Wednesday, October 31, 2012


OH MY GOODNESS!! I am a bit slow at catching up on my local newspaper but after a few visits to the local gym and a hanging out on the stair climber I came upon this story and nearly fell off of the machine! Really?  A bear right in the neighborhood!  The scary thing is I have run all Summer long up in the foothills of this area.  What would I have done if I encountered this thing out on the trail all alone?  I'm such a big chicken, and I'm pretty sure bears will go after chickens.  After quite a few months of feeling a very strong urge to get some pepper spray I finally did it. (Thank you brand new store Scheel's)  I'm still not sure how safe I'm going to feel out there on the trails with it but I'm hoping it helps.  If you'd like to know more about the local bear continue reading below. 

The removal of a 250-pound bear from a Lindon neighborhood has the police chief and wildlife officers warning residents to be aware of wildlife behavior.
The bear was spotted in a residential raspberry patch near the foothills at about 3 a.m., said Scott Root of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Root and others tranquilized the bear upon arrival between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. The incident happened last month.
"It was a very residential area," Root told the Daily Herald on Tuesday.
"Neighborhood visits this September from a 250-pound adolescent black bear, and from a much larger bull moose, have caused quite a stir," police chief Cody Cullimore told residents in the city's October newsletter. Both the bear and the moose were relocated to the mountains without incident by police and state Division of Wildlife Resources officers, "but it is a reminder that we live in their world," Cullimore said.
While moose sightings and removals are fairly common in Utah County and throughout the state, the bear removal is more rare, John Fairchild of the DWR told the Daily Herald.
A half dozen moose have been removed from Wasatch Front neighborhoods this year.
"Last week we moved a cow [moose] and two calves out of Park City," he said. "When they come into town they get darted and transported back to the mountains."
Bears are more frequently removed from campground areas, but rarely from residential neighborhoods, he said. Most bears are simply removed to the mountains, but an aggressive bear or a male that repeatedly returns to a campground or neighborhood may be euthanized. Cubs are sometimes taken to a refuge for the summer and then released back into the wild when they are old enough to care for themselves. Moose are taken to an area near Price, where officials are working to repopulate the herd near Range Creek.
Cullimore told residents that the bear and moose, which were removed from Lindon last month, likely turned up because of dry conditions in the mountains. They came into neighborhoods in search of water and food.
"Although these larger animals visit us less frequently, wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, rattlesnakes, lots of other kinds of snakes, lizards, scorpions and tarantulas are an almost daily occurrence," the police chief wrote. "We must always remember that we are members of the natural environment and that we are not alone. Large animals of many varieties call our area home, and some of them believe that it all still belongs to them. Please remember that due to the available food supply and water in the mountains, this could be a tough fall and winter for our wild friends. We expect to see more animals than normal in town if their conditions in the hills get desperate."
Always remember to give wild animals a wide berth and never try to approach, corner or catch them, he said.
"Every one of these critters can move faster than you think, and cute and cuddly can turn into angry and defensive in a hurry," he said.
The best approach is to call police, he said.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Provo Monster 5K, and Annaleesa's Birthday

I had absolutely no Saturday race plans for today lined up, until......I got on Facebook last night and my running friend from RA (Runner's Anonymous) posted that she had a free 5K to give away.   Lori lives 2 hours away and didn't want to drive that far to run for a half hour and then turn around and drive back home for 2 more hours.  I don't blame her.  I probably wouldn't have done that either.  But since I live so close to the starting line I jumped at the opportunity.  You can't beat a free shirt and an opportunity to run with other people.

It was a super small race put on by some BYU students to benefit economic self-reliance at the Ballard Center.  Last year they said they had 160 people attend this race and this year only 26.  I felt a little sad for them. There was just too much competition with other races going on this morning. The race started about 10 minutes late because the bathrooms at the park were closed and so we were waiting for people to return who had left to find facilities.  This was a Halloween dress-up opportunity, which I decided not to do.  In actuality not even half of the people dressed up.  Yeah, it was a sad race.  The best part of the race was being able to run around a park that was almost a full mile around the loop.  We did the park loop 2 1/2 times along with a neighboring area across a cute wooden bridge over the Provo River.  It was a cool morning with fall leaves everywhere and the atmosphere was just pleasant and nice.  It was fun to talk to a couple other runners.  It's always nice to meet new people at races.  At the finish line they had a cooler of water, bananas, and some tootsie roll Halloween candy.  I finished up this 5K run with a time of 34:29 and then headed off to watch the other Halloween race going on this morning.  The Provo Halloween Run.  I parked over at the mouth of the canyon and headed up the Provo Parkway Trail in the opposite direction as the runners.  This race boasts a few thousand people and so I walked for 1.25 miles just having a blast seeing all the people in costumes going the opposite direction at about mile 11 to mile 10.  I then turned around and ran down the canyon for the 1.25 miles I had just walked up and then headed back to my car and zipped home fast.   My day had just begun!

