Athens Marathon Report – Pre-Race Chatter

This will be a multi-part series, because something this epic deserves an epic series of blog postings. And I can’t say anything in a few words. I am prolix. 

At the beginning of this year I hired a professional coach. And as part of our mutual orientation, I had to decide what was going be to my goal for the year.

“5 hours in Athens”, I said.

My run in Athens had left me frustrated and cranky. At the 30km mark, my body had given out. And upon further reflection it was clear that what had really happened was that my brain had given up on my body.

And this was simply not okay. I do not accept this kind of failure. Losing because I gave up is simply not okay.

And so I decided I was going to crush this run. I was going to destroy this run. This run would lie prostate on the ground begging me for forgiveness.

And so there was training. And I mean lots of training. Endless training. And lots of running too. I have run 800 miles since the Athens Marathon. And that’s not every mile … Just the miles I recorded in

In one year, I went from having a really poor running style to almost looking like someone who was running. I felt stronger, fitter and healthier than I had in years…

Just a few weeks before the Athens Marathon I finished the Morgan Hill Half Marathon in 2:21 minutes. And my confidence was at an all time high.

I would do this.

My confidence at an all time high, my physical fitness at its peak, I flew to Greece with my son …

And this brings me to hubris.

Hubris /ˈhjuːbrɪs/, also hybris, from ancient Greek ὕβρις, means extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence, accomplishments or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.

I believe that God is rarely in a rush to punish the true evil doers of this world, but when it comes to hubris he doesn’t wait at all. God moves quickly to punish hubris. And when he is done humility and shame are all that is left.

Back to my story. So my son and I traveled alone together for the first time, and it was a blast. In fact the whole trip was worthwhile just because of the time we got to spend with each other …

The day before the race my sister and I took our kids to the Acropolis where we took a picture in front of the Parthenon…DSC_5006_5046

Complete with the lady who photo-bombed our picture … Apparently last night she had fun with something this big.

As is tradition the night before the trip we ate at my cousin’s house.


This time the house was teaming with children. My cousin had her first child, and her niece had her first child and my sister had her first child… We were drowning in children…



And like last year, I was able to be there for my dad’s birthday who was happier to just have his grandchildren…



Happily fed, I rested. I was ready for my race the next day…



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