Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My summer....

Ask yourself, "Do I have a lot of time right now?" Because the following is a marathon of a post--no kidding. I figured I'd just kill all my birds with one stone and post everything all at once. (Forgive me for using ABC's again--it just made it easier for me to organize my thoughts).

(Random picture that my 3-year-old took a month ago. Decided I'd

better post it since the following pictures are ugly shots of me).

Anyway, the chronological ABC's of my summer:

Acclimation: To prepare my lungs from 1,200 ft. elevation to the 8,000 ft. elevation of the Utah Wasatch Back, a Ragnar Relay http://www.ragnarrelay.com/index.php, I ran with weights on. Four weeks before race day I started with just 3 pounds. I gradually increased the weight until I was running with 12 pounds extra weight. I also ran the monstrous hills near my home (8-10% grade) with the weights on, of course! So, I missed my kids' last day of school (June 19) to fly out and run my race, but I'm happy to say that my lungs were ready and I was able to breath just fine!

B.O. 188 miles from Logan to Park City--this distance was shared by me and my 11 teammates--Go team Lightspeed! I was runner #12 and thus ran legs 12, 24, and 36. I only knew 3 of my teammates, prior to the race. We were in the same ward in San Diego. They were in vehicle #2, with me, as well as two other teammates. We were runners 7-12. Vehicle #1 had runners 1-6. (Everyone's total individual mileage ended up being between 13-18 miles).

We had all communicated prior to the race via phone, email, Facebook, and IM. Still, it's something else to all wear electric lime t-shirts and spend 30+ hours together in a van. We bonded, as only runners can, cheering each other on over tough terrain, a pitch-dark night, and inclimate weather. Since there were only two girls, our team was classified as a men's team. Yes, I was in a car with 5 men for 30+ hours. At one point I asked someone for my sweaty sweatshirt, to which he picked it up from the seat handed it to me while commenting, "Woah, you smell like one of us guys." Uh, I'll take that as a compliment.

Contacts: I was in very few photos during our race. I'd like to say it's because I'm so fast that they couldn't catch me, but in reality it was that one of my contacts had broken a week prior to the race and the new ones hadn't come in yet. I don't like wearing glasses, let's just say that.

Here I am all dorked up--glasses, reflector vest, headlamp, flashing LED lamp.

Anyone who ran between the hours of 8pm and 6:30am had to wear this stuff.

(Excuse my even dorkier expression--this was after I had run).

Decorations: Here's how we decorated our vehicles.

Other teams went all out with things like scarecrows, millions of flashing lights, mannequins, medical equipment, etc....

Exhilerating: Being greeted by this sunrise in the sleepy town of Coalville, UT.

And, how it felt to be at the top of this mountain on the hardest and highest leg of the race, cheering for my teammate.

Fatigue: What happens when your first leg looks like this:
(Yes--three miles uphill the whole way!)

And when it's not your vehicle's turn to run and you pull over to sleep and there's a snorer in the bunch and you get no sleep. Less than 2 hours of sleep in a 30 hour race = fatigue.

Glory: I wanted to be runner #12--not because I'd get to cross the finish line, but because it meant my first leg would be my hardest, my second one would be a tad easier, and my final leg would be cake.

HA! Before I started my 3rd leg I was deliberating if I should bring my jacket. The weather was cool and misty, but the runners before me stayed plenty warm. I knew I didn't have any hills but I was planning on booking it to the end. Last minute, I decided to take my little jacket.

So, around mile 2, I stepped stepped in a puddle and said to myself, "Darn--now my sock is wet!" 30 seconds after this thought the sky cracked open and I found myself in the middle of a torrential downpour. It was the kind of storm that if you were driving a car, you would have pulled off to the side of the road to wait out, due to lack of visibility. It was INSANE! Gallons and gallons of water in 40 degrees and I was only wearing my little running shorts, team jersey, and my very thin jacket. The last three miles I ran with one goal in mind, "Must get w-w-w-aarmm--m--m."

