Saturday, October 22, 2011


Fall break was nearing and I knew for a fact that I wanted to do something.  I had the "itch!"  We had thrown a couple of ideas around but nothing was really calling my name.  Finally the idea of taking Luke and Tanner to Bryce Canyon came to me. I looked online for rooms and although there were rooms on Thursday night, Friday was sold out.  George called a friend of his who is an owner of Ruby's Inn and he hooked us up!  He gave us a great deal in a pool side room, it's nice to know people in high places! 

Thursday afternoon we were on our way.  First stop along the way was BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN!  I had played the song for the kids before we left and they were as excited as I had been as a kid.  I couldn't dream of anything better than rocks made of candy and lemonade springs. 
I'll just say that somethings are better left as a fantasy!

Along the way we were taking turns telling "spooky stories."  What imaginations those two have!  They were funny because as George and I would try to end our stories they had to know what happened to every character we had ever mentioned even though we had forgotten about them.

We got to Ruby's in time for dinner.  After dinner we had fun swimming.  I'll admit that I had fun in the hot tub while the boys swam!

The next morning we started the day off with a good breakfast that even came with dessert! 

After our bellies were full we headed out for a big day in Bryce Canyon.
We looked through the guide and found a couple of hikes that we wanted to do.  The first one, had me a bit concerned because it was labled "strenuous."  The boys insisted they could do it because they were "really good hikers." 
Their goal was to go to the bottom of the canyon and be amongst the HOODOOS (the rock formations).  We started out on our 4 mile hike by going down, down, down.  I kept reminding them that what goes down, must go back up.  Once again they reminded us of how TOUGH, STRONG, & GREAT they were.  No worries!

Our little hikers taking a breather
 After 100 miles of hiking (according to Tanner) we ran into a couple from Maine and asked them how much further we had to go.  Need I say, they were dripping with sweat.  I was nervous when they said that we were only about half way.  Only another 100 miles to go, augh!

We told them about the other hike we wanted to do and they had done that one the day before.  They said that the kids would love it and strongly encouaged us to turn around while we could and go and do it instead.

After much convincing we did just that.  But, before we set out on the hike we decided to drive to the end of the canyon and take in all the sites at the different view points first.

The boys were getting eager to get down amoung the hoodoos by then and were getting tired of the view points.  We had read in the guide how Hoodoos cast a magical spell on anyone who looked at them. They were so intrigued they could hardly stand it!

George and I were getting a kick out of all the funny things the boys said as we were hiking.  They were SO into it!  They found images in every dead tree or rock formation there.  They found numerous fossils and just knew that their mom would be so proud!

As we were at the end of the hike where you go from the bottom up through a narrow canyon and then onto several switch backs Tanner excitedly said, "This is the most awesomest hike in the whole world!"  The people around us got a kick out of him too.

Near the top Luke said, "Take a look down and you can congratulate yourself!"  Some foreigners who knew enough english to understand what he said, chuckled and repeated it to their group. 

We made it to the top and gloated about what hikers we all were.  The boys took their shoes and socks off the minute we got in the car and hung their feet out the window to give them relief while the whole time laughing hysterically as people would pass by. We went back to the hotel and swam for awhile to relax our tired and sore muscles (this is what they're saying). We ate dinner in Tropic and hit the bed for a VERY good night sleep.

At the end I think we can all agree that the HOODOOS did indeed cast a magical spell on us.  We had such a great time with the boys in one of the prettiest places ever.  I love the idea that we've created memories that will last a long long time in the minds of those two adventerous hikers!

Monday, October 10, 2011

I've been...ON THE ROAD!

Yes, I've been on the road, many roads in fact.  I've been on the road for months now as I trained for something I never in a million years thought I would or could do, A MARATHON! 

One morning over a year ago Sue Ann and I got talking and came to the conclusion that we would finally make the committment that we would run a marathon.  We figured if nothing else we could walk 26.2 miles, but we knew one way or another we could finish even if it took us 7 hours.  One early morning we ran into Ann up above the golf course and told her to turn around and run with us. From that chance encounter she was in too, rather she wanted to be or not!

As soon as we were able, we signed up for the Runner's Series which allowed 750 runners  to automatically get into the St. George Marathon as long as you completed two races in Washington County that year.  It was a great way to do it because it gave us motivation to do the races and to know that they were for a reason other than the t-shirt.  Besides going to St. George is fun!

We did the St. George Half Marathon in January and I know all of us wondered what the heck we were thinking in signing up for the marathon. The idea of doing that twice did not even seem possible!
That was the first race that George had been there to support me.  I was fun seeing him along the trail taking pictures and having him at the finish line.

