Sunday, October 31, 2010

So Cute-So Big-Can't Stand It!

Can't believe they are growing so big. Makes me kinda sad. But I do so love the little people they are becoming.
Sieauna is 10, Alex is eight.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ragnar Las Vegas - Life Changing and Another Check Off The Bucket List

We did it! A wonderful team of 13 determined, fun, hilarious people (one being my husband) gave me the honor of being included in running a 195 mile relay race through Las Vegas last weekend. It was probably the most amazing thing I've ever done - except for those two little kids I helped create. I am still feeling the high and find myself missing my 12 new best friends.

We drove to Vegas Thursday and went to the pre-race dinner where we picked up our "rag-swag" and then drove to Callville Bay Marina where we had a house boat waiting for us. We all pumped each other up about the next days race. We took group pictures and expressed all our concerns and such. Then hit the sack.

Friday we all got up bright and early at 5:30. We loaded up Van 1 (runners 1-6 and a driver and cheerleader) and wished them luck as they took off for the start line. Meanwhile, the other 6 of us (van 2) cleaned up the boat and waited as patiently as we could for the call that it was time for us to go.Finally we made it to the start line where Trevor (runner 6) passed off the slap-stick to Jonathon, our 7Th runner (1st runner in van 2). We were off. We followed our runner and stopped every few miles to give him support. Once he completed his run, he slapped the slap-stick onto our next runner and we would follow in the same way. Eventually it was my turn - I was the 12Th and LAST runner. I LOVED this run! I took off fast and stayed pretty strong. This run (and I was soon to find out that ALL three of my runs) were in the dark so I was required to wear a headlamp and reflective vest.I set a new PR for myself. I ran 5.55 miles in exactly one hour, averaging a 10.49 pace (fast for my snail running). It was an amazing run, but I was nervous about my second run.

When I finished, I slapped off the slap-stick to Kim, our number 1 runner and the whole procedure started again. Our van drove to the exchange and tried to catch some winks. Not happening. We managed maybe 10 minutes in the car. Ugh, fatigue was starting to set in. We had officially been up almost 24 hours at this point. Nothing like being in close car quarters with six awesome people smelling as sweaty as you to get to know a person well! Thank goodness for baby wipes (our shower), bagels and Gatorade!My second run was coming up. I was scared because the run was listed as "very hard" and was 7.1 miles. I had NO idea what I was in for. Let me give you a description of "Leg 24" as described by other "survivors of Leg 24":

"It was more like a dry creek bed with some washed out sections. Rocks, and I mean substantial rocks, littered every part of the trail. If I tried to run in the tire ruts, I risked stepping into a hole or sand that fell away when I stepped on it."

"Leg 24. Ridiculous. I wouldn't run on that in the daylight...having people run at night was insane.

"That was my most intense run ever. Hated every second of it, but it's worth the bragging rights!!"

"I would like to apologize to anyone I encountered on leg 24 to whom I exclaimed, "This is Effing B*llsh*t" I was a little out of my mind at that point!" Monica from Wild Wino Women

"Ran legs 12, 24, 36 - I have done three marathons and nothing compares to leg 24 through the desert. What a beast!"

"You are not alone! My marathon was a cake-walk compared to leg 24...it was by far the most challenging run I have ever done!"

"That leg was tough! I fell 3 times in the wash along with the almost falling stumbles of about 300 times! I have good bruises to show for it and I am with you on the reward for surviving! I usually average a pace of close to 10 min/mile, but that was a 15+ pace."

Anyway, you get the idea. It was all of the above and WORSE. All I can say is how thankful I am for my supportive team. The run itself was unsupported, meaning I was alone in the pitch black darkness, in a dry riverbed with carcasses everywhere. There were trail markers (aka: glow sticks) about every mile. The only light was from my head lamp and the full moon. I felt like the weak link! I know the carnivore always goes for the slow, weak one who falls back away from the pack. That was me. I was sure I was going to get eaten by a coyote. In fact, I almost wish I would have been eaten because then the race would have been over for me!

