Here I am. I’m alive. And after you hear about my shenanigans of the past two weeks, you’ll be amazed that I’m still kicking! 🙂
My cousin, Karla, turned 30 this year. She had a really fun party up in Wausau on the 9th. Our family came out, and a lot of her roller derby girls were there. It is always nice to catch up with my extended family. We’re a crazy bunch! Karla hired her friends, Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo, to come out and play. She’s all lovey-dovey with their bass player, Z. 🙂 ❤ We love this band, they put on a good show. Karla and I went to hear them open for Los Lonely Boys last week, and they did a great job. I took some pictures of them while I was there, of course! 🙂
I also had the opportunity to meet with an old college friend, Nate. He is looking forward to running his first half marathon this fall, and we shared some training ideas. It still kind of blows my mind that I could be a resource for someone interested in endurance running. Awesome! 🙂
On the 11th, I headed to downtown Chicago for an invitation-only Starbucks Partner Event. I had the opportunity to hear our beloved ceo and president, Howard Schulz, and I left feeling totally inspired. His passion for the company and ESPECIALLY his passion for people is contagious and energizing. I love working for such an empathetic, intelligent, and perceptive person. As a business owner, I hope I can keep my passion alive and strong for years, just like Howard. On my way out, I saw Chris Medina in the hotel lobby. He played and sang at our conference, and he was waiting in the lobby after someone had stolen his cell phone. 😦 I offered to let him use mine to call it, but it was already off. Darn thieves. He was very sweet, though, even considering the circumstances, and posed for a picture with me. ❤ After the conference, I walked down Michigan Avenue and met my aunt Maureen downtown at an incredible little place called Eno. They only serve wine, cheese, and chocolate. Seriously. Amazing. I was so blessed to be able to spend some time with my aunt. We even stopped at the Ghiradelli store and I picked up some chocolate to take home to my loving hubby. ❤ My cousin, Rex, and I had an ice cream date that evening. I love that guy. 🙂
Fast forward a couple days to last Friday. Brian had logged his 40 hours as hard-working electrician, so he was home with me. We were enjoying our coffee and breakfast on the loveseat. As I was replying to emails and checking out Facebook, I saw a video re-posted of Team Hoyt. I’d seen it before, and cried my way through it. If you aren’t familiar with these amazing men, please check out their story. Anyway, I asked Brian if he wanted to watch the video. It happened to be an incredibly moving montage of one of their Ironman competitions, set to “My Redeemer Lives.” Before we knew it, we were both sobbing into our morning coffee. What an amazing story. 🙂
A few Kleenex, a good hug, and I gathered myself back into the smiley girl that you all know; my phone rang. A running friend of mine from my Wednesday night group, Margaret, has a foot injury. She was going to try to walk the Oshkosh 1/2 marathon on Saturday, but decided against it, and offered me her bib for the next day. Of course, I couldn’t turn it down. I was three weeks post-DC-marathon, and I was ready for a race success. And so began the crazy weekend of travels….
…On Friday night, we packed up ourselves, our weekend travel gear, and our puppies, and headed to New London. We spent the night in New London at my mother-in-law’s (Jean’s) home, so we’d be closer to the Oshkosh starting line for the 7:30 am gun on Saturday. Race morning brought rain, wind, and all around nastiness. Brian, as sweet as he is, got up early with me and drove me to the race start for check-in. I got my bib (well, technically, I got Margaret’s bib), and we headed over to a little coffee shop within walking distance. It was the first race that I’ve run where I could just relax and enjoy myself. I usually get pretty nervous beforehand, so it was really nice to be able to drink my coffee and relax. My friends, Kim and Mary, were also running the race, and my coach, Nancy, was there to cheer us all on. Despite the weather, I really focused in and got in the zone. I started slow, because I wasn’t sure how my body would react to another race so close to the marathon. I was feeling pretty good, so I dialed up the pace. I hadn’t even realized how cold it was until I crossed the finish line… setting a new PR of 2:05:33. Once I crossed and got my bearings, I found Brian, and the chill started to set in. I grabbed a cup of hot chicken broth from the race tent, and we hopped right in the warm car. We stopped at the Starbucks right off 41 there in Oshkosh, and I changed into my warm and dry post-race clothes and got a smoothie with extra protein. Gotta refuel those muscles! 🙂 By the time we got back to Jean’s house, I was shaking and freezing. Brian poured me into bed under lots of blankets with a “wheat-and-heat,” and we waited a few hours for my core temperature to come back up. One short nap and a good lunch later, and I was dressed and ready to hit the road. We headed down to Madison for my aunt Tina’s annual end-of-tax-season party. She’s an accountant, so this time of year is a great time for a party. We made a quick stop at Whole Foods to get my favorite post-race treat: Super Stars- a delicious star-shaped gummy candy that melts my heart. When we got to the party, our ears were happily filled with the sounds of West Side Andy, Mel Ford, and Barrelhouse Chuck. We got to spend some time with the Madison crew: Tina, Prissy, Bryan, baby Nathan, Jen, Shannon, Justin, and many more. We also got to hang out with Karla and Z and my aunt and uncle, Lisa and Paul. Brian sat in with the band on tenor sax, and Z filled in on bass. It was a lot of fun, and we hated to leave, but we rolled out right around 11 pm. When we got home, we crashed pretty hard, and the 6 am alarm clock came awfully early! Our friend, Amanda, was on her way to pick us up (in her new car!) for the Minneapolis bridal shower of the lovely Melissa Arves. Amanda and I joined the lovely ladies for a shower thrown by Mo’s sister, Kayla, and Brian went over to hang out with Curtis for the afternoon. The shower was beautiful, the food was delicious, and my FAVORITE game involved 26 unnamed kitchen spices/ingredients that we needed to identify. It reminded me that I need to brush up on my cooking, and expand my horizons! Coriander seeds…. what do you even use those for? Poultry? 🙂 It was very hard to leave the shower, especially a short 2.5 hours after we arrived, but we needed to get back to Point, so we could leave for New London. What?! Yeah. Jean was hosting Easter dinner for Brian’s siblings and their spouses and kids. I think we’re going to make Palm Sunday dinner the new “Easter” for that side of the family. Then we can hopefully see everyone each spring! We were late to dinner, but we were still able to visit and play with our adorable nephews, Ian and Reid. We stayed a little late in the evening, ate too many jellybeans, and once again, hated to leave… but we scooped up the pups and headed home to Point.
Point->New London->Oshkosh->New London->Madison->Point->Minneapolis->Point->New London->Point. I think we were crazy, but the whole weekend was a lot of fun.
In other news of the past two weeks: Brian got a new car! It’s technically not new, but it’s new to us. My coach, Nancy, bought a new car, and she needed to find a home for her old Saturn, Emma. We took Emma and and she is making herself right at home. Sorry, dear Jeep….. but you’re sick, and you aren’t very good with gas mileage. We love you, and we love being Jeep people, but for now, the Saturn will be taking your place.
We also got rid of cable. Charter Communications: you’re just not cutting it with us. Amazingly, though, we now have Universal Sports. I don’t know if everyone does, or what the deal is, but I’m the happiest girl in the world. I got to catch the details of the Boston Marathon, and I’m opening my eyes to other amazing sports. In the past few days, I’ve convinced myself that I need to learn to paddleboard (which I’ve always wanted to), surf, build a wooden kayak and paddle from Alaska to Seattle, and ride a tandem bike across the country with individuals with disabilities. This “Adventure April” is really getting to me. 🙂
I’m not exactly sure yet how to get my photos embedded in this post, so I hope you can make do with a jumble of the past two weeks.