The chronicle of a father’s response when his daughter asked, “How would you feel about running a marathon with me?”
Emmy Award–winning CNN correspondent Foreman did not utter the first words that came to mind: “Dear God, why?” Though he may have been an ex-marathoner, now in his early 50s, he writes, “my knees made stranger sounds when I climbed out of bed. You could play ‘Foggy Mountain Breakdown’ on the muscles in my lower back. I had the flexibility of a stepladder.” However, prodded from deep inside his autonomous nervous system, he agreed. As the author quickly realized, a promise to a daughter—a freshly minted aeronautical engineering student—was not a thing to be taken lightly (even if she did). Foreman recounts the 16 weeks of training required to morph from someone with the “grace of a hog tossed from a train” to someone who can get back up and continue running after a nasty spill. Foreman’s prose is as gladsome to read as a glass of cold lemonade after a brisk five miles. He stuck to the running plan, and within a few weeks, he writes, “even on days when the schedule called for rest, I found myself longing to run.” The journey became bearable, even fun, though there were more than a handful of bumps in the road. The story climaxes with a grim, humorously rendered, 55-mile, cross-country slog, but the most colorful and lasting episode is the zydeco-accompanied minimarathon in New Orleans—where Foreman had to rush to the medical tent to bandage his nipples and where the race volunteers dispensed martinis instead of water. Conversation with his daughter: “Should I grab [a martini]?...I’m pretty thirsty.” “No.” “Why? Because it’ll slow me down to be drunk?” “Because you’re eighteen.” “This town is a riot.”
Even the author's long-suffering family had to admit at the end of the season that he was happier, and readers will enjoy running alongside him.