The other race we did, this time as a girls trip so that we could SHOP, was the Hurricane Half/5k.  With that we were OFFICIALLY in the St. George Marathon along with 7400 runners!

Our official training started at the same time we were running the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay in June.  Throughout the rest of the summer we followed a training schedule and threw in a couple other half marathons which fit nicely into the plan.  We were on our way...

Getting up extra early for long runs so that we could beat the heat worked good for us.  We all agree that running in the dark takes your mind off of the distance.

This was the sunrise on one of our early morning runs out along the Elevator Road between Nephi and Levan.

For me figuring out what my body needed and how it reacted to different energy fuels and things was the biggest challenge.  Part of me was even sad when we started our tapering because I wasn't quite sure I had things figured out yet or not.  However the tapering was nice.

Well the day was finally here.  The day we had been waiting for for over a year.  I'll admit that I had been a nervous wreck all week.  I was stressed about the weather forecast that was predicting a very hot day.  Like I said earlier we would run extra early just to avoid the heat and now we were going to be forced to run 26 miles in it.  This was not good! 

On the drive down to St. George we talked and talked about it, and the more we talked the more excited I got.  We went to pick up our packet at the expo and you could feel the excitement in the air.  It would have been nice if we could have run right then. 

I stayed with Shannon Mcpherson in her hotel room so that I could get a good night sleep.  The kids were all staying at a condo and I knew that as fun as it would have been to be with them I wouldn't get any shut eye.

Ann, Sue Ann, Jill, Tammy, Shannon and I met at the hotel and headed to the park to catch a bus to the STARTING LINE.  It was really happening!  We were like giddy little school girls, nervous and excited at the same time.  The bus ride seemed to take forever.  I was sure it was way more than 26.2 miles, but surprisingly I didn't doubt that I could run it. 

We had been told that as soon as we got there to get into a line for the bathroom and then when done, get in line again.  Good advice!  There were thousands of people and besides all the people standing in the lines there were just as many running into the bushes. 

When the gun went off  Sue Ann, Ann and I were still in the potty line.  Although it stressed us out, there were so many people to move through the starting gate that we knew we'd be waiting in that crowd anyway.  We finally got through the start gate 7 minutes after the gun had gone off. 

I was amazed by how fast the first several miles flew by.  At mile 7 in Veyo, George, Kaydee, Kylee and Karson were there.  They had asked me the night before where I wanted them to be. They had plans to be at mile 7 but I told them that if it came down to a choice I'd rather have them at the end because I knew that is where I would need them the most.  However, right before we got to the crowd of people I told Ann and Sue Ann that they were possibly going to be there.  The second I noticed them I literally jumped for joy!  I realized then how much I loved their support and encouragement.  It was awesome to see them right before we started up the big hill out of Veyo.

We headed up the hill feeling good and at the top we were still feeling good!  We were glad that we had done a lot of training on hills and we're patting ourselves on the back for running the whole thing. 

It was fun to chat with fellow runners along the way.  We ran into a lady with a bunch of hand prints, one for each of her kids and the name of her missionary son on her shirt.  She told us that she had run the marathon for each of them (4) and this one was for her husband, the next would be for her. Later we saw her getting picked up by one of the shuttles, sad:(  We also came across a family who was running for their two year old daughter who had just been diagnosed with leukemia.  It was neat to see people of every shape and size, everyone with a different running style and everyone with the same goal in mind.

At around 12-13 miles my good knee, the left one, started bothering me.  It kind of freaked me out!  I changed the band that I normally wear on my right knee to the left and hoped that it would be okay.  I tried to push the pain out of my mind and tried not to let it consume or worry me too badly.  By mile 17 or so I started to get a familiar pulsing in my calves.  I had taken two salt pills along the race and was really hoping that that would keep me from cramping.  In the beginning I had just drank water at the aid stations plus I'd eaten some Cliff Shot Bloks. Later I started drinking the Gatorade as well. I was praying that things would start kicking in and I wouldn't have any further problems.  At mile 20 I stopped to use the bathroom and that's where I had my first major excruciating charley horse in my calve.  I truly wanted to scream and being seated in the Honey Bucket there was no possible way to stretch it out.  I massaged the heck out of it instead of screaming and was able to run some more. 

The kids had plans to be at mile 20 and I was nervous about seeing them because I wasn't sure if I'd just want to give up.  I was hitting a wall and my legs were really freaking me out.  I was almost relieved when they weren't there.  I knew I had to keep running so that I could see them at the end. 

