Saturday, September 28, 2013

Porter's 22nd Birthday

September 13th, 2013. Porter's Birthday. If he were here we would be celebrating his 22nd birthday this year with him. Since he is not here we celebrate anyway and hope he attends and watches over us.  I try to imagine what he would look like 3 1/2 years older?  Would he be taller? Would he have facial hair like his brothers?  Would he have long or short hair?  Would he still be as athletic as he was when he was alive?  I imagine him as looking more like a young man than a teenager now.  I recently put this photo in my bathroom where I can see his sweet smile everyday.  It makes me very happy.

We like to go to dinner as a family for birthdays and decided that Brick Oven in Provo sounded like a great place.  Before we headed out my mother came over to give us a basket of goodies for Porter.  Porter won't get to partake of the deliciousness, so we will for him.  She likes to give him presents even though he's in heaven.  I think it's one way she shows how much she loves and misses her little grandson.  We all do.
She put together a little picnic basket with the makings for hamburgers, some chips and a bottle of her homemade dill pickles.  Porter LOVED to eat at grandma's house and she always made sure to feed him lots whenever he went to visit or work for her.
While we were visiting, Kali, my daughter had a fun idea.  She said we didn't have a four generation picture and that we should go outside and get one.  I'm so glad I have a brilliant daughter with awesome photography skills.  I know this doesn't have anything to do with Porter's birthday but it was one of those neat ideas we couldn't pass up on.
Then we headed down to Provo for dinner.  It was a Friday night and we had to wait about 20 minutes to get seated but when we did it was perfect.  They gave us their party room without us even requesting it.  How did they even know we were celebrating a birthday?
We had a nice big table with plenty of room to spread out all to ourselves.  The food was super delicious and everyone was happy.  Miles would much rather get up and move around than be stuck at a table eating food.  That is so not like me.  Bring on the food!  I think little Harper girl and I think alike.
My other 3 children are so cute together.  I love to watch them interact with each other.  They are sweet kids. 
As we were finishing up in came the servers singing a song and brought free dessert for a birthday.  Once again, how did they know?  Apparently, when I went off to wash up my daughter told the servers we were celebrating a birthday but that that person wasn't here.  They assumed when I came back from the restroom my daughter was talking about me.  I felt the need to explain that it really wasn't my birthday but our son's who was in heaven.  I felt bad for getting the free dessert but the servers were totally fine with it.  After all we were celebrating a birthday.
We had a great time together as a family and I'm so glad we can continue to celebrate together.  Families are forever and I'm grateful I have mine forever.  They bring me much joy and happiness.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Labor Day Hike With Friends

I have mentioned multiple times that I walk three times a week with my good friend, Laurie. (dressed in maroon).  We head out after her kids get out the door to school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  Well, Monday, September 2nd, it was Labor Day and I thought it would be fun to go hiking in the hills that are close to home instead of walking our usual route.  We also invited our other good buddy, Annaleesa, to join us since she got the day off from work.  Laurie also got her daughter, Kirsten to join us ladies.  That's pretty awesome to get up early on a day off of school.  I'm pretty sure when I was a teenager and got the opportunity to sleep in there was no way I was getting up early to go hiking with a bunch of old ladies.  We met at 8:30 am and headed just a short distance up the road.   

This is called Dry Canyon and is a special place for me.  It's the last hike that Porter took before he fell from that cliff in the background.  It's also a sad place for me, yet it also brings comfort to hike here because I know Porter loved it so much and I often wonder if he visits this place.  I like to think he does.
Of course each time I come here I have to hike up to the base of the cliff to find his special rock we planted there 3 years ago. Yep, it's still there.  I'm so glad other hikers and rock climbers are respectful of it and leave it in its place.
Kirsten and Annaleesa sat down and relaxed as me and Laurie hiked to the rock.  It's a little challenging to get to but very worth the views.

As we continued climbing up the trail Kirsten got a little sick and decided to head back down and call her dad to come pick her up.  We three ladies continued on up higher so we could get a somewhat decent workout for the morning.  I totally forgot my garmin so I had no idea how far we traveled or how many calories burned but I was just happy to be out in the hills soaking up the beauty and being with 2 of my very dearest friends.
Then it was time to turn around and get back to the car.  It wasn't a long hike but it was a very beautiful and pleasant one.  I definitely need to do this again soon.  I forget how much I love it and how much I need to be out on the trails in nature. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Big Cottonwood Canyon Half Marathon

Big Cottonwood Half Marathon
Race #30 of 2013

The Summer is winding down and racing season is starting to slow down.  I'm actually looking forward to some Saturdays coming up of sleeping in.  I forget how much energy these 3 am wake up calls take out of me for the rest of a Saturday after I run a race.  I'm not sure if that's due to my age or due to the energy expended and lack of sleep.  Probably a good combo of both.  