As we runners neared the finish, race officials were radioing our numbers to the finish line. Officials there would then announce the incoming runner and the rest of their team was able to join in the final few hundred feet. My team was there and we streaked to the finish. They were so proud of me, all teams were proud of their final runners at this point--that was INSANE!!! Seriously!

Here's our team: we're arranged in running order, front row left to right, then back row, left to right.

I'm not wearing my team shirt because immediately after we received our medals at the finish line I ran to the bathroom to take off all my wet clothes. The water in the toilet bowl doubled after I was done wringing out my clothes, shoes (yes, shoes!) and hair. (A teammate had brought me my bag of dry clothes but I was still shivering 5 hours later).

The race was AWESOME. The finish line was ready for the 500+ teams of 12, but the rain spoiled what would have been a really sweet party. What a shame. But we still had fun!

Holy Cow: 5 days after I returned we left for a family reunion at BYU's family camp for alumni and families, Aspen Grove in Utah. I love the Cascade Mountains here in western Washington. We drove a different route than usual and saw views like this:

14 hours later we found ourselves surrounded by views like this. In the middle of this scenic sandwich we had:


Okay, okay, I know there are scenic parts of Idaho, but we didn't go near any on this trip.

Juggle: There were many fun things to do at Aspen Grove. It was fun to cram as many activities as possible in to every day. And what a true vacation for me because all of my
Kids were watched all day long. They were put into groups with kids of the same ages and basically had summer day camps all week long. They loved it!!

(Not the best picture of us, but Stewart Falls was sure pretty!)

Losers: There were sport tournaments amongst all the different family groups staying at Aspen Grove all that week. Me, my hubby, my bros, and my dad participated in 3 on 3 basketball, 5 on 5 basketball, and volleyball. I didn't play in the 3 on 3 games, but I was there in case someone got injured. The other team was shocked to see a girl (me) walk out on the court. I even made 1 of our 10 total points! (We played to 21-single scoring).

Three of my brothers and I are all within 1-2" of each other (5' 7"-5' 9") and the others aren't much taller. With the exception of my husband, our basketball and volleyball team was on the short side. This proved to be a downfall for us. We didn't win a single game--it was closer in volleyball though (We won the first game of our first match, but lost the last two). We watched the rest of the volleyball games in the tournament and realized that we were the most challenging team the winners had played. Even with our shorter team, we managed to block the guy on the right--he was like 6' 6". (My bro is going up for the block in this picture. Excuse my bum in the foreground). Even thought we lost I even blocked the tall guy once, ahh...it felt good!

My hubby, a few of my bros and I are pretty competitive and it stank to lose all those games. Most of my family members didn't really care. I've seriously been playing in competitive leagues too long, 'cause that really ticked me off (the losing, not my family). Oh well....

Muscle: Several of us did the ropes course. No one took my picture but I really did do it! This is one of my bros making his way across the high wires. Before that you had to climb up a log with some notches cut in the sides, then a climbing wall. After the wires you got to repel down. Fun stuff!!

Neighbors: We can't go anywhere without running into someone we knew beforehand. One of the other families at Aspen Grove was none other than our neighbors from the apartments that we lived in 10 years ago--it's a small world after all!!

Obsession: Most people don't know this about me, but I am obsessed with the game Dance, Dance Revolution (DDR). My husband bought it for me for Christmas a few years back (xbox 360 version). We sold the xbox and games a few months ago and I still need to get DDR for the wii. However, one afternoon at Aspen Grove--they had it!!! Yea for Dance, Dance Revolution!!

Pottery: They had a very cool pottery shed--it's built over a stream. You can sit at your pottery wheel and hear the running water below you. It's very tranquil and lovely. In such a setting you'd think that nothing in the world could go wrong.
Well, three hours in the pottery shed and after about 50 tries I still was unable to shape my clay into much of anything. This was a bit humiliating for me, being a half-decent artist and having my family there. I can shape clay, but not when it's on a spinning wheel!! Myhusband rubbed salt in the wound when he produced a practically perfect pot first time around. And yes--it was his first time ever!

