Happiness is Welcoming Friends to My ‘Hood

mexico and canada

Immigration is a hot topic these days no matter where you live.  It’s been a point of contention in the current U.S. election and here, in Canada, the influx of Syrian immigrants has caused many heated debates.  I personally don’t have to look much further than the end of my cul de sac to find a great (and happy) immigration story.

My friend Veronica arrived in Vancouver in August of 2000 from a small town just outside of Monterey, Mexico.

She came to Vancouver with her best friend.  They had sat in a restaurant in their hometown and added up their savings on a paper napkin to see if they had enough money for two plane tickets.  She was twenty five years old and wanted a change of pace from her small town life.  They moved into an apartment on the west side of Vancouver with four other young girls, also from Mexico.  Even though she was going to school to learn English she has to admit that they didn’t speak much English at all.  They lived with and went out with other Mexicans.

But she loved her new city.  The mountains, the ocean, the trees and parks.

Things she remembers from that time?  The weather wasn’t always good.  No matter how hard she tried she couldn’t get her hair straightened with a flat iron. Since she’s a bit on the short side, on rainy days she kept hitting people in the face with her umbrella.  Basically she remembers that the weather was a huge change from sunny Mexico.

For the next two years she would stay in Vancouver. Only returning to Mexico every six months to renew her visa.  During that time she met her husband Jorge.  I have always known that Veronica and her husband, Jorge, were one of the sweetest, most loving couples I’ve ever met but I didn’t know the lengths that they had gone to in order to be together.

In 2003 Veronica decided to return to Mexico for good.  She missed her family and it was too expensive to keep going back and forth.  What she didn’t know was that Jorge had followed her back with an engagement ring in his pocket.  He gave her that ring and they got married the very next day.

Even though they were married, the process of getting her papers to allow her to permanently return to Vancouver took over a year.  Devoted Jorge continued to fly back and forth to Mexico as often as he could.  Eventually Veronica moved to Bellingham, WA and stayed at the YWCA.  Just to be that much closer to her husband.

The process was long and the immigration interviews in Mexico City were intense.  They asked her questions like.

“Tell me again.  On the evening you met Jorge, did he drive you home or did you take a taxi?”  Just to make sure her story was consistent.

“What brand of toothpaste does Jorge have in his bathroom?”

Seriously?  Who pays attention to that stuff?  Or remembers it three years later.  Anyway, bottom line, she got her permanent resident card and is now a Canadian citizen.

They best part of living here?

The people.  She finds Canadians to be incredibly friendly.  In Mexico, she says, people are sometimes only friendly to you if they know you.  If you come from a wealthy family you do not acknowledge people who are less fortunate.  In fact you don’t even talk to them.  The division is very clear.

She also enjoys the safety of living in an area with good schools and parks that she can send her kids to without worrying about them.  Over the past fifteen years Mexico has changed and she doesn’t always feel comfortable taking her kids out when they visit.

Would she move back?  Probably not. Obviously, the Mexico of today is very different from the Mexico she grew up in.

So now Veronica and her lovely family live at the end of my street.  Her kids play with my daughter at the park and I get to enjoy the fresh produce they grow in the summer.  Their tomatillos are amazing.  Great friends and fresh veggies.  That’s a Best Thing in Life for sure.

P.S.  Although I’ve never managed to stay up late enough to go, I’ve heard that they have killer parties.

 

 

That’s Not Me

scary little monster

Do you ever see friends (or strangers) doing stuff and think.  “Why don’t I do that?”

I do.

It’s a bad habit but one that seems to just creep into my mind every so often.  It’s really part of the whole “grass is always greener” syndrome.  No matter what you do there is always going to be something that someone else is doing that you aren’t.

Don’t get me wrong, my life is good, it’s just that a small ugly part of my brain occasionally gets out of its cage and starts telling me I could do better.  Do more.

Who could bring that ugly part out you ask?  There are a few I can think of.

The Adventurer – this is the friend that is always just back from some incredible adventure.  Backpacking through the Costa Rican jungle.  Spending nights in grass huts and eating bugs.  Back county snowshoeing in Alberta…..with her three kids (one in a baby backpack) and husband.  It seems that they are capable of carrying on a regular life punctuated by these incredible, life altering adventures in exotic lands without batting an eye.

     That’s just not me.

The Business Maven – savvy and well connected, this friend has a constant stream of lucrative opportunities rolling around in her head.  None seems to require a full time commitment but always create an income.  I know that it takes some money to create these opportunities but somehow that isn’t an issue.  Admirable in that it takes guts to jump off the cliff into a business and actually make it work or accept its failure and move on.

