Monday, April 28, 2014

That Time I Ran a Half Marathon

Last Saturday I ran my first half marathon.

{This is what wide feet look like in not-wide shoes} 

When I signed up for the race, I knew that the weather could range anywhere from do-you-want-to-build-a-snowman to pass-the-SPF-5,000.

April in Utah? Unpredictable at best.

The weather over the past few weeks has been beautiful and warm. Hot, even. So as the event grew closer, I imagined it being sunny and toasty. I had my clothes picked out - black tee, black running skirt. I was starting to question the black tee because it might be too hot.

Then I started watching the ten-day forecast like a hawk.

Being a fan of cooler temperatures, I was happy when the forecast began to drop. After a few days, there became a slight chance of rain. Then a slightly bigger chance of rain. Then an oh-my-heck-it's-really-going-to-rain chance of rain (also known as 90% chance).

But I was not afraid!

In fact, I felt better suited for a cold, rainy run than a warm, sunny run since I spent all winter training.

On the day of the race, I sported a capri/skirt combo (also known as a scooter, as Amy and Becky have taught me) and a long-sleeved running shirt (the well-known Costco one that everyone who has ever burned a calorie in their lives purchased last year) (mine happens to be pink). I also wore a visor to shield my eyes from the rain, put my hair in a bun, and topped off the look with a garbage bag.

{This is my half marathon face}

I ran with my friend Jennifer. I imagine that we stood out a little because everywhere we went, we went together in matching garbage bags. I daydream about all of the other runners referring to us in their minds as, "Those garbage bag girls!"

Okay, okay, we may have accidentally shown up in matching neon yellow fanny packs as well.

And Jen has the teal version of the Costco shirt.

But at least we wore different head gear!

At the starting line, I was surprisingly calm. The crowd was a manageable size for me (I have severe crowd aversion and shut down around masses of people, so I was expecting to start off the race hyperventilating, but I was pleasantly surprised) (575 people).

Thus began 13.1 miles of good, bad, and ugly.

The good...

I didn't even notice until I looked at the route later that the first two miles were uphill.

For most of the race we were able to stick by the pacer that was 10 minutes ahead of our estimated time.

I felt awesome for the first half (of the half).

The scenery as beautiful - a river, a golf course, and a tulip garden.

I didn't throw up (this was good news because I got really sick after our 12-mile training run two weeks earlier).

The last-minute changes to my fuel routine (which I didn't have time to train with) worked out well and didn't land me in a Honey Bucket.

I ran the whole route (other than walking through aid stations to prevent Powerade spills).

We crossed the finish line 7 minutes ahead of our strategically planned goal.

The bad...

It rained the entire time.

Around mile 8 I started to feel very cold, wet, and inconvenienced by the rain.

My capris were so soaked that the weight of the water in my skirt made my pants fall down below my butt repeatedly.

My hands were so frozen that I couldn't maneuver my fingers well-enough to pull my pants back up (my gloves were soaked through at mile 6, so I stashed them in a Ziploc in my super cool neon yellow fanny pack). This became a huge source of frustration.

My wet shoes became very uncomfortable around mile 9.

The last half (of the half) had quite a few short but steep hills that beat the crap out of me.

The ugly...

I became mentally unstable during the last 5 miles and may have told Jennifer that she was... ahem... pissing me off.


When we finally (finally!) approached the finish line, I almost started bawling. It was some strange emotional concoction of joy and anger.

Joy that I did it!

And anger that it sucked so bad!

Half Marathon
{The finish is in sight}

After the race I was in quite a hurry to get into some dry clothes. Nothing sounded better! I chugged a small chocolate milk and tried to look happy in a few photos with Jennifer:


Then we hobbled to the car to get our stuff and hobbled back to the bathroom. My time in that stall was almost as challenging as the race had been. I could hardly move, let alone pull my dry clothes onto my wet, frozen body.

