Adventure, family, Fitness, grandchildren, prairie, running

Run Grandma Run

Did I mention that I’m a runner?  These days I dabble but I used to be pretty good and fairly fast.  I’ve run 14 marathons in the past 11 years.  Three of those marathons were the Boston Marathon – which means, it’s true.  I am/was pretty fast for an old lady.

(BTW: That picture up top – that’s me with my daughter-in-law.  Pretty fun to have a DIL that is willing to run with you!)

My last marathon, in June of 2017, was actually called Grandma’s Marathon.  I’ver never really known why its called that except for the restaurant (Grandma’s) near the finish line.  When I signed up for that race, there was a spot to check whether or not you were a grandma.  I checked that box.  But there was nothing extra in it. Not even a designation on my race bib.  Hmmm…

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I’ll just note that those are NOT grandmas on that logo.

I’m not saying my marathon days are over but they might be. A significant amount of peer pressure might sway me but it would need to be significant.  It’s a lot of work, a lot of time, and I’m clearly no spring chicken.  I’m a grandma through and through.

Now I stick to middle distances likes half marathons or 10K’s.  I’ve run two half marathon’s this year and a Ragnar Relay.

This weekend I ran a half marathon – Big Woods Half Marathon.  I signed up for it about 6 months ago when it was on sale for $20.  As race day approached, I debated whether or not I’d do it.  I wasn’t feeling particularly well-trained and it was a different type of race than I was used.  It was a trail race – which is much different than a road race. It would be run through a state park.

My training had been a bit spotty – quite a bit of traveling for work and particularly poor weather for outdoor running. But then I’ve never NOT run a race I’ve signed up for.  Not once.  So I thought I’d just go, take it easy, and enjoy the lovely scenery.

The race location was a good hour from home.  When I left for the race early Saturday morning, it was lovely and clear, but cold.  It was a beautiful drive through some of Minnesota’s best farming country.

Fall and harvest is beautiful in Minnesota.  It reminds me a lot of the vast prairies of my homeland in Alberta, Canada.

One big difference is that instead of wide open fields of wheat, I see corn everywhere.  I’ve grown to love it like I loved the smell of wheat harvest in the fall in Canada.

There were beautiful farms and quaint little towns all along the way.  For some reason my GPS took me down every back road it could come up with.  I even got to try my skill on some gravel roads, thank you very much!img_3674-1

I finally arrived at the race location – a beautiful setting outside Faribault, Minnesota.  I’d never been there before but I’m glad I made the trip.  It was such a lovely drive.

As I got ready for the race to start, it was clear that I was surrounded by people who were familiar with this race, had done it before and were back for good reason.  I soon learned why.

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Yep – I know.  It’s a bit blurry.  You try taking a picture, while running!

Thirteen miles through the most beautiful, fall, forests.  It smelled wonderful; that distinct scent of wet and dying leaves.  img_3684-1Clearly, they’d had a lot of rain in this area because in addition to the beautiful foliage and sweet smells of autumn, were many, many, many puddles of mud.  The blackest mud I’ve ever seen!  I tried to avoid the mud as much as I could but it meant all sorts of detours to run around it.

It just became too exhausting to run around it so I just went through it.  I kept thinking of the book – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.  I’ve read it so many times to the littles.  There’s the part where it goes “squelch squerch, squelch, squerch, squelch squerch” through the mud. That’s exactly what it felt like I was doing. 51pcSwQGWSL

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Well, ultimately I finished that race.  It was really hard.  I mean, so hard.  The best part of that race though, was the incredible hospitality of the sweet church ladies after the race.  It was the best post-race food I’ve ever had!  Hot soup, fresh bread, home made cookies … I’ll take that over a salted nut roll and bag of chips any day.

Today, I feel like I got hit by a bus.  I’m seriously getting too old for this.  But I’m glad I did it and plan to do it again next year.  I think this grandma might have another race or two in her!

Oh … I said earlier that I’ve never missed a race that I’d signed up for.  Well, that streak is about to end.  I signed up for race that is the same day as one my littles’ birthdays.  Easy decision – I’m going to celebrate that birthday out of state instead of running a race out of state.  Good choice!

Thank you to my fellow blogger over at Minnesota Prairie Roots who coincidentally mentioned the half marathon in her blog last week!  Reading her blog made me just a little more excited to run yesterday.

Adventure, family

Come Visit us in Minnesota

I mentioned a few posts ago that I had some exciting plans in the works.  Exciting is sometimes a synonym for stressful.  It’s been a CRAZY few months.  Seriously.

