Photo by Gregg Gelmis

An Ode To Friends Who Don’t Mind Getting Muddy

My running buddy, Chelsea, posted this John Muir quote on Facebook and it is basically the motto of our Sunday morning No Runner Left Behind trail group. (Minus the glaciers. We don’t get many of those around here.)

As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.
— Quoted from Muir Journals (undated fragment, c. 1871) by Linnie Marsh Wolfe, Son of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir (1945) page 144.

It’s funny. The two of us started that group last Spring with another friend because it occurred to us that maybe there were other runners like us out there – wanting to run trails but not trying to beat any sort of time or clock. There are some pretty fast/elite trail running groups but if you don’t know the trails, and if you’re slow, you could easily get left behind and not know where you are. So, we posted in a local facebook group that we were training for McKay 25K and offered to provide a sweeper if anyone wanted to join us.

And it took off!

The funny thing is, we get quite a variety of participants. We get some newbies that have never touched a trail before and who never come back again. We get some newbies who love it so much they sign up for races the next week. We get some elites who like the casualness and goofiness of our runs, and often do their “hard” run on Saturday so Sunday gives them some fun time. Sometimes we have 30 people and we get stressed out because we get SO SPREAD OUT, and other times there’s only 6 or 7 of us and we ended up taking 40 million photos along the way.

We don’t do the group during the warm weather for several reason, but the group shrinks so much after our last big trail race in March it always feels like a good time to take our break and this past Sunday was our last group.

Photo by Gregg Gelmis

Photo by Gregg Gelmis

The storms the night before made waterfalls in places labeled “dry falls” on maps. And because it was warm, something we never get to enjoy on these Sunday runs, we took the opportunity to play in the falls. Or local photographer phenom – Gregg Gelmis – brought his waterproof camera out, hoping for some fun shots. Dry creek beds were like small rivers as we held on to rocks trying not to get swept away. Puddles were calf deep and trails were flooded. It was SO MUCH FUN. A great way to end the season for our fantastic group.

10439399_990553760956711_7876042342987877320_nAnd holy crap, it was good for my soul. Did I wake up every day since and have perfect days with no anxiety or stress? No. But did I wake up remembering that behind all of that sucky stuff there’s a layer of awesome in my life I need to never forget? YES. I HAVE FRIENDS WHO WILL PLAY IN THE MUD WITH ME. This is something every adult (who likes to play in the mud, I guess) needs in their life. Go. Find friends who will stand under waterfalls with you.

Our group ranges in ages from 20’ish to 60’ish on an average weekend. We have guys and girls. Fast and Slow. Newbies and Veterans. Conservatives and Liberals. Parents, Grandparents, and the Childfree. We live in all parts of the area, some of us (me) driving 25+ minutes to get to our precious mountain every Sunday. We are a wonderful mix of people who might not come together in any other circumstance, but we celebrate our camaraderie on Sundays in the woods and go home happy and covered in Mud.

I’m going to miss these guys. I’ll be counting down the Sundays until October.

Photo by Gregg Gelmis

Photo by Gregg Gelmis

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Hogwarts is so close I can smell the potions!

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Our package from Universal came this week! The one with the welcome letter and the owl plush and the tickets to things like our breakfast at 3 Broomsticks and our other breakfast at Leaky Cauldron! TWO BREAKFASTS WITH WIZARDS! I can’t wait.

You get this type of package when you specifically book the Harry Potter travel dealio. It’s really nothing more than those reservations and this welcome package BUT IT IS ALL WORTH IT BECAUSE…HOGWARTS!

I’ve been very tired lately and not really mentally stable as my life feels like it’s 180 degrees different than it was 2 months ago and I haven’t really settled into this new life successfully on just about any level but then…

HOGWARTS!

I’ve been reliving a lot of my Hogwarts memories lately. The one I visit the most awesome is when I was depressed on of my weekends (in 1999) without E, when his Dad and I still lived in the same town so we were doing the every other weekend thing. So – I did what I always did when I was depressed and I went and bought books at Books-A-Million (we didn’t have a Barnes and Noble) on my credit card I shouldn’t have been using because I was too poor to make payments. There was this interesting display with three Harry Potter books on it, and I assumed it was a trilogy and I thought, “Well…this should get me through the weekend.”

And it did. BUT IT WAS NOT A TRILOGY.

I went to everyone I knew on Monday and was like, “Have you heard of Harry Potter?” and of course they all had because none of them were as disconnected from the real world as I was with no TV. I was hooked, and would forever be hooked.

Since then we’ve done midnight releases for every book and every movie that there was one. The first movies didn’t have a midnight release locally but everyone that did – we attended. Harry Potter is/was E’s childhood and in a way – it was mine too. Nikki has made it through book 3 now and I’m hoping Wes starts reading them someday.

This will be our first time to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we’ve been planning this trip since the first park opened several years ago. We just now really were able to set aside the money. First family vacation in 5 years. FIVE YEARS. All 5 of us on a trip together for a whole week. The last time we did that was the summer of 2009. WAIT. SHIT. THAT’S SIX YEARS. I’ve been saying 5 but it’s actually six. I’m good at math.

We leave May 2nd and come back May 9th.

Or maybe never. If I find a job in Diagon Alley I’ll send the family back without me.

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Curse Word Of The Day: Shiitake Mushrooms!

