Monday, October 27, 2008

YMCA South Mountain 1/2 Marathon - a tale of epic proportions


A great race on a beautiful morning. Spouse and the kids hung out at the starting line with me for a little while, collecting goodies from all sponsors, eating cliff bars and bananas, and then headed out to stake out a good 1st viewing spot. I had about 20 minutes before the gun so I hit the restrooms, only to find a LONG line for the ladies. I decided to take my chance in the line; better to lose a couple minutes up front than have to wait in a porta-john line 4 miles down the road. The line went quickly, but even still when I came out I could see the count down and I only had 33 seconds before the gun. So I jogged to the very back of the line, shedding my sweatshirt and ditching it in the gravel, and trying to put my ear-buds in. The gun went off, and the shuffling to the starting line began. By the time I made it to the starting line I was already 1:33 behind. Too bad we didn't have timing chips.

My strategy was to keep it slow for the first 4-5 miles then get into a comfortable pace. There is so much adreneline at the beginning it's hard to keep your excitment abated and not speed up. So that's what I did. However, I was so paranoid about not getting carried away, I think I held back a little too much. More of that later. It was fun to come around a bend and see Spouse and the kids cheering me on. Even #3 was clapping!

During this slow section I kept thinking how diverse the running crowd is. If I've learned one thing about runners it is that you can't judge performance by appearance. There was this girl at the starting line looking pretty serious about the race, totally decked out in hard-core running gear, doing lunges and high knee kicks. She was thin and muscley, totally fit. I thought "That's a real runner there. Not a poser like me." Ha ha ha. I came in 15 minutes ahead of her. Eat that, skinny girl! But then, I was beat by 89 year old Erik Johnson and a crippled woman.

The first 3 miles were torture. So slow. So crowded. So boring. I just wanted to get things going. Around mile 4 I couldn't stand it any longer and just let it go. At about mile 5.5 the race leaders started passing us on the way back (this was a there and back course). This was hugely motivating - especially since the 4th person to pass on the way back was a woman! The turn around was at 6.5 miles. I felt really good so I thought, what the heck, and increased my pace a bit more. I ran through all the water stations, just throwing the water in my face and catching some in my mouth. At about mile 8 Spouse handed me some gatorade, which was super helpful, because the race only provided water, no energy.

I still felt really good and when I passed the 10 mile marker I realized that I had held back too much at the beginning because I still had a ton of energy. So I picked up my pace a bit more, no sense leaving anything behind. I was able to keep up this faster pace through the last 2 mile stretch which was all uphill. Spouse and the kids passed me on the road, honking and yelling which made me so excited to get to the finish line. As I came to the crest of the last hill, I could see the finish line and the timer and my heart fell. I had really wanted to come in under two hours (I know for all you serious runners, Daisy, McCall....whoever else, this seems like a wimpy goal. But for me it was a challenge, yet acheivable). I thought, "Oh well, I guess my faster pace really wasn't that fast afterall." The timer said 2:14. I wasn't wiped out; in fact I felt great! I was a little bummed because I felt like I could have run faster those first few miles and acheived my goal.

After a few gatorades, and bananas, we started heading for the car when I heard over the loud speaker, "Half marathon runners, remember to subtract ten minutes from your time." Whoo hoo! I had forgotten that we had started 10 minutes after the 5K on the same timer. Even though I still hadn't made my goal, at least this was much better! The official results were posted yesterday and my official time was 2:03. I was 22nd in my age division out of 60 and 295 overall out of 589.

Spouse was juggling three kids and trying to get to four different viewing points so he only mangaed to take these two, before and after, pictures. Not like I'd post pictures of me running anyway. And for those readers who've been with me since last year, you'll be happy to notice that I finally got some new running clothes! Thank you Target!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Viewer Discretion Advised: Rated PG for mild crude language

A couple weeks ago Spouse and I narrowly lost a game called Like Minds because we came up short thinking of alternative words for vomit. You may ask, how can that be?  Spouse is renowned for his use of slang and alternative vocabulary (thanks to a certain Nate Stokes - The King of hilarious termage). We covered the basics: puke, ralph, barf.  But we really missed out on some of the better known terms: up-chuck, toss-cookies, yak.  

I've got vomit on my mind.  On Friday #1 spoiled our trip to the pumpkin patch with an unexpected hurl.  Pumpkin patch trip cut short, we spent the remainder of the day, holding back hair and going from plastic bag, to bowl, to toilet.  It was short-lived and by the next morning all was well.

Forward to Monday night. I was just about to put my book down and turn off the light when Spouse carries in #2, crying and smelling like stomach tsunami.  From 10:30 pm - 3:30 am I dozed by #2's side, just waiting for the warning sounds of retching, coming approximately every 20 minutes. That's right. I cleaned that darn bowl 12 times.  Bad night.

Where is all this leading?  I hereby diagnose myself with olfactory fatigue.  All I can smell is spew. This happened once before to me. My sister, who had just accidently chewed a huge piece of raw garlic, blew her fresh, potent breath on my nose (she was like 17 - so don't judge).  It was so disgusting and the garlic smell was so strong, I couldn't smell anything but garlic for more than a day!  It was terrible! And you know how your sense of taste is totally connected to your sense of smell? Yes, I was tasting garlic cereal, garlic bananas, garlic everything!  It was a strange sensation and that is how I know I have olfactory fatigue again. It isn't quite as bad as the garlic, but yesterday everything I ate tasted a little like puke. 

