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In one of my favorite South Park episodes of all time, Douche and Turd, Stan is confronted with the bad choice of having to cast a vote for either a Giant Douche or a Turd Sandwich as the new mascot of South Park Elementary. Stan disgusted with his choices, chooses to vote for neither. His decision to abstain leads to exile and his exile to adventure and his adventure to a grand return. Upon his return, he discovers that his vote was irrelevant.

What he is supposed to learn, is that for most elections you get to pick between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich and your vote doesn’t matter.

The point is you have crappy choices.

In many ways, this episode is really about my failures. Over the last three years, every significant event has left me wondering could I have done more? And if you are wondering whether you could have done more, the answer is absolute yes.

After my injury, I came to realize that my failure to go all out was all in my head. The problem was that two different daemons had me trapped. The first daemon, Scylla, would tell me when the racing hurt too much that this was proof that I was incapable of finishing and sap me of my will to continue. The second daemon, Charybdis, would tell me if I went too fast I would fail to complete the race disappointing my family and friends and reaffirm my uselessness forcing me to go slow.

Like Odysseus, I must find a path between Scylla and Charybdis by keeping my running pace just so …

Trying to find that pace was mentally exhausting. And impossible. Charybdis would prevent me from going fast. And when the pain inevitably hit Scylla would force me to stop. And then when I stopped, the public humiliation of failure would force me to continue. And the cycle of misery would continue.

Whether it was the Athens Marathon, all three times, or the Napa Valley Marathon or the Hawaii 70.3 there was this point where I was caught between stopping and starting and unable to push through the pain.

And then this race happened. I woke that Sunday morning, took a selfie and realized how miserable I was.

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I kept trying to smile and failed.

And as I waited, I noticed that there were these pacers. And I noticed that there was this 5h10 minute pacer, and then noticed that there was this 4:55 pace. And I decided, right then and there, that I had nothing to lose. That there was another choice, I could make…

I could choose to just to try and do a 4h55 minute marathon. My thoughts were, I would start with the 4h55 pace, and then if I could keep pace for the first 10 miles, then I would hold on for the remaining 16 miles.

And I did. Everytime Scylla showed her ugly face; I reminded myself that I was choosing to finish this race at that pace. That yes it hurt, and I would keep going. And every time Charybdis would warn me that this pace would mean that I would fail, I would keep pace.

I suddenly realized that the decision was mine. I could finish at 4h55 or I could quit or I could finish in 6h. Whatever I did, it was my decision. Scylla wasn’t making decisions for me, nor was Charybdis. I was making decisions for me. And my decision was to finish in 4h55 …

For 26 miles, I reminded myself that I didn’t have to choose between my Douche and Turd Sandwich, that I had another choice, I could just do it. That Scylla and Charybdis were just these stupid little constructs that were getting in my way of finishing this race at the pace I wanted.

And so I did finish the race.

Successfully.

In 4h55 …

And this is the face of a happy man…

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Who realized that he didn’t have to vote for either a Douche or a Turd Sandwich because he is a free man.

 

 

 

4h53 minutes

  
Me finishing the Morgan Hill Marathon with a time that crushed my last personal best by about 19 minutes.

And yes my very painful training help and I have to give credit to this man 

 Here I am telling my wife that my record setting time was all about Satpal Dalal.

And here is a picture of the two of us at the end of the race

  

The Marathonning 3: Quick Race Report

About four years ago, a tired out-of-shape 37 year old version of me, confronted with a wife that had decided to go do a half-marathon and looking at his out-of-shape fat-ass decided to get into shape.

At first it was about doing a 5k. Then it became about doing a 10k. And then I wanted to be like Mike (Kalogiannis not the other Mike)

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And then it became about finishing the Athens Marathon. And then it became about finishing the Athens Marathon in five hours, and finally it became just about beating my PR:

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And like previous years there was the trip to Greece with my wonderful, understanding and supportive wife and my awesome kid.

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And of course there was the Margarita Stathaki

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pasta party… Where some people ate:

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And I ate:

 

There were two such plates of pasta …

All leading up to my race day that began, once again at Evagelismos Hospital in a bus:

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That dropped us off at Marathon where I would wait for this race to start.

