Saturday, January 10, 2015

Haulin' Booty

In April 2014, one of my co-workers, Ali, asked if I'd be interested in joining her Ragnar team! I was pretty surprised that she asked me, because I'm not a fast runner at all!! But I was psyched for the opportunity!

At that point, there was only about two and half months until the race. Luckily, I was runner seven, which meant I had the easiest legs! My longest leg was less than five miles, so I figured I'd be okay! I kept to my normal running schedule, with a goal to be up to five miles at least two weeks before the race.

The thing is though, it's hard to really train for a Ragnar race until you've actually done it! I had no way of knowing what it would be like to run my legs, since I had never done it before. About six weeks before the race, I decided to get some new running shoes. I went with Altras because I have heard good things about "barefoot" and "zero drop" running. But after about two weeks of bad runs, I decided they weren't for me and switched them out for a pair of Brooks.

I was nervous at that point because I had lost two weeks of training. And I didn't dare try to break in a new pair of shoes, so I stuck with my old ones. Finally, only a few days before the race, I ran five miles non-stop! I was so excited that I kneeled right down on the grass and thanked the Lord for helping me reach my goal!

Race day came and I was super nervous! I was worried about letting my team down and being too slow! I was worried about the exchange points and recognizing the guys I was supposed to take the baton from! And I was worried about running at night!

I met up with my half of the team, van two, and we drove to Eden, Utah for the first exchange. I had never been to Eden before, but it is a beautiful place! The drive up was super rainy and I was worried about running in a downpour, but when we got to the exchange point, the rain stopped and the sun started to come out.

We checked in, went through the "safety class" and then had time to walk around to some of the vendors. We also had plenty of time to enjoy gawking at some of the other teams that showed up. Some teams had crazy costumes (ex- Lego people, unicorns, troll dolls) and others went all out on their vehicles... Imagine a giant (and I mean giant) inflatable monster on top of a Suburban......

Finally, it was time for us to make our way of to the exchange point!  I stood in the corral and watched as my teammate ran toward me with the baton (a sweet orange slap bracelet).

We made the exchange and I took off! I had my phone with me and had planned to use Pandora for my music. Well, I wasn't really thinking about the fact that I was going to be in the middle of nowhere, going through mountain ranges, so I didn't have an internet connection.
I started to panic! How in the world was I going to run four miles with absolutely no music! I started out trying to sing songs in my head... but that didn't last very long! I had the thought to check my iTunes app, and thankfully, somehow, about five songs had made it on to my phone! I listened to the same five songs, over and over, for pretty much all three legs! What a huge blessing it was to have them on my phone though!! Let just say, every time I hear the Neon Tree sing "Everybody Talks" I will always think of Ragnar!!

I was about halfway through my run, going through "downtown" Eden, when I spotted my mom and my grandparents standing on the side of the road cheering me on!! How awesome that they made the drive all the way up there to support me!!

As I came up to to exchange point, I was greeted by my team. They had met up with the other van and picked up our huge pirate flag! Our team name was "Haulin' Booty", so it was very fitting! My mom and grandparents had also made their way to the exchange point, so I got to give them all a hug before connecting with my team!

Once my first leg was over, I got a twelve hour break! I drank a ridiculous amount of water in a really short time and then cheered the rest of my teammates on! Our first major exchange was at the Snowbasin resort (which is beautiful, by the way).

Runner eleven was out, so we parked and decided to grab a couple things to snack on. Unfortunately, I started to feel sick. I think I had drank too much water, way to fast! I made my first (yes first) stop at the first-aid tent! Thank goodness for those people!!

After our last two runners were done, we drove to the next major exchange point, a high school in Morgan, to clean up and take a break!! It was about 7:00 p.m. so we had to break out our reflective gear and wear it anytime we were outside! The school had a nice big field so we were able to take our pillows and blankets and spread out. I had brought a sleeping bag with me, but I didn't want to worry about rolling it back up later, so I just took a blanket with me. Mistake! It got pretty chilly and I wished, more than once, that I would have just brought the sleeping bag with me! I was, however, smart enough to grab my sleep mask and ear plugs!!

