For my sisters, my mother, my mother-in-law, my girlfriends.
For all the women and the littles I love.
And for me.
For my sisters, my mother, my mother-in-law, my girlfriends.
For all the women and the littles I love.
And for me.
+ It's cold. And I hate it. This weather is barely tolerable in the dead of winter, but tolerate it I do. And then, I fully expect days, even near weeks of this all through February. I know I'm still not in the clear when March hits--it's irritating, but not inconceivable. But April? It's April. Come on, April. Let's get our act together, put a kibosh on the wind and start the defrost. All in favor? Yes, that's what I thought.
+ I signed up for a half marathon in May. And I figured I was safe, because May is nearly summer. Not at this pace, April. I've been doing more than a fair share of my runs at the local indoor track, and it's not fun. Eight laps to the mile, means my seven mile run a few weeks ago was over 56 laps. Ouch.
+ Because it is cold, I can't run outside in the morning. And I really need to run outside in the morning. I had a nine-mile run on Saturday, and in order to make it all nine of those miles I decided it had to be down hill, which worked just fine since I've got this lovely canyon right here. Except I forgot that the first time you pull a big down hill run, it's just possible your calves might just stage a small revolt. And if your calves can sway your thighs and tushie to join in, a small revolt becomes an inability to walk. And that is what happened. Come Monday morning, my legs were having none of it, and my four-mile recovery run turned into a 2.25-mile pansy shuffle. Tomorrow was going to be my day. Except for the predicted 32-degree temperatures tomorrow morning, which are pushing my run to a hopeful Thursday--hopeful it's not 40 laps around a track. I'm looking right at you, April, and this is my stink eye.
+ The wind is howling right now, just as it's been howling all day. I'm very over it. Grr.
+ Despite the bitter cold and painful wind, this showed up at my house this morning. And after I jumped the overly-dead pickup truck in my driveway and moved it out to the road, they backed it in on a big flatbed and drove it right onto the wall. And right about lunch, it's little cousin bobcat joined the party. Currently my backyard is a mess of tracked-up grass and stacked brick. They're saying three weeks, but I'll be surprised if they're gone before summer. Not that summer is coming with any great speed at all.
+ Right before the heavy equipment showed up, the handyman dropped by. Yesterday he discovered that my kitchen sink was being held up by a wee silicon caulk strip, baffled that the sink hadn't fallen completely out of the counter. Today he fixed the sink and we went on to discuss ways to prevent my laundry room from exploding. I'd call him The Happy Fun Guy, except I'd hate for him to be offended and not return before he had a chance to fire-proof my washing machine drain pipe. I'm against all exploding laundry, no matter how deep the piles or how warm the resulting fire.
+ For the few days that promised sunshine, I got spring fever. My to-do list is long and exciting, bested only by my projects list and my list of "meals I'm gonna try." I'm feeling very home-makey. The fact that others are working around the house just means I gotta up my game.
+ Yesterday, Ian walked into the kitchen as I was making dinner, and looking into the oven declared, "I LOVE broccoli! It is my favorite! I love it!" What? And then his mother, distracted by the rest of dinner, burned all of the broccoli to a charcoal crisp. And Ian ate his anyway.
+ Tonight dinner was Fish Taco Salad--the first time I've ever tried to make any fish other than salmon. Craig declared it to rival "restaurant food" and asked why I didn't cook like this in the first years of our marriage. When asked to rate it, he gave me a "10" without a moments hesitation. A 10! My first 10 ever! I'd like to thank my mother, for teaching me how to work a stove; and that lovely sister in my last ward that gave me the cilantro-lime dressing recipe--I couldn't have done it without you; and I'd like to thank Smith's for having frozen tilapia on sale; and I'd like to thank Pinterest--how did I ever survive without you; and I'd like to thank Ian, who came into the kitchen while I was making the fish and asked, "Mom, am I gonna love this dinner?" and I said yes, and he was relieved and later had seconds--but, hey, the kid'll eat burnt broccoli, so that's not much of an endorsement--but thank you, Bee.
+ Jack, normally the voracious eater, has decided that my meals as of late are not up to par. He didn't touch the burned broccoli. And because the fish was on cabbage, he was opposed, and showed his dismay with a serious grimace and eye-roll. For that, he gets no picture.
