Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I've got good news and I've got badger news

The good news is, this is one of my best running stories. 

Last week I went for my usual run after work in the mountains. I was going to do a big loop up one canyon and over the back of the mountain to the other canyon then back over to where I started, so I ran up one canyon and joined with the trail to start over to the other. However, I didn't get too far before the trail disappeared. I debated going farther anyway and just bushwhacking it through the mountains, but I had started feeling sick that day and figured I should head back down the canyon instead of trying for the big loop. 

Well, I turned back around and crossed a stream. At that point I realized I had missed the real trail and that's why the one I was on disappeared, but since I was sickish I decided to just keep going and get down the canyon. 

I ran for maybe a mile, a mile on a trail I had run a thousand times before without any glitches or strange encounters when SUDDENLY I saw a huge creature occupying the entire trail like five feet in front of me!!

I screamed a huge scream and had a billion thoughts in a milisecond, something like this: "AA! A skunk! No.. not a skunk. Procupine! Too big! A weasel! Weasel? No, what are those things called? Should I pepper spray it? Didn't I read a book about these in Mrs. Keating's class? That was a loud scream! I'm a ninny!" 

I was just staring down this guy (more like he was staring down me) and it wasn't until I had taken in his 2 foot width and his poky fur and his striped head and his freaking 3 inch long claws and snarling nose that I remembered his type are called badgers!!! IT WAS A BADGER! 

We were both frozen, but I was freaking out and he looked pretty confidently about to attack me. He was sniffing and hissing and he was seriously huge. He looked like a huge wad of carpet or something. I was trying to decide if I should turn back and take the huge loop anyway even though I was feeling sick so I wouldn't have to try and pass him or if pepper spray would have positive or negative consequences or why I hadn't brought my camera so I could take a picture! And then all of a sudden he just shuffled his little carpetbag body backwards and then right off the trail into the bushes! 

(this is just a google image, but he looked pretty much exactly like this, barred fangs and all!)

Oh man. I was nervous to run past him in case he sprung out at me like a ferocious lion but I heard him rustling deeper in the bushes and so I decided to chance it! Even though it was a narrow trail sloping off a cliff into a river, I flew down it like a wild indian! 

It was crazy! Afterwards I just couldn't believe that I saw a badger or that there even are such things in the mountains of Utah because I have never seen one in all my years of Utah mountains. But I went home and researched them and I don't know what this guy was doing because they are usually nocturnal and if they come out during the day at all, it is in the early morning. Bottom line is, they are fierce. Just look at these guys:

So the badger news is, a) I FREAKED out. I don't know what will happen if I ever see a cougar (heaven forbid), but my reaction to a badger was pretty dramatic b) I did not carry out any of my heoric plans that I've crafted during hours of running in the mountains in case I need to defend myself. I totally froze c) Hollywood and Disney and that silly book we read in Mrs. Keating's class seem to think that badgers are friendly, nice, cuddly little guys but they are NOT. d) If I didn't even entertain the idea of a badger and one showed up, what other crazy creatures are lurking in the mountains!? 

But, more good news, a) he was apparently more frightened of me than I was of him b) I think I would've reacted ok if I needed to c) I made it home fine and am now an expert on badgers. 

Onto more running! (after I am not sick anymore because I have had a fever since this run! Sad! But I am running 50 miles in 6 weeks!)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Ran It, Didn't Run It

Last week, I ran the Top of Zion Relay! But I didn't run it. I just ran it. It was so fun and so exhausting. 

The adventure started with a stop at CJ's house on their 10th anniversary! (crazy!) And in case you didn't get a good look at Brooke's summer list and its preciousness, here it is again: 

My favorite is the last one, which, believe it or not, means "Orion marriage." 

I had a niece of the race director whose name was Sarah with me and the next morning we left Monroe and drove to the start line at Capitol Reef to start putting up mile markers and directional signs along the 195 mile long course.

