Sunday, July 10, 2016

Consider it all joy...

I've been dwelling on this since yesterday. (James 1:2-4)

Yesterday, GAINS! Yes! This is what I've been working all year for.

Been running a lot this year, training for my first marathon in October. Probably the longest I've ever trained consistently. Sure, I did sports in school, but in between seasons I was kind of a slacker. Go for a run every once in awhile type slacker.

I'd always have grand plans [for an off season running routine], but then wouldn't follow through.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE working out--running, biking, swimming (yes, I'd love to do a sprint tri sometime in the future), lifting weights, playing sports, etc.

But I need an end goal in sight to actually get my butt out of the house.

Or, something already set up. Like conditioning class in high school--four years of that was awesome! I would have loved to keep doing that the rest of my life.

(Thought--maybe that's a business plan. Or is that Cross Fit? Thinking something more like conditioning class though. People could sign up for a one hour lifting class, same people every week, have a community of adults that meet a few times a week and go through their sheets like we'd get in class of the workouts and reps for that day. I realize gyms like the YMCA have classes, but not lifting classes, right? Or! Local high schools could open up their weight rooms during empty hours and have adult classes. I'm liking that idea actually.)

Back to GAINS. Ran 9.5 miles at Rancho yesterday, felt great. Hiked strong on all the uphills, ran all the downs, body was working well. I was on a runner's high for sure. I almost posted on fb about how great I felt about that run. Emotional high!

That run did not happen without some suffering though. The previous Saturday, I did 17 miles with 3,000 ft vert. Sucked. In the everything hurts and I'm dying kind of sucking.

Obviously, the body adapts and becomes stronger. I got back to running a few days after that 17er, and the legs still worked. Things only got better from there.

The same is true with life. I've been thinking on this joy in trials thing lately too, because of what I see a friend going through on fb lately-- it's been trial after trial after trial. To the point of, God, hasn't she had enough?! Are you trying to break her & her husband? Why the slew of hardship?

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

To be clear, she is not asking those questions of God. She is looking to God to get through trial after trial. I am encouraged by her faith!

We grow so much through pain. Be it spiritually or physically. We don't see it when we're in the midst of the pain. Things feel too hard; we feel like giving up. Focusing on one foot in front of the other is all we can do in the moment.

But then! Afterwards, we realize we survived with God's help, that He saw us through, and will be faithful to the very end. Our trust in Him solidifies even more--He will never leave us nor forsake us. We come back stronger.

I was just hit by what I said earlier: "Are you trying to break her & her husband?" The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

In the pain, sometimes we don't know what to do, because of the focusing on the one step at a time thing. I like how after verse 4 of James 1, verse 5 is: "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

What a good God we serve! He truly does take care of our every need.

Friday, July 01, 2016

July!

Fully summer, July is.

Sometimes in life, you become something you never dreamed you'd be: an electric lawnmower user.

I kid you not. It's true. I used ours for the first time earlier this week, and I have to say, it's amazing.

We kinda used to make fun of like the two or three people we ever saw use one back in the day in KS or here in CA. Back in our younger years. Blissful ignorance of adulting responsibilities that run so much of our daily lives now.

Our first lawnmower purchase came from a yard sale in MO, which we used for exactly one fall semester of college before we moved out here. A friend helped with the move, and we gave him our mower--apparently it's still working in another state. Looking back, maybe more than a mower would have been a nice gesture.

We returned to apartment living for awhile, then back to house living.

No mosquitoes while mowing, nice! Jeremy bought a reel mower for our small lawn, and we used that for a good while.

I finally gave that away last month, as we hadn't used it in a long while. Weed whacker had become tool of choice. Good arm workout, but took awhile.

Having become more involved in yard duty, I was convinced that a mower would be a great addition. Didn't really want to mess with the gas & oil kind for our small lot, but I was kind of scared off of battery operated ones due to reviews on Amazon. A gamble I did not want to take.

Then one day, Amazon had a sale on a certain electric mower. Not an option I had thought about! I did a lot of research, and it actually looked like a legit option. Decided to take the leap.

