I wasn’t sure if I’d ever run a marathon. It’s something I toyed with briefly in my late 20s, but shin splints and long hours of work quickly put it out of my mind.
That was until I turned 40 and decided to do a half marathon to mark the occasion. Here I am finishing that race in Maine in 2016:
I did one every year after that and was about to run my annual half for 2020 in Oakland, California when the pandemic hit. Realizing we’d have to postpone our trip around the world, as a consolation I decided to run my first marathon in the fall. The regimen and repetition of the training was a comfort to me for those middle months of the year as the pandemic stretched on.
Of course, unfortunately no marathons were held that fall, so I just made one up to run by myself. Karen dropped me off at a park in Indiana and I ran the 26.2 miles home. I picked the same day that the Chicago Marathon would have run in October for my “Chicago Marathon” and ran past 5 of Noble’s schools, so someone from our sports team followed me and made this cool video to commemorate the event. (Thanks, Anna!)
In 2021, I finally ran the real Chicago Marathon:
Even though I look in pain there, my training was good and I felt fine a couple of days later. Good enough that I thought I ought to squeeze one more big race in before we start traveling for a year this summer. I’d been eyeing the beginning of April in St. Louis over the boys’ spring break, but had to look for something else when we changed plans for that weekend.
Then, I got an email about $500 flights to Rome. We haven’t been on a plane since Jan 2020. But…in my search for marathons to replace the St. Louis one, I’d briefly noticed that the big one in Rome was on March 27. I’d assumed it was out of the question. Maybe not? (Obviously not.)
So, Karen and I are going to Rome for 4 days while my brother Paul and his wife Özlem come and watch the boys. It’s kind of a crazy thing to do, but crazy like we’re used to doing. It feels good after this long pandemic, which we’re hoping will stay manageable.
To make things even crazier, we’d already noted a cool opportunity at the beginning of our “big, big trip”. We’re starting off in Stockholm on June 10 and realized that on my next birthday, 8 days later, there was going to be the “Midnight Sun Marathon” north of the Arctic Circle in Tromsø, Norway. It starts at 8:30pm and even though I’ll finish after midnight, I’ll have daylight the whole time. Since all of the training will happen before we go, it somehow works. More of the good kind of crazy. Charlie and Karen are planning to run the shorter race there too.
So, even though I’ve never really been a marathon runner, that’s how I’m going to end up doing 3 of them over the course of 10 months. I’m excited for how memorable the races I’m running are meant to be. In fact, this article puts all 3 on a list of the 23 “World’s best marathons in 2022”. I won’t really have time to train after Tromsø, but can’t help but think how fortunate I am to get to do all of this.