After a few hours of laying around (no real sleep on my part), we loaded back in the car and headed to the exchange point. As we got closer, traffic got really really bad! We kept watching the time and trying to contact van one to find out what time runner six had started his leg! I was getting really worried that I was going to have to get out a run with runner six to the exchange point and then keep going on my leg!! Thankfully, we beat him there!!

I grabbed the slap bracelet from him and took off on my night run, reflective vest, head lamp, tail light and all!! My leg started off with a pretty big hill.... I was going up and over part of a mountain. Sadly, I had to do a lot of walking up that dang hill!! When I finally made it to the top, I was rewarded with a nice long downhill!!

I had been so worried about my night run, but I actually really loved it! It was pretty peaceful running in the dark! I was in the middle of the mountains, so I got to see all of the millions of stars that you don't normally see in the valley! Plus, the air was nice and cool, which always helps!

Unfortunately, after my downhill, it was nothing but up..... and more up! Steep up!! There were more than a few times I wanted to sit down on the side of the road and take a break!! Thank goodness for kind fellow runners who would jog by, saying nice and encouraging things!! I was SO happy by the time I saw the exchange point! I was definitely ready to be done with the hills!!

I was actually pretty lucky because my night run started at about 11:30 p.m.! I would much rather start then than at 4:00 a.m.!! My plan was to finish my night run and then sleep for a few hours in the car. No such luck! It was hard to get comfortable, and it got really cold... plus, we were constantly letting runners in and out of the car. Finally, I ended up the back of the Suburban and was able to sleep for about an hour!

After all of our night runs, we went to the rest point at a high school in Summit county. This school was awesome because you could use their bathrooms and showers for free!! It was SO fantastic to use a flushing toilet after 24 hours of using a Honey Bucket!! We tried to sleep a little more, but I still wasn't feeling that great, so I mostly just sat around and relaxed. It was also the second time I visited the first-aid tent. This time it was for my feet because I was starting to get some blisters. Again, I was grateful, this time for the mole skin!!

My last run started in the late afternoon on Saturday. It was going to be a pretty flat run and was less than five miles, so I was pretty sure I had it in the bag. Boy was I wrong! This is the part that's hard to explain if you haven't run Ragnar! You think you're feeling great..... but you realize that the last day and a half have caught up with you! The fact that you haven't slept much kicks in and energy is running low!
I started off okay.... but pretty quickly had to start walking. This was a big disappointment to me!! But my spirits were quickly lifted when all the sudden two cars drove by, honking and cheering for me! My parents and my grandparents drove up to help me along the course!! I was SO happy to see them! They brought me water, my mom walked some of the course with me and they cheered me on! I LOVED having them there!!
At one point, I was running through a neighborhood and a little girl was standing on the side of the road with a hose. As I got closer she asked "Would you like me to spray you"? It was SO hot at that point so I gladly welcomed it!! Not far down the road was another group standing on the road doing the same thing!! I thought it was so cool that bystanders along the course got involved!

After what felt like and eternity, I finally saw this sign!!

And I was even more grateful to cross my final finish line! My team was there cheering me on, but so was my family!!! It was THE best moment!!!

After that I got to enjoy the rest of my time in the Suburban, cheering on my teammates! They were all rock stars, especially Aliza and Ali, who conquered Ragnar hill!! Along the way, I visited the first aid tent for the third and final time!! I had some pretty ridiculous blisters on both feet. At that point, they were pretty bad and there wasn't much they could do! They wrapped them a little, but I had to hobble around for the rest of the day!!

The finish line was in Park City. We got there pretty early so we had time to meet up with the other half of our team! We waited at the finish line together as runner twelve finished his leg. As he came to the end of the course, we joined him and crossed the finish line together! It was so amazing!!

Waiting for us were our medals! How cool are they!!