Have I mentioned it's pretty amazing? It's like vacuuming, except lawn mowing! The perfect small yard tool. I used the bag option and was happy with it. And guess what--since I already had the cord out, I was all set up for yard trimming with the weed whacker post lawn mowing!

These household tools are the kind of "toys" adults get excited about.

Although, there was a Ferrari in our church parking lot this past Sunday...

Monday, June 27, 2016

Bryce Wrap Up

Third time's the charm rang true for this year, in respect to getting to aid stations on time and seeing Jeremy. I had regrets from the past two years, so this felt good to succeed. The kids are older now, so that makes it a bit easier, and also Jeremy is probably more spot on with his estimations. Good stuff.

I'm going to miss going to Idaho this fall, I really enjoyed the area up there the past two years, and stopping in to see Ashley on the way was a nice bonus.

Idea that will probably never happen: I'll run IMTUF myself, hahahahahahahahahaha.

Back to reality--I am glad that we got to check out Utah, and that Jeremy got to experience a new course and have fun with that. I'm looking forward to his blog post, because he's got some cool pictures to share from the course, and different trials to talk about. Which I know maybe isn't as fun to talk about when the goal wasn't met, but he's amazing. Respect!

Marathon training for Joy & I is going well I think. We're both running, and that's a good start when you want to travel 26.2 under the cutoff of eight hours.

Sometimes I think, what were we thinking?! Well, we'll find out. But I know training has been good for both of us so far this year, and that's a positive.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Final day of Utah trip, except no longer in Utah.

Vegas and surrounding area were forecasted to maybe break their high temperature record; our van showed it only got up to 111 at some point after Vegas.

There was a crash in Vegas which slowed things down. After Vegas at some point, traffic went South quickly. We were hardly moving. With the temp so hot, not ideal conditions to have the engine idling... cars were broken down on the side. At one point, we noticed the other side had a semi broken down in the right lane, which was seriously clogging all the traffic before that. Something that could have aided in our direction's congestion was that people from the other side were turning around and joining our side.

There was even a Mercedes stuck in the fence to the right... Jeremy and I were trying to puzzle that one out. Tire tracks from our road, but yet it was facing the road.

We were trying not to worry about getting stuck in the desert! Not ideal!

Thankfully the Lord provided safe passage and we made it home ok. But not without some random excitement right outside SJ. All of a sudden my eyes (first the right, then quickly the left) became itchy and watery, and I was having a hard time seeing through that. Thankfully there was only one lane between me and the shoulder, so I carefully maneuvered over and asked Jeremy to drive. He was worried--by the time I got over, I had water dripping from the middle of my lower eyelids.

No idea, as that's never happened to me before! I don't have allergies. My thought was maybe something had just been sprayed outside and something contacted my eyes and my body flushed it out? Just as soon as it came on, it was over soon after Jeremy started driving. Strange. He suggested it might be from driving all day and having to focus for so long, which is probably it. Eye fatigue! I just looked it up, and I think that's it. I had been driving a lot of the trip, and it's really the only thing that makes sense.

When we got home and unloaded the car, I was exhausted. Being "on" for so long, my body was ready for a rest; hit the bed early. Even the next day I had a headache until after dinner; body was still recovering.

I'm glad we went! I know Jeremy is bummed that he had to stop at 84, but I have so much respect for him even starting with what he was going through before the race. Actually that night before the race is the first time I ever felt like saying, "You don't have to do this." But I didn't want to be the anti-encourager, and I knew he knew he didn't have to do it, but it's what he trained for, what he came for.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday in Utah

Woke up wide awake a little after 6am and right before Jeremy's text, saying he had dropped at mile 84 in the night and he was on his way to the hotel.

He was tired (obvi!), took a quick shower and went to sleep. I took the girls down to the buffet breakfast (included) while the boys were asleep. They were all still out when we went back up, so we tried to be quiet and lay down for a bit. When S&B woke up, I took them down for breakfast, and gave the girls a few jobs to do while we were gone. Then I took all four swimming and we had a good time.

