The Past Two Years, the Best Two Years

It’s been two years since my last blog post. On a totally related note, I met my husband two years ago. As much as I loved blogging, I loved our baseball games, trivia nights, and pancake weekends even more. After those first few falling-in-love months, I figured that I’d return to writing soon. After all, love and blogging go well together. But other things quickly took precedence over blogging, like… 

…this (yes, again!)

Baby Girl

and this,

Wedding ring

and buying this,

New House
New House

…to make room for these two,


and celebrating everything with a wedding in St. Lucia.


So these two years have been the BEST two years, but they have not been blogged about. I miss how blogging encouraged me to seek out little adventures and take more pictures. I miss having an in-the-moment record of life. I miss writing for me. So I’m back to blogging. I’ll still be running through this world, just now with a double jogging stroller.

Hundreds of Races Were Run This Weekend.

Hundreds of races were run this weekend.

When something bad happens, I hope that each of you have ways to make yourself feel better. I heard a radio station playing a Mr. Rogers clip, in which he posthumously advises people to “look for the helpers.” And of course the helpers were numerous on April 15th. My own advice is to think of all the times when things went right.

After Newtown, I thought about all those good days I’ve had in the classroom. I remember Lupe taking a deep breath and saying “okay, I’m ready to write.” I remember Davontae’s grin when he got his first “A” of the year. I remember Marisa finding a coach roach inside her map of Italy (it was funny, I swear!), and I think about how proud I feel when my students flawlessly execute speeches about African colonialism and the benefits of insourcing.

So all last week, instead of grading papers, I read about upcoming races.  I had a lot of reading material. Every Saturday and Sunday there are races in almost every corner of every state in America. Some were tiny affairs, where the mile signs blew down and even I would have had a chance of winning because there were only ten participants. Some were huge events with Kenyans and extra police and live global coverage.

I’m guess that the runners themselves were an even more diverse set. I’m willing to bet that hundreds of people completed their first 5K this weekend, something they never thought they would do last year when they were 100 pounds heavier, or smoking a pack a day, or recovering from heart surgery. I just KNOW that somewhere, there was a cocky guy in tight shorts, loudly proclaiming that this marathon was just an “easy training day,” since he’s preparing for a 500 mile race in Antarctica or something. Runners ran this weekend to raise money for cancer or lupus or their local elementary school. Runners ran this weekend to stay in shape, to have fun, to train for something bigger, to try for a new PR, or because a friend or spouse roped them into it. Runners ran this weekend to remember Boston. Runners ran this weekend because that’s just what we do.

There were some pretty successful races this weekend.

Yesterday in Tumwater, Washington, participants ran one mile BACKWARDS (9:15 was the winning time) and were treated with a cupcake feast after the “race.”

The oh-so-popular Color Run was held in Baton Rouge on Saturday. Participants are instructed to wear white and they get a “color pack” to throw at the finish. Everyone looks like a two year old that’s just found out about finger painting by the time this “happiest 5K on the planet” is over with.

Salt Lake City Marathoners began their 26.2 miles yesterday by singing Sweet Caroline. At the finish line a group of runners who’d run BOTH the Boston and SLC Marathon posed for a finishers photo in front of a “Remembering Boston” banner that had been signed by thousands.

The “Run 5K 4 CK” race was held in Tallahassee, FL yesterday. “CK” is Camp Kesem, and money was raised so kids that have a parent with cancer can go to summer camp. Runners were doused with water along the route, as race directors supplied water balloons and squirt guns to runners and fans.

Just five days after the Boston Marathon and just 20 miles north of the city, nearly 250 people ran the Colleen Kelly 5K, raising money to fund a Melrose High School scholarship in her name.

Earlier today, 35,000 London Marathoners paused for 30 reflective seconds before fearlessly running their 26.2 miles. The finish line was a happy and safe place. The London Marathon is donating £2 per finisher to a fund set up for victims of the Boston Marathon explosions.

And as I write, my friend Taryn is running up and down valleys and mountains in Eastern Washington, working on the Yakima Skyline Rim 25K today as part of her preparation for the Wasatch 100. Hopefully it’s going well for her!

Happy running everyone. May there be many, MANY more successful Boston Marathons and other races in our futures.


