Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Timpanogos Half Marathon

Race #24 of 2013

It was time to redeem myself and shoot for a faster run, especially now after feeling better.  I'll just say now how much I love and appreciate antibiotics!!

I got up at 3:20 am and got myself out the door by around 3:50 am.  I headed to Lone Peak High School where the bus pick up and finish line area would be.  The course of this half marathon changed within the last couple weeks because of construction going on at American Fork High School.  I was a little sad about this because of some pretty nice downhill sections that would be cut out of the course now.

We were bused up American Fork Canyon to Tibble Fork Lake.  It's a beautiful mountain lake and an absolutely stunning canyon to run down.  This run rates right up there as one of my favorites.  I wasn't planning to see anyone or meet up with anyone at this race and so when I got off the bus I immediately started doing a little warm up running to get things working.  I then started seeing familiar faces, Scott Wheelhouse, a former neighbor.  We visited and talked a lot about running.  I then saw Scot Weaver, who would be pacing the 2:20 group and whom I told I hoped to not ever see in the race. I had better hopes for this race with my time.  Scot was the driver for our Top of Zion Relay team. (I still need to blog about this awesome relay experience that our team won).  I saw Jarom Thurston, who just ran his third Badwater, but had to drop out this year after 42 miles because of extreme weight loss and dehydration.  I also saw my fun friend Monnica.  She was with Paula from my Runner's Anonymous Facebook group and Monnica was going to help Paula with her first half marathon.  Monnica is just so nice that way.  She ran an entire half marathon with me last year and I remember thinking how kind that was of her to just hang with me and keep me company when I knew she could have run it much faster.  That's a pretty awesome friend.  As the runner's were lining up getting ready for the gun to go off I turned around and saw another familiar face but hadn't met in real life.  Amylee Nicoll, a blogger friend. I was so excited to meet her and she just had this completely blank and puzzled look on her face as to who I was.  When I told her the light switched on and she smiled and hugged me big.  It was a fun moment.  This was her first half marathon after having a baby only 3 1/2 months ago.  Pretty amazing what these young mama's can do out there.

The race started a little late around 6:08 am and then we were off, cruising down the canyon.  It was a cool morning with even a few scattered raindrops.  It was absolutely beautiful.  I just turned on the cruise control and away I went just giving it everything I had in me.  When we got out of the canyon the course went through a golf course and was a little hilly but was still nice.  Then the course ran through a very wooded area on a bike/runner's path. Then the last few miles the course changed from last year.  I could tell this was going to be a struggle.  The downhill was completely done.  It turned to flat as a pancake run and even felt a little uphill.  I had to really find some upbeat music and try to stay focused. I had to dig deep and find some inner strength to just keep pushing to the finish line.

2:09:35.  I didn't beat last year's time of 2:07 but with the course change and more flat and uphill added to the end of the run I am happy with my result for this year.  As I was crossing the finish line I was scanning the crowds looking for my family.  I never saw them but did see another blogger/runner friend sitting on the sidelines, Jerilee Erickson.  I have been inspired by so many running blogs, hers included.   I went back and found her and was delighted to get to meet her in real life and chat about running.  She ran the full marathon which involved started the race at the finish line and running to the starting line and then turning around and going back.  The first 13.1 miles is uphill.  Yucky!  They call it the Sogonapmit Challenge.  It's Timpanogos spelled backwards.  It's pretty clever for sure, but I can guarantee it's one challenge I won't be doing.

After I chowed down on some goodies and made my way over to pick up my drop bag I finally found my hubby and daughter.  She had a friend with her too and was going to do her long run of 10 miles for the day. She is training for Top of Utah Half Marathon and asks me to run with her occasionally. I had told her earlier I would attempt as much as I could with her.  Mark drove us down to a trail head on the Murdock Canal and dropped us off and away we went.  I was slow and sluggish but did what I could.  I was able to hang with her for a few miles and told her to run on ahead and come back and get me every once in awhile.  After about 5 miles Mark texted me and said he was going to be leaving to go to the gym and wouldn't be home for an hour and a half.  I told him to come get me because I wasn't going to last out there that much longer. My total mileage for the day ended up being 19.75.  Long morning indeed!

Once again I am sad I didn't  have my camera with me.  I would have loved getting photos of all the friends I saw at the starting line and finish line.  Another reason I need to upgrade.  So instead I'm posting boring pictures of a shirt and a medal.
My Stats:
Mile 1 - 8:58
Mile 2 - 9:26
Mile 3 - 9:45
Mile 4 - 8:54
Mile 5 - 8:46
Mile 6 - 8:42
Mile 7 - 9:03
Mile 8 - 9:41
Mile 9 - 10:54
Mile 10 - 10:15

Mile 11 - 11:18
Mile 12 - 11:23
Mile 13 - 11:11

Half Marathon Total 2:09:35
Average Pace 9:52 min/mile

Friday, July 26, 2013

Deseret News Half Marathon

A half marathon on a Wednesday??  Who does that?  I'll tell you who does that, Utah.  July 24th, 1847 was the day the pioneers came into the Salt Lake valley and declared "This is the Place".  So we Utahns celebrate that day each year with a big "Days of '47" parade and fireworks, and running.  The Deseret News Marathon has been a long standing tradition in Utah.

