A few weeks ago, Matt told me he had to request his PTO dates for 2024. Apparently firefighters request their dates well ahead of time and they are assigned by seniority. As a probationary firefighter, Matt's at the bottom of the seniority ladder, so it was recommended to him that he not even try for summer dates.
There's a few other stipulations – things like choosing single dates vs. pairs of dates – but basically he told me we should pick a few shifts in fall and spring and hope for the best. If we didn't get the ones we asked for, they'd give him a chance to pick different ones.
And I said, "Let's choose late September, and if you get the dates we can go to Scotland and I can run the Loch Ness Marathon."
The Loch Ness Marathon has been on my bucket list ever since I knew it existed. The race features a route along (as you may have guessed) Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands and ends in Inverness. Matt and I visited the area when we studied in Edinburgh in 2007 and I fell in love; the Highlands are so beautiful and wild, Loch Ness feels mysterious and eerie, and we've always planned to return to Scotland someday.
|2007-us in the Highlands.|
|At Loch Ness|
Anyway, this race has always sort of been a pipe dream. I loved the idea of going back to Scotland and the race felt like an excuse to make it happen. I never expected it was something I'd actually do...
I'm sure you can see where this is going.
Last time Matt was on shift, he texted me that his dates had been assigned.
At first, it didn't sink in that the dates he'd asked for had been approved. I had to go back in my message history in Instagram to check. My brain refused to believe it, but there it is in black-and-white. Matt has PTO that aligns with the race.
This marathon is now entirely possible, and the only thing standing in my way is my own hesitation.
Over the last few days, I've had time to wrap my head around some things. My initial panic – what have I done?! Why did I float this plan?! – has worn off. I realize now that my biggest fear is actually the logistics: the long flight, leaving Zoe, getting to the race, running a marathon while jetlagged, balancing tourist stuff and pre-race rest...
But all that aside, I'm kind of excited! I haven't trained for or run a marathon since 2016, and I've only ever run flat, hot marathons. It will be a new challenge to train for a hilly, chilly race.
|The hills actually don't look too bad!|
So, now what? I have nearly a year to figure out logistics and train for this race. I am starting to feel less apprehensive and more excited. It's going to take a lot of planning, but I have time. And, for the first time in awhile, I'm happily anticipating a training plan.
At this point, I haven't signed up, but I'm planning to. Probably sometime in February after my half and Matt's graduation.
But, yeah. I think I've got a marathon on my 2024 calendar, and it's going to be a doozy!