I can hardly believe it all.
Last week my sister Alissa came into town with her two very sweet boys, Miles and Levi. Alissa is my younger sister (we are less than one year apart) and she is my soul mate in nearly every way imaginable. I cannot fathom my life without her. I have shared nearly every second of my life with her, she knows me inside and out. We were both pregnant with our youngest sons at the same time and in fact we were due on the exact same date though our babies were born 9 days apart because her little guy decided to come early and mine was taking his sweet old time and came 5 days late!
Being together, and seeing our children together … not a single moment of it is lost on us. We soak it up and enjoy it immensely. I’ll admit it’s not easy to have sisterly conversations with 5 kids swirling around us, and we look forward to the time (years from now!) when we can sit and say more than a few words to one another at a time, but we also know that these are precious times and we don’t want to miss a thing or take it for granted. Last week we made tie dye with the kids, played at my mom’s house, and visited with one another every day until Wednesday night when it was time for me and Robert to go out of town.
My husband Robert and I will have been married 10 YEARS on August 31st, so my sister and my mother watched all three of our children for 4 days while the two of us went away to celebrate. It was our first time away from all three kids – first time away from Baby Gus – and it was really and truly just what we needed right when we needed it.
We drove down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and stayed at a beautiful resort called The Sanderling in the charming town of Duck. On our way down Wednesday night, we stopped in Virginia Beach at Robert’s parents’ house (about 4 hours away). We woke up Thursday morning and I went for an easy 10 mile run along the ocean before hopping back into the car to continue our trip to Duck. When we arrived, it was paradise instantly. We both felt like honeymooners all over again. Our marriage, and our spirits, were being rejuvenated by the salt air and sunshine and by the fact that the only people we had to worry about were ourselves and we were very easy to please.
As soon as we got there we sat and had a delicious lunch with awesome local beer, kicked up our feet and RELAXED. The beach was divine. The food was amazing. The sunsets were lovely. I moved my rest day this week to Friday so Thursday night we went out to a decadent restaurant and had some amazing wine and stayed up WAY past our bedtime. It was funner than fun.
On Friday morning we started the day at Duck Donuts – the best donuts I have EVER tasted. The line was long, but worth every second. The donuts were warm and made to order. Sinfully delicious.
We spent the rest of the day on the beach. Reading magazines! And talking! And swimming in the ocean together! And NAPPING! This may sound like typical beach behavior to you – but if you have kids then you know that beach days like this are more rare than snow in summer. It was amazing.
That night we had another peaceful dinner at sunset and then the next morning we got up early for my 18 mile long run. Before we had kids, when I would train for marathons Robert would often ride his bike along the trail with me. We would talk about anything and everything and just enjoy being together. This hasn’t happened in over 8 years though – once we had kids it was no longer possible. So he brought his bike on our vacation and while many husbands might prefer to sleep in past 5am while their wives run for close to three hours (and who could blame them!?), mine didn’t think twice about it and wanted to come with me. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. I am so very grateful for his love, support and companionship.
Those 18 miles were some of the BEST I have ever run. It was awesome. I went out easy and finished strong – running the last 7 miles at or faster than my 7:40 goal race pace. My last mile was run in 7:26 and my average pace for the run was 8:03/mile. I nailed it.
I loved having Robert on the trail with me – sharing this with me. Telling me I looked strong and that I could keep going.
When we got back to the hotel we jumped in the ocean with our clothes on (best ice bath EVER) and then quickly rinsed off and put our suits on for another adventure. We tried SUP (stand upright paddle boarding) for the first time! I have been wanting to do this FOREVER and it did not disappoint. It was like kayaking standing up – not exactly easy (a great core workout and serious leg and foot workout – maybe not the easiest thing to do right after running 18 miles but oh well!) – but it was so incredibly fun and beautiful!
We paddled through Pine Island – which is an incredible Audubon wildlife sanctuary in the Outer Banks. A place so serene and magical.
I loved every minute of it.
When we were done – it was time to CHOW down. So we found an awesome burrito place and ate like champions and had some incredibly good local beer. Then it was nap time. This was shaping up to be one of the best days ever – an awesome run, paddle boarding, some of my favorite food, a nap, time alone with the love of my life … PERFECT.
That night we topped it off we some awesome pizza by the sunset and more good beer – a perfect end to a perfect day. And yesterday we had to head home but before we left Robert once again accompanied me for my 10 mile recovery run. We took a route along the ocean, meandering through neighborhoods with homes so big and beautiful it was incredible! Coming home in the early evening was amazing – when we walked in the door all three kids immediately dropped what they were doing and raced into our arms. When Gus saw me he shrieked and jumped in my arms and I have never felt him hug me so tight. He pulled away and placed his hands on my cheeks and looked at me as if to say “is it really you!?!?” … I will never ever forget that moment and will etch it into my heart for all time. I loved every minute of my time away with Robert and am so thankful we had the chance to do that, but coming home to our children after being so rejuvenated, and being a FAMILY again was just so amazing. At this moment I am more thankful than I can possibly put into words.
It so happens that I am also a little bit overwhelmed though. We came home last night and I started unpacking and doing laundry, because tomorrow night we will be all getting ready to leave again. Robert and the kids will head to the beach for one last hoorah with his family and I will be on my own journey heading out to Seattle and Oregon to run the Hood to Coast Relay with Nuun. I cannot believe this is really truly happening. I get chills just thinking about the adventure that awaits me. I haven’t packed a thing yet but the list is well written and I will be spending the next 24 hours trying to get myself organized. I feel strong and ready to rock my runs down that mountain. I am EXCITED to meet the other women on my team, to learn more and more about Nuun and the people that make up this incredible company. I can’t wait to spend time in the Pacific Northwest. It is going to be amazing. I’ve come up for air and am just about ready to dive back in and soak up more of this wonderful thing called LIFE. It’s going to be amazing.