Why Go West?

I was talking to my wife the other day about our trip out west. We went, we came back and returned to our normal lives. Was the trip any more than just 3 weeks of driving in the car and seeing the sights along the way?

What was our purpose to begin with? Why even bother making such a trip?

Our family hasn’t really been big on vacations. Our time away from our normal lives is usually short and fairly modest. We have never really taken extravagant vacations.  They have been more of the budget affairs: A week at the beach or camping in the mountains.  We haven’t put much value in them.

But for years we’ve talked about taking a trip out west–going to see the Grand Canyon and other sights out there. It was a mythical thing that was fleeting and always far in the future.  Until we realized that we only had a few short years before ~D~ and ~K~ would go off to college and family vacations wouldn’t include the entire family anymore.

So we started to put some money away, and started talking about “this year” being the year to go.  Planning was always the problem. Neither I nor Christine are great planners, and we couldn’t seem to get over the hurdle.  But we finally bit the bullet and took the steps to make the trip happen.

That still doesn’t answer the question: Why?

For a long time, the answer was: Because it’s there.  There is just a big country out there and we need to see it. We need to go on an adventure and expand our horizons.

But I think really for me it was because I took similar trip with my family as a kid. A memorable trip when I was 14, where we drove and camped out west for an entire month. I still look back to that time and remember it fondly. I wanted to share that same experience with my family.

Our own family’s experience would different, to be sure. But I wanted us to build memories and make our own family story. It wasn’t just Dad remembering a time from his childhood, but something that we could share together: “Remember when we took that trip out west…”

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Vacation Reboot

The last post I made on this blog was back in May, when the family was just heading out on a long vacation out west. In my mind, I thought it would be cool to blog our way across the country, sharing pictures and stories of our adventures along the way.

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After one post, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Too much work. I wanted to enjoy our vacation and not worry about having to write about it.

6 months is enough time to give a little perspective, and I’ve probably recovered enough to remember all the fun that we had.

So if you’ll indulge the 6 month hiatus, I’d like to reboot and try again.

Our out-west adventure.

Another Medal Sweep

A couple of weeks ago, our family ran in a little race called the Raleigh Court Road and Trail Challenge. It was the third race this spring that we ran as a family (all but 4 year old ~A~ who hasn’t yet discovered the wonder of running).

BTW, if you’re interested in hearing about the other 2 races, post a comment below.  I’ll write about them if I get at least 1 request.

This is our second year running this race. We really liked it last year because it is mostly on the road, but has a fun little trail section that makes it interesting. It also has a 5k and 10k race distance, so you can have a little bit of fun, or a lot.

~D~ and ~K~ chose "a little fun" by running the 5k route…

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..and Christine and I opted for the 10k route–twice the distance for the same price.

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The 10k route is just a second loop of the 5k route, so you get to experience the trail section a second time.

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Last year, I ran with Christine, but this year we both decided to run on our own to see what we could do. After the race started, I tried not to go out too fast–a mistake that I made last year–but with an early downhill section, that was really hard to do.

The course had  a lot more hills than I remembered and was feeling more fatigue than last year. I also was pushing harder, and was feeling it.

By the end of the first loop, I was ready to quit and go home, but gritted my teeth and kept going.  I decided to try to get my mind off of the running by telling each of the race marshals along the course to say "Hi" to the lady in turquoise behind me.  (I figured that Christine was behind me because I hadn’t seen her since the start of the race.)  At one point I looked back and could actually see her–only about 200-300 yards back.  This surprised me–I didn’t expect her to be so close.

At this point, I’ll mention that she’s been training for a triathlon, and so has been doing a lot more swimming and biking along with her running, while I’ve been just doing the running thing. I think the cross training has been making her stronger.

We hit the trail section again and my legs were done. I was struggling to keep going and even started walking at one point. But then I heard a voice behind me, "C’mon Craig! You can do it!"  And so I started running again, but by the end of the trail section, I was wasted.

As I got out on the road, the last quarter mile was a steady hill before a final dash to the finish line.  I looked behind me and Christine was right there.

"Oh, crap!" 

I started pushing up the hill, fully expecting her to blow by me and pass me at any time, but I wasn’t going to let her off easy. She spared my ego by letting me beat her by seconds.

The boys did really well in the 5k. ~K~ came in 3rd overall (and won a $25 gift card). ~D~ came in first in his age group.

Christine and I both placed 2nd in our age groups.

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Compared to the year before, I did really well–shaving 7 minutes off of my time. And the fact that Christine almost beat me? 

Well, she’s a force to be reckoned with.  I’m going to have to ramp up my game if I’m going to keep up.

Annual Family Turkey Trot

The day after Thanksgiving, we skipped the Black Friday sales and headed out to the local park to do our 3rd annual family Turkey Trot, where we all run a 5k.  We had the privilege of having my folks to join us for the fun.

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It is all fun and games until we lined up at the starting line.  Everyone was jockeying for the best position.

 

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Christine and I ended up running together…

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and let ~D~ and ~K~ run their own race. Here they are lapping us during the run.

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We couldn’t have asked for a prettier, albeit cold, day for the run.  And my parents were gracious to push ~A~ in the stroller, so I didn’t have to.

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