Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Surprise, It's Not Your Birthday!

In the immortal words of 50 cent...  Go shortie, It's your birfday, we gonna party like it's your birfday...

Yesterday my husband came home with a gift.  It's not my birthday.  It's not my anniversary.  It's definitely not Christmas.  Nevertheless, he bought me a gift.  I sat on the couch, closed my eyes and held out my hands...  When I opened my eyes, I saw this...

That's right my friends.   A Garmin to call my own.  I'm so excited!  It fits like a glove.  The fun we're going to have... : )  So, advice from my fellow Garminites?  What workouts do you like to do?  Should I go out and run hills everyday just to look at the charts?  Do you wear it during all of your workouts?  Or just races?  Let me in on the Garmin secrets I need to know!

I skipped Tunesday yesterday waiting around for a certain video.  It's here...  Y'all haven't gotten enough of the Dirty Dash yet, right?  Here's some more of the race day fun!  This video was put together by the same guy that interviewed me on ParkCityTV for the Park City Marathon.  Awesome footage, Ori!

Garmin 305 watch retail price...$190
Garmin 305 watch hustler price...$50
Married to the ultimate hustler...priceless.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dirty Dash, Baby!

I promise, that really is me behind all that mud.  What a blast!  Another new race experience.  The Dirty Dash completely lived up to it's name.  Except that it's pretty tough to dash anywhere with your feet weighing in with an extra ten pounds of mud!

Team Piggytails went from a team of 5 down to a team of 3 at the last minute.  A couple of our girls had some things come up and were unable to join us for the fun.  So Lisa, Callie and I took in enough mud for 5!  I didn't get our team shirts done in time, which I was a little disappointed but the pigtails and straw hats made do.  And besides, most team costumes were unrecognizable by the end!  Someone asked the race organizers, 'How soon into the run would we hit mud?'  They answered, '10 feet'.

This was the first big climb, of many I might add, into the mud.  Straight up.  We got going on the trail at Soldier Hollow and soon realized there would be nothing easy about this race!  The course followed a trail that cross country skiers use during the winter months and I still can't figure out how they ski up some of those hills! 

About a half mile in we were met by a snow machine.  Yeah, a snow machine.  Ever had snow blown in your face, like riding on a snowmobile during a blowing wet snowstorm?  It's cold.  : )

The first real obstacle were haybales.  They were placed on a slight down hill section so you could hop over them with the running start....

for the most part...

Look at those cat-like skills...

Got over those feelin like a champ, most of the mud had dried from the first hill climb.  Next up, tunnels. No big whoop.

Then came the energy suckers...  The army walls.  I was able to manuever over the first one on my own.  But the next three the mud got deeper and deeper.  The mud was like suction cups to your feet.  There was no just hopping over!

Here's Lisa getting over like a pro!  Don't worry we had the muck to break our fall.

Come on Callie, keep running.  You gotta get over that wall somehow!

That wall was nothin'.  Well maybe a little somethin'.  I got over though and still posed for the picutre! : )

A stray shoe.  Someone went on to run the race with only one shoe.  I'm sure one of many casualties that day.  Crazy...

As we proceeded on the course, we really appreciated the beautiful day.  It was a perfect fall day, the temps were around 80 and fall colors all around.

This is looking down from the high point of the course, viewing the start & finish area.  There were a grip of people here today!  Perfect day for people watching.  Most of the teams were dressed to the nines.  So fun.  I think one of my favorites were the brides - all dressed in white wedding gowns.  Not so white at the finish line however.

On through the course, next obstacle was a section of tires, set up army style.  Made it through those and headed out to the dreaded swamp...

Runners are headed out to Deer Creek Reservoir.  I would have rather jumped in than run through the swamp...

I called this guy Mountain Man Joe.  He took it upon himself the head of making sure everyone got extremely muddy.  He's not offering a helping hand across the ditch - more like a roll in the creek.  Watch out for that guy!

There's Lisa making it across pretty easily.  Text book creek jumping.

I wish I would've got a close up picture of the bazillion little flies through the swamp.  This swamp was the foulest smelling place ever.  Dead fish guts and who knows what else.  We got through this section as fast as we could.  Speaking of fast, I failed to mention we got to the half-way point at about 60 minutes (remember this is a 10 K).  Don't be jealous of the speed people.  ; )

As we headed uphill once again it was off to the next obstacle to get a little freshened up...

