Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Surprise for Josh! Last Running Party of 2013!

I have been running consistently for 3 years now.  Josh Hansen is a friend I met a few months after I started going to races and meeting people.  Turns out he loves races and running with people probably as much as I do.  He has quite a phenomenal story he shares about losing 180 pounds and has a goal of running 180 half marathons or bigger distances before he turns 40.  His blog is pretty cool.  

Anyway, we kept finding over the months that we were running a lot of the same races together so eventually we just started planning to meet on the morning of and at least starting our runs together.  We didn't always run the same paces so it was very unlikely that we stayed together.  I think it's sort of an unwritten understanding that runners have with each other.  "You try your best and I'll try mine and we'll see each other along the journey, if not, then at the finish line."

  Sometimes, you don't necessarily have a goal and you are just out there to run for fun, and so you stick together.  I have a run a few races like that with Josh and along the way we have met some awesome and wonderful people.  

One of the friends along the way Josh met is Becca Wood.  A little before Christmas she had this brilliant idea to get Josh a present.  She wanted to find him something to hang his medals on.  He had commented to her how he just has them draped over a lamp?  He has run over 50 races so I'm not sure how that lamp is holding them all up.  So she approached me and asked if I wanted to go in on getting something like this for him.

 I had already asked Santa (AKA-My dear hubby) a few months ago if he would be willing to design and create a rack for my medals.  Mine have been getting shoved into a cupboard in my headboard.  So when Becca asked me about a rack for Josh I told her I would just have Mark make him one too.  We had already ordered all the pegs and had numerous ones left over and so after Mark created and figured out my 10 foot long rack, (yes, I wanted and needed one this big) he created one for Josh with the remainder pegs we had available.  I think it was about 49 pegs.  
On December 28th we had another big running party with our RA Facebook friends and so this is when Becca and I presented our Christmas present to Josh.  He was so excited, probably as much as we were.
Becca and I signed the back and wrapped a big bow around it and gave it to him in the parking lot.  He was so thrilled as you can see in his face.  It was absolutely awesome!
Now he can hang his medals with pride and his poor lamp can have a rest hopefully.
Merry Christmas my running buddy!

The running party we were having then continued at the outdoor track at the Orem Fitness Center.  
What a great group of people to hang out with on a early, cold Saturday morning after Christmas.
Cory Skinner, Kevin (Papa-our leader) Elise Kunz, Christy Heinecke, Monte Riding, Janet Huffman, Robert Merriman, London Riding, Josh Hansen, Becca Wood, Jonathan Crampton, Vince Massa, Susette, Ty Hansen, Gay Tregaskis, Cyndy Hills, Monnica Skinner.  
The track we chose to run on was exactly 1 mile around and so it was perfect for stopping to visit and snack and drink hot chocolate.  Gay brought her propane and stove and others brought some amazing deliciousness.   
This guy is a crack up. Ty Hansen.  We keep a tally on our FB page where we enter our mileage or any other exercise we are doing.  Since signing up for a 100 mile race in February I have really had to ramp up the mileage with my training.  One day he wrote on his mileage  Can't.....Catch.....Susette.....!  The mileage is NOT meant as a competition but as a place to be accountable for our workouts.  But man!  When somebody puts a little itch under me I can put a little competitive spirit out there and so I stayed ever so faithful to my mileage for the month.  I told him to try again in January to catch me.  Hee hee!    
After running and stopping, running and stopping the group was about done for the morning.  I think I had put in about 12 here at the track. My training called for a 28 mile run for the day so somebody said this photo looks like I am contemplating my remaining mileage (or contemplating not wanting to run my remaining mileage).  I ended up going home to my warm basement and finishing up there while watching a Christmas movie.

I sure love running with this bunch of friends.  We missed getting a photo with our other friend Mike Talbot who had to get the dog home and then go skiing.  What a rough life.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Run with Facebook Running Friends

Sometimes you just meet the most fun people through Facebook running groups.  You get to go on exciting adventures, romping through the snow, and you just have a fabulous time doing something crazy yet rewarding.  This run was organized by a FB friend named Rachelle.  This was the 2nd year she's done it.  I wanted to attend last year but it fell on the same day as my RA Christmas run and they are pretty important friends to me.  I wouldn't miss a run with them.

This year my Christmas run with the RA group is happening after Christmas and so I was able to join up with this group of people today.  We met early on Saturday morning, Dec 21st, at Kneader's in Provo.  I said hello to a few people and we got a quick photo together and we were off.

