Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween and The Burn Half Marathon

Halloween came and went without any challenges for me this year.  You see, I'm sort of a candy/chocolate/cookie/cake aholic and Halloween can be very tricky for me with eating waaaaay too much junk.  Well, this year I decided to hand out coupons for little mini frosty's at Wendy's.  VOILA!  Problem solved.  I had no candy here to tempt me before, during, or after the trick or treaters came.

Mark and I also went on a double date with our new friends Cory and Colette Nielson.  We went to dinner at Joe's Crab Shack, which I had never been to before and had a delightful time.  The food was delicious and the company was so fun.  We then headed up to Salt Lake to Trader Joe's to do a little shopping.  It was fun to wander the store having them tell us what was good.  I bought a lot of cool items and look forward to tasting and feeding my family some new things.  We ended the evening by coming back to our house and visiting Kali and Wade and the grand kids who were here in their Halloween costumes.  Miles was Batman and Harper was Tinkerbell.  We held little baby Graham who is still just so sweet and little, just a tender package from heaven. 
  
The next morning was November 1st and a half marathon way out West in Butterfield Canyon I had signed up for.  I thought it was a timely event for those wanting to burn off extra Halloween candy eaten.  This was actually a 10K of complete uphill action for a gain of a little more than 2700 feet.  The RD would then have vehicles to transport those who wanted a ride back down the mountain to the starting area. OR, for those wanting to make it a true half marathon they could turn around and run back down the hill.  Who wouldn't want to do just that?  Running down hill is the reward for all the climbing!  A complete thrill!!

I met up with a group of running friends and had fun visiting with them at the starting line area.  We are definitely a crazy bunch of runners. 
My friend Josh is the king of Selfies and makes them part of his pre-race ritual.  Well, he actually makes them part of his whole race experience.  He is a nut!
 This was definitely a smaller race since this was its first year.  It was actually called an underground race and we didn't find out the location until 48 hours before it happened.  It was all pretty hush-hush so that the RD didn't have to get permits and could keep the costs way low.  He later told me that he is planning to turn this into a full blown event next year.  I think it's a great idea!  The race started at 9:00 am and we were off.  I ran the race with my friend Cory and we would switch off each mile with who was in charge of walking or running.  We tried to run as much of it as we could but wow was that tough!  There were some pretty steep areas that absolutely could only be walked.  The weather was absolutely perfect for a race morning and the scenery was incredible.  

As we were nearing the top we ended up running alongside a really motivated, cute little 12 year old boy named Alec.  ( He pronounced it Ollick) and he told us his story of how he became a runner and how many siblings he had.  He talked about school and family life and we praised him and hung with him for quite awhile.  He was a great kid who kept us smiling.  
 At one hour and 29 minutes we reached the top of this beastly mountain.  It really was quite an adventure getting to the top, but it was so beautiful.  I forgot to take a photo at the summit.  Shoot!  This photo of a few of us at the top was taken by the RD.  Just notice where I happen to be hanging out.  I'll give you a hint.  I like my race goodies!  I'm over there enjoying them, or pondering what to enjoy.  Regardless, I don't skip race treats.  That's definitely one of the perks of races for me. 
 Coming back down the mountain was casual, beautiful, easy, quiet, serene, and rewarding after the tough climb.  I will never tire of running half marathons.  They are my favorite race distance. 
(I still love me a great ultra trail run though)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Protein Energy Bites

Protein Energy Bites

My blog isn't a food blog, by any means, but when you are fortunate enough to have a friend share an awesome recipe then I feel like the rest of the world needs to benefit too.  So I will share too.  
(ok maybe not the whole world but those who may be interested who read this blog can benefit)
Mark and I recently went hiking with these cute people, the Nielsons, and we talked about so many fun things as we hiked along Little Cottonwood Canyon, getting lost, laughing, bonding, and just having a great time together.  We also talked about good health and nutrition and Colette shared a recipe with me called energy bites. It was exactly what I had been looking for.

I recently purchased a couple boxes of Good2Go bars which have a few of the same ingredients as the recipe Colette shared and so I was excited to get to try out my own homemade yummy-ness, without having to spend 3.00 a bar.

Ok, before you get too excited about trying the following recipe I need to preface with the fact that I am terrible at following recipes exactly.  The one Colette shared was very delightful but I just wanted to tweak mine with a little wider variety of ingredients.  I also am a peanut butter and honey addict so I wanted to adjust some of those amounts as well.  I also wanted to add almond butter with the peanut butter.  I also used crunchy peanut butter.  I also have chocolate peanut butter and so I added some of that as well.  See?  I've already changed and tweaked my own recipe.