Photo conditions were pretty poor, so after I changed, I had Scotty snap a couple more pictures. This is what I acted like:

{Woo! Look at my medal and my rockin' widow's peak!}

And this is what I felt like:

{I am going to DIE!!! Please dye my roots for my burial!}

I was quite sore for the rest of the day, but it was the good kind of sore. The I-worked-hard kind of sore. I felt a little like I'd been forced against my will to kneel on ice for three hours then stand up and get kicked in the knee caps by pre-teen boys. But I earned that horrible knee cap sensation!

Now I can cross off one of my New Year's resolutions: run a half marathon before June.

This is something I never ever thought I would be able to do. I guess I'm capable of more than I ever imagined!

A Lesson for Me (that you can read, too)

Yesterday was a pretty decent Sabbath Day. That is a rare way for me to describe a Sunday anymore. It's pretty common for me to spend the entire day away from my family, and I end up stretched really thin emotionally by the end of it. But yesterday I was able to juggle three hours of church, two hours of ward council, and an hour and a half of missionary appointments without losing my mind or getting, what I call, a "primary headache" (which is a very unique head pain that I only experience after primary).

After dropping the missionaries off, I headed to the stake center to see if I could catch a member of the stake presidency to do my temple recommend interview. I was very lucky to get there at the tail end of the interviews when there were only two people left in line, making me the third and final person waiting for an interview.

I was pleased to meet with the first counselor in the stake presidency, who is such a kind and wonderful man. He wasn't rushed or focused on closing up shop. He didn't get right down to business, but instead, asked me extensively about my family and my church calling. He was genuinely interested in my well-being. I was able to tell him about my kids and what phases they are in right now. I told him about Scotty's career and schooling. We joked about the 11-year-old primary boys and their overabundance of energy and rowdiness.

It was nothing huge, but this conversation made me feel so valued, and it's been a long time since I felt that way. It was just a darn, neat experience.

Before I left, he said to me, "You've been the primary president for a while now, so let me ask you, what do you think families need most right now?"

I had to take a minute to ponder because it was obviously THE most important question I'd ever been asked, and as I thought about the children in our primary and what they are facing right now, the answer that came to mind was:

Parents with testimonies.

I was hesitant to give that answer because I didn't want to sound like I was accusing the parents in my ward of not having testimonies, but there are a lot of children in our primary who are the sole representatives of their families in church each week. These children are amazing, but with that comes a heavy weight. It's not easy to be the sole spiritual strength in your family at such a young age.

We discussed this in a little more detail before I left my interview, and when I got home I asked Scotty how he would answer that question, and, without knowing my answer, he said the same thing.

I've been reading the book What the Scriptures Teach Us About Raising a Child by S. Michael Wilcox, and this morning I came across this passage:

"...the testimony of a parent is a powerful tool for stirring up the faith of children to feel after God. Next to life itself, testimony is the greatest gift parents can give to a child - the sharing of their own faith, beliefs, and confirmations in such a way as to arouse in the mind of the child a desire to receive a testimony in like manner." 


As I read that, I recalled what I learned from reading the Book of Mormon, and it served as a gentle reminder that I do, indeed, have a testimony. I believe in a loving Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ. I tell my children these truths often, but perhaps there is more I can do to communicate my testimony to them. I love how when heavenly Father wants to teach us something, and we are willing to learn, He is able to align our conversations and our studies and many other aspects of our lives to lead us to what we need to know. I, too, can guide my children to learning through my own testimony.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Time to Create

Lately I've been working on a little project.

I won't go into the details of said project right now because I'll probably write a post about it when it's done, but it involves large pieces of paper, a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, and glue.

Lots of glue.

Anyway, for a brief time, I have been able to be


Creativity used to be very important to me. I used to devote a significant portion of my life to projects of all kinds. I used to decorate.  I used to paint and sew. I used to renovate furniture and make clothes. I planned parties and designed centerpieces.  I even took pictures with a real camera in aperture priority mode.

Heck, I used to write.

(And I did it all before Pinterest existed).

I don't do any of that anymore. In fact, the project I have been working on is nothing like any of those things I used to do.

But still...

As I've been cutting, gluing, and creating, I've realized how much I have changed in the past few years, and not necessarily willingly.

