Thursday, September 25, 2014

Musings on Motherhood

I haven't been blogging as often lately, but it's not because I don't have thoughts and feelings to write. If anything, I have so many thoughts and feelings within me right now that I don't even know where to begin in sharing them. This journey of motherhood is so incredible. I can't think of another endeavor to match it's highs and lows. I have been pouring so much of my heart and soul into helping Cory adjust and thrive in Kindergarten. I knew this transition would be difficult for my smart, witty, fun-loving active little boy. What I didn't know is how much I would have to "grow and let go". The intimidating part of it all is that I feel like we're just on the cusp of this great journey helping these little boys grow into men. I wish I could say I am positively excited about the years to come, but I'm battling the fear of defeat and regret. The possibility of failure is so frightening to me. The mountain to climb looks so big. Raising my boys is the most important thing to me. There is so much at stake. Just when these feelings of fear and inadequacy begin to overtake me, my heavy heart is lifted by my faith in our Heavenly Father's plan for us. I know he is in control, and he does not ask me to go it alone. Day by day, step by step, He is with us. His Holy Spirit will comfort us, guide us and speak peace to our hearts. Fear can be driven out by Faith.
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Holy Bible, Matthew 11:28)
"And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Verse from The Book of Mormon, Alma 7:12)
I truly believe that motherhood matters to God. And I also believe that I should not fear, but have an unwavering faith and hope in Him, my Savior Jesus Christ. 

Well I hope that all came out right. :) I really just sat down do blog about my workout this morning and share some pictures of my cute boys. I guess I had some things on my mind! 

I found Slim changing his pirate dolls diaper the other day.

He also likes to take his pirate doll for airplane rides.
These 2 spend half their time fighting (Mason has already learned to ball up his fists and throw quite the punch.) and half their time being the best of friends.

  We're not potty training yet, but Mason likes to try the toilet out from time to time. Book and pony are optional.
 Anything Cory does, Mason copies. It's pretty cute.
 My boys love being outside just like their parents.
 Slim always swings one of his arms when he runs or is doing "important work". I love how his little arm is blurry in this picture from swinging it back and forth.
 We had some fun with crazy hair day around here.
 Cory and our cute neighbor on their way to school. We're lucky to live really close to their school.
 Little Ace thinks he's a Kindergartener too.
And keep my crazy life balanced, I'm still making time to enjoy exercising. Today was a fun full body circuit.
Today's workout- inspired by a workout I found on Instagram under @healthyfitnessmeals
 To 3-5 rounds
10 squats to DB front raises
10 squats to DB side raises
10 sumo squats to DB bicep curl (I used one heavy DB)
10 barbell deadlifts to back row
10 (each side) plank tricep kickbacks
10 (each leg) mountain climbers-(single leg plank position, jump it in, jump it out)
10 lunges to shoulder press
 Finished with a 5k run

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Big Cottonwood Canyon Half Review

The first part of this post is an overall review of the race for those thinking of running this specific half marathon, and the second part is my personal experience pacing this race.

  Big Cottonwood Half Marathon 2014 Race Review
The Course:  I loved this course. So incredibly beautiful and the fall colors were amazing. It is a downhill course with some steeper sections that you would want to train for (include downhill routes in your training).
The Big Cottonwood website states,
"The half marathon begins at Spruces Campground in Big Cottonwood Canyon and runs straight downhill among the canyon cliffs and alongside Big Cottonwood Creek for nearly 10 miles to the mouth of the canyon.
After exiting the canyon the course is straight, downhill, and fast, without a single turn on the entire course and a continual slope down to the finish. At the mouth of the canyon runners will continue straight onto Fort Union Boulevard and continue due west to the finish line in front of the Cottonwood Heights city offices."
There are some small/short uphills during the last couple of miles that aren't a big deal, but I think it's good to be mentally prepared for them.
Support: This was one of the best supported races I've done. Talk about loaded aid stations! I think the fact that they had Swedish Fish is what really won me over.
They advertised extra port-o-potties along the course, since runners were prohibited from going "potty" in the canyon (disqualification if caught). There may have been extra bathrooms, but there were long lines at every stop. :(
Extras: I think the "extras" are what set this race apart from many of the others. They offer free race pictures, throw away gloves, mylar blankets, as well as loads of free food at the finish line. The drop bag system was efficient and organized. The packet pick up bags were pre-labeled with your bib number, which was super convenient. The race provided pacers for the 1:30, 1:40, 1:50, 2:00, 2:10 and 2:20 finishing times. The shirts are nice looking and they allowed you to switch sizes at packet pick-up. The medals were awesome too, if you're into that kind of thing. ;)
(shirt front)
(shirt back)

