Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Uintas, Parade, Skid Steers, Ties!

 We have had a most delightful month! I often tell people that we will slowly become winter-hobby people since Billy is so busy in the summers, but it is not true. I just still make him fit all of our favortie hobbies into his busy summer schedule and I am the luckiest that he does and we have so much fun.

The weekend after my race we finally goy to go camping! We love the Uintas more than any place so we headed up there and planned to hike Mt. Baldy in the morning but when we drove up that night there was still now everywhere! It was like winter again! But we still camped and fished, so it was fine. 
 This time we went sans laundry basket and sans pack n play and Tru did great.
 All the campgrounds were still closed to cars so we were worried that maybe they hadn't been able to stock the lakes yet, but Billy caught 3 good fish!
Despite the ice that was still floating around in the lake. 

Last week our neighbor had some Parade of Homes tickets that she wasn't going to be able to use so we went. I've always wanted to go and it was so fun and cool and crazy. People are crazy. Billy loved it becuase he has more an eye for these types of things (design, trends, colors, architecture, landscape, etc). Also, he came to the conclusion that landscaping is horribly behind. Homes are becoming more and more modern and trendy and landscapers just stick to the same old rocks, plants, walls, water feature. So he's been trying to think of ways to be a little more cutting edge. 
 Summer, you would have loved it! I kept wishing you were there. It was totally up your alley.
Talk about a climbing wall! I jumped into the pit and it scared me!
Truman was set into the pit and it scared him! 

At Mom's the other day there was no bib for Tru, just a soap dress. He looked like a little Mexican choncho. 

My ward friend has a weekly hiking group. All the moms come for their kids, I come for myself haha. The other week we did Buffalo Peak and it was sweet and nostalgic cus the trail traversed the race course. 

I went to Daniel's track meet. He did great! Even when he fell flat on his face at the beginning of this race! It was fun and nostalgic but after the magic of being at a track meet wore off a little I remembered that there's a reason I took my running to the mountains haha.

 Truman can stand up a little.
 These spiders are everywhere in my yard. But usually they have 8 legs.

Another hiking day, this is at Cascade Springs.

In addition to learning to stand, Truman is learning to climb. 

Billy's doing a water feature for our neighbor so the skid came home last week. Billy doubled up and did some work in our yard, including filling in that nasty hole. Goodbye, nasty hole!

It was Billy's nephew's bday last week so I made him these ties. No "stress" this time! It was fun!

 We were up in Bountiful and went and searched out Billy's birth home. He said it looks very different now. 
 We were in Bountiful for this event of Billy's cousin, who is starting a clothing company geared towards outdoor enthusiasts and so there were outdoorsy type things like slacklining. Billy was so good!! He dominated all the granola people there. I did not know he had such a skill but this happens a lot where Billy is just randomly good at random things like horseshoes and darts and slacklining.

Not part of hiking group, just hiking in our canyon. 

Doug is the best dog. 

Goodbye, June! May July hold even more joy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

137, out!

Well my people, I am supremely happy! I ran 50 miles and everything about it went a billion times better than I could have ever hoped or imagined and I want to do it again and more!
People always told me, despite my disbelief, that once I ran 50 I would want to run 100 or more, and I can attest that such feelings are indeed now in my soul. Some day perhaps. This period of training and preparation was so fun but it also required a lot of Billy and Truman so maybe not for a time. But speaking of, Billy and Truman were the absolute champs that sacrificed so much for me and my selfish desires, were the best supporters I could have asked for and I definitely could not have done this without them. I've always thought that my true running bliss would be found in the ultra distances and Billy helped me explore and discover that so far, at least with this single race, it seems to be true.
While I'm on the shout-out spree, THANK YOU so much to every person who supported me and thought of me and has gone running with me and babysat for me (Mom and Dad were the best to take Tru during the race!) and let me talk about running and has just been a good friend and supporter to me.
Ok so here's what happened. I will try to make this recap shorter than the race, but I just liked it so much that I might be inclined to blab excessively. Sorry. You don't have to read all of it if you don't want to.
In the weeks proceeding the race I was ultra paranoid about any form of injury or sickness that may afflict me, especially since the first time I registered for a 50 two years ago I got botched with mono. The funniest fear was I had a nightmare that Cavalia Odyessyo was a huge horse and almost trampled me. Only Utah people will appreciate that joke. Sorry Sum and Char.
The day before the race I drank a billion gallons of water and got my drop bags ready. Definitely made my already sky-high excitement just out of this world.

Summer was the best and sent me such a funny and precious and joyous 50 mile poster and some funny cutouts of the Perezes cheering me on. It was so dear.