Thanks for the tips yesterday, guys! I think I’m going to do a combination of just about everything. I’m going to try this weekend to cook a few meals and put them in containers for re-heating this week. I’m going to try. I only have about 4 hours on Saturday to do everything I need to do this weekend and I have to do a LOT of stuff so, you know, fingers crossed!

It’s also Kim’s Allergy Season right now. It started this week and will last 4-6 weeks. This is the only time of year I suffer with allergies but HOLY SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS, do I suffer! I woke up with a sneezing fit at 1:20am this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. So! I got up and did laundry and dishes and steam-mopped my office floor. Then I read a little bit before passing out for a little over an hour thanks to another coughing fit. I am one of those people that really hates Spring. It’s onset means the end of my trail-running season which I hate, and it brings my allergies which I hate more, and it brings out the wasps and the snakes which I hate most of all. I’m the Grinch of Spring. HATE.

But I’m going to spread some joy today. One of my favorite YouTubers is a comedian by the name of Grace Helbig who I’ve talked about before here because I love everything she does. I wish I had cable so I could watch her new show on E!. Donnie thinks she’s okay, doesn’t think she’s as funny as I do, but HOLY SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS – she made him laugh so hard with this video.

I wouldn’t listen to it loud. It’s not really offensive (she beeps her own curse words) but it is a little…rude.

I also have a funny story from work yesterday. I work down the hall from an eye doctor and they have this sign at the stairs that encourages you to take the elevator if your eyes have been dilated. That is actually irrelevant but I think just a funny note to make as I know where this story is headed.

I was trying to get my phone out of my purse as I was walking and then I noticed there was an older lady (Like…80? Maybe?) coming UP the stairs and it caught me off guard and I stumbled and ended up on my butt and she said, “OH MY WORD! Are you okay honey?” I started cracking up and said, “Yes, ma’am. Sorry to startle you, I’m just a klutz. I’m fine.”

Wait. That’s not the funny part.

I got up, put the stuff back in my purse that had fallen out, and took one step and fell again. I didn’t land on my butt, I caught myself on the rail but I did audibly gasp and the lady heard the stumble again and paused before turning down the hall and looked back at me one more time to make sure I was okay.

“See? Told you! Klutz!”

She just shook her head this time and kept walking. I’m pretty sure she thought I was drunk. Maybe I should have been.

Happy Friday! Here’s to avoiding multiple stumbles down stairs today! You know you’re a klutz when you hope to avoid multiple stumbles. You know you’ll never avoid them all.

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Easter Child Tossing Is Back!

We neglected our Child Tossing tradition last year – just simply forgot – and I assumed that was going to be a thing of the past since the kids were getting so big. But Donnie was ready to go yesterday and reminded me right before the sun set, LET’S DO THIS!

If you haven’t been around the blog (or my family in real life) you might not have heard of our Easter tradition that started with this perfect photo in 2008.

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Wesley’s best year was – by far – 2012.

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But my favorite year was the year we perfected the double toss, 2011.

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There are several more from every year but 2014, but you get the point. Nikki BARELY made it past Donnie’s finger tips yesterday, but her expression made it a total win.

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The thing about the kids getting bigger is that Donnie can only do one or two solid attempts. (Thank goodness for the “burst” feature on the iPhone.) I’m very glad that Wes did this random kick during his attempt because it made the picture so much more awesome.

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Special Guest Star: My Canine Niece, Maggie.

 

Donnie also got his hands on our nephew, mainly because he was BEGGING for a chance so that may mean that we can keep this going a few more years if Donnie’s brother will continue to trust him with his child’s life!

All in all – a successful mission. Next year we’ll have to let Nikki jump on a trampoline and just Photoshop her above Donnie’s head.

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March? Huh?

I’m confused. My calendar says it’s March 2nd. It’s not March yet, is it? I know February is a short month, but it didn’t shrink to 7 days did it? Because I truly believe I missed at least 3 weeks of the month somewhere. Maybe in a pile of puke-covered laundry and ice covered streets? The kids have had so few days where they’ve both been to school for a full day, that I feel like they’ve only had school for about a week since Christmas. MARCH? I don’t think so. Nope. Not happening.

I especially am in denial because – on the first Saturday of March – I have a 12-hour race I’m supposed to be participating in. And if today is March 2nd, then that means my 12-hour race is this Saturday and I’m NOT AT ALL READY.

At one point, my goal for this race was to just beat last year’s distance of 52 miles. But then my groin got strained and I sprained my ankle and I used the weeks after my last race to rest, recover, and eat. I had also considered using the flat course as a motivation to shoot for my first sub-6hr 50K. But neither of those goals seem attainable right now so I’m kinda just thinking that my goal now will be FIRST: Show up. SECOND: Make forward progress for 12 hours. If I can keep moving for 12 hours? I’ll consider myself a success. Even if it’s walking 20 miles instead of running 50. But honestly? I had such a great running weekend that I’m not going to get down on myself too much next weekend if I can’t even stay mobile for 12 hours. I’m coming back, I’m feeling better, I’m not going to get too down on myself if next weekend fails. The one great thing about this race is that you get a plaque with a number on it no matter HOW MANY miles you complete. If it’s 1 or 100. So there’s no “DNF”.

I do want to keep up my WHOPPING 2-Day Good Eating streak for the month of March. 2 days is probably my longest streak since early January, so – you know – I hate to break that streak of awesomeness.