The Last Continent
Done. After three years of planning and months of early-morning runs in the cold and wind, a major chapter in my Strums & Strides journey across the world is now coming to a close. I finished the marathon (about an hour ahead of my goal time!), explored some of the most remote places on the planet with the coolest mom I know, and forged new friendships with an incredibly adventurous group of people. This makes the task of distilling the journey down to a couple paragraphs seem as intimidating as the marathon itself…
I think the best way to summarize the Antarctic experience is through a quick story from one of our last days on the continent. The expedition leaders woke us up early – just before sunrise – and after a quick breakfast, we climbed down the ship’s gangway into zodiacs (small, sturdy rubber boats) for a morning cruise around a bay called Cierva Cove. My mom and I hopped in the first zodiac with ten other eager passengers, and we quickly broke away from the group to get a close-up with some whales that someone had spotted earlier. As we approached the massive mammals, our driver cut the engine and we sat there, listening. The silence was unlike anything I had ever heard before: cold and crisp nothingness, occasionally interrupted by the gurgling of whales breathing or the crashing thunder of a piece of glacier calving into the ocean to form an iceberg. The peace and perspective of this moment became a theme throughout my time in Antarctica (interestingly, even during the marathon) and it is something I will carry with me for a long time.
In fact, as I near the end of my Strums & Strides initiative (Australia in July, and DC in October), I continue to learn that the perspective gained from this journey is just as impactful as the marathons themselves. What started out as a race across the planet for the healing power of music has slowly become much more, and I continue to be awed by the beauty of our planet and the people who call it home.
Time to get a little R&R before training begins for the Australia race. Until next time, keep running.