Thursday, May 12, 2016

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me!

For quite a few years I’ve been going to my parents’ house for my birthday which is also around Mother’s Day so it works out well for hitting two special occasions with one visit.  Why you ask?  Simple -- Dave forgot my 40th birthday,  I had had quite enough of no one making an effort for my birthday, I decided to go visit my people who made a big deal out of birthdays!

So I'm going to tell you about my day!  It was really a good birthday and day, and the last birthday of the decade was not nearly as depressing as having my husband forget the beginning of a new decade.  I may let him try and redeem himself for my 50th....

My last visit was just in March so it seemed rather soon to visit again but with my upcoming 100K training and my utter distaste for running the boring straight flat roads of farm country in the Midwest I knew getting in a good long run while I was visiting was going to be a struggle, so May it was.

Although a nice out and back of 15 flat straight corn and soybean field filled miles probably wouldn’t have been a bad thing, not being in my own space after a long run would be not so much fun.

My plan for my Birthday Run - I wanted to run in The Arb (Nichols Arboretum).  Only having walked through years and years ago I was not unfamiliar with it and knew this would be a great place to run.  I did an Activity Search in Strava for “The Arb” figuring someone had to name an Ann Arbor run after where they ran.  This gave me a lay of the land and that I could start in Gallup Park (another favorite) and run to The Arb, crossing train tracks illegally, oh how fun is this going to be.  From the heat maps in Strava it was clear this was done with some regularity, the crossing of RR tracks as well as the path I chose.  

I clued my parents into my plan and my mother was thrilled that I could take her to and meet her support group at the Cancer Support Community of Ann Arbor.  I was really glad this was presented as an option.  I've always been curious about the center.  She gave me a quick tour and I headed to Gallup Park.

Back when I lived in Ann Arbor I used to bike to and from and in Gallup Park and regularly to roller blade there with my neighbors Norm and Ed (we used to scope out all the cute guys!!) .  When I lived in Ann Arbor, I didn’t run, the nightmares of High School Track wind sprints and hills were still pretty fresh and raw, and one nearly fatal run in grad school made me consider never stepping foot outside again!  Running was reintroduced in the last 6 years.  I wasn't sedentary, I road and mountain biked and taught step aerobics.  I don’t roller blade anymore, it just wasn’t as fun without Norm and Ed, I stopped shortly after they moved out of the house next door to me.   And as for step aerobics and biking, those activities disappeared when I got involved in having nervous breakdowns and excelling at competitive eating when I moved to New England in 1999.

This was going to be fun, to revisit many of the paths I had roller bladed and biked and also The Arb I spent quite a bit of time in when I lived in Ann Arbor oh so many years ago.

It was fun!!  The Arb was bigger and more beautiful than I remembered (I know usually things from the past seem so small!!).  I ran up the big hill and took in the gorgeous view.  

Stopped to take a drink at the people and doggy fountain.  

Spied a deer.  

There is quite the controversy over an in town deer cull.

Notice the house? So you can see some concern for hunting in town...
Lots of paths in every surface imaginable, roots and rocks, dirt, gravel, cinder, cedar mulch, and bog bridges complete with skunk cabbage and jack in the pulpits!  

It was a joy!!  I did my lap and then headed back towards Gallup Park making my second illegal RR crossing.  

I felt like such a rebel, however it was pretty obvious this was a common occurrence.

Back to Gallup Park to make a circle around crossing over the islands

 and on to the canoe sculpture (Sheila I think you need one of these!!)

and then gave the cement goose a neck wringing.  

Although my beef is with domesticated female geese (those were the ones who attacked me as a child) this was a reasonable substitute.  The woman walking her dog laughed out loud when she watched me take my selfies.  

After my run I plopped down on a dock to stretch and watch a beautiful swan fish for his lunch.  

Then back to the Cancer Center to meet my mom’s group buddies and her leader and have all of them show me around.  I felt like a small child.  It was sweet.  I’m glad she has a group she can laugh and cry with about cancer and the trials and tribulations of diagnosis, treatment, and living with the aftermath of treatment.

I didn’t have enough time to get to my beer shopping, so I dragged mom to the very store she used to take me grocery shopping as a child, when we lived in Ypsilanti in the early 70's, way back in the stone age it was much smaller and called Meijer Thrifty Acres, she used to let me and my brothers play in the play area, it is long gone as children can’t be left unattended anymore.  I remember ours  having a big turtle that was fun to climb on.

She was quite shocked as I filled up the carriage with more and more beer, and commented, "Well now I know why you couldn’t get this done after your run!"

My parents took me out for a nice meal at Mac's where I had Great Lakes Perch a Saugatuck Bonfire Brown and a Short's Bellaire Brown and could not find room for my dessert, so I took that home to Dave (chocolate torte)  he said it was amazing!  (I really am too nice ...)

Beth, whose parents spent two days sleeping and recovering from having their daughter visit for 4 days!


  1. Hope Dave has something fun in store for you on your 50th!

  2. I am glad you had a nice birthday! I love that you got to visit with your moms group.