Do you ever wonder if your life is interesting enough to sustain a blog?
Well, so do I.
As I was thinking about what kind of post I wanted to write this week, I thought, “Hey, great! I took a road trip! I can blog about that!” And then I realized that I think that every time I take a trip to visit my family and that it’s always the exact same thing. I drive to Idaho. I celebrate something (sometimes a holiday but usually the birthday of a niece or nephew). I run with my dad. I ride my bike. I drive back to Utah. Even when I’m shaking things up, I’m still boring.
I wish I could tell you that this weekend was different, and I was totally interesting and did things that millennials do like become florists and go to the moon (props if you get that reference!). However, that’s not the case. And I’m okay with that. When the most interesting fact about yourself is that you are training to do cardio for 15 hours straight, you need to come to terms with the fact that you are, at your heart, a boring person.
The ride up to Idaho was (thankfully) uneventful. Most of the drive takes place in a stretch of desert that many people would describe as ugly and boring, but I’ve always really liked it, even in the summer when it’s just brown. However, as it is currently spring, most of the landscapes I drove by were quite green. The green rolling hills and flat plains against the blue sky were absolutely gorgeous. For most of the drive, I found myself wishing I were out on my bike enjoying the scenery and sunshine instead.
Because I left for Idaho after work on Thursday, I was up pretty late (for me). A bonus about this visit was that since Rob wasn’t with me, I got the nice bed for adult guests in the basement instead of the bunk bed that I grew up sleeping in. For some reason (maybe it’s the coolness or the extra darkness or just the bed itself), I always sleep like a rock in my parents’ guest bedroom, so even though I didn’t get to bed early, I got plenty of sleep.
My dad and I planned to go on a run on Friday, and I was nervous. I felt like this run would be a test. Up until this point, all but one of my post-marathon runs were under an hour, and the one run that was an hour felt like too much and left my IT band sore the next day. And on Friday, I had a 90 minute run scheduled. I flipped back-and-forth about whether I was optimistic about the run or sure it would prove once and for all that I would never run more than a few miles again. I dutifully stretched before heading out and even popped a couple of ibuprofen just to be safe. It was a beautiful and warm day, but it was early enough that the air was still crisp. The sun was shining, and there was just a hint of a breeze.
My dad and I started chatting as we ran, and before we knew it, we were almost halfway through the run and discussing the concept for a software program that high schools could use for a personal finance class. I hadn’t felt my knee at all, but when we hit that point I was a little worried my fitness would fail during the second half of the run, especially as I considered that I hadn’t run longer than an hour in over a month. But my dad and I kept chatting and I kept feeling really good. Before I knew it, we were almost done with his ten mile route. I had said beforehand that I would decide whether to stop at ten or keep going until I hit 90 minutes depending on how I felt during the run. I still felt great, so when we got to my parents’ neighborhood, we turned left instead of right and added an extra mile on. Even at the relatively quick pace (for me) of 8:11/mile, I felt great after the run. My dad did too. It was one of those rare, effortless runs, and it was exactly the confidence-booster I needed.
In other words, I’m no longer absolutely certain of my failure, and I actually think that I may have a chance of pulling this off.
I spent some time Friday afternoon playing with my little nieces and nephews. I have to be honest here. Usually, they are so sweet it makes your teeth hurt, but I’m starting to suspect the older two might be little sociopaths. They have a doctor kit that they love to use to treat their collection of tiny Beanie Babies. So, as is common with them, they opened up the doctor’s kit and pulled out a little stuffed animal to treat. In the past, I’ve been a little horrified by the diagnoses these animals get. Jordyn will put on the stethoscope and listen to the duck’s heart and mutter, “Not good, not good.” Clayton repeats, slightly less understandably, “Not dood, not dood.” Typically, I ask Jordyn what the animal needs, and she’ll give him a shot or pretend to perform surgery. Normal stuff. But when I ask if the animal is better, she invariably replies, “Nope.” The answer is the same when I ask if the animal will ever get better.
This time around, they chose a duck as their victim patient. They inspected the duck and then Jordyn grabbed a pair of fake scissors. “We have to cut his feet off!”
“You have to amputate its feet?” I asked. “It won’t be able to walk!”
“Yep,” she confirmed, before pretending to cut its feet off.
Clayton grabbed the duck and the scissors next and proceeded to “cut off” the duck’s bill.
Jordyn loomed over, making sure he was doing a good job. Then she had an idea, and her eyes lit up with excitement. “Let’s amputate its eyes!”
See what I mean? Little sociopaths in training!
Saturday morning was fairly early for me. I went to the local pool and did a short workout, then went straight to my sister’s house to watch the kid’s while she and her husband went for a run. We played outside, which meant I pushed all three of them on the swings at once. Super aunt! They started telling jokes, and it didn’t take me long to realize that their jokes were basically a template that they filled in based on the things around them.
______ and ______ dancing on ______’s underwear!
Swing and trampoline dancing on Aunt Katie’s underwear. Shadow and fence dancing on cow’s underwear. Grass and cow dancing on fence’s underwear. The possibilities are endless! They were so sweet and cute on Saturday morning that I almost forgot I was potentially babysitting future serial killers.
My sister and her husband got back after running 10 miles at a 7:15/mile pace (see why I don’t just do open running events?!), and I went back to my parents’ house to get ready for my bike ride.
If the whole weekend hadn’t been so chock-full of fun and/or encouraging activities, my bike ride on Saturday would have taken the case. The weather was perfect, and the course was fairly flat. I rode on the same course that my dad and I ran our marathon in February. Riding it was way more fun than running it was! There’s not much to say about the ride (I pedaled, then pedaled some more), but I did get a few pictures that do a fine job of showing just how pleasant the ride was. Oh, and the flat course without many traffic stops allowed me to hit an average speed of 17mph, much faster than I’ve managed when riding around Salt Lake City. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was for me to hold that higher pace. I would often look down at my computer and see that I was just cruising along at 17-19mph. Another encouragement, and a welcome one, considering I was just finishing up my first week of what will be a long and arduous training cycle.
That evening, we had the main event—my little nephew’s second birthday. He must have shouted “choo choo train!” about three hundred times because literally every present was train-related. Train sets, train engines, train pajamas. He was elated. My phone’s memory rather unfortunately filled up during the party, so I didn’t get many pictures. I did get a few, though, including one that totally captures his goofy grin when he’s happy.
After the party, my parents and I went back to their house, and I got one last good night’s sleep in the basement room before driving back to Utah in the morning.
I’m a homebody at heart, so traveling is always a mixed bag. But I’m never sorry when I spend a weekend with my family. Not only was it great to spend time with them, but it also helped me gain some confidence in this whole Ironman training thing. Most of my workouts last week were pretty average, but I nailed my workouts over the weekend. The nice weather, the change of scenery, the good sleep, and the lower elevation combined to give me a few workouts that I needed. With my IT band issues and my poor performance in my marathon, I’m starting this training cycle a little cautiously and a little worried. Now, I’m feeling a little more confident that I didn’t bite off more than I could chew and that I can, in fact, have a successful training cycle. And hopefully a boring one, where the only things that stand out are planned!