So this is the recipe but the finished product isn't this exactly.   
 After mixing it all up this is what it looked like to go into the fridge for its 30 minutes of cooling.
 It actually probably got more like 60 minutes of fridge time because I was a busy gal getting ready for some trail running/hiking time in the morning.  I plan to take some of these yummy balls with me.
Aaaaaaand.....................here is what the final product looks like.  They are super duper delicious and I don't even care how many calories are in them.  I should, but I know they are healthy and made with love from my own hands.
Enjoy!!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Corner Canyon 50K

October 18, 2014
Corner Canyon 50K

This is an amazing race that assists a different person/family each year with their fight against cancer.
Troy Robertson, and Johnny Runner are the RD's and they do an absolutely fantastic job in the whole aspect of this run.  The trails are marked well.  The aid stations are well stocked.  The meal afterwards is quite delicious.  It's just a well put together race.

This is the 3rd year it has been put on and I have run all three years now. 
My times for all 3 years are:
1st year: 9 hours 46 minutes 17 seconds
2nd year: 9 hours 21 minutes 17 seconds 
3rd year: 6 hours 58 minutes 6 seconds

After running last year I had decided I was swearing off this race because of the difficulty of it.  But if you are a runner than you understand the mentality of repeating races that you just feel like you need to conquer and improve upon.

I picked up my packet on Friday evening and got to bed by around 10:00 pm and up at 4:15 am.

This is what 5:00 for me looked like.  I was excited, nervous, and ready to take on this challenge.  
I have been working hard for 1 solid year now with rowing and stair climbing at the gym.
I just wanted to see what this body of mine could do with a little more strength under my belt now.
It was so fun to see a few familiar faces at the starting line.  Especially since this would be a fairly small race with only about 50 people running the 50K.
Galen Garrison has been a running friend for awhile and has given me many great tips for ultra running.  He has run a lot of the same ultras I have and has even traveled to Logan with me and Mark for a big race up there.  He's a good guy.
Melanie is one of my running idols.  She works out at the same gym as me and every time she rides the spin bike I admire her beautiful back muscles.  She's an Iron woman and is CRAZY fast!  She went on to win the race today as top female.  Yes!  She's pretty awesome.
Carl Tippets has run this race every year too.  He's just as nice as can be.  I first met him a couple years ago when I swept/cleaned the Red Hot 30K course, in Moab.  He was running with his daughter and was just so patient and kind helping her along with her ultra experience.  What a great dad!
After a few pre-race announcements and instructions the race got underway at 6:00 am.  This early hour meant we would be running in the dark for well over an hour.  I had my headlamp but was a little disappointed that it didn't shine very bright.  I probably should have changed the batteries.  I ran behind a gal whose light was super bright for a good 3+ miles.  I was very grateful for that.  This photo of the Salt Lake Valley was taken around mile 5 as the sky was finally starting to lighten up a little.
Sunrises always make me happy.  I love the thoughts they bring:
 new energy, love, inspiration, strength, joy, happiness, a new day!
I also love that I can see Mount Timpanogos way off in the distance from this angle!

Our first aid station was mile 3.6 for water only.  The next one wouldn't be until mile 9.6 at the top of what is called Peak View.  After enjoying a few goodies there at the second aid station this is the scenery I would be enjoying for quite a fun section of the course.  Lots of fast downhill running for a few miles.  But usually that just means some brutal uphill is coming.
So that is precisely what happened.  Oh well, it's OK.  It's a hill, get over it, right? I was prepared and ready for tackling any hill I came upon today.  Trust me, there were plenty to tackle.   Back to Peak view for aid station stop #3 after this loop section at mile 16.  I refueled and grabbed some goodies for later.

The next aid station was only a couple miles down the trail at Potato Hill but would be used twice in the race at mile 18.5 and then again at mile 27.5.  I refilled my water pack and carried on.  Not wasting time at aid stations is something I've learned to try and be better at if I'm hurrying.  Get in and get out pronto!!
After enjoying 22 miles of this beautiful place to run and showing a sign of my feelings about all I've experienced, I knew the worst of what would be happening was getting ready to begin.  I would call this next brutal section the Death March!!!
THIS.......
 AND THIS.......
AND THIS IS just a little taste of what was experienced for a solid three miles.  It was not a pretty section and the RD's get a kick out of making it part of the course.  They said Widow Maker is a signature section of their race and they won't plan to ever take it out. (Trust me, I asked them to)  It's always the section for me that makes me question why I do this??