Warnings: Traffic! Leave some extra time for getting into the parking garages upon arrival and prepare for a slow exit post race. Also, the race started almost 30 minutes late because buses with runners were still coming up the canyon 20 minutes after the 7am start time. I'm sure they'll address this issue for next years race.
Runners: There were 2552 half marathon finishers and 1527 marathon finishers. The 2 groups start in different places, but the front of the marathon pack catches up to the half marathon runners part way down the canyon. Having the "full" runners fly by was fun and inspiring for me, but I read a few complaints online from the "full" runners that it was hard to navigate their way through the half runners.
Weather/Conditions:  Perfect weather. Cool at the start and no rain/snow.
Bottom Line: This isn't the cheapest half around, but it is definitely a good value. In other words, you get what you pay for. It is a fast and scenic course with all the bells and whistles.

My experience pacing the Big Cottonwood Half
The half marathon buses loaded from 4:45am-5:45am. Aimie (another RYR Pacer) and I made it into one of the parking garages around 5:15am. The lines to get on the buses were long, but moved quickly. I don't know what happened once we left on our bus, but the race started a half hour late because buses with runners were still coming up the canyon well after the designated start time.
The start area was crowed and really dark when we arrived. There were plenty of port-o-potties with the shortest wait times I've ever experienced at the start of a race. 
Here are all 6 of the half marathon pacers. The race only requested one pacer per time slot.
Samantha, Julie, Sonja, Trisha, me and Aimie
Because of the late buses, we weren't able to line up until last minute, and I was quickly realizing that my Garmin wasn't holding a charge. I would turn it on and it would shut off. I tried to do a hard reset, but the battery wouldn't stay on long enough to do it. I started to panic. "How am I going to pace this race without a GPS watch!?" Luckily I had my cell phone and my pace band which told me how long each mile split should take. When I crossed the starting line, I made note that it was 7:27 (and that I should be done at 9:47). I also set a countdown timer for 2:20 and started my timer. Each mile I would check my pace and make adjustments. It was a new method of pacing for me, but I got more comfortable with it as the race went on.
Right away I had some runners with me. Ken was my buddy and honorary co-pacer until like mile 9 when he stopped for a bathroom break (He ended up PRing with a 2:23 finish time! Way to go Ken!!!)
(Notice I'm holding my cell phone. Yep. That's what happens when your watch doesn't work.)

Shortly before Ken separated from me, I picked up Erin. 2:20 would be a huge PR for her and she was hoping to stay with me as long as she could. It was so fun pacing her those last miles. I would check in with her when I could hear her breathing getting out of control. If she started talking about dropping back, I'd say, "We're going to back off until we get to that sign up there so we can focus on getting control of our breathing." We'd get to the sign and then get back to our pace. Watching her work through her physical and mental game was so inspiring, and I got goosebumps and teary eyes as she sprinted the final yards across the finish line, earning a huge new PR!
I love pacing!! 
RYR Pacers at the finish
I came in at 2:20:51 and was pretty bummed that I went over on my time. It was so important to me to nail my 2:20 assignment. Considering I didn't have my GPS, I've come to peace with those darn 51 seconds.  It was a great experience, and I'm so thankful that I'm able to be a pacer!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy Birthday Kevin!

If you haven't noticed yet, we kind of like to do "birth-weeks" instead of "birth-days" around here. There's just no way you can properly celebrate someone living another year on this earth in just 24 hours. :)
Handsome Kevin chose to eat at Chuck-a-Rama for his birthday. He may be 36 now, but it doesn't mean he has to eat like it. ;) I think it may be the boys absolute favorite place to eat since they get to eat like 3 desserts in one sitting.

  One of Kevin's birthday presents was a new "Top it" for his truck. He has a big hunt coming up in the middle of bear country, and we decided it would be safer if he sleeps in his truck. The boys definitely approved.
 The boys were excited to give him this giant tub of Twizzlers.
 Chocolate cake with triple chocolate icing, mini M&Ms and Oreos. So yummy.

