Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I did it!

I didn't fall down, I didn't pass out and I didn't wet myself.

I met more great ladies this morning, we had a blast hanging out waiting to go on and chatting on the drive there and back.

It was a totally weird feeling to be walking around the studio in a swimsuit while everyone else (except the other models of course) was fully dressed.  My favorite was when people would walk by or come into the green room and say "are you guys here for a swimwear spot?"  Uh.....  I was almost tempted to tell the last suit that asked that "no, why do you ask?"
Darn that little sarcasm button in my brain.

And afterward while we were wrapping things up, I sat in a swimsuit in the Green Room and ate half a donut.  At their prompting, I swear.

I felt awkward just standing there, but didn't do anything overly embarrassing so I'll consider it a successful morning.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, Hapari on Good Things Utah.


Monday, October 24, 2011

And the winner is.....

I swear I have been in fast forward for all of October.

And it got a little crazier a week and a half ago.
A good crazy thankfully.

So back to that whole Hapari thing.....
I know a lot of my fabulous blog readers got in on it for me.  For that I can't thank you enough.  But having been asked by numerous people over the last week "so what happened?!", I realized that a lot of people didn't follow up with Hapari on facebook.

When it all came down to it, I came in second place.  I lost by only about 130 votes, which was less than ten percent.  Votes nearly doubled in the last 24 hours of the contest.  It was insane.  That day that it ended was a complete whirlwind!  If you caught the "help" post that was up here for a bit, you saw that the gal I was really battling it out with is a professional model who lives by social networking.  When you have a facebook fan page with a few thousand followers, tumblr, twitter and a handful of other online networking pages, you have a very large audience to draw from.
Despite fighting till the end and some incredible vote wrangling by not only amazing family and friends, but also by complete strangers who were out there sharing my picture, we just couldn't keep up.  Man we were close though!

The next day was a little frustrating.  I kept waiting for the official announcement from Hapari that Ashley had won, so I could congratulate her (doing it on her fb page seemed a little too creepy stalker-ish) and thank all those who had pulled for me.
But they said nothing.

And then that evening I got a voice mail.  It was a little garbled and broke up in places, but I caught who it was and that he was out of the country and he'd try to email me or call me later.  It was John, one of the Hapari owners who I had spoken with previously.

Thankfully when he called back I was able to get the phone.  It was an interesting conversation!
Long story short, things didn't exactly turn out as the owners had expected.  And they were flooded with comments and emails that morning after the contest ended; comments and emails in support of me.  He mentioned that they wanted me to be a part of the photo shoot as well, and that the owners had decided to offer me the first place prize (in addition to Ashely) because of the overwhelming support in my behalf.

I'm going to Florida!!!

The official announcement was made on Hapari's facebook page the next day.
Without further adieu -

Hapari is proud to announce Ashley Sky as the winner of our Facebook model contest. It has been a long run, with many wonderful women competing, and participants supporting them!

We want to congratulate Julianna, Catey and Ashley all on making it this far. Thank you to everyone who participated throughout this process helping choose our next Hapari Model...or should we say MODELS. Yep that's right! The contest ended so close, that the Hapari owners took notice of the enormous support, and feedback for Catey Ball, and were inspired by her courage, and accomplishments throughout the contest. As such Hapari has decided to extend the winning prize to both Ashley and Catey!

So what does this mean....

Both Catey, and Ashley will be taken to our photo shoot this fall in the Florida Keys. They will both win $2500 as a payment, and the great opportunity to help us move Hapari's swimwear line and mission forward into the next year!

Congratulations Ashley & Catey!

VERY exciting!!

Again-I really want to thank each of you who so generously voted for me, and even picked up votes for me as well!  Man, what a crazy ride this has been!

I had the chance to speak with McKay and Jill-the other two owners- last week, and then met with them last Friday for a fitting.  Sorry, I didn't even think to take my camera but I wish I would have!  These ladies are so much fun!  I was so nervous, but they were fabulous, put me totally at ease and within just a few minutes I felt like I'd known them for years.  Wonderful, wonderful ladies!!  It was so fun to try on all the different styles of suits that they offer and just chat with them for a bit while I tried things on.  I am so excited to go to Florida with them, it will be a blast!

Tomorrow is the next little step in this journey, I get to be with them on a local morning show called Good Things Utah.  In a swimsuit!  Eek!  I am a little nervous about the live thing, there is no photoshop touching up for that.  Also, I am a klutz when I am nervous and I am so afraid I am going to trip or pass out or wet myself or do something else ridiculous.  With as much as they put me at ease when I met with them on Friday, I am hoping they have the same effect on me tomorrow morning.  Fingers crossed!

