Giving Thanks

These people:

aaron_people

Aaron, in Des Moines. Though I am thankful for him even when he isn’t in Iowan modern art.

dad_people

Dad.

kim_people

The Kim.

happy gnome_people

My bridesmaids. Seriously, these ladies are amazing.

mom-people

Mom.

god squad_people

The God Squad.

These places:

kalalau sign_places

An adventure I probably would have never taken on my own. What an amazing place.

home_places

Our home.

deck_places

And, specifically, the deck with a beer, book, and snoozin’ dog.

These pets:

jasper_pets

The best cat of all the cats.

basil_pets

The sleepiest dog of all the dogs.

These events:

wedding kiss_events

That one time we got married.

RTG_events

Rock the Garden. This year, including an impromptu Rock the Ramp and the annual BUCKET OF FRIES.

ragnar medal_events

Ragnar Relay.

love is the law_events

When love became the law in Minnesota.

llama contest_events

Llama costume contest at the State Fair.

gay race_events

The Big Gay Race.

fargo_events

Fargo Half-Marathon.

brew review_events

Autumn Brew Review.

bike camping_events

Bike camping.

These little things that make the world go ’round:

rubio bobblehead_things

Ricky Rubio bobble head. I use him at work as my editor. I ask, “Ricky, does this website look good.” He always agrees with me.

maple bacon_things

Maple bacon donuts. Well, all donuts, really. But especially this one.

coffee_things

Coffee. From the source of The Coffee.

cat mug_things

And a kitty much to put all your coffee in!

bike coffee_things

And a bike to carry your coffee around!

 

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Now What? The Post-Wedding, Post-Running Season Re-Eval

So… I don’t know if you noticed, but wedding planning was, um, consuming. Taking up the vast majority of my free time this summer, though I still managed to do some fun things.  I know many of my more recent “readers” (i.e. Facebook friends who are extremely gifted at clicking links) came to this blog through my Wedding Wednesday posts, a nice weekly recap of the madness/fun/terror/silliness/hilarity/gravity of wedding planning. And of course, all that planning culminated to the actual wedding (not held on an actual Wednesday) and thus the end of the series.

Like I am always wont to do at a good seasonal (life, or otherwise) transition, I think it is time to re-evaluate and set some goals. Even better that as summer cools to a crisp and blustery fall which is fast approaching the quiet and chill of winter, so the seasons of my own life have taken a change and I can focus less on party-planning and more on… whatever I want. But I clearly need some goals because these weeks, coming home without any MUST DO tasks, I have been a bit aimless and a little, “Hey, Chef Gordon Ramsay, let’s watch a dozen episodes of Kitchen Nightmares and eat leftover wedding cake all night, eh?” Idleness and calm do sometimes suit me well (hey there, tiny little introverted self), but boredom does not.

I read a few wedding blogs in the last year that included stories of “post-wedding blues.” A literal sadness once your wedding has happened. One writer literally cried all night at the “death” of her wedding. I cannot relate. I don’t even really have the blues because wedding planning is bananas and our wedding was awesomesauce times a hundred. Maybe a thousand. But I can relate to this weird feeling of, “Well, now what?” There isn’t like the ONE THING to wrap all your excitement and hope and energy into. And there is free time. I cannot remember the last time I was lucky enough to say, “I don’t really have any plans tonight” more than once in a month. Looking ahead to this weekend, I have nothing planned. Nowhere I must be, no decision I must make, and- praise the Good Lord- there is no check I must write.

Since it is not my intention to watch every episode of reality TV that Netflix has to offer while downing my favorite wintery drinks in the next 4 months, I have created a few other goals. Nothing too crazy, and nothing even with a ‘defined’ outcome, which definitely flies in the face of objective-setting in my profession (we like SMART objective: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound).

Running. This summer, I took a healthy step back from running after a rough race at the Fargo Half Marathon to let a beat up body take a break. I don’t know if I knew it at the time, but I think my ‘running head’ needed a break too. I wasn’t loving it every day. I was actually finding running to be a bit of a chore and looked forward to getting it over with each time I headed out. That’s never the attitude I intended to have about running. Even preparing for and running Ragnar was filled with pressure (though I still had an awesome time!). Returning to running in the last few weeks– with no training plan, no upcoming race– has been awesome and fulfilling in a way that running hadn’t been in a while. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. And healthier.

I am loving running for running-sake. My goal is to keep at this “run when I want, where I want” thing and gradually rebuild so that, on any given weekend, I could easily knock out a 5-7 mile run. For no reason other than to run. Once I get there, then I might consider training for an event. But too often I have started my training in a deficit, relying on the first half of the training program to get back into shape, not to build for the event. I would not be surprised if this is why there have been some trainwreck events and injuries in my recent running history. No bueno.

Biking. I relished in the opportunity to get more time on my bike this summer, become a confident bike commuter, racking up over 21 miles per day, 3-5 days per week. The first snow has now fallen, and that means that I hang up the bike for the season to begin my favorite winter sport: kvetching about the cold and the snow and the general unpleasantness of the season, save for Christmas. I do not bike on my bicycle in the winter because I don’t like to be cold. Simple as that. However, since we want to ride our bikes 2700 miles (at once) in a few years, I can’t afford to not get on a bike all winter. Hoping to hit a spin class at the gym at least once a week to keep some level of fitness up and use running and supplemental weightlifting to start next spring in good shape for the riding season.

[If this is where you want to tell me that I can ride my bike in the winter if I only: a) buy a fat bike, b) get more winter biking gear and clothing, or c) toughen up, buttercup, I suggest you save it. I do not like to be cold. The chances I get on my bike before March 15, 2014 are practically nil.]

Love the stuff you have. We asked for (and got) some fun stuff for our wedding. Some things that we wanted, but probably would never have bought for ourselves (hey-o, mini-scone pan) and some things that replaced old things (like, these-are-the-plates-I-used-as-a-freshman-in-college old) that were still technically working, so I would have hesitated to replace. My goal is to welcome all of these new things into our home with love– by using them. I intend to use every single item at least once by December 31, 2013.

Love the people you have. More quality time with friends. More quality time with my family. Better one-on-one conversations about real-life, less chatter about wedding planning.

An effort on contentedness. It actually doesn’t take much to make me happy– a coffee, a good book, a nice email, sunny days. Simple things. But sometimes it is easy to get caught up in how busy life feels or in thinking about what we don’t have. This is a perfect season to focus on being content with life as it is. It doesn’t mean not thinking about what’s next and working to get there, but knowing that ‘here & now’ is as good as ‘there & then’ and that I will miss these days when they are gone.

From our recent trip to Hawaii-- a perfect place to be content!

