Papa Talk

23 Mar

“We talked for 41 minutes!” A happy Nia processed in her brain as she looked at her phone after hanging up with her Papa.

She couldn’t wait to call him that night. She wanted to talk to him about what she learned in class about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. She knew Papa is better than google or any book she could read when it comes to history. Forget about playing a game with trivia with him, unless he’s on your team.

I know she will always treasure their talks. I think he will too. After their history lesson, he sent me a text. “Thanks for letting Nia call. Were you trying to get her sleepy by talking to me?” Silly, smart Papa.

Papa

Jacked Up

19 Nov

I had a flat tire after work this week. Here are some things I learned from it:

  1. I prefer the kind of flats that are waiting for me – as opposed to the ones that happen as I’m driving down a busy interstate. This one was safely hanging out for me on Level 4 of the parking garage. Swell!
  2. I shouldn’t refuse the kind offer of help from strangers. My stubborn “I got this” personality caused me to turn four people away. I gave some line about being “woman, hear me roar” and immediately felt dumb after it.
  3. Glad I admitted defeat and reluctantly accepted the fourth offer of help after trying to loosen the lug-nuts with my cute purple pumps. Andrew had tightened those lug-nuts with the “intensity of the sun” as I heard him once use to describe Nate. During my attempt to break the lug-nuts free, I called Andrew, out of breath, verifying, “It’s lefty loosey still, right?!” He responded yes and told me he was on his way to help. That’s also when the fourth person to offer help showed up and didn’t take no for an answer. He just started fixing it.
  4. People who don’t directly offer to help feel the need to give advice or just make an acknowledging comment as they pass. “Did you call someone?” “Don’t forget to use your emergency brake because your car could roll backward.”
  5. There’s a special place for the jack under my car. If you don’t use it, you will bend the area near the door frame. That happened. I now need new tires and some body work.
  6. It’s very difficult for me to drive slower than 55 mph. Thank goodness for cruise control. Glad I had that padiddle light too. That really added to the comedy of the situation.

Dough-no

Significant

7 Nov

Maybe it’s because we lived it. We try not to make big deals of things we’ve been through or accomplished. People have done/do more. We may feel like that because part of us feels like we don’t deserve special acknowledgement. We just are people doing things other people do.

For whatever reason though, Andrew and I don’t really recognize his military service on the designated holidays. We certainly think of the others though. Those friends who are no longer with us, those still serving or who’ve served longer or long ago.

Then, a stranger changed that. To her, Andrew’s service is significant and should be noted.

She only really knows him to say hi to him in church but that didn’t stop her from getting his address from the church directory (I imagine) and sending him a card to thank him for his service.

I’m not even sure how she knows about his military history. In the end, it doesn’t matter. What does is that someone reminded us of it.

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A Perfect Season

6 Nov
Dad & Champ

Dad & Champ

He’s only 7 years old. His teammates match him in age, plus or minus a year. They love their bubble gum and eye black and to proudly (and loudly) cheer for their next batter from the dugout. They┬árange in size from tiny to tall but equal each other with their love of the game.

It was their heart, teamwork and desire to make the “awesome out or hit” that set the stage for these young baseball players to do something extraordinary.

A perfect season — 11-0. That’s not all though. They carried that through to the post season tournament where they earned their champion title, going 4-0.

I tried not to think too much of it. It’s coach pitch and fall ball, I told myself. They are playing against other small ones still learning the game, like them. But then I realized, this may never happen again. What’s to come when Nate is in kid pitch? Will he still love it like he does now? Will he meet the others in skill and be able to hold a spot on the field with them? This is something to treasure and it’s not just about all the W’s. It’s about how the boys got along and worked together. The families who united to support the coaches and the team. It was a positive, pleasant season — truly perfect.

Watching Nate and those boys out there is something I’ll never forget. Some of the plays I saw Nate pull off on that dirt made me shake my head in disbelief. There was one game this season where he dove for a grounder then quickly spun around and popped up like an older player to make a fast throw from near Second to First for an out. How did he do that?! Will he be able to do it again? And again?

I can only hope because I’m quite addicted to seeing him in his element with his teammates. Sure, all the practices and games can be a big time commitment and challenge for us, but as long as he wants to keep playing, I’ll keep following his lead. He’s led himself (and his family) this far with it and we’ve made such good friends and have had a blast.

Until next season, thanks for these memories, #26 and those wonderful Red Buccaneers.

8U Red Buccaneers | Fall 2013

8U Red Buccaneers | Fall 2013

The 11th Month

2 Nov

With 2014 about 60 calendar boxes away, two self-imposed goals that I was supposed to conquer in 2013 are taunting me from the December 31 box.

I was supposed to run 700 miles this year. Being that I’m only at 415, that is most definitely not going to happen. Maybe I’ll reach 500? Where in the world did I pull 700 from?

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I was supposed to write the book that’s been in my head since spring 2012. I told myself it would be my baby this year since I very much felt the desire to have another child but, at the same time, am wonderfully content and thankful with the two I’m momma to now. Well, I still haven’t gotten any action on that “baby” so I need to get busy. I even bought books that tell me how to get started. The dog ate one of them …

So, I’m setting a new goal. One just for this 11th month. I’m gonna blog. Seems like something I should be able to accomplish. We’ll see!

Funny Thing Happened on the Way to 13.1

2 Nov

Running one half marathon was surprising enough to me. First of all, I can’t believe I’d set out to do it in the first place. The fact that I actually liked it and wanted to do it again is the kicker.