Crazy how things turn out sometimes!

OH!  I have to tell you that they started an amazing sale today-60% off!  SIXTY!  That means that a tankini that is normall $46 is now less than $20.  Hello!  That is seriously the biggest discount I have ever seen here.  Go pick something awesome for next year.  Use the code FALL60 at checkout for the discount.

Now I will try to get some sleep tonight.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

St George Marathon part 2

As I headed to the bus, I still wasn't nervous, but found myself getting emotional as I walked away from Aaron as I thought about how completely he has supported me in this whole crazy endeavor.  This really has been a fairly consuming thing for me over the past few months, a lot of hours out running, especially on Saturday mornings, and he has been nothing but encouraging!  He hasn't complained once about any of it, he talked me down from my crazy ledge when I was hurt and thinking all was lost, and spent hours rubbing out my feet and legs and making sure this could all go as smoothly as possible for me.  His encouragement really carried me through all of this!  And dangit, it makes me emotional all over again to think about it.

There was no waiting, they were already rounding people up on to the buses and ours filled quickly and was off!  I was glad I ended up sitting next to someone who looked to be my age and who was friendly. We chatted about life, running, kids and it was nice to have a bus buddy!  She knew a few people that were running but wasn't planning to meet any of them at the start so she and I hung out for a bit and she stuck around to hang with everyone else from my neck of the woods that showed up to meet at fire pit 7 at Central.

(left-right, Diana my bus buddy, and the locals: Arianne who ran sub 3!!, MaryAnne the crazy runner friend I talk about who also killed this not too far past 3hrs!, my friend Trish, me, and Trish's friend whose name I can't remember-dang!)
 When we stepped off the bus at Central it should have been cold.  They have fire pits there because you NEED them to stay warm.  We stepped off the bus and I had just a hoodie on over my running gear, with my pants in hand.  My bare legs from the skirt down should have been shocked when I stepped off that bus just after 4:00am.  They weren't.  They were comfortable.
That is a bad sign.  Comfortable at that elevation over 2 1/2hrs from the start means a way too warm run.  I did end up putting on pants because just sitting there it was a little chilly when the wind kicked up, but overall, warm.
It was SO awesome to have friends to spend that time with!  How boring it would have been to just be there alone.  We chatted, laughed, lubed and bio-freezed.  And used the portapotties about 6 times each.

And then it was finally almost time.  We dropped our bags at the trucks.  I had gloves and sleeves that I expected to wear for the first little bit.  They stayed in the bag.  It was that warm.  By the time we were lining up for the start I was comfortable in my tank and skirt.  Too warm!!!
We said goodbye and good luck to our elite buddies (MaryAnne and Arianne.  I have elite buddies!  I feel special.) and the rest of us hit the potty lines one more time, just as every other of the thousands of runners did.  And then we realized that we were about 20 people back in line and it was just a couple of minutes to start.  People were dashing into the fields behind the potty line up by the dozens.  Uh, yeah, I didn't want to step in someone's poop (it happened-not to me, but it happened) so I opted to wait in line.  Thankfully everyone moved quickly and we made it to the big fat lineup before the horn went off.

I still wasn't nervous.
What the heck?

And there was the horn.  And the cheer.  And the crowd slowly started moving.
And then just like XLMIC told me I would, I got all teary.
I was finally doing this!!!  Awesome moment.

I decided before I even crossed the start mat that I would run conservatively.  I knew I wanted to take the first few miles more slowly that I normally would run because I was afraid of going out to fast.  And with as warm as it was at 6:45am, I knew I was headed to a hot finish and I don't run so well in the heat.
I spent the first two miles with my bus buddy.  We chatted a little, but mostly we just soaked it all in.  I remember around mile two she was telling me about two friends of hers who did a marathon this year, the one felt the need to stay with the other even though they ran different paces, and that one who had stayed was super frustrated with her slow finish.  She said "don't feel like you need to stay with me if you are faster".  I felt guilty when I realized about 3 minutes later that I had started going a little faster and had already lost her.  whoops.
Miles one and two at about a 9:50 pace, I felt awesome and knew I could pick it up a little but didn't want to push it much still.  Mile 3 9:30, Mile 4 8:58.
I was in love with the landscape from the very beginning.  The sky was lighting up from about mile 2, the light cast amazing color across the hills.
A few miles in and the mindless chatter and bad jokes started to slow.  Did you know that everyone is a comedian the first few miles of a marathon?  It was funny in mile 1.  It was tolerable in mile 2.  I had to ignore it after mile 3.
The miles were flying by, even without music.  I had decided not to use music until I hit Veyo so that I was running comfortably, not pushing my pace, and had a little pick-me-up when the hill hit.  I was shocked at how many people were already breathing really heavy.  Like struggling heavy.  Already?  Too soon!  But it made me feel great that I was still very comfortable.
Mile 5 9:07, Mile 6 8:52, Mile 7 8:49
I'd been eyeing the 4:15 pacer, staying close behind so I could have an idea of where I was without doing math.  Planning to kick it in in the second half.