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Actually this is not quite where I waited. I waited off the main starting race way, to the right,  because the number of racers no longer fits on the main race way.

The wait took two hours because it does. Something about being unable to wait to get into a bus and stand around in Marathon for two hours… But the race did start, and I did make it past the starting line:

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And then there were no more pictures for several hours as I tried to break my PR and perhaps hit that mythical 5 hour cut-off.

The race itself can be summarized in three acts and a final flourish.

In the first act, I ran too conservatively because I was terrified that I would once again crash and burn on the way up or the way down. And instead of having a time of 2:24 in the first 13.1 miles, I had a time of 2:33 that was two minutes slower than last year.

The second act was about throwing caution to the wind and pushing as hard as I could up the hill. My goal was to keep my pace below 12:30 miles, and I did that.

The third act was about trying to finish on hamstrings that hurt so much that I couldn’t put any weight on them. Instead of finishing the last 11 km at an 11 minute pace, I finished them at 12:30 minute pace much to my frustration. The pain was so acute 5 km before the end that I almost had to withdraw. I literally could not stand at that point in time.

Fortunately the Athens Marathon organizing committee was handing out coolant spray that may have been nothing but a placebo, but at that time I needed anything to finish…

The final flourish was the entry into the stadium. My son was super excited about this Marathon. He was looking forward to run across the finish line with his Dad. Last year, we had a tired hungry child that finished the race. This year mom made sure that didn’t happen feeding him his energy bar  (Kit Kat) 15 minutes before I entered the stadium:

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And here he is waiting for me to enter the Stadium looking for a Daddy wearing a black shirt and a white hat – a hat daddy decided to remove to look cooler as he ran into the Stadium:

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And once I entered the Stadium, secure in the knowledge that I had beaten my PR, Nicholas and I ran across the finish line:

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Nicholas had the biggest grin on his face as we ran together in the stadium. Heck running the 5 hours 21 minutes was worth the pain and suffering just for that amazingly wonderful smile…

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And here we are crossing the finish line!

After the race we did our selfie that looks a lot like last years (right):

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And once we had eaten our food, and drank our juice we took a picture sitting on a bench with the look of victory on our faces:

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And with my parents who are my biggest fans:

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Here are the splits:

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Some notes:

  • Second half was much faster than last year.  A full minute faster pace per km.
  • There was no cratering of my pace. No horrible sections where I walked for ever
  • I was a lot slower in the first 15 km from last year (1h49 vs 1h45) because I was so nervous about another epic collapse on the hill.
  • My first 30km was 9 minutes faster even
  • My last 12km 1h37 vs 1h50 minutes last year

Final thoughts, I probably had the 5h PR in my legs but not in my head. And it turns out that getting a PR is about the head not the legs.

 

Week 90: And on the third and final try

The Greek Orthodox Church allows us to get married divorced two and remarried three times. The last marriage is really the last try…

And this too is my last bite at the 5h 41 minute apple.

The first time I did a Marathon, finishing was the goal.

The second time I did the Athens Marathon, I wanted to break 5 hours and finished 1 minute slower than the first time. Who can forget the 5 pictures I took to immortalize my failed attempt at breaking my PR.

And on this my third and final time, my goal is to just beat my PR.

 

 

 

Week 86 – 4:45 marathon (over two days)

Training for a marathon is brutal. Trying to set a new PR for a marathon reminds me of the following quotation from the Shepherd Boy by the Brother’s Grimm:

But nobody could, and the king said, “The third question is, How many seconds does eternity have?”

The little shepherd boy said, “The Diamond Mountain is in Lower Pomerania, and it takes an hour to climb it, an hour to go around it, and an hour to go down into it. Every hundred years a little bird comes and sharpens its beak on it, and when the entire mountain is chiseled away, the first second of eternity will have passed.”

 

The key to setting a new PR isn’t to go fast, it’s to go consistently faster over a long time. Your job is to chisel a tiny bit of time over every mile. And that is hard. Because in the beginning you need to go slower than you want and in the end you need to go faster than you want. Go too fast to start, and you have nothing left in the end, go too slow at the start and you can’t cover enough distance fast enough to end.

