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Dave’s Great Western Adventure of 2019

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Dave

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The highlight of this trip of course was the wedding, but since there ended up being some interesting adventures besides that, it seems a shame to ignore all of it. There’s a ton of stuff from the last two weeks and just a little running. Feel free to skip whatever you like.

A few weeks ago I had nearly reached my limit with Mrs. Dave’s mother of the bride crises. No way could I tell her to just chill the heck out, whether I agreed with her or not. Nor could I bring myself to give Big Mac a stern lecture about doing things her mom’s way. So, I was caught between the proverbial rock and hard place. In desperation, I called out the big guns - a couple of very close, very dear friends who I knew would be able to talk her down from the edge of the cliff - and asked them to weigh in on the wisdom of battling over things like the wording of invitations, and also giving assurance, that everything would work out in the end and it would be a lovely, beautiful wedding and everyone who attended would only remember how beautiful the bride was. They came through with flying colors, despite dealing with their own issues because they’re awesome like that. There was still concern over T-Rex’s dress, but that resolved itself with a week to go, so it seemed that we’d survived the worst.

Unfortunately, my father-in-law (who was 88 and hadn’t been doing well for several years) took a downturn the week before the wedding, throwing another little monkey wrench into the works. I don’t mean to make light of his condition, but he had developed a pattern of falling into a health crisis for most of the grandchildren’s weddings. One time he tore a muscle trying to unclog the toilet and missed one. That story will live on forever. This time, he experienced severe pain and spent 3 days in the hospital, coming home just a few days before on home hospice. They had found a spot of cancer last year and because of his age and other issues had decided not to treat at the time. This time tests showed it had spread significantly (as expected), and it seemed the end was near. How near, no one could say - days, weeks, months. But, the family soldiered on, caring for him while preparations continued. FIL was not expected to attend, and we had a home nurse called in to be with him, with prayers that he would last at least through the day.

True to my word, I did not run from Thursday when we left until Monday following the wedding. I thought about it every day, but never out loud. So proud.

One of the early dates the Mac and Ben had was at a tiny hole-in-the-wall Italian place called Zouave near the University of Washington campus. They were walking past it and looked in the door, more out of curiosity than anything. It appeared to be closed, but the owner/chef saw them, asked them in and served them himself. Who does that? Anyway, the night before the wedding they took his parents and us there. It was pretty amazing food. The owner was overjoyed to see them and, after a round of hugs, gave them free dessert and a bottle of wine (which they don’t drink, but it seemed a shame to refuse - they’ll find it an appropriate gift someday I’m sure). Ben pointed out the place on the other side of the restaurant where they’d sat that first time and informed us that it was there when he’d known he was going to marry her.

Wedding day came and almost everything went perfectly. Mac left her earrings at her apartment, but the brothers were staying there and brought them in plenty of time. In our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - we’ve been encouraged to use that whole, awkward mouthful - most are more familiar with the term “Mormon” of course), the preferred marriage is performed in our temples. We believe it gives a more permanent (eternal) stamp of divine approval. They’re generally small affairs with 20-40 close family and friends. We were on the high side of that. It was quiet and spiritual, just the way we like it. For the record, I did not cry (much).

It had been a rainy morning - normal for April in the PNW - but by the time we went outside, it had stopped and stayed dry the rest of the day. Another little wedding weekend miracle. After a few pictures, the party moved to Anthony’s Pier 66. This place was as ostentatious as Zouave’s was understated. The food was just as good. Instead of a big reception, they had chosen to host a luncheon for the wedding party plus another 30 or so. (The real beauty of this arrangement was the zero amount of responsibility for setup and clean up for the family.) Despite the clouds that were still around, the view of Puget Sound was gorgeous. There was music, childhood slides of the bride and groom. Very relaxed, very casual. We toasted the new Mr. and Mrs. I danced with the bride. I may have cried a little.

And then they were gone.

They stopped on their way out of town and spent a few minutes with her grandfather, who was still alert enough to say “hello” and wish them a wonderful life.


The wedding business properly disposed of, we took Sunday to recoup, look after FIL, and get ready for phase two of this trip.

