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!!!
 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!!

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!!"

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sweetness of a Brand New Baby

Baby Graham Porter Poulsen was born on September 29th, 2014.
He is a total package of sweetness and love straight from heaven,
Straight from his Uncle Porter's arms to Porter's big sisters arms, Graham's mommy, Kali.
On Sunday evening, the day before Graham was to be induced we decided to head up the canyon to take a nice long walk on the Provo River Parkway trail to hopefully help speed up the onset of labor.  Kali, Wade, the kids and myself went.  Wade pushed the kids in the stroller and away we went. When we parked the car the sky was looking a little ominous.  The clouds were heavy and dark but we decided to give it a chance anyway.
There were so many people out enjoying the beautiful cool, Sunday early evening.
Bridal Veil falls was packed and so we walked on past there and continued up higher on the trail.
After a great fast-paced walk the thunder started and the lightening was coming more often. 
A light sprinkling was hitting our faces.
It didn't take too long and we were getting pelted with a downpour before we could get back to the car.  It was pretty crazy, but funny.
Me and Harper after being in the rain, were enjoying a little piano time together when we got back home.  This little girl melts my heart.  

Well, Monday morning came and no labor.  Kali was waiting for the hospital to call and tell her when to come in for the induction.  Well...................oops.  The Dr's office had forgotten to schedule it.  
Kali was not happy.  She had to wait until way later in the day to go in.  
But all is well in the world and this little guy was still born on Monday Sept 29th. 
And here he is, all 9 pounds of him and 21 inches long.  Just as sweet and cute as can be.
Since he was born so late at night, around 10:00 pm we decided to wait and go visit the next afternoon.  
I went over by myself and had a sweet visit with a few others that were there already, my mom, Monica, Wade and the other two grand kids.  
Then they all left and I had a sweet visit with just Kali and the baby.
I loved it.
I could cuddle a newborn baby forever! 
They are just so precious.
Later that night I went over again when Mark got off work.  Jordan and his girlfriend Katelyn stopped by too.  Cooper and Kari would come visit at another time.
What a beautiful day it is when a new spirit enters this world.
Welcome baby Graham!
We are going to love you forever!!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Huntsville Half Marathon

Wow!  Races in the rain are always a fun experience.  

I was asked to pace this half marathon a few weeks ago in the 1:50 spot.  I wasn't sure I could do it but told the pacer director I would give it a try.  I practiced 3 different times on a treadmill at the gym working on speed and was able to meet the challenge there.  I just wasn't up for trying it outside on the pavement.  I would much rather run in dirt on the trails when I run outside. But, I accepted the challenge anyway to pace.  

Friday evening I got to bed early around 9:00 pm and slept good for a few hours, and then tossed and turned from 2-5 am when the alarm went off.  Oh well, I take what sleep I can get on a pre-race eve. 

I headed North about 30 minutes to hook up with another pacer friend Rachael, who drove us up to Huntsville, another 60 minutes North in the pouring rain.  The sunrise coming through Weber Canyon was just incredible! 
We got to Huntsville and got our packets picked up and met up with the other pacers pacing the half marathon today.  I have run with all of these people before and enjoy the many friendships made through this crazy adventure of pacing and running.
Now, if you notice I am holding a 1:55 sign instead of the 1:50 I was asked to pace.  The dear sweet girl on the end, Melissa Willie, was ever so kind to switch me pacing spots.  Phew!!  I owe her some cookies!  I was so nervous about being able to hold an 8:28 pace for 13.1 miles on a not-so-much-downhill course.  The 1:55 spot made it so I had to keep an 8:46 pace instead, which was still a bit of a challenge today in the wind and rain.  
 This race was a very late starting half marathon-9:30 am.  What?  Crazy, but I was grateful since it was so far away from home and I would much rather sleep in my bed than a motel.  So around 8:15 we boarded the buses for the ride to the starting line.  I sat by my friend, London Riding and immediately I go into silly mode when the camera comes out.  Seriously, I need to just learn how to smile like a normal person.
 Even though I got to trade Melissa for 5 minutes slower I was still nervous about my job for the race.
Could I really do this when I am so used to running half marathons well past the 2 hour mark?
I just had to be so strong mentally and physically and perform well no matter what.  I didn't want to let the pace director down, or anyone else around me in the race who would have a goal to achieve.
 We got to the starting line area and I found my friend Josh Hansen.  What a great buddy.  I have run so many races with him since starting this running journey 4 years ago.  He is definitely like a little brother I've never had.  He is one funny guy.   
At 9:30 am the race started and we were off.  I wore my red jacket the entire race.  I think it only stopped raining for maybe a couple miles around 8 and 9.  Seriously?  My feet got wet, and I could feel blisters forming.  Keep trudging on though!!  The rain was coming in through my arm cuffs from holding my pacing sign and so I could feel rain pooling around my elbows.  Sheesh!  I still was having a fun time and just trying to stay focused on my task.  

The aid stations were great, almost every two miles, with oranges, bananas, pretzels, gatorade, and water.  The aid station at mile 10 was THE BEST!  It had cinnamon bears, swedish fish, and marshmallows.  You better believe I grabbed a couple handfuls!  I enjoyed those precious goodies for the next couple miles to help keep my mind off the extremely flat section we were running (in the wind no less)

I had a few people at different times throughout the course tell me I couldn't pass them.  That always makes me laugh!  I would slow down for a few seconds and tell them I would try not to, but of course I had to keep going on pace. I never had any one person stay with me for the entire race, which rarely happens anyway.  I did have a number of people come up and thank me after the race was over though.  I guess they were watching my sign from behind and grateful it was there.

I finished strong and feeling great with a time of 1:54:24.  Just 36 seconds under the 1:55.  Our pace director tells us we can be a little bit under the goal time.
 I headed over to the treat table and fueled up with some yummy goodness.  After-race treats are always a welcome sight for this hungry running lady.

Even though it rained so much, it wasn't a cold rain and so it was bearable.  It was a beautiful course with the fall leaves in the mountains and clouds down low.  Beauty everywhere and of course as I ran I was taking it all in with my thoughts being happy and spirits bright.  How can you not have a great experience when you get to behold the beauty of this great world we live while experiencing runner's highs?

I think this race will have to go on my repeat-for-next-year list.