First run in 1970, the Deseret News Marathon is the oldest road race in Utah and the oldest marathon west of the continental divide. The marathon follows the path that the Utah pioneers followed when they first entered the valley. The race is truly a part of Utah’s heritage and history!
The race takes place on Pioneer Day every year. The Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k routes all join the Days of 47 Parade route as they turn onto 200 East. Once runners join the parade route they will be greeted by over 100,000 cheering Utahns. Running down the parade route is a running experience that can not be duplicated anywhere, so be sure to celebrate Pioneer Day with us this year!

Going into this race from the very beginning I had no idea what to expect.  Having been sick all weekend, I finally got myself some antibiotics and tried to get better fast.  By Wednesday I had been on them for almost 3 days and I was feeling somewhat ready to run.  I was determined that even if I had to walk the whole course I was going to do this thing.

Last Friday, due to being too sick to get off the bed and pillow, I missed my very first race after embarking on this running journey 2 1/2 years ago.  I was so sad but also was so sick I didn't even care at that point.   So now, 5 days later and I was bound and determined I wasn't going to miss another run.

I got up at 2:20 am.  Ewww....that's the worst part of racing.  Got ready and headed to Salt Lake City where I parked at Rice Eccles Stadium and hopped on the bus at 4:00 am.  I met up with my buddy Josh and a friend of his from college.
We took a few photos on the bus in the pitch black darkness, trying to prepare ourselves for the blinding flash by squinting.
Check out Josh's moustache.  He's not sure what he's trying to prove.  It's definitely a new look for him.
I like the girls in the very back of the bus doing a little photobomb action.
My friends Monnica and Cory.  They run a lot of races and it was fun to see them so early on a Wednesday morning.  They were both shooting for a sub-2 today and would probably do it.  They are speedy.
This lady, Joanni Richardson, also runs a lot of races and is a fast little lady.  She usually places in her age group.

After the bus ride to the starting line up Emigration Canyon we meandered around for almost an hour and a half waiting for 6:00 am.  We visited the pacer group pacing today's race.  I did a little warm up running and after dropping off my drop bag and making a final pit stop it was about time to start.

This course is a pretty nice downhill run and I was anxious and ready to get started.  I had no idea though I would be this ready.  My splits were a little fast. You can see by my first mile I was a bit anxious to get going.

Mile 1 - 8:27
Mile 2 - 9:20
Mile 3 - 9:31
Mile 4 - 9:49
Mile 5 - 13:40
Mile 6 - 9:45
Mile 7 - 10:22
Mile 8 - 17:14
Mile 9 - 9:43
Mile 10 - 11:19

Mile 11 - 10:38
Mile 12 - 10:35
Mile 13 - 11:18

Mile .33 - 3:14
Half Marathon Total 2:24:59
Average Pace 10:53/mi

Mile two I slowed up a little bit and each mile after.  Then mile 5 and mile 8 were two very necessary bathroom breaks.  I was so frustrated waiting in lines but what's a person going to do?? From then on it just seemed to go South from there.  I think my energy was zapped even as I was trying to give it my all.  Around mile 11 we entered the parade route where thousands of people were lining the streets waiting for the parade to start.  I took my ear buds out and put my music away so I could hear the spectators cheering and rooting us on.  It really is a nice boost to have people there giving some moral support.  With about a mile and 1/2 left to run I noticed somebody that kept leap-frogging with me.  We were trying to cheer each other on but he was clearly struggling with knee issues and I was clearly struggling with lack of energy.  After the continual back and forth of passing each other he said to me "Let's do this thing, let's race to the end".  I wasn't sure I had it in me but his comment gave me just the little push I needed to get me to the end and so we took off running together.  What a nice guy.  I could tell he let me win.
I crossed the finish line at 2:24:59 after the results were posted.  Definitely one of my slower races but I honestly was just happy to be out there feeling almost back to normal.  I'm sure hoping to be soon.
A nice chunk of medal, to throw in the cupboard with my other medals.  I seriously need to get my hubby to build me a display thing to hang them on.
Kneaders french toast and syrup is absolutely delicious, especially after a run.  After eating and visiting a few more people we headed to the bus pick up area.  This is the first time I had to ride a bus to the starting line and back to my car. 
I seriously love all the facial expressions of people on the bus.  I think I need to learn how to be a photo bomber.
Seriously Josh?  I know he is proud of his stache!

Great race, great day, great fun!  I will definitely run this race again and will look forward to hopefully less potty breaks next year and hopefully no flu bugs.  All I need now is a nice warm shower and a bed.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Weekend of A Fortunate/Unfortunate Running Adventure

When my kids were little I remember a school assignment they came home with about a story/poem they had to write using fortunately and unfortunately.  I thought that would be a fun way to do a blog post for this weekend's running, since it was quite unique for me, and especially since there were some fortunate and unfortunate things to deal with.