Night before after the pre-race dinner. At the pre-race dinner one of Billy's professors who has run this race several times before was just giving me a lot of advice and he told me again as he has before that he always goes on the course a week before and stashes a Dr. Pepper before the big hill. More on that later.
We set 4 alarms to make sure we would wake up on time but it ended up being not even necessary cus I was so excited that I was already up at 3 on my own haha! I thought of these moments for months as part of my mental preparation. One of my favorite feelings in the world is the ones that come from waking up on race morning. This particular time I was thinking about how I was going to run farther than I had ever run and realized that that particular feeling is one I will not feel for some time haha.

We pooped on down to Vivian Park where the race started and meandered around. Billy was definitely the only one that came to see his runner off and stuck out even more since he had a little orange jail bird baby with us haha. But I was so glad they came to see me off and Tru was a trooper.


And we're off! So many unnecessary headlamps. a) there were so many the trail was as bright as the noon-day sun b) the sun came up shortly after we started
It was beautiful and joyous! I ran through the mountains! At each of the aid stations you are supposed to come in and show them your number and I thought that's all you were supposed to do but at like the 4th aid station I noticed that people were also letting the volunteers know when they left by saying their number and "out!" I missed that memo but it was fun  to say for all subsequent aid stations. "137, out!" That way they get your splits and you can see how long you spent at each aid station. I saw Billy and Truman twice on the course before I came down through Hobble Creek. And in that time I also only fell once and got lost once. Not bad!
At Hobble Creek Billy passed Truman off to wonderful mom and dad then Billy ran up the canyon with me! Which was great because I did so much of my training on that road that I was worried it would be a horrible and long stretch but it ended up being one of the best parts of the course because Billy was with me. And we passed my ward at the ward campout and they saw me and cheered for me.
Mom and Dad and Tru met us at the end of the canyon, I got all stocked up on water and applied some more Shaklee mint stuff which proved to be one of the biggest boons in this race. It says you're only supposed to apply it 3-4 times a day so I was keeping track (once on my left hamstring, twice on my right knee, once on my left knee, etc.) but stopped doing so after I was just pretty much rubbing it all over by mile 35 haha.
Somewhere around mile 20ish someone told me I was the 5th woman. I told him I did not want to hear that but oh well! I was then on the lookout for any girl in front of me!
Billy dirt biked out to one of the remote aid stations and it was great! I felt tired around mile 33 but he spanked me on my way and it helped. I then faced a long period of seeing no one in front of me and knowing that I had passed the last person behind me long ago and being constantly afraid that I was lost but then I would see an orange flag and want to kiss it. It was perfectly divine being up in the mountains and seeing nothing but mountains for miles around.

Before the big hill I decided I needed to pee so I snuck behind a tree to do the job. At that point I couldn't crouch all the way so I was kind of half bent and looking at the ground and as I was looking I saw something red beneath a rock that was just an inch or two from where I was leaving my little mark on nature. I looked closer and saw with hilarity that it was a Dr. Pepper!! Hahaha!!! I laughed and laughed. Sorry, man.
Every person, blog review and website that talks about this race always mentions the horrendous hill at mile 40 that is huge, has no distinct trail, goes on forever, is mainly comprised of boulders, takes some an hour to ascend and is the worst. Thus, I prepared for it in my mind months in advance and hills are my thing so I looked forward to it the whole race. But when it came and I saw it extending to the heavens and I could see little ant runners trudging up it into the sky, I nearly cried. It was so huge. But I bucked up, gave myself an out-loud mental pep talk, started marching, passed two weeny girls (just kidding, they were intense) and some men too, made it to what I told myself was a false summit, got completely lost, had to backtrack which put me back behind the two girls I had just passed, repassed them, trudged through slippery snow, made it to the other side and then a short downhill to the aid station.
 It was triumphant and wonderful! Joyous and beautiful! Not even as bad as people said it was! I love hills! It was hard! I was tired but so excited and then were 10 miles of downhill. Once I passed the two girls again it just fed my already sky-high excitement so that it was out of this world!

Albino tree
The downhill was a beast. I did some passing and loooots of rubbing of Shaklee mint stuff all up and down my left leg which was threatening to cramp at any false footing, and there were many opportunities for that! So, thank you, Shaklee!
At the final aid station was Billy and Cynthia! And a cold, wet towel that I don't think I was supposed to take with me but I did! I did not linger at that aid station because for heaven's sake the finish line was a mere 3 (I told myself 4) miles away!
At one point my leg threatened to cramp and I said out loud, "Oh no you don't!" and at the same time a man that I hadn't heard approaching passed me. haha we just looked at each other with weary eyes and I was like, "sorry, I was talking to my leg, not you." He just barely nodded and kept running haha.
It was a long stretch to the finish. I must admit that once I discovered earlier in the race that I was in the top 5 girls I was competing in addition to running but at that point I thought, "If a girl comes up behind me, oh well."
Sometimes when I tell people they can run a marathon they say something like, "No way, I did a half marathon and after that I was like, 'there's no way I could run that distance again! I can't even run one more single step!'" and I always tell them that's just because they only told their mind they had to run 13 miles so a single step more seems too much. I thought of that on my way down to 50 miles, that I did not think I would be able to go another 10 or 20 or 30 or 50 but remembered that probably if I started the race thinking that I would do X amount, 60 or 70 or 80, I wouldn't start feeling mentally downtrodden towards the impossible until that finish point was in my grasp. Tangent. Anyway.
Came to the final curve, saw a wildly enthusiastic lady whose cheers I recognized at once as CJ and was very happy to see her since I didn't think she was coming! And she had with her some nieces and nephews including Ally who had made me a sweet poster! Then there was mom and dad and Billy and Cynthia and Truman and then there was the finish line!