From our recent trip to Hawaii– a perfect place to be content!

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Married Mondays?! No, Not Really.

I am not really going to do a Married Monday series. Realistically, Aaron and I have perhaps 60-75 years of life ahead of us and at 52 Mondays apiece, I would be writing about 3,120 to 3900 posts about married life. At first I doubted my ability to even complete such a task, but I think we all know I am rarely at a loss for words. But I think one Married Monday is in order. It’s sort of a Wedding Wednesday: Special Edition. Or maybe, if this were MTV, it would be called Wedding Wednesday: Where Are They Now?

I am not really sure I can totally comprehend the awesomeness of Saturday. I know I only tasted a slice of the whole experience and I am loving hearing the stories and seeing the pictures that are trickling in from our wedding guests and bridal party in the days after. I know that if I don’t get at least some words down now, the memories will quickly fade and I am still wanting to just soak every tiny detail in and hold on to it as long as possible.

I just want to start with saying that I know throughout the Wedding Wednesdays I was adamant that this would not be the best day of my life, sort of taking the cynical approach and considering the stress and the responsibilities and the nerves and so on. Read carefully here, because I am not admitting to being ‘wrong’ per se, but I will declare that Saturday was likely in the Top 3 Most Awesome Days of Katie’s Life.

Rehearsal Dinner 

Friday afternoon was all about final touches and doing some last minute decorations for the rehearsal, which I was hoping would include some fantastic outdoor lighting. Friends, my career as an exterior illumination specialist began and ended on Friday afternoon. And ended with a Bang!– no lies. Things working against me in the set-up:

  • The light string was too heavy for the bamboo rods we planned to string the lights on.
  • The gale force winds of the Ides of October compounded the previously mentioned situation by about a magnitude of 1000.
  • One of the light bulbs fell out of the string of lights while they were plugged in. In the process of bending down to pick up said offending bulb, I dropped the exposed socket into the wet, wet grass. A Bang! and some smoke and an extremely elevated heart rate followed, and I decided that this scenario (i.e., potential electrocution) was the exact last thing I needed to do to myself the day before my wedding.

Then it went from “already not that great” to “are you kidding me?!” when I brought the offending light string into the house and accidentally dropped it on the dining room floor, shattering three extremely delicate glass bulbs. I mean, seriously. I cleaned up the glass and haphazardly shoved 2 of the 4 remaining healthy strands of lights into Aaron’s artificial tree in the entry way and called it good enough.

I wrote a few weeks ago that I thought hosting the rehearsal dinner at our home was both the craziest idea we had and also the one I was most sure and confident about. I won’t lie, when we first arrived back at the house after rehearsal I was still thinking, “I am not sure this was a good idea. Also, it’s really dark in the back yard.But after a little shuffling, an extremely crowded dining room during the blessing, and some beer and wine, things settled in quite nicely. Quite perfectly, in fact.

It was a little crowded. It was a little loud. The dog did drink someone’s wine and was hungover the next morning. It was incredibly surreal to have all these people from different parts of our lives together. In our house. But the food was amazing, the company even better, and I loved seeing my home filled with the noise and the love of my family and friends. I loved when my mom said to me, “What a wonderful world you two have made for yourselves and all these people who love you.” That is exactly how I wanted people to feel.

The Final Prep

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 4AM from a combination of cold/allergies/hangover/excitement. Had we not stayed up all night enjoying whiskey, I think this would have turned out differently, but once I was awake there was no way I was falling back asleep. Instead, I took a 45 minute shower, had a donut for breakfast, and spent the better part of 3 hours reading/cuddling with the poor hungover hound. It was actually very calming to not be rushing around or worry that I was running late for my ride to the salon with bridesmaid Shivan.

When Shivan did arrive, she handed me a coffee. With some Kahlua in it. Goin’ with The Hair of the Dog Strategy- I like it. We picked up bridesmaid Melissa at her hotel and arrived at the salon for hair and makeup. I had decided at the makeup trial run a few weeks earlier to go with some fake eyelashes and friends, they did not disappoint. I mean, at first the stylist glued my eyes shut and then I thought I looked like a cartoon character, but after I got used to them I totally loved them and it was a special treat. How often do you get to have a really good reason for fake eyelashes? Another very special treat was that our photographer arrived at the salon to take some candids of us getting ready. I totally thought she would just meet us at the church, and I loved this surprise.

The rest of the bridesmaids joined us and our hair went from ‘fresh out of bed’ to ‘teased and tangled’ to ‘Shirley Temple’ to ‘wedding party.’ My bridesmaids looked lovely (as they always do) and just like letting them choose their own dresses, it was so fun to see how they all chose to have their hair done and how it complemented their personalities.
We enjoyed a brief coffee break and headed to the church.

At the church, I spent the first 45 minutes or hour eating lunch (thanks to the church ladies who helped with that!) and playing with toys in the nursery while the bridesmaids did their make up and got into their dresses. Bridesmaid Amy treated us to a great playlist just for this day and I previewed some of my special dance moves for my special ladies. All was well and calm even as I was putting on my own dress with my sister’s help. Bridesmaid Amy tried to cause a ruckus by being the first to cry, but I held it together.

But as we buttoned the top button, my mom came in the room. All hell broke loose. Because if you can stand in your own wedding dress in front of your own momma with all your favorite lady friends around you and not cry, you have no heart. So I cried like a little girl. Like her little girl, really.

A Moment

Back in the depths of wedding planning, I said I wanted to just take a moment with Aaron before the Wild Rumpus began, in our wedding clothes, to just have some calm time together. This was with the assumption that I would be a total wreck on my wedding day. But I wasn’t (save for the momma part), and Aaron is Mr. Unflappable. But we still decided to capitalize on a minute together in the quiet of the sanctuary before schedules and photos and all of that began. And since on this Saturday we couldn’t do bikes, donuts, and coffee together like we normally do, we talked about it instead. There was no “Aha!” moment, no clouds parting, no angelic choir. We just talked about bikes.

Perfect.

Photos

We took some. And then we took some more. I cannot say enough amazing things about our photographer, Brianna, who I met when we were both schleppin’ lattes at Caribou Coffee back in the day. She is creative and silly and fun and her personality and vision (and not forcing us to do cheesy poses) were perfect for our wedding day and I cannot wait to get the photos back. Additional kudos to her, because after spending all day with us, she ran the Twin Cities Marathon the following day!

We had about 45 minutes between the end of the photos and the wedding where we were back squirreled away so guests would not see us. This was the longest 45 minutes of my life and my poor little stomach went topsy-turvy constantly.