Then in the distance, there was Veyo.  I have heard so much about this dreaded hill.  Veyo is a little town, but it's a little town at the bottom of a big hill.  And when you think you've hit the top you really haven't, because you keep going uphill for a couple of miles.  I was told "don't be a hero", just walk Veyo.  What?  Totally not me.  Besides, I like hills.  I also had the pleasure of seeing my good friend Ashley at Veyo right before I hit the hill.  Awesome pick me up.  I turned on the music and went.
Mile 8 10:02, Mile 9 9:47, Mile 10 9:42
I had lost the 4:15 pacer with my bathroom break.  Dangit.
Still going uphill.
I ran into a friend from out here at Mile 9 and he had passed the friends that he was running with so we ran together for a while.  It was great to have conversation for a bit, which is funny because very rarely do I like to chat while running.  It was a nice distraction on the continuous hills and fun to get to know him a little better.  He's run a number of marathons and did his first 70.3 this year so it was fun to hear about those.
Mile 11 9:39, Mile 12 9:30, Mile 13 8:55
Dave dropped off at the halfway point, his hamstring was tightening up so he needed to reign his pace a bit.  But I had caught passed the 4:15 guy a while ago!

I realized that I was just barely over two hours.  I think I was 2:02.  I remember thinking "Oh my word-I could really sub 4 this thing!"  I have heard all about how it is the perfect negative split course.  I reminded myself to keep it comfortable because it was heating up, and that I'd rather just run by feel and miss the 4:00 cut off but finish feeling good than push it and finish half dead.  I didn't know what to expect from my body after the 21 mile point and I didn't want to walk.
Mile 14 9:35 (more hills), Mile 15 8:42, Mile 16 9:03

Still feeling absolutely incredible.  Totally buoyed up by the people who had gone out to Snow Canyon to cheer runners.  Left nearly breathless by the amazing beauty of Snow Canyon.  Amazed at the fact that it just kept getting more and more beautiful out there.
I did steal someone's poster at this point.  Kind of.  There was an awesome lineup of ladies who had posters with "Punch here for Power" and "Energy Boost" posters-so fun.  Runners were being lame and not giving them any love, except for one lady in front of me.  All the other spectators loved it when she hit the posters, so I figured I'd get in on the fun.  First one?  woo-hoo!  Second one?  uh, I punched a little hard.  And she wasn't paying attention.  And I realized I was running with her poster stuck to my hand.  Good times.

Mile 17 9:24, Mile 18 9:34, Mile 19 9:50

Anyone who tells you that you just have to get up Veyo and the rest of the marathon is downhill is a big fat stinkin' liar.  I was SO grateful that Steve had warned me that it is continual hills!  I am sure I would have felt deflated if I'd had no warning on that.

Mile 20 9:53, Mile 21 9:14, Mile 22 9:21

I realized at mile 21 that I'd officially run longer than I ever had before.  And I had actually run the whole thing except the few steps at aid stations that I needed to slow down enough to get the water.
I had stopped for Icy Hot rubdowns twice and hit up my third one around mile 23.  Best volunteers ever.  I will be ruined running any other marathon that doesn't have people sitting on the side of the road ready to rub down my legs in the second half.  It was amazing!  The quads were pretty tight after all the hills, and my IT Band and knee had some uncomfortable moments along the way-this really helped a ton!

Also, at mile 22 I thought to myself "Wow-this is GREAT!  I LOVE this!!  I'm SO going to do an ultra! I wonder what 50ks they have in Utah......"  Which is also about when I realized that I had well passed the 18-20mile mark and had not had the infamous 'hitting the wall' moment.  I felt amazing.

