Odds and Ends

My Happy Place

July 27, 2016

I’m on the tail end of a long weekend spent lakeside, and, man, I have officially found my happy place. I’ve always known that I’m a beach/water gal, and growing up in Maryland meant a lot of time at the beach. Despite the fact that I’ve been in the Midwest for, yikes, almost seven years now, this was my first bona fide lake experience. Verdict: amazing.

We headed just west of St. Louis to Innsbrook, MO, where we met up with my in-laws for this weekend extravaganza. I spent three full days running, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, floating, gazing, eating, and, of course, some wine drinking too. The resort itself was a cluster of several lakes, which meant endless miles of practically traffic free roads – rolling hills with little peeks of the water along my way. We were lucky to have found ourselves in a very secluded spot, which mean a virtually private, contained area for maximum play. I forgot how much I love swimming, and enjoyed it so much this weekend that I vowed to through some water time into my weekly mix for fun. Nothing too crazy, maybe just a fun swim a couple times a week.


I found myself trying to soak it all in, pausing to savor little moments for those days when I need to close my eyes and imagine my happiest place. As cheesy as it may sound, thinking about it now produces a large lump in my throat. I am happiest playing outside. You know what they say, if you want to find your passion think about yourself at ten years old, or rather what made you happy at ten years old. For me, it was being playing outside. I loved running around my parents’ yard, playing in the woods behind their house, swinging on vines over the creek, performing acrobatics on the swing set, biking around the neighborhood, and swimming in as many pools as I could along my way. My best friend and I were known to the school nurse as the Blister Sisters because our monkey bar efforts frequently landed us in her office in need of a bandage or two.

It was very hot while we were there. The high every day hovered around 100 with plenty of humidity to boot, and there were patches of the lake that felt more like bath water than anything else, but being wet at least helped take the edge off of the heat. The roads around the lake area were very hilly – a constant series of ups and downs, so given the heat and the hills I didn’t pay too much attention to my pace when I ran. In fact, I ditched my GPS entirely for my long run and just ran for time. The hottest morning was my scheduled long run, so I just enjoyed being in vacation mode and taking in what was around me.  It wouldn’t have been smart to run by anything but feel, so I didn’t. My vacation run distances were: 9 miles, 6 miles, 13 miles, and 5 miles. I opted to make this partly a running vacation because I knew I’d want to spend some time exploring by foot, and I’m very glad I did.

I swear it looked steeper in person!

I’ve been exhausted since we got back, but I guess all that fun had to catch up with me sometime. It’s been a little harder to get up and moving in the mornings, and my warm-ups so far this week have felt snail-like, but it’s also the best kind of tiredness to have. I could have easily stayed for a week, two weeks…the entire summer? Where do I apply for a vacation grant?

Wishing you fun in the summer sun,


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