The Wedding

The Main Event. Before I knew it, I was arm in arm with my dad, walking down the ‘powerline’ (this is a softball reference, of course), and trying not to look at bridesmaid Amy because she was causing another teary-eyed ruckus again. There was some lip-quivering, chin-trembling, and some puddles of water pooling in my lower eyelids, but all-in-all, I still held it together. Because when it is The Most Right Thing, there is nothing to cry about.

To say that our wedding ceremony was perfect is a total understatement. The music was perfect. The readings were perfect– and it is different to hear them out loud than to read them. As I was listening to Aaron’s cousin recite selected verses from Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of the Open Road,’ I thought to myself, Wow. This is so us. One of our readers, and groomsman Benjamin’s wife, surprised me by sharing with our guests what I had shared with her about why we had selected that reading. That was a very special treat to us and made it all the more meaningful. Our pastor is officially the funniest person ever and surprised us with a thoughtful, personal, and hilarious sermon. It perfectly set the tone for the rest of the evening as well– that we were happy to host a fun and silly event for everyone to celebrate our mutual weirdness and joy.

It wasn’t until the receiving line that I realized exactly how many people 200 people is. It is many. I realized we were in big trouble in getting a chance to talk to everyone throughout the night. Then we gave almost all of those people a metal bicycle bell and you have never heard such a noise! It was a great send off.

The Post-Wedding Pre-Party

celebrate

We took our bridal party to the Happy Gnome in Saint Paul which is where Aaron and I had our very first date on January 8, 2011. This was one of my favorite parts of the day. We were cheered by the other patrons, treated to drinks, and got a chance to just enjoy the company of our close friends.

The Party

Incredible. We joined our guests at dinner by being introduced like an NBA team about to take the court. Then we ate, we drank, we toasted, we danced. Our DJ was phenomenal and everything we asked for and he delivered the “pumpin’ party” that he promised us. The view of the state capitol building was stunning, and the love and excitement in the room was completely palpable.

Of course, we regret that we didn’t get nearly enough time to talk to everyone but just hope that all enjoyed the night as much as we did. A few people said to me things along the lines of “Wow, you really know how to throw a party!” or “You have set the bar really high” and my response to this is so simple: This was not hard to do. Yes, at times it was stressful. We’ve been busy with planning. But it wasn’t hard. We did it from a place of love for all of our guests and with the idea that we wanted it to be as simple and carefree as possible. If you keep your eyes on the most important prize– the joining in marriage between the two of you– the rest of the prizes will unfold in front of you. It was a fun party because we had a fun time throwing it.

The Takeaway

I am sure there is more to be said about this weekend, and I didn’t even tell you about our ridiculously awesome hotel upgrade but this post is getting super long. Rest assured, the top of the cake is in the freezer, the dress is hung in the closet, and the sun has officially set on this day of the journey. It was incredible.

I have never felt more loved, more beautiful, more blessed, more certain, or more excited. I kept wanting to tell people, “Life has never been this good!” but that’s not true. Life has always been this good. It is so good.

Love love love,

Kate

wedding kate

 

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Wedding Wednesday: The End of the Beginning

When I first started to countdown to our wedding, we were like 436 days out. Seriously. When I started “Wedding Wednesday,” there was still a whopping 6 months to go. Today? 3 days. 72 hours. 4,320 minutes.

BANANAS.

I am physically at work this week, but am a space cadet. Like, past the moon and planets, out around where the orbiting mass formerly known as the planet of Pluto is hanging out, after it retired from being a planet. Not focused. When I get home in the evenings, I am a MACHINE. Last night, armed with an espresso (with Rumchata!) and the vacuum, I sucked up ALL the things! I cleaned ALL the laundry! I wrote ALL the thank yous (I did not do this with the vacuum)!

Things That Are Lovely

The emails from friends about how excited they are to celebrate our day, the outpouring of support (even though we are actually telling the truth when we tell you we really don’t need any help– we got this), the way things feel mostly organized and together, and the number of things on the to-do list that are to-done. I love when things are to-done.

Things That Are Odd

Maybe I can only think of one really odd thing, but I think it is worth sharing because I think we all do it to nearly-married couples (especially brides), and now that I am the nearly-married bride, I think it is something that should probably stop: It is odd that we ask the bride if she is nervous or anxious or stressed.

First, I think that is a stereotype that the final weeks before your wedding have to be chaos and I think that is fabricated by Hollywood and reality TV and because stories of chaos get told more often. For example, if Aaron and I were up until 2AM hand sewing bicycle-shaped buttons to the programs when we finally collapsed in exhaustion, only to find that while we slept the dog ate all the programs, that would be a good story. But we didn’t do that. The story of vacuuming the stairs and then watching Kitchen Nightmares with Chef Ramsay while eating trail mix? Not a good story. A true story, but not a good one. The week before your wedding can be Timberwolves, guacamole, bike rides, running, dance parties with the dog, long breakfasts. Hell, can be?! It should be!

Second, if the bride you are asking is stressed/anxious/nervous, it is undoubtedly keeping her up at night, giving her heartburn, and making her profusely sweat at all the most inappropriate times (hey-o, staff meeting). That last thing she needs is for you to remind her that she is stressed. If she’s not stressed, you asking makes her think she should be. On Monday, I had a total overreaction to the fact that we were having an easy, relaxing week. I panicked about being relaxed because of all the external stimuli saying, “Man you must be stressed!” and me thinking, “No. I’m not… OHMYGOD WHAT IS WRONG?! WHAT HAVE WE FORGOTTEN TO DO?!” Panic. We had completely forgotten to be panicked fools. Silly us.

Things That I Will Never Master

Scheduling. I have a whole new appreciation for event planners and schedulers. This is hard. How long will a receiving line take? What if the bride is super chatty? How long does it take to line up the parents and snap their photos? What and the who needs to be where and the how at the what time? How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Politeness. I am not good at this. There’s not much more to say without implicating myself in a web of judgey and not-nice things. So… sorry. But if it’s any consolation, at least I usually only think unpolite things and I am fully aware of my shortcomings.

Patience. I am my dad’s daughter, what can I say? I grew up in a house where ‘on time’ is 10 minutes early. A task with a deadline should probably still just get done ASAP (unless it’s something you don’t want to do… then drag your feet!). These odd tasks that are just hanging out either undone or delegated so I have no idea if they have been done or not? Like a thousand tiny knives stabbing me in the face. Again, I like when things are to-done.

Which leads us to the next thing I will never master… Surrendering control. When I was a kid, I often abruptly ended activities with friends for the simple reason that they failed to play the way in which I (attempted to) dictate that we play. I do not like bad surprises, like ‘whoops! that broke’ or ‘I know you said you wanted this, but I did something else instead.’ So the best way to avoid surprises is control the beginning, the middle, and the end. This is not healthy.