We had been blessed with some spotty cloud cover throughout the course which had been a huge help in keeping the temperature down, if only by a few degrees.  But honestly, by the end it was hot.  Even though high 80s was lower than the predicted temp, it was hot.  And out there in the red rock on a big blacktop road, you feel the heat.
Mile 23 was the only one where I felt a bit of a struggle.  I walked a few steps out of the aid station before I told myself to get over it and RUN.  I knew I wouldn't sub 4, but still felt better than one should at mile 23, so I was ok with that.  I knew I would clear 4:15, so I was good!
Mile 23 10:30
Then we started coming in to St George.  And to a lot of people.  And I KNEW it was close.  I got all emotional again as I realized that I was only a 5k away from the finish.  That's nothing!  People were awesome.  Passing out popsicles, spraying runners with water, awesome cheering and support.
Mile 24 9:07, Mile 25 9:42
It was flat.  It was hot.  Winding through the neighborhoods started to feel like a maze where you would never hit those last few turns.  Still awesome people.  Crowd getting even louder.  Someone passing out washcloths soaked in ice water.  Bands playing on the side of the road.
And then the 25.2 mile sign..."the most important mile!"
I knew I was close.  So very close!  Darn that last mile!  I picked up as much as I could, and though I felt good I was getting tired so there wasn't too much left to pick up.
Mile 26 9:18
And that last quarter of a mile.  Wow.
People down.  One on the side of the road.  One guy in the middle of the road trying to stretch out his leg and crying out in pain.  They were so close!  I hurt for them.  They were just steps away!
Turning that last corner was crazy.  Hitting the chute, SEEING the finish!
Do you know how hard it is to run when you are crying?
I was THERE.  I had made it, I felt good, and I was still running!  I averaged an 8:41 pace for the last quarter of a mile.  I saw Ashley again-so awesome!  I scanned the crowds for Aaron and my kids.  Had I missed them?  Oh please tell me I didn't miss them!  Where are they??
And then there they were.  Up in the top corner of the bleachers at the finish line.

I was choking back sobs, SO happy to see them!

I thought "I hope Aaron doesn't drop Sam!" as he was snapping pictures of me.

I couldn't leave well enough alone so I kicked in everything I had left and passed a few people just before the line.  I hope they didn't think I was a jerk.  I just needed to get there a little faster. (and hey, I passed seven people)

Crossing that finish line was amazing.
I knew I wanted to do this again!
My official finish time was 4:11:44.
But of course I stopped my garmin for the three bathroom breaks, so my actual run time was a little less.


I tucked the garmin and ipod under my shirt and walked through the sprayers at the finish.  Wow that felt good.
Then the medal was placed around my neck.  And though it's the goofiest picture and my shirt was riding up in the front, this smile is 100%.

(that's the flip flop runner behind me!)

I wandered into the finish area, grabbed waters, tried a popsicle (a few bites in I couldn't do it anymore), tried a big piece of wheat bread (i love Great Harvest, but again, a few bites in and I couldn't do it), and headed for the ice cream sandwiches.
I finally found Aaron who got a big sweaty gross kiss from me and a greeting of "you are doing this with me next time!"  Probably not what he expected to hear I'm guessing.
The eating trend continued

and that's about as far as I got with the ice cream sandwich.  Oh well.

A quick official finisher photo

A photo with my crew

and we were off.  It was about 11:30 and we had to be out of that fabulous funky motel at noon.  They were insistent.  We bolted back to the hotel where I quickly showered and changed and we hopped in the car to head home.  It was a hilariously quick anti-climactic post marathon experience!

But oh, it was so wonderful!  I loved the marathon.  LOVED it!  I am so looking forward to the next one!  Having done one now, I know that I am capable of running it a lot faster.  Sub 4 is definitely something within reach and something I can't wait to accomplish.  As for that Ultra idea that came up at mile 22?  Absolutely!  Good news?  There are a couple of 50k's in Ut.  One of them is in Goblin Valley-oh what an awesome run that would be!  I love that place.  Though that will be a little further down the road, hopefully only two years, as we need to get Aaron through this school first and let the kids get a little older so I have more options for babysitters for my long runs.
I did also get Aaron to commit to a marathon with me in two years.  Yes really!!!  The only thing better than doing a marathon again (well, besides doing it in slightly cooler temperatures) would be doing it with him at my side.  I am SO looking forward to that!

I feel like I've left out so many things.....things I saw, things I thought about....but it's already a novel.  I suppose some of those things are things that wouldn't mean much to anyone other than myself anyway.  One of those things about running is that it holds so many very personal little gems.  That's part of the magic and the appeal....one of the things that keeps me coming back.  I can't wait to go back.


Monday, October 10, 2011

St George Marathon

The St George Marathon Novel to be more exact.  Part one anyway.  Yes, there's that much to say.

Wow.  Just......wow.

Even before I finished this run I thought to myself many times "I can't wait to do this again!".
My first words to Aaron when I found him after crossing the finish line were "You are doing this with me next time!"
(side note:  I actually got a commitment from him to do one with me in two years!  I gave him two years because I want to make completely sure that his hip is all healed and recovered before he even thinks about starting training, and that's a long process.)

