When I began my 66 day fitness journey, the details of which can be found in part I,IIIII, and IV  and V, I created these rules for my daily exercise.

  1. Get out of bed everyday and exercise
  2. However I want
  3. for 30 minutes

Then I signed up for the BMO Vancouver Marathon, which is happening on May 1st. About 2 1/2 weeks from now. It was November when I signed up. At the time, I thought that signing up for a marathon, something I’ve never attempted before, would focus my effort to keep fit and have fun exercising.

It hasn’t.

I mean, I’ve been focused on exercising for certain (today is day 155) but not on running a marathon. I haven’t been doing a lot of long runs or thinking too much about carbs. I don’t own any gel packs or dry-fit t-shirts. I don’t have one of those awesome water bottle belts, and I haven’t joined a running group. But it’s been on the back of my mind, like a creeping fear or one of those things in Star Trek TNG that tried to take over earth via mind control (Season 1, Episode 25, “Conspiracy”. You’re welcome). I’m afraid of the marathon. I worry about it because I’m not sure that I can finish it.

But why should I feel confident?

The first marathon was run by a desperate man, Pheidippides, who in 490 BC ran from the battle at Marathon, without stopping, to bring news of the battle to the assembly at Athens. Roughly 25 miles.

Pheidippides was a soldier, and look how he ended up:

The First Marathon Runner: Stripped Naked and Desperate at the Finish Line. Something to look forward to. 

Wasted, on his knees. But look at those calves! This guy was a runner.

I’m not. I’ve ran a couple of half marathons, and only once as a registered participant in the Scotia Bank Half Marathon. My time was…ok. Above average for my age group, but just.

I don’t really feel like I have any business running a marathon.

However, I will run this marathon.

Because I have grit. Because I have courage.

Because sometimes it’s important to do things you feel you have no business doing to show your self that actually, you can.

I don’t think I can run 42.2 kilometers like Pheidippides did. But I will.

At the first Olympic games in 1904, 34 men signed up to run the marathon. Only 14 finished. Now tens of thousands runners, maybe more, complete marathons on the regular.

Humans, us, are always improving. Humans, us, are made up on individuals like myself. Groups improve when the individuals that make up those groups push themselves to do something more than they’ve ever done before. We grow as a species when we grow as individuals.

Have you heard of Josh Dueck?


Josh is a para-alpine skier who won gold in Sochi and silver in Vancouver. I had the pleasure of hearing Josh tell his story a few years back and he impressed me as the type of guy who understands that sometimes you need to push yourself outside of your comfort zone in order to grow.

Not only in Josh an Olympic Champion, he is also the first ever sit-skier to complete a backflip on snow. This is a guy who had already broken his back, and had so much to lose, but pushed himself anyway to do something no one has ever done beforeEver. Watch the video, it’s very cool.

Now, I’m not comparing myself to Josh. He changed the very definition of what we as humans are able to do. That’s pretty amazing. For me, the marathon is terrifying. It really is. I know the pain it’ll bring me. I know how terrible it’s going to feel climbing the Burrard Bridge after already running 30 kilometers, and I am worried that I’ll fail.

But I won’t. I’ll crawl to the end if I have to. Josh Dueck changed what people can do. I hope to change the definition of what I’m able to do, and grow as a result. Also, it’s possible that I’ll be one of the very few (only? Don’t know) person with a Complete Atrioventricular Block to attempt a marathon, which would be cool, but I don’t know if that’s the case or not. What matters is that I try, because only by trying do we improve.

Like Captain Picard, when he blasted the mind control parasites to free the Federation from alien conspiracy, I have no choice but to make it so, and run the dam race.

And one day, like Pheidippides, maybe people will take my picture, not necessarily naked, crawling to the finish line to announce the end of a battle I’ve won against my own fear.

Here’s hoping.


5 thoughts on “Pheidippides’ Last Stand and My First Marathon

  1. This is such a fantastic post. I wish you well! It takes courage to continue believing in yourself…that is what will get you to the finish line. Happy tapering and please update us on the race. You’ve got it!


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