And these are the deep and pondersome details that you've been missing about me and my life, aren't they? Glad I dropped in to share, aren't you? Yes, that what I thought.
If you were concerned that the race back in July was a little too much for my poor little sinus system, forcing a near six month recovery, you can go ahead and take a deep sigh of relief. I'm fine. And fully recovered enough that I ran another half in September just to show that I could do it without all of the internal fireworks. And 13 minutes faster, if you're keeping track. I am.
Just busy, busy. But still taking pictures and keeping up. In fact, nearly six months of daily pictures, just over there on the right. You know . . . if you're keeping track.
Many lovely holiday wishes to you and a very prosperous and happy New Year.
The Timp Half is my race. It starts at one of my all-time favorite spots in the world--gorgeous emerald green Tibble Fork Reservoir--and runs out my favorite American Fork canyon. And, as luck would have it, the whole thing goes down just minutes from my home. Perfection? You bet.
I wanted to run it last year, but my sister and running buddy was busy moving to Washington that particular Saturday, so I skipped it. When my neighbor mentioned that she was considering it for this year, I invited myself to join her and that was that.
I've trained for four months and I was ready. Eager. Excited. Shin splints were behind me. My wobbly knee had been wobble-free for the last ten days. No doubts. No butterflies. I was going to bring it.
And if you asked me how I did, I could spare you the details and give you the long-story-short: A trio of friends trained and conquered. I couldn't have been more pleased--I ran with good music, injury-free and easily bested my last half-marathon attempt.
But if you wanted details, you'd be in for a good story.
It started here:
It was a good crowd. And though it was chilly at 5 am, I was feeling good and ready to get started. I got to the honey buckets before the super-big lines--it's a real science, figuring out how to go as close to the start of the race as possible, without getting stuck in a huge line, and I timed it just right. I downed a banana, some Greek yogurt and a slice of whole wheat to keep it all settled.
I snapped one last (lousy) shot of my canyon lake as the sad out-of-air air-horn signaled the start. I was way in the back, with plenty of time to slip my phone into my arm band, start up the Nike+ app and cross the starting line with my two neighborhood companions.
As we rounded the water, runners were already jostling and passing and being slow enough with their backpacks (seriously who brings a backpack?) that they needed passing. I'd been separated from my friends, but as we came up on the drop and I saw the long pack of runners stretch out and slip under the trees in front of me I almost choked up. I love being a part of a community--something big and great and exciting. I was going to enjoy this, so I put my head down and ran.
It was well before the first mile marker that I noticed the itchy palms. It wasn't significant, but just enough to wonder what I might've touched. The condensation on my water bottle seemed cool enough to allay the itch.
I noticed the tickle in my eyebrows right before mile two. First my right and then my left. Both just faintly itchy, but I gave them both a little rub and wondered if I should've put on some bug spray before leaving home.
And then, I sneezed.
It might be a good time to tell you a funny, little story that happened when I was about 15 years-old. One evening I'd gone out running with my dad--just a few miles around the neighborhood. As we returned home, I reached for the front door and was overcome with the sneezes. Fifteen sneezes, right in a row, before I could stop and catch my breath. My dad asked if I was okay and I shrugged my shoulders, stepped into the house and sitting on the bottom step started sneezing again. I could feel the swelling rush into my head, nastiness replacing the good air I'd just sneezed out, getting worse with each sneeze. A dozen-plus sneezes later, I looked up to answer my dad, but something was very wrong and seeing my father's eyes grow to saucer-size confirmed it.
When I found a mirror, I saw a pasty-white balloon looking back at me. There were eyebrows and slits where my eyes were fighting to see. Nostrils, but no nose. Fat lips, but no mouth. All accompanied by the uncontrollable desire to scratch that balloon face right off--itchy at a whole new level.
That little sneezing fit landed me at the ER with a couple shots to get my face back to normal. We never found out what caused it--I've always blamed it on the nearby steel plant that would open their smoke-stacks at night and let out who-knows-what into the air. From time to time, I've had seasonal allergies and occasionally pollution will get to me (remind me to tell you about my visit to China, sometime--worst. pollution. ever.) but as soon as I recognize what it is--the tell-tale sneezing and must-draw-blood itching--I pop two Benadryl and I'm on my way. Ironically, my allergies in general have been getting milder and milder--this past spring, when my usually allergy-free husband was cursing the cottonwoods, I was breathing clear.