It was amazing.

Obviously the St George story started months ago with all the training.  I learned a lot about myself through and while running this year.  Had some wonderfully awesome moments.  Had some low moments.  There were a lot of smiles, some pain, and even some tears along the way.  All in build up of that 26.2 victory lap.

St George was the finale for our trip.  After an amazing week it was the perfect ending.

We rolled in on Thursday night after driving in from Anaheim.  We got settled in our (funky) little motel and fed the kids dinner.
Why do I say funky motel?  Oh so many reasons.  The bright yellow and orangey red wall colors were....bright.  We had a two bedroom set up with one little bathroom....the toilet flushed if you held down the handle long enough.  It had a sofa bed (icky one), but no sheets, blankets or extra pillows.  It did have three Bibles though.

And feet from a broken frog statue.

And fabulous decor that included a plastic golf bag hanging from the wall with plastic plants sticking out of it, as well as fabulous artwork like this:

and this:

But it did have a kitchen, which was really all I cared about so it was perfect.

Anyway-I was starving and the Del Taco that the kids ate just didn't sound good (nor did it seem like a wise choice two days out.....I don't trust fast food that much), so I was relieved to hear that there was now a Paradise Bakery & Cafe in St George.  Aaron and I were able to sneak out for a quick dinner just before 9:00.  A little late, but we made it before they closed so it was all good!  I ordered the food that had carried me through an awesome relay back in May, hoping it would treat me well again.  Chicken walnut salad on molasses bread.  It is totally not something I would eat (which my family and friends can vouch for), not sure how I even ever tried one in the first place, but it is SO good!  A big fat bowl of fruit   and fresh chocolate chip cookies on the side and I was in heaven.  While it took me just slightly over 3 1/2 minutes to inhale it all, it was the best thing I had eaten in days.  And chocolate chip cookies (especially from Paradise) are fabulous carb loading.  I highly suggest them.
One of the best 30 minute dates I've ever had.

Oh, and did I mention it was NINETY FIVE degrees at 9pm that night?
To quote my friend Hollie, Holy swear word!  It was H.O.T.
I really worried about what that would mean for the weekend.

Friday involved sleeping in (yay!) and hanging out.

We had the opportunity to visit with some of our very best friends in the entire world who were also in town for the marathon.  We used to get our regular fill of these folks when they lived across the street, which was always entirely too much fun, but since their move to Texas this past Spring we have definitely missed out!!   It was SO awesome to see them again!  The kids didn't know they were coming so when they opened up the door and there stood Steve and Ashley, they all freaked out.  Granted they followed that with "where are your kids?!", but still, they were super excited to see them even with the kids.

It must have been awesome picture day.  Please hear the dripping sarcasm.

Were we looking at that fabulous plastic golf bag Ashley?

Do I even want to know what Aaron and Steve were doing?

I have to include this picture of Charli just thrilled to death that they were there.

We did have some cute pictures, but these are much more fun, no?

Steve has run St George 8 times now (only twice more to the 10yr club!  so close!) and some of his family lives there, so he is very familiar with the race.  He gave me a great run down of everything I could possibly want to know, including that there are a number of hills throughout the course, not just the dreaded Veyo that everyone talks about.  This would prove invaluable!  We spent a couple of hours just hanging out and catching up, it was so great.  I love how seeing good friends just rejuvinates the soul!

Once they had to get going we headed to the Expo.  I picked up my packet and we wandered around for a bit, the kids taking full advantage of every "spin the wheel and win!" situation that they could, as well as the candy out at most vendors.  I did stop in at the first timers clinic even after my awesome briefing from Steve, which was really quite fun.  The guy who does it has run this race 20 something times, it was fun to hear from him and see a lot of pictures from along the course.  Some of the questions at the end of his little speech left me feeling very well prepared and a little nervous for some of the other first timers!

The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out at the hotel, just resting and playing in the pool.  I did my Freschetta not only for dinner, but for lunch as well, putting down 7 pieces of pizza (that's just one slice short of a whole pizza if you were wondering) that day.  Along with some french bread.  Yes, it was risky.  I knew I'd be ok with 3 or 4, but I took a chance on the two meals.
If my dad reads this he should feel better, he feared that I was either running too much or not eating enough because he thought I was starting to look "gaunt in the face".  I was kind of thinking I just finally didn't look like the fat face kid anymore, which I'm fine with.  Apparently I don't spend enough time around my dad lately, because anyone who sees me often knows how much I love to eat!