I'm pretty sure everyone that reads my blog is a mom, except for you Kemery, and knows full well what I'm talking about. Or am I going crazy?

Palling Around with Unrepentant Moms

#1 has been exclusively praying for herself in our family prayers. After a short teaching moment about thinking of everyone's needs, her next prayer went like this:

Bless me to get green days. Bless #2 to learn to talk better and learn his ABC's.  Bless mom to stop doing all those bad things.

Hmmm.  I guess I haven't been fooling anyone. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Rat's Paradise, aka The AZ State Fair

Going to the AZ State Fair is a lesson in diversity, economy and microbiology.

Diversity: The fair draws all types of people. The scantily clad, highly made-up high school crowd. The baggy jean, gun toting, looking for a fight crowd. The 4H-ers. A surprising turn out from the disabled crowd. Young families. Old couples. The carnies.

Economy: Taking your family of five to the fair for under $20 requires planning, discipline and self restraint, especially if you're Spouse and you're dying for a $8 roasted turkey leg or if you're 5 or 3 years old and want to ride every rickety overpriced ride. But with planning it is entirely possible to have a great time without losing your shirt.

Microbiology: GERMS! DIRT! GRIME! Salmonila, ecoli, ringworm, leprosy, mad cow disease, lice, and polio are a few of the most common diseases at a fair.

Here are the highlights:

One hot chick to another

Can you believe a bull this size wasn't behind enclosed? There was a little handwritten sign that said, "Stand back. Bull may kick." Ok, thanks. This bull was bigger than a big horse. Scary!

Life with an architect. How could I not expect to find a picture of the roof on my camera?

These goats were so clean and cute. The children were thrilled to pet them. And then wash their hands, again.

Moo. #1 was a bit let down when she discovered this cow only milked water.

#3 used this stick pony as a broom. I'm not sure why but every time I see one of those stick horses, I think of The Godfather. Gross.

There was this hot guy following me around all afternoon. Here he is checking me out.

Tractors + sand = heaven for #2

This wooden play farm puts our Little People's farm to shame.

Yeehaw! Ride em cowboy!

Our one indulgence of the day.

Heading home before the shootings start. Straight to the tub.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Men at work

There is nothing quite so attractive as a good man at work. I'm not talking about business suits and power meetings. I'm talking about sweaty, outside labor. In particular, sweaty, outside labor that is on my 'honey do' list.

Even better: sweaty, outside labor in UNDERWEAR. don't panic, it's not Spouse. you only wish.

Better yet: sweaty, outside labor in underwear ON BACKWARDS. Ooh la la!

***Attention non-Arizonan readers*** You may be wondering what in the world they are doing, or why our yard looks so pathetic. It's winter seed planting time. Best results come from drying your lawn out for a few weeks, then cutting it down to almost the dirt, raking or de-thatching all the dead stuff, and then finally, scattering your winter grass seed. Don't let the above picture of the small pile of de-thatched grass fool you into thinking this is an easy job. Spouse filled two trash bins (packed tight) full of dead grass. It is a big, ugly job.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Family Halloween Party

I bribed the children into good behavior for a few weeks by dangling a family Halloween party in front of their noses. Sharing, obedience and clean rooms were rewarded with candy corn going into a jar. About a week before the scheduled party I realized that they were never going to fill the jar because those darn candy corn are just too small! (And I found out that while my mom was here she was sneaking handfuls out of it, undoing days worth of good behavior!) Then everything was getting rewarded. Oh, you slept in your bed all night? That's 10 candy corn. Oh, you kept your pants dry last night? 8 candy corn for you. That was a nice hug, how 'bout 5 candy corn.

The anticipated party was October 1st. I had promised much more than I delivered on. But kids are gullible. You say the word party and somehow that makes even the simplest activities seem fun. So our "party" was merely the decorating of Halloween cookies, dancing around like ghosts to spooky music and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas. That movie is so bizarre.

Here we are "partying" like it was 1999:

#2's idea of a perfect cookie: minimal frosting, maximum sprinkles and candy toppings

I really was in a partying mood. I let #3 have a go at decorating a.k.a. flinging frosting and cookie crumbs across the kitchen.

My spooky pajama ghosts:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Random thoughts and things

#2 is obsessed with Halloween. Some of his first intelligible words were "spooky" "ghost" and "scary." This is a boy who isn't frightened by skeletons, haunting music or dark scenes. No, his fears are of mean people, yelling, and anger. I'm ok with that.

#3 has reached the imitation phase in her development. Putting on make-up, carrying a purse, putting on my high-heels..... all day long. Recently she picked up on baby dolls. I guess she doesn't think much of my mothering skills because she usually drags these babies by their hair and throws them across the room.

Yay for Mom! We were lucky to have my mom here for five days last week. She patiently read book after book that was brought to her before finally falling asleep with her mouth open.... just like she did when I was a girl. She folded my laundry, helped me with dinner, dishes and entertaining my kids. She made me feel like mom of the year with all her encouragement and praise. One night she watched the kids so Spouse and I could go out. (We went to Ghost Town.... highly recommend.) Unfortunately for her we don't have Fox News on our Dish Network, so she had to suffer through CNN, night after night. This is a lady who is calm, kind and patient. But when it comes to politics, (and BYU football) she knows her mind and speaks it... with much, er, passion.

My mom is perpetually cold. So she didn't even break a sweat on this warm day at the train park.

Should I feel guilty about keeping #1 home "sick" from school this day? She did have a fever of 101, but still had energy and besides, my mom was here!