Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Canyon

One of the things we have loved about being in Utah is having the mountains so close!  We are just five minutes from the mouth of the canyon.  One afternoon, we loaded up the kids to go explore the beauty that was basically in our backyard.
 We made our way up to a reservoir that Jason remembered riding near during his BYU days.
 The water was low, but it was still so pretty. 
 We laughed at ourselves as we complained about how cold it was!  The air here is much more crisp and the cold air has a bit of a bite!  It reminded us that we weren't home, but made it feel more like an adventure.
 While most of our drive looked like this...
We found ourselves a few times on dirt roads like this! Yikes!

 I'm so not a fan of steep winding mountain roads!  I just kept hoping we wouldn't meet a car coming the opposite way on these one way roads!
 I did my best to keep a straight face, but Jason couldn't help giving me a hard time.
We drove the Alpine Loop and enjoyed what was left of the leaves changing colors for fall.  We stopped and stretched our legs at another reservoir.
 Paige loved the splash of the rocks hitting the water.

 And we enjoyed watching the kids laugh and play together.  It has been nice to have so much time together as a family lately.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

St George Marathon Take 2

After being invited to run the St George Marathon this year, I made a half hearted attempt to actually start running.  I hadn't been consistent since before I had Paige a year and a half ago.  I jumped right in to Saturday long runs and had three under my belt (a 6, 8 and 10miles), when we started talking about moving to Utah.  My running came to a complete halt as we tried to make the decision and then made the move.
As the scales started creeping up from my already all time high, I attempted to get out and run in between unpacking boxes.  I had run a 2 mile loop a couple of times, but didn't feel like I had enough time to run much more than that.  I knew the kids needed to feel settled as quickly as possible and felt like any extra time I had, I needed to spend unpacking and getting organized. 
I ran/walked a couple miles with Janelle at the end of her 20 + mile long run and attempted to run 6 miles during part of Billy's 20 miler, but my knee started hurting so much I ended up mostly walking after just a few miles.  Needless to say, there was no way I was going to run a marathon!
As Marathon weekend approached, it didn't look like I would even be able to go to cheer on my siblings and friends who were going to be running.  I was super bummed. 
 Friday morning, after I got a text from my sister and later another text from my friend Shelley,  I was determined to make it work out.  I really wanted to be there! 
After a series of Hail Marry attempts and miraculous success, Jason got off work, I had a babysitter for the kids, had us packed up and we were on our way to St. George!

We didn't get there until after dinner, but headed over to the expo to pick up my number so I could run IN the marathon.   I picked up a pair of compression sleeves just for fun.  Billy had worn some on his run and I had ended up using one of them as a knee brace when my knee had started to hurt.  I know you aren't supposed to try out anything new in a race, but I wasn't running a race.  I was just going for a run with some friends. 
We met with everyone else who had set up camp in Jen's hotel room.

As Jen layed out her thought out ensemble for the morning, with her supplements and play list ready to go, I pulled out my dingy old running shoes and clothes that I had grabbed in a flurry while trying to get out the door.  I had checked the tags as I threw them in my bag, so I was pretty sure they would fit.  I didn't bring an iPod, but I didn't think I'd be running long enough to need it and I certainly wouldn't be needing any gels or shot blocks.   

Jason and I slept on the fold out couch that Billy and Jason were sitting on the picture above.  Jen offered the other half of her bed, but I knew it was a big day for her and she would sleep better on her own.  Besides, I never mind having to cuddle with Jason. 

Dark and early the next morning, we met up for breakfast.  Sitting at the table laughing with my family made all of the chaos getting there totally worth it!  I forgot how much fun we are together! 
Seriously, they are the best!   Janelle had some extra Sport Legs that she offered Jen and I.  I hadn't ever tried them, but sure!  Why not? 
We headed over to the buses and to join the rest of the crazies, who think it's fun to wake up before the sun and run!  Once again, I was just happy to be there and be part of their experience.
The gang at the starting line. Reed, Shelley, Jen, Billy, Me, Janelle, and Cory
I realized on the way there that I forgot my knee brace!  The last time I had run had been with Billy when my knee hurt.  I stopped into an aide station in the starting area and tried another first- having my knee taped.
We goofed off, waited in the lines for the bathrooms, people watched and hung out by one of the many bon fires.
Finally, it was time to line up.  We wished each other good luck and everyone separated to find the pace group of their hopeful times.
Shelley had stopped training for a while, not sure if she wanted to run another marathon and hadn't run more than 16 or 17 miles during her training.  She asked if I'd run with her.  I didn't know how far I could run, but knew it would be so fun to run with Shelley!  She has one of those personalities that I just love!  She is super funny without trying to be.  I knew it would be a good time, but I didn't want to hold her back.  She said she didn't know how far she would run or if she was going to try to finish or not and we would just have fun.  Sounded perfect! 
Her sweet husband Reed, decided to run with her.  Reed is faster and more experienced than anyone in our group.  He is an Ironman and has run several marathons.  Anyone that has run a marathon knows the time that goes into training, but it didn't matter to him.  He just said it would be fun and that was that.  I think he didn't know how long I would last and didn't want her to have to run by herself or maybe he was just being protective because she hadn't finished her training.  I'm sure he really did think it would be fun to run with his wife, but it wasn't the race he had trained for.  Whatever his reason was, it touched me.  I love seeing the quiet love and respect between people and it warmed my heart.  There was no changing his mind, he was staying with his wife.  His friend Curtis, also a very experienced marathoner, decided to run with him.

The sun came up after a few miles and it wasn't nearly as cold as it had been a few years before.

