MLB Playoffs and Marathons (an October hybrid story)

It’s October. Guess what that means??

NO! Not pumpkin anything!! If that was your first thought just close out your browser and vacate the premises. Go find yourself a latte or a muffin and come back after Christmas.

Most of you reading are runners, so you’re probably thinking “Marathon Month!” which is cool. Even I, a self-proclaimed marathon hater (it’s love/hate, in its truest form) can get behind that. And some of you are tapering for said October marathon, so I’m gonna just calmly put this hand on your shoulder, offer you a bagel from a safe distance, not bring up goal paces or workouts, and back away slowly.

Good little taper monster… Good marathoner… eat your snack, don’t hurt me…

feed your marathon diva oiselle

an oldie but a goodie – Dealing with a Pre-Race Marathoon Diva

But seriously, October means playoff baseball and it’s the best time of the year!


… Bueller?

A lot of people don’t love baseball. That’s fine. They love crackerjacks and summertime and beer in plastic cups, so they pretend to love it, but in actuality think it’s a total bore. That’s fine! Really, it is, I’m not mad. Not everyone can have such a proactively analytical mind to appreciate a seemingly slow-paced game for how complex it actually is…

(nerdily puffs chest with a delusional look of superiority)

But playoff baseball? That’s something everyone, especially runners should get behind. And here’s why.


at the ‘07 ALCS game three, the last series of postseason baseball* played in Cleveland. wikipedia it if you’re curious, I don’t have the heart to say out-loud how it ended

*don’t get me started on the new Wild Card play-in situation

Think about marathon training in its broadest form: a grueling, never-ending training cycle followed by the long-awaited race that should feel like a million hard-earned bucks but is usually a drawn-out, painful affair.

That’s exactly what an MLB season is like. Six weeks of Spring Training (base building), followed by 162 regular season games (16-20 weeks of structured training), with countless disabled list stints, lineup changes, overanalyzings, and freakouts along the way. If you’re lucky (and good) you get sprayed with champagne at the finish.

post race season celebration

practically the same

It’s a long, LONG, summer, boys and girls.

Now take into consideration that sometimes shit happens and despite a boatload of hard work and dedication, you never end up getting to toe the starting line of what you were working so hard all summer towards. You get injured, shit comes up, lord-knows-what-else, and suddenly your season is over with a screeching halt. You don’t get to run your race and your favorite team gets statistically eliminated from contention the final week of the regular season.


theres always next year cleveland gvartwork

22* of 30 MLB teams don’t even get a chance to play for the playoff crown at the end of the regular season. That’d be like 75% of your training partners not getting to run on M Day. But in this case it’s because they aren’t that good, so it’s not so sad, but still. You get the analogy of grinding and grinding and having to peter out early.

*again, wild card play-in

So you manage to get past all the hurdles and bullshit 16-20 weeks (six months) of training (baseball) threw at you, avoided any last minute Race Eve nightmares (earned a place into the playoffs) and are finally all bibbed-up and chipped-up in the corral, ready to go. Congratulations!

cim start

congratulations? this shit aint over yet, it’s just getting started

The big game is finally here! All those weeks and months of hard work finally come to fruition and you get to put them to the test. Now it’s time to be smart, savvy, and fucking tough as nails. Don’t blow it!

Am I going too fast?

Should we bunt? Let him swing away?

Is it time for a gel?

Tony can’t hit lefties… but if we pinch hit no-glove Bobby is going to right…

Can I really hold this pace 10 more miles?

Can we ride the starter one more inning?

I blew it! I’m running out of gas! Am I even moving forward anymore??

Totally exhausted the bullpen, they’re getting hammered, the series is fucked!

‘One Mile to Go’ OMG I’M GOING TO DO IT!

9th inning rally… HOLY SHIT COME ON! WE CAN DO THIS!

So even though one step can’t change the course of a marathon like a swing in baseball can, I think we can all appreciate the tenacity and sometimes maniacal optimism that keeps pushing us through those long days along the way, knowing how sweet the finish line will be.

From one seemingly boring-as-shit sport to another, we salute you, October!

Sarah OUaL

(this post written by cabernet Sarah and attempted editing by under-caffeinated Sarah, whom don’t always see eye-to-eye, and for that publisher Sarah apologizes)


2 thoughts on “MLB Playoffs and Marathons (an October hybrid story)

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks playoff baseball the second October hits. Loved this post! Don’t worry, my team didn’t make it either…and we were in first place for 150 games. Nothing says amazing like shitting the bed in September. Or not toeing the start line due to shitting the bed.


  2. It’s the freaking best! I am way more interested in baseball right now then training for or thinking about New York Marathon. At least the Giants made it to the start line, now let’s see if I do.



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