(Pot pie and dinner made by our other good buddy Laurie and eaten on a separate occasion)
This cute little lady had a birthday last month and since she loves getting out of town and doing things I decided to take her to St. George and visit the Tuachan to see Thriller and stay overnight.  We were also going to do some hiking in Zion's to see the famous Angel's Landing but we had quite a few changes come up and ended up needing to come home right after the show.

We left home about 12:30 Saturday afternoon after my morning runs and spent our time getting down to St. George.  We headed West from Cedar City and checked out a little place called Iron Town, a little Ghost town about 22 miles west of Cedar. Then continued over the valley into Enterprise and then South to the Mountain Meadows Massacre area.  There are three different places in that area you can stop and see and read about the tragedy behind this whole ordeal. Such a sad series of events, definitely not a proud moment in Mormon history.

After leaving that area and continuing South on that highway we were on the exact road where the St. George Marathon runs.  We were able to drive the rest of the way into the city along most of the 26.2 miles course.  Someday I may decide to run the St. George Marathon and so to be able to drive that road with those thoughts in mind made me look at the area in whole new perspective.

We got to St. George and headed to dinner at Cafe Rio and then out to the Tuachan Theater.   We arrived with about 15 minutes to spare.  The show was spectacular!  Almost 3 hours packed full of dancing and singing, and film all with a Halloween/Scary theme.  At the beginning of the show, and at the intermission there were zombies/actors, actresses wandering the audience scaring people and climbing all over the seats and getting in peoples faces and sitting on their laps.  It was definitely freaky.  Fortunately, Annaleesa and I must have looked too happy or too aware and so we didn't have them bothering us.  A little girl a couple rows behind us just didn't stop crying the whole time they were walking around.  This was for sure not a show little kids belonged at.  I was a little baffled that parents would want to bring their children to something like this.  One act in the show had a woman dressed as a little girl singing "I Saw Mommy Killing/punching, stabbing Santa Claus" and giggling/laughing throughout the whole song.  I was a little worried that the poor kids in the audience were going to be scarred for life!!  The choreography and dance though with every single act were absolutely incredible and it made me long for my younger days of dance.  It was a fun show and very creative.  Can you picture Halloween Jason dancing with a real chain saw, while it was running?  That was pretty amazing!  There were mummies, zombies, Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, a circus act, ghosts, skeletons, and so much more.  There was a lot of humor intertwined as well throughout the scary which kept it fun and entertaining. I Loved this whole production!

So after the show was over we hustled fast out of there and gassed up the car and headed on home.  I was so grateful for a few spots on the freeway allowing for 80 mph speeds.  I may or may not have been obedient with the speed limit law.  After a long whirlwind day I was sleepy and anxious to get home to bed.

(I'm still kicking myself for laziness in pulling out the camera-I guess that means we'll have to do it all again Annaleesa, what do you think?)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Haunted Halloween Half Marathon

This picture pretty much sums up how much fun this race was to me!!
(gotta love the faces of the spectators in the background)
I could stop right there with this race write up but that's so not my style.  I like to share all about my races, the good, bad and ugly.  So here goes with this one.   I signed up for this race as soon as I saw it available on Facebook.  I haven't run a Halloween race yet in my running adventures and I knew I didn't want to run the Provo Halloween Half. (It was big bucks!) So I decided to give this one a try.  I had absolutely zero nervousness issues going on with this race.  I slept like a baby the night before.  My good friend Jody and her hubby decided to run this as well and she was wanting to run this in a more casual and fun state of mind.  I was totally on board with those thoughts since I haven't run a whole lot since my 50K two weeks previously.  We met up at the finish line area and bus loading which was at the state capitol, a pretty cool sight, about 6:30 am.
Jody made her and her hubby's costume.  Pretty talented I must say.  Don't get me near a sewing machine or I just may damage something.  Fingers included.
We got up to the starting line area in Emmigration Canyon with well over an hour until the race started.  Good thing they had music going.  I may have pumped out a few dance moves while waiting around.
It's fun to meet other runners and this gal on the left of me belongs to the RA (runner's anonymous) Facebook group I belong to.  Her name is Stephanie and it was just a delight to meet her.  She ran the half marathon and then afterwards did the 5K as well.  Good job Stephanie!
Angela was there too and I visited her and wished her luck.  She actually got herself a new PR in this race and I was very happy for her.  Angela was my friend I hooked up with at the starting of my 50K two weeks ago.  She is becoming addicted to running races as well.  Nothing wrong with that, I say!
Standing around for an hour waiting for a race to start can get a little boring after you have busted out the dance moves and used the portapotty umpteen times and walked around looking at costumes.  So I climbed a hill and decided to take a few photos.
I had actually never been up Emmigration Canyon other than to the Zoo and to "This is the Place Monument", so this was a treat to see a little more of the great state of Utah up close and personal.

