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Two weeks until my 7th marathon and the excitement is definitely building.   I chose the Chicago Marathon to raise money as a Solemate for Girls On The Run and combine a long overdue visit to my dad’s side of my family.  This will also be Ben’s very first visit to this spectacular city and in my opinion there’s no better way for us to explore than 26.2 miles as fast as our feet can take us.

Home or away, the hubby gets a little stir crazy sitting still.  I’m thankful he’s not a sit on the couch all day sort of person, but he’s also not a sit on the beach with a mai tai type of dude either.  Even on vacation there has to be some sort of objective not including ‘relaxation’.  Once he starts with the pacing I feel my anxiety level rise.  I don’t enjoy the idea of anyone, especially my best friend being bored while I’m around.  Our solution??  Marathon vacations!

Before we had even been on our official ‘first date’, I had signed Ben up for his first half marathon.  My races were one of our first topics of real conversation.  By the time the race rolled around we were dating, but the look on his face when I passed him on mile 8 I wasn’t so sure for how much longer.  Luckily, what I initially interpreted as complete resentment was actually him falling madly in love with me for challenging him in a way no one had ever done before- mixed in with a little dehydration.  That was the first and last half marathon I’ve ever passed him on.  He was hooked.

Hard long physical challenges mixed in with the usual indulgences vacations include create a nice balance we enjoy.  We don’t worry about gaining weight.  We don’t come home feeling too guilty.  We come home with a bag full of sweaty clothes, pretty new finisher medals and strangely still feeling very relaxed.   We do have a lot of our own separate interests- but I’m so glad this is something we can enjoy together on an equal level.   To date we’ve been to Dublin, New York, Las Vegas, New Orleans and San Francisco for races with Chicago and Santa Barbara looming on the horizon.  We loved New Orleans so much we are going back next year!

Interested in a running vacation?  Do the research and pair it with another activity you enjoy.  My usual google search after finding a marathon I’m interested in are the craft breweries in the area.  There are also travel agencies geared towards runners.  Marathon Tours & Travel has packages listed for the Easter Island Marathon as well as the Antarctica Full and Half.  Many already popular vacation destinations, like Disneyworld, also host their own running events.  There’s something out there for everyone.

Working hard is definitely important, but so is finding something else to relieve stress. Running vacations are just another way I try to achieve balance in my life and I’m pretty ecstatic I get to enjoy them with my most favorite person in the world.