Oh yeah, that's a giant inflatable slip n slide with a nice giant mud pit to land in.  And let me tell you even with a beautiful 80 degree day - that water was muy frio.

And to the final obstacle...the grand finale...the place to wallow like the pigs that we are...

The giant mud pit/bath/sinking quicksand/puddle of fun.  The requirement was to crawl under the rows of flags which were basically burried in the mud.  We did the best we could.

We were all laughing so hard that we couldn't have gotten up even if we wanted to.  People were belly flopping in here.  So great!

Definitely got my mud's worth today!  Can't even tell you how fun.  I believe our finish time was around 2 hours.  My first mud run PR!  Gonna have to give it a go again next year for sure - but I don't think I want to beat my time - it's way too fun to just race through!

Side note - to any of you attempting a mud run - remember to remove jewelry pre-race.  My wedding ring is in serious need of some deep cleaning.  Ooops.  At least it's not at the bottom of the mud pit!

Wallow on my muddy friends!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This weeks race....The Dirty Dash!

I'm definitely in recovery mode this week with no running on the schedule. I've got to baby this weak hamstring.  I'll be doing some cross training as well as a session with my trainer, Zack.  Haven't seen  that guy for a couple weeks.  I'm sure he misses me... ; )

So this weekend I'm looking forward to The Dirty Dash!  It's Utah's first mud run.  You might remember that earlier in the summer I had the opportunity to do a preview of the course, check it out here.  They only had a few of the obstacles set up that day but it was still a blast.  I can only imagine what Saturday will bring!  The same organizers just did the race up in Boise, Idaho this past weekend.  Instead of a song today, I thought it'd be fun to have a sneak peek at one of the obstacles on the course would be...  (Forward in a minute or so to get to the action.)

I know you all want to come and do the slip n slide this weekend!  Anyone done a race like this before?The organizers have promised more mud for the race this weekend and I'm counting on it!  I have a team of 5 girls that will run the course together - I'm pretty sure we're going to need each other to get through.  We are 'The Piggtales'!  I'm currently working on what costumes we'll be wearing - outfits that we don't mind getting ruined.  Any suggestions? : )

So my training tip for today...  Get out there and do something fun!  Find a race, event or activity that you're doing just for kicks.  Something you won't stress out about getting a PR or covering a certain distance.  The Dirty Dash will be just that for me this week.  Out there, in nature, spending time with friends, doing something crazy and not worrying about finishing with an exact goal.  I'm so excited!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Marathon #4 - Check

Top Of Utah Marathon

I don't think I ever mentioned this before, but I ran Top of Utah Marathon in 2002.   It was my second marathon ever.  Remember my first one?  St. George Marathon, the recap is here.  So way back then Top of Utah was my redemption race.  It was the race that solidified that I was a runner.  The race that made me love marathons, crazy enough.  My first race was such a bomb that I really had nowhere to go but up, but Top of Utah literally saved my running career.  If it would have been bad, then that could have been it.  But it was great!  I believe I shaved around 40 minutes off my first marathon on that 2002 race.

And with that, Top of Utah was once again my redemption this year from the ill-fated Park City Marathon just a month ago...I'm sure you remember all the fun from here.  There were no tears shed this day my friends.  I set a new PR!  4:14!  Holey Moley!  So exciting.  And take a look at this...

That's right - I had a Garmin for this race!  It was so fun.  Someone should have warned me though.  I should have done some extra bicep curls with this on to strengthen up my arm.  : )  One of my new running friends, Lisa, let me borrow it for the race.  I found myself checking it constantly but it was so nice to be informed.  And take a little closer look at the pic.  Check the mileage on the bottom left corner.  26.46 miles.  I covered almost an extra quarter of a mile.  I should get to take at least a couple minutes of my finish time, right?

Race day was perfect.  It was a cold start, I could see my breath.  Kept my long sleeved shirt on til about mile 13, but it was such comfortable running weather.  No wind, just beautiful, fall air.  The leaves have already begun to change in the canyon.  Such a gorgeous run.

About half way through my race I started chatting it up with a cute girl from Colorado.  We quickly discovered we had a ton in common, specifically, we both have 5 kids almost all the same ages.  This was her first marathon and she was kickin it out like a champ.  She shared with me her drive to do a marathon.  She had a brother that passed away a few years ago from Lou Gehrig's Disease, ALS.  He had always wanted to do a marathon but never had the chance.  He passed away at 35 years young, leaving a wife and 4 children.  She's looking for a marathon that donates to the an ALS charity.  I told her I'd put the word out and hopefully if anyone knows of one they'll share it with me and I'll pass the info on!