This balancing act is something I have yet to master. I look more like the amateur that sprints the first two miles, only to discover that there are 24 more to go. My closing times aren’t bad they are ghastly. And every time it’s because I came out way too strong in the beginning …

Part of it … I know this is heresy, may have been that I was simply not fit enough. A combination of extra body weight, and a lack of depth of training meant that I had enough strength to do a half marathon, but was finished around mile 15. All that was left between mile 15 and 26 was survival …

This is not for the faint of heart. This setting of new PR’s.

And therefore it is encouraging that over the last two days, I was able to finish a full marathon in 4:45 minutes. Obviously it’s much easier to take a 24 hour break between mile 14 and mile 15 than continue running, but this is a good indicator.

Another strong indicator is my best times for my long runs are all this year and are all a full minute faster than  last year.

Unlike last year, though, I refuse to believe anything is in the bag. I refuse to sign the rights to my memoirs “How I did the Athens Marathon in under 5h42 minutes” until after I do it.

Hubris, the gods like to punish. And I refuse to be proud…

For my scoffers

Four years ago, a doctor looked at me and scoffed when I suggested that I might be able to get my health under control

Two years ago, I scoffed at myself that I could get my weight below 200 and keep it there.

Kostadis 2 – Scoffers 0

Oh okay, the scoffers do get 1 point – I didn’t do the Athens Marathon in under 5 hours.

Athens Marathon Report – The Pheidippides‎ Edition

The day of the race arrived. 12 months of training had come down to this last race. And I was excited, and pumped and ready to go.

I was so excited that I ended up taking 5 different selfies to got the one that I thought would best reflect this great day!

Here they are:

The first picture had unfortunate flash glare. The second picture didn’t have the jersey. The third one had a scowling Kostadis. The fourth had the sign upside down.The fifth was the one.

I was ready for my run.

As for why bother with the Sharks poster? Well I am a Sharks fan, and the Sharks encouraged their fans to take pictures of themselves and the sign around the world, and I had this goal of having a selfie with the sign at the start of the Athens Marathon.

Unlike last year, I didn’t get on the first bus for Marathon… After all I was no longer a noob. I was going for a PR… I managed to find a spot on the *second* bus and slept all the way to Marathon.

Since we were the second bus, the bus dropped us off a full quarter of a mile away from the starting line…

And once again, I had two hours to kill before the race began.

With all of my nervous energy before my soon to be historic 5 hour run, I went a little bit picture happy and video happy. Must capture every moment I thought. Last Athens Marathon after all, I thought.

As for the weather, the weather the day before was perfect Marathon weather. Cool but not too cool. And that morning the weather was anything but warm. I was very happy to be fully clothed. With the weather so awesome… I was looking forward to … maybe… beating 5 hours?

One of the coolest parts of the Athens Marathon is how much support they provide. There were all these people holding green information balloons willing to help you:

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Having run the Napa Valley Marathon, the folks in Napa can learn a thing or two about providing support from the Greeks. There was oodles of water, friendly faces to answer questions and food to go around.

And of course, the Sharks Territory pictures kept coming fast and furious… Here’s me at the starting gate:

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But I was like… but I’m not in it… This isn’t about the Sharks this is about me and my run!

So here I am …20131110_065901

 

And because that was dissatisfying…  I also took this one in front of the eternal Marathon flame with Sharks poster:

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and without:

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As the race moved ever closer to start the announcer decided to play some Zorba the Greek music… My favorite part of this clip is the runner who is stretching in time to Syrtaki.


Notice, how no one looks warm.

And then the race began with fireworks and balloons and cheering.

As I was getting into the whole groove of running I noticed a dog next to me…

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That isn’t that surprising Greece has a lot of strays. What was surprising was when I learned that the dog and the dog owner were going to finish the race together.  Somewhere my labrador is looking at me accusingly… Apparently she feels I should be doing more running with her.

