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What's funny is that while the marathon, even with the sometimes brutal effects it has on the body, can have a calming air about it, the word's other definition is the exact opposite—endurance to the point of overload, so much of something that people question your sanity. Law and Order marathons on TV. Phone-a-thons on public access. Hot dog eating contests. The word "marathon" may not always imply something healthy or fulfilling. And in some ways, the Internet itself is a marathon—a nonstop endurance test of information acquisition and data overload (sometimes in the form of cat GIFs).
Because the Chicago Marathon is this week, and because excess and endurance are always choice subjects, this week's Variations on a Theme is Marathon Week. All week long, look for blog posts by Reader writers about running, TV show blocks, or anything else that we think of whenever we hear the word "marathon."
And in case you missed writing about stuff you missed, here's Recycling Week, last week's Variations on a Theme.