Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Love, Death and Running

OK, this is going to be long.

DW and I had been planning a trip to Kentucky for her niece's wedding. It was going to be a quick 4-day weekend. But then DW's mother passed away the week prior, and we had to change some plans, give Delta an extra $1,000,000 or so to change our flights and made it a 9 day trip; Funeral Monday, Wedding Friday, more family time in between. I also figured out there may be time for a little loopster side trip in there...So I'll just do this diary style, cuz it's easier for me.

Saturday: My latest goal is to get 4 runs in every week (instead of the usual 3), and with a busy week behind me I had to run Saturday and Sunday to get there. So I went and knocked out a nice 7 miler in the AM before heading to the airport. I had already packed my Garmin so I ran (digitally) naked and just had fun. But it felt pretty fast.

Most of my flights from LA head over the Grand Canyon, and we got some nice pics.

So we get to Kentucky and are relaxing at Sister-in-law's house and we hear from the Bride and Groom that they are heading out for a bachelor/bachelorette night with friends. And then they get a call from the hospital that the Groom's grandmother had an aneurysm and was near death. Party cancelled. We are all just kind of numb in disbelief. She ended up dying 2 days later. So both the Bride and Groom's grandmothers had funerals in the week before the wedding. Such a mix of emotions! Plus lots to do to plan for everything; flowers, locations, food, pictures, agendas, etc, etc, etc. All while planning the wedding and rehearsal dinner (at the house we stayed at). I was more of an observer, but the sense of shock and sadness was heavy, although we mostly just stayed busy and set the emotions aside for later.

Sunday: So it was a good time to run and clear the head and soul. Got out by myself for a long run, planned on mapmyrun. Nine miles through Kentucky suburban streets, enjoying the fall colors and weather. It was rolling hills and turned into a progression run as I felt really good. Check out the splits: 948, 856, 836, 829, 820, 814, 752, 748, 828.

Monday: Planned a Loop Meet with the only local loopster, lawrenceaa. Luckily she was up for it and on a vacation day, so I took my running BIL with me and met Alisha at a coffee shop in Covington at 9AM. She didn't seem too nervous to meet internet strangers. She was friendly and sweet and we quickly started a pleasant run that went over 3 bridges, including crossing into Ohio and back. We run at about the same pace, so we ran and talked and enjoyed the nice day. We went by the two Cincinnati stadiums and along the river, and wrapped it up at only 4.5 miles. Call it an easy day. DW and her camera were not available, so we just got the obligatory posed shot.

Later that day was funeral #1. DW had prepared hundreds of photos on photoboards which made for some good memories. I was a pallbearer for the first time, which was sobering. Then there was a reception. There was tears, there was laughter, there was the pure humanity of dealing with mortality and sharing with others. Then there was cleaning up and handling details like leftover food and flowers and who's driving where. Life goes on.

Tuesday: With a small break in the schedule, I suggested we get away for a bit, so DW and I borrowed a car and drove the 3.5 hours to the West Virginia home of Loopster sfschas. It was my second visit there, after last year's epic Loopsterfest pre-party. The drive was nice, as we got to see lots of Fall colors, and even an Amish horse cart moving down the freeway. The miles of countryside and small towns were a refreshing change for this big city dweller.

We arrived at 5:15 and immediately got into running gear and Sass and I went out around the local roads for 5.4 miles. This was my 4th day of running in a row, so that was plenty for me, and Sass was coming off 18 the day before. We talked running the whole time - race strategy, training, loop gossip (oh yes). Just another fantastic loop run. Wish I could pick one of you to run with every day.
Here we are just starting, and I am already flying!



My favorite shot of the two of us...

The wives got along famously and probably complained about us and our loop addiction the whole time (or more likely just talked about other things). After a quick shower, we met up with more Loop royalty, runningchick and her DH, and then walked 2 blocks to the local pizza joint. Many calories were consumed, and 3 pitchers of Yuengling were emptied.

Then, more obligatory posing. For some reason we had a hillbilly music theme.

Wednesday: Sfschas let us crash at his place, but then we were up and out early and driving back to No. Ky. in the rain. A lousy day, and a good day for a running break. We got back in time for the reception for funeral #2 at the VFW lodge. We did not know anyone except the groom in his family, so we skipped the funeral, but we did meet the groom's immediate family at the reception, and got to know his family through the pictures and videos honoring his grandmother. And there was a ton of food! The saddest moment was when they brought out the wedding gift that grandma had wrapped up before her passing. They opened it and read the card - touching words from beyond.

Thursday: Another really cold and wet day, so I didn't run and decided I would run Friday and Sunday to get my 4 runs in. At night was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Lots more food and drinks. Got to know the groom's family better. People were in pretty good spirits, considering.

Friday: This was to be speed day so I planned an 8 mile run and planned to do miles 3, 5 and 7 at half marathon race pace (7:30). Lots of hills around here and I wasn't sure how hilly those miles would be, but I vowed to make the pace no matter what hills I encountered. Here's my splits: 930, 842, 726, 805, 716, 808, 729, 801. I over achieved on the fast ones, and there were some pretty good hills in there too. Mile 7 especially was mostly up. My recovery miles were still pretty fast too! So I felt good about that one.
Then it was time to get ready for the wedding. It was outdoors at sunset, so was a little chilly, especially for the ladies. About 50 - 55 degrees maybe. But it was quick, and the reception was in a heated tent. It was loads of fun, lots of dancing, eating, drinking - typical wedding really. The funerals did not seem to have an effect other than a few moments of remembrance. I think everyone was ready to have a fun night. Here are some pics:

Saturday: After a late night (including cleaning up afterward for an hour!) we rested Saturday, but then Saturday night there was a Halloween party so we found some costumes in the basement and went out again for more food, more drink, etc. i was Jimi Hendrix' white cousin and DW was Little Bo Sheep.

This guy was my favorite - on stilts!

Sunday called for a long run. I ran with my BIL, who is 60. We did 8.4 averaging 9:23 pace. Nice easy fun run for me. Good workout for him. Then it was time to get to the airport and head on home.
So, that was my week. I come back a little more in touch with my humanity, a little more in love with my wife, and a little more motivated to make the most of what life has to offer. And by the way, I went over 1,000 miles for the year on Friday. I'm on track for my best year since 1980! Now I am tapering for the LA RNR Pikermi this Sunday. Ready to race!

1 comment:

  1. What a set of events. Goes to show that family are friends are what makes life awesome.

    Nice job on the 1k for the yr.