Do you ever wake up and think,

ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS?

6pm on a Friday.

Somewhere in Germany.

I found a gem – a Friday night 5k. Cream of the crop – you get it over with before the weekend, don’t have to wake up at 4am on a Saturday and there’s usually a beer reward at the end. Trifecta. 

Wifi, spotty. Cell range, murky. My 5’10” co-Amazon friend came with me. (Intimidation factor.) We arrived at the GPS coordinated location 30 minutes before race time.

No one was there.

Seriously. This was it.

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Let me tell you something about Germans in Bavaria. They don’t work out. They do, of course, but they don’t advertise it. They don’t walk around in yoga pants or running shoes. You won’t see a Nike symbol for miles.

Insert 2 giant women in head to toe spandex walking through the streets at 5pm on a Friday. We might as well had blinking lights surrounding us saying, “AMERICANS HERE.”

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Despite the fact that my friend was ready to cut and run, we stayed, walking around the block like two Draconian Drag Queens.

A kindly (or curious) bar keeper, leaning on his stoop puffing on his menthol, nodded his head in either approval or disgust. “Lost?” he asked. We showed him the web listing for the event and he pointed us to the city center 400 meters ahead.

We passed teenagers sneering at us in our lycra and headed to the center square. There, we were approached by a lady in lederhosen and a man… with a bagpipe. “Here for the hike?” he said. I showed him the advert for the 5k. “Right-O!” he said.

5k Bagpipe tour of the city. Party of 4.

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The tour was lovely. The history, thorough. The music, plentiful.

It was a good lesson in expectation vs. reality.

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Afterwards, we stopped in the local (and only) Irish pub for a celebratory (or mockery) beer. I abstained, both because I was the driver and because I don’t drink beer. The owner of the bar, a nice enough chap, was a Romanian born half Palestinian Jew with an Irish grandmother and a propensity for flaming whiskey shots.

Take a moment to let that settle in.

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Things are rarely what they seem.

I’ve always struggled with the expectations of being a Pastor’s kid. Does that mean I CAN rebel? Or I’m expected to? Or I shouldn’t because of my father’s chosen line of work?

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My five year old looks up to her father who is a Military Officer. Does that mean she’s not allowed to protest the National Anthem? Or does that mean she has more right to? Do any of us have it all figured out?

Thankfully, God isn’t through with me yet. I’m reminded every day that I’m not in charge. I can’t see what’s around the corner, the storm and/or rainbow on the horizon. None of us know what’s next. That’s where our spiritual muscle comes in to play – so we’re ready for whatever is ahead.

Bonus points if it’s a bagpipe.

Run to win.

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This past weekend I was in NJ & NYC for a run and to visit family. (Stay tuned for my Jersey recap. It was an epic run.) Sunday was supposed to be a Central Park 4 miler. However, the evening before enticed by wonderful conversation and an equally enchanting liquor selection, I indulged in a bottle of aged French wine and- well- there went the neighborhood.

I try to get to New York quarterly for either business or pleasure.  I stay in 1 of 2 places. The first with family in a gorgeous yoga-studio-zen-den inspired spacious apartment near NOHO with vast expanses of glass overlooking bustling streets from one of the largest patio decks in the entire city. The other apartment is a swanky Upper West Side bachelor pad with plush overstuffed sofas, wood paneled walls and windows framing the most spectacular views from a ridiculously high floor.

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Every few months I come plopping in with my toddler and all the accoutrement that comes with her. And snacks. So many snacks. I pack more snacks than clothes. At the Upper West Side apartment they have coffee and tea – incredible selections of organic, free trade, fair trade, hauled-by-Gypsies-through-the-Himalayan-mountains coffee. But you won’t find a bag of turkey jerky for miles. One common denominator among WASPs is their love of condiments. They will have a $30,000 refrigerator that does everything but steam clean your arm pits and all it has in it is a relish jar and a bottle of Perrier.

Thankfully, the lower Manhattan homestead is family – and home to a really good chef. So, in addition to a space that is fit for the Dali Lama, the food is delish. I snuck a large spoonful of the most incredible organic honey that you’d swear was hand massaged from the ass of a pet bee. Heaven.

While feeling the NYC vibes I read a little bit about Gwyneth Paltrow and her “lifestyle” brand Goop. I’m a fan. Truly. There is something magical about eating clean, natural, organic food then having a beautiful Swedish doctor bring over a duck fat enema and suck it all out of you.

I always come home from my travels tired but energized and always thankful. This morning I woke up and thought, I should make myself a cup of detox yogi tea, steam a little nut milk with coconut oil and mediate for a while. That thought was ruined by reality – the dog was standing by the door with her legs crossed and a look of desperation on her face. The toddler had been in the bathroom a dangerously long time and my “detox” tea turned out to be “mothers milk” tea and I had no desire to re-lactate.

I thought about Gwyneth in her size 00 Stella McCartney mumu sitting at the table drinking her yogi tea while crossing her ridiculously thin legs.

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I, on the other hand, was standing next to the sink in stretched out running shorts watching my neighbor sneak a cigarette he keeps hidden from his wife in the garden hose crank while my dog relieved herself in the yard a few feet away.

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My favorite writer, Erma Bombeck said, “The grass is always greener… over the septic tank.” It’s true. Gwen can keep her 18 karat gold hand weights. My child weighs 35 lbs and I lift her every day for free. Don’t compare – just enjoy. Take a little bit and give a lot more. I’ve loved my adventures running all over. I’m running New England in May and then I’m DONE with the entire East Coast. I will celebrate with a toast to Gwyneth from my plastic glass of boxed wine. Cheers.

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