This was the first race I've run where pets were invited to run too.  This little hot dog had a matching owner as well.  I just didn't want to embarrass myself by taking a picture of her. There were actually multiple dogs up there with their owners. 

Yeah, my bib is crooked.  I have a hard time with the whole pinning-on process.
About 8:40 am we did a final pit stop and hucked our drop bags into the bus.  We got to the starting line about 5 minutes before starting time and then we were off.  Once again my whole mentality was to just run slow and have fun.   That was sort of supposed to be the thoughts of our group too, however Jody, despite her aches and pains and moans and groans was having a good day and I just couldn't keep up with her.  About mile 3 I was in the dust and left to run this race alone, which was fine.  Every race is going to be run differently and each person has to run their own race according to how they are feeling.  I just wasn't ready or willing for a hard push today.

Aid Station #1 had candy, and let me tell you I am a big fan of candy.  I took three lemon heads and a mini box of nerds.  You could say I sounded like maracas as I ran for the next couple miles.

I tried to hurry and eat them in case I was irritating other runners around me.  It did make for a fun, shakin', rockin' beat as I ran.

Aid Station #2 meant it was time for a little trick or treating.  One of the sponsors of the race had these cupcakes loaded with ample frosting.  I had to do a trick and I got the treat.  So delicious and chocolatey! All I had to do was put on an animal mask and make the sound of the animal.  Pretty easy trick for such a delicious treat!
After a large climb up the East side of Salt Lake somewhere around mile 6 or 7 we got to run by a graveyard which was pretty fitting for the occasion.  If I was a little kid I would have held my breath as I was running by.  That would have been pretty challenging today since I was huffing and puffing after a rough climb.  
Likewise around mile 9 we got to run by another graveyard up on the hillside of Salt Lake.
Awesome views of the valley and beautiful weather to accompany this great run!
The last aid station before the final descent down, down, down to Memory Grove Park had yummy Hostess donettes.  Three different flavors to indulge on.  I went for the brown powdered sugar ones.
The rest of the aid stations were not very exciting.  In fact quite the opposite.  There were some problems getting water and cups delivered and so there were many people angry when they couldn't get a cup of water.  I don't blame them. I was fortunate enough to have my water belt so I was fine.  The little bit of water they did have was in big plastic containers which the volunteers would pour into your mouth if you wanted some.  Pretty unsanitary if you ask me.
With one final turn to make and exactly one mile left to run we entered a very beautiful wooded area that was completely decked out with Halloween decorations.  Some of them pretty freaky!  I am NOT a fan of spiders and these were a little too big for my liking.
As I came upon this scene I was really freaked out for a moment!  I really thought somebody had fallen and was really hurt.
Yeah that was a little too real looking for my liking as well. I'm not a fan of gorey stuff.  I tend to like the more cute side of Halloween K?
At mile 13 we got to run through a black underpass.  I let out a big scream as I ran through.
Pretty cute, creative mile markers all along the course.  Somebody went to a lot of work making these.  Jody and Doran finished the race about 10 minutes before me and so they came back to find me with less than a quarter mile left for me to go.
I got to the finish line  with a final time of 2:26:22 and was able to do a little jump over the finish line. I then headed over to get after-race treats.  Once again NO WATER OR CUPS!  Yikes!  I was needing some at this point.  I found Dominoes pizza, more cupcake samples, and eventually water did show up, along with bananas, and popsicles, but that was a bit of a let down to have to wait around for liquids.  I'm sure that's an issue they will correct for next year's race.  Regardless, I had a blast running this half marathon and I will definitely run it again.  With not feeling a "need for speed" today and just enjoying the cool weather, sights, food and surroundings, including stopping multiple times to take photos, I was pretty pleased with my final time. 
We headed back to the car and said our good-byes.  We each had quite a drive to get back home.
The medals are pretty swell too!  Although I don't do anything with my medals, except toss them in the cupboard of my bed, I like a nice beefy one and this one produced just that. Someday I'll figure out what to do with them all.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mark's Birthday