A Reminder (Mostly to Myself)

There are things worth worrying about when wedding planning. They are these things:

  1. Will my partner and I be joined in marriage at the end of the day?
  2. Will our wedding ceremony and reception reflect who we are and share some of our favorite things with our favorite people?
  3. Have we done everything we can to make the day enjoyable for our guests?

The rest? It’s fluff. It’s fun fluff, but it’s just fluff. And it’s not going to go perfectly. But since Aaron and I are likely the only one’s who will know whether or not everything is as it is meant to be and we are also likely the 2 people who care the least about the perfection of they day, it’s going to be awesome. If I can make a running metaphor here (I love running metaphors!), I would say any runner will agree that crossing the starting line is the first step. But that’s just it, it’s only the first step… towards crossing a finish line, getting new personal bests, overcoming obstacles. Aaron and I have a lot of finish lines and personal bests and obstacles ahead of us that will do a lot more to define who we are than this wedding day.

The Nuts and Bolts of It All

As I wrap up the last Wedding Wednesday, I can honestly say that wedding planning was (mostly) a blast, and also that I am happy to see it come to an end. It has at times brought out the best in me and at others brought out the very worst in me. I am excited to return to my regularly scheduled ‘overly-emotional’ state rather than the state of ‘insensibly emotional’ that I have been in for the last 2 months.

Today, I am more excited to marry Aaron than I was when he proposed over a year ago. And considering I tore that ring right out of the ring box and started putting it on my own hand, that’s a pretty big statement. I am excited and a bit overwhelmed by the fact that most of our favorite people will be together in one room. For us. Like, people from high school in the same room as my grandma in the same room as my college roommates in the same room as my graduate school classmates in the same room as Aaron’s college friends in the same room as Aaron’s family. Weird. I am excited to show everyone all of my terrible dance moves, perfected through many one-woman dance parties throughout the last 13 months.

A giant thank you to everyone who has helped us, supported us, taken us out for an entire afternoon of drinking (I am looking at you, Emily and Sean), made us laugh, reminded us how good life is, and has been friends to us before, during, and after this small chapter of our lives. It has been so good.

With that, there are no more Wedding Wednesdays to go, just a little ol’ wedding day. But there will still be plenty of stories to share with you, so don’t go far.

Love love love,

Kate

BCP-51close up bw

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Wedding Wednesday: A Little Prayer

Dear God,

You know that phrase about you that goes If He brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it? I have no problem with the through it part, but… um… could we take a bit easier path? ‘Cause I see how you might be bringin’ me through it, but I feel a little like You’re dragging me by my toes over some rocks and through some thorns, and I can’t help but think You made a better way some time in those seven days of creating things…

I won’t lie (what’s the use? You’re almost as good at lie-detecting as Mom), when I decided to write this I wasn’t interested in starting with many thanks. I was ripe to give you a good ol’ piece of my mind. In fact, after the few meltdowns tantrums disturbances this week with the tears and the hysterics, I bet Aaron is about ready to give you a piece of his mind, too.

But I guess that is as good a place to start as any, so I will still start with some thanks. Thank you for Aaron. Thank you for allowing our paths to cross in December 2010, for giving us the confidence to be secure in our own weirdness and love and respect the others’ weirdness. Thank you for still giving us arguments and misunderstandings so we can continue to learn and grow from one another and be reminded that even if I have to have the same fight over cleaning the house for the rest of my ever-loving life, there is no one I want to have that fight with besides him. Thank you for his patience, oh Lord, thank you for his patience.

And thank you for sending in all my friends who have asked us to make plans in these last few weeks days (holy shit– sorry!) before the wedding. My instincts say “No. You should stay home and work on wedding stuff” but I really know that I would stay home and panic about things that are out of my control. So thank you for beer reviews and art museums and fish-fry dinners and 5Ks.

I know I asked for opinionated and honest people in my life many times… bet you’re gettin’ a real kick out of what I got during wedding planning. Very funny. Please help them remember that I am planning for both a wedding and a marriage. One is frustrated by silly linen choices and schedules. The other frustrated by much more personal and emotional things– the sense of loss over changing my last name even though I made (and am happy with) the decision to do so, the magnitude of joining myself to another person for life, the way events like this seem to mark a distinct passage of time in which I’ll never really lose what’s behind me but I’ll also never get it back. It is not always easy to distinguish the 2 in times of stress and I may react to schedules with the emotion I am feeling over marriage. Please grant those around me patience and understanding and never let them second guess my love for them.

Please watch over our guests in these last days and on our wedding day. Provide for them safe travels, enjoyable company, and an excellent road-trip playlist for those coming from out of state. May no plane be delayed without compensation, may no tire go flat between Fergus Falls and Saint Cloud, and may no child vomit in the back seat moments after leaving the McDonald’s drive-thru. Please help us make them feel the most loved on October 5th and make sure they remember to pack their party pants.

Please help me be watchful for and mindful of the little things that are good. Please let me ignore the little things which are hurtful, irritating, or frivolous. Let me take the dog for a long walk and swim in the beautiful Minneapolis lakes rather than be concerned about secondhand gossip. Let me find my running shoes when I need to be close to myself and close to You. Do not let the changing colors of fall go unnoticed. Make me heed the call of the shortened days and slow my life down.

Remind me that not all things can be perfect. I mean, let’s be real for a minute… You’ve made some mistakes, right?

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ls0BbJIYers/T48JZNTu3mI/AAAAAAAAARc/HttCirXhx8k/s1600/platypus.jpg

Exhibit A: The platypus.

Dude, the hell is this?
(Pardon my language)

It’s okay. Sometimes you mean to create a puppy and you end up with a hairless, black-eared, bug-eyed terror. That can apparently punch you in the face with its hind leg. We’ve all been there. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Give me the same wisdom and allow me to remind myself of one of the truisms of live that I find truest of all: if you plan too much and too detailed, you plan to be disappointed.

More than anything, please be with us on October 5th. Love everyone exactly where they are and let us take up all of the love and joy and talent and awesomesauce* in our community of friends and family.

And please, if it looks like I might fall off my bike or trip over something, can you watch out for my face and my feet? I’d really appreciate it.

Kate

*Please also make “awesomesauce” recognized by the computer dictionary so it does not always get that red squiggly misspelling line under it. I think Microsoft and I are both aware that I am spelling and using that word correctly. 

One more Wedding Wednesday to go! Tomorrow we enter the single digits of the countdown. Bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Bananas.

