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Updated 9.5.18

The Twelve Step Runner

"My name is Aimee. And I…I run marathons." (Begins crying, while voice gets higher and squeakier). "I don't know why I ever started in the first place, and now I can't stop." (All assembled quietly applaud).

This is my confession. I have become a marathon addict. I realize some of you have been fooled by my efforts to hide it, while others, I suspect have know this for quiet sometime. So, what makes a marathon addict? It starts with that very first one. The rush you get when you cross the finish line. Then, with each successive one, it takes you less and less time to forget how miserable you were during the last six miles. Then you find yourself planning your next one before you've finished the current one. At work, you are sneaking onto to look for more races. Before you know it, you are running a marathon to train for a marathon. 

God, where will it end?

This "addiction," "compulsion," "stupidity," call it what you will, has taken its toll on my family relationships. I realize that this may come as a shock to many of you, but I am of the Jewish faith. Yes, I know that my tall, blond good looks may have fooled you, but there it is. As a Jewish person, I was not raised to appreciate the value of purposeful exercise, unless you include lengthy stints at the mall to be exercise. Frankly, we always rode the escalator. No stairs. So you can imagine the horror with which my family members view this addiction. Not only am I running, but I am going long distances, and I'm doing it OUTSIDE. My poor mom can barely show her face at the bridge game. Inevitably one of her friends will snidely ask her, 

"So, when is Aimee's next marathon?" 

And while poor mom is choking down her nut kuchen, her friend will add, "My Sylvia just bought a pair of Prada boots with heels so high she can barely walk in them." Oh, the shame.

I have tried to treat this affliction with pharmaceuticals and beer. To no avail. You know, maybe this stuff is catching. Yeah, like an infectious disease. Of course, I knew it all along that this was someone else's fault. John Ayersman, you rascal. And Barb, Barb, Barb, don't breathe on me.

I expect all my friends at the NERC to put their collective heads together to cure me of this nonsense. I know I'm not the only one who could benefit from a rehab program. I'm going to start my withdrawal slowly instead of going cold turkey. Maybe go down to 1, or 2, races per year. So, anyone wanna look at what's coming up those first couple weeks of January? Might as well get started right away…

Here are the top ten ways to recognize a "marathon addict." Look for a runner who:

 1. Joins a running club so they won't have to train alone.
 2. Joins a running club so they won't have to train alone.
 3. Appears at fewer and fewer 5k and 10k races because they interfere with training. 
 4. Is named "Jean Toth." 
 5. Bribes other runners with apple pie to run long with them.
 6. Knows that the Boston Store is exactly 10.5 miles from Lock 39.
 7. Marks the passage of time by recalling marathons they have run. ("Yes, I remember the election of 2004. It was right      before the "New York").
 8. Knows their qualifying time for the Boston but cannot recall the capital of Massachusetts.
 9. Has actual preferences among the Gu, Carboom varieties.
10. Has a strong opinion on the "Galloway run-walk" marathon training program.

A History of RunningAnatomy of a CrosstrainerBuckeye Trails 50KGot Guilt
Misery loves CompanyMy Dirty Little SecretNerc ComplaintRunning for Dummies
Size MattersThe 12 step runnerThe NERC HelplineThe Rules of the Road
UnmentionablesYiddish in the Running

This article was originally written By Aimee Gilman for the newsletter of the NERC, Northeast Running Club. It may not be reproduced without the express, written consent of Aimee Gilman.
Copyright 2010.

Please contact us for permission.