Part of the reason the Route 66 marathon was such a big deal, is that is was a small miracle that Steve and Stephanie could both join me. We’ve done numerous travel marathons over the years, but our lives have gotten much more complicated and just making it to a travel marathon on my own seemed tough. Somehow it all came together and we could all go.
While the three of us couldn’t be more different, there are fundamental similarities between us that allow to be great running partners and great travel partners. We would all rather enjoy a really good meal while on a trip than eat “runner food” (as in mediocre pasta dinner), and so our trips always involve some good food. We had a delicious pre-race meal of sushi appetizers and chicken ramen. I am convinced that real ramen, not the starving student stuff, is the perfect pre-marathon meal.
We all believe if you travel to a race having fun in the first priority and running a good time is second. Now I think we all have a certain level of pride and we train and don’t plan to loaf our way through, but it just wouldn’t be a fun trip if we were all worked up about hitting a certain time.
These runs are always vacation for us. None of us gets a lot of time off, and we view a travel marathon as our vacation time. We are usually not at one of these races very long, so we usually get to do one touristy thing and that’s about it. Once again, despite how different we are, I knew Steve and Stephanie were my kindred spirits when they also wanted to see the Blue Whale.
The Blue Whale is a Route 66 roadside America icon. You cannot deny the Whale is pure kitsch, but we all agreed if you are running the Route 66 marathon, then we need to experience Route 66. So aching legs and all, we took quick post marathon showers, shoved some Subway in our faces, and off we went.
The Blue Whale was as expected: tacky, and a little run down, but someone’s labor of love, someone who thought nothing of being a little quirky and original and that building a giant blue whale along the highway would be a good idea.
Seeing the Whale made me appreciate that I have two friends who went to a lot of trouble to fly out and run with me, and that they also see that the world needs things like the Blue Whale: a little quirky and marching to beat of it’s own drum. Sorta the way we do a marathon…