 

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Wedding Wednesday: Just Around the Riverbend

Today we take a break from the Alice in Wonderland-related posts to bring you the song of the week, from Pocahontas– America’s first extreme canoer (watch the video). Because if there is anything you want to declare, Disney has probably once already declared such a thing in a dramatical and musical fashion, including critter friends and perfect hair. So why say, “Our wedding is right around the corner!” when we can say this:

Granted, this is not totally applicable as Miss Pocahontas is trying to decide between 2 men who totally adore her and her perfect hair (rough life, lady). My advice to her: The minute you think you are making a ‘safe’ choice in life partners, they will plop you atop a mountain bike and say, “Will you bike 2700 miles with me?” and you will say yes because you simply cannot help yourself.

The Eye Twitch. I have long-suffered a unique and annoying physical symptom to stress– an eye-twitch. Which many a health-minded friend have said, “Oh no! Just have a banana! You have low potassium.” To which I will say this: Sliced bananas on banana bread with a banana smoothie topped with a potassium supplement will not cure the eye-twitch. Trust me, I overdosed on bananas numerous times in college and grad school. And you know what eating a lot of bananas is good for? NOT your gastrointestinal health. Keep your ‘nanners to yo’self.

The eye-twitch has returned. Left eye, upper lid. Expected departure date: October 6. So if, from a distance, you think I am winking at you, I am not. Sorry ’bout that…

Emotional Instability: The Update. If you talk to me in the next 17 days, you should expect me to cry. This should not be a surprise, really. Commercials make me cry. The national anthem makes me cry. Particularly moving music at church (I am looking at you, choir performance on Sunday) makes me cry. Baby birds make me cry. Letters in the mail make me cry. And this is just all the time, not even in wedding crunch time.

If you say something mean, I will definitely cry. But if you say something too nice, I will also be moved to tears and blubber about how lucky I am to have such great and wonderful friends. Let’s all just talk to each other in some very neutral generalities.

The Ceremony. Done.

The Programs. Done. Except the part where we had them printed (like, hundreds of them) with the names of 2 readers that we hadn’t asked to read yet. Can we all get a hallelujah for good friends?! Hallelujah, for sure.

Also, if you are attending our wedding and happen to find yourself in possession of said program, please note that the graphic that is one one side (you’ll know what I mean when you get it) was hand colored by yours truly in Photoshop, a process that will make your eyes go crossed (“Magnify by 1000%?! MAGNIFY!”). But when your love says, “Could we put a picture there?” you gripe about it and throw a big fit about how unhelpful that person is and then do it anyway. Because love just makes you do the most ridiculous things sometimes most of the time pretty much all the time.

The Dress. Miss Paula, who is magically taking that oversized tablecloth I was given at the bridal shop and turning it into a wedding dress said this: “… next week’s post can include how beautiful you fit into your wedding dress! Amazing! Can’t wait to see it all together. Beautiful comes to mind!” So there’s that. The next time I see it, I will be bringing it to the church on Nyquist Wedding Eve.

The Beauty. Hair appointment on Tuesday was fab-fab-fabulous. I was a little worried that she would take the hair over the top, like this:

beast

But she didn’t. It was lovely. And being pampered for 2 hours on a Tuesday never hurts. Tonight is the make-up appointment. A trial run for my face, if you will. I feel good knowing that the lady who will be doing my makeup was the one who did several of the women that work at the salon for their own weddings. If you are the professionals’ choice, I think we can make this work.

The Rehearsal Dinner. In perhaps one of the crazier decisions Aaron and I have ever made, we decided to (and then stayed committed to!) hosting the rehearsal dinner in our home. Trust me, when I tell people this, I see the look of total terror on their faces. Especially when I say that I think like 40 people are going to be there. Four. Zero. And yet, the logistical headache of all those plates and all those chairs has never really sunk in. Even as I write this now and think, “Where will 40 people fit into my small South Minneapolis home and yard?” The answer is, I have no idea. And I have no intention of coming up with an answer. I have enough plates. I think I have enough sets of silverware. I may or may not have enough drinking glasses. I have someone who is going to bring the food who I trust and adore and who I know to be a very calm person and quick problem-solver.

I also know that, to me, this is what sharing your love and your life with your Most Important People is supposed to be like. I have always felt like there was something very intimately special about breaking bread with people in their home. It is the essence of closeness and relationships and love. And as much as I have second-guessed many of the details about our wedding, even ones that were much less challenging than 40 people and a greyhound in a tiny house, I have never second-guessed this.

So, it might be crowded. We might run out of dishes. The dog will probably eat something off someone’s plate and drink an unattended beer or two. People will notice that while we have been busy having The Best Summer Ever, half the plants in the yard have died. And some of the grass, too.  Inevitably, it will rain and we won’t be able to count on the outdoor space, in which case people are going to have to eat dinner in our bedroom as some sort of absurd space-saving technique. But, it will come from a place of the most sincere love and to me will perhaps be the most intimate part of the weekend. I am looking forward to it immensely.

The RSVPs. Mostly in. Kudos, wedding guests. Luckily, we have another week before our final count is due. Also, since we aren’t doing assigned seating or plated dinner (hip-hip-hooray for a laid back day!), it actually doesn’t totally matter if we have an exact count. So, in a few days, I am going to take a look at who hasn’t RSVPed, judge them silently or out loud to the cat, and then pick a number. I did not realize how easy the decision to do no plated dinner/no seating assignments was going to make my life, but I would like to go back and give the Kate of Wedding Planning Past a big huge hug and buy her a beer for her smarts and forward thinking. She was a genius and I love her.

Well, friendlies. There are only 2 Wedding Wednesdays to go (typing that just gave me butterflies!). It’s coming to the end shortly. Which really means it’s all just beginning, and that is pretty darn cool. I am excited to be Aaron’s wife, co-pilot in adventures, backseat driver, and friend. In truth, it will be nice to not be wedding planning anymore and just be. Be present, be together, be in love, be planning and dreaming and doing. Cannot wait.

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Wedding Wednesday: Gettin’ By

Oh lordy.

Lordy lordy lordy.

It is apparent to me that I have a habit of making big life changes in pairs. This probably needs to stop. I officially started a new job last Monday and I am excited, challenged, a little confused, and very very busy. When I am at work, there’s a little voice in my head that says, “Psst. Who’s going to stand in the receiving line in the church hallway? You don’t know? You don’t know?! Email Aaron right now and then freak out when he doesn’t email you back in 30 seconds with a perfect answer. So what if he is at work.” In a meeting, that voice says, “Where on Earth do you think you are going to get your nails done? Tell me the last time you went to a nail salon? 2006, maybe? You better do a Google search of every single spa or salon in South Minneapolis or Saint Paul and pick one. Right now.” As soon as I get home, that voice changes her tune and whispers, “Tomorrow, when you get to work you have so many emails to send. In fact, you’re pretty far behind. You should sit here and panic about that.”

