Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Exclusive Marathon Tell-All

My original title was "Slow and Steady", but "My Exclusive Marathon Tell-All" felt more exciting.  Let's begin with the obvious--I was slow and steady and yes, I finished the race!!  And now I will tell you every nitty-gritty little detail you could possibly want to know and then some.  Brace yourself, this post is not Short and Sweet.
This is not me at the finish.  This is me at the park in Layton, where several hours later, I will finish the race.  I got on my bus at 4:50 AM.  I took the longest 50 minute bus ride way the heck out onto Antelope Island.  Finishing a marathon is not such an unusual feat, so I knew it was possible.  And I'd done the training, so on one level I knew I'd make it back to that park.  But as each mile passed outside the darkened window of the school bus, I was having trouble understanding how this was to be done.
Let me take a moment to pay homage to the really nice jacket I'm wearing.  It was a $55 dollar jacket that I got last night at Kohl's for $15 thanks to some fabulous coupons.  It was a good jacket.
And I'll never see it again because I dropped it at an aid station along the course and it was nowhere to be found at the finish line.  I hope someone get's really good use out of that jacket, but I'm afraid it won't be me.  It was labeled with my name and phone number, so I'll hope it was an accident and some honest person will contact me. 

Back to the bus ride.  I had a most interesting seat mate.  I was pretty nervous and I said a silent prayer for a kind, understanding seat mate.  Many of my prayers for the day were answered and I suppose this one was too in a rather humorous way.  I'm just going to give you the conversation with my thoughts in parenthesis.

Me:  Good morning (well, if we're going to sit by each other for the next 50 minutes I think we should speak.)

Tall Skinny Athletic Looking Guy:  Good morning. (He acted very startled, but I don't think it was so shocking for me to say good morning).

Me:  Have you run this race before?

Him: No

Me:  Have you run any marathon before? 

Him:  Yes, I ran the Ogden Marathon in 2007.  And I've run 12 or 13 others, so not too many. (show-off)

Me:  Well, this is my first so that seems like a lot to me.

Him:  This is just something to do this weekend to fill my time.  (Wow, just something to fill your time, huh?  That makes me feel great.  Yeah, this is the capstone of a year of serious hard work for me.)

Me:  Which marathon was your favorite?

Him:  Top of Utah.  Even though it wasn't my fastest.  It's not as fast as St. George.

Me: So what is your fastest time? (He's the one who brought time up).

Him:  2:25 (as in 2 hours and 25 minutes) I'll be lucky to break 2:50 today.

Me:  Wow!  That is crazy fast!

Him:  Yeah, I hesitate to tell that to people.  It kind of puts them off. (No, that is impressive.  It's your arrogance that puts people off)

Me:  I hope to finish the race in under six hours, that's when they'll close the aid stations.

Him:  There's a fast girl from Farmington.  She might give me a little trouble today.  (Wow!  He's planning to win the whole thing!)

Me:  So 2:25, huh?  That must be Olympic level racing?

Him:  Three minutes off.  But I just got tired of all the athlete's egos. (Really? Fascinating!)

Me:  Oh, is that right?  I guess that's par for the course. (There's a double meaning in that:) but he didn't get my intended meaning).

I found it to be a most entertaining conversation which took my mind off my nerves, which was an answer to my prayer after all.

I also noticed a man get on the bus who sat across the isle from me.  He looked familiar.  I racked my brain and realized he looked similar to a guy I knew at BYU.  We had friends in common and ended up in a social dance class (beginning ballroom) together.  We enjoyed dancing together, so for extra credit we did a ballroom competition dancing the cha-cha-cha.  We did pretty well.  I knew him as "Aaron from Ohio" because that's how he always introduced himself to people.  

As we got off the bus I asked him, "Do you by chance have a brother named Aaron?"  He said no, but his name was Aaron.
A-HA! It was in fact Aaron from Ohio.  Small world!  We chatted while waiting for the race to begin and that calmed my nerves some more.  We started the race together but he was much faster then me from the start.  

Which was rather the theme of the day.  Run faster than Betsy.