The plan was to run on the Provo River Trail as far up the canyon as you wanted and then turn around and come back.  Since I am a slower runner, and I still had to get my gloves, hat, water belt and everything situated I started at the very back.  I ran with a couple other slower runners and met a couple new people.  It was also cool to see the faster runners coming back the opposite direction, and even some people who weren't planning to go very far.  
Mike Talbot belongs in the RA group and came to this Christmas run as well.  He was heading back early to go skiing with his family.  Super friendly guy, always fun to see him.
A few people dressed up a little and had a good time with that.  You can see the trail we were running on was pretty snowy.  There were only a few places I almost slipped and fell.  I tried to stay in the soft un-trampled on snow.
Me, Dawn Bentley, Angie Pace, London Riding, Charles Stoddard-Pretty swell little group to run with!!
Stephanie, Holly, Angie, London, Kim, Bill-More friends who make me smile!
Galen, Me, Carl, Lisa, Jennifer (not sure on names on a couple people here)  As you can see the fun never stops though!  Good times for sure. 

As different groups of people were going by me down the canyon I had to continue up. My training calls for big mileage and I wasn't anywhere near what I needed.  I only saw a few more people and then I didn't dare go on up higher all alone.  I turned around and headed back to the starting area.  I found some cute decorations in the Provo Riverwoods Shopping area and stopped for a couple photos.  It was quite delightful to find a Christmas Tree and a Nutcracker while out on a Christmas run.  My mileage for the morning only turned out to be about 10 miles but that would have to suffice.  I had my Christmas piano recital coming up in a few hours and needed to get home to get ready for that.

Christmas, Snow, Fun Running Friends, Decorations, I love it all!
Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Baker's Dozen Half Marathon-December 14

The Baker's Dozen Half Marathon will go down in history as one of my favorite races. How can it not be just a big party when so much food and fun is involved with running, and when Cory Reese (aka-Buddy the elf) is the race director?  He puts on a pretty sweet little race.  The running community in Hurricane is very close knit and they all know and love each other.  It's fun to get to feel a little of their love while there.

This race is about a 4 hour drive away.  I finished up early with my teaching on Friday and me and hubby headed down.  We got a motel stay at the local Super 8 and settled in.  As I was laying out my stuff for race morning I had a panic moment.   I had forgotten my garmin. 
I posted on FB to my friends of my grief about this dilemma and not too much later Cherie, who lives here offered to let me use hers.  She doesn't run with one and hasn't for a long time.  She charged it up for me and was so kind to just hand it over on race morning.  I was super thrilled, especially since if I run a race a second time I want to try and better my time from the previous year.  She was most definitely a life saver for me this morning.  Sure, I could have tried an app on my phone but I wasn't familiar with it and I really didn't want to run with my phone.  The garmin was perfect and I will be forever grateful for her kindness. 
Mark and I then went out for a little drive and I showed him the 3.25 mile loop I would be running four times the next day.  He doesn't get excited about my races, but he does like to take the vacations with me.  I was a little surprised by how much snow and ice were on some parts of the trail.  I just knew I would need to be a little more cautious when running.  I was just grateful it wasn't raining like last year.  I'll take the snow on the ground versus running in a rainstorm. 
I got up super early to get ready, probably way too early, 6:00 am.  The race didn't start until 8:00 am.  I headed down to the motel lobby for some breakfast of a waffle and a little bit of raisin bran.  It was delish. Mark joined me for breakfast a few minutes later and we took our time eating and chatting.  We headed back to the room with another half hour before we needed to leave to the starting line.  It was literally just down the road from where we were staying.  We finally headed out about 7:30 am and got there 5 minutes later.
I headed over to packet pick up and visited with a few familiar faces.  I also decided to go check out the facilities before any lines started forming.  Alex Santiago was doing the photography again this year and wanted a picture of someone coming out of one of these very interesting portapotties.  Seriously it was the weirdest thing I've ever seen.  If you want more of the scoop about them go here. The toilet was already filled with sawdust and after you do your thing you just scoop fresh stuff on top.  The smell of the chips was very pleasant, almost like being in the woods.  There was no blue chemical water and no stinky smells.  It was very cool!

I headed back to the car to get my costume on.  Last year I was a twinkie and I had several people asking me where the twinkie costume was?  I should have just worn it instead of forking out money for this cupcake.  I'll admit I was slightly disappointed in it.  The picture on the internet looks nothing like what it actually looks like on me. Isn't that the way it usually goes though? Oh well, live and learn?  Mark helped me get all the stuffing and fluffing crammed inside the pink part.  He took a photo and I headed over to the starting line area to wait for the race to start.   
Alex was there snapping photos of people in their costumes.  Lots of people dressed up.  It was fun to see the variety of costumes.  Below is the group photo before the race started.  I think almost 200 people ran this race.  It just gets bigger every year.  I told Cory that it's just going to keep growing all the time.  I hope he continues to put it on each year.
This race wasn't officially timed and so when Cory got done with announcements he counted us down and off we went.  I started up my borrowed garmin and was super happy to be out running on a cool morning.
This section of trail was the hardest part to run and I was so tempted every loop to just run on the road but we were told that was a big no-no.  So I was obedient and ran through the crunchy stuff.  Besides, this was good training for trail running when you have to watch your footing and be cautious.  It also uses different muscles in your feet and ankles and strengthens them.  That is just what I had to keep telling myself.

