Reading Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield has been my main focus for the past couple of days. The harshness, brutality, simplicity, and yet complexity of life in that period, but countered by the humanness described by Pressfield keep bringing me back to it, when I should be doing other things.
Reading it does make me wonder how or if I would have survived well in that kind of environment. Especially, now that I am in my 60s and would have been “retired” as a Spartan warrior. Personally, I tend to believe that I would have done poorly in their world, physically I would have been okay, not anything great or spectacular – much like most of my life.
However, knowing my mindset I have a feeling would have been too fragile and that would have failed me at some point in their training, even if I had gone through it from birth. Not what I would want to believe or what fantasies that we all have if put in those situations, but brutally honest.
The best I can do is like many others, is to read and live vicariously through those who do or have done, because I have not done and probably will never do.
Yes, Gates of Fire is historical fiction, but it is making me stop and think about things from a different perspective, than simply being on the hero’s journey. Not all of us belong there, most of us have our own journeys and they are not all that heroic.
Planned run and focus: 7.0 miles out to Goodhue and back. I want to see how the Inspire 15s do on a longish run and if I would battle the humidity a little better than yesterday.
- Course: Goodhue 7.0 miler
- Weather: Overcast, 70°F, Feels like 71°F, Humidity 99%, Wind 8mph from SSE
- Distance: 7.00
- Time: 1:04:45
- Pace: 9:15
- 1.0 – 9:09
- 2.0 – 9:02
- 3.0 – 9:14
- 4.0 – 9:09
- 5.0 – 8:53
- 6.0 – 9:18
- 7.0 – 9:58
What did I do well?
Yes, I finished this was important for me today, I wanted to get over this thing I have about stopping at the bottom of Stevens Hill, just because it gets harder going up the damn thing.
Maintained a comfortable pace for 6.0 miles and even though I slowed down a lot the last mile I didn’t stop or walk, I kept going even though my hat was raining sweat coming up Stevens Hill, then all the way to the end.
What do I need to work on?
Going faster up Stevens Hill.
Not letting me, get inside my head too much when I am running, the resistance sometimes sneaks up on me and smacks me around a bit before I realize what is happening or get a handle on things and gets out of control.
Mizuno Inspire 15 – No issues during the run other than they are a bit noisier than other shoes. My feet were very happy at the end of the run.
What was I thinking?
For the first half of the run, I was thinking more about Gates of Fire and the life that the Spartans led. A couple of times when I thought about turning around at various mile points, I thought to myself I am going to finish this damn run – the whole thing.
I also thought a little about a different author Dennis McKiernan and the books of Mithgar and the Dwarves battle cry: Chakka shok! Chakka cor!
I did think a bit more about running and how the Inspire 15s were working for my feet, especially between miles 4 and 5, where I picked up the pace slightly. It felt good to stretch the legs out a bit, but I also knew that if I maintained that pace for much longer that I was going to suffer a lot more before finishing.
Going up Stevens Hill the sweat starting raining off my hat and that has been a signal for me to go with an easier effort and not attempt to push the pace. I chided myself a bunch of times going up the hill and then going to the finish that I couldn’t seem to force myself to go much faster to the finish.
That raining sweat thing has become too much of a signal to my brain that it needs to slow or shut things down to prevent the old body from any further danger. I have to find a way to get around that…maybe just take the hat off or not wear it on a day when I know that I will sweat like a stuck pig.
A tougher run, but I finished it, so it was a good run.