The Big Cottonwood Canyon Half Marathon was on Saturday September 14th and it was a good one.  I look so forward to the races that have a lot of sweet downhill in them and this was certainly one of them.  I got up super early and met my buddy Josh at the parking lot of Cottonwood High School.  He gave me my race packet and we headed over to board the buses.  We arrived to the starting line area with about an hour and a half before the race was to start.  We saw another running friend and visited.  

What else is there to do at a race start at 5:00 am but head to over to the portapotties and count them?? Seriously, that was quite the sight to see. So many of them!!  We (me, Josh, and Robert Merriman) decided we would count them and see if we got the same number.  Haha!! We all got a different number:  82, 83, and 84.  Anyway, it was a lot of portapotties!  Probably the most I have ever seen at any race ever in all the 3 years of running I've done. 
Since we walked the entire distance of 80 something portapotties to count them I decided to step into the last stall after counting them and was quite happy to see this. The blue tape on the rolls meant this stall hadn't been used yet.  And sure enough it was clean and nice smelling.
So now what to do but just meander through the crowd and plop down to try and stay warm and wait for the gun to go off.   The race provided us with silver blankets and so it was a sea of silver as far as the eye could see.  I Didn't get a photo but you can picture it I'm sure.  About 15 minutes before the race started we walked down the mountain road a little ways to the starting line and to throw our drop bags into the truck.  I lost Josh in the crowd and so I didn't get our traditional pre-race photo with him.  Robert was able to stay with me and so I got a photo with him here.  He runs pretty fast so I knew I wouldn't see him again untill the finish line.  
Last year as an inaugural race they had less than 1000 people.  This year it capped at 4000 for the full and half marathon.  That's a lot of running peeps. 
Uhhh....creepy girl making creepy eyes behind me.  We'll just hope it was pre-race jitters she was experiencing.
OH LOOK!!! Josh found me and just barely in time before we started running down the mountain.  That was cutting it a little close.  I'm not sure what a race would be like without his happy smiling face.

The race started and we were off.  Not much to share about the race, other than I ate kind of a big dinner the night before and so I was a little worried about how my performance would be today.  It was Porter's birthday and we still celebrate even though he lives in heaven now.  He would have been 22 and I will share about his party in another post. 
So despite having a big dinner and only 3 hours of sleep I felt alert, happy, and just thrilled to be running down a canyon road with a big cheesy grin on my face.  I ate a gu right before we started running and then got some shot blocks around mile 7?  I didn't feel the need to eat them and so I played with those little babies for the next 6 miles, molding them in my fingers and mooshing them to keep my hands busy.  
I also enjoyed listening to the crowds around me and never put my earbuds in to listen to music.  That was a strange thing for me to do for sure.  Usually at some point I tire of the chatter around me and listen to some tunes.  It never happened today.  I ran all natural as some would call it. 

As we exited the canyon around mile 9 we still had 4 miles of a somewhat flatter course to run.  This is where I had to dig deep and just keeping pushing myself forward and possibly where the lack of sleep came into play.  My garmin stats at the end of the post show how I really slowed down. I probably should have put some music in my ears.

Coming into the finish line area I checked the time and was little surprised and happy.  I ran the full marathon last year and so I didn't have a comparison of the half to go with. I can't complain at all. 
The medals are pretty sweet.   A little spinner in the middle and super heavy!  That's the way a medal should be made.
Josh ran a good race too and was only a minute or so behind me.  I found him in the crowd and we headed over to get some delicious after-race treats.  We also found Robert who ran a 1:45 ish or something.  Only in my dreams.
Chocolate milk with veggies inside??  Never heard of it before but I was quickly delighted and intrigued.  I'm not sure I would ever buy this but it made drinking chocolate milk a little less guilty feeling.
Ummmm............this is just gross.  Mr. Josh saw somebody drop a raspberry oatmeal bar on the ground after just getting it at the food booth and hated to see it go to waste.  I think he was proud of the "waste not want not saying"?
After eating our treats, picking up our drop bags, visiting a few other runners we said good bye and I headed to the car.  I was so incredibly tired and wanted to get home for a shower and hopefully a nap before I had to head to another family party.

And for your viewing entertainment, I had to do a little heading bopping and jiving to some music to keep me awake on the car ride home.  This is about as good as it gets on 3 hours of sleep, but it worked. Yeah, I decided I'm pretty much a goof after watching this but I was seriously struggling to keep my eyes open.

