Like many others here, I don't buy the rationale
for this purported mistake. I feel certain Ryan's misstatement was deliberate and I am left to wonder why he would do this. I ran the Boston Marathon for the first time in 1979 and finished in 3:04. No chips then, of course, and I lost some minutes getting to the starting line, and probably several more jogging the first couple miles until it thinned out. Had I been on the front row, I suppose I would have broken three hours, but it was 33 years ago, and if anyone asked, it would not occur to me to say I ran any time other than 3:04. My lifetime PR is 2:44:11. It has never even occurred to me to say I was fast, given other men have run this distance in under 2:05. While I admit that my running stats might be more important to me than Ryan's are to him, I can't believe this was an accidental misstatement.
I am not a psychologist, but I continue to think this is symptomatic of some curious personality trait in many politicians of all political leanings. To me, it suggests some deep form of insecurity: it's not enough to have the best ideas on how to govern the nation: they feel some need to be all things to everyone. It's a troubling personality characteristic, and again, I think it's manifest in other ways in Democrats as well. a friend of mine suggests it's something like politicians who phony-up military records.