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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Legs Hurt Today Because of Those Bloody British Royals!!!

Alexandra of
England, 1908
I guess I should take some responsibility for the fact that I’m walking (ok, it’s more like a shuffling motion that’s posing as walking) like an arthritic 85-year old man today.

It could be argued that it was ultimately my decision to sign-up for and run in a marathon this past Sunday – I mean no one held a starter pistol to my head and forced me to run 26.2 miles.

Regardless, the lingering race-generated lactic acid overdose in my quads, hamstrings and calves this morning has me hobbled as badly as James Caan’s character in the movie Misery.

However, in typical Generation-X fashion I would prefer to blame someone else for my pain and that someone else is the British Royal family – specifically Queen Alexandra of England.  Hear me out on this one….

The first marathon run occurred in 490 BC, as an invading force of 300,000 from Persia prepared to attack Greece. The Persians intended to conquer the Greeks by engaging a land battle that would steamroll a path straight to the capitol city of Athens. However, the Persians first battle was to occur against the backwater, agrarian town of Marathon.

Because of Marathon’s focus on farming, the Persians assumed they’d have an easy victory to help kick off their military campaign on the right foot…or sandal as it were. What the Persians didn’t account for was the military genius of a Greek general named Miltaides who lived in Marathon and ultimately defeated the superior, attacking Persian force.

The beaten Persian forces temporarily withdrew and decided on a direct assault against unsuspecting Athens from the sea.

Miltaides wanted to warn his fellow Grecians, and dispatched his best messenger named Pheidippides to run on foot to Athens which was 24 miles away – as an aside I find it hard to imagine they couldn’t find a horse for Pheidippides to ride, but I digress.

Pheidippides ran the entire 24 miles without stopping, delivered his military message and then dropped dead. As a result of the warning, the Athenian navy was able to marshal and thwart the Persian assault, which is often credited with saving the concept of democracy from the flaming funeral pyre of history.

So let’s fast forward to today and my aching legs.

The marathon I ran on Sunday was 26.2 miles; however, the killer run that Pheidippides ran 2,500 years ago was 24 miles.

You may be saying to yourself, “That’s all marginally interesting but what dose it have to do with your aching legs?”

And I’ll answer that question with a question, why do modern marathons have that extra 2.2 miles when the actual distance of its namesake run is only 24 miles?

History tells us that at the 1908 Olympic Games in London the marathon distance was extended the extra 2.2 miles so that the race could finish directly in front of the viewing box where the royal family was sitting.  The sitting Queen of England at the time was Alexandra and she requested the extension of the race.

Those Bloody Royal Brits!!!!

I’m convinced that I would be in significantly less pain today if it wasn’t for that extra 2.2 miles I had to run on Sunday, thanks A LOT Queen Alex! At least there's someone to share my blame if not my pain....

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