Fortunately-Life is full of happy times and happiness to me means.........looking forward to running a midnight half marathon with your buddies!!
Unfortunately- I had major dental work done the morning of the race and then started getting really weak and worn down as the day went on.  I started coughing and feeling just plain yucky.  I was resigned to bed and resting, and had to miss this half marathon.

Fortunately-I took a lot of medicine and got a good night's rest.  I woke up feeling slightly better and had a major yearning to get out on the road and RUN! 
Unfortunately-Due to needing extra rest and the medicine still working in me, I didn't get out there started on my run until about 11:30 am when it was 84 degrees already outside.

Fortunately-My husband, being the good guy that he is, drove me 16 miles away up the canyon to the beautiful Aspen Grove area where it should be cooler, and I would try to get all the way home without help, depending on my health and energy level.
Unfortunately-It only turned out to be a little cooler at a whomping 78 degrees!

Fortunately-The scenery was beautiful and I was as happy as a lark cruising down the canyon road.
Unfortunately-The road was VERY narrow and I had to be super aware and cautious of traffic at every step and turn.

Fortunately-There were many bikers using this same road and in the same lane as me and so I think the traffic was very aware of us people out there using the road too.
Unfortunately-This awesome section of running only lasted 5 miles and then I exited onto canyon road where there was no shade and a major 4 lane highway with cars whizzing fast at 60 MPH.

Fortunately-This lasted exactly 1 mile where I would get to start down a paved trail specifically made for bikers and runners.  No cars allowed here
Unfortunately-I was starting to feel really fatigued and hot and once again had forgotten my sunscreen!! When will I ever learn this lesson??

Fortunately-There was a huge parking lot filled with people slathering on sunscreen as they were getting ready to float down the Provo River on inner tubes.  I ran right by them a little embarrassed to ask for sunscreen but knew I needed it badly.  I turned around and ran back there and sheepishly asked for some to get me through my long run still ahead.  They were super happy to share.  I slathered it all over my legs and arms and face and was forever grateful!
Unfortunately-The sunscreen didn't help with my fatigue and heat problem.

Fortunately-There was a bathroom not too far ahead at Vivian Park with running water to splash on my arms, face, and neck.
Unfortunately-This may have washed off some of my sunscreen.

Fortunately-I felt revived and rested and I would now get to run on a very shaded portion of the trail for the next few miles.
Unfortunately-Along the way some punk teenagers were throwing rocks at, cursing at, and harassing a fisherman.  I'm not sure what was going on there but it made me a little bit scared they would come after me next.

Fortunately-The adrenalin kicked in a little bit and I ran a little faster to get away from them quickly.
Unfortunately-The extra spurge of energy made me more tired.

Fortunately-I came to an area near the Bridal Veil Falls where there were masses of people out and about enjoying a nice Saturday outing, taking photos, feeding the fish and looking at the falls.
Unfortunately-This section isn't long enough.  I continued on my way wondering how much energy I had left in me and hoping my water in my Camelbak would last me to the next water stop.

Fortunately-I came to Nunn's Park next and drank, drank, drank and soaked my head, legs, arms, neck and all down my shirt.  This felt so refreshing.
Unfortunately-Because it's so hot and probably about 90 degrees or more by now I dry quickly and the cool refreshing water doesn't last very long in keeping me cool.

Fortunately-The next stop a few miles away has a place by the river that is easy to get down to.  I climb down the hill and refresh myself with the water straight from the river.  This was a much needed cooling off time.  I was very tempted to just jump right in.
Unfortunately-I'm only at about mile 11 and still have 5 more miles to go to reach my goal of 16 miles

Fortunately-I had enough water to last me to the next stop just after Timpanogos Park, where there is a super cold water fountain for the people on the trail.  I refilled my Camelbak and watered my whole body down again.  Amazing what cold water will do for a hot run.
Unfortunately-I didn't have somebody running along side me to spray me off every minute and then it would have been a perfect run down the canyon.

Fortunately-I came to the mouth of the canyon where my adventure on the trail would be over and there was the parking lot and a Chevron/Subway where I went inside to cool off and take a potty stop. 
Unfortunately-The next 4 miles were going to be HOT and BRUTAL.  There would be absolutely zero shade on the road towards home.  I was out of the canyon and now heading into the city. 

Fortunately-I had fueled my run well with lots and lots of water, shot bloks, and peanut butter pretzels.  I was feeling good with plenty of energy
Unfortunately-I just couldn't take the heat anymore.

Fortunately-I passed a golf course which had their sprinklers going in the middle of the hot day and I happily got in front of one of them and followed it back and forth a couple times.  I was now pretty drenched and cooled off again.
Unfortunately-I dried off and heated up too quickly.  I was just not feeling ready to keep tackling the heat for another 3+ miles.

