The bucket, in this case, may be less of a list thing and more of a receptacle for a sour stomach.
If our recent trip to Great Britain had nothing to do with training for running in an upcoming half-marathon, why then, did I keep stumbling on stories about runs occurring during our visit?
Was it to remind me I should have been putting in the training miles by running on the open roads, rather than the darting I did between as many local pubs as humanly possible?
Hell, I was even telling myself that all those pints of cask ales were just a form of hydration before my long run.
Truth be told, it was actually the ONLY form of training I was doing to prepare.
One of the stories I read was for a WOLF run in Warwickshire, England; W.O.L.F. being an acronym for Woods, Obstacles, Lakes, and Fields. Since you—and I—missed that one, the next one will be April 7, 2012, so you have plenty of time to train and book a trip to the United Kingdom. They promise their runs in “raw natural running” conditions, so you might need to work on your whole-body tan.
The next run I missed was a half-marathon called the Great North Run, which was held right on our circumnavigation route between Edinburgh and York, on our way to London. Sure, I might have tried signing up at the last moment, but…ah…I left my running shoes at home. Yeah, that was my excuse.
The final running story that caught my eye was a run advertised as “The Steepest Race in the World,” known officially as, “The Baldwin Street Gutbuster.” I’m not sure if it is the run, itself, or the fact that they let loose 25,000 Cadbury® Jaffa chocolate-centered, hard candy balls that is cause of the stated gut busting. My excuse this time? Well, while the story was in the British press, the run was held in New Zealand. Unfortunately, I probably won’t be there until next April; I wonder if any candies will still be laying around at the base of the hill.
That takes me to the run I am driving to shortly. No, I’m not still in the U.K. This run is in northeast California along an old railroad grade, known as the Bizz Johnson Trail.
The main event is a full marathon, which was to be my first—and very likely only—run of that length, but I thought doing the half without any training was only crazy; I figured doing the whole 26.2 miles would be insane.
For many years I have been thinking about (which is not to be confused for actually training for) doing a marathon. I thought a little research into the history of the event might be inspiring to me.
As many of you know, the origin of this long run started in ancient Greece, about 490 B.C. when Gerard Butler borrowed his wife, Mary’s, leather thong. The name “marathon is an ambiguation of the name “Mary,” and the word “thong.”
Poor Gerard was chased by the Knights of the Conservatives who had not heard that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy of the Greek army had been abolished.
Butler, known at the time as a Spartan named Pheidippides, ran all the way to Athens (known to have a liberal theater district), but with a quick stop at Thermopylae for a play day with some Persians.
When Pheidippides finally got to Athens he collapsed due to exhaustion because nobody bothered to tell him that the distance was 26.1 miles, not the shorter 24.85 miles that his Garmin GPS Google Maps Gauntlet told him it would be.
Not only that, but apparently Pheidippides did not happen to notice that when he left the play day in Thermopylae he left without his wife’s thong on, or any other article of clothing whatsoever. This had the locals of Athens up in arms.
The resultant brouhaha was so disturbing that the whole town shut down for weeks, which created such an economic disaster that Greece suffered a huge national debt, threatening their membership in the newly formed European Union.
Some of you may have heard of other versions of the history of the marathon, but all the details I mention above are out there on the internet (just read the blog post, above).
But, none of this is really relevant to my run on Saturday. I’m not running in Greece, I’m not running in my wife’s thong (unless I can find where she has hidden it this time), and I’m not running 26.1 (or even 24.85) miles.
Given my lack of training, I may not even make the 13 miles. But that’s o.k. As I read the history, Pheidippides’ personal trainer, Jeff Galloway, tried to convince him that is was o.k. to walk part of the way to Athens.
If it was good enough for Gerard Butler, it’s good enough for me.
Wish me luck.
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Late Breaking News: there is a Sacramento Bee story this morning about a local coach who “resigned this week amid…the release of a photo on the Internet purportedly showing the coach clad only in a thong.”
Full Disclosure: That was NOT me in last minute training for tomorrow’s half marathon, although I can’t rule out that this guy has his own idea of how to prepare for a marathon. Like they say, “sometimes less is more.” I guess how much more is dependent how generous nature was in allocating a guy’s…um…genetics.