As I came into my first loop completed, Mark was there to greet me and did a little filming.  He then headed back to the motel just down the street to wait until I was finished.  It was a bit chilly out there.  The sun seemed to be taking it's time coming up over the ridge.

I ate a few delicious goodies at the sugar shack.  Actually, it's a requirement to run this race, a minimum of one treat per loop.  OK, no problem.  I like treats.  There is a contest that Cory does.  The person who consumes the most goodies during the race becomes the Sugar Slayer and receives a prize and the title for the year.  This was definitely not something I was aspiring to do.  I like my treats but not bad enough to make myself sick.  A friend of mine, Rebecca, who lives in Colorado actually won the title this year.  She commented on her blog she will NOT be trying for it again next year.  You can read all about her experience here.
Nice work Sugar Slayer!!
Second loop around and Alex was there again taking photos.  If you know Cory Reese at all you know he is the jumping king.  He has inspired so many people all over blog land and Facebook to attempt all kinds of jumping shots.  Of course we wanted to get in on the action as well.
Oh look, the sun has finally peeked over the hills and that makes me even more happy!  Or maybe I was just so happy this was my final loop.  I couldn't tell you exactly.  Mark was here at the end and got me on film when I was just too tired to jump very high.  I headed over to run through the finish line arch and got my medal.
Afterwards, I enjoyed a few more goodies in the sugar shack and visited a few awesome people.  Jessica Mecham I met at this very race last year was here again.  She is super swell, as is Melanie Reese, Cory's wife.

Lyle Anderson has been a FB friend for a little bit and has inspired many people through his trials with MS. He has lost a lot of weight and has gone on to become an Iron man.  Our RA Facebook group did a virtual run this Summer to raise funds to help him get to Kona, Hawaii to compete.  It was so awesome to finally get to meet him in real life.  He is just as genuine and kind in real life as can be.
 Thank you again to Cherie Santiago for the use of her Garmin and a HUGE HUGE HUGE (I can't say that word enough times) thanks to Cory Reese for an absolutely fabulous race.  Hurricane, Utah is a sweet small town with fun people and fun times.  And a big thanks to his family for all the hard work they do in putting on this race each year.
I finished this race with a time of 2 hours and 17 minutes, an improvement over last year of almost 25 minutes.  Yeah, that made me a little bit happy.  Maybe running in a soggy twinkie was a little bit of an issue for me last year.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Laurie's Birthday

I love my friends! I have two in particular that are especially close. Laurie is the one I walk with. (except when it's freezing outside and we don't want to risk our life by slipping and falling on the ice) These friends of mine, we celebrate birthdays together. We go to plays at the local Hale Theater with our annual pass that we renew each Christmas. And sometimes we just get together to visit and eat and catch up.

Well, it was Laurie's birthday on December 13th, and it's extremely challenging celebrating at Christmas time and so we got together a little earlier in the month.  Me and Annaleesa surprised Laurie with dinner at a really exciting place called the HuHot.

It's a really neat dining experience to walk along all the food choices and put in your bowl any meat, veggies, noodles, fruit, etc and then top it all with about 5-6 ladles of different combinations of sauces.  Now the real fun is then taking it over to the guys doing the cooking at a very large round grill and they dump out your bowl and cook it in front of you. After a few minutes of cooking they place it on a clean plate where you can then walk over to another area and top it with peanuts, seeds, coconut, crispy noodles, etc.  It's all really fabulous I tell ya.  If you haven't been here you should go give it try.  I know where all of my next birthday celebrations are going to be. I hope my family is ready to eat out here for every holiday and birthday for the next 20 years.
After we enjoyed our meal we had another surprise up our sleeve for Laurie.  She loves music, singing, and having people play her piano so she can listen and sing along.  I'm not a singer but I play piano.  I also have a wonderful friend and mentor who taught me for awhile.  I still call him up occasionally with questions and to just get together to play duets with him.  His name is Harvey Rich and he teaches for BYU and privately in his home.  I had prearranged to take the girls over there for a night of music through duet playing and singing. Laurie was so curious and confused as I drove to his house after our delicious dinner.  She had no idea where we were, or what we were doing, or why I was knocking on some strangers side door.  When he answered and we entered his very spacious piano studio she figured it out and was thrilled with the whole idea of what we were doing.  I also have talked about Harvey so many times to her but she had never met him.  This was fun for me to have her finally meet him and get to enjoy his talents.

Happy Happy Birthday Laurie!  May you have many more and may our friendships last for eternity!!