The race

The Athens Marathon is famous for being hard. According to the story, the first Athens Marathon was run by a guy named Pheidippides who upon finishing the race… died. Except, well, Pheidippides never existed. Seems that the guy who started the modern Olympic movement baron Pierre de Coubertin read a poem that told the tale and based off that poem decided to create the event. As a modern Greek, this is yet another example of western Europe being in love with the Greeks they imagined not the Greeks that actually existed… we are … well … not as admired…

The problem is that the race from Marathon is hard. Here’s the elevation profile:2013-11-30_1327

The thing that stands out is that big long nasty climb. The thing that does not stand out is the small nasty climb that comes just before the big one. The problem is that they are both nasty.

My coach and I had a plan. The plan was straightforward enough. 12 minute pace for the first three miles, 11 minute pace for the next 8 miles, 11:30 minute pace during the nasty uphill finishing with an 11 minute pace down the backside. Even a fool could remember that plan.

And so when my wave started, I was ready to go…

The first three miles of the race were fine. The 11:30 minute pace wasn’t hard to maintain. I just needed to keep focused on not going too fast. I was in such a good mood that I was able to ham it up for the camera man at the 5km mark.

 

Running past the fallen warriors of the original battle of Marathon was, once again, inspiring.

But then the left turn towards Athens beckoned and I had to pick up my pace. And I did.

For the next 9 miles I pushed really hard to hit my 11 minute pace. And I actually pulled it off. This was great. I was going to get my 5 hour marathon time! I was feeling awesome.

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I did the 9 mile section in slightly under an 11 minute pace.

I was on a high. I was keeping up with the main pack. I was running with the peloton, to mix sporting metaphors, instead of the groupetto. As we passed the various towns I got to enjoy the cheers and the crows and feel like I was in a big race with a lot of people.

Like last year it was heartwarming to see all these people out on the street cheering us on. One of the clever things the organizers did was to organize children’s races at the major towns along the race, this encouraged parents to come out and then stick around to cheer the racers.

And like last year, I made a point of high-fiving as many different small hands as I could.

Unlike last year, my hard pace made it hard to soak in the scenery because I was too focused on pushing hard.

Which should have been a red flag. One of many.  The first was the rather abrupt climb from 28 feet to 283 feet. The second was my alarmingly increasing heart rate. The third was the heat.

Did I mention the heat?

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Notice how on Sunday November 10th it was 24 degrees Celsius or 75… And you know how they compute weather in this world… by looking at the shade. And it was not a shady day… And the humidity was 82%. Yes, 82%. I was not in Boston, I was in Greece.

Maybe I should have been more worried when the announcer, unlike last year, did not keep repeating how today was a great day to set a new personal record.

Maybe. But then I might have not been documenting every moment of my triumphant 5 hour marathon and been paying attention …

The fall of Icarus

One of my favorite tales from the Greek mythos is the story of Icarus. Icarus doesn’t listen to his father and flies too close to the sun, in so doing offends the Gods, and falls to his death.

Pieter Brueghel the Elder has done my favorite rendition of that story:

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The painting is my favorite, possibly because of the poem of another Englishman, WH Auden, titled the Musee Des Beaux Arts. To Auden what is important about tragedy is how the world doesn’t give a damn about it.

At the 12 mile marker I felt like Icarus just as the wax starts to melt. The heat had gotten to me, the small nasty climb had turned out to be nastier than I anticipated and the descent down the nasty climb wasn’t as relaxing as I had hoped.

I was hoping that by the time the climb began I would be okay. After all I had just sustained an 11 mile pace through the small climb, I could sustain an 11:30 mile pace through the big climb.

Icarus must have been thinking the same way:  I’ll just go to a lower altitude and the wax will congeal… It will all be okay…

Visually:

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I was done.

Completely, utterly done. And I had another 12 miles to go. Seriously. 12 more miles.

That was so not fair. I mean seriously. Not fair. Not at all.

And the 12 mile marker is ominous for another reason, it’s the start of an 8 mile climb.

And the sun, that merciless beast was hottest on that climb.

Look when you’re heart rate jumps to 160 when you’re going at a 14 mile pace … when that should be a 10 mile pace, things are bad.

I had 12 more miles to go.

