I can’t believe time has gotten away from me so much that I haven’t posted in a month. I was on vacation in Missouri the last time I was here. With training and my kids at home and plenty of fun/work to be had, I figured the one thing that could be left off the list is my blogging. So I didn’t blog. I’ve read a lot of your blogs, not even taking the time to “Like” them, so I am sorry if I seemed to have dropped off the radar, if anyone pays attention to those things. Instead of trying to catch up on the last month, which would only leave us all breathless and a little overwhelmed and my fingers worn down to nubs, I figured I could just recap a little of my vacation and tell you that my training has been going really well.
Ironman Florida is only 13 weeks from this coming weekend, which is a frightening thought, but my workouts have increased so that the extra load is almost unnoticeable and very doable. (Next weekend’s workouts have been posted since I started this post and I take it back.) I’m at that point in training when riding my bike for 3 hours is considered an easy, short ride. Sort of like when you’re in marathon training and 13 miles seems easy and short. The beauty of it is, is that I am having a great time and enjoy the time I am training.
The last time I posted, we were finishing our week with my parents near Branson, Missouri. We had a great time, but the weather certainly didn’t cooperate and we spent a lot of time dodging rain and storms instead of playing on Table Rock Lake. My parents love to cook, and it’s GOOD, so we ate like kings while there. Bonus. We left one early morning and headed up to Ames, Iowa, so I could meet the now-THREE time Ironman, Kecia from Push My Limits. I wish I hadn’t been so worn out from the 8 hour drive, but I was so great to meet someone I had only known through blogging.
After that, it was crazy ironic that also in Ames were my best friend from high school (and one of the few people I frequently correspond with), and two other friends from high school. I met up with them and we laughed as we talked about old times way back in school. It made me thankful I wasn’t in high school anymore (boy, we thought we knew everything, as teenagers do), but wishing for those days when responsibilities were low and fun was to be had at any moment.
We stayed in Des Moines that night, and I was able to talk to my friend, Sonia, at El Bait Shop, a cool little bar in downtown Des Moines, a little more before fatigue from travel got the best of me.
The next morning, we headed to Field of Dreams. The weather was perfect and everyone was in a good mood. When we got there, we looked around, bought some stuff at the gift shop, and headed to the field to play catch. Of course, my son had to ask my husband, “Dad, wanna have a catch?” as Ray asks his dad at the end of the movie, inevitably causing us to break out in tears. As my husband says, “I’m a weepy old bag.” It was a grand moment, to be at THE field of dreams and play baseball with my husband and kids. I don’t know how long we were there, but it was perfect.
We packed up our gloves and headed towards my alma mater, The University of Northern Iowa. We headed to the gift store to get some UNI clothing and look for a replacement for the stuffed panther I got 22 years ago and sleep with him tucked into my arm still to this day. No success on the panther, but I did find some good deals on UNI clothes – score! We walked around the entire campus, and I showed my boys where I had classes, and answered their burning question of “Did you kiss someone at the campanile at midnight?” since I had told them that was the homecoming tradition. I also had to explain what homecoming was since it’s not a big deal where we live like it is in Iowa. We headed towards downtown Cedar Falls, which was absolutely cute and beautiful and had really come into its own since I had left back in 1996.
After not exercising for two days, it was time for me to get a long run in. The morning we left Cedar Falls, I went for a 10 mile run that ended up being an 11 mile run because I got turned around (lost). Thankfully, I checked my bearings with some very nice ladies at a flower shop to be sure I was going in the right direction only to find that I was not going in the right direction. They sent me down a road that wasn’t safe for runners, so I ended up going the LONG way back, but it was a beautiful, cool morning filled with the sounds of wrens and robins calling each other, something that I have missed a lot since moving away from Iowa four years ago.
When we got on the road, it was about four hours until we got to our last destination, Sioux City, before heading back home. “Operation Surprise” was in full effect as we neared. My kids spent the earliest years and pre-school days there with some of the best friends we have ever had. The parents knew we were coming, but the kids did not. Heh, heh. I love surprises. When we walked into the back yard full of kids who didn’t know of our impending arrival, the looks on their faces was priceless. What was funny is how much all the kids have changed in the years since we have seen them. Sort of sad too, since I’ve missed it and I miss them desperately, but it was just good to see them all. We drove around to see our old neighbor, house, the places we used to hang out, and some of the new things that have come to town. It was a lot of fun, but honestly, I didn’t miss it as I thought I would. In fact, I only missed the people there, and nothing about the place made me feel sad to be gone. It’s quite evident that I am totally in love with Wilmington and North Carolina.
Over the next three days, we caught up on each other’s lives, let the kids reconnect, which took all but twenty seconds, and had the best time hanging out. We played cards, we sat in the driveway around a fire, we drank too much beer, we ate too much food, and we watched as the kids ran and ran around just being kids. During this time, I tried to get some exercise in, but I decided my friends were too important to cut our nights short so I could get to bed at a decent hour so I could get up before the scorching hot sun came out in the morning. I got in a few runs, but they were not good. Oh well, I knew I was going to hit training hard when I got home and I knew I wouldn’t regret letting it slide while visiting our friends.
When it was time to go, I was ready to head home. We had one more stop though, dinner with my cousin who lived near the airport we were departing from in Kansas City. It was so good to see her and her family, to reconnect and see her kids, and talk about our grandmother, who we used to visit together for a week during the summer as kids.
Two weeks after we left Wilmington, we came back home to Wilmington after a very EPIC trip. We flew 1800 miles and drove 1800 miles in our rental car, we swam, we talked, we ate, we drank, we saw so many places and people, some for the last time, and we thoroughly enjoyed our two week trip in the summer of 2015. It was tiring and expensive, but it was so worth it.
Have you ever had a huge, epic summer trip as an adult or kid?