I learned something new today: before Pheidippides (maybe) ran from Marathon to Athens to inform the Athenians that they defeated the pesky Persians, he ran from Athens to Sparta to ask them for some military assistance. Did you know this? That’s 250 kilometers and he reportedly did it in two days. This is far more impressive than a regular marathon.
But here’s the kicker: The Spartans were in the middle of some sort of religious festival, in which they sat around and ritualistically slaughtered a ram. So they told Pheidippides to kick rocks and back to Athens he went. There’s another 250 gosh darn kilometers.
At the conclusion of the Battle of Marathon, we all know the story: Pheidippides ran 40 kilometers to Athens to tell about the victory. He made the run, managed to say a couple words about winning, and then croaked. Here’s another thing: that probably never happened, but because it’s a nice sounding origin story (kind of) for one of our favorite running events, we let it slide.
Anyway. This is a long winded introduction for my greater point: marathon training today is soft. We have too many soft bottomed shoes and energy powders. Too many fuel belts and fit bits. The only laser guided pace car that the OG marathoner had was probably an exhaustion induced fever dream of a horse and chariot. But since Pheidippides feat was accomplished more than 2,500 years ago, he probably doesn’t have a Running2Win profile we can stalk.
Good thing we have something better.
On our weekly Citius Mag field trip, we paid a sherpa to lead us on an archaeological dig in some undisclosed location in Greece (if you didn’t know, Citius is a real cash cow that allows us to go on trips like this, among other, more exotic locales, like Albuquerque or Sacramento).
Long story short, we managed to excavate up some scrolls. Initially, Paul tried using the ancient papyrus as a napkin, as he had remnants of that afternoon’s gyro stuck in his beard. But after unrolling it we found that it contained something far more interesting than a napkin. That’s right, it was Pheidippides training journal for the week leading up to his miracle run from Marathon to Athens.
Let’s take a look, shall we? The image is translated below.
Week of September 6th 490 BCE
Notes:Ran 125km today. Felt great. Boss gave me a new pair of sandals before I left. Can’t beat the feeling of running in new sandals.
Notes: 250km today. Was told by the Spartans that they won’t leave Sparta until the next full moon. They offered me a skin full of sheep’s blood and told me to go home then turned a dog loose on me so the first 5k was pretty hot.
Shoes: Sandals. They already have close to 300 miles on them.
Notes: Took it easy on today’s 125km run. Got pretty lonely on the final stretches–realized I hadn’t seen a single soul in at least 200km
Notes: Took today off.
Notes: Took today off but ended up doing some mobility exercises and core.
Notes: Cross training: fought in the Battle of Marathon.
Sunday [race day]:
Total: 540km [335 miles]