Also, I went for a run. Was going to go for 10, but sort of wanted to get as far as Green Lake. That ended up being an extra mile one way, so it was 12 miles. Missing half of the previous week and expecting to miss at least a couple of days that week, I decided it was fine. The first ten were pretty nice, especially when I picked up a running buddy at about mile 3. We ran to the lake at about 8 minute pace (dropping 100 feet per mile), talking about racing and training and stuff (he’s a tri-athlete but is doing more trail ultras lately). He broke off after that to go home and I climbed the 100 feet per mile back. The last two miles were a challenge.

I also fixed the gutters on their house. While on the roof, I saw that the gutters needed a good cleaning. How does one live in Seattle and not take care of your gutters? There was an inch or more of leaves and gunk all the way around. What I’d figured to be a half hour of repair turned into 3 hours of sliding along on my touche, reaching in and tossing handfuls of the stuff onto the ground. There was 40 feet or so of TV cable running along the gutter. I kept wondering why they’d put it there since there wasn’t a TV on that side of the house. When I reached the end of the cable I discovered where they’d previously had an antenna attached to the roof. They had just left the cables there, through at least three changes of cable and satellite dish providers - who knows how many years? I took it down.

Phase 2 was a short hop to Boise (uber-cheap tickets on Alaska Airlines) and a rental car to Idaho Falls to visit my dad. He’s 86. Considerable slower than he used to be, but still mentally sharp and as ornery as ever. Originally, this was also for T-Rex to visit with a “friend”. That plan had a hiccup when he announced that he had a serious girlfriend, but the tickets were already bought, so we just shifted the focus to grandpa. She’d also left most of her summer clothing at school before we decided that she needed to stay home this until fall.

I had another run the next morning (Wednesday). Nine miles. I considered making it a tempo, but I wasn’t sure about how I’d do at 4,700 feet above sea level, and a couple of miles out it was hilly, so I just ran. It was chilly but with no humidity, shorts and double shirts with gloves was plenty warm. Had some stomach issues in mile 5, desperately enough that I tried stopping at a farm house. I figured at 8:00 am, someone would be up. I guess they much have been already out working because no one answered the door. Tried a couple more over the next mile (houses were all about ¼ mile apart, btw) with no success. No POP, no gas station, no forest, no hotel - literally, no place to go. Luckily, the urge subsided and I was able to make it back unsullied. 8:30-8:45 pace for most of it, despite the door knocking and the wind in my face on the way back. A little slower than most of my runs lately. Not bad.

Here’s a thing about small town Idaho. Half of T’s clothes were in storage at her dorm, the other half was at my brother’s house. I called him on our way (about a half hour from Dad’s) to make sure someone would be home. “Um, no. we’re in Utah this week.” I asked him if there was a way to get into the house to get the clothes. “Just open the door. It’s open.” 250 miles away. For a week. “It’s open.”

Anyway, about halfway between Dad’s and Rexburg, Mrs. Dave’s phone rang. Her dad had passed away just then. It was not a shock, like I mentioned before. His illness and dementia had been difficult for the family for several years, as it was for him. There was sadness of course, but also relief, and peace. Ever practical, Mrs. Dave took a few minutes to discuss and arrange with her mother and sister, then urged us to keep going with our plans. There was much more than I’ve put down here, but this is enough for now.

T-Rex had done a great job putting her things together and it was a piece of cake getting what we wanted out and into our extra suitcase. We bought a few things for dinner later (Dad doesn’t cook much) and dropped her off to visit with the boy (the same one - officially now “just a friend”). We grabbed a sandwich while Mrs. Dave continued her discussions with her family about arrangements for their dad. The funeral wouldn’t be until the 27th, so we would finish our trip, go home to Michigan and then return for it.

Next morning (Thursday) I went into town. I’ve always headed west and up into the hills before from Dad’s house, but I was still worried about the altitude and since I’d spent the previous morning climbing wanted to have a break. Was hoping to get to the downtown are, but by five miles I wasn’t quite there. Next trip to Idaho maybe. The advantage of running through miles of retail is plenty of opportunity to stop and evacuate, which I needed at mile 4. Having to pit stop on what seems like every single run is annoying. 8:20-8:35.

Last year Dad bought a 1986 Olds 442. He’s pretty proud of it. As far as I’m concerned, the 80s-90s muscle cars are overrated, but we all went for a ride a spent an hour at the Idaho Potato Museum. Did you know the average American eats 120 pounds of potatoes a year? Marie Antoinette wore potato flowers in her hair? Neither did I.