     That’s just not me.

The Crafty Baker – with an account at Michaels this friend actually uses the coupons they hand out at the cashier.  Pinterest Fail is not in her vocabulary.  Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter are all just waiting for her to create some delicious and awe inspiring cookie that my daughter will talk about for days on end.  Able to create a full dolls wardrobe out of raffia and felt, they enjoy a quiet afternoon at home to create and sew.

     That’s just not me.

The Fashionista – impeccably and always appropriately dressed.  Wether it’s for a morning on the soccer field or a night out at a fundraiser, this friend has her finger in the pulse of what’s fashionable.  But, and here’s the kicker, it always looks effortless. Like she just threw something on at the last minute to run out the grocery store.  No mommy jeans on this one.  And it’s been my experience that these outfits are accompanied by perfectly coiffed hair despite the regular North Vancouver downpours.

     That’s just not me.

The PAC President – committed to our kid’s school and its programs with a never ending supply of energy and ideas for fundraising and improving classrooms.  Willing to give her time to any cause that helps the school.  Willing to sit through PAC meetings.  Every month.  Ugh.  This mom knows what is going on in every classroom and is always politically correct when discussing school business and other people’s kids.

     That’s just not me.

There are more but these ones seem to stick out in my mind.

So what is me? 

Me is a fear of flying, cookie burning, fashion challenged, business commitment scaredy cat, classroom averse blog writer.

The Best Thing in Life is being able to tell that ugly part of my brain to go suck it because I’m just fine the way I am.

 

33 Hours In A Van – Re-posted from a year ago

ragnar start

It’s 7:30 am and twelve moms are arriving in two vans at Peace Arch State Park in Blaine, Washington. The plan is to race with 500 other teams on a 200 mile course from Blaine to Whidbey Island, Washington. Each team member will run three legs over the course of about 33 hours. Some legs are easy and some are hard. Some will be run in the heat of the day and others in the dead of night. We are all excited and nervous at the same time. Am I ready? Can I do this? Too late now. The announcer is calling our team. We line up to see our first runner go. Five, four, three, two, one…..race!

Lisa starts us off with a 10 km leg while van two heads back to the hotel. They won’t start running until 1:45 this afternoon. They may get a bit more sleep but I don’t imagine waiting around for five hours does anything for the nerves. At least we, van one, are off and running; literally. The temperature isn’t bad for the first two or three legs but by the time I run at 11:40am the sun is full on and it’s hot in Ferndale. As I start my 10 km run through the small town, I can’t see any other runners and no vans have passed me for a while. I start to panic and my heart rate goes up. What if I missed my turn. I don’t see any signs. Crap. Finally a van passes me with writing all over the windows. Okay, I’m going the right way. Head down keep running. Where the hell is that “one mile to go” sign? Once I’m done there’s one more runner and we are done our first legs. Time to eat and rest.

ragnar 1

After a much needed meal at the Train Wreck pub in Burlington (how appropriate) we get out our sleeping bags and find some shade at the high school designated for our exchange with the other van. All over the schools lawn teams are sleeping, fueling or just chilling. Team spirit is alive and well in these events. Some go all out with costumes and themes. We see two team members dressed as sumo wrestlers preparing to meet their runner. The “butt girls” as we have named them, are all running with plastics bare butts around their waists. These runs are hard enough as it is, why make it harder? Another team is dressed as the cast of Star Wars. Storm Trooper and all. We are Team Reruns Eh. We proudly represent Canada in our red and white maple leaf t-shirts with some embellishments provided by Sharon. We can easily identifiy Emily by her sparkly tutu. We wonder how van 2 is doing? It’s hot and they have some serious elevation to run.

At about 6:30pm our second legs start. It will be dark soon so we all make sure we have our night gear. Reflective vest, butt flasher and head lamp. My second leg starts at about 9:30pm. It’s pitch black as I ran up the hill and around the corner in a light rain. I hear bull frogs croaking in the ditches and imagine some backwoods crazy jumping out and pulling me into the woods. It weird what goes through your head when you’re running alone in the dark. All the runners I had seen during the previous leg have suddenly disappeared. Did I smell that bad? Slowly they start coming up behind me. One at a time they pass me. Good job. Good job. They each say as they motor past me. I was probably at about 13km and I needed to walk for a bit and stretch my calves. A guy comes up behind me and says “Don’t stop.” Under my breath I say “Asshole.” Two seconds later another guy passes me and says “You’re doing great. Keep it up”. As he catches up to the asshole who has just passed me he chastises him for being negative. My faith in runners is re-established.

