Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
On my right, off some distance but still clearly visible, the statue of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) stands atop a granite promontory. To my left stretches Ipanema Beach and a variety of small islands in this south facing bay. The sky is overcast and the temperature moderate. Later today I hope to go cycling around nearby Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, an inland salt lake.
Amazingly, for the second time this year, I find myself in South America. Before I left California, someone asked me if this was a vacation or a running adventure. I responded that I didn't know there was a difference. And indeed, in one week's time, I plan to run the Maraton del Bio Bio in Chile. Los Ángeles, Chile to be exact.
Should I complete the race as planned, I will have achieved my 2007 goal of running a marathon on all 7 continents by the end of 2011.
I call this year a "Nexus" year - meaning lots of changes, events and intersecting happenings. The biggest and most important happened in May when Justin graduated Johns Hopkins University with Honors and election into the Phi Beta Kappa society. Not two weeks later, Rebecca turned 50. And she's had two back surgeries to address chronic pain problems. I started teaching at USC, and I'm in the last 6 weeks of my contract at Activision with lots of educational projects coming together for my future work. Justin just started his medical school interviews and is working at Hopkins before entering a MD-PhD program in 2012.
After a few days here in what locals call Cidade Maravilhosa (Magnificent City), I fly to Santiago Chile and then head south to Los Ángeles to run on October 16 along the Rio Bio Bio. 26.2 miles (42.1 km) of marathon bliss.
Over the next 7 days, I plan to reminisce about the quest for 7. In the end, the significance is more personal than anything. While I will join under 2,000 people who have accomplished this goofy goal (the Antarctica part limits the number from growing by more than about 150 a year), I am most excited about setting out to do something fun, challenging and spectacularly rewarding. Over this upcoming week, I hope to convey in writing the gratitude I feel from being able to get this far.
Continue onto Marathon 1: North America