I think after about 8 miles, my knee started to hurt.  I pulled my compression sleeve up over my knee and it helped some.  I was starting to think it was the end of my run,  Reed game me some ibuprofen and soon I was good to go!
After we hit the 10 mile mark, I was pretty proud of myself!  I hadn't run farther than that for years! I decided I wanted to try to finish the marathon. 
Curtis shared his shot blocks with us and Reed fathered us along, telling us what we should eat or drink at the aide stations and how much.  They knew the course like the back of their hands!  Coming into certain parts they would tell us how most people would get sicked out, but it was just this much further or that this was our last hill, etc.
A lady was passing out Halloween candy along the course. (15 miles in, maybe more?) As Reed slowed to look over the bowl and pick out his favorite, we decided it must be okay.  AMAZING what a little piece of chocolate can do!  I felt a little giddy.
About the time Shelley and I developed the sign method ("Let's run to that sign and then walk to the next one"), another neighbor of the course gave us her last Popsicles!   It was awesome! 
After we hit 20 miles, we knew we were going to finish even if we had to walk the rest of the way in.  My feet were killing me!  I'm certain there wasn't any support left my old shoes.  I really wanted to take them off and run the rest of the way without them, but Reed said it was a bad idea.  I decided to trust him, but I was painfully aware of every step.  
As we plodded into town, we switched to the "cone method".  Cones were much closer together than signs and required less running!  Our laughing became more smirks and we were much quieter the last couple of miles.  Reed and Curtis tried to distract us,  talking about what food we want to eat when we are done.  I'm almost positive neither of them even broke a sweat!
Meanwhile, everyone else came across the finish line, each with their own trials and triumphs.
And finally us!
We were all smiles when we realized it was almost over!
And somehow, I had done it again.
Even though I was much slower than my first accidental marathon, I felt more like a finisher this time.  I had decided early on that I was going to finish the marathon, no matter what and I did.  I had finished another marathon.
My head is much stronger than my body, but I hope someday they will come together and I will be a runner and not just a finisher.  But, for now, I'm proud of my will and determination.  I'm proud to be a finisher.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Clear Creek

 In the first week of October, I got to go with Lauren on an overnight field trip to Clear Creek.
It was a beautiful, secluded mountain school... with absolutely no cell phone reception! Zero.
I think I'm addicted to talking to my husband and checking on my kids.   Luckily, Lauren kept me completely entertained!
We went on a short hike. 
The fall colors were breathtaking! So vibrant!
I loved hiking with Lauren.  She is always so happy and so silly!!  She loves to pose for the camera and doesn't even realize how often she just starts singing!  She is 100 percent girl!
Halfway through the first day, I started to worry that me being there was holding Lauren back from spending time with and making new friends.  She was so sweet and always wanted to stay right with me.  I know she loves to spend time with me, but I think she was also aware that I didn't know anybody else there.   I decided that I needed to make some friends of my own to make Lauren feel better about branching out.

 Believe it or not, I'm actually kind of shy.  I'm always quieter in large groups.  I love big groups, but you'll usually find me quietly smiling and nodding.  I don't know if that's because I'm such a people watcher or if it's because I don't like to be the center of attention.  I'm comfortable in my own skin, but I don't think I'm awesome or anything.  I'm just me.  I also have always been fine to just be on my own.  But, I knew Lauren would be more comfortable hanging out with her friends if she saw me being social too.  So, I made a point of chatting with the other moms that were there. 

This is Tamra and her daughter Gemma.  I met Tamra on the bus on the way to Clear Creek. She happened to be in our hiking group and ended up being my favorite person I met while we were there!  I love how everyone has such an interesting life story.  

After our hike, we broke off into smaller groups for a team building ropes course.   It was really fun to watch Lauren interact with her peers.  Surprisingly, she was exactly the same as she is at home!  Confident, silly and happy and sometimes a little outspoken.
The goal here was to get everyone onto the balancing platform without any of the edges touching the ground.
At another station they had to walk along a wire course, using a rope hanging from a higher wire.  They couldn't reach the rope without the person before them swinging each rope back as they got as far as they could with it.
At one point on the course they had to swing to the next wire.
Lauren had lots of practice with her monkey skills at the next course!.  They were again divided into smaller groups.  Each group had a turn trying to get their entire group onto one small platform without touching the ground.  It took some problem solving skills.  After several attempts, they learned that they couldn't leave their smallest people on the log until the end because they wouldn't be able to reach the rope without touching the ground.  They also needed strong people to across first to help catch their teammates.  After they got it all figured out, the mom got to join in to see if everyone could fit with 2 grown ups!  It was really fun!
I loved being able to spend time Lauren and get to know her friends and teacher.  This is Kenzie.  Lauren had an assignment to write about her hero on her first week at school.  She wrote about Kenzie because she was so nice to Lauren and showed her around and introduced her to new friends when she didn't know anyone at the school.
 And this is Lauren's teacher Mrs. Collyar.  I really like her!  You can tell she loves to teach and she loves the kids she teaches.
My Lulu.
We had a great couple of days together, but I think I'll be okay if I don't ever ride another school bus again!

I have to share a Lauren quote since I'm talking about her anyway.  First, let me say that Lauren is a straight A student. 
We were driving down the road a few weeks ago and passed a ranch.  Lauren saw a white horse and shouted, "Hey!!  Is that a Unicorn?!"  We all cracked up laughing and Jessica explained that unicorns aren't real.
Last night we went to a Live Nativity.  They had people dressed up everywhere. I'll post on it when I get caught up, but it was a really cool event.  A man dressed up as a Roman Soldier rode by on a horse as we were making our way up the hill to see "baby Jesus".  Lauren leaned in to our group and said, "Is that a real Roman Soldier?"