He's been in Washington state for two months, training and otherwise preparing to re-deploy back to Iraq for his second tour of duty. We've really missed him, so it was awesome to have him here, even if only for a couple days.
Here he is flanked by his two Minnesota "moms"... Debbie Clift and me.
... here he is with one of his training partners, Anthony. He's from Kenya and he is way too fast for me to train with, but he is the coolest guy ever and one day we are going to climb Kilimanjaro together. He and Robert are good friends.
... Me with one of the best friends I have ever ever ever had, Holland. She and I are both training for the 50 mile trail ultra with Guy.
... Guy, me and Andrew, Holly's hubba.
... and Jennifer, Robert, Debbie, and my hubba, Bob.
I love this picture... me and Robert with Terri and Erin. Erin just went back to work this week, so now Terri has no one to train with. We'll see how she handles being alone because the three of us have spent and insane amount of time together!!! I still love you, Terri!
Then on Saturday, Guy, Becca, Maggie and I ran the 25K Trail Mix race in Bloomington. It was great practice for Moose Mountain because it was really hilly and had a little single track on the course. Guy kept reminding me that although it was better than doing just another pavement or road run, that the ultra will be "much, much more technical." Which was disappointing because I thought the Trail Mix was WAY hard and now I am feeling much less confident about the Moose Mountain ultra!
...here we are at the start, with our friend Dave Smith:
... and on top of the ski jump hill...
We finished in 2:40:00 - which is by no means speedy, but like I said, it was really hard!
Then Guy and I headed over to coffee with the rest of the running club to say our last goodbyes to Robert before he got taken to the airport to head back to the base.
... and that's when it just hit me (again) like a slug to the stomach and I just got so sad. I know he's brave and incredibly smart and very well trained and all that. But I just don't like where he's going. Some of the meanest people in the history of the world live there and they don't just "not like him", but they want to kill him. And all he (and his fellow soldiers) wants to do over there is hand the good Iraqi guys back their country. But all it takes is one sniper with nothing to lose -- and there are thousands of them with nothing to lose -- and without giving Robert even a second thought they could just take him away from me. He's like a brother to me and the "fun" uncle to my kids and we love him so much.
Then as I was driving Guy home, Robert was at my house gathering up his gear and saying bye to Ally and Bobby and they called just crying so hard... like they were in a panic... and there of course is nothing I can do... I can't make him stay, and I can't make them not be afraid. He's got a job to do and it just is what it is. But I think when they see him in his uniform the danger just seems so much more imminent.
Robert texted last night to say he arrived safely. I had to tell him that Ally had gone into his room an hour earlier and had taken the civilian shirt he had been wearing while he was here, and that she was sleeping with it. He said she was really upset when he left, and that she could have his shirt.
Which is kind of sad, but around here it just is what it is.
But I'm back... WE are back!
Tonight it was so powerful and thrilling that I was absolutely spent.
The kind of spent where you just collapse, panting, flushed. Thighs quivering. Definitely glowing. And you just can't get that grin off your face, no matter how hard you try!
Kevin, Terri and me.
Working it in such perfect rhythm that we didn't even have to talk to each other; we just knew when to speed up and slow down; when to lead and when to follow.
After an hour and a half we were ecstatic to finish up.
Because everybody knows it's more fun when you finish at the same time.
OK, you can get your heads out of the gutter, you perverts. ;-)
It was our first hard outdoor bike ride! I missed you guys and it's so great to be "back in the saddle" with you again. We averaged 20 mph on the rolling hills, and it's only our first real day out that wasn't just a leisure ride.
OK so you know the boys (Bobby and jPod) are tallying their miles in advance of the Deadwood South Dakota Kids' Marathon... So tonight we logged 6 miles of trail running. Which took us almost two hours!!!
Because first we had to stop at the zip line for a couple of runs...
... and then we had to rest at the cross-country trailhead at Wayzata High School...
... and climb an old deer stand...
... and watch the WHS lacrosse practice...
... and chill out in the boys' carpeted luxury fort (Guy)...
... Jeremy and Bobby in the fort...
... finally, finally we ran the rest of the way home.
So we did actually log our miles sometime after the sunset. It was getting cold so it was good to get back. And eat sliced oranges. The big juicy ones from Cub Foods.
I swear, it is the coolest thing how well our boys get along; they are like identical kids. At one point Bobby said, "I wish Jeremy were my brother instead of Ally" (which made jPod just beam). OK, maybe that wasn't totally cool because Ally is actually a pretty good sister and we're going to keep her ;-) ... but nevertheless, Bobby's never said that about any of his other friends; and he's got some great top-drawer friends.
Well, spring has finally arrived in Minnesota - we are hoping to see 60 degrees today - let me tell you it. is. gorgeous. out there today!
Yesterday was Good Friday so the Holmeses and Jenn and Laura came over with all the kids. We made homemade pizzas and then watched The Passion of the Christ. Not an easy movie to watch, and not all the kids took part. But Bobby did and a couple of Trimama's and Taconite's watched as well. It is so powerful and difficult and sad and wonderful and probably a much more accurate depiction of Jesus' final hours than the pared down version from Sunday school. I am amazed everyday by the sacrifice He made for me. Something I could never, ever earn. He is indeed the one true "shepherd of my heart" and my life. Forever.
