There are two kinds of people out there that I really admire: surgeons and marathon runners.
I admire surgeons, even though I sometimes hate them, because they do something amazing that I could never do. They are ordinary people, yet they gown and glove in the OR, cut people open with a scalpel, and fix their insides. To me, that's amazing, even superhuman. It almost makes me wish I were a surgeon, except not really.
I admire marathon runners for some of the same reasons. Here they are, these ordinary-looking people who run these incredible, superhuman distances. 26 miles? I can run, like, a mile. Not even. Maybe two blocks.
I had a patient a little bit ago, let's call him Clark, who was a very nice, benign-looking 35 year old man, who was also a marathon runner. A few years earlier, Clark had a femoral stress fracture, which basically means you've been running so much, your hip's about to crack in two. =That fracture healed up with rest, but now his other hip had started to hurt in exactly the same way.
Me: "When did your hip start to hurt?"
Clark: "About a month ago."
Me: "Are you still running?"
Clark: "Well, I cut back my mileage."
Me: "By how much?"
Clark: "I was running 80 miles a week and now I'm only running 30 miles a week."
Your hip is broken so now you're ONLY running 30 miles a week? Awesome. You're practically a couch potato.
I think if you totaled the distance I've run over my entire life, it probably wouldn't add up to 30 miles. That's why I admire the hell out of these guys. I don't know how they do it.