Each day I ride a Park and Ride bus to and from work. In the evening, shortly after leaving downtown, the bus is on the High Occupancy Vehicle lane well above the mainlanes and I can see to the horizon to the west. The next bridge to the west is the long bridge the Houston Marathon traverses as it makes the first mile, shortly after the start at Enron Field (I know, it's Minute Maid Park, but it was Enron Field at first and will be so in my heart forever).
I look at this undulating bridge most days and think of the start of the Houston Marathon a few months ago. I, like most, was pulsing with adrenaline and ready to roll, and promptly did so too early and too fast...on the bridge. The first mile marker is directly over Interstate 10, when I got my first hard feedback: a 7:25 mile. Too fast. But too jacked up to slow down. Doom is on its way.
The bridge is just the start, but it's almost magical. It undulates and even turns a bit. In the early morning light it's quite a sight to see hundreds of people in front of me as each undulation is crested, knowing I am pushed by thousands of people behind me.
Why do I marathon? The start is one good reason. There are many others.