But I pushed on. I cried on Angie's shoulder. I cursed (a LOT of cursing). I told Justin "I can't do this." But I pushed on and you know what? The sun came up. Yes, it did about 5:45 am while I was STILL running. But guess what happens when you push on? It finally ends! It did! All though it was actually 8.10 miles, not the 7.7 they said it would be. It took me exactly two hours. I "ran" a 14.54 pace. But I completed it. I do have one thing good to say about leg 24: The desert has the most serene and beautiful sunrises EVER. It was like my little personal conversation with God and he was saying "You're almost done, you can make it through."The race continued on. Soon it was my turn again. My third, and final leg of the race. I was the last runner. The one to cross the finish line and bring the team home. I can't explain the adrenaline rush. I was so pumped. I took off and prepared for the best run of my life. I ran 5.47 miles in 54.14 minutes. It was sooooooo unbelievable. I can't explain it. I came up to the finish in the dark and saw outlines of my team members and flashing lights. I screamed "I NEED SOME I-B-PRO-FUN" and they joined me. The last thing I remember (I think I actually blanked out a bit) was someone (not sure if it was male of female) placing a medal around my neck and then being swirled up in a whirlpool of hugs, flashing cameras, screaming, high fives and (THANK GOODNESS FOR CHERYL) water!We all had our own personal struggles to overcome. One of our runners blew out his knee on his 1st run and ran his second leg (6.1 miles-mostly uphill) BACKWARD! You heard me right, he ran it backward. One of our runners was less than 24 hours into an antibiotic for strep! One runner took on an extra leg to help cover our injured runner - and he hadn't ran before! One runner took on our injured runners last 10.1 mile run and another runner switched her leg to a longer, harder run to cover. We all pitched in and did our best and guess what? We completed it!

Justin was amazing. The guy didn't train because he has plantar fasciitis but he still managed to kill his previous PR's on all three of his legs! I was so proud of him. Not only that, but he drove to Vegas, drove the van on all the runs, didn't sleep but an hour in the whole 40 hours and gave support to every single runner in our van! Man, I married the best guy EVER and I am so proud of him. I can't believe how lucky I was to experience all this with him. It has definitely brought us closer as a couple. In fact, the day after the race he and I were walking (as best as we could seeing as we were SORE!) the Vegas Strip and he looked at me and said "Let's get tattoos!" So we did. Together, on the strip we branded ourselves with what proved to be one of the most life changing experiences in our lives. Justin's tattoo has the Ragnar symbol with the year 2010. He plans to run more and add the years as we do. Mine has the Ragnar symbol with a moon and stars symbolizing my night runs and reminding me that if I can get through leg 24, I can get through ANYTHING! In the end, team I~B~Pro~Fun turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I felt a connection with each and everyone of these people. Special thanks to our amazingly wonderful team captain, Shelly, for all her hard work in organizing this race and to the others, Jonathan, Christy, Stephanie, Jill, Kim, Tracy, Cheryl, Trevor, Angie, Taylor, Jason and Justin for showing me how easy it is to love you guys!

By the way, our team rocked and we took BEST OVERALL and BEST COSTUME! Check us out here: http://www.ragnarrelay.com/public/race_documents/1287971668-lv.10results.pdf

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Autumn

Autumn inspires me. It is my favorite time of year! There is something about the smells, colors, crisp air and last bits of lingering summer that create a peaceful environment in our home. Mmmmmm, can't you just smell the pumpkin spice candle I have going right now?

Last week Justin needed to do some work up near our cabin so the kids and I tagged along. What a glorious day! The sun was shining, the colors were beaming, the kids and I got in a nature walk, a long 4-wheel ride and some pond time fishing for the "ghost koi". I wish we could spend a year in fall. Wouldn't that be awesome?

Sunset Beach Vacation

What a much needed, highly anticipated and eagerly awaited vacation.  We got to our rental home and it was a quaint little beach house 40 ya...