Which are the words from a song from Guy's running playlist. Which song, you'll have to ask Guy. ;-) He and I got up early this morning for a three-loop run of 7 miles + 7 more + 5 more = a total of 19. First let me tell you the weather was great. We started shortly after the full moon set, watched and listened as the early morning sun woke up the birds, and we just talked for the first 7 miles. I love running with Guy. We would have been best friends if we knew each other in 4th or 5th grade. I KNOW that. ;-) Then for the second 7, Laura and Zurich joined us and the three of us listened to our coordinated playlists - this is my new favorite way to run: to share our lists with each other in advance, then press play at the same time so we could rock out to the same tunes.
We dropped Laura and Zurich and picked up Susan (and Alice her dog) and Margo for the final five. Alice is a bit out of shape from the winter, so we slowed it down a bit for the last loop. But I was happy with that - never have to twist my arm to slow down. ;-) We dropped them off and then Guy and I ran back home for a total of 19 miles.
TOTAL - 3:01:24
A perfect morning... but it gets even better from here! Laura took a shower at my house, and called IronGreg while Guy and I were finishing up, so he came over with fresh eggs and orange juice and made all of us omelettes! They were awesome! I love Greg. He is the BEST. Mine had three eggs, sausage and cheese and mushrooms and red bell peppers... mmmm - it was GREAT.
So Guy left shortly afterward to bring the jPod over to play with Bobby. Our boys are building a fort in the woods behind my house. Apparently jPod thinks they should insulate it for winter ;-) ... how can you not love and be grateful for the chance to just be around the imaginations of your kids?! They are so precious to me.
So I'm doing housework for a couple hours now; then Ally and I are going to fly a kite while the boys work on their fort. (They won't let her help with the fort because it's for boys only and she isn't even allowed to know exactly where it is. Neither am I.)
Have a blessed Easter weekend everybody.
Hallelujah. He is Risen.
In case you ever wondered what a bunch of Jesus freaks look like, here are a few of us from last night!
Last night Bobby accompanied me for the Club Run. We ran 5.8 miles in 1:03:00. I was so proud of him! He stayed with me the whole time and didn't run ahead -- just paced himself from the git-go. He's only 10 years old, and I know I never ran that far until I was 39 years old and had recently accepted my now-infamous [drunken] double-dog-dare to run a marathon.
It has been a dream of mine since I became a mom that I would someday run with my children, and now I am doing that with my son. I was so happy running next to Bobby that I felt like crying. (Yeah, I know - I am a total crybaby - but I really did!)
The jPod and Guy ran, too. The boys are tallying up their milage prior to the Deadwood Marathon in June. All the kids who tally up 25 miles before race day, get to run the last 1.2 miles of the marathon, and then receive finisher medals for the Kids' Marathon. Isn't that a cool idea?
Work update I had another great week at Coke, working with one of our Lead Account Managers. Don't know how he feels about being on my blog, so we'll leave him nameless for now. ;-) We've got a big Trade Tour this week with the UPPER upper echelon visiting our market so in addition to maintaining our current business, (I have 600 stores in my district) we are dressing up the stores that are featured on the tour with crisp displays. Friday was an office day, so I was lucky to have a couple of hours to sit with my notes, laptop and reports, and got to sort out all I've been learning, as well as try out the 10,000 tools I have at my disposal. I am a visual person, and visual learner, so I really needed that time to matrix in my head these tools and details that are pertinent to me being able to do this job.
I will love it. That much I know is true.
This weekend I had a taper week, so at Beth's suggestion, UltraGuy and I signed up for a 25K (15.5 miles) in and around Hopkins. It was really hilly but very nice. We all ran together for much of it, but Guy and I gradually pulled away from Beth who was chatting, I mean running with a guy named Noah or Nowell, only to learn that she later ditched him and had to run alone - I'm sorry, friend!!! Beth ran a bit over 5 miles before the race so she could get in a 20 miler - good job!!!
Here we are at the start.
Guy and I ended up averaging 9:38's which I think is great considering the hills and the number of them we had to walk up. ;-)
Laura and Greg hosted a barbecue at their new place, which is adorable. It's bright and sunny (just like them ;-)), and is on Gray's Bay on Lake Minnetonka. So the kids were out on the dock with long sticks, trying to reeeeeeeeach and pull in the last thin slabs of lake ice so they could break them on the sidewalk. (Don't you just still kind of wish you were 8 and 10?) I was so certain somebody was going to go in the water and I'd have to retrieve them. It's shallow enough not to be scary, but I wouldn't want to jump in it and have to drive home freezing and muddy. It was great seeing everybody - Tim and Karen, TriNick, and Jenn Weeks. Jenn made a homemade squash soup that was amazing. She's like our group's resident gourmet chef. Between her and Bob, we should all be fed and happy in no time.
I slept in this morning and here's why - the fresh snow makes the world so peaceful. So this is the view from my bedroom window this spring morning in Minnesota. It's pretty, but enough's enough, ya know??
I will be heading off to church in a bit with the kids. Bob's going to hit the early service so he can try to catch up with us later. He's working with some buyers on the final design of their house plan (they're putting an awesome sport court in the house, which is very cool and fairly common nowadays around here, but requires some specialty construction codes and it has to be right, obviously, without compromising the style and flow of the rest of the house) and hopefully he will wrap that up without having to work all day... because the Pettises are coming over!
We are planning a multi-family vacation in June, not too dissimilar to the vacation we took last year with the Grays and Holmeses :
....to Washington State last summer (after Ironman Coeur D'Alene):
Guy's been busy finding links and attractions and we're going to sort through and try to get a cabin reserved. Their son Jeremy is the kid who runs 5Ks with Bobby. It will be a couple days on either side of the Deadwood Marathon in South Dakota. So we are plotting Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills later today.