Here are a few things you need to think about before you go 26.2- Think of it as Marathon 101.
A long time ago is a land far away, Greece in 490 B.C to be exact. There was a large battle between the small Greek Army and the really big Persian Army. The big Persian Army was trying to take over Greece and defeat the small Greek Army.
As you can imagine the Greeks didn't like that at all, and the fought very hard to save their land and their people. One soldier was named Phidippides. Not only was he a soldier, but a great runner. At one time he had to run 140 miles to Sparta to ask for their help, it took him 36 hours each way! Phidippides was brave and strong.
When the small Greek Army defeated the Persians in a massive battle, the Persians planned a sneak attack on Athens, which the Greeks needed to stop. Once again, Phidippides was asked to run, but this time faster than he had ever run, he had to beat the Persians to Athens to save his people. He ran 26 miles to Athens to warm people of their victory and of the impending attack in three hours-ish, without a heart rate monitor, that's fast!
Despite his fatigue after his recent run to Sparta and back and having fought all morning in heavy armor, Phidippides rose to the challenge. Pushing himself past normal limits of human endurance, the reached Athens, delivered his message and then died shortly thereafter from exhaustion.
Yep, good ol' Phidippides saved the day and dropped dead. I am sharing this story not to scare you, but hopefully remind you that marathon running is amazing, but can also be lethal. Phidippides was a hero. You/we are dad's and mom's and ordinary folks, trying to do something extraordinary, which can be done, if done right.
Every marathon is a psudo-memorial to Phidippides and his great accomplishment. Sadly in almost every marathon someone collapses and ends up in severe shape if not dead, just like Phidippides. Sometimes people get in over their head and when that happens, tragedy can strike.
This week in Boston A 64-year-old man collapsed after going into cardiac arrest less than two miles from the end of the Boston Marathon. Luckily some fast acting spectators and an EMT team packing a defibrillator were there to save his life, otherwise he would have been sharing training stories with Phidippides.