Friday, November 17, 2017

Catching Up

After Ireland I had all sorts of plans. The following weekend was Women Run the Cities, and you all know that’s my favorite race of the year. It’s a beautiful 10 miler in Minneapolis. The following week was my Michigan Ragnar Run which was sort of stressful to plan as Michigan has a bit of a shortage on rental cars and hotel rooms. September was packed with activities.

But there is a little saying I like to live by-You make plans and God laughs.

So, right before we left Ireland Laura started to feel a little flu like. Nagging cough, nothing fierce. But on the day we flew home she started out strong but by the time we got to MN she was NOT doing well at all. Fever, flu symptoms, the works. The next day I felt good, rested, went about my business…..except in the afternoon I started to get a little cough and I knew I was had. By the following morning, when I was supposed to return to work, I had a temp of 102, body aches, pounding head ache, cough, and overwhelming fatigue. Dave had a little bit of a cough and I told him he wouldn’t last-he was already done for.

He came home at noon.

We spent the next four days rotating from the couch to bed. We couldn’t shake the fevers. Laura, patient zero, got better in two days. Not us. We finally went to the doctor on Friday, but only because I thought we’d need a note for work. This is how we looked.

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It wasn’t our best day. I was actually fever free at that point (Tylenol is a miracle drug). Dave was still at 100 or so.

Needles to say, when I told the NP that I had a 10 mile race in two days she wasn’t all that encouraging.

I was like-I can do it! I can do it!…..I can’t do it. However, because we had an unseasonable over 90 degree heat wave with a huge bunch of humidity they called the 10 mile distance off. I could have gone up and run a 10 K but I really couldn’t have. So I didn’t feel so bad and I got a discount for next year-which is a whole other story for later.

So that was that. But I missed a week of work AND I still had Michigan Ragnar the following week. Are you kidding me? That I couldn’t back out of.

So-the following Thursday off we went to Whitehall MI, me and Tiff, to run Ragnar MI 2017. It was the weirdest Ragnar I’ve ever run. I hooked up with a team called the Humpty Dumps (don’t ask) and was in van 2. Two of the people had their own cars and drove themselves. It was crazy. I basically went for the scenery though, and it didn’t disappoint. I also want to give a shout out to the hotel, the Maple Tree Inn. If you ever go to MI—stay here. Not only was it affordable, it was clean and quiet AND they let me leave my stuff there free Friday night, even though we weren’t there. Just the nicest people.

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But as I was saying, the scenery was beautiful and I had the most amazing night run. It was cool and dark and the sky was brilliant. I wish I could have taken a picture of that. It was a very pleasant 7.8 miles…except for the coughing fits. I wasn’t completely 100% but I was able to do it.

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Lake Michigan

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We saw giant sand dunes—who knew?

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See them in the background??

We had a delish dinner at Big Hart Brewing

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We stayed on Lake MI Saturday AM  (I apologize for the quality of the picture but you get the idea)

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We stopped by a lake on Saturday

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where I took a bad selfie.

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And we finished in Travers City, at a lovely park.

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And so, another Ragnar in the books.

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And that’s how September ended!

And here’s these two, with their best behaved, walking for a cause.

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Ireland-The Finale

Today I downloaded LiveWriter for Windows 10 and it seems to be somewhat like the original LiveWriter that quit working with Windows 10. This should be interesting. And I’m sure it will take many hours to figure out how to upload it to the interwebs. But here we go.

When I left off we were in Killarney and leaving for Limerick. We didn’t actually stay in Limerick, but about 15 minutes outside of town. On the way to Limerick we visited Bunratty Castle. Bunratty means that it’s at the mouth of the Ratty, which flows into the Shannon. The current castle was built in around 1425 (there were earlier structures) by the MacNamaras but then in 1500 was taken over by the O’Briens. Yep—you know you are in Ireland when you hear this kind of history.

