fitness and nutrition, friendship

Six Miles of Smiles

I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do it this year. The Peachtree Road Race. An Atlanta tradition on the Fourth of July. It would be my seventh in a row. I do like streaks but I still wasn’t sure.

It would be different, of course, just like most of life these days. They spread the event over two days. Much smaller crowds. Vaccination checks or virus screenings. I did it last year solo (virtual) and it was not so fun. But I had a friend ask me to join her so I jumped in. I chose July 3 since I figured it would be different anyways, and it worked better with my travel schedule.

The day-before number pickup event was a disappointment. The usual convention hall of shoe and running pouch vendors, waffle samples, music, and ebullience was just a handful of folks with official merch and the public transportation folks to ease race day travels. I left feeling sort of glum.

Waking on race morning is always hard. It often follows a night of broken sleep, anticipating the event and challenge to come. I made it to parking and on to the train. It was so much easier to park and ride, but I did miss the usual crowd of runners we participate with. I made it to the start line and saw my friend, a ray of light! I took my traditional start line pics and we were off and running.

I hadn’t trained in running much so I had no expectations for my performance. The energy was totally different in the race with dramatically fewer people on the course. But it didn’t take long for me to start feeling lifted. The people on the side of the course seemed especially excited. I made eye contact with many of them and smiled. It was more personal this time around.

And then I smiled for the next six miles. My friend was often ahead of me but we still connected a few times. It was surprisingly cool out. With fewer runners there was far less of the usual bobbing and weaving around the different paces. Smooth sailing throughout, really.

It actually felt a little emotional to be there, running and smiling after the grueling mental marathon of Covid-19. I nearly cried at times, but I still never stopped smiling. I thanked the police, the volunteers, the people who came out to hand us water, even all the trash collectors who line their trucks up across the cross streets to keep the runners from being plowed down by anyone who would wish harm on the runners of the World’s Largest 10K.

I watched the miles and milestones tick by. My legs ached. I thought to myself, I am creating the future. I am putting my steps in and my votes in for hope. For health. For persistence. For triumph.

I crossed the line just under 4 minutes faster of my time two years ago. I felt so great for having done it. The one Coke I allow myself each year tasted as sweet as it ever has. It is wonderful to be out challenging myself and participating again. May the miles we still have to go be as joyful.

dare to be different

Here for the Sex

I’m sure this title brought all the boys the yard just like a milkshake in a hit song. I wonder who will catch the tune when reading this?

Here For the Sex signs are popping up all over. First one was on a main street where 30,000 cars pass by each day. Am I the only one who almost crashed when I read it?

The next time I saw it in a text message. Not a text about sex, rather about the sighting of a sign in the area. Then I saw a friend across country post another sign. From full blown yard signs to banners, the catchy phrase is most likely coming to house nearby for a gender reveal!

Are people even calling them gender reveals now? May it’s find out the sex now since maybe identify as a different gender later in life. 

The sign gave me a chuckle the first time. Maybe an eye roll the second time. Now here I am posting about the damn sign.

I don’t think I’d pick the sign if I had a need but would you? Sorry to disappoint those who thought they were here for the sex!

adventure

Local Flavors

I’m fortunate to have quite a few road excursions this summer. When I am out of town, I try my best to find and support local people and places. When I visit, these are some of the things I like to do that help me get to know a place.

1.) Start your day the local way

I’ve written about this before. Find a local coffee shop! Many have interesting traditions and can give you the “feel” of a particular community. If you prefer donuts for breakfast, hit the donut or bagel place, or have a full breakfast if you’re up for it. Yelp is my favorite app to use for local spots. I’m told google searches are more popular, but I’ve had better luck finding unusual and wonderful places with yelp.)

2.) Find a farmer’s market and / or grocery store

As a farmer myself, I love seeing what is in season. Maybe there are local specialties. On a recent trip to New York and Pennsylvania, I had my choice of both permanent farm stands with a variety of local products as well as an “every Thursday afternoon” market. I loved that I got to enjoy local strawberries in Pennsylvania, especially since the growing season for strawberries at home was already over. I also found locally made whoopie pies, pretzels, maple syrup, and other treats. Regional grocery stores can also give an interesting glimpse into different foods and traditions.