My Stats:

Mile 1 - 9:06
Mile 2 - 9:09
Mile 3 - 8:31
Mile 4 - 8:04
Mile 5 - 8:43
Mile 6 - 12:41 (potty break)
Mile 7 - 8:27
Mile 8 - 9:35
Mile 9 - 10:47
Mile 10 - 11:18

Mile 11 - 10:39
Mile 12 - 11:09
Mile 13 - 12:05

Mile 13.10 - :59

Half Marathon Total 2:11:19
Average Pace 10:01 min/mile

With racing season almost over and only two official races left that I'm signed up for I will probably be doing a little more of everyday life posts on the blog.  That's originally what blogging life for me was like before I found running.  Posts about birthdays, family, and random thoughts will most likely be what the future holds for this little old blog of mine.  I'm still trying to figure out my running desire as of late too.  I have been finding a lot of real joy and pleasure at the gym lately but there's not a lot to post about that.  Just lots of sweating and grunting.  Carry on my friends.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mount Nebo Half Marathon

Mount Nebo Half Marathon
Race #29 of 2013 
My fastest half marathon to date

This will be, hands down, one of my top 3 favorite half marathons, and as long as I continue running I will continue to sign up for this race.  In all my racing so far this is the only course that I can achieve a sub 2 hour run and so of course it's going to make me a happy lady.  This was my second time running it and both this year and last I was able to beat that 2 hour mark.

Packet pick up was super easy, right at the bus pick up spot.  Josh picked me up on his way down from Bountiful and we headed South to Payson.   We saw our friends Cindy and Brad from the RA group and my other friends Jody and Doran.  They hopped on our same bus just in time to find a spot near the back with only a couple spots left.  We visited on the way up to the top of the mountain.  Because this course is so steep (3800 elevation drop) the buses travel pretty slowly getting us up to the starting line.  It was probably a good 40 minute drive to go 13.1 miles.  That's no hurry for sure. 
By the time we got there and unloaded it was light outside.  There were fire pits for us to keep warm and only a small handful of portapotties.  I quickly got that business out of the way and went for a walk further up the road to enjoy the gorgeous mountain air and leaves changing colors. I also wanted to just breathe big and not near the fires while doing so.  I also wanted to focus my energy on this race ahead of me.  I've been trying to eat a little more healthy and take my vitamins and iron and so I was hopeful for a fun, feel-good run.  The last few have been not so good feeling.

Doran and Jody are my good buds from up North a couple hours.  We ran Ragnar together this year in the same van and had a blast!!  I'm so glad they came down and ran a race in my neck of the woods.  I've run Top of Utah 3 times now in their neck of the woods and think It's time for me to retire that race.  I think I'm wearing out or wearing down.  Still trying to figure that out. 
The time had come to throw our drop bags in the vehicle and line up.  Adrian was pacing the 2 hour group and I told him I never wanted to see his back side.  My goal was to stay in front of him for the entire race.  He is a fun person to hang out with though and really knows how to make you just love running.  Josh hung out with him during the race and learned a lot of great things about running.  Not only does Adrian do a great job at pacing and keeping you motivated but he helps people one-on-one who may be struggling.  What a good guy.  Too bad I never got to run with him today. 

The gun went off and we were zooming down the canyon road.  I love this canyon because it's so gorgeous, but it's also got a very small, quaint little feeling about it.  It truly feels like you are in the middle of nowhere.  The road is small, no 4 lane canyon road like some of the bigger canyons.  Even no painted 2 lane roads.  Just one road that is black top.  I don't have any mile by mile info to share but at mile 4 or 5 I caught up and passed the 1:50 pacers and told them I didn't want to see them again either and that if they came upon me then to please slow down and don't pass me, or else bop me with their stick.  Well, that lasted until about mile 10 and there they were again.  Shoot!!  The last few miles of this race have a few rolling hills and I just couldn't keep that pace to stay ahead of them.  I certainly tried but it wasn't happening.  So I saw them continue on ahead of me (they had a job to do) and just tried to stay focused and keep pushing.  As I came into the finish line area I was pretty happy to end with this time.  I had beat last year's time by 3 minutes 14 seconds.  I'll take it!!  
Happy Smiles all over the place!
My friends Melanie and Denise :)  So fun to see them at a lot of races.
Nebo with a hidden 13.1 in there.  See it?
 Jonathon Crampton.  What can I say about this guy?  Oh, there's plenty, but I'll just say I appreciate being able to pace a few of his races and I also ran a relay, the Top of Zion Relay, this Summer with him.  He's a nut!  He's also run over 100 marathons, which completely blows me away.  Carry on little JC.
 Definitely a thumbs up race for me.  I should have stuck two thumbs up.  I will be back again.
Heading back to the car and getting in a final pit stop only to discover some pretty raunchy smelling, disgusting port-a-potties.  It baffles me how people can be so messy in their business.  Seriously, how hard is it to just do your thing and leave things nice and tidy?  I quickly headed to a different john.

