Here's an excerpt from my latest Proof essay at The New York Times:
Throughout that summer, friends inevitably expressed admiration at my willpower to take on 15-plus miles at a time. And though I did not always disabuse people of this admiration, I knew a different truth: willpower is what happens when you have to muscle through; but I didn’t have to muscle through. I had an arsenal of support and ballasts in place to keep me on the right path. Those kooky coaches — who yelled out cheesy and embarrassing cheers, like “I see some heroes on the Mall today!” — were like hyper-euphoric angels, hell-bent on seeing us through the bizarrely human act of running exactly 26.2 miles. And, when the road was really tough, the day particularly hot, and the edible runner’s goo low, I would repeat, in a singsong whisper, I choose to run. I choose to run. I’d look around at my sweet Sweathogs. I choose to run. I’d stare down at my feet. I choose to run. One in front of the other. I choose to run. Sometimes, I’d look up to see I’d gone several miles in a kind of trance.To read the whole essay, click here.