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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ignite the Night 10K & Philly Trip Recaps

Two recaps in one, since the past week was such a busy one.

Ignite the Night 10K

This was a fun night run in Shelbyville, with a contest to see "How Glow Can You Go?".  I didn't win for glowiest, but I had fun trying.  I've never found the official race results, but my watch said I did the 10K in 1:22.  I felt good the whole run, and I'm happy with that time, especially since the course was on dimly lit uneven sidewalks and it was extremely hot and humid.  I also came in Dead Last, although I'm pretty sure there were only 9 people who ran the 10K, so I was in the Top 10 as well.  This was the first year for this event, and they did say they will try to have more lights along the course next year.  Since a lot of it runs through residential neighborhoods, I think luminaries in the yards would be pretty.

Philadelphia Trip

Last week I went to Philadelphia for training for work.  This was my first trip since Kevin died, other than to visit family.  I got into town on Sunday around 3pm, and I had planned to do some sightseeing that evening.  I wasn't able to do any, though.  I checked into my hotel, went across the street to check into my conference, went to CVS to buy some snacks, and then went back to my hotel room where I talked to Kevin, prayed, and cried myself to sleep.  I was just overwhelmed with an intense wave of grief and loss, and there was nothing else to do for it.  I wanted nothing more than to be home with our familiar things, and I felt farther away from Kevin than ever.  At moments like those, the rest of my life stretches out before me and feels bleak and empty.  I know that's not reality, but that's how it sometimes feels.
I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed.  Lead me to the towering rock of safety.  Psalm 61:2b

The old me would've scolded myself for wasting the afternoon lying in bed, but I think it was necessary.  If I'd tried to bottle it inside and go out anyway, I don't think I would've been able to appreciate and enjoy anything.  If I stuff my feelings inside, I stuff them all in, so I miss out on enjoying the good moments too.  And I might still have broken down crying somewhere out in public.  I think it was totally okay to take that time to just feel sad and let it out and let God comfort me.

After crying and sleeping it off, I did feel more like myself the next day.  The training started at 8:30, and by lunchtime I already had a list of things I wanted to look at when I got back to work.  In addition to my 3-day class on Asset Management, I also went to an optional workshop on advocating for low income housing that was very interesting & informative.  Being busy with classes helped me feel better, I'm sure.

Monday evening, I walked over and saw the Liberty Bell, then walked through the Rose Garden and Magnolia Garden.  A little late in the season for both, but still pretty.  Then I walked down to Penn's Landing, along the Delaware River.  Kevin would've really liked the riverfront, with all the boats, big container ships and loading cranes.

Tuesday even though it was in the 90's, I ran from my hotel to the Art Museum (about 2 miles), stopping on the way to take lots of pictures.  The route went mostly along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a street that was modeled after the Champs-Élysées and lined with flags of all the nations that have populations represented in the city.  Once I got to the Art Museum, I had my picture made with the Rocky Statue, then ran the Rocky steps (72 of them).  I took more pictures on the run back to my hotel.  There's art everywhere in Philly, and they apparently think the Robert Indiana LOVE statue is theirs since they have it on shirts, hats, magnets, etc.  Indy has one too, and ours is bigger.

Later Tuesday, I took a twilight bus tour of the city, on one of those open air double-decker buses.  The tour guide was really engaging and funny, and clearly loved his city.  I really enjoyed the tour, and Kevin would have too.  It reminded me a little of the boat tour we took in Chicago on our first vacation together.  He would have enjoyed all the details about the buildings, architecture, and planning of the city.  He probably would've rolled his eyes when we got to West Philadelphia and all sang the theme song to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but he would've enjoyed the rest of it.  And, we visited Reading Railroad, Pennsylvania Railroad, jail, and the water works.  (I also saw the Electric Company on my train ride out of town Thursday).  The creator of Monopoly was from Philadelphia. Pretty cool.

Independence Hall
Wednesday I went shopping, and then to City Tavern for supper.  It's a historic site but also a really good restaurant, serving recipes from the 18th century.  Thursday I was returning home, but I didn't leave until 12:30 so I still had time to catch a few sites.  I toured Independence Hall, the Fireman's Hall, and Christ Church Cemetery where Benjamin Franklin and other signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried.

I was surprised to find a family connection at the Fireman's Hall.  There was a map by John A. Paxton, which he had drawn for the firefighters in the city to use to help them locate fire hydrants.

Philly is a really interesting city and there's so much more to see, so I hope I get another chance to go back.  A few travel lessons learned: 1) Take small bills for tips. I travel so rarely that I forgot all about the need to tip my shuttle drivers, tour guides, etc.  2) Carry a backpack instead of a shoulder bag.  I averaged 6 miles of walking a day, and a backpack definitely would've been more comfortable.  3) The moccasins were a good shoe choice.  I didn't pack any shoes besides my running shoes, to save suitcase space.  So I wore my moccasins the entire trip other than my run.  They are comfortable even with all that walking, flexible enough to give me a good feel for where I'm walking, slip on and off easily for airport security, and keep my feet warm when I'm inside in the A/C.

When I got home, I was hit with a wave of sadness again walking into our room and seeing that Kevin wasn't there.  My head knew he wouldn't be, of course, but I think it takes the heart a lot longer to accept it.  I didn't get overwhelmed like I had on Sunday; just felt sad and lonely for a while.  It seems funny since a few days earlier all I'd wanted was to be home, yet once I got there it felt wrong and uncomfortable at first.  I had to go back downstairs for a while before I was able to come up and unpack.  But that's okay too.  I think I'm learning to be a little easier on myself now.

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