So . . . I'm running, I'm running, I'm itching, scratching and . . . I sneeze.
Just once, so I was probably okay. And then it hit again--in triple. And with each sneeze, I felt the yuck coming on in.
It was about two minutes later that I noticed I could see my eyebrows hanging over my eyes, followed ever so closely by my nose and puffy cheeks stretching up to make their way into my line of sight. Not good.
I knew I should probably get to some Benadryl, but that would be at an ambulance working the race and the nearest one would be at the base of the canyon, around mile eight. Without being able to see myself, I didn't know if it was really all that bad, or if I was just letting my mind go wild. For certain, I didn't want to whine to the medics and find out that I'd made it all up in my head and I was just a big pansy.
Over the next few miles, I discovered I couldn't breathe out of my nose--which would have been okay, except the inside of my mouth felt numb--and I lost the hearing in my right ear--mostly just a pain because I prefer hearing my tunes in stereo.
At mile seven, I grabbed some GU and a cup of Gatorade from a cute kid with big eyes who stared me down as I came and went--a bad sign. I swigged the punch, but could only taste it in part of my mouth--also, probably bad.
As I rounded the turn out of the canyon and saw the ambulance in front of me, I had a new worry--that maybe I looked bad enough that they would stop me. Perhaps downing a couple Benadryl on the run wouldn't be an option. I was still debating in my mind when a police car pulled up in front of me and the officer directed the EMTs to check out his passenger's ankle. I squinted hard, then opened my eyes wide, hoping no one would notice my slowly ballooning face, and crossed the road to mile eight. Only five miles to go--I was nearly there and wasn't nobody going to stop me now.
I know what you're thinking. Stop, right? I should've stopped. I get that--my body was shutting down and there's no logical reason to keep going. I don't even really like running--I do it so I can eat cookies and keep my crazy in check. But even days later, running still seems the obvious choice. I had no intention of stopping--that race was mine for the taking. Can't explain it. I had to run.
That's when the itching spread to the rest of my body. I reached up to flick off a bug only to find that my whole shoulder and arm and chest was on fire. And speaking of fire, my back was crawling-with-ants itchy, too. I scratched a little and then a little more. But the more I scratched the worse it itched, so I forced myself to ignore it and focus on the run. It didn't occur to me that they were hives until later, so I can only imagine how I looked. I didn't give anyone too much of a chance to see me, that's how fast I was running. Or so I told myself.
Craig called at mile 9 and I could barely hear him through my earphones. I gave him an ETA and told him to bring Benadryl to the finish. "Benadryl?" I think it was a question. "Yes, Craig," I yelled, "bring Benadryl."
I almost felt silly asking for it--I was already starting to get better. I was trying to stretch out my mouth and eyes while running alone through the tree line and it was working. Whatever it was, I'd pushed it out of my system with my speed and I was on the mend. By the finish line, I would be over it and no one (outside of the poor water boys, scarred with the horrific image of disfigured me) would ever have to know.
Craig wasn't sure what the Benadryl was for and he couldn't find any, so he came to the finish line empty handed. I flew by so quickly, that Craig thought I must've been crying, until he flipped back through the pictures.
So here's the thing. In all those pictures up there, I'm not in the slightest bit of pain. I'm happy. I'm smiling. Or, at least, I thought I was smiling. And the worst of it had passed three miles prior--this was me on the mend.
I crossed the finish line and headed back to watch my friends come in with Craig. But then Craig saw me up close and decided that I needed drugs. He put me in the car (despite serious protests--I wanted to cheer my friends and join the party) and we drove straight to the pharmacy (where he wouldn't even let me go in because I was too hideous) and then home to survey the damage.
Between the two hours of sleep the night before and a double dose of Benadryl, I slept away most of what was left of Saturday, which made me mad. I was in good shape and had plans to celebrate. It was almost 24 hours before I looked close to normal, and even then I was sporting saggy eyes at church. Good thing I wear glasses, eh?
Also, my know-it-all ER-nurse baby sister told me that I should probably become one of those epi-pen carriers, since allergy attacks like mine can kill people. And she's not making this stuff up--first-hand knowledge this girl has. She knows victims by name. I like to call her happy-fun girl as she has the best stories--she probably rents out for parties if you're in the market. And by "best stories" I mean awful, horrible either disturbing or disgusting or sad stories that she likes to whip out when you don't take your health seriously.