My cute husband had a birthday and we celebrated nice and quietly at home. The kids all came over and we had lunch together.
For dessert Kali made a batch of German Chocolate Cupcakes.
I'm not sure what's going on in Jordan's mind. 
Hmmmm.......not a single one of my kids knew how to pull a normal face for these photos.  Well, at least we know how to have a good time together.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Wild Bunch 50K

The Wild Bunch 50K was to be my second adventure this Summer at trail running longer than a marathon. I had such a fun experience running the Corner Canyon 50K back in August that I decided I wanted to attempt another one.  Cory was so gracious to pace me through my first one and so I felt like I could now go out on a limb and do this without help.  I kind of felt like a baby bird leaving its mama's nest, so to speak.
After signing up and making some more running friends throughout the Summer, Angela saw that I was going to be running this and decided to give it a try too.  We met at the starting line about 8:15 am in the freezing cold temperatures of 25 degrees.  Although the sun was out it was bitter cold.  We quickly hopped in my car after getting our race bibs and learning that the starting time would be delayed a half an hour to 9:30 am.  Apparently, the race director had been out on the trails all night and had gotten his 4-wheeler stuck in the mud and couldn't get aid stations set up.  He told us he came close to cancelling the whole race but then the forest service stepped in and helped him deliver aid.  THE RACE WAS SAVED!!  Thank you forest service people!!
We gathered to the starting line about 9:20 am and had a final pit stop and bam!  All 14 of us were out of there.  The group of 50K runners was the smallest group with us starting first and then 10 minutes later the half marathon group and then 10 minutes later the 5K.  I started out feeling super great and had my water hydration vest stocked with everything I needed.  The race advertised an 8 hour cut off time and I told Angela that to make it back in time we would have to maintain a 15 minute mile.  It seemed very doable, yet when out on the trails experiencing highs and lows it's another story of maintaining a certain pace.  In the early miles I was maintaining around an 11-12 minute mile and I felt great.  I was so thankful for my jacket and gloves as it was still very chilly, even with the sun up.  Around mile 4 I started getting passed by the half marathon people.  Yeah, that a was a little disheartening, but I have already come to terms with my speed and abilities and just try to enjoy what I can do.   
When I saw this race advertised it showed single track trails in what looked like a luscious, wooded, forest area.  When I got to Jordanelle, it was quite the opposite looking.  I was so disappointed in the terrain I would be running on for 31 miles.  If I learned anything from running this race it's that I need to do a little more research ahead of time with what kind of trails I will be running on.  I had studied the elevation charts again and was a little relieved that I wouldn't be climbing big mountains, however the climbs just seemed to be never ending today as you can see below.
The trail followed the perimeter of the lake and it was a beautiful sight to be able to see the water all the time.  That little fact right there is what made the race more bearable.  The dirt and rocks below me however was a constant challenge to make sure I never twisted my ankle or stepped wrong.  I pretty much had to watch the ground the entire way.  At one point on the trail we came to a tiny wooded area called a Nature Center that actually had trees.  It was the only place on the entire journey that I got to enjoy shade for a brief few moments.  It maybe lasted about 15 minutes and then that little piece of running heaven was over with.
I knew my sweet hubby was coming to support me with hugs and a happy face and bring me additional items if I needed and I was looking so forward to seeing him.  A familiar face is always such a warm and happy feeling after being on a trail alone for a few hours.  I was happy to see my son Cooper with him as well.
They were able to cheer me on at about mile 12 1/2 and then I wouldn't be able to see them anymore unless they wanted to wait a long time at the finish line.  I saw no use in that and so I sent them on their way. I first ditched my jacket, gloves, and a couple other items I didn't feel like packing with me anymore.  The temperatures had reached the mild 60's and felt perfect through the day.  Towards the end of the day when the sun was lowering in the West sky a breeze had picked up and it was getting colder.  I was wishing for my jacket then but sadly didn't have it.  I was grateful I had worn a long sleeve shirt though.
Just one of the few signs along the trail that would bring a smile to my face.
Although the trail was brutal and rough, the aid stations were like an oasis in a desert.  By far, my most favorite thing to eat were peaches out here on the trail.  I was a little worried to be downing so many at each aid station, because I had never practiced fueling with peaches before.  Guess what?  I didn't care.  They were sweet, juicy, and DELICIOUS and I just couldn't pass them up.  And you know what?  I never had one single problem with eating them.  They may have even helped with hydration and energy.  The other thing I loved eating were the protein plus bars with peanut butter and chocolate.  I may have eaten a couple of those throughout the day.  I also had bought salt tabs the day before and remembered to take those through the day.  I tried to stay well hydrated and only wished for coke a few times.  I'm not a coke drinker but I remember how well it worked for me at Corner Canyon and how delicious it tasted in the heat of the Summer day at that trail run.