So we are done with our second legs and it’s time to get some rest. We drive to Oak Harbour and find some space in the gym to lay out our sleeping bags. It’s 1:15am. Within minutes we were all asleep. Okay, maybe not everybody as Donna made the unfortunate choice to lay down beside somebody who snored; loudly. In what seemed like about 10 minutes it’s time to get up. it’s 4:30 am.  At this point the only thing keeping us going is the fact that we know this will be our last leg. When this one is done we were finished. It’s cool and threatening to rain. The last runner for van 2 is coming in. They have had a brutal night. Three of their head lamps died, Leanna had to give another team her flashlight as their headlamp died too and didn’t have a back up and Rosa tripped and gashed her knee. They are still smiling though.

ragnar 2

At this point you can tell that runners are tired. Stiff legs and lack of sleep is catching up with everybody. My final 8km leg is along a beautiful shady road with views of the water. I could have just stopped and headed down to the beach. No, really I could have, that’s how tired I was. Somehow, though, we all manage to cut a few minutes off our projected times and arrive in Coupeville ahead of schedule. Chris, van 2’s first runner, is fueled with a good breakfast and ready to go. They have gotten some rest and are also looking forward to their last legs. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that you have accomplished so much in really, a very short time. As Jen said on Saturday night when it was all over, it’s a leap of faith to get into a van with 5 women who you may or may not even know and push yourself to do things you probably have never done.

At about 3:45 pm as we all run across the finish line together,  I think to myself, The Best Thing in Life is spending 33 hours in a van, finishing a race with 11 other crazy women and having memories and friendships that will last forever. It is a leap of faith that I will most likely take again…..but not for a couple of years.

ragnar 3

What if…..

Somebody asked me a question last night. Why didn’t you move to Memphis? I gave my standard response and moved on. Later that night I thought about it a bit more. What if we had moved to Memphis? Our lives would be so different. I’m happier now that I have been in years. How did I get here?  What if my life had been different?

What if I had found out about the affair before my first wedding? We wouldn’t have gotten married. Boy would that have made my mom and dad happy.

What if I we hadn’t gotten married? I wouldn’t have an eighteen year old son who surprises and confounds me almost daily. That would have been one of the biggest losses in my life.

What if we had stayed together? Oh good god that’s a scary thought….no matter how you look at it.

What if I hadn’t lost my job and taken that temp position? I wouldn’t have met my husband? Where I sat on the bus to Seattle, where I sat in the bar, where I sat at the basketball game….would all be irrelevant.

What if we had actually bid on that house on Orlohma Drive? And got it? We wouldn’t have had the opportunity to look at the house we live in. And what if we’d never had the second chance to buy it? I love this house.

What if we HAD moved to Memphis? We would live a very different life than we do now. Would I have big southern hair? Would I say y’all a lot and drink mint juleps?

What if we had stuck with our decision not to have any more kids? Duh? We wouldn’t be a complete family. Thank god for that trip to Disneyworld. I’m pretty sure that’s when my husband decided that we needed some sugar and spice in our family.

What if I hadn’t continued to run?  To stay in shape and be active?  I wouldn’t get to enjoy all my backyard has to offer.  Running the trails of Mt Seymour is a privilege and a joy.

What if I didn’t like going to the park? I wouldn’t have met the amazing women I now call my friends and their equally spirited daughters. What would life be like without their constant whirlwind of activity?

What if my husband had taken that job in the valley and not chosen to work for himself? Sure we would have avoided a bit of debt, but how happy would he be? It’s been a tough go but sometimes it’s better to look at the long range picture.

What if I had decided to continue to work instead of focusing on my family? For starters I wouldn’t be writing this post. Pretty sure I’d have more grey hairs and empty wine bottles. Hard to say at this point but I’m pretty sure it was one of my better decisions.

What if I had chosen to ignore how crappy I always felt and just chalked to up to old age? Sure, I would still be enjoying all the yummy (albeit bad for you) foods that I used to eat, but I’m happy I have the support and knowledge of great friends (again) that got me through to the others side.

Life has taken some twists and turns in the past twenty years. I wouldn’t change one of them. They got me here. To a happy Saturday afternoon in my kitchen, listening to music and watching my daughter do handstands in the back yard. The Best Thing in Life is……..living it.