But here's the takeaway, kids, and what I want you to remember:
I finished that half-marathon. In the throes of life-threatening anaphylaxis, I finished that half-marathon in . . . wait for it . . . two hours and thirteen minutes! Besting my last half by over 23 minutes and beating my personal goal by seven. Those are 10:09 minute miles, baby. And if I can do that while I'm nearly dying, what can't I do?
Runner's high, folks. It's totally real.
Continuing with my carpe diem summer, I decided I wanted to run a mud race. I've always wanted to, but figured it wasn't a very "me" thing to do. But that just doesn't sound like a good enough reason not to do something anymore, so it went on the list.
I twisted Craig's arm (read: employed my womanly wiles) and I talked the neighbors into joining us (read: emailed them and their four mud-loving boys . . . easy peasy) and we all prepared ourselves for a day of muddy fun (read: spent some time rooting through drawers for old clothes that we didn't mind throwing away at the end of the day.)
We arrived early, donned our numbers and tattoos, filled up on free cotton candy and surveyed the course. It was going to be dirty.
The good news is that no one broke anything--knees, ankles, shins all intact--and the better news is that we really whoopped it up, crossing many things off the bucket list--rolling across a rope net, belly-crawlin under a (non-barbed) barbed wire course and sliding head-first down a slippery mud hill into unsuspecting slow-pokes. Not to mention the tatoo.
And when we got all done, we ran it again. It was just that good.
When my sister-in-law texted me "ideas for the 4th?" I was online looking up my latest if-not-now-when idea. I texted back "demolition derby in riverton." She wasn't quite sure what to do with that one. But a day later, after consulting with her car-restoring husband she called to confirm that they were in.
And just to keep it all fair, I called my mother-in-law the next day to offer her the likely once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She laughed out loud. And the more I talked the more she laughed. Then she realized that I wasn't kidding and she laughed some more at my earnestness. I told her that some distant day, when she was on her death bed and she looked up at me lamenting the fact that she'd never seen a demolition derby, I would have a clean conscience. She confessed that she would have to tell my father-in-law (I believe it was, "oh, ho, ho, I've just GOT to tell Brad about this, ha, ha, ha") and promised that she would call back tomorrow to say they couldn't go. Except when she called back the next day, she wanted tickets.
And oh, my. There are almost no words to describe the evening.
Hilarious? Obviously. Take that, skeptical mother-in-law of mine! Maybe that'll teach you never to doubt my truly fabulous, if not mildly ridiculous, ideas.
Hilariously dangerous? Indeed. That would be a flash-mob-style version of The Macarena to kill some time while they called in the Jaws of Life to extricate a driver on the far side of the arena. Jack's in there somewhere. Driver was fine, by the way--just trapped. And the guy who's car caught fire twice in the last round was okay, too--Uncle Jesse Duke was on staff put it out.
Totally fabulous? You betcha.
Craig and I picked the number two cars in all the last grunge matches--and on our first night out, too. We're naturals at this. All I gotta do now is figure out how to slip in and out of my car through the driver's-side window (after occasionally sliding across the hood when I'm in a real hurry) and I'll be all set.
As I sit right here, it's raining outside my window. Pelting, really. In July. And that's the truth. In fact, they just broke into Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to declare a flash flood warning just a few miles from here. Right about where that fire was a few weeks ago. The old adage about weather in Utah is sometimes ridiculously true--if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes.
I've got piles and piles to do this week and I'd rather sit right here, writing some things down, smelling the rain and enjoying The George, who has decided that his favorite place is on top of my feet, which for now has put him under my desk.
We're over half-way through the summer and I feel like we're just getting started. So much going on, so much to fit in and I'm doing my best to soak it all in. The question going through my mind, the one that gets me moving every time, is a very sassy version of my mother-self asking, "If not now, Kari, when?" It's amazing how that little thought gets me over whatever is stopping me from picking up the phone or setting the date right that moment. It's how we've kept so busy. It's how we've spent the weekends red-necking it. It's how we've all got serious tans. It's how we've got friends coming in for Pioneer Day, again. And it's making for a rather delightful summer.