The Little Voice* and I are breaking up today.

Overall, I am taking things in true Katie Fashion– completely underreacting or completely overreacting. I do think I am still erring on the side of underreacting and I hope I can keep it that way. Fingers crossed (pass the whiskey).

Emotional Instability

To say that my emotions are a bit close to the surface would probably be an understatement. Aaron described me as ‘on the brink’ and my eyes got wide, I shoved another big piece of  chocolate in my mouth and said, “Yeff! Esac’ly. The brink…”

Today, I drove to work because I really wanted 30 minutes to sing at the top of my lungs. No fewer than 3 songs made me break down in tears. Not sad tears, mind you. Some happy tears, some overwhelmed tears, some just… tears. Here’s what’s got me going this morning:

 

The Ceremony

Nothing like waiting to the last minute to get what could be the most important piece of the day done… but we sent a draft to our Pastor after finding some verses that were a little more our speed. Now I just have to create the program… Go Go Gadget Graphic Design!

The Dress

Had a fitting last week and another scheduled for tonight– it is coming together so nicely! I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I picked a lovely dress (with the help of some lovely ladies) that fits my personality so well, so… toot toot!

The Thank Yous

Oy. There are so many to send. I hope we get them all out by Christmas. Ann Landers said I have a year from the date of the wedding, but if you still haven’t gotten a thank you from me by October 2014, just give me a swift kick.

The Make-Up

In my ongoing quest to be a chill, relaxed bride (how am I doing? not well? ha.) I was all, “I am going to do my own make-up. I want to be comfortable and natural and I think I got this.” But when what you wear most days is just mascara and chapstick and on your ‘done-up’ days is just powder foundation, blush, mascara and chapstick, the chasm between ‘what you do now’ and ‘wedding-appropriate make up’ is huge. Hugely huge. But, hello, there’s The Internet. Which is chock-full of easy make-up tutorials, right? Right. So last night I gathered all the make-up I had, which turned out to be almost none, and set to work to try to use some eye shadow, eyeliner, and more ‘dramatic’ blush and lip color. Guess how that turned out?

I called a professional. After scrubbing my face with steel wool a lot of soap. Of course, I am going to pay double because when she asked, “Well, do you want a trial run?” I was all, “Do you honestly think I want to be surprised by my own face on my wedding day?! TRIAL RUN.”

The Magic

In the midst of all this, there is still so much magic. The support from our friends and family in these final days has been immense (and, no surprise, has even moved me to tears a time or two).

The ‘church ladies’ hosted a wonderful Hawaiian-themed bridal shower where they shared memories of Aaron when he was a kid. When you have only really known someone for two-and-a-half years, it is a blessing to hear about what they were like as a kid– the ways he has matured, the way he has stayed the same, and how he still wears some of the same Hawaiian shirts he wore in high school. It was a great reminder of our community; how loved and supported we each are as individuals and as a couple.

As you might remember, I was struggling with finding verses to be read at the ceremony that fit Aaron and I well. I emailed Bridesmaid Melissa, who I admire so much in her ability to eloquently express and share her faith, and just asked if she had any ideas. I was honestly floored by what she sent, because not only did she send beautiful verses that really fit Aaron and I, she sent wonderful explanations of each describing why she chose it and her (better) understanding of the verse and the context. It is the very simple acts of love like these that we have received from friends that really impact me the most.

Even if everything else fell apart on our wedding day, our little community is so awesome that it is going to be enough just to be with them. That is what gets me through.

24 more days. Only 3 more Wedding Wednesdays. Lordy. Next week, maybe we should talk about things we shouldn’t say to a bride 3 weeks before her wedding? I have a list a-brewin’ already…

 
*I am not literally hearing voices. Though I did watch a bunch of crappy reality TV about haunted houses and now wake up in the middle of the night out of total and complete fear. Whoops.

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Wedding Wednesday: One Month To Go

Um, hello. Where did the time go?

white-rabbit-with-watch-3

According to the White Rabbit, it’s five o’clock somewhere. I can get on board with that.

Aaron and I set our wedding date pretty quickly after we got engaged last August because 1) I was over-excited, and 2) wedding venues will actually laugh at you if you are trying to book any less than 9-12 months out (and in fact, another couple had already expressed interest in our venue on the same weekend!).

At the time, our wedding was 419 days away. Which might as well have been a lifetime. And a half. Now, it is in 31 days which might as well be 45 minutes.

The Crafting

Last I had left you, Dear Slavedriver Bridesmaid Shivan had booted me into crafting action and I was too fun-gover from my bachelorette party to argue. Last week, I had Friday afternoon off and after a quick power-snooze with The Hound, Master-Snoozer, I actioned quite a bit of crafting.

  1. I put a selection of our engagement photos in the previously painted frames. Pro-tip: Even if all the frames are 5×7′s, the glass and backs are not created equal. If you just throw a bunch of frame backs in a box without indicating which frame they actually belong to, you are in for at least 45 minutes of “Oh COME ON. You can’t not fit on ANY of these frames! YOU CAME FROM ONE OF THESE FRAMES AND I WILL FIND OUT WHICH ONE AND YOU ARE IN SO MUCH TROUBLE WHEN I DO.”
  2. I wrapped the bridesmaids gifts. This might seem small, so let me regale you the tale of the bridesmaid gift. I ordered necklaces that promised to be mustard yellow. And since I knew I couldn’t honestly look 5 of my favorite people in the eye and say, “You gotta wear a yellow dress in my wedding, like a banana. Or lemon. Or squash,” I figured I could add some yellow to them with these darling necklaces. I delighted when the little box from an Etsy seller (who shall remain unnamed) arrived at the house and promptly opened them to find necklaces that I would describe as ochre on a good day, and as post-bananas baby poop on an honest day. So then, I got this awesome idea that even though I have never in my life made jewelry, my overall craftiness and artistic eye would make it possible for me to jazz up hide the ochre-ness with a little charm and pearl. $40 worth of craft supplies and 3 bleeding fingers later, I had “fixed” one of the necklaces. And it looked dreadful. And here’s the rub, kids. Sometimes perseverance and stick-to-it-iveness is all good and dandy. But sometimes, you are bleeding and you just have to go back to Etsy and order a whole new set of necklaces that you like and don’t have to fix in any way shape or form and then you just wrap all the necklaces together and on the night before the wedding I will say, “I am sorry I almost made you wear baby poop colored necklaces. I give them to you as a token of my love and humility.” Also learned in this process: Buy twice as much gift wrapping supplies as you need. You yourself will make some mistakes and the cat will ruin the rest.
  3. The centerpiece jars. The ones I had been just positively lamenting about in the most dramatic fashion because I still had four. more. to. do. and I had no energy left for them? Turns out, when I actually counted I had 79 jars. I needed 78. So there has been a lot of energy wasted complaining about a task I never had to do in the first place… classy.