Earth Day 2015

I don’t usually post twice in one day.  Hell, I don’t usually post twice in one week.  But its Earth day and I have had such an exceptional morning that I feel the need to share.

earth

To start, I had a great night sleep last night.  Sleep is an amazing thing.  It can make or break your day.  My daughter has not been a great sleeper for the past few years.  She feels the need to wake me up at odd hours to tell me that she need to go pee.  Despite assuring her that I don’t actually need to know this she insists on doing it.  I am also fifty years old and for any others out there experiencing this you know that night sweats and restless sleep just go with the territory.  So a good, full nights sleep is a bonus anytime I can get it.

Building on that, I made breakfast and, as it wasn’t raining, I offered to walk my daughter to school.  Every Spring she participates in Kilometer Club at school.  Over a month and a half students track how many kilometers they walk and collect ribbons.  We live 2 kilometers from the school and get to walk this beautiful trail in the process.  It’s cool and sunny and the air smells so good at that time of the day.  It’s also twenty minutes of time that we can chat about whatever is going on in her life.  Or not.

Roche Trail

Once I dropped her off I headed home to quickly change and get to Bootcamp.  My friend has started up classes in our area that utilize the local trails and nature to kick our winter butts into shape.  She is so good at motivating us and making it fun at the same time.  About half way through she mentioned that at her early morning class (6:30am  is way too early for me) they had seen two owls in the trees.  Sure enough, they were still there.  They were chasing this poor chipmunk up and down the trees trying to get a snack.  It was so cool to see and it gave us a well needed break from carrying rocks up a steep hill.

owl

Once we were completely exhausted and our legs couldn’t make another step I followed her back to her place to pick up my lunch.  Another friend of mine, who is a holistic nutritionist.has started marketing her salads in a jar.  Every Friday she emails out a menu of salads.  You can order and pay online and then pick them up after bootcamp.  This week I chose….

Basil’iciousKale Salad:
Ingredients:*Kale,*Carrot,*Soaked Brown Rice
Dressing:*ACV, *EVO, *Fresh Basil & *Parsley, *Garlic, Sea Salt & *Pepper

Serving Suggestions: Makes a great side to any protein main or just mixed it all together with some left over Wild Salmon or Freerange Chicken.

kale salad

So here I am sitting at my computer enjoying a clear blue sky, tired legs and a full tummy.  So many of the Best Things in Life and its only 1:00.

backyard

A Shoebox Full of Memories

Venice 2

I have a shoebox of pictures that has been sitting in a corner of my bedroom for many months. Today I picked it up and looked through it. Pictures from when I was a baby, a toddler and a school kid. Pictures of me and my friends from high school, college and my early twenties. Pictures of my wedding and my kids. What will I do with this shoebox of memories? I will use it as the inspiration for Throw Back Thursdays. Each week (hopefully) I will pick a picture and try to recreate the story behind that picture or pictures. Wish me luck.

The picture I chose today is of me at age twenty in St. Mark’s Square in Venice. This was about two and a half months into a four-month adventure in Europe with my friend Kathryn. We had taken the overnight train the night before from Florence and were spending the day wandering around the city. The pigeons in St Mark’s were ridiculous. They were, at times, a little frightening. If you stopped feeding them they would follow you around pecking at your feet and reminding you that they were there. Just in case you hadn’t noticed the few thousand of them lurking around. Every once in a while something would startle them and they would all rise and fly around for a few seconds. The noise from their wings was deafening.

At lunch time we found a little cafe with tables and chairs outside on one of the canals. We thought we had ordered sandwiches and two glasses of wine that we could afford but the waiter brought out a bottle and plopped it on the table. Even though we protested in our best Italian we ended up blowing the whole day’s budget on a bottle of red wine that was so delicious that in the end we didn’t care how much it cost. Guess we would be eating crackers for dinner. The sun was shining and we had no cares, other than the fact we would be eating crackers for dinner. The waiters were no doubt having a good laugh at our expense. They probably hadn’t thought about the fact that they wouldn’t be getting a good tip. If they got one at all.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the tiny streets and looking into the stores. The carnival masks, that were everywhere, were beautiful but kind of creepy at the same time. Brilliant colours and dramatic shapes covered in bright ribbons and jewels. Crimson lips and smoky eyes seemed to be watching you from the stores walls. I could picture some of them on a tall man with a long black cape and hood skulking around corners and sweeping unsuspecting young girls into dark corners. Venice, for me, was one of those cities that I found exciting and scary. It felt mysterious and just a little dark. Not a place I would want to be late at night yet I imagined they have some great parties.

