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Sunday, August 21, 2016

You're Never Too Old To Play Outside: Countdown to Vegas Week 6

This post is not going to be my typical weekly training recap.  This past week was rather light on training but strong on adventure.  I needed that.  I feel freer today than I have in months.  I hope I can hang onto this feeling.  It's going to be hard to tell you what all this meant to me, but in my rambly way I will try.

Monday - Wednesday: Recovery

My back was still hurting from the week prior.  I think all the time spent sitting in classes, in airports and on airplanes had irritated a nerve.  I didn't want to run until I was pain-free; I'd rather miss a few days than take a chance of making it worse.  So I tried to walk some each day, and stretch and foam roll my legs and glutes.  By Wednesday I felt about 95% better, so I cleaned the frat house and made plans to run on Thursday.

Thursday: Running Again

Thursday's run was both fun and inspirational.  IMPD invited the public to come out and run with
their recruit class, so I joined several friends to do that.  We met shortly before noon and listened along with the recruits to their trainers and the Police Chief.  We ran along the Canal Walk, stopping at the USS Indianapolis Memorial, the 9/11 Memorial, and the Medal of Honor Memorial.  At each stop, we listened to the trainers and Police Chief again as they talked about service and sacrifice.  It was all very moving.  The run was also fun, since the recruits were doing PT calls, and it's been a long time since I've run to any of those.  I was humbled and grateful to be a part of this, and I hope I get the chance to do it again.  Click this link to see the news story about it:

Friday - Sunday: Summer Camp FBG Style

Flat Rock River YMCA Camp offers a Women's Getaway Weekend, and several of my friends and I had been planning to go for months.  #YurtChat started back in March.  I cannot tell you how excited I was that the weekend was finally here, and it did not disappoint.

Yurt Life
I was familiar with Flat Rock, because Josh had attended summer camp there for several years when he was younger, and he & I attended Family Camp together one year, so I knew we would have a great time.  We all stayed together in the Discovery Yurt.  Friday night we didn't have time for much more than unpacking, snapping a yurt selfie, and enjoying a wine tasting along with some light snacks.

