Race Day

Jun 19

Last year a friend did a triathlon, and it inspired much talk of triathlons and general life fitness talk.  Brad was intrigued (as was I!), and so for Christmas, I ‘gave Brad a triathlon’.  By that I mean I signed him up for a local triathlon that was taking place on Father’s Day, and gave him the time and permission to begin the significant training process that it takes to build endurance in three disciplines.  I organized logistics, created space for training, opened up my heart for the commitment, and bit back my own selfish jealously as he tackled the challenge.  I have been so proud of him during this season: he’s a stud.  He has worked so extremely hard and been so disciplined in his perseverance: such an awesome thing to witness.  A new definition for triathlete you may not have heard: an athlete who doesn’t realize one sport is hard enough! Much of the winter and spring has seen Brad stealing out of the house before sunrise to swim, bike, or run.  It’s been inspiring to watch him learn to swim laps for the first time in his life, to translate his CrossFit fitness gains of the past several years into racing fitness, and to combine workouts in ways he never imagined.  He has become enamored with cycling, and I’ve prayed more safety-on-the-road prayers over that bike than I can count. I decided that we should cheer on Brad at a level that compared to the epic cheer squad he coordinated for the 2015 Queen Bee half-marathon that I ran.  I sourced some amazing signs from a friend-of-a-friend and they were epic.  (Thank you!) You’ve got this! Run the race with perseverance! Swim! Bike! Run!  Beer! Inspire and be inspired; it’s race day! Do one thing every day that scares you.  CHECK! My daddy is my hero! We agreed that the spectators would wear red and white in honor of the alma maters’ of our competitors (U of Wisconsin and Miami U).  Chief Sister took my minions out for cheer gear the weekend before.  I had a tank top made that read “my husband rocks”.  Obviously, Brad and I take our encouragement game to high heights on occasions...

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Hamster wheel

Jun 12

When my parents dropped my middle sister and I off at summer camp for a week in the ’80s, she had to buy my baby sister a hamster as a consolation prize. We must have been pretty awesome to be around if Baby Sister got a pet as compensation for missing us.  Ha!  (Actually, the truth is my middle sister is the nicest ever.  I, however, was pretty mean to my siblings.  To their credit, they have (mostly) forgiven me.) Yesterday we dropped Maren off at week-long summer camp, and Brad, Greta and I all wanted to stay there with her because it looked so fun.  It’s what I like to think of as old-fashioned summer camp: zip lines, horses, water slides, the camp blob (google it if you don’t know what that is), no technology allowed, a dining hall, campfire every night, and making friendship bracelets.  Camping runs deep in our hearts.  My grandfather was a camp counselor in his youth, some of my aunts and uncles still go camping for as many of their vacation days as they can muster together, and my generation maintains the strong ‘live outdoors’ genes of our people.  We thrive on adventure.    Maren is having an awesome time as I type, and we are having extra one-on-one fun with the G-meister at home.  Also, to be clear, Greta is absolutely not getting a hamster.  Or any pet at all.  Don’t get any ideas people. Continuing to work backwards, on Saturday Brad and I took advantage of the girls spending the day with my sister.  He and I cleaned the garage together, an epic feat.  Kind of like the villain in Harry Potter (He Who Cannot Be Named), our garage has been in a state of chaos for literally years (The Problem Area of our house).  We hauled out All The Things, we hosed down the garage, we took many, many things to the curb postitioned next to a large “FREE” sign, and we put the essentials back in.  I even took down and washed the blinds on the windows.  Brad even did the dry-wall repairs necessitated by Flood #3 from a few years ago.  He’s awesome.  ‘Twas a good, big project to swipe...