Travel, Blogging and Eating with Mom

In the spirit of Mother’s Day, I’d thought I’d give a shout out to my mom and her blog. Because my mom is also a teacher with the summertime off, she’s spent quite a few hours traveling with me over the past year. Because of this Mom has been subject to many blog-related travel delights and woes. I’ve subjected her to delayed hotel check out’s because my pictures were loading to slowly, travel to strange places because no one else has written about them (hello, North Dakota), sudden swings off the road to take pictures, and strange travel desires (“I hope we get towed here! How cool would Modes-tow be for a blog title!?!” I’d exclaimed in the crappy central California town. Luckily for Mom we did not get towed there). She’s happily endured camping in a mosquito-infested sinkhole by the train tracks in Montana, hiking through the Rocky Mountains in the pouring down rain, and eating every fried-on-a-stick-food in Minnesota. Best of all, she usually pays for more than her fair share of the trip! What a deal J

Instead of resenting blogging, Mom has embraced it. A few months ago she started her own. Plate and Planet is her sustainable nutrition/healthy eating blog. She did NOT do a post on Minnesota State Fair food. Check out her blog for gardening tales, advice on how to trick your family into eating healthy, commentary on the sustainability of soy burgers, tips how to cook without a kitchen, and recipe for her rhubarb bars that actually are pretty good.

The fact that I not only read but sometimes even follow the advice of Mom’s blog is actually kind of a miracle. My eating habits have been a constant source of pain and frustration for my poor Mom. Until I reached the embarrassing age of twenty-two I was the pickiest eater in the world, refusing anything except spaghetti, hamburgers, macaroni and cheese and Doritos. Travel solved this problem, as none of this food was available in China. After starving for a couple weeks I finally broke down and expanded my food repertoire. Mom wishes she would have sent me to China at age five.

But my anti-nutritious streak wasn’t over yet. Just as I was getting over my healthy food aversions, I moved to Las Vegas where I started eating several pounds of bacon at buffets each Sunday. Then I married a fast-food aficionado and discovered Taco Bell. Travel again saved the day, as a trip to Colorado a few years ago caused me to fall in love with the healthiest state in the USA. Mom is delighted that I now live surrounded by composting/gardening/Food-Inc loving vegans who gasp in horror when I mention that I kinda like McDonalds. So now I HAVE to read her blog so I have something to talk about with my fellow Denver-ites.

So Mom: Thanks for all the travel memories. I can’t wait to go to Wisconsin, Kentucky and Tennessee this summer. You’re paying for gas right…? J And even though I’ve been a tough convert, thanks for the healthy eating knowledge. I’m going to go make a kidney bean salad RIGHT NOW I swear. Just as soon as I finish this Drive-Thru hamburger (just kidding!) And don’t worry, this post wasn’t your present – the real one is in the mail.

A Slight Change in Race and Travel Plans

Plans change. People get sick and miss vacations. Terrorist attacks ground planes. Injuries force you to bow out of races. Something cooler comes up or your bank account dips down.

Since all of the above things have happened to me (and many other travelers I assume), I try not to plan anything in advance. Sure, I might miss opportunities for cheap flights and hotels because I buy at the last minute, but such is life.

So against my better judgment, a few months ago I planned out six months of road races and travel. I didn’t buy any tickets, but I publicly posted my race plans which was bad enough. I’d just landed a semi-permanent job and I actually had an address, so I figured I was safe to start planning.

I was wrong.

In December I had a phone interview while waiting to board a plane in Las Vegas. By the time I’d reached my destination I had the job that I’d wanted for the past year and a half. A week later I flew back to Vegas, packed up my car, and was ready to head up to Denver.

But I wanted to see this guy first. We’d been dating for the past year and a half, keeping up a constant stream of communication while I was traveling. When I’d come through Vegas we’d ‘hang out.’ If ya know what I mean.

So the next morning my loaded down car, my apparently useless birth control, and I headed to Colorado. I spent two weeks blissfully unaware that I should be feeling exhausted and nauseous before taking that test.

So plans change. I didn’t run the tri-state 20 miler in New Hampshire in an effort to save money for impending day care and diaper expenses. I’m not training for the half marathon in Laramie as my body can’t seem to run further than six miles. I’ve forfeited $80 to the Grandma’s Marathon people, seeing as they have a very explicit no refund policy should you get injured or pregnant. Not that I’m complaining because feeling a baby kick just about as cool as crossing a finish line. For better or worse, plans change.

I really want to buy some airline tickets and sign up for some races in 2013, but something tells me that I’d hold off on making too many plans. Life may be a little different next year.