We took some team pictures and congratulated each other on a great race!!

My parents were also waiting for me at the finish line, and my mom had made a really cool Haulin' Booty pirate flag for me! Their support meant so much to me!!

On the way home, we stopped so I could get my first real meal in 24 hours..... a Wendy's hamburger and a Dr. Pepper! Delicious!! We got home around 10:00 p.m. and I ended up sleeping until 1:00 p.m. the next bed!! I was super excited to wake up to a Village Baker lemon bar from Kaylee!!

The next Monday, Ali asked me if I was ready to sign up for Ragnar 2015! At first, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it again!! It was a pretty crazy experience!! But after a few days, I finally committed!! I'm determined to fully run all three of my legs this year! And not to get sick!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Brooms Up

In October  2013 I convinced my mom and sister to run a Harry Potter themed 5k with me. It was for a great cause since some of the funds went to the Utah Autism Council! 
This was the first year this group has hosted a 5k..... so there were somethings that could have been better. Like the fact that race packets weren't ready the day before the race so everyone was trying to get their bib before the race started. There were still people getting their packet when the race officially started.

The only other thing I didn't love about the race was the actual course. It was at West Jordan park and we basically ran in a circle three times. I'm not sure it was technically even a 5k distance....
BUT... besides all of that, I thought it was fun race! When you signed up you had to pick a house {we of course picked Gryffindor} and you got a shirt based on the house you chose. They also encouraged everyone to come dressed up as a Harry Potter character and some of the costumes were really cool!! 
At the end of the race, they totaled up the times by house, and the house with the best time won. The winner was Gryffindor!! Some of that might have been due to the fact that most people picked that house! 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 Book List

My reading list for 2014 is pretty pathetic! A friend got me hooked on the t.v. series Sherlock and I spent way too much time watching it!! I plan to be much better this year! 

  • 1- The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  • 2- Jack and the Beanstalk by Jenni James
  • 3- The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze
  • 4- Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
  • 5- The Chaos of Stars by Keirsten White
  • 6- Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • 7- Cinderella by Jenni James
  • 8- A Weekend With Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly
  • 9- Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • 10- Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • 11- Sleeping Beauty by Jenni James
  • 12- Death Cloud by Andrew Lane
  • 13- The Sherlockian by Graham Moore
  • 14- No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige
  • 15- The Madera Murder by Deanne Blackhurst
  • 16- Conversion by Katherine Howe
  • 17- Valkyrie Symptoms by Ingrid Paulson

Goodbye 2014

Goodbye 2014!
If you want to read about 2013, go HERE!

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before? Went paddle boarding!! Loved it! I also went to my first Utah Symphony performance! I also got a calling as a Sunday School teacher! I was terrified.... but it's starting to grow on me! 

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions and will you make more for next year? I have given up on making actual resolutions!! I do need to be better about making short and long term goals though! 

 3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My best friend Lacey had a super cute little girl a few months ago! 

4. Did anyone close to you die? My great-aunt passed away this year. Even though she was a great-aunt, our two families did a lot together, so it was really sad to see her go! 

5. What countries did you visit? Unfortunately, none! 

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? More self-confidence! 

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched in your memory, and why? February 28th! The day I paid off my car! Such a good feeling!! 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Running my first Ragnar relay! 

9. What was your biggest failure? 
Journaling! My blog went down the tubes! And I even slacked off on my "every day- five year" journal! 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I'm pretty sure I had two sinus infections at the beginning of the year... but there were some changes to my insurance and I was too chicken to go to the doctor to actually find out. 

11. What was the best thing you bought? My new Brooks running shoes! 

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My grandparent! Just because they are seriously amazing! I loved soft spoken, kind hearted grandpa! And this year, my grandma gave me my great grandmothers jewelry box! 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I have stopped watching the news because I cant stand to hear about all of the horrible people and things going on in the world! Sometimes I feel lame because I am not up-to-date on current events! But all the news focuses on is negativity, and it's just not something I want to listen to! 