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39:59

May 16

I really have been bothered by missing my 5k-in-40-minutes goal from my last run.  Those seven seconds have been chomping at me. So, in a fit of braun-over-brain this morning, I decided to go for another neighborhood 5k run late morning today.  Not that there is every really a *good* time for me to do it, this was certainly not optimal.  Less than 24 hours after chemo.  I had to take a nausea pill before I left, so I clearly wasn’t feeling good.  It was hot.  In the plus column, I had my normal smoothie breakfast, which is probably a decent pre-exercise meal. Sidenote worth sharing: I’ve had good success with prepping freezer baggies of smoothies in quantities of 8-12 and storing them in the freezer.  Basic recipe I’ve been using (with some variation): 1/2 cup of berries, 1 banana, handful kale, handful spinach, tablespoon chia/flax seed, pinch broccoli sprouts.  Each morning, I just put 2 cups of water in the blender, dump in the baggie, blend, and go.  It feels a lot more efficient than making them one by one, and it’s filling enough to be a meal for me. I ran.  I gritted it out with consistent pacing to finish in 39:59.  I barely made it, and therefore I’m so relieved I did.  It was HARD, people, so I’m damn proud of it.  However, here’s to hoping I’m able to make some gains in the fitness arena so that I feel more like an athlete and less like a cancer patient.  More muscle, less breathlessness.  I’m both, but I’d really like to wear one identity over the other, you know? So, I’m praying for fitness health, cancer health, lifestyle health, relationship health.  All the things, right? These last two runs have reminded me of that gritty, tough girl I was in my youth.  There wasn’t a challenge I wasn’t up for and working hard physically was my style.  I like that...

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Spring round up

May 15

“Your hair!” That’s what people I see around town yelp at me when they see me.  “Your hair!” they say. I’ve been growing hair since last July, so it has grown out into a normal-looking short hairstyle.  My cancer status is once again anonymous to strangers.  (Many people incorrectly assume you are healthy if you have hair.)  Also, seeing a formerly bald person with hair is quite a shock, hence the yelping.  It is nice to go outside in the hot weather with no hat and to not have my head get sun burned.  A small thing, but it’s significant to me.  Wind in your hair is a wonderful sensation. This month I also have some purple/blue streaks in my hair.  Maren turned ten in April, so she and I went to our salon on March 31 where we she had the peekaboo streak of hair behind her right ear colored turquoise.  I decided to go teenybopper and get color in my hair too.  Now that I’ve been bald a few times over, you can’t really scare me with hair style/color.  What started as purple has now faded to blue and it has been a playful spring ‘accessory’.  Maren liked doing something bold and gutsy, and it was fun to see her dimple flash as people noticed it and commented.  She endured a little bit of unpleasant teasing at school about it, and she turned that into a good experience that tested her moxie: she likes her hair, and that’s what matters. Spring has been busy: Maren turned ten(!), Greta turned six(!), and we only have seven more days of fourth grade and kindergarten.  A new game is playing “Hogwarts”.  They wear old black graduation gowns around the house (hilarious on forty-two-inch-tall Greta), write amazingly creative and ingenious spells, and make both their imaginary worlds and my real world better with their games.  Maren made a broomstick (the Anderson 4,000) out of paper, tape, and leftover school project wooden rod supplies.  Greta wheels a mini suitcase around with her magic supplies and all of the stuffed owls in the house.  I haven’t been writing much because I have been both prioritizing other things and dealing whatever is ‘on fire’ now.  The girls are delightful...

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You’ve never seen Peeps like this!

Apr 17

You’ve never seen Peeps like this!

We had a great spring break and packed a lot in.  For the last few days, we stole away to Red River Gorge, Kentucky for some cabin camping, hiking, and adventuring.  We loved it, and it was so good to spend focused family time together.  Brad did a great job of organizing it from A to Z; it was a perfect little getaway. Upon pulling into the neighborhood yesterday, we could not believe what we found in our front yard: we’d been Peep’d!  (Who knew that was a thing?!) We think there were about one-thousand skewered Peeps on our front lawn.  We stopped in the middle of the street when we pulled up and the giggles began.  We climbed out and began to examine the scene and inspect the signs for signatures for whom had pranked us so brilliantly.  It’s still anonymous–so far no one has claimed this epicness!  Before I realized what was happening, Greta treated it like a buffet and had blue sugar smeared across her cheeks.  When she saw me laughing at her, Maren was quick to point out, “Don’t worry Mom!  Only some of them have bugs on them!” It was definitely a memory-maker event.  We left them up through the afternoon and it was fun (and funny) watching the neighbors drive by, slow down, ogle, take pictures, and laugh.  I texted a few people, looking for the culprits, and some friends came over to see it in person just as we were starting to pick the first Peep bouquets out of the yard.  It took ten people about ten minutes to clean it up, and I admit, it was bitter sweet… I kind of loved having that laugh-out-loud situation in my front yard and was sad to take it down.  (It rained — poured — not long after, so it was good we pulled them when we did!) We had a quiet Easter after the Peep episode with post-trip laundry, playing outside, lawn/garage maintenance, and general re-grouping.  Rozzinator’s and Chief Sister’s Easter Bunny skills remain unmatched; we are thoroughly spoiled. So… I’m still waiting!  Who is going to take credit for...

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