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In Her Shoes: Running Laps with Pheidippides

Heidi running on hallowed ground.
Heidi running on hallowed ground.

I am visiting Athens for my job with a pharmaceutical company, and I need to run 12 miles or something that day. I ask the concierge for some advice. He says, “Oh! You could incorporate the original Olympic stadium.”

I start by running around the Acropolis, then I go to the stadium and pay a little money enter. Most people don’t come to run on the track, but it’s allowed. Usually visitors rent the headphones and they take the standard tour; I am the only one running that day.

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The track is like a regular track, a really nice cushy track, which wasn’t what I expected. I was thinking it might be ancient cinders. But surrounding me are relics of the past. There is a marble stadium and a cool, dark tunnel. There are marble bleachers cut into the hillside and stone thrones where nobility would sit. Totally hallowed ground; I imagine the athletes running through that tunnel onto the track. If I could decipher the plentiful plaques, I might know the runners’ names. Alas, it’s all Greek to me.

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I am planning to run a couple of laps around the track but I am so inspired. I am in a place where so many amazing athletes have been before me. I can’t believe little me is here, too.

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Several times, I run past one couple taking a traditional tour, and I finally decide I want a photo of me running here. So I ask the couple if they will take my picture. They oblige, and take pictures and video of me. As I continue circling the track, they cheer me on.

I ended up running about ten miles on the track. Back at the hotel, I thank the concierge for such a great suggestion.

 —Heidi (When she had IT Band Syndrome, she, “treated it like my life depended on it.” She went to PT and did all of the exercises faithfully, “to the point that while we were on vacation, my son noticed I had not been doing my exercises…and let me know as much.”)

9 responses to “In Her Shoes: Running Laps with Pheidippides

  1. This was so timely for me! I leave for Athens in 2 weeks for a conference and am in training for a half-Ironman. This is a terrific idea. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Oh, I hope you took the tour too (and stepped up to the first place podium). My favorite place in Athens.

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