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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, December 18, 2006

Marathon? Maybe next year

By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Columnist

As I watched my girlfriend's 56-year-old father cross the finish line of a marathon that I told him I'd run with him, I felt my manhood questioned.

I told the man back in August that I was down to do the Honolulu Marathon with him, and I wrote in this space that I intended to resurrect my running career after a four-year hiatus and finish a third, and final, 26.2-mile death march.

As any good man would and should, he gave me a little grief for it. Nothing overt or malicious, but I was reminded that he was recovering from knee and hamstring ailments and that he is 29 years my senior.

Don't worry, it's not a big deal, he said, and I'm not going to call you a (insert insult here). So he called me a name without calling me a name. Brilliant.

But as I stood watching the ambitious and motivated will themselves through their tortuous test, I ran through only my apologies.

I made a pact with my girlfriend, which I am now authenticating in print, that we will both run and finish the marathon next year. Then I thought about what an amazing time I had at the U2/Pearl Jam show the night before.

I arrived at the stadium at 3:30 p.m. and left the parking lot well after midnight.

We had floor tickets. You'd think after standing for more than five hours your feet would be sore, but music and Makers' Mark heal all wounds.

The decision to abandon a commitment, especially one I made to a man who already has a less-than-objective view of me, is not made lightly.

When I realized that my favorite rock band, Pearl Jam, was playing with U2 at Aloha Stadium the evening before the marathon, though, the decision was made for me. Eddie Vedder and I go way back, as Pearl Jam was the first live music act I ever saw, in 1992.

It's a classical conflict difficult challenge versus a big-time party and you know what I chose this time.

"You're such a wuss," said Advertiser sports copy editor Mark Eidson, who finished the race in about 4 1/2 hours. "A guy I know went to the concert and finished the marathon in 4:07."

I applaud that man for performing a feat so tough it churns the stomach to think about.

I am not built that way and I know that, because the first marathon I ever ran, at 22, followed an evening of revelry. After forcing my body through the agony of that race, I know I can't hang with the party-hard, run-long crowd.

But that's OK as far as I'm concerned, because rocking in the free world with Bono and Pearl Jam required all the energy I had.

Reach Peter Boylan at pboylan@honoluluadvertiser.com. Read his daily blog at blogs.honoluluadvertiser.com.