3.) Eat the local specialty

When my family took long road trips in my youth, my dad would hand me a book called Road Food, Good Food. Before google, yelp and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Jan and Michael Stern looked for local joints serving regional specialties. I was in charge of using the book, organized by state, and the atlas to find places that were at least sort of on the way to the destination. (But we have been known to drive hours out of the way for special types of pie, barbecue and more.) They now have a website that is still organized by state and will tell you the special dishes a place is known for and give you some small, independent spots to give that dish a try. This website is challenging to use, and reminds me of juggling the index of the atlas, map coordinates, and so on. But, it’s usually spot on with great little places and special foods.

Asking a local is another great way to find things. My aunt and uncle steered us to pink stripe cookies and Bison brand French onion dip in Western New York. Both were top notch!

Whatever you do, break out of the chains of chain restaurants and predictable average while you’re on the road! Experience new places in different ways.

family

Hi Dad

It’s Father’s Day 2021. My second official Father’s Day without my dad but truly the first that I grasp as we were just parting ways with my dad in 2020 amidst a pandemic. With the celebration of life so close to Father’s Day it still seemed liked we celebrated in a way.

This year is different. No dad to call on the phone. No gift to buy. No note to write. Nothing. I got to thinking of how I could celebrate Father’s Day.

  •  I could do all the things with my mom that I would with my dad since she is technically playing a dual role of mom and dad to me in the current day.
  •  I could spend the day going through memories from previous years and celebrate what was.
  •  I could write a list of things I missed most about him and add to it each year.
  •  I could honor him silently in something I do today.

What will I actually do? The day is still young but I am thinking. I will do a little walking as my dad liked to take walks. I will laugh some because he was always a jokester. I will talk to or exchange smiles with a stranger at the park because that’s what my dad would do. I will have a cup of tea and toast him as he loved a hot cup of tea.  I will look for a cardinal today to see if one passed by. If not a cardinal maybe I’ll see a sign he is watching.

I think of my dad often. I truly miss him. He can never be replaced. My mom is lonely without him. He wasn’t really a guy who gave lots of flowers but he was loyal to the core.

Happy Father’s Day to all the daddies out there. Whether by blood or by choice, dads have an opportunity to leave their mark on many in the world. I’m one of the lucky ones. I had a good daddy. I am forever daddy’s little girl and proud of it. Just shy of the 60 years of marriage mark at the time of his passing. He was truly one of the good ones. red heart

I hope another dad somewhere appreciates my Father’s Day post since I can’t have my dad for an in person Father’s Day. 

mental health

Unplugged

I recently took three days and unplugged a bit. I put up the three laptops I use and let them go. Microsoft could go do their updates and it wouldn’t halt my productivity. 

Unless a building was burning down, anything on those computers could wait a few days. I am happy to report no fires arose and I was able to minimize my technical needs.

The good news is I survived. I didn’t have any visible scratches or lost revenue when I unplugged. I delegated a bit and I enjoyed a different view of my surroundings. I engaged with new faces. I opted outside even if the weather was not cooperating. I just enjoyed the limited technology.

I didn’t actually put up my phone which means I was still some what connected but that’s a next step and the first step is always the hardest. I did need my phone for purposes such as maps, tickets, touchless payments and so on but that only confirmed how much society revolves around technology. 

Our eyes need a break now and again. On the flip side of the break I am glad I had my phone to capture memories and photos of the beautiful scenery I was in the midst of.

For this unplugged episode I focused on limiting the distractions on the work front. Minimizing the stress. Putting off til tomorrow. Others may choose to be plugged in 24/7 but that doesn’t mean I need to be on always. I can break away. I have a choice.

I got into a few books during this time as well. I gathered thoughts. I generally learned a few new tidbits. I enjoyed a walk or two. I even got swarmed/serenaded by cicadas. The cicadas I could do without though!

Just out there living my life and telling everyone about it. Cheers to all of you near and far.
Today’s post is a virtual shout out to those who read our blog from the great state of Maryland. I enjoyed my taste of the area while passing through.