Writing and running in Austin, TX.
It’s been in the planning stages for quite a while, but I guess it’s time for the official announcement: I’m taking this party overseas. Roughly one month from today, Handsome J and I are moving to Germany.
J — the world’s most brilliant software developer (not that I’m biased or anything) — has been asked by our company to help start up a new team in our Aachen office.
If, like myself, you grew up obsessed with horses and horse sports, you know that Aachen is the home of pretty much the world’s biggest horse show, the CHIO Aachen. When I dreamed of riding horses professionally, I didn’t dream of riding at the Olympics. I dreamt of riding at Aachen. (If you were not obsessed with horses, and therefore have never heard of this relatively small city of approximately 260,000, click here for a map.)
I never made it to ride at Aachen, but I suppose getting to run there is the next best thing. In one month’s time, this "fiesta" will become a Fest. My posts will go from, "I was running around Austin and the sole of my shoe melted into the pavement," to "I was running around Aachen and I slipped on a Knackwurst and fell head-first into a snow bank."
This move does of course bring up loads of non-running related issues. There’s the need to break our lease, store all our furniture, defer my grad school plans for a year, and miss the next 9 months of our Austin friends’ and family’s lives. There are visas to be acquired and a dog to be shipped (not cheap if you’re an obsessive dog-mom who insists her mutt travel in the posh, climate-controlled belly of a genuine German Lufthansa cargo plane. Surely the airline that ships Olympic-level horses can keep my 25-pound terrier suitably un-traumatized.)
However, since this is a running blog, I will continue to focus on my running life, regardless of continent.
The more detail-oriented of you have probably already done the math and thought, "Hey, isn’t the Chicago Marathon on October 10th? And isn’t that after you’re supposed to be in Germany?"
Why yes, yes it is. And my answer to your follow-up question is this: There is no way in hell I am giving up on a race I registered for in March and have been training for since May. Call me crazy, call me selfish, call me irrational—believe me, I’ve tried on all three—but if I’m going to put my life on hold, Chicago is the one thing I just can’t let go of.
Don’t get me wrong, I realize it’s a truly lucky person who gets to un-resign from her job and actually get paid to accompany her significant other for a year’s stint in Europe. 95 percent of the time, I sit here and count my blessings and hope this means I’ve been a really good girl. It’s that other 5 percent that lets me know I need this marathon. I need to know that I’m not just dropping everything to be the extra on this trip.
When the Aachen plans were officially announced at a recent work meeting, my name wasn’t on the PowerPoint slide. In fact, in the first version of our assignment agreement, my name wasn’t even on the contract. I fully realize there’s no business need to send me over there—my personal knowledge of C and C# is severely lacking—but there’s a stubborn part of me that doesn’t like feeling like the crazy girlfriend who threw a fit and got to go along. That stubborn part of me is probably also the part that gets such a bizarre level of enjoyment out of 4-hour runs. And that part of me REALLY needs to still run this marathon. Otherwise, it will never keep its whiny mouth shut.
Now, don’t even think about feeling sorry for me and my "extra-ness", because the truth is I’m getting everything I could possibly want and more when it comes to Chicago. Our company agreed to budget for an extra personal trip back to the States so I could run. Handsome J agreed to three 9-hour flights in less than 2 weeks just to be there and cheer me on. Not only is my Mom flying up, but J’s parents, sister, and brother-in-law are all making their own international treks from the Great White North just to join the party. In other words, I’m a bit of a spoiled brat. And frankly, I couldn’t be happier about it! =)
Having my goal still in front of me gives me an amazing amount of stress-relief from the demands of an international move. Knowing that so many people are coming to cheer me on as I run through my hometown makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Chicago won’t be my first marathon, but I already know it will be my most significant. You’ll have to excuse me if I actually do cry at the finish this time.