Anyway, we stopped briefly in Adare and walked around the pretty houses. It’s supposed to be the prettiest village in Ireland. But I’m not so sure about that. There were colorful houses and thatched roofs. I suppose we were sort of in the midst of shops and things and we didn’t have much time to really walk around. I would have liked to explore the neighborhoods. I’m not sure I took any pictures there….

We left Adare and headed to Bunratty and Folk Park. We had some time to spare before our castle tour so we looked around the grounds. They had some goats there and one very naughty one had escaped it’s pen and was eating the shrubbery. I’m not sure that goat was supposed to be munching the decorative plants.
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Yep, that’s a goat that knows better. But more about that later. We got to the castle and had a tour-
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Can you imagine living here-the heating and cleaning-ugh. Although not sure that cleaning was high on the list.
The great room from the ground….
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And from above
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There was some pretty cool stuff in there.
This is the view from the top

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with the Shannon river running by.
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And a selfie on the top
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We saw several types of farm animals
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The usual.
It was a pretty little place.

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After lunch, we took off and went to Limerick. We found a place to eat and cabbed it into town.
The River Shannon, only a little bigger downstream…

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The restaurant, Azure, was the BEST. Lordy. I really didn’t have a bad meal in Ireland, and this place didn’t disappoint.
We had some time before our meal so we strolled around  the St Mary’s Church grounds.

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There was a very cool graveyard there….
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With this local hanging around-
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We strolled after dinner around the area and saw some interesting sights
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It’s like Ireland just to have a random castle in the town.
King John’s Castle
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It was getting dark and so we headed back to our lodgings
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Our last full day in Ireland we saw some beautiful things--
We went to the Cliffs of Moher, or, better known in the Princess Bride as “The Cliffs of Insanity”. We are really really sad we didn’t know that at the time. However, we might have driven people crazy saying that over and over. In addition to loudly exclaiming “In-con-ceivable”.
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Insight Brewing had a post on Facebook asking where is your favorite place to Insight and I thought—Challenge Accepted. So, at the top of the viewing area I stripped off my outer layers and totally repped insight.
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Yep-That’s me in my insight shirt with my pile of clothing next to me on the Cliffs of Moher. Right.On.
I could post a zillion pictures of this place—but not wanting to subject people to my vacation photos I’ll show these few--
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Those are the Aran Islands out there.
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Looking the other way was green grass and cows.
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they have curly hair.
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Selfies on the Cliffs. Of. INSANITY!!
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I loved the place. And I could go back again.
We took off through the back roads and This is what I saw-
Cows that crossed the road and made us wait.
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Green beautiful countryside
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This big mound of rock is called the Burren. Which actually means rocky place, which it was but I didn’t get very good pictures. There was a guy at Folk Park that said the goats here are HUGE. Goats of unusual size. GOUS’s. (I shouldn’t be thinking of the Princess Bride….). We didn’t see any but I take his word for it.

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The we went and visited a farm with a little dog, whose name I think was Ted.
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He’s a sheep herding dog. Not a pet.

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They raise sheep for meat, not wool. The farmer said that the wool isn’t worth the shearing costs so they just shear them and sell the wool wholesale to China usually. Huh. OK. He said the Irish really don’t wear wool. What? Cause it’s kinda damp and cool and I’d think wool would be just the thing. I think he meant they don’t wear the fancy wool they sell to tourists like me.
The farm house was quaint and the scones were good.
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And this super cute DIY.
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Yep, that’s a boot planter
Our group photo--
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After a brief stop in Galway and another delicious lunch here--
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We headed back to our farewell dinner and got ready to fly out.
We got to sit with our new friend Laura, on the left, and then Laura on the right. It’s what we called a Laura sandwich.
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We got to Newark and went our separate ways. I had an expensive airport beer (x2) and poor Laura got really, really sick with a flu like illness. If not the flu

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By the time we got home Laura was full on really really sick.
But even though we all shared what she had (even Dave) I had a fabulous time in Ireland. I saw the sights and I learned lots and I hope to go back in 2019 for my 60th birthday to do this. Yep. And I know all the places to go.

And so ends our story……but maybe there'll be a part two someday.
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