Relax?…Why? – Another Busy Day in Cedar Rapids

Saturday seemed to last forever and it couldn’t have been better!  Sunday was no less busy.  The whole reason I was in Cedar Rapids was because Mom had suggested I sign up for the 2010 4th Annual New Bo Fest Half Marathon.  The church to which my family has belonged for as long as I can remember is St. Wenceslas Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids.  During the 2008 flood, that area of town was completely devastated. 

Already an area of Cedar Rapids in need of a little love and revitalization, the floods might have been both the worst and the best thing to happen to parts of the area.  There has been so much hard work put into rebuilding the area and the support from the community is matched by none.  Help came from not just Cedar Rapids, but from around the state and even out-of-state.  Some of those groups include St. Francis of Assisi in West Des Moines, the Loras College cross-country men and women’s teams, an AmeriCorp crew, a group of Regis Middle School 8th graders, a group organized by the United Way of East Central Iowa, the University of Notre Dame, and the Mount Mercy University Campus Ministry.  What an outpouring of support!

I’m sure I’ll write more about this later, but I just had to post a couple of photos.  Look how beautiful the church looks now!

Back to the race…the gun went off at 8:00 am and if you look at the results, there are two race times.  Why?  Well, in many races you are given a chip that is tied to your shoe.  There is then a map at the start line and a map at the finish line (sometimes in the same spot).  That map tracks your actual time or your “chip time” and then there is the “gun time.”  Depending on how many people are in a race, it can often take up to a minute to get from where you’re actually starting to the finish line.  The “chip time” gives you a chance to account for those missed seconds, which can often mean getting a personal record or not.

The route was just OK.  There were some nasty hills and a good chunk of the race took place on a limestone trail – the Sac and Fox Trail.  Another obstacle, although one I was able to avoid (I’m not sure everyone else did) was a couple of occurances of trail tracks.  I was barely able to make one of the tracks!  In the end, I finished my 13.1 miles in 1:46:19 (chip time) for a PR (personal record) of 8:05 minute average pace.  I didn’t realize until I was typing up this post that I actually got 4th in my age group, 13th among the females and 64th overall.  Not too bad for 306 competitors!

After the race, I couldn’t hang around long.  It was off to mass I went. 

Next on the schedule…bridal shower for a family friend.  As I find is the case often in Iowa, we had more than one connection to the bridal party.  The parents of the bride-to-be went to high school with my parents and have been friends for as long as I can remember.  The bride-to-be was a year younger than I in school, but we hung out as kids when we were young.  The groom is the same age as my brother (brother #1) and they played soccer together for years.  My mom, being the active volunteer parent, was their soccer coach and spent a lot of time helping the parents of the groom setting up the little league soccer program.  So there were many familiar faces at the shower. 

Held at the Amana Colonies Golf Course, the decorations were simple, yet elegant and the food was delicious!  And what a view!

Next up…family get-together and a chance to meet our new cousin, Elise Maria Rivera, daughter of my cousin Emily and her husband Nick who live in New Jersey.  She is such a doll!

Of course we couldn’t arrive without food and gifts!  (Tasty vegetable pizza and a great go-to appetizer!)

Last on our schedule for the night…some campfire time and bringing back memories.

Every year my grandparents have a campout and campfire for Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day.  Out of the many years we’d had the festivities, I’m not sure I ever slept outside.  Whether it was the ghost stories told by Aunt Jenny that scared me inside or the storms that forced us in, I usually ended up in a small tent we could fit inside or on the pull-out in the living room. 

This year’s Labor Day brought some storms.  Since I’m apparently too boring to go camping, brother #4 and his friends took the reins and while they started with the tent down the hill next to the pond, the wind, lightening, and eventually rain forced them into the garage.  Is it really camping if you have video games and television to keep you company?  I think not, but at least they had fun.  My favorite part of the evening was sitting on the semi-covered porch listening to the thunder and trying to keep from getting rained on.  It’s one of my top 10 favorite memories from growing up.

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