And in my head I started to understand what it must feel like to be a hockey player on a team that isn’t going to make the playoffs and has 20 games to go. 20 more games of practice. 20 more games of getting hit by players who want to win the game and you don’t. 20 more games of showing up and no one caring. And you’re not one of the young players with talent that can hope for a better contract, you’re the kind of guy who has to show up and play or else you’re flipping burgers or riding the bus in the AHL. 20 more games of loss. 20 more games of watching the hot groupies at home going after the away team. 20 more games of being a disappointment. 20 more games of crankiness.

All you want to do is quit. To just forfeit every single game left in the season and go home. You just want it to end.

And somehow these guys pull it off.

And like Icarus in Brueghel’s painting, your misery is all your own. No one cares. No one notices. The world just moves on.

I had hit empty and the rest of the race just moved forward. I was in excruciating pain, looking for sympathy while the other athletes just pushed forward faster. I wanted some acknowledgement of my pain and of my misery, and all I got was people whizzing by me.

Not fair! Not fair! I was supposed to set a new personal best, to crush this race instead I was floundering…

I saw a truck whizz by, and for a moment, I thought: enough, I will quit.

But then… Then I remembered that I don’t quit. Too much training, and effort had been put into this race for me to just quit because it didn’t go my way. The Athens Marathon wasn’t going to get the best of me. That I still could beat my personal best if I could figure out how to recover.

And then there was the small matter of the fictional Pheiddipides and my Greek pride. I wasn’t going to give some dead Frenchman the satisfaction of thinking that the real Greeks were less manly than his fictional Greeks. Pheiddipides died after he arrived in Athens, I would do the same…

The problem was that I had no clue as to how to recover. And I was too tired to think straight.

But Pheiddipides was able to figure something out, and so would I.

The climb

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The next 8 miles up to Geraka sucked. Let’s just say I tried to come up with all sorts of ways to recover and failed. All I remember is being hot and miserable and beaten down.

Every foot step up that hill was excruciating. My feet hurt, my head hurt from the heat, my body hurt.

As I moved my sorry ass up this mountain I saw a dude with a running jersey that said “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers” and below that quote had “member of 150+ marathon club”. The 72-year-old gentleman had run over 200 marathons in his life … When I congratulated him he said, you have plenty of time to catch up…

Maybe that was the dude who was there to inspire me.

All I can remember is every step, every minute taking me closer to Athens. And in my heat addled brain, I was praying that the descent would be okay. That once I started going down hill everything would just be fine.

As we approached our final climb up to Geraka, there were all these noobs that were wondering when did the climb end, and like the old-timer I was, I kept telling them at the 30km mark. Just keep pushing I told them and myself.

Just before the last climb, the organizers gave us some coke in a thimble. I drank some and felt instantaneously better. Instead of drinking more, I just started running. sigh.

All I kept telling myself is that once you got past the 30km it got easy.

Everything would just be fine.

It wasn’t.

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Unlike the 5km mark where I was all smiles, here I am in all pain:

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My face was in pain. My body was in pain. I didn’t even notice the photographer.

I was hoping that once I started going down hill, the magic of gravity would save me.

When I crossed the peak it felt a lot like when I went over the back-side of Ebbets during the death ride and about as tired.

Unlike last year I didn’t stop running at the peak of the mountain. I was a mature runner who only went too fast in his third marathon. Do marathon runners have third race syndrome?

The funniest part of the race into Athens was running past ERT. ERT was the Greek public TV broadcaster. Now it turns out things between ERT and the government have been complicated. Last year Samaras shut them down but a group of employees have occupied the building refusing to leave. This year Samaras decided to finish the job before the Athens Marathon.

So as we run a lot of protestors cheered us on. My favorite was: We too are engaged in a struggle just like you… All I could think was… Can you finish my race and I’ll picket for you?

Gravity probably ensured that I finished the race because I hadn’t yet faced the toughest climb of the day:

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This climb is an underpass on Mesogeion right about where the Military hospital is.

Here’s a google map:

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This particular underpass is one I am very familiar with. When I did my military service in Greece, I served at the military hospital seen on the map.

I feel like I died there.