Packed up the car and headed out to the finish line to collect Jers' drop bags. They had a monitor at the road head, because they only wanted shuttles (this time vans) to go through. The boy let us through, yay. Unfortunately, one of the bags hadn't made it back yet, even though it should have.

We were going to be one our way home at that point, but not anymore. We went out to lunch at the Pines, then Jeremy passed out in the van while I drove to a spot I had written down directions for the previous day in case I had time to check it out. I drove part way, and then realized the dirt road I'd be driving on for miles and miles was going to be way bumpier than would be a good idea for sleeping Jeremy & Blake. So I turned around and decided to check out a fish hatchery I had seen a sign for on the way.

Why a fish hatchery you ask? My grandparents in PA took us to one when we were kids, and we thought it was cool. I have found memories of that.

After the turn, the sign said 2 miles down the road. Before two miles, there was a fork, with no designation as to which way we should go. We went right. Wrong choice. Made our way back to the other way, and met this:


Sad day. Jeremy had woken up at this point and was like, where are we and what are we doing, lol. I told him they should have had "not open to the public" under the fish hatchery sign on the highway, and he pointed out that it didn't have an "open to the public" sign, so maybe it was assumed. Anyone else have experience with fish hatcheries? I only have that one in PA I have knowledge from. 

We went back to the finish line, only this time the boy wouldn't let us through even though we explained the situation, and at that time a shuttle appeared and he said we could get on that. I parked the van super fast and jumped on. Got to the finish line a mile away, found the bag (major score, because I made a gamble coming back two hours before they thought the bags from that aid station would arrive), ran back to the 15 passenger shuttle--only to find it packed and people waiting. Ugh. 

I decided to walk instead of wait, and started off. 

The journey was through a brushy land. My throat and eyes yearned for moisture. How did you make it through 84 miles I would later ask Jeremy. He said he was good about keeping ice in his bandana around his neck and also in his hat. Respect. I was thinking if this had been my walkabout in Australia, it would have been short. I would have found myself fast. 

Returned to the van victorious, and we were on our way! 

This time our scenic detour was through Zion, and it was AMAZING. I totally recommend driving through. Something really cool is that it costs $30 to drive through (totally worth it), but we didn't have to pay since Hayley had her 4th grade National Park pass through the end of August with, score! 

These pics through our dirty van window don't do the place justice at all, you have to see in person. It's amazing. 









The wait line for the big tunnel. We had already gone through a short tunnel--this one is way long, and they only let one way go at a time. After going through, we understood why--there are several windows cut into the tunnel side, which look out to a grand view. People would stop, even though we weren't supposed to. I can understand how traffic would get even more backed up if the other side was trying to stop and see through as well. 


(One such window. They were all a little different.)




Stayed in Mesquite, NV, that evening--can't recommend the Holiday Inn Express there enough! It was our favorite of the four hotels we stayed in on this trip. Staff was great, pool and spa were great, beds were great, breakfast was great. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

"Crewing" Bryce 100

I still don't think of us as an official crew for Jeremy, as we are only really there for moral support. He plans out all his drop bags, he doesn't ever change shoes during the race; he's pretty independent. 

That being said, we like to go meet him during the race to cheer him on and see how he's doing, and try to do a little to help out if we can. 

First aid station crew was allowed at was Proctor at mile 19. The description said crews would be shuttled in the last 2 miles. 

I thought we'd go check it out. After one of the worst mornings the kids and I have ever had (looking at you, elevation, for restless sleep for some of us) (sorry to any of our neighbors if we had any; some were also doing the 100 so they were gone), we got on our way. Somehow I missed the part where Ruby's does not provide breakfast when booking, and was informed when I checked in. (That with the keys--wasn't overly impressed. Although I did like their huge bathroom.) We ate some bars and other food we had with us. Onward to Proctor Canyon Aid Station!