I also spent the afternoon and evening pretending that the cold that I had been hoping to avoid all week (and had been pretending for days wasn't hitting me) was *not* rearing it's ugly head.  I was feeling achy, starting to cough and my nose was running like a faucet, but dangit-I would not have a cold!  It's all a matter of willpower!
I crashed early, hitting bed around 8:30.

I slept so much better than I thought I would, even though it took me almost an hour to actually fall asleep.  I woke up a couple of times with that fear that I would miss my alarm, but otherwise it was a restful night.
And thank goodness, because the alarm went off shortly after 3:00.

Aaron was fabulous to get up with me, and get me off to the bus pickup on time.
I was surprisingly calm the days prior to the race and figured the nerves would kick in that morning.  Nope!  Still felt fabulously calm as I got dressed and ready to go.
(i heart my arms)
curled my eyelashes (to keep them out of my eyes.  really.  no, no makeup was involved and yes Aaron made fun of me for doing this.)

and prepped my almond butter on wheat toast with sliced strawberries.

Food rituals are fantastic.  Even when I wear no makeup and have that scary I'm not fully awake yet because it's way too early in the morning look.

So as not to wake the kids I did everything by the light of the fridge.

I had Aaron Sharpie my arm with his encouragement that has become my mantra.  

That way he was with me every step of the 26.2.

Everything was gathered up, I checked my bag for the 7,458th time and off we went.
The bus was only a few blocks away, and though it would have been plenty safe to walk there at 3:45 in the morning as the only other people out were runners also headed to the bus, Aaron drove me over quickly.  A nice cop took a picture of us together.

The flash highlights the barricades fabulously.

And then....I was off.

Stay tuned.....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Love Your Body 10k

I know I haven't recapped my last BIG race.  I'm still writing that novel.

I debated all week as to whether or not I would do this race.  Which is totally not like me.

Monday night (two days post marathon) I went out for an easy 2 mile run.  Short and slow, just to get those tight quads moving again.
The good news is that my legs felt amazing.  Other than that tightness in the quads, and a knee reminding me that it still wanted to be treated very nicely, everything felt great!  All those little spots that I'd fought with over the past few months all not only survived St George but also felt great in the aftermath.

I ran into only one problem on Monday night.....I couldn't breathe.

Ok, well technically I *could* breathe, otherwise I'd be dead.  But man, it hurt!
I don't know if it was that cold that I was pretending I didn't have (that walloped me on Sunday) or if I'd somehow just pushed my lungs harder than I thought on Saturday?  I don't know.  Either way it wasn't pretty.  I struggled through the second mile.

Though I had hoped to also squeeze in a couple of easy miles on Wednesday and Thursday this week, that didn't happen so I really wasn't sure what my body was going to do in a hilly 10k.

Then the cold snap hit.  Like highs in the low 40s cold.  I really don't mind running in the cold and actually prefer it to running in high heat, but it's been raining too.  Truthfully I kind of like running in the rain as well, but the cold plus the rain plus the tired body with a cold stacked up for a nice line of excuses to not run this one.

I was supposed to pick up my race packet on Friday afternoon, but didn't feel like dragging the kids out, so I skipped it realizing that if I had to pickup before the race I was going to actually get myself to the race.  I made arrangements with a friend from my neighborhood to drive together as well, knowing that I wouldn't leave someone else hanging.

I was committed.

This morning was cold.  It was raining again.

I rolled out of bed, killed 20 minutes standing in a warm shower then got dressed, did the wheat toast with almond butter (no strawberries today, we're out.  darn.), and bolted out the door.   I picked up Heather and then Yvonne and was so glad to have company!  Races are much more fun with other people that you know.

We drove to Thanksgiving Point where we sat in the car for a bit before finally venturing out to pick up our things.  And after pickup we headed right back to the car where we spent the next half hour killing time and staying warm.

It was so cold that the windows were all fogged.
Thankfully they didn't complain about the smell when I Biofreezed my knee.

The rain tapered off just in time for the run to begin.  Yay!

We didn't get out of the car until about 15 minutes before our start, at which time it had warmed up a few degrees (yay again!) to a comfortably cool temperature.  Yes it was comfortable because I had long sleeves, a jacket and gloves, I was prepared.  And Yes, I still wore a skirt.  The legs warm up quickly.

