Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Break

This spring break will be hard to top. First, a fantastic trip to San Francisco to visit cousins, then a new puppy!

We spent 5 days visiting my cousin Nada and her family last weekend in San Rafael (north of SF). Yes, her name is Nada just like my daughter's, and Milan also has a sister named Nada, that's how we agreed on the name.

Nada, and her husband Scott, have 2 kids, Max 7 (same age as Luka) and Nila 3. This was the first time for us to meet Miss Nila, that's how long it's been since we've seen each other. Nada was like my big sister growing up. Her mom and my mom are sisters and they lived about 5 blocks from us. Nada is 7 years older than me. They have lived in San Rafael for two years when she took a position with Levi's. Prior to that they lived in Laguna Beach, and unfortunately I never made it out there to see them while they were there. I have yet to go to LA, but after being in San Fran I don't know that I really care to go. San Fran was so beautiful, and clean, the weather is so mild, and I loved the fog. Milan goes to LA a lot for work and keeps telling how polluted it is and how horrible the traffic is. I guess a visit would be OK, but not somewhere I see myself falling in love with.

We went to the beach and saw the Pacific. The water temp actually wasn't too bad, definitely swimable with a wet suit. But I left mine at home. Darn! The kids really enjoyed wading in the waves with their feet. Luka finally got so frustrated with his jeans not staying rolled up that he just took them off. The drive to Stinson beach was AMAZING! We drove up and over a huge mountain. I'm guessing it was about 15 miles of uphill, curvy road, and then another 5 miles down curvy road. I could not believe how many road bikers were out. Now I know what serious hill riding is. Not sure I would have made it. Another 5 minutes in the car and I would have been car sick. Fortunately, the weather was clear on our way to the beach, but the fog rolled in while we were there so there was no visibility on the way back. Plus it was raining. Those poor bikers were getting soaked, not to mention it was not warm. I have a feeling they're used to that kind of thing. My cousin says their winter consists of rain from November to April, and then it's totally dry.

Sunday morning Milan, Nada, and I went to a beautiful Russian Orthodox cathedral for liturgy. It started at 7:30 and we got out of there a little after 10. Typically I'd be complaining, especially since not a word of it was in English, but it was so peaceful and beautiful, and not having the kids there to worry about, just made it so much more enjoyable. The relics of St. John of Shanghai and San Francicso are in the cathedral (he was consecrated a Saint there in 1993, died in 1962), something I have really hoped to one day have the opportunity to venerate. I read about his life in 1996 when I met Milan. Since then I have asked for his prayers and intercessions many, many times and they have been answered. I don't think I would have made it through PT school, the Ironman, or even my marriage, without him.

Monday we went to the city. We drove down Lombard street and went up to Coit Tower to see the city. Then we walked around Chinatown and had lunch at an authentic, well known Chinese restaurant called the House of Nan King. We walked around Union Square where all the major retailers are. I didn't go to Neimans or Prada or Coach or Tiffany's, but I sure as heck went to Niketown!

We came back to Arkansas Tuesday night and were hit with major allergies. Wednesday evening we picked up the new addition to our family, Molly. She is the puppy of Nada's best friends dog so it was hard to say no. Not to mention she looks just like the dog we had when I was growing up, Ginger, so I fell in love with her immediately too. Molly is rat terrier (dad), and fox terrier mix (mom). Her mom almost looks like she has some doberman in her. I think she'll be a medium size. Probably not much of a running partner, but a good house dog. Who knows, maybe she'll surprise me and will make it for my 5 mile neighborhood runs.

In case anyone still reads my blog and is wondering what's going on with my training and racing, I am not training for anything in particular right now and don't have a race agenda. I am working out most days of the week, but nothing real structured. And I like it! I was going to run the Little Rock half marathon, but I was going through some issues with my heart rate. My heart rate was getting super high at really low exertion levels, whether I was running, biking, or even strength training. I knew it would eventually resolve and that I had to be patient, and thank God, it seems like it finally did. It took almost month, but I forced myself to keep exercising and not lose all my fitness. I am finally having some good runs. Some coworkers and I have started strength training during our lunch hour at work. It's really great since we have all the equipment. I've often thought of doing this but it was hard to get motivated. Now that I have others to do it with it's much easier to stick with and so much more enjoyable.

It's also been almost a month (will be officially on April 1) that I quit drinking. Yes, no more wine. I worried about the temptation while on vacation and knew there would be a lot of wine drinking, but I stuck to it and passed it up. I have seen so many positive changes in myself, both physically and mentally. I am so grateful. Thanks MoJo! I couldn't have done without you.