Another thing about small town Idaho is that airlines aren’t very keen on flying there. Hence the Seattle-Boise and rental car arrangement. Flying directly to IF would have been crazy expensive. Our other reasonable option was flying to SLC and renting the car from there - about the same distance from IF as Boise. Anyway, the flight home from Boise was at 6:00 AM, so we drove the four hours that night, snoozed at a rest stop outside of town and got to the airport just after they opened for the day (BOI is not a 24 hour operation). Fun times with a 3 hour layover in Denver, getting into Detroit at 5:00 PM.

Skipped the Friday run after traveling all day, and got up on Saturday to an all day rain forecast. This was technically a cutback week, but after missing my long run on the wedding day I wanted to get 16. But I didn’t want to run in the rain. Airplanes are germ carriers as well as people carriers and I’d just spent a long day in two that were half full of crying babies and toddlers traveling to grandma’s house for Easter. Plus remember I’ve decided not to run in bad weather this year. But it wasn’t raining yet, so I decided to break the 16 into 3 legs from the house like I used to do when I wasn’t sure I could run 16 miles all at once. 5-5-6 was the plan. Once I got going, though, 5 seemed a little short, so I went 6. Started slow, stopped (of course!) at a gas station at mile 3, finished the first leg in 52 minutes (8:40 avg). Windy, but no rain yet. Grabbed a Hammer Gel and a couple of swallows of G at the house. Those first 6 went so well I decided to do 6 for the second leg as well, thinking that if it started raining, I’d have at least 12 miles instead of 10-11.

Leg 2 was 51:22 (8:34 avg). Still no rain. Felt a little creaky starting the last leg but worked it out in the first half mile and felt pretty good until the final mile, which sort of sucked. 34:12 (8:33 avg). So, the total for the 16 miles was 2:17:34, an average of 8:36 per mile. I’ve had 3:45-ish in my head lately as my target for Vermont, and this is easily in line with that. 3:45 is a 8:35 pace. Makes me wonder if I should shave another 5-10 minutes or so from that.

Didn’t do much the rest of the day.

Or the next. Got away with that because it was Easter Sunday.

Work had a community service activity scheduled Monday, which was better than actually working. I helped assemble some new shelving for their records storage room. Destroying the old shelves was the more fun part. After that we reorganized another storage room and took a crap-ton of stuff to the dumpster.

6 easy miles in the afternoon (8:29 avg). Felt tired.

Then Tempo Tuesday. This was 9 miles total with 7 at tempo pace, whatever that is. I like to think it’s near 7:30, but realistically I’m happy with 7:45. I also picked one of the more difficult routes, west into the wind and a steady climb on the way out, which would leave me gassed for the second half. I was actually kind of worried about it. 7:48, 8:11, 7:56, 8:01, 7:34, 7:43, 7:40. So, 7 miles at 7:50. Not stellar, but all things considered, close enough for this week. I’m OK with it.

Today Garmin has my V02 Max at 50 and the race predictor has me with a 20:50 5K, 43:12 10K, 1:35:40 half and a 3:19 marathon. Haha.

OK, time for some pics. First, the wedding. My 100% unbiased opinion is that Mac is the most adorable bride in history. These are just a few that I took with my old iPhone5.


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Sisters!

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Oh, and then there’s this from the Potato Museum. The story goes that a Hollywood columnist once said that Marilyn Monroe would look sexy even dressed in a potato sack. So her publicist had the brilliant idea to prove it. Sixty years later, I think they were right.
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Love all the wedding photos - thanks for sharing. 

Sorry to hear about FIL, although sounds like he is in a better place now. Please give my condolences to Mrs. Dave. 

Glad running seems to be on track, despite all the craziness. 

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Great wedding photos!  So much news in this post, both good and bad.

Garmin race predictor is such a dreamer.  It told me that I could run a 2:40 marathon the day I ran a 2:57 marathon (eye roll).

I love your daughter's wedding dress!  Prayers for all who were close to your FIL.

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Your daughter is  beautiful! Congratulations!

Poor T-Rex. Hope she took the news okay.

My condolences to Mrs. Dave.

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I'm trying to imagine myself knocking on a stranger's door and asking if I could come in and poop. You are really amazing. 

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What a trip! I think you crammed everything good, bad, and otherwise into it. Love, love, love the wedding photos! 

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