We stayed just about the whole second half of the race together.  I knew I was slowing down around 21 miles, so I told her to go ahead and finish strong.  And she did!  A 4:10 finish for her first marathon- so awesome.
Luckily her sister found me at the finisher's area and we were able to exchange info so we could stay in touch.  Thanks for hangin' out with me through that second half of the race Melissa!

Also at the finisher's area I ran into John Bozung...You might remember him from here.

I never did get a chance to meet him after that marathon in July, but I saw him this weekend and had to go talk to him!  After all we did share a front page together.  This race was # 304 for him!  How crazy is that?  Two years ago he ran this same marathon and fell during the first two miles and broke his nose!  The paramedics wanted to take him to the hospital but he said, no way.  I'm not breaking my streak over a little road rash and broken nose.  So they taped him all up and followed him the rest of the race and he finished!  That is dedication my friends.  He's the nicest guy and told me to look out for him at all my other races - we're sure to bump into each other again.

On Friday, the day before the race, I got a call from the local paper in Logan.  They wanted to write a little article about the 12 in 12 I'm doing.  So we did a phone interview and then after the race the editor caught up with me to get my post-race thoughts.

What better place to finish up an interview than in front of a row of port-o-potties?  So I read the article today, and while it's a great article with tons of fun info, it turns out that I wasn't very eloquent in my comments.  And he recorded my answers and got me word for word, so I can't even blame it on the writer.  It seems I use a few words entirely way too much.  Super, kinda, and fun.  I must have said the word 'kinda' about 20 times during the interview.  Seriously.

It also appears that the writer believes I have a serious addiction that causes me to need a fix.  : )  I suppose I am becoming a marathon addict.  So far it's a healthy addiction, so not to worry...  I haven't been able to find the article online, but if I do I'll put it up so you may all scrutinize my limited vocabulary.  I need to start practicing my vocab words again from 10th grade English class.

About the hamstring...  It held up pretty well.  I actually didn't even notice it until mile 21.  And then I heard/felt a pop.  Shooting pain all the down through my calf and heel and all the way up to my glute.  Sharp pain.  I limped through for a little bit, trying to shift my weight to ease the pain.  I was on pace to hit 4 hours.  Totally in my grasp.  I slowed a bit, ate a shot block, ate a banana, drank some water and put my game face on.  I wasn't going down.  Even though I slowed to about 10:30 to 11:00 min/miles I made it to the finish line with my new PR.  I really was ecstatic about my 4:14 but just a tiny, tiny bit heartwrenched that I didn't hit that 4 hour mark.  At least I know I have it in me!  It'll come.  Just gotta get those stars aligned.   For now though, I'm gonna need a little more physical therapy to get this hammie recovered. 

Part II - This is mostly for my journaling sake but please feel free to read on if you have time...

My mom and sister joined me on this trip to Logan for my marathon.  Logan has a long history in our family.  My grandparents graduated and met each other at Utah State University.  My mom went to Utah State University.  And my husband and I attended and met each other there as well.  We love Logan, UT.  So many great memories there. 

After us girls had a post-race lunch at Texas Roadhouse, (mmmm, those rolls are so gooood!) we drove around town a bit.  We stopped at The Bluebird Restaurant, which was around when my grandparents went to college!  They would have their frat & sorority dinner/dances there.  They have the original old-fashioned soda fountain and candy counter still!
Outside of the restaurant is this really cool brick wall with paint wearing off.  We decided to have our own photo shoot.  Callie loved this brick wall so we took a gazillion pics by it...

After Tyra Banks said we were not America's Next Top Model we headed home, but first stopped to visit my cute grandpa.  He was happy to hear about my great marathon report and to hear about how his old stomping grounds had changed.
I told him he should sport this awesome marathon tee sometime this week!  He said it wasn't flashy enough for him. : )  My grandpa is 95 years old!  So amazing - I love him so much!  He's been one of my big supporters.  He always asks me, 'Did you win this one?'  So funny.  No chance I'll ever win one... : )

Here's my grandpa's dog, Layla.  If you look closely in the background, you can see that I'm completely passed out on the lounge chair.  Seriously Callie, you couldn't resist...  I had to get in some sleep before heading home to the kiddos!