Speaking of posters, the Willises were so dear and sent me this wonderful picture during my race!
 The finish! It was awesome. I came in as the second woman at just seconds under 11 hours. I could not move or eat or do anything but be so happy that I did it and that there were so many good supportive people around me.

Billy is the best, best, best. This just never could've happened without him. I'm so glad that all of our plans for him to see me on the course worked out so seamlessly.

At the awards ceremony the race director pointed out that the girl who won first, Jackie Achter, also happened to have bib #1. It made me think. Because traditionally race bibs are distributed according to the order in which you register for the race. So during the race whenever I would see someone in front of me and their number, I would think, "I can pass that guy, #163 because I am some 30 people more committed than he is to this race." or "Even though that guy #104 was 33 more people committed than I was, I can still catch him!" So I thought, "Man, no wonder that lady beat me, she was 136 people more committed than I was! The most committed person here!" But then later as I looked at the results, I discovered that actually the bibs were distributed alphabetically, thus, Achter gets bib #1! haha at least my mental tricks worked before I knew that fact.
And now it is past! How happy of an event! It was perfect bliss and I loved it so. Thank you again to all people who supported and also especially Billy. What a champ.
And thank goodness there is a stream across the street from my house. I soaked in it.

And thank goodness for this cute guy. We love him so!
Life is bliss! 137, out!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Happy Anniversary Home Improvements!

Happy Annivesary to CJ & Eric and also us because we closed on our house on May 28 last year! So we are now officially one year closer to actually owning our house. What a year! I can't believe one year ago we were driving up into the mountains late every night after work at Noni  and I was pulling out the worst carpet tack nail boards with a huge pregnant belly in an echoey house that smelt like smoke while Billy tore out pretty much everything else faster than a tornado. We love this house more and more and more every day!
In honor of this anniversary (or perhaps because the weather has been so nice) we have been going through a rash of home improvement projects.
We have a cupboard in our laundry room where I keep food storage and other such things and you can see it as you walk down the hall to the bathroom so I decided to make a curtain to cover it up. At first I thought it looked equally dorky, but it's grown on me.

We always have bags of food or bottles of puffs or who knows what else hanging around our table or floor because we are so frequently feeding Tru but rather infrequently wanting to take all the food back to the cupboard so I sewed a little pouch that hangs under his chair and now we are even more "Tru bottom feeders!"

We had these pretty nasty walkways leading up to our stairs and Billy had some spare pavers from one of his jobs so he built better walkways.

We planted our garden. Hopefully the deer don't want to come all the way up the driveway to snag it!

Since there's no before picture you can't really tell that this is better, but I cleaned out one of our nasty flowerbeds and put some leftover flagstone in it.

Billy found these cool chairs on the side of the road. I was so proud of him for getting something off the side of the road, generally something I usually do but not so much Billy.

We hung some bird feeders and always have tons of hummingbirds and a few other cool weird birds that I've never seen coming to visit.

I cleaned out our nasty wanna-be water feature in the backyard and built a little rock wall around the garage and woodpile.

Again no before picture makes this look still kind of junky but it was way worse; I cleaned out Billy's scap pile and organized it a little. Poor Free Bird:( Definitely a project on the list.

And my favorite, Billy built a new swing for us! The long version of the swing story is Billy wanted to build a swing but I thought I could just reupholster the old one cus it was kind of nasty. But I was daunted by such a project because the only part about being a seamstress that I've got down is the stress part and I recently swore off sewing for a time but the cushions motivated me. So I spent so long reupholstering and sewing and getting buttons and making pillows and blablabla and felt so triumphant when they did turn out and they did look good! But then when I went to reassemble the old swing, alas! The new upholstery lacked the tension and strength of the original, which as it turns out, was what held you while you sat. So Billy saw it as the perfect opportunity to build the swing and he did so literally in a matter of hours.

And my cushions and pillows still get to be put to use!
We love it!
And last but not least, Billy finally, finally got to ride his dirt bike. It's been more than a year and he had a blast. Can't beat leaving from your house to ride some sweet trails! I, of course, was so nervous the whole time he was gone, but they had a good time and I'm glad he got to go.

Truman was very skeptical of him dressed in such strange clothes haha.
And now it is the weekend I've been waiting for technically since I ran my first 10k but more specifically for the last 8 months and in two days time I will run 50 miles!!!