And I'm okay with that.  I really didn't want to be dead last (and I wasn't) but I knew what I could do  and I knew it was going to be slow and steady.  Ten miles of rolling hills on Antelope Island.  Seven miles of sameness on the causeway and 9 miles of challenge through rural farmland to get to the finish line.
When I came off the Causeway at mile 17 Abe and the kids were there cheering for me.  I cried.  They were the only tears of the day, but I was already pretty tired and I knew I had many more miles  in front of me.  
Should you ever be in need of a group of people to cheer for you for anything, call Abe and my children.  They were magnificent!  And they didn't cheer just one time.  They cheered for me at one location and then went ahead a couple of miles and waited to cheer for me again.  I looked forward to the water stations and the cheering stations!
 I blew a kiss to my people.
And I grabbed a kiss from Georgie and was on my way again with a lightened heart.
And the loyal and faithful went on ahead to the next cheering station.  For the record, Clark is loyal and faithful as well, but he had to stay home for a football game.
And my girlies came out to run a bit with me.  But unfortunately this was just before mile 20 and I hit the proverbial "wall".  I started to hurt.  Not so much my feet, legs, joints, muscles-- rather my tummy.  Nowhere near the horror of the Hobblecreek Half Marathon, but I was uncomfortable for a couple of miles.  
A bright spot near this same rough patch was seeing our good friends the Butterfields.  They had gone to Layton to enjoy a pumpkin patch with their kids and incredibly they happened to see Abe and he told them where I was and they drove by to cheer for me. 
The kiddos were happy with the animal life to entertain them during the intervals between their cheering duties.
By the next cheering station I was feeling better and Abe got in on the running action for a moment.  I see a future running partner-- yes?
And then the cheer squad grew.  My dad came for the next stop and then my sister and her kids came and I was feeling very loved.
Very much in pain, but very loved.
Here I am enjoying the ONLY shade patch of the entire course.  I suppose if I finished in 2:25 then the heat wouldn't have been a problem.  But the heat was more oppressive than I had anticipated.  I'm nearing the finish line and a wonderful thing happened just a short while before this picture was taken.  I came close to tears.  

That's not the interesting part.

At about mile 23.5 I was uncomfortable-- big time.  It wasn't fun and I didn't feel very well.  I wanted the race to be done.  I was worn down.  
Yet suddenly I was overcome with gratitude for the opportunity to do this race, to have this experience, for the last year and what I've been able to do, for my family, for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I was at my humblest point and yet blessed to be able to enjoy it and most fully feel gratitude for the many good things in my life.  More prayers answered.
I am in the home stretch.  .2 miles left to go.  Abe is a camera-fiend, bless his heart.  I am forced to turn the husband-paparazzi away.  "ENOUGH PICTURES!"  

Abe tells me, "Sweetie, you've got three minutes to finish in under six hours! You got this!  You can do it!"
I'm telling you he is a great cheerleader.  And I needed it.  Was I going to make it?
Well, if you take a little looksie at the clocksie you will see that I did indeed make it!!!!  And because the race was chip timed, my official time was 5:59:42.  Shoot, I had more than 15 seconds to spare!  I killed the 6-hour goal!!!!
My little nephew Brigham asked me if I won.
"Why yes, Brigham, I did win the race!"

And as far as I'm concerned I did win the marathon.  I did a marathon!  I never have to do it again, but I'll always know that I conquered it.  It is shocking to me that I actually did it!  It is shocking that it was as hard as it was and it is shocking to me that it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be.  It was the best of times it was the worst of times...
No, wait.... that was book club this week.
Perhaps it is applicable.

My toenails hurt.  I'm sore all over, but my toenails hurt and I didn't expect that. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Short and Sweet

Unlike tomorrow's main event, this post will be short and sweet.

Barring any unforeseen events or misfortunes, I will run the Layton Marathon. I'm certain it will be long and grueling.  For most of the day today I have been nervous to the point of distraction.  So you can imagine how grateful I was to get a knock on the door this afternoon from thoughtful friends delivering this little bundle of my favorite energy snacks.

I was so relieved when Abe came home.  He whisked me away to Layton to pick up my race packet and drive a bit of the course so I would know what to expect.
That made me feel so much more relaxed.  The course is very flat and quite picturesque.  
Not only did we come home to delicious cheerleader brownies from a great friend, but we came home and they were still there!  The children hadn't eaten them!!  This is a good omen.  I don't know what it is an omen of, but I'm sure it's good. 