14. Where did most of your money go? Student Loan payments.... one day I'll be rid of them! 

 15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Going to see Mockingjay two days before it was officially released!! Thanks Christine!!! 

16. What song will always remind you of 2014? All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor. I wasn't sure if I liked it at first.... then it grew on me..... then it was on the radio ALL.THE.TIME and I got sick of it!! 

17.Compared to this time last year, are you:
     i.happier or sadder? Probably the same
     ii.thinner or fatter? Fatter... lots fatter! 
     iii.richer or poorer? I think I might actually be slightly richer! 

18.What do you wish you'd done more of? Running! 

19.What do you wish you'd done less of? Watch t.v. 

 20.How will you be spending The New Year? I spent it with my friends Miranda, Stacy and Magen! We watched movies, at junk food, took silly pictures and watched the ball drop! 

22. Did you fall in love in 2014? Same as usual.... Nope!! 

 23. Were there any books/songs/movies you didn't like? 
Really dislike the Iggy Azelea song... and I got so tired of hearing John's Legend's "All of Me". I finished the Divergent series, and while I liked the first one, I absolutely HATED the last book, Allegiant. As for movies.... I wasn't the biggest fan of Maleficent. 

24. What was your favorite TV program? Sherlock is my new favorite! But I still love Once Upon A Time! I also really like The Librarians! Drop Dead Diva is officially over, which is kind of sad! And I'm kind of bummed out by the new Doctor Who! 

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Not that I can think of! 

26. What was the best book you read? I was horrible about reading this year! I got super distracted by t.v. series! Looking back at my list, I don't know if I can say there were any books that I absolutely loved!! 

 27. What was your greatest musical discovery? I like Pompeii by Bastille.... but I can't speak for the rest of the songs! Same thing with Me and My Broken Heart by Rixton! 

28. What did you want and get? Lots of things.... I'm pretty spoiled. The game Linkee, a huge bottle of Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue perfume, a S'Well water bottle (THE best water bottle out there) and the newest One Republic CD, just to name a few! 

29. What did you want and not get? A home of my own! I'm still trying to save enough for a down payment!! I'm SO grateful to my parents for giving me a place to stay while I try to save! 

30. What was your favorite film of this year?  Mockingjay-Part 1 was my favorite!! I also liked If I Stay, The Maze Runner, Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day and Divergent. 

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? My last year in my 20s... SO crazy! Slept in, lunch with my friend Christine, drinks and a sugar cookie from Swig, pedicures with my mom and sister and Menchies with my dad and sister!! It was a really good birthday! 

 32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Paying off my student loans! 

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? Still love cardigans! Big fan of lace!! And I'll never get tired of pearls! 

34. Favorite vacation? I decided to change this question... it used to be "what kept you sane", which always seemed pretty dumb to me!
So, my favorite vacation this year...... probably my trip to Denver with my parents and sister! I wasn't sure what we were going to do when we got there, but it turned out really great! Denver is actually a pretty cool place! We ate at some good restaurants, saw some cool architecture and played piano on the street! 

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Benedict Cumberbatch! 

36. What political issue stirred you the most? Since I have stopped watching the news I honestly have no idea what is going on in the political world and, honestly, I like it better that way! 

 37. Who did you miss? I missed some ladies that I used to have friendships with a few years ago... sometimes moving is the worst!  

38. Who are your favorite people that you met this year? I need to put myself out there more because I can't think of any one new that I've met! 

39. Quote a song lyric that accurately summarizes this year? "No one said this would ever be easy...[I] will travel this life well worn, no matter the cost, no matter how long. [I] will leave [my] footprints and carry on"

"If life were a movie then it wouldn't end like this, left without a kiss, still she smiles...... she's talking to angels, she's counting the stars, making a wish on a passing car. She's dancing with strangers, she's falling apart, waiting for Superman to pick her up, in his arms"

It's crazy that yet another year has gone by!! Here's to hoping that some great things are accomplished this year!