We watched the 6k walk/run start (it's a little longer than 5k so that their course winds through the gardens as well) which was 10 minutes before our start, and we chatted for a bit about goals.  Since I didn't know what to expect I really was going to be happy with anything that beat last year's finish.  Granted that wasn't a very lofty goal since last year I when I ran this one I had had the stomach flu for two days and Sam was 8 or 9 weeks old.  I ran fueled on half a banana, some gatorade and Immodium, which was the most I'd kept in me for those two days.  Prime racing conditions!  My previous official finish time was 1:05:51.
I really wanted to just clear the one hour mark, and would be thrilled to hit anywhere under 55 minutes, even though I knew I should have been able to easily hit 50-52 minutes based on what I was running my 6-8 mile runs at over the past few months.  Sub 50min was a little lofty for me in current conditions, but it will definitely be my next 10k goal.

The run was fabulous.
Everything worked out perfectly and I'm so very glad that I didn't bail!
I started out comfortably and after mile one decided to crank it up a bit and go with it.
Not only did my legs cooperate, but it didn't hurt to breathe.  Well, not till the side stitch the last tenth of a mile, but that's doable.
This run is always so beautiful!  It winds around the Thanksgiving Point grounds and then through the paths of the gardens.  Though obviously there isn't a ton of color left in the gardens at this point (there was snow here this week), it is still beautiful.  It is a little like winding through a maze as they thread you through the different areas of the garden, and there is a lot of hill running involved, but I have learned over the past few months that I love hills.
And the perfect song hit right as I was winding through the gardens approaching the first-and biggest-hill.

(do yourself a favor and listen to and watch the whole thing.  This guy is incredible!!)

Running the beat on this song allows me to keep a nice 8:30ish min/mile pace.  It was fitting accompaniment to running through the gardens as well.  I just kept this one on repeat because I knew it could help me keep pace through the second half of this run.

Being able to keep that pace through garden mileage and up the hills let me pass dozens of people and I realized that there weren't that many runners in front of me, it was mostly walkers who hadn't finished the 6k yet.  I kicked it in just a touch more to average an 8:13 pace for the last mile, I wish I could have pushed it just a bit more but much of the end is uphill and I was running out of oomph as my legs reminded me that they were still recovering.

I ended up clocking an official finish of 51:47.
Not only did I clear my acceptable goal, I cleared my happy goal and landed in my "I wish I was up for it today" zone!

Good enough for 6th (of 93) in Age Group

and 18th overall finish!

(10/10 update: I was just emailed the official finish list...they missed someone on this print out apparently, so I was actually 19th overall, but out of 281 people, I'll take it!)

WOW!  That totally made my day!
I've kind of ruined myself because I know how my speedy friends run and I know that if women who ran like them had been there today that I would have been significantly further down the list, but oh well, that's just details!  This time I will revel in the fact that I was up there towards the top!  And bask in knowing that a sub-50min 10k is in my future.

The friends that I went with both finished extremely well too, which just made the morning that much more fun.

(gosh I look ridiculously tired)

We were all smiles, even though it got pretty darn cold once we finished running and the wind started making all the sweaty spots freeze.

I had the same photo issue with this race as I had last year, that issue being that despite the photographers being at the finish, there isn't one of me.  Not that race photos are ever any good anyway, but still.  It's the principle of the matter.  I don't have a finish photo to mock.  I did take a step up in the ranks though, whereas last time it was a bunch of pictures of my friend Ashely who was running next to me the whole time-and my arm (because they cut out all of me but my arm), this year all of me made it into the background of someone else's finish photo.  I'll let it go since it was some lady who had unloaded her kids from her jogging stroller and the kids were crossing the finish line.  Definitely a cute photo for them.  And I do look good in their background.  (But I do have to add-a little dangerous for the small kids who are in the path of the runners sprinting in to the finish!)

I can't end without mentioning one last highlight.  In addition to the regular bagels, bananas and oranges at the finish, they had Lofthouse cookies.  Locals know what I'm talking about.  These are the cookies I cannot buy because I eat the entire carton.  To die for!  I struggled to choke down half a bagel but couldn't pass up the cookies so I tried one.  Then chased it with two more.  Perfection.   Better than a bagel any day!
(of course my last highlight had to do with food!  If that surprises you in any way, shape or form, you need to get to know me a little better!)

Happy, smiley, and loving my legs more every day....

Makes a mama proud

Interrupting the vacay recap with a fabulous moment in mothering.
(And I'm waiting to get the rest of the pics which I won't have till tomorrow, so I'll catch up then.)

Parent Teacher conference was this week.
All the kids are doing fabulously, which always makes a mom (and dad too of course) proud.
I love the things that we get sent home with from these meetings with the teachers, especially with the younger kids.

Dallin is 6 and in first grade.  His teacher this year was Jacob's first grade teacher two years ago and we love her.  Strangely enough she seems to not be scared of us or having a child of ours again.  Phew!