I will now pin on my bib number and get into my bed and use every relaxation technique I can think of to try to get a good night's sleep.  Well, half a night's sleep.  I'll be getting up at  3:45 AM.

Remind me again why I decided to do this marathon thing?  I think I like to run and it had something to do with overcoming hard things, but the reasons seem a little fuzzy at the moment.  I'm sure I'll have clarity tomorrow.  Look for pictures tomorrow.  I think I'll be able to type as I spend the afternoon in my bed recovering:)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No PETA Membership for Me

My children have accused me of animal cruelty.

This may not be so far off the truth, but I've learned my lesson and I'm holding strong.  I don't want this cat!
This cat found her way into our backyard and without my knowledge or permission she was given a bowl of milk and a can of tuna.

And now she won't leave.

And why would she?  The kids continue to provide her with tuna and milk.  WITHOUT MY PERMISSION and AGAINST MY WISHES!
I seem to be unable to stop this.

Our family has a sordid past when it comes to cats and dogs.  We are TERRIBLE pet owners and I've sworn furry pets off.  I keep saying, "The cat is not staying!" "We're not keeping the cat!" "Do not feed the cat!"  But the kids and the cat are not responding to me.
And what am I suppose to do?  Take the cat on a long car ride and try to ditch it?  I can forbid them to feed the cat on penalty of grounding for life, but what are we going to do when the emaciated cat lurks in the backyard meowing at the door.

I am messed over.
The good news is I think I may have developed a cat allergy--super itchy eyes when I am around the cat.  At least the cat will have to stay out of the house. But it does try to come in.  So the other day I "helped her back outside" with my foot.  Now the kids call me a "Cat Kicker".  I am cruel to animals. 

I don't know what to do.

Change of subject.
Here is a little video of Faith's latest gymnastic trick.  She is a determined little thing.

If I may say so, I am rather determined myself, because I have spent a lot of time helping her practice.  So I'll congratulate us both:)

And if you know this cat or know who it belongs to, please, I beg of you to come and retrieve her.  She is not wanted here.  And try not to think ill of me-- I didn't "help her outside with my foot" very hard.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Good Fences and Crimes Against Humanity

They say that good fences make good neighbors.
We do have most excellent backyard neighbors and Cannon is so happy to have his "fence friends" just over our back fence.
This afternoon and evening he would go outside and call, "Hey you guuuuuyyys!"  To his delight his friends would pop their heads over the fence and they would talk and tell jokes.  I don't know why they didn't just hop the fence or go to each others houses.
I interrupted Cannon to go on a walk with George and I, but he resisted, "Mom, I'm talking to my fence friends!"
I especially love the boys' matching headlamps.
I went to lunch with my sister on Friday.  It was wonderful and she is wonderful. There is normally a pretty hefty price to pay for leaving the children home alone at the lunch time hour; made worse on Friday by the transition back to school life after a fun vacation last week.  There has been some... uh...shall we say... contention.... in our home this week.  Considering the emotional temperature of the children, the arguing was likely to escalate and there were likely to be injuries or, heaven forbid, an interrupting phone call during my lunch date!  Can you imagine??
The "Crimes Against Humanity" log was my solution.  I left them with the instructions that if there were problems to write them down and I'll deal with it when I get home.

What do you think?  Would they use it?
The crimes against humanity started silly but the infractions grew steadily more severe.  But as you will read, all crimes have been dealt with-- my response is in parenthesis. 

#1 There is dust on the bananas (Ha, ha, aren't you clever!)

#2 The dust pan has been stolen (a likely excuse for not sweeping)

#3 The apples are missing (no, they're not-- they've all been eaten)

#4  Elinor is writing stupid stuff in the crimes against humanity notebook (there is no such thing as a stupid entry.)

#5  Bethany is hoarding the crimes against humanity book! (There is no limit on how many entries you can make)

#6 Elinor is making a mess! (Elinor, go clean up your mess)

#7 Clark said "Shut up" to Elinor (Clark, you know you may not say that to any member of this family.  You need to apologize or you can't go to London's house on Saturday.)