Fortunately-I had exceeded my goal of a half marathon but hadn't reached 16 miles yet but was feeling accomplished enough for the day, and so called my hubby for a ride home.
Unfortunately-He didn't pick me for a little while longer and I got to 14.3 miles before he found me.

Fortunately-I have a supporting hubby that lets me do these crazy things and will be there for me when I fizzle out. 
Unfortunately-I have absolutely no pictures of this crazy adventure because I didn't bring my camera. My cell phone, which I had with me is from pre-historic days. It just doesn't take good photos.  It's definitely time for an upgrade.

Fortunately-This adventure has me leaning towards doing that.  My kids seriously keep nagging me to do it!
Unfortunately-I'm just cheap and don't want to spend the extra money.

And now to end this adventure on a happy note I will provide you with one more fortunate event:
Fortunately-I came into the nice, cool, air-conditioned house and enjoyed a big bowl of strawberries, greek yogurt and honey while relaxing.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hobbler Half Marathon-Pacing the 2:20

Race #22 of 2013
I once again got the opportunity to pace another race.  This would be my fifth time to do so.  I'm happy to do this but will admit there is a little bit of pressure involved in taking all those around you, with a specific goal in mind, to the finish line.  Honestly though, what usually happens is people may have that certain goal in mind and are able to hang around for awhile with me but then I usually lose them later on in the race. Either they set their goal a little too high and can't keep up, or they find they were faster than when they started and they were able to move on ahead.  It's a rare thing to actually have someone run with me the entire race from start to finish.  I can think of two people and one of them is my good friend Josh (whom I actually pushed on at the end to urge him to get in faster than me since I was a little early) and one other person at the Salt Lake City Half Marathon.  Anyway, the opportunity is fun and most people are kind and grateful that we are out there.  Some people hate to see me, (as I pass them) and I just smile and tell them they are doing a good job and keep it up.  Yesterday, at the Hobbler Half Marathon one girl was very vocal and said "Ugh.....I hate seeing those people in yellow shirts!" as I passed her.  I slowed down a little bit and told her to hurry on past me.  I think that made her a little bit happy.  I eventually had to pass her again.  I just had to continue on doing my job.
Backing up to before the race, I got up super early, 3:40 am.  I had to get down to Springville for packet pick-up and to board the buses.  We got up to the starting line and I met up with the other pacers to get my sign I would be carrying with me for the next 13.1 miles.  The morning was very humid, quite different from any race I've ever experienced before.  I usually have to wear a jacket up in the cool canyons and then put in a drop bag, but not today. It was warm and moist out there.  By mile 2 into the race I was feeling like I had stepped out of the shower. This was a completely new experience for me.

The course was beautiful, the weather humid, and the people around me friendly.  I had a number of women running with me and so I introduced myself and we struck up some conversations.  It's fun to chat while you're running to take your mind off the task at hand.  Although, I did need to make sure I was staying on target.  Around mile 6 I needed a potty break and just handed off the sign to one of these cute ladies and told them I would catch up in a little bit.  They were a little nervous to have the responsibility but they did great by the time I saw them again at mile 7.5.  They had kept the pace perfectly.  Around mile 9 I started losing them.  It was getting really warm and they were needing to walk.  I had to keep going though and hoped to see them again.  But sadly, I didn't.  Nearing the end I noticed as I passed a guy that he sped up to try and keep up with me.  We chatted for a little bit and he said this was his first half marathon.  He stayed with me for a little while and even sped on ahead.

As I was nearing the finish line I knew my time was going to be so close.  I tried to speed up so as to be in a tiny bit early.  Up to this point in pacing the different races I have come in slightly under goal, which is exactly what we are supposed to try and do.  The weather was just warm and I was feeling fatigued.  As I got to mile 13 it was exactly 2:19:00 on my watch. I knew I had .10 left to run and 1 minute to do it.  No problem.  I turned a corner to head into the finish line area only to discover there was still quite a distance left to cover.  I started to really book it.   The course ended up being slightly long and I came in at 2:20:18. Yikes!  18 seconds past goal time! That's the first time this happened and I became a little bit nervous that I was going to be fired.  As I came into the finish line area and got my medal and my timing chip removed from my shoe, I grabbed some water, an orange, and a creamie and headed over to find the other pacers. I was quickly relieved to find out that almost everyone of them had done the same thing.  Most all of them had come in almost 20-30 seconds late. Whew!  Maybe I wouldn't get fired after all. It's a little tricky when the course ends up being a little long.    
There were some fun things going on after the race.  A lot of activities for the kids and delicious french toast was provided by Magelby's. Nice big snow cones were a fabulous treat too.  It was just nice to sit in the grass and visit the other pacers and reflect on another half marathon in the books.

