For the unitiated, I got the bug six or so years ago, when I signed up for the National AIDS Marathon Training Program, more for the promised "free" trip to Vancouver than for the actual opportunity to punish myself, by choice, by "running" 26.2 miles. At the end of a rainy, chilly, 6+ hour showing on this stunningly beautiful city course, the only thing that came to mind, other than "where's the hot chicken soup" was..."That was it?" No way. I've GOT to do this again.
Since then I HAVE done it over...and over... and over...and over again. Marathon running has given me the opportunity to travel like never before. Somehow my dear wife understands, and lets me go, with hardly an expressed reservation. These jaunts, to places such as Dublin, Barcelona or Budapest, are not, for the most part, cheap...but they're pretty much all I do, other than work, most of the year. I spend hardly anything on regular clothes, but do have a drawer full of some really nice running togs. I don't skimp on running shoes, either.
Three of my greatest moments in life were centered on running marathons...first, when my stepdaughter agreed to run Portland with me back in 2003, and did, despite not having what one might call the best time in her life. The second was when my stepson and I set out from our Dublin, Ireland hotel room in October 2007 to run that city's awesome 26.2 mile course. We got separated at the very beginning, while hunting for porta-potties, and didn't meet up again prior to both arriving, triumphant and in serious need of a Guinness (or four), back at our digs. The third was just a couple of weeks ago, when my wife was waiting at the Chicago finish line, along with my stepdaughter, who ran with me for a bit before ducking out, for fear of being nabbed as a "bandit". The wife's kiss and the stepdaughter's high-fives were, it should be said, not to be missed.
The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my next adventure. It's not for show. It's just because I am able. I've decided to try and do a race a month for the next year. My hope is that each run will be a marathon. I am honestly thrilled, almost everyday, that, as a 56 year old dude I can complete THE marathon. I so respect the distance, and the physical challenge it presents everytime I do it. I hate DOING it mostly...but at the finish it IS worth it. Even more than the physical challenge, though, the fact that I can tame the mental part of it, again and again, is something I want to experience for as long as I can.
I have had varied responses to my latest aspiration, mostly supportive. My friend and co-worker Mark had the best one, for my money...when I told him I'd signed up for California International Marathon in Sacramento in December and Carlsbad in January....he just calmly said..."That's what you do".