Monday, May 11, 2009

On the Run with Homer's "Iliad"

With the high mountains still covered in snow and lots of miles to cover on very few open routes, I needed a little something extra these last couple of weeks to deflect a tad of the monotony that's marked my solo long runs of late.  So where did I turn?  To Homer, of course.  Specifically, the audiobook of the Iliad, which tells the tale of the Battle of Troy and whose wild cast of characters--immortals and humans alike--paint a portrait of existence that oscillates madly between the petty and heroic; poetic and pathetic.  It's an unhinged ride, forged in the oral tradition, that's been a perfect companion on many of my multi-hour solo runs.  

Now through Book 5, here are  a few of the running-related messages I've gleaned so far from the epic:
  • Listen to the higher voice that counsels patience and restraint--as Achilles the Runner listened to Palace Athena--as it will lead to the broader victory later.  
  • Never take on an immortal in battle unless you have a powerful immortal on your side as well.  All you young guns toeing the line at Western States better take note of this one.
  • Defeat can weave a very rich, if bloody, tale.

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