I did need plenty of time to make sure I was mentally and physically ready though. You know, like a year to know I was going to do that thing that requires dedication and time to training and the test to my willpower. My first half — the Savannah Rock-n-Roll — happened because Ginger made it look so fun. (That’s right. I’m totally blaming you.) I ran it and felt incredible at the end, like I had more to give. I felt like I held back on my pace because of the fear of the unknown since I hadn’t yet run a full 13.1. Training never got me to that distance. I knew that I wanted to try again as soon as I crossed that first finish line.

During the months in between those two distances, Ginger (yep, her fault again) asked if I’d be interested in a half marathon mountain trail race. We discussed how it would be different from our street miles and we should plan on taking it as easy as we could. (There was a 4-hour time limit to finish so we knew we needed to beat that at least.) It was very different so it’s tough for me to put it in my 13.1 group. I did earn those miles though — at times, painfully — so I will claim it. After that run, it was supposed to be smooth training until my second Rock-n-Roll. But then, I started seeing tempting Facebook posts for the AthHalf. Andrew was going to run in it for the third time because he loves it and Uncle Anthony said he could watch the kids so I thought, why not?

I’m so glad I did. Not only was the route and sight-seeing in Athens great, I felt strong and at 2:18 I finished 13 minutes faster than my first half. I also marked my 1,000th mile in that race. In fact, when I looked at Runkeeper after the race, my overall total said I finished on mile 1,000.

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AthHalf 2013

I’ve since added to that with my runs leading up to the Rock-n-Roll this weekend. I thought about running to beat my AthHalf time but I just want to take this one in without any pressure on myself. Maybe next year …

(Not Nearly) Afternoon Delight

2 Oct

I paid to suffer and that’s not the worst of it. I would do it again.

Let me explain.

When I first told Ginger I would enjoy a family camping weekend at FD Roosevelt State Park that ended with a 13.1 mile trail run called The North Face Endurance Challenge, I don’t think I really processed the words “endurance challenge” and the race’s location of Pine MOUNTAIN. Sure, I said. Sounds fun, I said. Because it did. I love hanging out on a run with my bud. We explore, we have great talks and we feel awesome after conquering a distance and crushing some calories.

It sounded like carefree fun all the way up until she emailed that her Achilles was hurting and a specialist told her no way to running – especially no MOUNTAIN trails. First and always, I was worried about her. I know how much she enjoys her runs. They are a part of her. How will she feel not running? I just wanted her to heal so she could run again soon. In the midst of my worry though, I began to realize – I’m not going to have my buddy with me on this frolic through the woods. She suggested maybe Andrew could come with me and run my pace. He’s also a wonderful running pal and a great motivator. Of course, he agreed so it was all set – and then it all hit my ignorance.

Pre-race Pose

Endurance

This event is called an endurance challenge for a reason. It is nothing like the trail I run at Fort Yargo. There parts of it that feel like only goats should be on it – cliff side, rock covered inches of footing. Muddy rocks that serve as bridges to get you across stream after stream. Fallen trees that block narrow paths. The roots of those trees, or possibly rocks, stole my feet from me and sent me down – hard – twice.

Rocks-n-Stuff

That rock slate IS the trail.

The first collision with the ground happened within mile one and I landed like a tree. The crash knocked the wind out of me and I had to jump off to the course for a minute to decide if I remembered what my name was. Luckily, I did and kept moving forward, only to fall again around mile five. Big props to my right shoulder for taking the brunt of that body toss. Ow. I was so proud when the first aid person at the water station asked me, “Ma’am, do you need your shoulder treated?” To me, it really showed what we were enduring. The whole-body soreness days after the event helped remind us of that too though …

Shoulder Boo-Boo

Challenge

I must have said “you’ve got to be kidding” or “this is ridiculous” or “choice cuss word” at least 10 times each mile. Once we started, the challenge was to finish. The challenge was to not lose my mind. The challenge was to not damage my skull that protects that mind. The challenge was to not stop climbing the hills and to stand tall to conquer them like Andrew kept reminding me to do. At one point toward the end, I began telling myself to keep my knees and feet up, pay attention and don’t get lazy. A lot of it was out loud. So was my rendition of “Funky Town” and Andrew’s duet of “Afternoon Delight” with me. (It was prompted by Anchorman quotes after I started saying things like “I love tree. I love plant. This trail was a bad idea.”)

The fun singing didn’t last long though because sure enough, we soon had to scale a hill.

Straight up.

Mountain

Being that this was a mountain trail, it was rare to have a nice stretch for a steady running pace. I don’t know how people finished this and more (some traveled 50 miles!) with such a fast time. They are incredible. It seemed to me that just when I would start to feel like a kid running through the forest (and I actually did at one point and shouted it out through breaths to the trees and Andrew), we would encounter an obstacle from nature. You know, like a mountain. Climbing a mountain wasn’t on my bucket list but I can go ahead and pencil it in just to draw the line through it. Dang.

See all the people at the top of the hill?

Gorgeous Mountain View from a Ledge

Elevation says wha?

Finished

13.1 miles equated to 3 hours and 33 minutes of adventure for Andrew and me. I know he could’ve finished at about 2 and a half had he ventured it at his pace. He didn’t once complain or make me feel bad. He carried my sunglasses and helped me up when I fell. He kept encouraging me with pep talks and coaching me with guidance to make it through.

“You’re doing great, lady.”
“Stand up tall to get deep breaths.”
“Slow it down some, your adrenaline is tricking you right now.”
“We’re married.” (That one came after I made a goofy pose when I saw a photographer on the course. He actually claimed me!)

I’m so grateful to him for his friendship and selflessness. He even stopped to give directions to hikers along our course. He laughed at my jokes along the way and when I asked him if I earned major cool points for my falls he replied, “Not for the falls but because you got back up and kept going.”

So, would I endure it again?

No. I would enjoy it again.

Ginger's Finish Line Photo

Ginger’s Finish Line Photo

I wasn’t sore yet.

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