My team in Chicago was a mighty 3-Strong – all visiting from the west coast, so we decided to go the Airbnb route and rented a quaint guest house right on the lake. I was blessed to be joined by one of my best friends who is more like a sister, Ana – and my amazing colleague and friend who has mucked with me in Cali, Siobhan. It was the first time Ana and Siobhan had met, but after a quick ice breaker laughing at stories from our earlier years meeting and about how we ended up there in Chicago for a mud run, it was an easy decision to stay in and make dinner to continue to catch up on family, work and life. It was just what I needed on a Friday night coming off a very busy week!
Race day was here, and it was time to suit up in our Team (M)ike (S)mith gear. Siobhan made us a killer pre-race breakfast and we were ready to hit the road. The race location was close to where we were staying, so we had more than enough time to snap a few pre-race pics, check in our gear and play in the starting line mud.
|Siobhan, Me, Ana|
Chicago drew another awesome crowd and brought us beautiful weather – a perfect day to play in the mud! After our usual post-race photo ops and celebration brewski, we protected the rental car seats with our towels and headed back to the house. Lucky for us, the lake house was literally steps from the lake and the perfect post-race cleaning destination! We literally went from car to lake and rinsed off in the most relaxing, warm-like-Maui-water, gigantic bath – thankfully helping to prevent any mud messes in our rental!
My luck with Yelp continued and we had the most delicious local BBQ for dinner. With full bellies and Netflix waiting back at the house, it was a unanimous decision to slumber party with movies and microwave popcorn.
This tribute to Dad has given me the opportunity to mourn in a way that’s been healing and joyous at the same time. And while the mourning process doesn’t seem to ever be completely done – or at least not yet, one of the most invaluable benefits of this 5-month journey has been all the laughs and memories made with the family and friends who joined me at each race. Priceless life experiences that would have otherwise never happened – thank you pops!
I can’t believe MuckFest Denver is just a few days away. It feels like just yesterday that I looked over at my husband without really thinking about the how, and said – I’m going to run all 5 MuckFest races this year to celebrate dad! And I’m proud to report not only is MuckFest Denver going to be an incredible finish, my Nike’s will make it there with me! And absent any cold feet, post-race, permanently separating with them, I plan to add my running shoes to the donation pile and leave Denver in flip flops!
This Saturday is not only my finale to this year’s MuckFest tour, it’s also my 16-year wedding anniversary – and what a gift to have my husband and oldest son running with Siobhan and me, and my youngest two cheering us along the sideline with our local friends!
This will be the first anniversary without my dad alive to congratulate us for making it to the next year. Ironically, the number sixteen represents far more than the years of marriage I’ll be celebrating this weekend. Sixteen is an eternal staple in my relationship with dad, so it feels as though celebrating 16-years of marriage Saturday is also representative of Dad being there with me. Certainly not a coincidence!