The Ceremony

A few weeks ago, our pastor came over and we chatted about the ceremony like what would be included, what would go where, and readings that we liked. Unfortunately (and unbeknownst to him, maybe– sorry PK!), I was just in a foul mood re: the wedding. I was starting to feel a bit burned out, overwhelmed, and unsure of how everything was going to get done (this, of course, was prior to the Great Shivan Intervention of 2013). So when he handed us the outline from the Lutheran Book of Worship, I was all, “Yep. Looks great. Let’s do this thing.”

And then, several weeks later, I read a few of the suggested verses for readings and had a moment of, “Well, that’s just not going to work, is it?” Things that I would describe as no bueno include: a reading that directs me to obey my new husband that does not also direct my husband to obey me (I believe my actual reaction was, “Oh hell no.”), a reading that asserts that humans have “dominion” over the rest of creation (this just doesn’t exactly jive with our view of the natural world and the environment), or a reading that so overtly asserts the man/woman marriage thing, as Aaron and I are pretty psyched to be getting married in a state where all the people are getting married.

The Dress

I may have shared the first half of this story once before… hang in there if you’ve heard it. Everyone knows when you try on a dress sample at the bridal store, they are designed to make you feel as bad about your body as humanly possible they don’t fit. That was not really a surprise. But when I went to pick up my dress after it had been ordered and this wafer of a 20-something saleslady put it on and was like, “Oh my gosh! Does it feel like your dress?!” As I looked in the mirror, I thought, “Well, no. It looks like an unshapely table cloth with a zipper.”

Last night I had another dress fitting and I was plenty worried. Between the last fitting and this one I had celebrated Birthday Week with cupcakes, and Post-Birthday Week with left over cupcakes, and went to the State Fair 3 times (and got the deep-fried Twinkie!). In all the previous fittings we kept taking it in and taking it in and I thought, “Oh lordy, maybe we should not have been so gung-ho last round.”

But the little thing zipped right up! And then we pinned on a sash to give it a little understated pizzazz (and to say, “Eee! There’s a tiny waist in there!). Now it feels like my dress.

The RSVPs

Due mid-month and people have been pretty good about getting them back. I totally look forward to getting them in the mail every day and I will probably have a bit of sadness when we stop getting them. The drawings and sweet notes are actually incredibly precious to me and remind me- through the crafting and the stress and the this’n'that- what this day is about– sharing our love with our community of friends and family. We can’t promise that every requested song will get played, but I can promise I have read every single RSVP at least once, and I just completely cherish them.

I think that’s sort of it for now. Can you believe it? 31 more days. Only 4 more Wedding Wednesdays to go! Unreal. Exciting.

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Wedding Wednesday: (I am out of creative titles)

I was going to start this with a celebration of being only six weeks out, but then I realized I said we were six weeks out last week. Obviously, I am getting a bit anxious about the speed at which time seems to be moving.

Last week there were lots of things unfinished or uncertain, so let’s kind of pick up where we last left off, shall we?

The Crafting

This sort of teases at the fact that my bachelorette party was this past weekend, and I promise I will share some of those details with you too. Later.

On Sunday, I spent the morning after a wonderful bachelorette party lazing around one of my bridesmaids’ (Shivan) apartment, eating copious amounts of bacon and fruit, and taking turns with all the ladies kvetching about our boyfriends/fiancees/husbands. After most of the guests had left, I griped to Shivan about how time consuming I thought some of these silly craft projects were to which she promptly replied, “Let’s pack up your stuff and get to it. Won’t it be fun to get it done?” Yes, I thought, I suppose it will be fun to get it done. But it would also be fun to drink a ginger ale and take a nap.

And in like less than 3 hours we had managed to unpackage 144 bike bells, cut all the burlap to size for the centerpieces, sand and spray paint the picture frames and the sign for the cards basket, and purchase 2 needed baskets. Which means, for crafting, I am down to the guestbook, the final paper products, and those last few centerpiece jars. This is excellent.

The Rings

Are finally in our home, in someplace safe. They are lovely and I cannot wait to wear mine.

A “Day Of” Schedule

In the past week, several people requested a schedule for the weekend of/day of, which at first I thought was so early and then realized if you are making travel plans, as much of our bridal party is, 5 weeks is actually not that long. Whoops.

The schedule is like 2 pages long. Help me out, people who have been married– is that excessively long? Seems long.

Bridal Shower

My dear friend and bridesmaid Bridget, along with the help of the whole bridal party really, put together a charming backyard Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with tiny little “drink me!” bottles, “eat me!” cakes, and a game of croquet. It was spectacular. And so fun to have all your favorite woman spending an afternoon together. There was a part where Melissa, who was essentially acting as our Cruise Director leading all the activities, asked everyone to share their favorite memory with me and I laughed so hard (and cried a bit too). I could have done that all afternoon.

Bachelorette Party

Right after the shower, we changed into something less “tea party” more… bachelorette party, and went to Shivan’s for dinner, a few games, and then to enjoy a night out in Uptown. I can’t give away all the details (my parents read this!) but suffice to say we had a lovely time. Some of us had a very lovely time.

So with those updates, we continue to march towards our wedding day. I sent the schedule out to the wedding party this week and that made things feel officially official. There are 5 more Wedding Wednesdays to go! Eeeeeee!!

OH YES. P.S.

We got our engagement photos back. They are excellent. Here’s my most favorite:

BCP-91favorite

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Race Recap: Ragnar Relay- Great River 2013

Holy bananas, how long has it been since we had a race recap up in here? Since May, the last race I did, actually. After a pretty packed running schedule last year, I decided to take this year much easier. I really did it because I was nervous that wedding planning would be so time consuming (hint: it’s really not). How fortuitous of me, though, because after the Twin Cities 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile and the Fargo Half, I had created for myself quite a monster injury by ignoring all of the warning signs of plantar fasciitis (and a sprained ankle). I was able to safely take some time off to heal that foot and instead put in just a gazillion miles on the bike commuting to and from work. Several weeks before Ragnar, I had a bit of an “ohmygod I have to train for this moment” and put in some practice runs leading up to this past weekend.

What is Ragnar?

Really stupid. A relay event with 12 runners, 2 vans, 200 miles to run. Day. Night. Hot. Cold. Rain.

Here, their video sums it nicely:

There are teams and costumes, van paint and “kills” (runners you pass on the course). It is an insane amount of fun. It is zero amounts of sleep.

