This past weekend I walked my 100th mile of the summer at sunrise on a beach that has been a favorite of my family for generations. My medal arrived by mail a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t open it until I met my mileage that morning on the beach. I wanted to celebrate walking 100 miles in the same way I celebrate my bigger, harder races because the medal represents more than just walking to me. I wasn’t expecting an injury this past year and ignored it for months until I couldn’t anymore. I embraced the doctor’s appointments and the physical therapy that will continue for the next few months as an opportunity to grow and accept the things in life that I can’t control. I will be stronger and wiser after tackling this challenge and will appreciate running and racing even more when it’s time to enjoy them again. I still made time to get out and move even though it was slower than usual. Summer is a busy time with the kids home but I made time for myself and chipped away at my goal. It feels good. I am looking back at a summer that could’ve been filled with struggle and frustration and am happy and feel accomplished. Now it’s time to look ahead to the school year and find balance in the everyday business we all juggle. I hope you find time to celebrate and reward yourself for your hard work and accomplishments, no matter how small.
My girlfriend Andrea told me about Carson Cheney and the sweet idea his family started in his memory. It’s been an easy and enjoyable service project for the kids this summer.
Carson was only 4-years old when he was struck by a falling tombstone in Utah and killed. Carson loved Hot Wheel cars and had one in his hand when he died. His family now encourages others to leave the toy cars in secret places for others to find. When they are found, people post pics of the cars on Carson’s Facebook page. It’s fun to see people post from all over the U.S. and even Europe. It’s also neat to see that some folks buy 100 cars at a time and leave them where needy kids can easily get to them.
After I told my kids Carson’s story, they were all over the idea of spreading joy in his name. We’ve had fun planting Hot Wheel cars (currently $1 each at Fred Meyer) in special places all around our town. We keep them tagged and ready to go in our van.
Yes, the title of this post is a nod to Taylor Swift. Why, you ask? She was just here on tour last week and her show is now officially etched in history as my daughter’s first concert. It’s kind of unbelievable that I have a child old enough to listen to a pop star let alone attend her concert. Just getting the tickets was a whole production compared to any show I ever went to as a kid. I still remember waiting in line at the Ticketmaster counter at the record store for tickets. Not anymore. This time around I had to preregister as a fan club member to get a special code for early access to tickets. The process was actually pretty smooth and prevented scalpers from snatching all the tickets up. I should’ve know then, though, that this was not going to be an ordinary production. Oh no. This concert was on a whole other level compared to any show I’ve ever attended. I’ll show you in a minute.
Since the tickets were kind of a big deal, I decided to make a day of it with my daughter. My friend Sara and her family joined us for the day. She discovered a cool urban scavenger hunt that can be done any time on a smartphone. It took us all around the city. We traveled a little over 3-miles and the clues were challenging and fun. Pretty cool!
We finished the scavenger hunt with just enough time to get to the stadium with all 59,994 other Swifties. I wish I could describe my daughter’s face when we walked into the stadium. She was so appreciative and excited. I was thrilled (and a little choked up) to share the experience with her. It was a magical day that I know she won’t forget. Seriously, it was amazing. Here are the first few moments:
Taylor Swift put on a great show!
First, let me say that Lake 22 is not an easy hike. It is uphill much of the way and a good portion of the trail requires scrambling over boulders on a pretty steep edge. That’s why I was so impressed with my kids, 2 of their buddies and my good friend Martha who made it the whole way without ever hiking much before. Martha is an amazing person who lost more than 75 pounds through hard work and healthy eating this past year. I was so excited and humbled when she asked me to join her. The trail website said the hike was around 5-miles but we ended up going about 8.5 miles total over 5 hours. It was no joke but the views and an afternoon at the lake made it completely worth it. If you go, pack or wear a swimsuit and give yourself the day to make it to the lake and back.
I know I’m probably biased but I really don’t think there is a prettier place in the world than Seattle in the summertime. There are tons of fun things to do and it’s light out until almost 10pm every night. We make it a point to get outside and enjoy all the city has to offer. One of our favorite activities is renting kayaks and seeing the city by water. We usually rent from Agua Verde Paddle Club because they have a great Mexican restaurant above the rental office. I highly recommend it! This year, the kids outgrew their kayak options so we tried the Northwest Outdoor Center instead. The folks at NOC were very friendly, prices are reasonable, and parking is free after 5pm. We weaved through the clusters of houseboats as the residents greeted the kids and encouraged them to paddle harder. There were tons of boats on the water and seaplanes taking off and landing. After we finished paddling around, we ended the evening with a picnic at Gasworks Park. It’s a pretty perfect way to spend an evening.