We only did the first 15 legs, about half of the course, and it was so fun and so beautiful. And I had some good bonding with Sarah, who was a stranger two days before. I would just drive along for a half mile or mile, depending on which sign was next, pull off to the side of the road and she'd get out and zip tie the signs to the reflector posts on the side of the road. Some of it was really sketchy, but we did our best to be safe and had so much fun. I felt like such a free bird, especially since I was skipping work and just driving around southern Utah!

We stayed up late that night (Thursday) welcoming the runners and setting up the start line for the next morning and planning the day. We didn't go to bed until like 1130 and then got up again at 5 to send off the first group of runners. And then everyone was running! 

We spent the next 24 hours monitoring the course, which meant just driving back and forth to various exchanges, making sure everyone was healthy and safe, checking in volunteers, dropping off and picking up volunteers, guiding runners, answering questions with answers I didn't really know and honking my horn a thousand times as we drove by the runners! Bliss!

It was fun to occasionally run into my good friends who were running the race, including Sarahho! 

And Kim! What a sweet handoff!

This is part of the team I would've run with if I were running it and not running it. But I was running it, so they ran it without me. 

We worked through the night, driving around and monitoring everything, finally catching two hours of sleep sometime around 3 on Friday morning. We were up again around 5 to get in front of the runners again and finish setting up exchanges. It was such an adventure. 

The last several legs are run on a dirt road and by then Ellen, the race director, was totally out. So I drove her van and one of our adopted volunteers drove the car I had been driving and we got a flat! But we changed it and finished off the course sometime around 8. It was so pretty and peaceful in the morning. 

Picked up some other sidekicks along the way (daughters of the race director and her sister) 

The finish line was most triumphant! I was in charge of all the food and I totally did it, all the while thanking all those years of treks and girls camps and youth conferences and who knows what other crazy parties that mom and dad imagined up and hosted and I loved every single second! I was truly in my element and so glad to not be sitting in my cubicle, despite the total 7 hours of sleep over I'd gotten the last two nights. 

We finally had some time to just sit and hang out and see the fruits of our labors all day Saturday as the teams came in. There was still a lot of running around and getting stuff done, but I got a golden hour or two of conversation in with Kim while she waited for her other van, and it was wonderful because she is going to Japan for the next 3 months! Sad! The weather was beautiful and every team loved it. 

So many people said such awesome things about the race and said they would definitely come back next year, but even better, that it was way better than Ragnar and that they would never do another Ragnar again! No offense to Ragnar. I just was pretty pumped about that. 

Cleaning up the finish line was another great adventure during which I was again in my element, and we finished up around 9:30 or so. I took Sarah (the cousin helper, not Sarahho) and her brother Spencer to drive them north since everyone else who was helping was a sibling or associated offspring of the race director's family and were staying in Orderville since that's where they're from. I was pretty nervous cus I hadn't slept and had to drive 5 hours home, but Spencer was 16 and could drive so he and I switched off through the night and made it home at 2 in the morning. Holy cow I was tired ( and I totally had a deer come onto I-15 while I was driving and screamed but seriously luckily, he was in the left lane and I was in the right. That would've been so so so bad.) 

When I woke up the next morning, it was to the joyous news that Summer had her baby and Eliana Renee Perez was born! Hooray! We went to visit them at the hospital and she is a precious Andy baby! Good job, Bum, you are a champ! 

Needless to say, I was very tired, but it was so fun. I would do it again in a heart beat. 

And this week was CRAZY busy, mostly for Billy, but also a little for me.

He built this wall! What a champ.

And I ran from Provo to Springville through the mountains (a run more affectionately called Hope to Hobble in the running community around these parts) some 22 miles. So pretty and so fun. I am a free bird! I will run 50 miles! 

And cleaned our closet, which probably doesn't seem like that big of a deal. But it was fun. 

And thus, we were very tired. Billy was so glad to sneak even a 15 minute nap between his meetings and church yesterday. This week was so long and crazy for him!

And I got released from my favorite calling ever to be a counselor in the Primary presidency, which I know nothing about but am very excited for! So we just keep running!