Basic Info for Great River Relay 2013

Start: Winona, Minnesota

End: Minneapolis, Minnesota

My Team: Lumberjack Heroes (#103)

My Runner Position: Runner 12, “The Caboose”

Team Start: 8AM Friday, August 16

Team Finish: 4:26PM Saturday, August 17

Leg 1212

Let’s all take a moment to give Runner 11, Andrea, some mega props on this. If you look to the right hand side of that map, you will see that the exchange between her leg and mine was a “soft exchange.” Instead of a set location with a staffed exchange chute, we were instructed to just park somewhere along this 1.5 mile stretch of road (in the boonies, by a llama farm) and do a hand off. Andrea was a total trooper and ran an extra 0.5 miles (which might sound like not a lot, but dudes, when you are running Ragnar, every tenth of a mile you have to travel makes an impact) to meet me right where the course turns north. Who has 2 thumbs and 2 sore legs and loves Andrea for doing this? THIS kid.

My experience on this leg can be summed up in some pretty basic thoughts:

  • Gravel roads: no bueno.
  • (Look at the elevation chart under the map) A 2 mile uphill from 2.5 to 4.5 miles: no bueno.
  • A two mile downhill: Wheeeeeee! I went down this hill pell-mell and this is where I logged 3 of 4 roadkills for that leg. Others be careful running down that hill, but not this lady.

The gravel definitely rocked me (see what I did there?!) and I was swiftly reminded that what my Minneapolitan, lake-circling leggies think is a hill is like pocket change compared to the hills in southern Minnesota/Wisconsin.

We drove on to the next major exchange (#18) in Ellsworth, Wisconsin where Van 1 would meet us after they finished their 2nd legs and tried to catch a little sleep on their high school football field. Turns out, you can’t sleep on their football field and a perfectly polite volunteer told us we would have to move– 30 minutes into a pretty solid sleep which is a sacred amount in Ragnar. I have not disliked a nice person so much in a very long time.

Leg 2424

Admittedly, by the time it was time to start my second run, I was already feeling a little less than awesome. Stiffness had definitely started to set in to my quads and hammies and (excuse this TMI) something serious had happened to a butt muscle. I got started around 5:15ish AM and was psyched for a great sunrise run in Stillwater. Of course, the sun was rising behind me, so I didn’t really feel it, but still. Friends, sunrise is magic and to greet a new day on your feet is a blessing and then some.

That early downhill (see elevation chart under map) was a doozy and it was not possible to go pell-mell down this one. Took a little roadside bunny path to the lift bridge, crossed it happily, and entered downtown Stillwater. Where I promptly ran into traffic and just gave the oncoming driver some bitchface, put my hand out, and said, “You just STOP. I’m running here.” Not my finest moment as a self-proclaimed Captain Safety.

After that, the fun really began. If you know anything about the cute city of Stillwater, you know that the downtown is right along the Saint Croix River and the rest of the city is up a huge hill. If you are going to get out of Stillwater, you must go up that hill. It’s like that kids song… “Can’t go ’round it. Can’t go under it. Can’t go through it. Must go over it.”

Thoughts along the last mile+ of Leg 24:

  • Wow. I can really feel that elevation change in my legs. Like, wow.
  • I wonder how far this goes? I should have checked the course map before I got out of the van.
  • Man, this is not easy.
  • I do not feel good.
  • (Upon turning a corner) WE’RE STILL GOING UPHILL?!
  • Another (non-Ragnar) runner (going DOWNHILL) passes and says, “Nice morning for a run, eh?” Yeah, screw you, asshole.
  • The “One Mile To Go” appears. I nearly vomit in excitement.
  • I can see the exchange and that there is an ever-so-slight downhill into the exchange. Feels like a slap in the face (and that one butt cheek that has pestered me ALL the way to the top of the world Stillwater.
  • Remind myself that there is no shame in never becoming a mountain climber.

Seriously, 5 days later, I have no nice things to say about Stillwater even though I generally think it is a great little city. I think I have a little PTSD still…

Drove to Park Cottage Grove High School to “sleep” on a gym floor. When I woke up and realized there was free coffee, I made a pretty direct line to that area (now sort of limping/walking like a cowboy without his horse). Volunteer tastes tests the coffee and says, “I don’t know if it is very strong.” Lady could have served me dissolved potting soil and I would have accepted it.

We cheered on Van 1 as they completed their final legs and then around noon our van started the final push to the finish. It was hot and our team had to work hard and some people put up some pretty darn impressive times– super cool!

Leg 36

36

 

I had nothing left. Nothing. I was tired, I was hungry, it was hot, and the very first GI symptoms* were starting to hit me on the first mile of this leg. It felt long and hot and lonely. There was a water stop that sort of helped, but my mental/emotional state for these 4+ miles took me somewhere else completely. A very not pleasant place. Also challenging: no “One Mile To Go” sign. Throughout Ragnar, there are not regular mile markers (for obvious reasons- the thing is 200+ miles long!) but there is always a “One Mile To Go” sign when there is… well, one mile to go. I kept waiting to see that sign and it never came. It’s hard to guage your effort/the need for a final push without that. Bummer.

one to go

First I heard the finish line, then I finally saw it. Runners along the finish chute were so encouraging and that really made a huge difference. Right at the end I saw the rest of the Lumberjack Heroes and we crossed the finish line together. Excellente.

If I had written this blog post on Sunday, I would have had to dig out from the milkshake cup, pizza box, and trail mix canister I destroyed I would have said “never again.” I was in quite a bit of pain, could hardly do stairs, and thought my butt would never be the same again. And there are a few things I am willing to mess with, but my butt isn’t one of them. However, a few days out, and with most pain gone save for a bit of residual hip tightness, I can say that I had an awesome time and would totally do it again.

Just like we learned so many lessons after doing it the first time in 2009, I learned a lot this time too. I would train better and more specifically next time, and pay more attention to times of day I might expect to run. I rarely run mid-afternoon in the summer because it is too hot. Then I had to run mid-afternoon at Ragnar and it was… too hot. The 3 Ps right there: Piss Poor Planning.

Team running is hard for me. It challenges me mentally/emotionally quite a bit. A lot of what I love about running is the “me-ness” of it. At Ragnar, you might be running alone but you aren’t really alone– your team is cheering you on and depending on you. This is both awesome and awful and I really enjoy that challenge of making myself remember that each run is still for me.

Looking forward to my first post-Ragnar jog (say that with the soft j sound– yawg) as early as tonight or as late as Saturday morning. It is fun to be challenged in so many ways, do something really different, and come out the other side and say, “I still really love this.”

Happy trails, adventurers.

*Runners are no stranger to GI issues, particularly over long distances or difficult training regimens. Let’s not go into details, yes?

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