Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lessons and moments

Last weekend - or as I call it, Birthday Weekend II - I was blissfully able to spend three days in Wisconsin. The original reason for the trip was to volunteer for Ironman Wisconsin, in which three friends were participating. However, the weekend wound up full of activities, and lessons came along for the ride.

I'm an actual grown-up. Sort of.
I had an automotive incident, and I didn't call my father for advice. I relied on my resources - roadside assistance through my auto insurance, and the recommendations of good friends. And my weekend carried on as planned.

Small towns do things differently.
In Lake Geneva, my hairdresser's mechanic checked out El Guapo (the Jeep) while I had my hair cut (and colored, fonder and blonder). And he didn't charge me for tightening and cleaning the battery cables. This is not how we do things in Chicagoland ... and it's rather refreshing.

Stay flexible. 
On Sunday, I was signed up to volunteer at IronMan Wisconsin, in Madison. I arrived in Madison at about 11:10 for a noon assignment, but no one could point me in the proper direction to find my post. When I was about ready to give up, I found a Starbuck's. Things were looking up! And as I was walking in, my friend Lisa found me. She was there to watch a friend of hers, so I took that as a sign that I wasn't meant to volunteer, but rather hang out with my friend. We stayed together and watched our friends finish the bike portion. It was great fun!
The beautiful Lisa, and me.
Watching a friend kick ass is awesome.
This woman, and two other friends, competed in the IronMan, and seeing them accomplish the incredible athletic feats (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a marathon - 26.2 mile run) was moving; I was unprepared for that.
The inimitable Carrie Mills,
roughly halfway through the marathon portion of Ironman Wisconsin.

I wasn't prepared for tears as I watched Carrie finish her bike ride. I wasn't prepared for them when she and Pat (on the left side of the photo, above) passed me twice on the run. I certainly wasn't prepared for the unbridled joy I felt as I watched them run toward the finish line. I don't think I've ever been more proud, or more resolved to continue working on my own fitness goals. I may never be an IronMan, but I will continue to make progress. 

Taking a day of rest is a good thing.
I took Monday off, because I knew Sunday night might be pretty late. (It was.) So that meant I would wake up in Lake Geneva, have breakfast, and relax for awhile. I spent a few hours on the front balcony, feeling more beautifully rested than I have in a long time. Pretty awesome.
In a hammock, reading a book. Perfect morning.

Food is good. Friends are better.
It's not a trip to Wisconsin without dropping by Dale's. And it's not a visit with Dale without eating delicious food. Seriously, the guy can cook. We chatted, sat outside on the deck (yes, it was hot, but it was pretty), surveyed the leftover stuff from his estate sale and listened to good music. And he cooked this:
Chile relleno en sauza oaxaca con camarones.

So completely delicious. But the best part, truly, was just being in that place, with friends stopping by and laughing until our sides hurt. I say all the time that I have good people, but sometimes it's smart to appreciate it in the moment.

The big lesson, I suppose, is in enjoying the moment when it's happening. This weekend was all about moments - whether they were big ones, like sitting with Carrie after she finished the race, or small ones, like eating an omelette with Jeremiah on Monday morning. I don't think I missed a single moment last weekend, and I am extremely grateful for that.

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