 His second "cake" was actually iced brownies. Chocolate coma was the theme of this birth-week. :)
I'm so thankful for Kevin in my life. I love him so much and can't imagine living a day in this world without him. I've said it many times, but when I chose to marry him I thought I was getting everything I wanted, when actually, I was getting everything God knew I needed.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Still rockin' the Summer

Other than some cooler temperatures at night, it still feels like Summer here. Even having a Kindergartener hasn't cramped our summer style too much. Slim is quite the little gardener. Well, he's more of a harvester than a gardener. Every morning he begs to go pick strawberries and raspberries. I have a hard time telling him no when he puts on his own boots and says "bay-ees" "get bay-ees mom!"

 He also likes to help himself to food. Here he is sitting on the living room floor eating the sugar off of all of the Frosted Mini Wheats. Lovely.
I didn't get out for my run until after 1pm today. It was over 80 degrees, but I just looked at it as an opportunity to train my body to run in the heat. Kevin and the boys dropped me off up the left fork of Hobble Creek Canyon, and I had a great run down. It was so beautiful!
I made good time (for me), considering the heat. I was a sweaty mess when I was done.

I've been loving this Nuun concoction lately:
1 Lemon Lime Nuun tablet
Frozen strawberries
1 tsp lime juice (fresh would be better, but we're not that fancy over here)
Last and final step...hide from Slim or he WILL suck the whole thing down.
 Kevin was able to go hunting with a friend tonight, so the boys and I went out on the town. We devoured a yummy dinner at Rumbi Grill. I love the Aloha Mango Chicken salad, and the boys split a huge Big Kahuna Burger with sweet potato fries.

What was the highlight of your Saturday?

Stuck on Summer or excited for Fall?

Murdock Half Marathon Review

The first part of this post is an overall review of the race for those thinking of running this specific half marathon, and the second part is my personal experience running this race.

Murdock Half Marathon 2014 Race Review
The Course:  The Murdock Trail is just so perfect for running- beautiful views and no big elevation changes. The race started in Orem and we ended in American Fork, which provided a slight down hill final 2 miles. Over 11 miles of the race was on the Murdock Canal Trail.
Support: They provided a bus to shuttle you from the finish to the start, but didn't require you to take it. It was nice to have the choice, unlike most canyon point to point courses. For a small race, there were plenty of stocked aid stations and the course was marked clearly. They didn't advertise a drop bag option, but the race director announced to all the runners taking the bus to the start, that he would bring any bags dropped at the start back to the finish.
Extras: So I'm in love with this race shirt. The race advertised a nice shirt that wasn't plastered with sponsors, and they delivered. The race also provided pacers, finishers medals, and fruit, chocolate milk and water at the finish line.
(Back of the shirt)

Somehow I didn't end up with a picture of the medals, but I found this picture on the RunYourRace Pacer's Facebook page.

Runners: The race brought out about 90 runners, and as a pacer, I loved chatting it up with the runners that were around me. 
Weather/Conditions:  Perfect weather. Cool at the start and no rain/snow.
Bottom Line: I paced another one of this race director's races this summer (The Alpine Classic Half), and both times I have been super impressed with how organized these races were considering how small they are. All the important details were taken care of, and I think the courses they chose were refreshing in a running culture where we're so focused on "the faster the course the better". It was nice to run a mostly flat half in Utah County. (The Alpine Classic was very hilly!) I will definitely run this race again and recommend it to anyone looking for a well organized small race on a scenic and flat course.

My experience pacing the Murdock Half
Heidi, Missy and I left Springville at 5am to catch the bus from the finish to the start. We were on the bus by 5:30 and were on our way soon after.
It was slightly cool at the start and the sunrise was beautiful. We immediately jumped into the port-o-potty line (there were 2 at the start).
Me, Missy and Heidi ready to go!
(This was Missy's first half marathon.)

Jorge and me
RunYourRace Pacers
When we started, I was itching to go much faster than my assigned pace. I thought a few times, "I wish I would have put in for a faster assignment." Those feelings ended abruptly when I realized I had a very angry stomach. I've never run so long or far with that much stomach distress. It was... interesting. :) Luckily I had taken an Ammodium before I started, and I think that was what saved me from having to stop and take a potty break. My stomach was making such loud weird noises that Heidi could hear it while running next to me! Luckily I had some fun and talkative runners around me for the first 9 miles to distract me. Because it was such a small race, I ended up running completely alone for the last 4 miles. I felt a little silly running through the final neighborhood holding my pacing sign, when there was no evidence that I was actually running a race/pacing.  I held my stick up proudly as people stared and waved.
I finished in 2:19:46, which was darn near perfect for my 2:20 assignment.
Heidi was able to get a PR and Missy killed her first half!