At the end of a long day we took the ferry back to our hostel. Kate fished the bottle of Amaretto we had bought in Florence the day before out of her backpack and we sat on her bunk, toasted Venice and ate crackers. The next day we would take the train to Vienna and our adventure would continue.  The Best Thing in Life is remembering days like this and smiling a little.

A Year in Review

Today marks exactly twelve months since my first post.  That post is now my touch stone for when I question myself or need some focus.  Finding My Thing has made for an interesting year and when I went back and looked at all of my posts, I am astonished at just how much I have written.  I actually had forgotten a few of them.  So I have decided to remind myself, and you, of a few of them.  It’s really just shameless self promotion but I’m trying to make it sound deep and introspective.  Is it working?  So take a look, click on the links and let me know your favorites.

yoga drawing

My First Yoga class was my second ever post and it still cracks me up to think about that class.  My friend Randi continues to help me understand yoga and I am so grateful for that.   The drawback is that I now don’t need to go and see my friend Wendy quite so much for massage.  A big part of finding my thing has been reconnecting with friends like Rob and finding out about their passions.  I hope in some small way I have given back to them what they have given to me.  Aimee’s cakes are continuing to amaze me and Sarina’s commitment to soccer for women is going strong.  Jane’s struggle with Brain Injury continues but Making Pastry with her was good for both of us.

vans

My family has been the subject of a few blogs and my son actually wrote one of the most read pieces I have ever posted.  Surviving Seventeen and In Response to Surviving Seventeen started a great dialogue and now months later I have realized that I am indeed very similar to my now Eighteen Year Old son.  My seven year old is still full of Piss and Vinegar and we often bond over our Addiction to Organization.  My husband (bless his heart) supports me and regularly acts as my editor.  In Finally Learning What Love Is you can find out how our love started and has lasted fourteen years through ups and downs.  Oh, and don’t forget to call Call Your Mom.

fifty cake

Really though, it has been all about me.  LOL.  Okay not in that way, but in a good way.  In the year that I turned Fifty I have put my Darkest Times behind me and have learnt to relax.  I’ve looked at my relationships with Friends.  I’ve talked about my Regrets.  I’ve made Marathon Decisions and ended up Happy?  I’m still running but rethinking spending 33 Hours in a Van again.  I am now Sugar Free (well, only if you don’t count wine) and have never felt better.  I have questioned my motives and direction but then a friend made me realize that I will Find My Way. 

Thank you for reading and commenting.  Here to another year of adventure.

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Time Heals All Wounds

I’m starting to believe this saying is true. Three years ago I ran the Hood to Coast relay. A 200 mile relay done by a team of twelve. Now, inexplicably, I have signed up for another relay. As I think about starting to train, I found this piece that I wrote just after finishing the Hood to Coast.

The alarm went off at 4:30 am on Friday, August 26, 2011. After two days of beautiful sunny weather we were a bit surprised, and concerned, that the skies were now full of lighting and rolling thunder. By the time we were loading the vans and heading out the door it was raining. After a quick drive up Mt Hood to Timberline Lodge the skies had cleared and we all began to feel the excitement mounting. Twelve ladies from Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and San Jose had come together to run 197 miles from Mt Hood to Seaside on the Oregon coast. With our support vehicle drivers Jo and Jen ready to go, our coolers filled with ice, water and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Canada flags flying proudly, The “Eh Team” was as prepared as we would ever be.

We piled out of the vans and headed to the check in booth and our first (of many) trips to the port o pottys. After checking in we stood pinning on our numbers and checking our watches in anticipation of our 7:15 start time. Sharon was interviewed by a local tv station, Andrea snapped some photos of the sun bursting through the clouds and Aimee and I hit the Cliff Bar sample table. Fifteen minutes before our start time, the skies darkened again and rain came in buckets. As we all retreated to the vans Sharon (runner #1) bravely headed out to the start line. Once again the weather broke and we were able to see her start. So exciting to hear the count down and see Sharon fly down the hill with Canada flag cape flowing behind her.

And so it had begun. None of us really had any idea what we were in for but were willing to give this our best effort and deal with whatever came our way. Van 2 left to go back to the condos and clean up. They wouldn’t start for another 5-6 hours. Van 1 headed down the mountain to our first exchange point still a bit clueless as to how this all worked. It didn’t take us long to meet some fellow Canadians and learn how to get parked, find the Port-o-Potties (POPs) and get to the exchange zone ready for runner 1 to come in. As the volunteers called out team numbers, Donna waited by the side line for team 228. Within minutes they called it and our first exchange was done. Piece of cake. And so it went all morning. Run, exchange, drive, POP, and repeat.

