The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are over now but there were some memorable moments: the opening ceremonies and performances in the pool and on the track. But, for me, the events that held the most interest were the marathons and triathlons.
I didn't get to see the men's marathon but I watched parts of the women's. Watching Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain veer off to the side of the road, squat and relieve herself was amusing, especially in light of my recent musings on mid-run bathroom breaks.
The agony on the faces of some of the women was certainly sobering but, then again, I don't intend to push myself to finish the marathon in two and a half hours.
The men's triathlon was the most memorable race at the Games. Canada's Simon Whitfield was in fourth place during the run (the last segment of the 1.5k swim/40k bike/10k run race) with the three leaders pulling away from him with about .5k left to go. It looked like he was fading and a podium finish wasn't possible. Then, he threw off his visor and I thought, "He's going to go for it!" Remarkably, he refused to quit, digging deep to find another gear and he reeled in the leaders and took the lead on the final stretch. Germany's Jan Frodeno eventually also managed to find something left and he passed Whitfield in the final 100m to take the gold. Whitfield took the silver but it was a remarkable and inspiring run nonetheless.
While my goal isn't much more than simply finishing my upcoming marathon, if I find that I'm struggling during miles 20+ I plan to remember the determination and grit that Simon displayed and dig deep like Whitfield.