Friday, October 12, 2012


The Goal: Finish a full marathon in under 5 hours.

If someone had told me 2 1/2 years ago when I took my first little jog around the block that in that amount of time I would complete a marathon, I would have thought they were off their rocker.

How/why did I decide to attempt 26.2?  Because I read that stupid book again.  You know the one.  It makes you think that your body was born to run and that ultra marathons sound fun and if they can do it, so can I...yep.  That one.

2 1/2 years later I am struggling to process and articulate all that I have learned on this amazing journey but I'll give a try anyway.  

The first thing I did was to ask God if this was a worthy goal to pursue at this time in my life.  The answer I got was...Sure!  If that's what you would like to experience!

Oh, for crying out loud.  Well...alright then.  I better find a training schedule and figure out how to do this.

So I bought a big calendar, had Q help me fill in the months/miles of training and I hung it in the hallway for everyone to see what I would be doing that day.  The best surprise ever came when my sister Bethany told me she had signed up for the St George Marathon set to run the week after mine!  Woohoo!  A virtual training partner!

As the days turned into months and I ripped off pages of the training calendar, THE DAY got closer and closer, the miles got longer and longer and the performance anxiety grew bigger and bigger.  I had counted on this goal being a huge physical challenge, but I hadn't even considered the mental and emotional walls that would have to be dealt with, some of which are highlighted in my previous post.  I learned that this anxiety was common when training but it didn't make it any easier to deal with.  Here is an example of all the questions:

Am I running enough miles?

Wearing the right shoes? the right socks?

Eating the right food? at the right time?

Drinking at the right time? enough?

Why does my leg/butt/ankle/head/shoulder/back/knee/foot/toe  hurt?

I didn't know my elbows could sweat so much.

Am I wearing the right socks/shorts/shirt/bra/underwear/hat/watch/hydration belt?

How should I cross train?  I don't have a bike.  I don't have a pool.

Should I run hills today?  or hike?

What is speed work?

Should I go alone tonight or find a buddy?

Should I take my phone or leave it in the car?  Where in the world should I stash my keys?

Should I carry mace or a baseball bat?

Do I want to live in fear? or confidence by listening to the Spirit?

Should I rest my injured hamstring or keep training?  Will some KT tape help?  compression shorts?

Should I get some Physical Therapy?
Did the Physical Therapist actually just call me an "ATHLETE"?!?!  :)

I've heard of GU, but where do I find it? How do I use it?  When and how much?

Am I stretching enough or doing the right kind?

What did I eat/do that made me feel so crappy? so GOOD?!!

This tapering feels weird, too easy!  Shouldn't I still be running more!?!


But through all the months of training, I had support and reassurance from many sources, especially my own family who tirelessly and CHEERFULLY dropped me off or picked me up for a run often at the last minute.  Also my parents and siblings were a huge support, especially my sister Bethany as my virtual training partner with our Monday phone call asking each other how far did you run, what did you eat and how did you feel. And finally those who went on those tough, long runs with me - Tristan, Nicole, Mike, Cindy and Dorene.  You ROCK.  The kind words of encouragement, the time spent and the miles laid down will never be forgotten.  It seemed like just when paralyzing doubt would creep in and threaten the most, one of you would step in and run with me, my sis would call or one of my girls or Rob would tell me how proud of me they were.

Some lessons learned while training:

I still hate bananas.
McDonald's surprisingly has really good oatmeal.
During the previous 42 years of my life I haven't liked oatmeal but I got pretty sick of whole wheat bagels and peanut butter/almond butter as a pre-run fuel, so I gave it a try.  YUM:)
Compression socks and KT tape have just as much psychological value as physical value.  And they come in really cool colors.
Don't "carb load" the night before a long run.  Do it the night before the night before.
GU matters!
I hate running on the road.  It's slanted...and there are lots of cars.
Anyone who passed me on the road or trail going faster than me just made me assume they weren't going as far:)
Getting up in the wee hours of the morning to "get my miles in" was indescribably tough...and lonely sometimes...and nerve racking...and some days, absolutely blissful.