Pictures of the two tunnels on 12:



We arrived at the pick up point for Proctor, just outside of Hatch. Everyone was parked on the right side of the dirt road, and there were a few people waiting. We hopped out, I sprayed the kids with sunscreen (the sun was very intense here, so we tried to be careful) and we joined the waiting group. Others had arrived the same time we did, and soon more came. We did not have a line going, and I was wondering how this was going to work--I do not like these type of situations. I like lines and order, not something where I would have to assert myself and try and figure out who I was behind and ahead of, etc. 

It was already just about 10am, and I was worried we were going to miss Jeremy, especially if we had to wait for shuttle #2 which is what it was looking like. Plus, at 19 miles, he was definitely not expecting us, and he'd be in and out of that aid station since the race had just started. I decided to bail and we went to the van. Upon reaching our silver mount, we caught sight of what exactly the shuttle was: a six seater UTV. The people getting off were complaining of eating bugs and such and were glad to be done with the ride. I wasn't sure how it would work to ride on there with young kids, and couldn't justify trying to squeeze in when we might miss Jeremy anyway, plus we were already out of the waiting group. If it had been just me, I think the ride would have been fun!

Kids and I formulated our plan for the immediate future; they had been wanting to try out this park in Bryce, and also it was getting closer to lunch time. Park then lunch it was!


We hit up Foster's on 12. Conflicting review. The food was good, service was quick since we hit up a little on the early side for lunch before noon. There weren't many people when we arrived, and only one waitress. When more people trickled in, I realized the waitress had given us our ticket when we were only halfway through our food because she knew it was going to get busier and it was only her. And also why she didn't ask if we wanted dessert. Which was sad because we had our sights set on sharing a slice of their homemade pie; we never got a chance to ask though. She was seating people, taking orders, delivering food & drinks, ringing up people's tickets--she was an amazing one woman show trying to hold her stress in and get the job done! 

I walked the kids over to the bakery & store next door, and we picked up a few bakery items, snacks, and drinks. 

Onward to Straight Canyon Aid Station at mile 41.




This right here reminded me of a section of Idaho driving the first year, but it was closed the second year and we had to be rerouted through town.



It's a bit of a drive to get out here, over an hour, but not an unpleasant drive. We parked, used the mountain side, then set up our waiting spot for Jers a little behind the aid station. Tent, chair, blanket, cooler, we were set. Relaxed for awhile, then found some plants to play with. Ada also staked down the tent, but we did have to hold the pole if the wind picked up a lot.






Daddy!


Before long, he was off again. 


We packed up and went to Crawford Pass Aid Station, which was the turnaround point. Went through this cool grove of aspen.



It wasn't a long drive there, and we knew we'd have time to kill. We parked, ate, and the kids took turns on the iPad while I read Jeremy's Trail Runner. Which may or may not have been a good idea reading about how a runner died during a 100 mile race...

This was a great aid station--nice area for the boys to play their forest games (pretending certain logs or a pile of sticks is a car and needing to fix it), and I got to set up the chair, put my feet up, and read more of that story while watching for Jers. Hayley sat with me for a good chunk of time, and Ada a little bit before Jeremy came. That white building in the next picture contained a vault toilet, which people were glad to see. (People being other runners and crew, but definitely not Blake, as he has a strong fear of them. (Fear of falling in.) He has not been able to physically go on them before this trip--I finally coaxed him into trying by saying I'd hold onto him. He overcame!)






I did not get a picture of Jeremy at this aid station. He did not look so good, and I was worried about him! I realized he had been going through the whole day of sun at this point, and it was warm, so I didn't expect total peppiness or anything, but he seemed a little out of it. After he left and we got in the car, we prayed for him, and also for wisdom if we should return to Straight to see him again before we went to bed, knowing it'd be after the kids' bedtime. We took a vote then, and again at the crossroads where the roads to Straight, Crawford, and back to 12 meet.

Back through the aspen forest.


The vote was to see him again. Not unanimous, but majority. First vote had 3 for seeing him two for not, second saw a change at 4 to 1. 

Again, we knew we had some time to wait, so we ate almost the rest of our food for dinner, kids took time on the iPad, and I read. We then set up a new waiting station--blankets, pillows, small camping air mattresses for the kids to lay on, and me the chair. Funny thing. Or not funny, I should have seen it coming. Kids all of a sudden had to go the bathroom again, or needed something from the car (special blankets, why didn't I think of that!?), etc. Like bedtime, haha. 