All in all, I'd say a completely successful, wonderful and tiring day.  Top of Utah in the books.  Now, on to the next one...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I am eating everything in site.  The first half of this week all I wanted to do was sleep.  Now all I want to do is eat.  I should listen to my body, right?  : )  If I feel like I need to eat a whole row of ritz crackers with cheese then I should do it. 

2.  Today is the Lapathon at the elementary school where three of my kids attend.  It's going to be so fun to watch these kids run a zillion laps and make it look like cake.  My kids have been talking about it all week.  They're doing it for the free snow cone.  You'd think I've never bought them a treat before...

3.  Top of Utah marathon is on Saturday and my hamstring seems to be cooperating!  One more therapy session tomorrow and then off to the race.  I haven't run all week - such a weird feeling, but I know it's helped give my legs some time to recover.

I'm off to tally up laps for the kiddos... have a great day!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I really can't even begin to tell you all how much fun this trip/race was.  It was such a unique experience, I can't even compare it to any other running events.  It really pushes you to your limits physically, emotionally, and mentally.  And I loved every minute of it.  It was my first time ever doing a long distance relay race.  I really didn't have much to refer to or call on other than I knew I could cover lots of miles at certain paces.  I learned tons about how to make my next relay challenge better and learned a lot about myself.  You just can't beat life experiences like that.  Without boring everyone to tears I really want to share everything about it!  Prepare yourself for the long version with tons of fun photos, there were over 350 pics - I'll try to give the condensed version...

Look at us.  Clean, smiling, happy.  We have no idea what we're getting ourselves into.  This is half our team, we headed out Thursday afternoon for a 4 hour drive down to Southern Utah.  I made some vinyl decals for our vans with our names, team name and a big fat pair of lips.  Bountiful Babes...seriously.  We got to our hotel pretty late and went to sleep around 11ish and had to be up to the start line around 6.  They stagger all the teams throughout the day and we were predicted a fairly slow finish time so we started first thing. 

This is our first runner, Robynn, heading out after hopping off the ski lift!  3 miles downhill trail run.  I was a little jealous.  What a great run!

A few of us went up the ski lift to send off our first runner.  What a beautfiul sunrise.  It was so cold, but it was so worth a little chill to ride up and see Robynn off.  And at the top of the mountain, while wrestling each other for more sleeping bag, my sister's cell phone fell out of her pocket without her even realizing it!  When we were heading out to the van she realized she didn't have it with her.  We retraced steps, couldn't find it.  We had the guy with the dreads announce at the starting area if anyone had found it and a few minutes later a kind stranger came up with the phone!  What are the chances?  Wish I would've took a pic of him!  So lucky.

Views from the ski lift!

So here is the first van exchange.  The Snow Van just finished six legs.  I was in the Sun Van - leg 7 runner.  The van exchange checkpoints were all huge, super fun with lots of support from the other teams.  Since the race staggers all the teams from the start, you really don't ever run with other people.  It's kind of an odd feeling when you're used to doing marathons and have small talk with lots of different runners throughout your run.  However all the vans were out supporting their runners and would cheer and offer supplies and nutrition to everyone.  The commraderie was amazing in that aspect.  And you had all the hilarious team names and decorated vans and costumes to keep you entertained.  We saw the 'Fit, Fat and the Elderly' a lot, as well as 'The Bloated Slugs' and team 'What the Hell' running complete with pitchforks and devil headbands - so fun!

This is my first leg, otherwise known as, The Navajo Ninja.  All I was missin was my Samuri sword during this 5 miles of mostly uphill run at an elevation around 9800 ft.  phew.  The scenery was amazing - the hill, pretty tough.  But I ran the full leg straight through with ten minute miles.  Pretty good on an incline!  This was actually probably my favorite leg to run.  Legs were fresh, the weather perfect - everything very exciting.  Look at that scenery!
These are the Sun Van runners - legs 7 - 12.  Lots of hills, cool, crisp air.  It was so great to have support out there.  We never had to carry a water belt, the vans would just jump ahead to whatever mile point we wanted and waited for the runner - gave em a quick drink or shot block and they were off.  Plus is was so great to have the cheers to keep the adrenaline going. 