At this point in the race Angela and I were about 3 or so miles apart and she was a little concerned with making the cut-off time.  I myself was trying to maintain under a 15 minute mile and was struggling.  We were texting each other and she even called and shared her frustrations.  I tried to encourage her to just keep going and only stop if the race director pulled her from the trail.  She later told me she threw up the white flag around mile 20 because she already realized she was past the cut-off time.  I felt really sad for her and wanted to just say NOOOOO, keep going!!!  She's determined though to come back and conquer next year. 
So, now here I am feeling really all alone around mile 23.  I knew nobody was left behind me and I kept trudging along. 
This is what a water only, unmanned, aid station looks like when they know you are coming but don't want to wait for you, I guess.  I was very grateful though to be able to have more water and not use up all of mine, so I downed all I could.
I got to a certain point on the trail where the final section was to be a 10K out and back.  According to my watch though it ended up being more like 9 miles.  That's rough for the mental aspect when you're tired and ready to be done.  This part of the trail was the most challenging for me.  My mom had called me as I was doing this particular section and was checking up on me. It was just comforting to know she was thinking about me and making sure I was alright.
This was the final aid station at the turn around spot of the supposed last 10K.  The race directors wife was here taking photos of the 12 of us that had made it this far.  According to my Garmin I was now at mile 26.70 and had about 5 miles to go.  I grabbed a handful of pretzels and a half of a banana and carried on.  My stomach was feeling a bit queasy from gels and gu's and I just needed some good solid food.  The pretzels really seemed to help a lot.  My body was tired and I was feeling a little frustrated at this point in the race.  The cute lady at the last aid station was so excited to say "only a 5K left, and you're there".  I felt like slapping her because I knew how far I had come to get to this point and I knew what I had left to do.  I told her I had 5 more miles to go and she insisted it was only 5K left.  I wasn't going to argue with her because I had the proof right on my wrist.  A 5K and 5 miles are vast universes apart in the running world when you are tired and ready to be done.  I pretty much power-walked the rest of the way back but was in major need of a friendly voice to talk to.  I called my good friend Laurie and basically had a mini melt-down.  I told her I just needed some kind words of cheer and I knew she would deliver.  She asked lots of questions and helped me get my mind back to a happy place.  We talked for about 15 minutes and I felt a whole lot better afterwards.      
I stopped to take a few photos as the sun was starting to drop in the Western sky.  I had just come from around the West side of the lake after being on the East and South side all day and was nearing the finish line.  It's not too often where I start a race at sunrise and end with a sunset.
It was around this point where my son Porter was heavy on my mind.  I always think of Porter when I'm out running but it was at this particular time where I was missing him so much and my heart was just aching to see him and be with him.  There were a few times throughout the day where I literally had to look over my shoulder because it felt like someone was there with me, running right behind me.  But at this time I just knew he was aware of me and my thoughts and was helping his mom along to that finish line.  
That cute little guy there on the sidelines along with his family were waiting for me with less than a mile to go at the last turn.  They were huddled in their blankets and were riding an ATV.  The kid there walked and ran the last little section with me.  He chatted my ear off and I was wishing he would have been around a little earlier before my melt down.
I don't quite understand this medal except I think this organization does 4 races in a year maybe?  They did a fabulous job with the shirts, aid stations, and support.  I'm just still so new at finding trail races and I just assumed trail races mean single track dirt, but now I definitely know differently.  I think I was spoiled with running in Draper Canyon and will always call that the Celestial Kingdom of trail running.  I think it's going to be challenging to find anywhere else as beautiful as there.  I'll let you know if it happens though. 
After I crossed that finish line just slightly before 8 1/2 hours was up, (still waiting for official results-they have me as coming in at 7 hours 38 minutes but I KNOW that's wrong hum???) the race people handed me some neat things:  a metal water bottle, a running reflector belt, a finisher's sign, and my medal. Then that cute lady I didn't want to argue with tried to load me up with a bunch more food.  I was happy to just take some chips and a couple more peaches for the trip home.  I was feeling content and at peace to have finished my second 50K of the Summer and enjoyed a beautiful ride home down Provo Canyon while enjoying the mountains all around me.  I even had to turn on the heater in the car because the weather was so chilly at the end of the race and I was trying to warm up.
Now after having a weekend of rest and reflection of this race and noticing a huge difference in recovery from this 50K trail run versus a regular road marathon I am even more convinced that trail running is far superior for me.  At my age if I want to be able to enjoy this running for a long time then I feel like I need to find me more dirt races than road races.  We'll see how successful I can be with that in the future.