Friday, May 22, 2009

I Wanna Get Me Some of That (Again)

Two years ago my husband and I spent Memorial Day weekend in the Grand Canyon. We did a run that not too many folks get a chance to do: the Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim. Technically, I guess we did a Rim-to-Rim run one day and another Rim-to-Rim run the next. We ran 20 miles the first day, starting off on South Kaibab Trail and ending up on the North Rim of the Canyon. I remember being terrified; not really knowing what to expect of the trails. But we made it to the other side through some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever set eyes on. From the top I felt tiny, but bold to be running the route we'd planned. Tony and I were both Canyon Virgins and it was great to go through the experience together as "newbies." Here's a little of what we saw:

When we surfaced on the other side we were wonderfully tired, walked a mile in our flip flops for beer, which we drank while heading back to our little cabin. We took a nap to the sweet sounds of a woodpecker just outside our window and had dinner at the restaurant that overlooks the canyon. We hit the hay almost too tired to sleep.

As we started out early the next day on our return run I remember thinking, "There is NO WAY I will be able to make it." But I did. We ran 24 miles back (up Bright Angel Trail), singing "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" and TV theme songs from our childhood. The trip was harder than a marathon, harder than an Ironman and yet it was, hands down, the best trip we've ever taken. Here's us after we finished. Exhausted, but not empty.

So here I am, two years later drinking a beer and toasting my husband who is back at the Canyon with three buddies, sharing our great experience. Well, they actually "one-upped" our trip by doing the entire run in one day... a real Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim experience. At first I was jealous. GREEN. Wished I had some girlfriends who might be up for such an adventure. But, this beer has got me thinking. When Tony and I got married, we told the priest that we wanted our marriage to make other people happy too. That we hoped our union would be good for the world and not just us. And really, we still think that way.

As Tony and his buddies toast their adventure with burgers and fries, I'm at home thankful. Thankful for our experience two years ago and thankful that Tony got out there again to try something new, to tackle another challenge. I feel so lucky to have him in my life, as my husband and the father of my girls. And I'm happy we get to share him with others.

You have any special experiences with a spouse or friend that made you realize how lucky you are to have him or her in your life? That made you excited to see them with others? I'd love to hear!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sneaking One In (A Workout, That is...)

Yesterday was my oldest daughter's 7th birthday. As part of our celebration as a family, we headed over to Minnehaha Falls Park in Minneapolis to rent the circus you see to the left. Technically, it's a "specialty bike" called the Deuce Coupe.

Let's just say the Coupe is a far cry from the Madone hanging in my garage. It's heavy, difficult to steer, and the seats have a tendency to slide you right off of the front. Oh, and it should require a WIDE LOAD sign on the back. Maybe some flashing lights, too.

It was a crazy ride, but the girls had a great time singing songs and saying hello to everyone we passed. Yes, I said "passed." We were sweaty and sore by the time we completed the 6+ mile loop across the Lake Street bridge and back via the St. Paul side of the Mississippi. Ten miles per hour isn't fast on a regular bike, I know, but on this thing it was smokin'. We completed the course in under an hour, perhaps record time on the Deuce Coupe. The girls laughed, cheered us up the hills, and screamed in delight down the hills. Tony and I laughed too, mostly at how ridiculous we must have looked but also because it was such a simple pleasure for the whole family.

Looking forward to summer and more crazy outdoor family adventures like this!

Friday, May 15, 2009

They Just Shouldn't Let Some Folks Drive

I almost let the car roll into the intersection today with my soon-to-be 7 year old inside of it. Forgot to put it in park as I got out to open the door for the neighbor girl. I was almost to the other side of the vehicle when I saw the car moving; thank God I made it back in time to stop the car just yards from the intersection.

On Tuesday I left the keys in the car (in the ignition to be more specific) for an hour and a half while the kids were getting their teeth cleaned. When we got back into the car I turned the key and was shocked to hear the scream. I'd not only left the keys in the car, I'd left it running too.

No doubt I'm getting older. With my 39th birthday just a week or so away, I am profoundly aware of what parts of me are changing--both in body and mind. I'm tired. I'm sore. I'm bloated. And now evidently, I'm an airhead too.

I was thinking about this tonight as I was finishing up my run. I was about a mile from home when a car came within inches of hitting me. A young twenty-something ran a red light, looked me in the eye and said something sarcastic and dim-whitted. I, of course, had something very profound to say back. It was accompanied by a certain gesture that I executed perfectly. Moments later it occurred to me that maybe I'm not getting old. Maybe I'm not really losing my edge. Perhaps it's not my age, but something else. Heck if that young guy can be so absent minded (am I giving him too much credit?), it might not be an age thing. Maybe I'm just getting into a pattern (ok, a rutt) in life and letting it lull me to sleep a little bit.

So my new goal is to wake up and here's how I intend to do it... run new routes, get back on my bike, crosstrain, stretch. I'm going to write more fun stuff, journal, blog. I'll try to sit for a few minutes each day. Any other ideas? I'm all ears...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Sins of Our Fathers

Every parent has some seemingly brilliant, tragically misguided idea that haunts their children's memories into adulthood. One such memory for me involves a large bag of powdered milk stationed just inside our kitchen doorway. With four kids to feed, my dad thought it was pure genius--save money on milk, clear out more room in the refrigerator, and spare my mom more frequent trips to the grocery store.

And while my dad made every effort to convince us that powdered milk tasted just the same as or, get this, even better than regular milk, we knew better. His speeches were too rehearsed, too well thought out. He was obviously trying to convince himself too. It was understood that our mom found the stuff equally disgusting as us kids--I don't think I ever saw her take so much as a sip of milk when I was younger. But she made no efforts to stop the insanity. Yep, she stood by and watched the torment. We begged, we whined, we cried, we even tried to destroy the powder by dropping rubbish into the large garbage can in which it was stored. But still, we drank the froth at every meal.

In a perfect world, we would learn from our experiences. But this, unfortunately, is not a perfect world.

After successfully avoiding every one of my household duties for the past week, the milk supply ran dry this morning. And while looking in the cupboard for cereal, I noticed a box of powdered milk left over from my husband's week-long John Muir Trail trek last summer. "She'll never notice," I thought, feeling a little bit guilty. I was right. Worked great on cereal, slipped it right past her. Then, the real test. She wanted straight milk. I stood in the corner of the room trying not to laugh as she eyed up the froth. Knowing something was off, she took a cautious sip. Her eyebrows furrowed, the expression on her mouth changed. "This milk tastes funny," she said. My experiment was complete. Yes, I am now a hypocrite. But the kid in me is tremendously happy. And, now I know another "sports supplement" that works for kids in pinch. Just don't drink it straight.