After the first run of hills for me my hamstrings had a deja vu moment from Park City.  My left hamie knotted up pretty quick.  So great to have a sister around to use the ol' rolling pin on me!

Here's the Snow Van crew waiting for us to come in so they can get crackin' on their second legs of running...

On our way to the next resting area this little guy was trying to hitch a ride.  Sorry, Leg 133 doesn't go in our van...

These are the accomadations for our first moment of rest.  It's no Marriott but it would suffice for the night.  Luckily it was clear skies and really not too chilly.  We got about an hour and a half of sleep.  The Snow Van was finishing all their legs faster than expected so we weren't even ready for the next van exchange.  Good thing I slept ready to go with my shoes exactly next to my sleeping bag!  I was literally shocked out of sleep and thrown out on my longest leg - 8.3 miles of rolling terrain.  My hamstring was a little stressed but finished at about 1 hr 16 min.  Not flyin but good enough in the dead of night.  I ran that leg around midnight, in the middle of nowhere, with a headlamp.  Crazy.  And honestly hardly saw any other runners.  I maybe saw 3 up until I got to the next hand-off.  It was a little creepy to be out there alone, but I stayed strong.  My van caught up to me at around 4 miles - so it was all good.  I saw 3 falling stars during that run and the sky was lit up beautifully with the starry night.  Unfortunately we were all kinda in a daze so no pics from the night action.  I will say everyone rocked their night legs, even Lisa who had been battling nausea all night!  She hit that run like a champ!
So once we met up with the next van exchange and handed it over to our team members we had planned to go to Lisa's in-laws vacation home that was nearby.  Funny thing tho, we got there and the lock code didn't work and the key box wouldn't open.  Of course.  We were all so tired that half of slept in the car and the other half slept on the drive-way.  I can't believe the neighbors didn't call the police.  Seriously.  Once daylight hit, after getting another hour and a half of sleep (if you can even call it sleep) Lisa figured out the key box and we were able to get in the house for a quick shower.  It was a good thing too, we were stinkin up that van pretty good...  well not me, but... : )

So onto the third leg.  We were late to that leg too!  Our calculations were so off on the finish times of our other runners that they ended up waiting about 7 minutes for us to get there for the hand-off.  We felt really bad...  So with tons of anxiety, no breakfast or food, minimal sleep, I jetted off to finish my last leg.  5 more miles of hills.  Luckily this leg was at 9:30 so it was warm but not crazy hot yet.  Have you ever been out on a run and thought, 'If I close my eyes right now I could totally fall asleep.'  That was my feeling.  Just total fatigue.  I limped throught the first mile and a half and then the hamstring warmed up to finish the hills fairly strong.  Kicked this leg out in 10 minute miles as well. 
Nora and I are discussing that it is going to be freakin' hot for the runners later in the day...

The best thing about this experience is the new friends and the tighter bonds that we made.  I ended up helping out a couple of our runners on their legs and it was fun to actually spend time out on the course with them.  It really was super hot in the afternoon and some started feel some symptons of heat exhaustion and fatigue.  It's amazing what talking and taking your mind off the hurting to get you through a run!  These ladies are troopers!
Here's our cute group of ladies in their matching tees waiting for one of our runners to come in.
See this book right here?  It was our Bible.  We looked at it seriously, every 10 to 15 minutes.  It had all our legs listed in detail, as well as estimated and actual finish times for all the legs.  So helpful.  Couldn't have done the race without it!  I had some serious comtemplation going on... : )
The finishing line! Boas, beads and how bout those t-shirts?  Pretty stinkin' cute...

Bountiful Babes - the starting line-up: Nora, Caralee, Lisa, Robynn, Sheri, Melanie, Lisa, Emily, Callie, Me, Amy & our team captain Angela!  Angela was amazing to keep us all organized and together!

Here's the Sun Van crew - Nora, Lisa, Emily, Me, Callie & Amy - we're so tough!

Totally earned those 3 bars!  I ended up covering about 30 miles total!  So awesome!
Cute Lisa, last runner, 7 miles in the hottest heat of the day, taking a well deserved rest!

Feelin' pretty good about life in this moment.  Such a crazy weekend.  Unbelievable to cover that many miles in 34 hours...  next year we'll get it under 30!  Heck ya!

At the end of our race, Emily and I already contemplating next year's adventure...  Maybe we should try RRR as an ultra event... : )  I'll think about it some more after I have another nap today.