Monday, July 8, 2013

4th of July Race and a Little Bit of This and That for a Holiday

Race #21 of 2013
Time to admit that I've been in a running funk lately.  I guess after three weekends of big events I was just tired.  My Corner Canyon 50K, Ragnar, and then Top of Zion Relay(which I still need to blog about-especially since our team took first place!!) just about did me in.  All I wanted to do was just lay in my bed and sleep.  Getting up early in the morning for a run was not even something I wanted to do for about 5 days.  Thank goodness I have races on the agenda already signed up for or I would probably still be laying in my bed being lazy.

Thursday morning I got up early and took myself to the Provo Freedom Festival 10K.  Our family decided we were just tired of fighting the crowds to watch the parade so everyone opted out of that activity.  It didn't hurt my feelings at all.  Trying to stake out a spot and spend the night is really too much work for not enough enjoyment.  So I went and ran the 10K which goes right down the parade route anyway.  I got to see all the crowds without actually having to be in the crowd.

I ran the race, walked back to my car and came home.  Everyone was happy they didn't have to go. I hung out with Pebbles on the front porch in the swing and relaxed after my race. 
I ran a decent race with not any expectations.  I wasn't sure how I was going to feel being so tired and worn out.  When I crossed the finish line I was completely surprised to have beaten last year's time by 3 1/2 minutes.  That made me happy.   1:05:47. 
The rest of my 4th of July was complete randomness.  

The weeds in my garden were bigger than the plants. (seriously)  So I had to get out there and do some major work.   Too bad I didn't take a before picture.  You can just trust me that it was an ugly sight.  I've been enjoying some yellow squash and zucchini so far.  I can't wait for the tomatoes, love them.
My hubby has been involved re-doing a patio covering over our back porch this Summer and it is finally coming to a close.  The steps leading up to the porch were dropping and so he and my dad re-poured a new slab of steps.
 This is all that remains of the steps that were once there. Mark spent a whole day alone jack hammering them out of there.
After Mark framed them all out my cute daddy came and helped pour since he knows his stuff about concrete.
My daddy also knows his stuff about restoring old vehicles.  This is one of the many he has done.  He drives it all over town and gets lots of attention in it.
 Mark taking a much needed rest and lunch break.
Cooper just finished up a little run on the treadmill.  Shhh......don't tell him but I get very excited when my kids start wanting to participate in running.  Every time I get excited for him he tells me to stop it.  So I can't say anything to him anymore.
 Instead of having a 4th of July BBQ we decided to just have tin foil dinners.  Pretty easy and so delicious.
Mark was feeling extra ambitious this day and decided to give both cars a washing.  What a guy!  Nothing like driving a nice clean car.
Then he was too worn out to take me to the fireworks so my cute son Cooper took me in his big truck.  The PG fireworks are awesome.  One of my favorite 4th of July traditions.
Jordan worked all day and came home and relaxed.  Kali and her cute family went on a vacation with her husband's side of the family, so it was a pretty quiet holiday for us around here.  I'm hoping to NOT fall back into a running funk anytime soon.  Too many races on the schedule for that to happen.  Keep on keeping on!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ragnar-Wasatch Back Relay 2013

Oh Dear Ragnar-Wasatch Back Relay!  How I loved you!

I was on a team created by Kevin Papa Kunz from my Facebook Group called Runner's Anonymous.
He organized two teams and we would be the Alpha Team, Van #1.
Our team consisted of 1 guy and 5 women.  I wondered if he knew what he was getting himself into.  I actually was wondering what I was getting myself into??  How was I going to function on little to no sleep and then still have to run on top of that??

The Line Up:
Leg 1-Doran Shelley
Leg 2-Jody Shelley
Leg 3-Susette
Leg 4-Jessica Thurber
Leg 5-Liz Tennyson
Leg 6-Taralee Trammell

We started by meeting at Jody's house, where we loaded up the ice chests and coolers with food and goodies.  This is where our whole team would be spending the night.  Jody is such a sweetheart to open her home to all of us. I got to meet three brand new people who would be hanging out in the same van as me for the next 36 hours.  I had previously met these three new ladies only through talking on Facebook and so it was fun to now meet them in person. They seemed happy, energetic and ready for the challenge.  None of us had ever run Ragnar before and so this was going to be a new venture for all.
Papa Kunz had made reservations at a nice restaurant in Logan called Elements.  The two teams-Van 1's met here to get to know each other a little more and get a nice meal in before our early morning race start. Van 2's would meet up at our first major exchange in Eden on Friday afternoon.
Jessica-Leg 4, Liz-Leg 5, Me-Leg 3
Doran-Leg 1, Jody-Leg 2, Taralee-Leg 6
Elise and Papa Kunz-Founders and Organizers of EVERYTHING Runner's Anonymous related.  And just super awesome people to boot!
Dinner was enjoyed out on the patio.  Little tiny bugs were out and about too and Jody was clever with keeping them out of her water glass.  Cloth napkins also make a great blanket when the evening breezes would stir.  Jody was being a smart cookie.