Some lessons learned on Race Day:

Hydrate or die.
Or at least get really sick and feel like if you bounce at all or move too fast you will lose your lunch.  But that was after 19 really great miles:)

Be willing to adjust my expectations to my circumstances.  As I watched my "under 5 hours" goal slip quietly out of reach, I realized that I didn't give so much as a big hoo-hah about it and I just hoped to be vertical rather than horizontal while crossing the finish line and be able to smile and remember "the moment".

There are truly angels among us (seen and unseen).  I sat by several on the bus ride up to the starting line and one of them offered to be my "pacer".  He stuck with me, made me laugh, distracted me for miles with stories, not only waited for me at the aid stations, but CAME BACK up the road to make sure I was okay and still on my feet while he offered endless words of encouragement.  And then! I see my very own cheering crew as I round the corner somewhere in the 21st mile and gain Aaron as a fresh-footed pacer to bring me home to the finish.

Life lessons?  Sure.  A whole long list of them.

But they are all ones that we have  heard before.

Endure to the end.  Your family will be there.
Enjoy the journey.  There are angels and beautiful scenery along the way.
Go big or go home.
Kick some asphalt.
Don't JUDGE.  Especially all the people you see that come in different sizes, shapes, colors and AGES because for all you know, they could have just finished running a marathon!  I saw them all do it!

So - remember all those questions?
Did running the race answer any of them?  A few.

But, as Bethany and I had a fabulous de-briefing/ sister talk session after her race, we laughingly realized that there are far more questions that were raised rather than answered.

Will I ever run another marathon?  Knowing what I know now, that is a very good question :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Voices in My Head

I am too tired to go running...

You might be tired, but since when has that stopped you?

I have too much to do today.  I can't fit everything in.

Stay Healthy.  Prioritize.

It's too hot.

Wah.  Hydrate or die.  Wait a little longer.  You like running at sunset better anyway.

Spending so much time training/running is selfish.  I need to clean my house, cook some dinner and pay attention to my family.

That's quite a judgement.  Let's ignore the fact that you think selfish=BAD and remember that you have taught your family to be capable and somewhat self-reliant.  They can practice that a little bit. And in the long run (pun probably intended), they will remember watching you crossing the finish line, and not how many frozen burritos they had to microwave. 

I just want to sleep a little bit longer.  It's still dark outside and that scares me.  I don't want to do this long training run alone.

You are never alone.  Listen.  Pray. Practice letting go of fear...
Fear paralyzes.  Faith mobilizes.
Now...GET UP!

Running up this hill/mountain will be really hard and it will hurt.

Just FLOAT.  Smooth, light and easy.  Keep your shoulders in line with your hips.  Tight torso. If it feels like hard work, you are working too hard.  Do it, and it will make you stronger.  Look at the beautiful view from up here on the mountain.  Smell the pine trees.  Breathe!  You are the only person here right now.  That says something about you.

I can't run any more.  My hips, calves, feet, toes and hamstring hurt.  I think I am going to throw up.

Suck it up, Buttercup.  This ain't nothin'.  Look how far you've come.  Look at what you can do!  

And remember....

Run deep.
Run long.
Run silent.
Run strong.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Moab RRR 2012~ Lessons Learned

1.  Do training runs on BOTH sides of the road so that my feet toughen to different slants, thus preventing the big blister that formed on the ball of my foot on the 1st leg.

2.  Do training runs on all kinds of terrain.  Just because I like the trail best does not mean the road should be ignored.  Pavement is harder than dirt.  My blistered toes will remind me of this as well.

3.  Fear/anxiety can be a great motivator.  I was afraid of not hydrating enough, therefore I drank constantly, knocked back some chia slime and felt like I had plenty of energy.  I also used the porta-potty at every exchange:)

4.  My dislike/fear of crowds is always overshadowed by the positive energy in the air on RACE DAY!

5.  Having total strangers cheer for you is very humbling.  I know my family will, but it is always a shock when it comes from strangers so unexpectedly.  It's as if I matter.

