We spent much of this past week up in Penticton, British Columbia. Originally, we were going to cheer Kris on, as she competed in the Ironman Canada event. Because of stress fracture sustained late in her training, the trip was simply a family vacation.
Although it wasn’t what we’d originally planned, it was nice. We drove up to Penticton from Seattle last Thursday, braving a seven hour drive. Despite me causing a slight panic about running out of gas, just over Blewitt Pass, the ride was fairly uneventful. Other than the occasional change in mood from the wildlife in the back seat, things went pretty smoothly.
Once arriving at the palatial Waterfront Inn, near the shore of Lake Skaha, we unpacked, and tried to figure out why KK’s teeth illuminated. It remains a mystery.
We spent part of Saturday visiting one of the few operating steam engines in Canada, the Kettle Valley Railroad, north of Lake Okanagan. The girls spent time with their new friend from Toronto, doing a scavenger hunt for objects along the railway, while Kris and I simply enjoyed the beautiful weather and the views.
A banjo player walked up and down the cars, playing tunes and singing with the crowd. It was nice, low key fun.
We came to a turnaround, where we got to get out and explore the train and its surroundings a bit.
Sunday was the day of the big event. A number of good friends and training buddies of Kris’ were racing, including several doing their first Ironman distance event. The energy surrounding this was amazing. Rachel and I had walked around town the night before, enjoying a nice little street fair, and some great sushi. She delivered a great bit of wisdom over dinner that night, which I will not soon forget. She said "you know – sometimes you just can’t get enough of what you have". And this is something we all forget sometimes. All the more reason to listen to the seven and a half year-olds of the world more often. They’re wise.
Kris got up early on race morning, and watched the swim event. She and my friend Bob tell me that the sea of arms pumping strokes through the water was amazing to watch. A bit scary too, because of the barely contained chaos.
I watched the pros, and some of the athletes make their way past the fourth mile of the bike course. They make it look very easy, especially considering that they’d just swam 2.4 miles in less than an hour (some were under 50 minutes).
After doing a run and taking a swim, the girls and I headed up to watch the athletes where the bike and run courses met. The amazing thing about this was seeing the leaders hit mile 22 in the run, even as many people were making their way through the last miles of the bike course.
Seeing our friends smiling through the miles, knowing they were working hard but enjoying themselves, was definitely inspiring.
It was inspiring enough to make me consider whether I should sign up to try this next year. Common sense took over, and I figured I’d be better off trying some less extreme triathlons first. Still, it was amazing to watch people push themselves to big goals like this.
The final day we spent with some friends we’d met at the Eliot Institute several years back. Carol and Keely live in Kelowna, about an hour north of Penticton. They drove down to spend the day visiting, swimming, and enjoying some Thai food with us.
Significant to me this week was that I marked the year anniversary of my skull bone being replaced. This was the beginning of a very significant period of recovery for me. Life is indeed what we make it, even when we don’t always control everything that happens to us.
And sometimes, you just can’t get enough of what you have.