I’m Back — Thoughts on Running and International Travel

I haven’t written anything lately because I’ve been traveling again.  I’ve just completed a very satisfying two-week trip to China and Bhutan.  (Before you ask, Bhutan is a Buddhist country between China and India, east of Nepal.)  I didn’t get to see much of China this time, just Beijing and a part of the Great Wall.  Those who know me well won’t be surprised to hear this was a running trip, with a difficult marathon in each country eight days apart — Great Wall in China and Thunder Dragon in Bhutan — plus two treks.  I actually survived much better than I thought, suggesting divine intervention.  I’ll be filling in the details in later posts and on Facebook.

But one thing I can say unequivocally is the world continues to amaze me.  I’ve enjoyed everywhere I’ve been, and this trip continued to confirm my opinion that we really are one people with similar hopes, fears, and aspirations.  Our similarities are much more important than our differences, as the kindness in everyone I met was obvious.  For example, after I’d finished Thunder Dragon and was testing to see if my legs still worked, a Bhutanese race official came up to me and exclaimed “I’m so proud of you!”  That’s my favorite memory.

Running trips like these are doubly satisfying because I get to see another part of the world with expert guidance, take part in an event that brings great personal satisfaction, and spend some time with kindred spirits.  Or as the saying goes, “Running is a mental sport and we are all insane.”  One gentleman in the group has run 70 marathons in his life.  When asked which was the most difficult, he offered the Mt. Everest Base Camp Marathon (http://everestmarathon.com/).  Yes, I’m as surprised as you.  But we shouldn’t be — this sport’s major lesson is the worst mistake is self-imposing limits.  My only frustration on these trips is meeting so many fascinating women forty years too late.

Already I’m thinking about next year’s trip, probably to somewhere I’ve never been before.  I still intend to push my limits, although at this age I know they’re out there somewhere.  There’s a slogan for that, too — “Someday I won’t be able to do this, but this is not that day.”

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