6.  I like smiling when I run, just to prove a point:)

7.  I can power-walk up a calf-killing hill faster than I can run up least for now.

8.  I didn't need even half the amount of food that I packed, but it was nice to have options.

9.  The lady directing the primary children's choir in church the day after the race had the same temporary tattoos that I did.  She was a member of the Moab Mafia :)

10.  Everything I have learned about myself through running was re-emphasized and reinforced as I was allowed to pass through the beautiful, stunning, scenic, adventure of this relay race with my amazing team/family.

11.  I was not one of those "pushed to the limit", nor did I ever feel like I "gave it all I got".  But I will be forever grateful to being a witness to those who were pushed and did give.  Their courage and sheer guts will not be forgotten and will be put in my reservoir  for future use when I DO need to push my limits and lay it all out there.

Because it's coming...

  Rock on Team Wander Wild. Rock on and run free.  Free from fear and doubts.  Because I know it's possible.  I saw it happen.

Learn more from Wildbound's perspective here:

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Glorious morning!

My after-work run yesterday with Paigey turned into a wonderful walk instead:) Thanks Paigey! It was awesome! This morning Rock dropped me off at the mouth of Ogden canyon, I put my earphones in, and listened to General Conference while I ran the river parkway all the way down to the 21st street pond. He parked there, rode his bike all the way up to the mouth of the canyon, kissed me as we passed each other, and rode back down to meet me at the pond. I beat him by about 10 minutes, but he doubled my mileage:) What a glorious morning!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Paradigm shift

I have been running 2-4 times a week for about 22 months now. The longest stretch of time I went between runs was 10 days last spring when I was quite sick with a bad cold/cough. Even through both winters I have made sure to run at least ONCE a week outside rather than on my treadmill. One evening a few weeks ago it had been snowing and was dusky and getting dark when I hit the trail running. I forgot my waterproof baseball cap and just had my earmuffs on to keep my ears warm. I was running west, with the wind, enjoying the absolute aloneness and stillness as I followed a set of tracks in the snow of another runner. By the stride length and shoe size I guessed the runner was probably a tall man. As I followed his prints in the snow, I noticed them going and coming back. The snow continued to come down and as I reached my turn around point of 2 miles out, his "going" tracks kept going and were getting fainter, but his "coming back" tracks were still visible. I turned around and started the run back to my car and soon realized how nice it had been to have the wind at my back. It was now in my face! And so was all the snow! So I tucked my chin down, kept my eyes on the tracks in the snow and "made a run for it". The funny thing was that not only were his tracks being obliterated but mine were as well. I wasn't cold, but my jacket and fleece tights were getting soaked, as was my hair and gloves. But my feet were toasty warm in my wool socks:) *Sigh*
As I got closer to the end of the trail and the darkness and snow were pretty well upon me, I realized once again how much FUN I was having! And that's when I felt the shift...

"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." ~ John Bingham~

I have, up to this point, felt reluctant to call myself a "runner". I have always felt that I have not made the proper accomplishments, did not have a plethora of the right shoes (although I am working on that) or put enough time into it. After coming across the above quote recently, I have decided that Mr. Bingham is right. I just needed a shift in my self-perception. The run in the dark and the snow helped with that:) If you are looking for a paradigm, you might find one out on the canal road trail west of Weber High School...

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I was released today from my calling in the Relief Society. Strangely, I was too busy in December to post my contribution to our monthly Relief Society newsletter - so at the gentle prompting/reminder of a friend, here it is, short and sweet.

As the seasonal celebration of our Savior’s birth commences, we as a Relief Society presidency wish to express our love for Him and for all of you. Hundreds of prophets assured countless people down through the ages that He would come as Savior and Redeemer. And He did! Just as the song by Hillary Weeks says, “It was like there’d been a drought, and every word He spoke was rain...” He truly brought life, hope, love and the only way back home. Please know that our testimonies of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ burn as brightly as the Christmas lights on our trees. We may be small individually, but together we can light the world! We love Him. We strive to serve Him. We testify of Him and know that He not only lived long ago, but He lives today as well.

In his name, even Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wrappin' it up for 2011

Happy Holidays!

