Last month, Brian spent a Sunday walking 26.2 miles with a 35-pound backpack.
Several months ago, our Navy friend W. mentioned a marathon march in New Mexico that commemorated the Bataan Death March from World War II. Brian, being male, said "Sure, that sounds great!" He got a pair of boots and a backpack like the military guys wear, and went out for a breezy 6-mile hike near our house.
He came back with no skin on his heels. Seriously.
So, after a trip to the podiatrist and a sporting goods store for hiking shoes, and SEVERAL bandaids later, he continued with the training hikes. He got up to 19 miles before the actual marathon event, and that particular one left him feeble for a few days.
I made lots of jokes about making sure the life insurance was paid up, asking our agent if something called Bataan Memorial DEATH March would invalidate our policy, speculating as to how I would spend the life insurance proceeds, etc. It was endlessly amusing (to me, anyway), and at the same time a little bit worrisome to realize that Brian would be hiking a marathon with a giant pack on his back. Athletic events like this can cause heart attacks, strokes, dehydration and serious sun damage.
So I did what any loving wife would do. I reminded him to use sunscreen.
Brian got to town early to register, but everyone else was getting in late at night. Late arrivals meant very little sleep the night before the race. Everyone knew this ahead of time, and then Brian learned at registration that participants would have a long wait at the security checkpoint before parking on the military base. They recommended leaving the hotel around 3:30 am.
Which meant NO sleep before the race. Optimal, don't you think?
Despite all of this, they managed to have a good time. No bad attitudes, no complaining, just set out and hike and get it done. And all three guys finished the race. W. called me afterwards to mention that I shouldn't go spending the life insurance just yet. A few days later, Brian came back with gorgeous pictures, aching calves, and a strong desire to do this again next year.
(I mentioned the part about him being male, right?)
This is W. and T. setting out at first light - W. has the orange camelback: