We're on about our third straight week of heat warnings, so it might not have been the ideal weekend for camping, but you take what you can get. Besides, we were camping at Meramec State Park and planning to spend plenty of time floating the Meramec River...and our camper has air conditioning. :)
|Home, sweet home|
|Jeff and I in 1998. We were about to go caving, which ended up being quite an experience in itself.|
|J at our last camping trip to Meramec (I think)|
How long since we camped there? Well, this guy is 7 now.
|Video games (hey, it was hot out!)|
The river flows past bluffs and heavily wooded areas, so it the scenery is absolutely beautiful (sorry, no river pictures...our camera isn't waterproof). Most beautiful of all, though? The sight of my teenage sons (wait for it) GETTING ALONG. These boys who are usually at each other's throats were instead laughing together, messing around on the kayak together, torturing me together (OK, that's the one time you can always count on them working together), and playing cards together. It was wonderful.
|Look, ma...no fighting|
Well, I did better. I made it a little more than a mile and was almost at the top of a long climb when my chain slipped off. All of the sudden I was pedalling like crazy and going nowhere. Since we've already established my lack of unclipping expertise, I knew I was going to crash. All I wanted was to make sure that I fell onto my right side (my left shoulder is still quite sore, a situation which was probably not helped by three days of paddling). Thankfully I got my (right!) foot out with no problems at all, but it scared me.
I got my chain back on the bike and started walking it to the top of the hill, but as I did my inner wimp was talking up a storm. You know you're going to have the same kind of climb coming back. Do you really want to do this again? What if the chain slips again. You don't have to do this, you know. It's so hot...it's probably stupid to be doing this anyway. And that's the voice that won. I guess my SuperKate voice was too busy trying to catch its breath to muster an argument. Not only did I turn around, but I wimped out on screaming back down the hill, too. I never let my bike hit 30 mph before hitting the brakes. Hill-2, Kate-0.
I didn't quit riding once I got to the bottom, though. I didn't want to have brought the bike for nothing, so I spent about 45 minutes riding around the campground and practicing getting out of my right pedal (I'm much more comfortable getting out of the left first) and starting with my left pedal (more comfortable starting with my right). Besides my practice, the older boys both used the bike several times to ride up to the bathrooms, so I guess it was worth bringing it along.
Oh, and the coolest part of the weekend? (Well, second to my boys getting along, anyway). I got to run with my nephew. He's been making a real effort to lose weight -- he's lost about 40 pounds so far -- and has been interested in starting running. I've been preaching the gospel of Couch to 5K to him for a couple months, and on Sunday night I told him, "We're going to run tomorrow!" He looked at me a little nervously but agreed, so Monday evening we did the very first workout of the C25K program. He rocked it.
This is where it's so nice that running didn't come easily to me, because I can totally identify with the struggle. I remember what it was like for those 1-minute run intervals to seem like an eternity. I did my best to keep up a steady stream of chatter to distract him from thoughts of collapsing and dying of exhaustion, figuring that if he was contemplating ways to shut me up he wouldn't be thinking about how hard it was to breathe. On one of our last few walk intervals, he asked if we could "cheat" and walk through the next run. I told him we could if he needed to, but when it came time to run again, he went for it instead. I was so proud of him and really happy that I got to be there to run with him. Definitely a highlight of the trip.