When we got back to Jody's after dinner it was time for the van decorating party.  We had colorful markers, magnetic feet, and vinyl wording to put on the suburban. It turned out pretty crazy and cute.  It said "Just Call Me Runs With Chocolate"  on the other side window.

Off to bed we headed, rather late.  Only about 3 hours sleep was to be had the first night.  We had to be to the starting line at Utah State University an hour early for a safety meeting and then to see our first runner off at 5:30 am. Bye-bye Doran. See Ya down the road.
This party had officially started and the excitement and fun finally kicked in.  I had still up to this point questioned what I was doing and why?  Now that we were underway and it was happening I was feeling giddy.  It was so fun to drive a little ahead and watch for our runner and then cheer him on and support him with liquids.  We had a cowbell and a megaphone and didn't hesitate to use them.  We then went ahead to the first exchange to get parking and to let Jody be ready for the slap-off of the bracelet. That thing got extremely gross with sweat-ewwww!! When that little thing exchanges 36 times to 12 different people 3 times each you get ALL levels of sweat going on.  You just learned to wear it and try to ignore the cold feeling of yuck on your wrist.   
At the first exchange waiting for Doran to come in and Jody is feeling a little nervous I think.  She looks cute in her bright orange top.  We shouldn't have any problem seeing her out on the road.
You can do this mama!
Oh here he comes!  Good job Doran!
See ya down the road Jody!
We headed back to the van to go cheer on Jody and I saw this fun friend of mine, Angie Pace.  She was also runner 3.  I would see her van out there many times throughout the race.
Back in the van and ready to go!  Let's go find Jody!
Doran told us that she would be shedding her clothes quickly.  He said she doesn't run more than 10 minutes and stuff starts coming off.  Careful out there mama!
Whatcha drinking in there?  Looks like it tastes nasty!
We drove on up ahead to a point in the road where there would be no more van support for this leg.  I saw my friend Tara Thomas who would be running the Top of Zion Relay with me the next weekend.  Fun, fun lady!  That megaphone was probably a dangerous thing for me to get my hands on.  I was having a good time with that thing.  Hopefully the noise ordinance wasn't in effect for this early in the morning.

We picked up Jody at exchange 2 and then I headed off to do my thing.  I ran from the little town of Hyrum to Paradise.  I told the van I wanted them to sing "I've got two tickets to paradise" when they saw me running.  I think they forgot.  The run was beautiful.  It was still early and cool in the morning.  I saw a few horses and cows along the way and enjoyed my music on the ipod.

At the next exchange I slapped off the bracelet to runner 4, Jessica. 
Go get em' little lady!
Back in the van and chilling out after a nice run.  Taralee is just hanging out in the back patiently waiting for her leg 6 run.  You gotta love the custom made curtains and curtain rod that Jody and Doran made special just for this journey.  They would have brought the kitchen sink too if there was a way.
As we were hanging out at the next exchange waiting for Jessica to come in I saw my neighbor, Scarlet Davis, who lives right behind me.  What a fun surprise!  I'm glad she recognized me because I didn't recognize her outside of church.  People in running clothes, glasses, and hats can look very different than in a skirt with curly hair and high heels. 
Liz runner 5 is waiting for Jessica runner 4 to come in.  You can see the huge convoy of vans trying to get into the exchange here.  What a chaotic mess at times.
Looking down into Eden Valley.  This was absolutely a beautiful sight after having come over Avon Pass.(Dusty and dirty) There was a tiny fire going on to the left of this photo I didn't get a picture of.  The police and firetrucks actually had to close down the course for a little while to get vehicles up to the area.  Luckily, we were passed that before it happened to us.  If you look all down this road you can see little tiny people looking like ants.  I was so amazed at how many people we always saw along the course.  Never a moment when you don't see people.
Jody just having a special moment.  Special people have special moments right?
Liz and Jessica are now chilling in the van while Taralee is out there doing her thing.  Poor Taralee and Liz had to run in yucky, dusty, dirt roads.  They should get extra treats.
M&M's anyone?   Why yes, thank you very much!
Taralee just coming down off of that mountain behind her.  She rocked it!
Gotta love the orange flag.  Such a necessity for getting across the roads to help your runner. 
We are now at the major exchange where we have had all 6 runners in our van complete their first leg and Taralee is handing off to van 2's first runner. Go van #2!  We get to rest and relax for a few hours now. 
Van 1 and 2 of the Alpha Team at the major exchange in Eden, Utah.
Well looky here!  My good running buddy Josh Hansen.  He was on a different team and was here waiting at the major exchange for his van 1 to come in.  I think next year he wants to come hang out with us cool Runner's Anonymous group.  

Well, after seeing off van 2 we loaded up and headed onward.  We had to make a little detour throughout van 2's legs because Jessica had forgotten a pair of running shoes and somebody brought them up to a spot at one of the exchanges for us to go retrieve them.  Thank goodness for kind friends/family to help with a small crisis.  We got the shoes, made a pit stop at a convenience store and headed up to Snow Basin for the next major exchange.  We had a few hours to kill and so pulled out the food and enjoyed a few moments.