I may have mentioned that we listed our house for sale.  The house we have lived in for 13 years.  Our first home in the United States (except for our 6 month rental while we built our house).

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Following that the search for a new home began in earnest.  We love being on the water on our boat.  We decided that since we have the good fortune (ha ha!) of living in Minnesota for at least another 10+ years, we want to live on the water.  First step was selling the house.IMG_1692

Thankfully it sold quickly and closed even quicker. We did some mad packing.  IMG_1752

Then moved out in May.IMG_1866

All the while, we had been searching for a new home. I knew Zillow like the back of my hand.  We saw so many houses.  I knew everything that was on the market before our realtor even did.

Then we accidentally visited a model home.  We’ve built 3 houses and both swore we would not fall prey to the new home trappings once again.  We were both committed to to finding a 1950’s lake front home.  Nothing.  Nothing. Nothing.

Two acres on the St. Croix river with a private marina, serendipitously appeared about the same time we visited the model home.  We loved the model, we loved the location, we DID NOT love the price or the work involved.

But here we are.  We now own dirt.

How could our children ever resist coming back to Minnesota now?  That’s our hope and our dream.  A place our littles will want to visit and stay for a while.  Our place our children will decide is worth the trek.  And for me, another reason to love Minnesota.

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COMING SOON – DECEMBER 2018

Here we go again … sigh.  It’ll be beautiful and perfect.

In the meantime, we are enjoying our two-bedroom, one bathroom, single car garage condo.  We can vacuum the entire place from one plug.  The simple life, it’s not so bad.

Oh, and if you’re ever in the neighborhood, we’d love your help clearing 2 acres of trees and brush.  It’ll be fun!!

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Our buddy the beaver at the new lot – helping with the build. I’m sure he could clear a few trees.

Grandmas – what crazy lengths have you gone to in order to make sure your children come home?

Adventure, Travel, Uncategorized, Vacation

An Adventure in Time – Where Would You Go?

For this week’s post I asked Go Grandma followers where they would take their littles if they could take them anywhere in the world.  The response was wonderfully overwhelming!  THANK YOU!!  I loved hearing about all of the places that hold warm spots in the hearts of so many grandmas.   Here are some of the places they’d like to go:

Paula J. (Canada)New Zealand – The people were so loving and there’s so much to do outside every day. It’s beautiful and green.

Eva W. Mustus Lake, Saskatchewan – it’s where my brother’s family and mine took our kids camping when they were younger

Frances J. – Prince Edward Island and the east coast of Canada

Sarah L., – I would take them to San Antonio, Texas.    We went there every summer with my family.

Norma A., – On a picinic in Mowhawk Park, Brantford Ontario Canada.

Barbara B., – Upper Michigan

Sandra G., – Yellowstone

Lynnette J., – South Dakota Black Hills or Hawaii – loved it there.

Val O., (Minnesota) – Back to my childhood Island home of Whidbey, Washington to play in the minus tide pools and to dig in the mud for clams

Martha L., (Minnesota) – Disney Cruise

Kimberley F., (Canada) – Disneyworld

Mindi (Colorado) – Puerto Vallarta – to just chill!  No one uses their phone there!!

Andrea G., (Minnesota) – On a cruise with the kids and grandkids.

From a trip to Hawaii to a picnic in a park – our Go Grandmas are adventurous but I’m guessing they just really want to show their littles the places they love and that bring back fond memories for them.

I got to do exactly that this weekend!   As you know, I’ve been missing my littles like CRAZY!! since they moved away.  I finally got an opportunity to go visit them and, given the location of their new home, we decided to make it a double adventure and go back to a few places that hold warm places in my heart.

We spent 10 years in the Southwestern Ontario, Canada area when our children were young and have so many fond memories.  I wanted to share some of the memories with my two daughters-in-law who are always up for a Grandma Adventure (bless their hearts)!

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My adorable daughters-in-law

IMG_9095Our first stop was a historical one in a little town outside of Rochester, New York.  We visited some religiously significant sites for us and then topped the evening off with an amazing outdoor performance – Hill Cumorah Pageant.   So many memories of taking our young boys to this area.  It was pretty nice to be back!IMG_3770

IMG_2697The next day we traveled to our old home town of London, Ontario but not before stopping at Niagara Falls – the Canadian side, of course!IMG_9132

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In London we stayed with old friends who were always so good to our little family.  It was nice to sit around, play games, and just visit.  It was probably pretty boring for my daughters-in-law but they were good sports about it!  They loved hearing stories about their husbands and seeing the places we lived and schools they went to.

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Swinging on the swing that his daddy played on.

Where would you take your littles on a Go Grandma Adventure?