#8 Clark is playing Super Mario Brothers without his stuff done. (This is a true crime against humanity.  You may not do any computer today).

A mother's work is never done.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Christmas With Mitt

Abe and I aren't big into giving each other big ticket items for birthday and Christmas gifts because we've got six kids.  We feel like if we can manage to cover those holidays for them then we're doing pretty well and we call it good.  But thanks to our very generous friend, Andrea, we got Christmas in September today.  She gave us two tickets to a Mitt Romney fundraiser luncheon in Salt Lake City today.

Of course we think everyone should vote for Mitt (especially if you live in a swing state), but even if you don't like Mitt, you must try to be happy for Abe!  He is quite likely Mitt's biggest fan.  Which is perhaps why Andrea gave us these tickets.  No one would appreciate it like Abe would. And I admit I was rather star struck today as well.
Andrea's son, London, (also a very good friend of Clark's) was her date.  It was a most enjoyable way to spend the lunch hour and it beat the heck out of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at home:)
 Merry Christmas, Mitt!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

La Dolce Vita

Yesterday was a day for adventure-- a day for getting out, exploring, and trying new things.
The adults went out to a Japanese steak house for dinner which was very enjoyable and very tasty and most of us ate way too much.
I totally look like I'm gagging myself in the picture.

But I'm not.

I'M EATING SUSHI!!! ME!  I am eating sushi.  I, who since my youth, have sworn off eating anything that lives its life in water-- ate sushi!  TWO pieces!!  What is wrong with the Universe??

Dang, peer pressure is a powerful thing.  But do you notice Steve to my right is not looking at me.  I told everyone to not look at me while I did it.  He is respectfully averting his eyes.

You are wondering what I thought, are you not?

I did not love it.  The first roll was markedly better than the second.  Sorry, I don't remember what kind they were-- raw fish is raw fish to me.  Will I continue to eat sushi?  No, I don't think so.  But now I can say I've done it.  For whatever that's worth.

With so many new adventures yesterday...
Today was a day for hanging out and relaxing.
Playing games.
Swimming for hours and hours.
Chatting and visiting.
Yoga with Christine.
Lizard hunting.
Mommy-daughter manicures and pedicures.
What is that face, Faith?   Not attractive, my dear.
Sadly, even a bit (or a lot) of this.
Air hockey tournaments for all ages.

Talk about serious vacationing.  It's been marvelous and tomorrow we head back home ready for the adventure called life that awaits us there.  But first is the BYU vs. Utah game tonight.  Go Cougars!!

This blog post is brought to you in part by Abe, our resident photographer and historian.  Many thanks to him:)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Snow Canyon

We've never been a St. George vacationing sort of family.  You know the type-- sporty, adventurous, outdoorsy.  But today's activities were so fun that I might just change my ways.
We're here in St. George for a family book club retreat and lucky for us not-so-adventurous types, we have a few much more outdoorsy friends to guide us and show us where to go and what to do. 
We began the day with exploring the lava caves in Snow Canyon.  And for all my irrational anxiety I have at times regarding my children's safety, surprisingly, caves don't bother me. 
It was quite exciting getting everyone lowered down into the cave and I was so glad to have so many adults and helpers for the little people.  Abe stayed in this bigger open area with George while the rest of the gang headed down further.
I thought Cannon and Faith might be scared because it was so dark but they weren't nervous at all and had a great time traipsing through the cave.  Of course Clark loved it-- even if he did only get 2 hours of sleep the night before in an effort to stay up all night with his friends. Oh, the wisdom of youth.
Cannon and Anders are great buddies.
It's good to have a buddy on the trail of life.
Elinor and Grace helped each other along.
Faith and McKinley worked together.
The six girls have been so sweet together.  The older taking care of the younger.
Christine (red shorts) is our yoga guru.  It seemed appropriate for her to lead us in a bit of yoga on the beautiful red rocks.
The ladies and Anders cooled off in a pool of water in the rock.
It was a very good day and this post only shares the first half of the day.  But alas, it is late and I'm exceedingly tired from the day's events.  
So I'll sign off gratefully thinking of such great friends...
...and great family.

I am blessed.

And now I'm going to bed.