GateHouse — Let’s get this out of the way: Paul Ryan’s for-realsies marathon time — the four-hour one that an official timer clocked officially in official 1990 using an official 1990 stopwatch, which played Bell Biv DeVoe music — totally beats mine. Hell, Sarah Palin’s marathon time beats mine, and trust me, this is not information that makes it easy to get out of bed every morning.
We could spend the better part of the afternoon inventorying the politicians who have run faster marathons than me — it’s actually most o of them, with the exception of Al Gore, who I shall now take to calling “An Inconvenient Turtle.”
But that’s the point: We can do that because I remember mine. Everybody remembers their own PRs, whether they’re two hours or seven. We love them unconditionally, we spend loads of time awkwardly shoving them into conversations that go on to cover the status of our knees, the contents of our running mixes, the number of packets of nutrient-rich goo we forced ourselves to absorb, the emotional attachment we have with our shoes (the majority of which do not love us back), and if you’re really lucky, some details about bathroom breaks. Point is, PEOPLE REMEMBER. God, you could start a second Instagram with the number of shoe-pictures alone. (Note: <– OH GOD, NO ONE DO THIS.)
Which is why when Ryan told a radio host that he couldn’t remember his marathon PR — “under three, high twos, I had a two hour and 50-something” — my eyebrows immediately went up. And not just my eyebrows — which was good, as I burned most of them off in a 1996 silver-nitrate-related chem-lab mishap — but the eyebrows of my actual running friend Jamey, who has run Boston three times and has been to known to talk an awful lot about his socks. Which WICK MOISTURE! Y’all aren’t even ready for the amount of moisture they can wick.
Long story short, in a statement to Runner’s World magazine, one of eight billion media outlets which found factual errors in something he said last week, Ryan wrote: “The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin — who ran Boston last year — reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three. If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three. He gave me a good ribbing over this at dinner tonight,” Ryan wrote, neglecting to mention THE RECORD, WHICH IS THE ONLY INTERESTING PART OF THIS. Not to take away from the delightful back-and-forths that must unfold at Ryan family dinners.
But OK, fine, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, assume that the guy credited with Inventing A Revolutionary Plan To Disintegrate America’s Crushing Debt has a problem recalling the first integer of a three-digit sequence. And let’s assume that it’s tough to remember all the way back to 1990, especially that time you spent months and months and months running four or five times a week in preparation for a single three-or-four-or-two-or-one-hour hour event.
Related, sort of
Even assuming all those things, there’s good news: They keep records! On the computer, even! Which you can search now! It’s not a difficult lie to catch, like “I invented the Internet” or “I’ve hunted varmints since I was 15” or “No, you guys, listen, they totally have WMDs.” Frankly I think we need someone investigating this Rage Against the Machine claim too, make sure he wasn’t actually listening to Stabbing Westward.
But then again, now that I think about it, this is a lot of effort and complaining and facts, and if we learned anything from the Republican National Convention, is that facts are chafing, jerky things best left out of speeches and life. So I’m taking a new tack. My friend Andy and I just this morning went for a 5-mile run on the beach, by which I mean a trail double-marathon uphill on a volcano, after which we killed a shark. Tomorrow I’ll be doing closer to 4 miles, which I hope to complete in my usual 97 seconds. Well, 95, if I listen to Stabbing Westward.