Saturday's forecast called for a lot of liquid sunshine (aka rain), but we didn't let that stop us.  Some activities did end up getting cancelled (no ziplining - the platforms would be too slippery), but there were plenty of alternatives.  The cool thing about this retreat was that we could do as much or as little as we liked.  There were always several things on the schedule that we could do, but if we just wanted to relax, that was fine too.  We each ended up doing some things a little different, but here's how my Saturday went:
Do we have anything on our faces?
  • Trail run - 2.5 miles, very muddy, a few good hills, spider webs galore.  Spiders must think trail runners are home-wrecking monsters.
  • Breakfast - French toast (my fave!) and bacon
  • I was headed to Archery when I heard there was a long wait, so I went to Arts & Crafts instead.  I etched a wine glass, made a body scrub, and started braiding a friendship bracelet while I waited on my glass etching solution to set up.  Crafting is so much more fun when the supplies are all laid out for me, and I don't have to clean up afterward.
  • Next I was going to climb the Alpine Tower when the rain started.  We went to Fen Mud Facials, and I'm so glad we did.  It was much more than just facials.  We hiked out to the Flat Rock Fen with our guide Marcus, who taught us along the way about the geology and ecology of fens, and what makes the Flat Rock Fen unique.  Then he dug up some of the mud and gave us each some to work with.  We added vinegar to it to make mud packs.  We all agreed that it made our skin feel so soft.  Even today I keep touching my face - it still feels great!
  • Lunch - a baked potato bar, with soup & salad as sides
  • Horseback riding - I was on Angus, who had a bit of ornery to him, which I like.  The trails were muddy - it was still raining on and off - and none of the horses really like the mud.  They would run through it, or just veer off the trail and through the undergrowth, whacking us in the head with branches.  Angus especially tried to make his own trail several times.  And then when we reached the field, he just stopped and started eating.  Um, no, you can eat back at the barn, dude.  Let's keep up with the others.  He made me laugh, though, and he was a good, sturdy horse.  I hadn't ridden in 15 years, so it was fun to do this again.  My sitz bones are a bit sore today though.
  • Hiking, tubing, & a water slide - we hiked up the river for about 15 minutes, then jumped in with our tubes and floated back down.  So pretty and peaceful.  I will have pictures from this in a couple of weeks, since I had a waterproof disposable camera just for this.  Back at the camp, after we put our tubes up, we rode the giant water slide that splashes down into the pond.  I wasn't sure I would like it, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.
  • Supper - a pasta bar, with marinara and alfredo sauce, meatballs, chicken, and veggies.
  • After supper was supposed to be ziplining, but the liquid sunshine persisted, so we instead had karaoke and dancing, along with an ice cream sundae bar.  I may not have ziplined, but I did get to do the Electric Slide!
  • Bed time - those mattresses may be made out of cardboard, but after a day like that we all slept soundly.
Weekend SWAG
Today the weather was just perfect.  Camp ended after lunch, but here's all I managed to pack into the short day:
  • Trail run - 2.5 miles, mostly on the gravel & paved roads instead of the original route since the wooded trails were so muddy
  • Breakfast - baked oatmeal with fruit
  • Hiking & tubing - so many people signed up for kayaking that there weren't enough available, so we decided to tube again instead.  We still took the long hike up with the kayakers - much farther than Saturday's hike - and floated all the way back down.  It was just gorgeous, with the sun coming through the trees, and lighting up the rock walls of the river.  
  • Arts & Crafts again - today we tie-dyed shirts, and customized picture frames by wood burning.  We definitely have some unique swag - not our typical race shirt & medal weekends.
  • Lunch - hot dogs, hamburgers, and baked beans.  And WATERMELON!  I wish I had more right now.

Final Rambly Thoughts

Just listing out the activities doesn't really give you the full story.  I needed this weekend for several reasons.  I needed this time with some of my friends.  I've written before about how much they all mean to me.  I'm so blessed and humbled and grateful to have many beautiful friends in my life.  I could not have made it through the past 16 months without all of you.  I wish every one of you could've been there.  It was such a blessing to have this time where all our meals and activities were taken care of and we could just be like girls and play.  I don't mind doing things by myself.  I was a single mom for almost 12 years before I met Kevin, and Kevin didn't always like doing the same things I did, so I'm used to doing things on my own.  But fun is just more fun when shared.

I also needed this long break out in nature.  I'm outside as much as possible, but the reality is I spend a lot of time indoors - my office at work doesn't even have windows.  The few hours I get to run or otherwise be outside are always appreciated.  But two full days outside running, hiking, tubing, just walking around - that opens up something in my soul that had closed up like a flower without any sunlight.

Driving out to camp on Friday, I felt excited but I also felt guilty for feeling excited.  This is something I never would've done while Kevin was alive.  Not that I couldn't - he wasn't controlling like that.  But he would not have liked it.  He wasn't interested in going there for Family Camp - I know because I'd suggested it for several years - and his feelings would be hurt if I went to do something like that without him.  And no fun weekend would be worth hurting the feelings of the man I loved.  So I would not have even considered going.  And sometimes irrationally I feel guilty for doing something now that Kevin would not have liked.  

But over the weekend, as I opened up and relaxed and thought about it all, God showed me something new.  We know that in Heaven we will have no more pain or illness:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. Revelation 21:4 (HCSB)
So Kevin no longer has high blood pressure or migraines or heart disease.  But this isn't just about the physical.  Kevin no longer has the pains of insecurity or misunderstanding.  He really wouldn't be upset about me having fun.  He knows I love him and I always will, and that I am doing the best I can to live a life I didn't choose, and I don't have to make the same choices I would make if he was still here.  I'm still not okay, but I think I'm a little bit closer now.

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