Within a couple of hours the temperature has soared to 30 degrees or more. By the time we met up with Van 2 at the Safeway parking lot in Sandy, OR runners were coming in soaked in sweat and guzzling water. Rosa’s first run started at 11:30 ish and when she finished she was so hot she said her head felt like it would explode. Never a good thing. Robyn took the wrist band from Rosa and headed out. Van 2 was now on the road and running through the afternoon. We would see them in 5-6 hours under the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland. It was a bit weird doing a race as a team but not seeing half of your team for more than a few minutes at van exchanges. Never the less, there was lots of support and multiple texts back and forth.

Van 1 now headed into Portland to find our exchange point and have some down time. Parked in a parking lot in the blazing sun we tried to rest, hydrate and dry out our sleeping bags that had been soaked in the mornings rain. After re-fueling on fries, coke and chocolate (sorry Leanna) we readied ourselves for the next 6 legs and some night running. A few tense moments followed when we couldn’t find our required vest flashers but $15 later we were all set and waiting for Moe to exchange. We were off again and Van 2 had a well deserved break which I hear included a Mexican dinner.

My first leg had been a pretty easy 4 mile down hill run at 8:30 am. I now got ready for a 7.25 mile run on rolling hills starting at about 7:30pm. While it was sunny and still pretty hot when I started, darkness came quickly and I switched on my headlamp about half way through. I made friends with a guy named Gill from Salem who was running for 4-5 minutes and then walking. By the time I had passed him for the 6th time we were chatting away. A lot faster than I thought, I spotted the weigh station sign. One mile to go and I felt great! Just before passing off to Aimee I thought “Wow, I can do this.”

I think my darkest hour came after our next exchange with van 2. It was after midnight and we had just experienced our first traffic jam and had kind of vague directions to our next rest point. As we drove for over an hour along a dark country road that curved and twisted and rolled my stomach dip flip flops and I thought I might heave. This was the only time in 32 hours that I thought “this really sucks” But as van 2 ran through the night we reached our destination and bedded down to try and get some sleep. At this point we were well into the countryside and had lost contact with van 2. I can only imagine how it was for them. They had run in the heat of the day and now as the temperature dropped to 10 degrees they ran in the pitch dark on windy and occasionally dusty roads.

So it is now 4:15 am on Saturday morning. I wake up to hear Rosa and Sharon (who slept outside) laughing hysterically at the guy who was wandering around the field at 3:00am trying to find his team. We knew that Moe would be coming in soon so we packed up and got ready for our last legs. It was cold and dark and we were all groggy but eager to go. Unfortunately, Moe is a tad faster than we anticipated and was left waiting for us at the exchange for 15 minutes. General discussion at the POPs revealed that this was pretty standard for this exchange as there was no way for the vans to communicate expected arrival times.

As van 2 headed off for some rest, we looked forward to our final legs. Helen’s final leg was a doozy. Three and a half miles up hill. And I mean UP hill. And then 3 miles back down the other side. She is such an amazing runner and finished with a smile on her face. And then we were done. It was hard to believe but we had finished our legs and had nothing left to do but head to Seaside to meet van 2 and cross the finish line.

Van 2 on the other hand had not only the longest run to complete but a traffic nightmare waiting for them at the end. Orianna’s last leg was just over 8 miles long. I can only imagine how hard that was after 30 hours but she did it and then some. Once they realized that they probably wouldn’t make it to the finish line in time to meet Moe if they stayed in the van, they decided that they would ALL run the last leg together. So Robyn, Andrea, Jen, Leanna and Orianna hopped out and ran 3 miles to met us on the beach. Orianna had just run 8 miles already. Sweaty and tired they found us and we all crossed the finish line together.

I realized while we were waiting for them on the beach that for months we had focused on running. Training, talking about our respective legs and how hard or easy they might be. Running at night, in the morning, up hills and down hills. Running, running, running. But in the end the running became secondary and what really became the challenge was the adventure. Finding our way in the heat and the dark to places we had never been before on limited water, food, sleep and patience was what made the race what it was. Meeting amazing people and finding great friendships. My husband asked me on the way home if I would do it again. My answer…probably not, but I will NEVER forget what we accomplished in those 32 hours.

So here I am, three years later, and I’m doing it again. What can I say. Some of The Best Thing in Life just need to be repeated.