Soon, our man of the hour arrived! He was looking well! I felt glad to see him in better shape, and knew the vote was not in vain. He was in and out pretty quick, and I actually had him pause just a sec before he headed out for this picture (thanks for humoring me, Jers!). 


I actually made really good time getting to our new hotel across the street from Ruby's, the Grand, which I was happy about. Kids fell asleep fairly quickly after we got rolling. Funny thing--when we got up to our room, one key worked and one didn't. I was extremely glad one worked, because the thought of going down three flights with kids who were just woken up (and leaving bags outside the door?!) was not a good thought.

Quickly rinsed everyone off (we got really dusty during the day) and got them all to bed, then took my shower, checked a few things online, and passed out myself at midnight.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reaching Bryce: Day two of travel

A week ago we were two days into our trip. We ate breakfast at the hotel and went swimming before we started on our way. Nice to have time to play together!

We ended up deviating from our Google map printout to take a scenic route Jeremy picked out from our Rand McNally road atlas. 14 from 15, headed to 89. We got up to 9,600 ft of elevation on 14. Elevation does weird things to people. 

Jeremy gets giddy & chatty & happy. Me, not so much. When we were getting in the upper 8,000s, I was having negative thoughts, anger, irritation at Jeremy for being blissfully high on thin air. But I didn't say anything. As soon as we got down on the other side to whatever elevation point that my brain started those things, my brain went back to normal. 

I've developed a headache driving up to Tahoe before that I attributed to elevation, but thankfully that hasn't happened the last few times; I think I was breastfeeding or pregnant, and my body seemed to be more sensitive to change in either of those situations. 

I don't remember having any specific things I'd attribute to elevation the last couple of years in Idaho. This time in Utah, I definitely felt like I had to pee all. the. time. Apparently that's a thing that happens. 

We arrived in Bryce, and it was a little different than we were expecting. First, 12 from 89 was pretty with the Red Canyon area. Pulling onto 63 from 12--we weren't expecting billboards! A different feel than IMTUF's race headquarters at Burgdorf. 

Wasn't quite check in time for our hotel, so we drove out a little bit to this very scenic spot:









It was cool to become acquainted with hoodoos! And we had to go on a short jaunt, it was fun. :)

Lest you think this day was all fun and games, back on 12, or maybe even the end part of 89, B said he needed to pee. Me, not thinking at all, said he could hold it as he has an iron bladder and we weren't that far out from our destination. Well, elevation urination hit and he went. Totally not happy at myself for not stopping, I was not thinking. He has never done that before, so I had no reason to think that he would. But I should have thought about how he does not often say he needs to pee, plus the elevation thing, etc.... Mom fail! 

Back to Bryce Canyon--Ruby's owns pretty much everything there. That's where we were staying for pre-race night. Got our keys, arrived at the room, and neither key worked. Went back, and a different lady behind the desk helped me with an attitude (told me in a not the nicest tone to not to put the keys by anything magnetic--they'd been in my pocket the whole time, but whatever). Thankfully they worked this time. Then we discovered that all the other people arriving in our building were having he same problem! Who knows what was going on!

Jeremy went to go check in for Bryce 100, while the kids and I got things set up, and I had them change for the pool. Then I realized we should really go eat dinner first. They weren't the happiest about changing again, but they eased up when I said we'd have more time for swimming after dinner than before. 

We all drove out to Tropic for dinner, ate at Clarke's and enjoyed some good food. Blake was starting to be out of his mind tired. When we got back, he got put to bed while Jeremy relaxed. The kids and I actually went over to Ruby's campground pool since that was a short walk from our building than the main building which housed the indoor pool. I didn't realize you needed a code to open the gate; we followed some people in. Older 3 and I very much enjoyed the pool & hot spa!

That night, I don't think anyone got the best night of sleep, at least for the kids and I. Getting used to elevation? Possibly.