When someone asks me
(ni3) (pao3) (ma3 la1 song1)❶ (xu1 yao4)❷ (zuo4) (na3 xie1)❸ (zhun3 bei4)?
(you) (to run) (marathon) (need) (to do) (what those) (prepare)?
“What do you need to do to prepare to run a marathon?”
I say, “Most importantly
(wo3) (xu1 yao4) (pao3) (geng4 chang2 geng4 jiu3)
(I) (need) (to run) (more long distance more long time).
“I need to run farther distances and more time at once.”
I want to do as well as I can, but
(wo3) (ye3) (bu2 yao4) [(pao3)(de.)] [(shou4 shang1)(le.)]
(I) (also) (not want) [(to run) (adverbial suffix)] [(pain)(completed action)]
I also do not want to run so that I injure myself.
Because a marathon is comparatively long,
(wo3) (hui4) (pao3 de.) (bi3 jiao4) (man4)
(I) (will) (run) (comparatively) (slow)
I will be running comparatively slow.
Still, I will burn many calories during training, so
(ke3 neng2) (wo3) (hui4) (chi) [(lei4)(le.)]
(possibly) (I) (will) (to eat) [(tired, weary)(completed action)]
Maybe I will get tired of eating!
My longest race so far was
(shi2) (san1) (dian3) (yi1) (ying1 li3)
(ten) (three) (point, dot) (one) (English mile)
I ran the whole distance
(guang1 jiao3 ya1), (suo3 yi3) (hen3 duo1) [(sai4 pao3)(de.)] (ren2) (gao3 su4) (wo3) “(ni3) (zhen1) (liao3 bu. qi3)!”
(bare foot), (so) (very many) [(race)(ing)] (people) (tell) (me) “(you) (very) (amazing)!”
barefoot, so many other racers told me, “You are amazing!”
However, I told them,
(bu2 shi4)! (zhi3 shi4) (wo3) (jue2 de.) (guang1 jiao3 ya1) (pao) (bi3 jiao4) (hao3 wan2)
(not is)! (only) (I) (feel) (bare foot) (to run) (comparatively) (full of fun)
“No! It is just that I feel running barefoot is more fun.”
Even with bare feet,
(wo3) (zhong1 jiu4) (pao) [(lei4)(le.)]
(I) (after all, in the end) (to run) [(tired)(completed action)]
I eventually will get tired of running.
It surprised me that
(wo3) (sai4 pao3) (yi2 hou4) (wo3) (lei4 le.) (liang3 tian1)
(I) (race) (after) (I) (tired) (two days)
I was tired for two days after the race.
Even though I didn’t move much,
(wo3) (du4 zi.) (hen3) (e4)
(my) (stomach) (very) (hungry)
I was very hungry.
As much as I want to run a marathon,
(wo3) (hai2 shi4) (bu2 yao4) [(yong3 jiu3)(de.)] (zai4) (pao3 bu4)
(I) (still is) (not want) [(forever, eternal, perpetual)(ly)] (at, to) (running)
I still don’t want to be running forever.
It is possible that
(wo3) (zai4) (ma3 la1 song1) (cha4 bu. duo1) (er4 shi2 si4) (ying1 li3) (de. shi2 hou4), (wo3) (hui4) (da4 jiao4) “(wo3) (kuai4 yao4 dao4 le.)
(I) (at) (marathon) (about) (24) (miles) (when), (I) (will) (big yell) “(I) (fast arriving)!”
When I am at mile 24 of the marathon, I will yell, “I’M ALMOST DONE!”
(ma3 la1 song1) (pao3 de.) (bi3 jiao4) (yuan3).
(marathon) (running) (comparatively) (far in distance)
running a marathon is a long way.
When I finish
(wo3) (hui4) (jue2 de.) (hen3) (gao1 xing4)!
(I) (will) (feel) (very) (happy)!
I will feel very happy!
Notes on helpful things I learned or was reminded of while writing these sentences:
❶ Marathon is what is called a same-sound word, a 同音字 (tong2 yin1 zi4) . That is, it is made up of Chinese sounds that sound close, to the Chinese ear, to what the original (often foreign) word sounds like. Thus, marathon is 馬拉松 (ma3 la1 song1), partly because the Chinese usually hear (and say) the English “r” sound as an “l” sound. They do not have an “r” sound equivalent in their language, even though the symbol “r” is used to represent a Chinese sound. Words like “pizza” 比薩 （bi3 sa4）and many country names fall in this category.
❷須要 (xu1 yao4) is one of the basic Chinese words that means “need.” The others that I know are 得(dei3) and 需要(xu1 yao), this second one you may notice having the same pronunciation as the first one in this note. The first (xu1 yao4) 須要 and the (dei3) 得 both technically are to be used when you need “to do” something. The second (xu1 yao4) 需要 is more abstract and used to refer to something as being truly essential or vital, such as bodily requirements. However, my tutor tells me that even native Chinese speakers tend to use the “(xu1 yao3)’s” interchangeably, so don’t worry about it too much!
❸Since Chinese is understood by the tones (or I sometimes think of them as melodies) of the words, questions can not be easily indicated by a tone. Word order is also fairly independent of whether the sentence is a question or a statement. Thus, certain “question words” are used to indicate that a question is being asked. The most basic and universal question word is ma 嗎 (ma.) at the end of a sentence. There are also question words that can be embedded in a sentence that mean things like “how,” 怎麼 (zen3 me.)”how many,”幾個 (ji3 ge.) and, like in the sentence being notated, “what are those”. 那些 that some (na3 xie1)
❹Learning when to use the “adverbial indicator” of 得 (de.) has been a bit of a challenge for me. For this project, we reviewed that it indicates the verb it follows will be used in conjunction with an adverb. Another way to think about it is that the verb depends on or leads to something else. For instance, if I want to say “he runs fast,” I have to use the 得 (de.) after the Chinese word for “to run” 跑 (pao3) to connect it to the word for “fast” 快 (kaui4). Then I would write or say: 他跑得快, which indicates that when he runs, he runs fast.
❺There is another (de.) 地 here is generally the equivalent of adding an “ly” to a word, often originally an adjective, into an adverb (that describes an action). In my sentence, the Chinese word that means (constant, perpetual, forever, eternal) is modified by adding (de.) 地.
Another phrase for “forever” is 長長久久 (chang2 chang2 jiu3 jiu3) (long distance long distance long time long time), but that is used when the idea of forever is positive, like “may you be married forever.” So, since no one wants to run a marathon forever, a different word is used in this case: 永久 (yong3 jiu3) (permanent long time).