But once I crossed that threshold it was all over. There were two miles to go, surely I could finish two miles.

Just to give you some idea of what a mess I was, I had to call my sister to tell her when to expect me. And she had this stream of SMS’ that had later and later finishing times. At this point, I think we were 2km from the end at the Hilton. I was texting her that I was 20+ minutes out.

Like seriously. I was so scrambled that I let myself get professionally photographed with a phone. A far cry from my five pre-race selfies…

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Just to give you an idea of how much pain I was in, you’ll notice some blood on my jersey. I had managed to cut myself on my pectorals from the friction of the jersey rubbing on the pectorals. I was in so much aggregate pain that I would only notice this at the finish line when I tried to make myself a little bit presentable…

At this point in time, I was just trying to not finish in a worse time than last year. My 15 minute lead at the 30km mark had since evaporated. I was just trying to hang on.

And then it happened, the final turn to the finish line… I’ve been reading some descriptions of how people feel when they make the final turn on Ironman Kona.

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And it always felt trite. After this day I have an intuition of how they feel because this turn:

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felt like my salvation.

This is one of two pictures I took during this epic race. 20131110_145130

The final stretch to the finish line. I was so happy and relieved to finally being done. I think the only time I have ever been happier was when my child was born. The level of relief and joy was that intense.

And so I crossed into the stadium one more time and was just delighted that I had finished. Like Pheiddipides, I had triumphed.

Here I am focused as I run past the Greek flags… So unlike last year where I was waving to the crowds:

Here I am a little bit more celebratory:

Enter Nicholas

One thing I was really jealous of last year was all of those dads who finished the race with their toddlers. So this year I was determined to do that. Ironically I ran past Nicholas, my sister then flagged me, and I ran out onto the race and ran with him in tow.

We crossed the finish line and got our medal:

What I love about this picture is the absolute contrast with the face at the beginning of this race. I was an absolute wreck. The heat had given me an intense tan (no hat) and my body was done.

But because this is a Marathon we needed a selfie, this time vanity was a little less important:

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Nicholas got such a big kick out of the race to the finish that the next day he kept re-enacting the whole thing …

He would run from one end of the house to the other and then put the medal around his neck. Later on he kept asking where was my medal…

Post-run

After we crossed the finish line, I had hoped to hand over my son to his grand parents but the organizing comity had other ideas. Turns out that I had to drag him all the way to get my stuff and then bring him to the car because of the way things were set up. I suspect the Boston bombers had something to do with that.

Poor Nicholas had not been fed… After all I was supposed to have finished an hour ago. So the poor kid when he saw my goodie bag full of food demanded to eat. So there I am, dying of thirst and hunger and my kid wants to eat my food, and I suddenly became convinced of genetic determinism because I gave him the food.

Later on as we walked to the car, the kid declared he was tired and wanted to be carried. So I put him on my shoulders and staggered to the car. Fortunately my cousin Lefteris was there and carried him for me. Otherwise I just might have re-enacted the fictional Marathon.

The many face of a runner

Just for fun I thought I’d share how my face changed during the race…

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I certainly look a lot worse at the end than at the beginning… Also  a lot more tanned. Turns out it was hot. Did I mention that already?

What about the Kenyans?

The race that started with so much promise had ended with me finishing one minute slower than last year. Yup after one year of intense training I was slower.

I was feeling down and out except later on I learned that many folks had experienced a 10% drop in performance … some more. So if I adjust for weather … I think my time comes in at 5:10 minutes… And that feels a lot better than the 5:43…

Even the Kenyans had a bad day. The pace maker won the race because the favorites couldn’t pick up the pace to beat him.

So much like the Kenyans, I had a bad day.

What about the dog?

Well the dog finished 1:17 minutes faster than me coming in at 4:26 minutes. Apparently running in the heat with a fur coat wasn’t that big of a problem for some people…

Final Stats

So what were the splits:

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Once again the Athens climb had beaten me. And the second half was epic-ally bad. No negative splits here….

So ?

So much like the Jews at Passover, I have only final thought:

Next year in Athens

 

 

 

 

 

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 trainingpeaks.com.

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.

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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…

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

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