As I mentioned in my previous post, we are moving from Coastal Georgia to Northeast Kansas in roughly two weeks. When we found out in June I immediately panicked and probably overreacted a bit, but twelve weeks was pretty short notice. I needed some time to "be mad" about having to withdraw from this year's Augusta 70.3, but after that I was able to see all the positives of this sudden move.
Joel is active duty Army. Six years ago we moved from Northeast Kansas to here in Coastal Georgia. Yes, we are going back to exactly where we came from. We already know our way around and where everything is. We were married there and had our oldest daughter there. I met my best friend Loraine there. "I" was there before we were "we". I joined the Army about two years before Joel did, and was stationed in Kansas in early 2002, he got his assignment to Kansas in late 2004 and we met in early 2005. So, we have quite a history with the wheat state.
Ever since 2010 and 2011, when Joel and I started our active lifestyle, we have often talked about all the great activities we could have done in Kansas had we had an active lifestyle when we lived there, and how we wished we did. Now we get that second chance. Northeast Kansas houses one of the last natural tall grass prairies in the country. Its endless and stretches for miles and miles. In our research we have found countless running races and cycling events on the prairie. I even went ahead and registered for a trail 25k running race on the prairie on September 21st, plus, its my first 25k.
Moving there also opens a brand new world for Joel, gravel rides and races. These gravel rides are anywhere from 20 miles to 200 miles, done on a cyclocross bike on bone jarring gravel roads out in the middle of nowhere. Well, only one is 200 miles, the Dirty Kanza 200, which is pretty much the Ironman of gravel racing. Its tough, soul-stealing, breaks off its competitors with no remorse, and Joel is doing it next year. The interesting thing is, he was going to do it next year regardless of where we lived. We were planning to make the trip from Coastal Georgia for him to do it, but now, coincidentally, it will be in our backyard.
Triathlon season in the Midwest is not nearly as long as it is here in the South. Here in the South we enjoy a nice long triathlon season, starting in March and ending in November. In the Midwest it only lasts from roughly May to September. To give myself variety and to stay motivated, I'm taking up trail running and Cyclocross. Kansas, especially where we are moving to with the tall grass prairies and the Flint Hills, is full of trails. Joel bought me some Newton BOCO ATs for the trails. I have ran on the dirt oval in them and they are great, I can't wait to hit the Kansas trails with them.
Our girls have been great throughout this. They are excited about moving. They are excited about seeing snow in the winter and not having to wear uniforms to school. Their resiliency is truly wonderful. Through their eyes this is a fun adventure. We aren't being naive about this though, we know there will be a few adjustments once we get there, and we may be drying a few tears.
When we are going, Fort Riley, is located right next to Manhattan, KS, home of Kansas State University. Ever since I was a soldier stationed at Fort Riley, I wanted to go to K State. Between two deployments to Iraq, as well as not being able to use active duty tuition assistance because of my weight, it never happened for me. The day we were married, Joel had bought a K State pint glass and put it in our hotel room we would be returning to later that day, as a promise I would one day get to attend my dream school. Life, and kids got in the way of that dream, plus the fact that we had to eventually move to Coastal Georgia. Now I get a second chance. The school I earned my Associates from accepts transfers to K State. Just the thought of this makes me teary eyed as I type this, gives my butterflies and makes me shake a bit. A degree from K State, one of my life's goals and dreams.
I'm going to miss the wonderful friends I have made in the South, and going to miss the nice long triathlon season, but looking forward to this new chapter and writing about my Midwest adventures.
Thanks for reading!