Liz had brought chicken salad and croissants.  Those were super delightful to chow down on.  I brought a couple tubs of watermelon, chips, and peanut butter M&M's.  We had all sorts of delicious foods to enjoy.  I'm just hoping that relays are one of those moments when you can eat all you want and get away with it.  No sleep, and running lots of miles means calories don't count right?
Part of the fun of this relay was just seeing so many running friends out here.  While at Snow Basin I saw another neighbor and friend, Rachelle Harris.  She is one speedy little lady!

After meandering around Snow Basin and watching runners come in to leg 11 exchange and then head up into the hills for a trail run before they came back to the major exchange of 12 I headed back to the van and took a snooze.  I think I may have been lucky to get 45 minutes sleep.

Van 2's final runner came into the major exchange and off Doran went.  It was now time for van 1 to move into the action again.  Here we go!!  Doran started us off by running a very SWEEEEEET downhill run out of Snow Basin.  Can I just say I was having runner envy at this point?  I love downhill running and he was getting to enjoy lots of it.  Only problem was we were stuck in a long line of vans watching all the runners go by and traffic wasn't moving.  I was driving at this point and pretty nervous he was going to beat us to the next exchange.  He had 8.2 miles to do and so we were fine and made it with about 20 minutes to spare and then he came screaming into the exchange.
Doran handing off to Jody and the rotation continues onward.  

My next leg would be my easiest of the relay. I got to enjoy a mellow run through the Morgan Valley towards the later afternoon/early evening.

Waiting at the exchange for Jody to come in.
 OH!  Here she is and off I go!
I think I am having way too much fun out here. For sure I'm not questioning my sanity anymore.  
Ask me again though when I get hardly any sleep later at night.
Finished with my 2nd leg and handing off to Jessica. Still thinking about that soaking wet slap band just grosses me out. There's got to be a better way! 

The sun is starting to set and it's a beautiful evening. Another fun moment was seeing this crazy running 
friend Adrian Toledo.  He has one of those silly, crazy personalities that is just infectious and he makes everyone happy.  It was awesome to see him out here.
We headed down the road to help out Jessica and get Liz to the next exchange.  Jody was our official time keeper and kept "Papa" updated on everyone's stats.  Good job Mama!  She's got the smart phone.  I still have a dumb one and need to update
The moon had an expression of "What are all you crazy people down there doing?"
Liz is ready to go waiting for Jessica to come in.
 Here she is! See you down the road Liz!
Good job Jessica!
The rest of this relay starts to get fuzzy.  That must be where the sleep deprivation starts to come into play.  Sadly, I have no more photos until the next morning.  It was getting dark and my brain wants to just sleep at this point.

Jody has some VERY generous friends who live in Kamas right on the main highway where the relay would run by.  They were out camping for the weekend and offered us their entire home for showering and sleeping until our next exchange.  Our major exchange where we finished was at Echo State Park.  Taralee had a very challenging long leg here which allowed us some extra time.  I was just so blasted tired and it was dark outside so I was catching some zzzzzz's in the back of the van.  Sorry Taralee, that I wasn't cheering more for you.  After we picked her up at the major exchange we headed down the road for what seemed like hours to get to this house.  When in reality it was probably only an hour away.  We quickly unloaded our stuff and I showered and blow dried my hair and climbed into bed.  I set the alarm to wake me up in 3 1/2 hours.  I remember tossing and turning and freezing.  I was dreaming we were frantically rushing to our exchanges and missing our runners.  Even in sleep my mind was still living the relay.  When the alarm went off I just couldn't believe we had to get up and continue doing this crazy adventure.  I had some cold oatmeal (their microwave was broken), and a bagel with cream cheese.  We rushed Doran down to the major exchange to start his next leg.  I have no photos of him and Jody's final leg.  Jody didn't share any with me from her camera so you can just use your imagination.

Doran started at about 6:30 am and it was freezing outside.  The sun hadn't come up over the mountain yet but it was a beautiful, and chilly morning.  I had a hard time imagining van 2 out there all through the night running their legs while we were sleeping.  But they did it and showed up at our next major exchange.  We were all wimps and stayed in the van, except Jody.  She was a good supporter and saw her man off.  We stopped a couple times along the way offering cheers and support.  We had a little trouble getting into the exchange for Jody to start and ended up making Doran wait a few minutes for us to get there. Sorry about that Doran.  Jody was off and had a short little run of about 3.3 miles. So after seeing her one time along the course Doran hurried to get me to my last starting point and then went back to make sure she was alright.  She was having some MAJOR feet pain.  Poor girl.  She had a dream too that she was running pain free and was loving it.  I hope her dreams can be true really quickly.
As I was waiting at my last and final exchange I saw a blogging friend, Mike Porter.  I have seen him at a few races throughout the year and admire his determination and spirit.  I also really like his last name.  Always reminds me of my Porter.