Quiver: I did discover a hidden talent during our week at Aspen Grove (not pottery). My dad, uncle, one bro, my sis, and my hubby, and I attended the archery workshop and competition. I hadn't shot an arrow since I was 14. We were all having a good time. My hubby and uncle were consistently scoring high. I was half-messing around, trying out both compound and composite bows, even shot a few times around using the bow for lefties (I'm a righty).

The counselor in charge had stuck an arrow through a Coke can and then stuck that on the bullseye of one of the targets. When I shot at that target I hit the Coke can!! I was pretty excited and decided to take this archery thing a little more seriously. A few rounds later I was tied with a guy for 1st place (the competition was us ongoingly keeping track of our scores). We both scored 48 points out of a possible 50! A little later he shot a 49 out of 50. I never did get a 49. I guess it was impressive because I'm a girl and we were all shooting with the same bows--I didn't get a handicap or anything!

My sister snagged this shot of me; we didn't get any of me with bow fully extended.

Move over Emma--I got the "Joan of Arc" award at the end of the week!

Reunion: It was fun to have all of us together--2 parents (my mom and dad), their 8 children, 5 daughter-in-laws, 1 son-in-law (my man), and 17 grandchildren. We haven't all been together for 3 1/2 years. It was a treat.

Supplies: After driving back home I had a few weeks to prepare for girls' camp. I was to be in charge of 19 fourteen-year-old girls. I was busy buying snacks, making camp decorations and preparing little daily devotionals and cute things to put in the camp mail box for each of them every day.

Third-years: Girls' camp is for girls ages 12-17. I had the third year level girls (in there 3rd year).

Unpack: That was a lot of stuff to set up. Took me about four hours to get everything in order at our campsite. (We put these little "Toto" dogs up on all the girls' tents--aren't they cute?!)

Volume: What we added to our hair on 80's dress-up day.
Wizard of Oz: That was this year's theme. We focused on "The Power Within." Just as all the main characters in the story came to the wizard only to discover that deep inside they had had what they were seeking all along. Of course, we paralled going to the Emerald City with going to the temple, and the Lord with the wizard of Oz. We third years were Dorothy. One day we all did our hair like Dorothy and some girls had even brought cute dresses to wear. (Some Dorothy girls playing human foosball).

X-tra: Camp had about 100 girls and around 25 leaders. All that estrogen meant x-tras: x-tra silliness, x-tra hugs, x-tra kindness. Really, just a great bunch of kids--what a pick-me-up--I felt x-tra special.

Yearning: Before I met my group of girls they were just a list of names, phone numbers and email addresses. It was so wonderful to get to know each one of them as the week progressed. On the second to last day I learned that two of our girls were not baptized members of our church. They each came from a family where one parent was not a member of the church and forbade their daughter getting baptized. I heard each of them bare their testimonies on our last night of camp. Each girl bore her testimony and of their strong desire to be baptized. It made me realize that having the gospel in my life truly is a great gift. I pray that their parents will change their minds one day soon.

ZZZ's and Zucchini: A week at girls' camp got me pretty tuckered out. I was in a tent with 3 other leaders and we were staying up 'til 1-2am jabbering and laughing, just like our girls were. When I returned home I was happy to see that my hubby had kept up on watering the garden and that the zucchini plants had suddenly become very prolific and gave us about 15 new babies (all in one week--and they haven't let up since!!!!)

Whew. So, that's my summer in a nutshell (you should see the length of my journal entries!) School starts in a couple of weeks. Oh summer, I'll miss you....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Not cool....

More proof that we are getting lazy and flabby in America. I don't care how hip this is, I won't ever encourage it! Men (and women) fight against this evil!!