Hopefully this finds you all enjoying life and loving those in it. Our blessings are being counted and we are truly grateful that you are one of them.

Mayflower (13) is in 8th grade at Orion Junior High School. Her choir teacher chose her as student of the month last spring. Her braces came off and she flashes that smile around all the time! She continues her voice lessons, YW activities and babysitting jobs. She hiked 17.5 miles with me, Rock and Uncle JT up and down the infamous Half Dome in Yosemite with what appeared to be a smile on her face and a skip in her step. Upon further questioning by myself and the benefit of hindsight, she just wanted it to be over:) We then headed to St. George and hiked through the breathtaking Subway canyon with sisters, cousins and friends.

Michex (19) just finished her 3rd semester at Weber State. She has become a valuable employee in our office at Wasatch ENT & Allergy and it was hard filling her shoes as she took the summer off to go to Camp Sugar Pine in California with Scout as a camp counselor. We also nicknamed her “the Destroyer” as she took a sledge hammer to the side yard fence I wanted taken out and basically took the whole thing down herself!

Scout (21) has just finished her 5th semester and has completed her Associates Degree at Dixie State College. She took on the challenge this summer of accepting the position as ART Director at Camp Sugar Pine and had to assess, order supplies, clean, stock and then manage and teach all the art classes in the Art Barn at the camp. She was maid of honor for her best friend, Karli (technically our daughter #5) so we were all able to celebrate that day in September with the new Mr. and Mrs. Nick Brophy in Panguitch. Scout is now heading out on a new adventure as a nanny for a family in Glenview, Illinois. She leaves January 6.

Shematite ~(23) has kept herself either on the stage or in the garden this year. Both of which are her passions. She played one of the stepsisters in Into the Woods, was a chorus member in Curtains and now has a small role in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum which opens New Year’s Eve. I have given her free reign in my flower gardens and they are always beautiful and well cared for. Moving into a small house in Washington Terrace with some dear friends/roommates in September took her closer to her Terrace Playhouse and her job as Dr. Major’s nanny.

Rock ~ has finally given in and told the girls that boys are still yucky, but that they have to date them anyway in order for some grand babies to eventually show up. It was an interesting conversation:) Just to let him know that they were all on board with it, the 3 eligible ones had a group date at our house last weekend complete with spaghetti dinner and gingerbread houses.

We enjoyed our nephew Bid D staying with us for the summer, helping us with the “honey do” list. Many hours were spent with the chainsaw taking down the much too tall maple tree in our yard this summer. It’s a good thing we took it down on our schedule rather than having the BIG WIND Storm take it down for us. Rock loves being the Teacher’s Quorum advisor and was able to take the 14 & 15 year old young men in our ward on a canyon adventure I am sure they will never forget. Best. Hike. EVER. He and I also got to sneak in a quick trip to Mesa, AZ to visit his parents and their new house.

Desertbound ~ I love my calling in the Relief Society and being able to serve the sisters in my ward in some small way. After meeting a sweet, beautiful lady coming down the trail of Half Dome in Yosemite who had just completed the Lake Tahoe Ultra marathon (yep - 100 miles) and watching her stride, my goals as a runner shifted a little bit. I will take endurance over speed any day. But for my stage of life right now, I do what I can. That includes running a 15k on July 4th with my brother-in-law Wildman, several 5k’s and the funnest one of all so far...The Dirty Dash 10k! Rock, Michex, nephew Kyle and several friends from work joined our “GOT SNOT ENT” team in September and had a great time playing/running in the mud at Soldier Hollow. I am looking forward to many more happy miles!

It was probably not a good thing that all my preparation for Half Dome was physical rather than mental, because it was the toughest mental challenge I have faced in a long time. Go ahead and google some images of the Half Dome cables. You’ll know what I am talking about:) Thanks JT for going ahead of me and being my inspiration.

Our hands and heads may be busy with work and school but our hearts are always full as we count our blessings, renew our faith, grow our testimonies and serve others in the Gospel.

Our Savior lives. We joyously celebrate His birth and life.