We sat down with Mrs P and chatted for a minute and then she asked "Do you have a big race coming up or something?  Dallin's been talking an awful lot about his Mom's running!"
Yay Dallin!  Granted she didn't say if it was good or bad talk.....
We explained that I just did St George and she said "ahh....that must be it!  We've been hearing about it."

And then she passed us his September journal.
While writing neatly is definitely not his strong point (yet, nor was detailed art work this day apparently), there was one entry that actually made me teary, right there in front of Aaron and Mrs P.

"This is my goel to se my mom fnish a ras."
(this is my goal-to see my mom finish a race)
He is on a scooter because when he comes along on runs with me he rides his bike or scooter.

He has been to a couple of events of mine, but never actually seen me cross a finish line.  That he wanted to made my heart happy!  That he got to last week makes me even happier.

I have the best fan base in the entire world.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day two....toes in the sand. Heaven!

(head's up-this is a picture heavy post, and I didn't bother to crop or edit any of them)

Fun little tidbit about our trip....the kids didn't really know about it.
They knew we were going to St George for a few days, so they figured we were just packing ahead of time.  After that whole preparedness challenge, we told them we were just being prepared.  It worked.
We had let Malia in on the fact that we were going to be gone for the whole week so she didn't panic about missing that much school, and on Saturday we let Taylor and Alaina in on the fact that we were leaving town a few days earlier and making a stop in Vegas and not just St George.  They had no idea about the rest of it.
As we left Vegas on Monday morning Aaron said "hey, why don't we just go to the beach?!".  The kids scoffed with "yeah right" and "suuuure, let's go to the beach".

We drove down the strip to show the kids the awesome buildings, and the Statue of Liberty ("the small one from Las Vegas") which they loved.  It involved a lot of "Kids look at that!  but don't look too closely...."
Despite the crazy crap (yes, crap is appropriate terminology here), there really are some amazing things down in Vegas.  Too bad that such amazing architecture and creativity is surrounded by smut.

Ah, Vegas.
The Eifel Tower

("also the small one from Vegas")

And honest to a fault panhandlers.

Gotta love it.

The kids really didn't know we were headed to the beach, as usually when we are in Vegas we take off from the city area to go do something a little off the beaten path.  When we kept driving they started questioning whether or not we might actually be going to the beach after all....

Word to the wise-always fill up with gas in a real city.  Aside from the possibility of running out, you will go bankrupt if you have to fill up at a gas station in the middle of nowhere.

Do you see those numbers?  $4.99-$5.19.  Ouch.
Unless you're from California and then it's just life as normal I suppose.

Coming through the canyon you catch a glimpse at the end of the road.....

I could already smell it in the air....windows go down the last couple of miles of the canyon.
And then there it is.  One of my most favorite spots in the whole world.

Which doesn't make a ton of sense for someone who hates traffic

and doesn't love tons of people.

This is where I sing the praises of my husband.  As the marathon approached, my mileage dropped to practically nothing.  The dreaded taper.  My legs were a tad bit restless.  Add many hours of driving over two days and not only were my legs restless, my mind was too.  As we pulled up to Cleo Street he knew I was chomping at the bit.  I needed to squeeze in a couple of miles on Monday and so to satisfy my love affair with running at the beach, he had me change into my running clothes and take off before anyone had even changed into swimsuits.  I was cruising down the PCH and then winding through the sidewalks and stairs of the Laguna Beach coast while he was back at the van managing the changing and wrangling of eight children.  Now that is true love!
I flew on that run.  I held a pace a full minute per mile faster than my normal quick pace for a short run, which is crazy if you know the amount of hills and stairs that wind along just past the main boardwalk at Laguna.  Then figure in the warmth of 2 in the afternoon and the humidity (not *that* much, but I do live in a desert).  Like I said, I was a tad restless.

After running the crazies out I met up with the family.
Oh how I love the beach.

The kids loved it too.

SO much fun watching them play in the water, explore through the rocks and dig in the sand.

Charlotte looked like this the ENTIRE time.

All squeals and giggles for hours.

Some body surfing

Some getting rolled

Some "DON'T take a picture of me right now!" after getting rolled.  heehee

A whole lot of fun.

Sam's inaugural trip to Laguna, which he loved.  Some kids fear the ocean or hate the feel of the sand....nope, not our babies!

Aaron's dad joined us for the first few days of our trip as well.

He wasn't exactly dressed for the beach, but I think he still had fun watching the kids play.

Cleo and Sleepy Hollow.....really never thought I'd have Sam here.

I love Laguna Beach.
I love it even more with my best friend.