My Stats for my fastest half to date:

Mile 1 - 8:16
Mile 2 - 8:10
Mile 3 - 8:30
Mile 4 - 7:25
Mile 5 - 8:23
Mile 6 - 8:23
Mile 7 - 8:01
Mile 8 - 8:27
Mile 9 - 8:47
Mile 10 - 9:16

Mile 11 - 9:58
Mile 12 - 9:44
Mile 13 - 9:38

Mile 13.16 - 1:31

Half Marathon Total 1:54:35
Average Pace 8:42 min/mile

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Running for Lyle Anderson and Chasing My Dream of Having More Joy Through Running

Race #28 of 2013
Meet Lyle Anderson. He is a member of a Facebook group I belong to, Runner's Anonymous.  He has MS and has been battling hard to stay healthy and compete in tri-athlons.  Awhile back he submitted a video to try and win a spot to compete in the Iron man in Kona, Hawaii.  Well, with the help of a lot of friends and family voting over and over again in our Facebook group (and other spots on the internet) he was awarded that opportunity.  I've never met him in real life but from the comments of so many others who have it's obvious he is a genuine, kind person.

Our awesome leader, Kevin Kunz, of the Runner's Anonymous group made a special effort with his wife to go meet Lyle in person.  Lyle lives far away in Hurricane.  Kevin decided to spearhead a fund raising event to help get Lyle to Hawaii.   A virtual run was set up and many of us signed up for it.  If you build it they will come, right?  Jessica Thurber, another RA friend helped with the organization and medals. We donated money for whichever distance we wanted to run, 5K, 10K or Half Marathon.  Over the Labor day weekend we were to go do our run and then report back.  We will then get a sweet medal in the mail that looks like this.  You can better believe I was all in for the half marathon.  I began formulating a plan for the route I would run.
My running has been sort of lukewarmish lately and so I needed some fresh mountain air and some nice downhills to help rejuvenate me.  My hubby drove me to the top of the Alpine Loop and was the best bus driver ever.  I much prefer riding in a car to the starting line than a big yellow bus.  He kicked me out as the road started heading down into the other valley and I was as happy as a lark to be high up there in the mountains. The sun was starting to lighten the sky and off I went.
Initially, I was thinking I would just take off and try for some great speed records (haha) but that just hasn't been in my drive and motivation for the last few races.  I was hoping that determination would come back today.  As I got going down the road though I started seeing too many pretty things and would have to stop for photos.  If I was going to be concerned about speed then I would have missed all of this:
The cool morning air, the beautiful leaves already changing colors, and the adrenaline rush I was experiencing was just all more than my senses could handle.  I was just so happy and giddy with the joy I was feeling and had nobody to share it with me in that moment, so I just continued running with a big cheesy smile on my face.
I wandered in and out of different campsite areas and was super grateful for these little buildings.  I've heard it said a few times before, "Never pass up an opportunity for a restroom".
I even saw a few early morning fishermen and women.  The weather really was just so perfect.
One of Porter's favorite songs was "Somewhere Only We Know" and a line from that song says "Sat by the river and it made me complete, Oh simple thing, where have you gone?"  I truly was feeling like sitting by this river just felt so amazing, yet simple and comforting and complete.  You better believe Porter was in my heart, mind, and possibly right by my side.  Oh how I miss that cute boy!! 
Well, at this point I was around mile 8 and couldn't sit by this river all morning, although I was tempted.  I ate a little snack for some nourishment and got up and at it again.
I had already run in and out of various campsites up higher, Timpanooke, Mutual Dell, and a couple others.  Now I would head over into the Little Mill campground where our family went camping a few times when the kids were little. It made me wonder why we stopped doing that?  Camping is so much fun! 
There were people out cooking breakfast and enjoying a relaxing cool morning.  Some of the smells were heavenly and it was tempting to wander in and pull up a chair for some delicious food.  I'm really not that bold and would never do it but it definitely crossed my mind.
I came upon some pretty sunflowers that were lining the main road and had to stop for a couple photos.  I'm still learning and playing with my camera.
When I saw this sign and then looked at my watch they were the same.  I was pretty surprised after all my wandering around this mountain. 

I then continued on down this main highway of American Fork Canyon so that I could call my hubby to come pick me up.  The plan was to do a half marathon, and after all my exploring and discovering I ended up doing 16 miles.  It took me about 3 1/2 hours which is definitely no speed record, but it definitely boosted my spirits and made me happy to run again.

I owe a great big Thank You to Lyle for chasing his dream of getting to Kona, Hawaii because in turn it helped me chase my dream a little more of discovering more joy in this sport. 

This was truly a  perfect morning and a perfect run!! I can't wait to do it again.