a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

once in a lifetime

< by Mark, Jill‘s dad and running buddy >

In the fall of 2010, Jill and I ran the Twin Cities Marathon and something special happened that day: We both qualified to enter the Boston Marathon in 2011.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, at least in my case.

For marathoners, Boston is “it.” If you qualify, you enter. Entry forms were filled out and submitted. Confirmation cards were received shortly thereafter and posted prominently on our respective refrigerators — mine in Minnesota, Jill’s in Chicago.

After the high of signing up for any marathon wears off, you wake up to having to train for this decision. Sixteen weeks and roughly 300 miles of running to be adequately prepared for 26.2 miles. Who’s idea was this?! Boston is run mid-April so training starts mid-December. Who’s idea was this?!

My training partner is in Chicago so our runs are done alone and outside in the darkness of winter or the monotony of the gym treadmills.

Jill was coming into Minnesota in late February for the weekend so we made a plan for a 22-mile weekend training run. Our staring point was downtown Minneapolis, Saturday morning 6 a.m. after riding the overnight Megabus from Chicago.

Waiting in the dark parking lot for the bus to arrive, the temperature was 10 degrees and my wife was once again questioning my sanity and the safety of our daughter.

I assured her we would be fine and that criminals typically prefer warmer weather.

Jill arrived and our adventure began. We ran through the dark, hurdled snow banks, felt our cheeks burn. Breaths exited in clouds and soon we were warm watching the dark turn to light as we ran.

Our destination this day was home, 22 miles from our start and at the end of a once in a lifetime event.

We ran Boston too …


  Larry Who wrote @

Sorry, Mark, I’m still hung up on the thought that your daughter hid her clothes in a snow bank.

  mark wrote @

In the interest of full disclosure. I stashed my big ugly black rubber boots and other excessive winter clothing my mom insisted I wear in the window well of the house where my bus stop was located and re-claimed at the end of the day before returning home…

  Larry Who wrote @

It seems the whole family has a history of hiding clothes from their mothers. Hmm! It makes me wonder about the bad influence Minnesota has on its young…and I thought California was bad.

  amphomma wrote @

What an accomplishment! The one marathon I’ve run was with my dad, and we did a good amount of training together, too, while I was home from college. We ran the Houston Marathon, in a year when it sleeted! No regrets (well, my knees have some regrets)!

  abreakfastserial wrote @

Thanks so much! It really was an incredible experience (both the 10-degree run and Boston itself!) If you ever find yourself in Chicago needing a running buddy, let me know 🙂

  amphomma wrote @

Who knows, Chicago…???? I’ve been living in the south for half of my life now, and have been “off” from running for over 7 years–I’m curious to see just what happens when I get back into consistent running (perhaps when my little one starts school in a year or two)! And if any races in south Florida catch your eye, let me know!

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