This would be the leg I was NOT looking forward to.  I have driven this road before and knew there would be some climbing up around Jordanelle Reservoir.  I am not a good climber. Slow and steady is all I can strive for.

This exchange had NO VAN SUPPORT.  So like I always do, I wore my water belt and said see ya later!  There were water stops along the way too which was helpful.  Nice of my team to honk and wave as they drove by.  This was a tough leg and I definitely thought a lot about my own little Porter during this time.  I also thought about this being my last leg and the great time I had running this relay.  I couldn't believe it was almost over for me and I was getting a bit emotional.  I was so tired and wanted to be done, yet I didn't.  Hard to explain, really.  There's just something about this experience that is hard to explain.  Until you go through it you don't fully comprehend the challenge mentally, and physically.  Then there's the friendships and bonding that happens that only those 5 other people experience with you.  Truly an amazing journey!  
But now here I come into the end of my journey and the tears wouldn't stop.  Emotional I was, I tell ya.
 So happy, yet so sad to be done with my portion of the relay.

Well, no time for dawdling.  We had to get out there and support Jessica and get to the next exchange.
And here she comes finishing up her final leg!
See ya later Liz!

Daddy and Mama Shelley just enjoying the morning and being together and knowing they are done too! Check out the dude behind them in green undies!  Yikes, you'd never catch me in a garb like that!
Jessica and Taralee getting ready to go cheer on Liz and get to the next exchange.

Here's Liz finishing her last leg and Taralee ready to take on her last leg!

She's wearing our Runner's Anonymous shirt well, with the logo on the back. 
What a cute lady!

Doran-leg 1, Jody-leg 2, Susette-leg 3, Jessica-leg 4, Liz-leg 5, Taralee-leg 6
AND VAN 1 IS FINISHED!!! We met up at the major exchange and handed off to van 2, where we would then plan to see them at the finish line.

We headed back to the van and then went shopping at a local market in Midway, Utah.  Jody needed some special licorice that only can be bought here.  Remember I told you earlier she was special.  Special friends need special licorice and we were on a quest to find it!

We were then going to be spoiled immensely by Kevin "Papa" and his cute wife Elise.  They had a condo reserved for both teams, 24 people to get to enjoy at some point along the relay.  Well, now it was our turn to head there for a shower, breakfast, and relaxing and hopefully sleep.
Taralee chilling out on the blow up mattress.  I think I was able to get about a 20 minute nap on that thing.  Who wants to sleep when there's still memories to make and fun to be had?
Elise fed us pancakes, bacon, eggs, fruit, and juice.  Heavenly I tell ya! Thank you sooooooooooooo very much to this sweet couple!!
Just hanging out here in the condo. Our second team, Beta had just arrived and were enjoying breakfast now too.
What a cute little dude, Elise's grandson.  

See that computer up there on the counter?  That's the magic spreadsheet that "Papa" would keep updated as we posted our times out there on the course.  This was his headquarters and he was doing an awesome job keeping track of all of us.
Papa's son, Mckay.  Unfortunately, when you don't ride in the same van as the other team members you just don't have the same opportunity to get to know them as much.  He was in Beta Van 1 and was the only male member over there.  I'm sure there were some good times going on for him too being with 5 other females.
This is what happens when you let me and Jody loose with a camera and very little sleep.  Giggles, and stomach pains from laughing so hard are bound to happen.

 Ok, Ok, we can be serious now
Sort of-ha!  Now after a few hours to chill, eat, sleep, giggle, and play we were needing to head off to the final place.  THE FINISH LINE! What a crazy adventure that was getting there!  We were so worried we were going to totally miss seeing our van 2 come in.  Jessica needed to find her hubby who was coming from the Salt Lake area and had no idea where to go.  We needed to get her in a safe place to unload so her hubby could meet up with her.  Parking around the finish line was not even an option.  We had to drive all the way over to the Canyons Resort Parking area and then be shuttled over to the Park City High School.  I thought for sure we had missed the whole ending, but only to find out we had oodles of time.  Apparently the last and final leg is a killer climb up some big mountain and takes quite awhile to complete.  Good thing or we would have missed it all.  We rode the shuttle forever and then when the shuttle dropped us off we walked forever.  Finally!  We were at the finish area. We watched so many teams come into the finish area.  They all ran together to cross that finish line.  When our runner came in they made a arch for him to run through and then we all ran together half way around the school track.

And 36 hours 06 minutes and 36 seconds later we are DONE!!! What a fantastic journey together!
Elise and Papa Kunz.
The complete Alpha Team-Van 1 and 2 along with Papa and Elise Kunz as the masterminds and organizers.
What a swell couple and captains.  Thanks so much Mama and Daddy Shelley for letting us have such a nice ride and great accommodations for 36 hours.
Uh oh, maybe I'm in trouble after all.
And who can forget one of the most important icons along the way.  Our second home away from home. 

Ragnar!  I will be back.  I have more experiences and memories to enjoy with you!