Finally at the top of the hill at the aid station called Maack Hill (named after the RD Johnny Maack Runner who has battled and beat cancer) I refilled my water again and fueled up with some goodies and headed back down this mountain.  Pretty much the rest of the way to the finish line would be some nice, sweet downhills.
This would be my final aid station at about 28.5 miles.  I looked at my watch and saw it read about 6 1/2 hours.  The volunteers there said I had about 3.5 miles left to go.  I wondered if I could break 7 hours?  Would it be possible?  How accurate was their guess at the distance left to cover?
I decided I wouldn't know unless I tried.  I thanked them for their service and headed off down, down, down the trails.  Running downhill always makes me giggle, and I had to do that a few times.

I was in such a hurry to get to the finish line that I probably didn't enjoy much of the scenery of the last few miles but that was alright with the goal I had just decided to attempt.

It was going to be close.  I just kept at it, running with all the energy and speed I could muster up.  I saw the finish line area coming into view with about 6 minutes left and so I put on the full throttle!  I was so happy to cross that finish line with a couple minutes to spare.

What a great race, great day, and great experience!
I should be back again next year! 
Why end a good thing?

Official results:
6:58:06 (not sure how it's so different)
13th place overall of 41
5th woman of 20
 Pretty cute little medal.  I now have three exactly alike :)
Trader Joe's was one of the sponsors and they hooked us up with lots of goodies at the finish line.  I also won a couple prizes, a solar flashlight and a bottle of energy/endurance workout stuff.  Fun!
I am finally exhausted and enjoying some chilling out with my compression socks and a little piano playing for relaxation.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Long Trail Run, Chasing Grandkids, and an Engagment

Wow, what an incredibly busy, happy day, filled with so many blessings!  
Life is so great!

I met up with a few running pals and headed up into the trails of Pleasant Grove, and the face of Timpanogos, my favorite mountain ever!
What a packed mountain it was today filled with hunters, hikers, runners, scout troops, and friends.  But it was fun to see so many people out enjoying it too.
How could anyone NOT want to be out here?

The weather was so incredible.  I love running when it's brisk and chilly, probably in the upper 40's.

I'm in training for my next 50K in a week and so today's run needed to be full of strength and endurance.  That was accomplished through some major climbs but the reward at the top was so worth it.
We started around 7:20 am and wandered all over this beautiful canyon of Grove Creek for 12 1/2 miles and 5 hours of fun, beauty, and pure enjoyment of this amazing world we live!
How about someone build me a cabin up here and I will live in it and take care of it for you?
The colors were in full splendor!
 Heavenly Father was putting on a great show today!


The second half of the day was spent with these cute little kiddos.
You see, an engagement was about to happen with my oldest son, Cooper and his girlfriend Kari Gardner.
Kali and Wade were helping with the plans and so Mark and I got to wrestle with the littles for the evening.
What a great birthday present for Mark, being surrounded by all of his little grand kids.  His birthday celebrations would be put off a day when all of the family could be together on Sunday since there was so much happening with the engagement.
I actually fell asleep with this little guy for a nice 15 minute nap.  I think I earned it after climbing a mountain this morning.
Kali and Wade headed over to a corn maze where they set up this banner she made and a wooden crate with flowers that Cooper had purchased earlier in the day with Mark.
Kali would be there waiting ready to do photography as Cooper would get down on one knee and propose.
Cooper had informed the corn maze people ahead of time and they were so accommodating.  They were actually very excited about it and gave him two free tickets to get in. 
 After it was all over and Kali and Wade came home we hung around still visiting for awhile, and then had some dinner with them.

I was surprised to see Cooper and Kari stop by to visit as well.
We are so super excited for them!!

CONGRATULATIONS YOU CUTE LOVE BIRDS!
+
Cooper and Kari posted very sweet sentiments on their Facebook pages tonight.

"One year ago today, I met the most amazing woman.  Ever since then, my life hasn't been the same.  She makes me happier than anyone ever could.  It's finally official, we're ENGAGED!!  I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you Kari Gardner."


"This guy got me a really pretty ring!! Happy one year anniversary to the love of my life!  I'm so excited to be able to spend the rest of forever with you.  Thank you for treating me the way a woman should be treated and thank you for loving me how I've always wanted to be loved. You've been there for me through everything and have helped me in so many ways.  I am the happiest I've ever been, with you.  I love you!!"