Tuesday, November 27, 2007
My dad would have been 96 years old today. He made it to 95 years and 4 weeks...never quite buying into my run-to-Michigan thing. He was having a hard time wrapping his mind around any reason why I might want to tackle such a venture and, even when he began to concede that maybe I had an itch to do something that might be ok for me though beyond his personal tastes, he, being such a direct and straightforward fellow, was decidedly frustrated by the roundabout route I would have to take. That's a fast-flying pilot for you (pop being a WWII pilot with a life-long love of flying).
Be that as it may, I am thoroughly convinced that he was with me the entire way. Running along the road, gazing at the horizon, the tumbleweeds, the rolling hills, the livestock, the clouds, the bizarre piece of machinery, the cannon rolling by, the whatever...and I could talk to my dad about it. "Did you see that?" "How about those clouds" "What the heck is that pop?" "Have you ever seen such a [fill in the blank]?" and "Hi Daddy" whenever a plane would fly overhead. Every day there was a "Thank you pop" for the gracious drivers, the calming rhythm of the run, the making it through another mile on my own two feet, and for the weather. The weather was one of the factors that most convinced me that my dad was with me during the run. I got so darned lucky with storm-free running - it got to the point that, if you wanted to locate where I was along the route, you would need only look at a weather map and find the 30-mile stretch that didn't have thunderstorms, tornadoes, or blistering heat. Spooky. Or pop and friends smiling down on me.
Given my extraordinary stretch of good luck, Kendall, too, was becoming convinced that pop was watching over me. The clincher was the day I ran into Michigan. Just as I headed for the state line, twelve WWII planes flew overhead in formation, circling above the entire time I was running over the bridge from Wisconsin to Michigan.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
...gumption past and present...
Top row from left to right:
- Paula with cycling Kendall (always ready with entertaining conversation) on Mackinac Island;
- Devon (elder son, who held down the fort - and house and dog - in Boulder) greeting Paula upon arrival in Petoskey;
- Paul (younger son, and ace support crew member) running Paula in on her last few miles for the day...done many a time during the journey and always with a smile;
Second row from left to right:
- Lysa (support crew for a week in Nebraska and exuberant all around supporter), Paula, and Deb (logistics chief throughout the prep, support crew on Day 1, and cheerleading welcoming committee in Michigan) back in Boulder celebrating the run;
- AndyE, part of the very enthusiastic surprise welcome home committee (and year-round running partner, running partner on the last 9 miles of Day 1 and support crew for two very fun days in Wisconsin) and Paula, upon her arrival home in Boulder;
- Paula and Joe (year-round running partner and Day 3 support crew) setting out on Day 3 of the run;
Third row: Bob Kulus (and Paula and Paul) who welcomed us near Cannon Falls, Minnesota with a passel full of homemade goodies and great cycling company on the run.
Fourth row left: Randy of the Missouri River Runners - my guide through the bike trails from Dakota City, Nebraska to Sioux City, Iowa
Fourth row right: Welcoming committee at the Mountain-Bay trailhead (Helen, Valerie, Paula, Barb and Paul)
Fifth row left: AndyE and his brother-in-law Mike who hosted us for a few days at his farm in Marshfield Wisconsin while AndyE crewed for me and Kendall & Paul took a brief respite.
Fifth row right: Burwell pie ladies (Fridays in Burwell - pie and coffee and delightful company all for $1 at the Senior Center - one of the best mornings of the entire trip!)
Sixth row center: my motorcycling cousin Jim who visited us in Jackson, Minnesota then hosted us for a night of spaghetti and great conversation.
Seventh row center: high school buddies Carl and Connie who surprised me at the outskirts of Petoskey and ran a mile with me along the waterfront; cycling Tom in the background guided me the last day on the Petoskey-Mackinac trail
Past & Present Gumption
Top left: my siblings-in-law - Andy, Steve, Cheryl and my husband Kendall...they've welcomed me and supported me as one of their own.
Center: my father-in-law Woody who believed I could do anything...my run started on what would have been his 82nd birthday.
Top right: me and my pop during my high school years...my pop was one big bundle of gumption. The gumption he passed along to me got me going, Pop watching over me, got me to the finish line.
Bottom: At the finish in Petoskey: Mom, always worried, yet always cheering me on...this was a hug to revel in...
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The written word
I've been writing some articles about The Run...a series of installment pieces. The first was about preparing for the run, the second about the first four days, and I'm currently working on the third installment which covers the bulk of the miles to Michigan. Today, as part of creating this third installment, I spent the afternoon at a coffee shop reading the journal I kept during the run. The actual journal was something that Paul made in his first grade art class many years ago. I was saving it for something worthy of his fine work. Chronicling the run seemed to fill the bill.
Keeping a written record of this run was one of the smartest things I've ever done. I wrote in the journal after each run segment (morning and afternoon), capturing thoughts, struggles, conversations, weather, trivia, sights, and sounds. Reading through it today brought both smiles and tears as the memories came rushing back...almost as though a film reel was running through my brain. The power of the written word...
Monday, November 12, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
For the umpteenth Saturday since my return to Colorado, I was unable to keep up with the satboys gang - the fellows I've been running with on Saturdays for the last...wholebuncho'years. I ran an hour out to our meeting place, then, within a few minutes of starting off together, I found myself drifting off the back ...once again.... Thoroughly frustrated with my lack of speed and consequent inability to run with my buddies, I told them (when we all met up at the predesignated bathroom stop) I would be running on home from there (home being about 9 or 10 miles away, whereas we only had about 30 minutes left in our originally planned run). I figured I could at least run long even if not fast. So that's just what I did.
It was a good decision....a wonderful run - especially whenever I was able to shift my brain away from thinking about how slow I have become. A tad cool with a brisk breeze on my face, hawks overhead, hot air balloons off in the distance to the north, the flatirons and Continental Divide to the west, quiet country roads, and a trail all to myself. Ahhhhh...... Best of all, my body proved to be perfectly happy with the unexpected switch from a two-hour run to a four-hour run - my first four-hour run since The Run.
In the meantime, I've got a lot of work to do to get myself back up to pack speed. Woof!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Many times over the summer I was asked how I could get myself going each day for another 30 miles. My standard answer - and, really the truth of the matter - was that only by running another 30 each day would I reach Petoskey...and I really really wanted to reach Petoskey...on foot....
I needed to call upon a heaping helping of determination today - but not for nearly so lofty or enjoyable a goal. I needed to clean the house. Of all the day-to-day activities, housekeeping is by far my least favorite. But, we're heading out for family weekend at Knox College and I figured that leaving a clean house for our house and dog sitter would be the only decent thing to do. I've been tackling a variety of tasks on the pre-trip to do list all week, but house cleaning kept dropping down the list. This morning, as my head filled with all the early morning grand plans (run, exercise class, walk/run the dog, do the sudoku, make a latte...) I realized that I could allow myself no distractions if the house cleaning was to get done. So I got tough on myself. No run, no coffee, no nothin', until the house got clean. Finally, 1:30 p.m., Jester and I got out for our run, with a gleaming house behind us.
As I ran, I wondered if maybe one of the reasons I enjoyed the motorhome so much was because it's a "place for everything, everything in its place" kind of deal. So little "stuff" and so few places to put stuff. It makes housekeeping a much simpler affair. Be that as it may, I now have a clean motorhome and a clean house. Ta dah!