I've had to set all of the creative things that used to fulfill me aside so I can keep afloat in my daily life. With three children at my heels, those things are too difficult now. It would require boarding school tuition for two and a large kennel to allow me to do those things.

I don't think it's a bad thing that I spend less time on projects these days - I probably spent too much time on them in Nicky's younger years - but I kind of miss having some skills. I used to be able to bake a pretty decent load of bread, craft a meaningful birthday card, or stitch a throw pillow at the drop of a hat. Now if you ask me to do any of those things, I feel overwhelmed and panicky because I can't manage my time well enough to let the bread rise, the kids have used all of my paper supplies to make sail boats, and I can't find a needle in my house if my life depends on it.

I hope that someday I can find something to be good at again. I know that sounds melodramatic, but the things I'm investing my time in right now are things that I'm not great at. Everything I accomplish lately is done by the skin of my teeth. I miss the feeling of doing something well rather than doing something well enough.

Now, I hope you're not reading this in a voice that makes me sound whiny and pathetic. If so, change your tone to something a little more optimistic, but analytical.

Even though I am struggling a little bit with my current situation, I have no doubt that there is something creative happening behind the scenes - it's just not my time to be creative. Rather it is my Heavenly Father molding me and shaping me into something better. He has pushed me to change my priorities. He has allowed me to fail. He has put me in places where I am not the best and where I do not shine.

He has urged me out of my comfort zone, and while it is a hard place to be, I think there will be progress here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Easter happened.

And with my "no kid photos" policy I took on over a year ago, holidays have left me with very little to report on the 'ole blog. 

Good thing I have this little gem:



We hang out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Vacation: Special Vomit Edition 2014

Last week we returned from an 11-day adventure in California.


A while ago Scotty won Disneyland tickets on the radio. This taught me something:

People really can win stuff!

(Just not me)

(But for a minute, I was inspired by Scotty's winnings and thought that maybe it could happen to me for a change, which is why one of my New Years resolutions this year was to win something).

(I've pretty much given up, though I spent the first two months of the year entering as many contests as I could).

(Maybe I should pick up gambling?)

So anyway, Scotty won four two-day Disneyland tickets, and my in-laws happened to be going to Newport Beach at the end of March, so we invited ourselves to go at the same time. We extended our Disneyland visit to four days, and we also went to Legoland and Universal Studios.

We had a great time, but there were some complications, too. When I went to get Zoe out of bed on the morning we left, she was covered in throw up. At the last minute, I had to clean her up and get her bedding washed. Then I spent the next 12 hours in the van jumping at every sound she made because I didn't know if she was going to throw up. She was pretty fussy the whole way to California, and she continued to be very difficult over the next three days. She cried in every line and screamed on every ride. She refused to sit in her stroller (which is typical for her but even more frustrating at a theme park than it is at the library) and she wouldn't eat. On the fourth day, she threw up in the van on our way to Legoland. She mellowed out a little after that, so I thought she was finally feeling better, but then she threw up in the van again on our way to Disneyland four days later.

(We have now dealt with throw up from every child at Disneyland).

On day 5, I woke up feeling achy and nauseated. Luckily we didn't have anything planned for that day, so I was able to take it easy. I was sick for three days and went to Universal Studios in a state I normally wouldn't go out in public in. I think I spent more time in the bathroom than I did on rides.

But enough with the whining.

(Perhaps I need to do a "Dealing with Sickies in Theme Parks" post?)

We are very blessed to have been able to do something like this, even with the difficulties of being sick.

Now Scotty is determined to win more Disneyland tickets so we can go back!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hello for a Moment

Oh, hi.

Long time no see.

I just returned from an 11-day vacation to California. Do you want to hear about it?

Well, not today.

You see, I came home last Friday, and life has been super chaotic since then. I haven't had time to document any memories or upload pictures to various internet forums to make them available for my nameless sister-in-law to steal and make a DVD with (hint, hint).

I don't even have time to re-read that sentence to see if it makes sense.

So for now, please enjoy this photo of Zoe walking around California Adventure like a boss.