While I'm keeping so busy, I'm intrigued by how much I love the camera on my phone. The quality is, obviously, not near that of the big Nikon, but it's always on me. And it's gotten me past that not-wanting-to-take-pictures phase I've been wallowing in over the last few months and back to a place where I want to pull it out and focus on the quality. I'm sorting and filing and organizing my pictures (after a panicky few days where my hard drive, the one that had my whole life after Jack--so my whole life--in it's files died and nearly killed me with it. It was all recovered and transferred to a shiney, ginormous external, but it's in serious need of some general housekeeping.) Both my phone and the computer are getting the shakedown.
So for now, I'll grab a few that caught my eye while doing all the copying and transferring and organizing . . a few highlights, if you'll allow.
Mud bathing up at Tibble Fork in AF Canyon--in leiu of facials, the boys went for the all-over body wrap. Part of The Week Of No Men series, where the two husbandless-for-the-week neighbors and I made big plans for the boys that two mothers would chaperon while one got an afternoon free. I was also involved in a day at the pool before I got a free Friday all to myself.
When it got too hot to breathe, we took advantage of Uncle Kael's condo, by hitting the pool with friends.
And making playdates that, more often than not, end up with a viewing of the current favorite, "Despicable Me!" Whaaaa?
Trips to the water park and snow cones for dinner.
Organizing other treasures.
Not nearly enough homemade peanut-butter cup ice cream. But then, the summer's not over yet.
And while I finish up all the technical work, we've got some more ice cream to make and some running to do and some water/mud somewhere calling our name. Best get back to it.
Fire season all around the country and it finally landed at little too close to my backyard. Which is where I took this shot. It's burned a couple thousand acres and they've had to close my canyon, which is on the backside of the burning mountain face.
I keep checking the news to see if it's getting any better, but they claim that it's still at zero percent containment. That's doesn't sound super hopeful, now does it? I'll think that it's got to be getting better, because it looks from here to be getting better, and then we'll see 100 and 200+ foot flare-ups along the ridge and I'll panic a little.
Even with the rain today (I said rain. In July. In Utah. Only a miracle allows for that.) it's still not getting better--slowing the fire, but grounding the helicopters. We'll just keep our fingers crossed and hope that mother nature decides that she's got enough blacked mountain for now. And be thankful that she decided to hose down the dry little hollow that we live in, so that it might not repeat over here.
Twenty years ago, had you told me that I would marry the hot varsity football star and that we would travel for years before growing that family more and that he would eventually become involved with international charity work and when the babies finally did come rolling in it would be slowly and through adoption and that they would be BOYS and that I would LOVE boys and panic at the thought of girls and that I would have a lovely chocolate Lab that I'd named George and that we would live at the base of my favorite canyon in a turn-of-the-century style Oak Park house next to the best of friends and that I would spend my free time quilting and running in that canyon and gardening tomatoes and cleaning my boys dirty feet . . . well, I just wouldn't have believed it. "I'd never name a dog George," I'd say. Or "not possible--running sucks!" Or, "Ew, boys! Say it isn't true."
But it's all true. Every little bit.
And the reason it's true is because one day, fifteen years ago yesterday, to be exact, hot varsity football star and I decided to become us. Officially. Rings and certificates and my grandmother's wedding dress and everything.
Best decision ever.
I'm finding that eating to lose inches and eating to run are very different. It's a tricky game to do both. We try to keep a low-carb diet around here most of the time (for the carb-loving turned carb-nazi husband of mine) but come Saturday morning, I need the ready sugars to power my run. This is the recovery drink of choice--and if I call it Orange Sunrise, the boys think it's heaven and gobble it up. Anything leftover goes in popsicle molds.
1 cup mango juice (love the V8 Fusion Lite)
1 whole orange, peeled
1 container high protein yogurt
couple handfuls of baby carrots
1/8 wedge of cabbage (very anti-cancer and the orange covers the taste)
handful of ice
(maybe 1/2 a banana, a couple strawberries, pineapple spear if I've got it--not too much or it overpowers the orange-carroty goodness.)
I blend it into oblivion and down as much as I can. It's high vitamin, high carb and still under 300 calories for the whole pitcher-ful--perfect for when I've just run a long Saturday stretch and I need to make sure that I don't fall asleep in the post-run shower.