After I ran the Kill Creek Trail race in the Tour de Trail 2022 series a few weeks ago, I decided to run Cedar Niles as well. I have heard of the park, but I haven’t been yet. I got registered early enough to pay online this time. I was getting excited as the race got closer.
I saw on Facebook that one of my running clubs, Olathe Running Club, was meeting a Cedar Niles as well. I commented that we would be running a trail race from there the same day. At first, I wondered about parking for the race and parking for my running group. I was also excited to see my group at the race. I later discovered that there were two parking lots about three miles apart for the same trail. My running group was meeting at the 135th street parking lot while the race was at the 119th parking lot.
Parking was still a challenge though because a group of teenagers ended up meeting at the 119th parking lot as well. I’m guessing it was some high school track group doing some training. They stood on one end of the parking lot while we got ready for the race.
I got there early enough this time to check out the trail map. I saw the trail they wanted to do was a loop. I say, “wanted to do,” because it rained again. This time it was a lot closer to race day and the trails were in fact closed for race day this time. I later heard from someone in the Olathe running club that the chiggers were pretty bad this year. Maybe we missed a bullet on this one. If you do not know what chiggers are, then consider yourself lucky. They are super small bugs (practically invisible) that like to snuggle up between you and any tight-fitting clothing; socks, waistbands, elastic around the legs near the groin, etc. You can get literally hundreds of bites if you do not spray and then take a walk through chigger-infested grass. It is NOT pleasant.
The race was off on time. I kept a good pace and ended up in the back of the pack. At one point the trail zig-zagged in a way I could see the people way ahead of me. I stopped to take pictures here and there. I mean in the back of the pack, I’m not winning anything. I’m finishing though. The weather was nice again and the trails were very pretty. I wore my hair up like I normally do. So, there was no hair elastic mishap this time.
We did an out and back. The water stop was at the other parking lot. I saw a lot of my Olathe Running Club buddies on the way to the other parking lot. They were cheering me. I smiled and said thank you. A lot of the other racers cheered as well. If they said morning or smiled, I would look at them and nod or smile back at them. If they said, “Good job,” I would respond with, “You too.” There were only a few racers that did not make eye contact or say anything. I noticed that they were primarily men if not all men. It didn’t surprise me. Not because men are rude, but because I’ve been taught that you never look away from anybody when you pass them anywhere. If you are walking down the street or running on a trail, you always look at the other person and acknowledge them. It is a safety thing really. It lets them know you see them. You not only know they are there, but you can identify them later if need be. I can’t really think of any women I know introverted or not who do not look at people when walking/running.
I knew I wasn’t going to win any placement when I reached the water stop at the turnaround point. So, I went to look at the playground that was in this other parking lot. It looked kind of cool, but there were no swings. My kids like swings. I did pass a lady on the way out, but she did a quick turn-around while I was looking at the playground. One of my running buddies from my group told me on the way back that there were only 10 other women in front of me. So I would place 11th in women. The lady in front of me ran faster than me, but she walked a lot. I was pretty much running the whole race. So, I eventually passed her again. My time was 1:15:28.2. I was 10 of out 12 women and 22 out of 25 total. That’s not too bad after my run-in with COVID a while ago.
It was a busy weekend. After the race, I was taking my friend from Texas to a Chief’s preseason game. Her husband and all their kids went. They are fans because she grew up in Missouri and her husband grew up in Kansas. My kids did not want to go to the game. They stayed with my in-laws since my husband had other commitments. Unfortunately, my friend was in town because her father-in-law passed away. I was a bit bashful about asking them to go with me, but then I thought about how I would feel if someone asked me to go if I were in town for a funeral. I would think it was a nice way to uplift our spirits and spend time with friends I do not normally see. And that seems to be what they thought too. We had a really good time. I probably had too much of a good time with the drinks and food. I was not feeling so hot the next day on an eight-hour drive heading to Arkanas for a funeral for my family.
I might have mentioned in another post that I missed my Uncle Sam’s funeral. I think I mentioned in the same post that we missed a lot of funerals in the last few years. At least I have missed some. My husband went to a few for his side of the family while I stayed home with the kids. I was going to try to do something to represent those lost, but I never did. Last Christmas, we went to visit almost all the graves of those lost. We missed Aunt Regina, Cousin Cami, and Cousin Robin.
Well, my Uncle Buck died. I say my Uncle Buck even though technically he wasn’t my uncle. See if you can follow this. My Dad’s sister’s husband’s brother was Uncle Buck. He and his sister Aunt Mary Jo never married. They were like a second set of parents to my cousins. I can’t really remember a time when we came to visit my cousins that we didn’t see them as well. So, when it came time for me to call them something, I called them Uncle Buck and Aunt Mary Jo like my cousins did. I always liked to joke that I had two famous uncles: Uncle Sam and Uncle Buck and they were brothers.
I’m at that age where funerals are sad, but they are also a nice time to see family you don’t see all the time. It was nice to see my cousins. I haven’t seen them since Christmas and we probably won’t be down to see them this Christmas because my daughter is performing with the Youth Chorus of Kansas City. At the funeral, I was seated right in front of the casket. The tears just started to fall out like someone turned on a faucet. I tried to hold them back because I hate crying in public. I know at a funeral you expect crying, but it is just a hangup of mine. As I cried, I came to realize that I had not been to a funeral since my father’s funeral. I wondered for a minute if that was maybe a subconscious decision that I didn’t think about until now. Then it hit me that I was wrong. The last funeral I went to was my grandmother’s funeral the same year my Dad died. 2017 was a really tough year.
I pondered that for a bit as the tears stung my eyes. My cousin, Sammye, was giving the eulogy. She did such a great job, it was kind of weird having anybody else like the pastor speak after her. She pretty much said it all. We did grave-side as well, and thankfully the rain let up long enough for that. It rained on me the whole time I was in Arkansas. Aunt Mary Jo wasn’t at the graveside, but she was at the church. She is in a wheelchair now. I don’t think she recognized me. I hope she realized who I was later.
The drive home in the rain the next day was a little daunting. I tell you one thing, an eight-hour drive will give you lots of time to think about along the way. How is my Mom doing living with my brother? Could my cousin’s suggestion that she has Dementia be right? Why has Mom been so abusive toward my brother? Is it Dementia? Will we see my family for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas? When will we visit my Mom and brother in Virginia? How did my daughter’s first rehearsal with YCKC go while I was gone? I don’t know. This is the rollercoaster called Life.