I stopped at every aid station to have the WONDERFUL VOLUNTEERS rub my calves and knees down with Ben-Gay or Icey Hot.  It helped so much!

We started into town with only around 3 to 4 miles to go.  At that point I'm feeling like no matter what I can at least walk to the finish if I have to, but I've practically made it!  I figured that the family had decided to just be at the finish line because they cautioned spectators that it was hard to watch runners after mile 20 and to make it to the finish also.  But, much to my surprise my family was there to cheer me on at mile 23ish.  EVERYONE!  It was awesome to see the kids holding up their signs and giving grandma "high five."  It was a push I really needed at that point. 

Up until that point Sue Ann, Ann and I had run the whole thing together.  They were amazing!  After I had seen the family I turned the corner and stopped at the aid station for a really good massage.  I lost Ann and Sue while stopping, but I really had no choice.

Someone had told us to just enjoy the last few miles and take in all the encouragement from the crowds.  I could hardly stand to look around but I did try to absorb all the cheers and chants.  With two miles left to go my calve totally seized up on me and it was all I could do to get to the curb.  I wanted to cry!  Once again I rubbed the cramp out and walked a few steps before running again.  For the next mile I ran and then walked, ran and then walked everytime I felt it tightening.  With about a half mile left to go I heard those familiar cheers and was SO excited to see George and the kids again.  They were yelling, "you're almost there, you can do it." and then they started running with me.  I knew that when I turned that last corner I still had three blocks to go.  To them that seemed like nothing, to me it seemed like 26 more miles but with them along side me I knew I could do it.  With two blocks left it happened again, my calf froze up and wouldn't move.  George was there to massage it for me and after that I really tried to just give it all I got and get it done.

I made it over the first timing pad and it happened again.  There was another wonderful volunteer there to grab me just as I was going down.  This time he massaged it and walked with me through the misters and back to get my PRECIOUS medal. 

It was over, 4 hours 48 minutes later.  I had done something I never in a million years ever dreamt that I could do.  The feeling was incredible.  And the part of the incredible feeling came from all the support of my FAMILY,  my great FRIENDS who were there right along side me in this journey and ALL THE OTHERS who offered their encouragement and congratulations before, during and after the race.

My plan when deciding to do a marathon was to do one and be done, but to be able to hopefully say, "That wasn't too bad, I'd do it again."   It took me a day and a half to decide that I want to do ONE more and hopefully do it without the knee pain or the cramping.  So next year along with my friends I'll have a few more joining me too, Kaydee, Launey, Linzy and Kylee all signed up for the Runner's Series.  How awesome is that!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Although summer always seems to go by way too fast it's fun to look back and remember the things we did and look forward to next summer for more good times.

I started my summer with a BANG!!  Me and a group of friends and family got a team together to run in the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay (detailed in an earlier post).  It was a great way to start the off the season and I'm hoping like heck to do it again!

 Next event of the summer was our annual "girls trip".  My mom, sisters, daughters, nieces, aunt, granddaughter, friend and grandson (Madden)

Family campout at Big Mountain Campground (formally KOA)

Luke's 8th Birthday
Cake was designed by him and made by his mom:)

4th of July Fireworks at Uncle Mike's
Rainstorms were a common occurance of the summer of 2011

This was supposed to be a pool day, but because of the rain we went to the splash pad where the rain and sprinklers all mixed together.  Fun day!
A rewarding treat after playing hard

One of our favorite summer days is Lavendar Days at Young Living Farms. 

Madden getting a summer hair cut for his 1st birthday

The annual Ute Stampede enjoyed with family and friends

Pioneer Day celebration in Mona

family get together with Grandma Morgan who is 97 years old

Lake Powell with our Manti buddies

Girl's Trip to Hawaii

Running and races have been a big part of my summer.  I'm so excited that there is a growing interest within my family too!

A great day at the pool, and without RAIN!
The Demolition Derby another family favorite!

Kids being kids

Having some fun times in Logan

Family get together for Madden's 1st birthday

A wild 4-wheeling adventure!
It started out beautiful and sunny and in the end we were black and blue from getting pelted with hail!

A new blessing named, NASH, joined our family this summer :)

Mansfield Family Reunion
Luke's Baptisim


Labor Day at the zoo, another REALLY fun day!

Eating in the dirt with the family on Labor Day weekend

So summer 2011 has basically come to an end.  Before I did this post I felt like it was over with before we were able to do much.  However it looks like to me we had a great summer.  I'm so grateful for the wonderful family and friends I'm blessed with to be able to spend it with.