathon, it's impossible to finish a 26.2 mile race without a strong dose of pain. Maybe it means you'll be limping to the car, perhaps it comes as a blister or a shin splint, or maybe just extreme fatigue, but there's truly no way to become a marathon finisher without pushing through some, and sometimes extreme discomfort. As a result, the expos are full of the walking dead...thousands of us who know we've achieved a great deal...but also have achieved nothing. Yet.
As for me, I've made it through the training and to the expo, I've picked up the shirt and the number, and now it's time to get some sleep. By this time tomorrow, I'll be an 12-time marathon finisher. See you on the other side of the pain.