The Grand Forks Firecracker Run and So Much More

Today I ran the Grand Forks YMCA Firecracker 10k.  There are a couple goals I try to keep in mind everytime I run a road race.  Not being last is one.  Not a tough goal but it’s important to have attainable goals.  Also, as part of my goals I have a list of people I’d like to beat or at least pass at some point.  This list includes girls in tiny running outfits I wouldn’t dare step out in public in, bigger girls in the same outfits who shouldn’t have stepped out in public (are capris so uncomfortable that it’s worth subjecting all of us to watching you pick your shorts out from between your legs every couple of minutes?), beefy looking guys who spend so much time in the weightroom they’ve lost all traces of a social life, and finally, happy couples (how dare they?). 

Today was a day of mixed results.  I passed a few happy couples, including one I paced with for a lot of the race and then pass in the last half mile.  I had several of the tiny outfit girls pass me but also took down a couple of my own.  There was one group of bigger, tiny outfit girls that had jostled their way to the beginning of the pack before race time and subsequently had too much of a jump on me and I never did catch them.  I also passed a couple athletic looking guys and managed to not be the last one in.  Mission accomplished. 

Besides unfairly stereotyping road race participants, I’ve been up to so much more.  Starting chronologically, several weeks ago I had my first (not counting the expertly managed garage sales of my childhood) yard sale.  It turned out to be more of a porch sale but a success none-the-less.  I made nearly $100 and unloaded a lot of things I was not interested in trying to move in the all too near future.  My next door neighbors may have been my best customers so some of the stuff didn’t go too far but I really don’t care so long as it’s no longer my problem.  Here’s what a porch sale looks like at 104 4th Ave. S.:

As with any good sale, advertisement is key.  Don’t worry, I didn’t get another cat.  That was just my first customer of the day.  Though after he scaled the tree, he lost interest.  Apparently he did not need a pair of used Asics or a broken microwave.

My next logical summer adventure was meeting my best friend at the headwaters of the Mississippi at the northern most tip of Lake Itasca in Itasca State Park.  No, Elizabeth and I did not come up with meeting there as some sort of symbolic gesture capturing the roots of our friendship along the banks of the Mississippi in the Quad Cities.  Though that does sound kind of like us.  Instead it was really convenience more than anything else.  She was coming up to see me, I wanted to do something other than sit in Grand Forks for 4 days and the Mississippi just happens to start it’s journey towards our childhood stomping grounds just 2 hours east of Grand Forks.  So we met, we camped, we hiked, we got ticks, we got sunburned and were generally very outdoorsey.  We even waded across the Mississippi.  Elizabeth fell once but that was that little girl’s fault.  She had no respect for slippery rock decorum.  I didn’t capture the fall in pictures but did get some of the other highlights:

On our way back to Grand Forks we swung through Bemidji because I love Elizabeth way too much to let her get this close to Paul Bunyon and not pose brazenly in front of him. 

And as with most things, Elizabeth was the one brave enough to ask the tough question when signing Paul’s giant guest book:

I rounded out the month by going on an incentive flight on a KC-135.  For those of you who didn’t immediately google Grand Forks AFB’s mission when you heard I was coming here, our mission is mid-air refuelings which enhances the Air Force’s Global Reach and Global Power which is an integral part of making us the most powerful air force in the world.  No biggie.  The KC-135 Stratotanker accomplishes this mission daily.  The day of our ridealong they were refueling F-15s on a training mission over Mountain Home AFB in Idaho.  We got to lay in the back with the boom operator.  The boom operator, as the name implies, lowers the boom to the plane that is being refueled.  If the other plane approaches too quickly or can’t maintain the appropriate distance and speed, the boom operator will disconnect to avoid accidents.  I’m not sure any of that made sense so how about some pictures to supplement my rambling.  This first picture is of the boom hanging from the belly of the KC-135 tanker we’re on:

Then one of the F-15s approaches:

Then, if everything goes according to plan, the F-15 will hook up and begin to receive fuel:

Then off he goes about his Air Force mission, refueled thanks to Air Mobility Command and Grand Forks AFB.  You’re very welcome, sir:

And just to prove I was actually there:

So that’s about it for the summer so far.  It’s been busy and suddenly very hot in Grand Forks but so far I’m surviving.  I did have a couple traumatic trips to the hair salon but I’m recovered from that for the most part.  Curry Comb here I come!  I’m also coaching a soccer team of U16 girls and have quite a few weekend tournaments.  As if having Kurt a million miles away wasn’t enough torture for the summer.  But they’re starting to get it.

If you’re at all interested in reading my latest attempt at journalism and some really boring AF law to boot, here’s a link for ya:  http://www.grandforks.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123211854.   

As always, my door is open up here in Grand Forks, sometimes quite literally as it is right now, and I promise I’ll even wash the sheets.

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2 Responses to The Grand Forks Firecracker Run and So Much More

  1. E'beth says:

    Thank you for explaining the little girl’s failure to adhere to common rock-climbing courtesy. Hopefully, it serves as a lesson to others. However, I feel you did not hit upon the tick trauma strongly enough:) Miss you!

    p.s. pretty sweet pics of the f-15. very top gun. did you give ’em the bird?

  2. It’s hard to come by well-informed people on this subject, however, you seem like you
    know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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