Monday, December 15, 2014

Our Overly Revealing Family Christmas Letter 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Reese family!

We spent New Year’s Day 2014 with 60% of the family barfing. This was an omen for the rest of 2014. Had I known it at the time, we would have spent the New Year having barf bags surgically sewn onto our chests. (Our middle child indulged in the raw vegetable tray at the New Year’s party before one such…..how should I say this…..outburst.)

Here is a brief summary of everyone in the Reese gang:

Jackson
Jackson got hissing cockroaches this past year for Christmas. I don’t know what to say about that. Except that they are gross. And it wasn’t my idea. We fulfilled his lifelong dream and went to a Billy Joel concert. Speaking of that, Jackson has become quite the piano prodigy. This year he was a finalist in Hurricane’s Got Talent playing Billy Joel’s New York State Of Mind on the piano. It was beautiful enough to make a grown man cry. He has taken up CrossFit with Mel and now they speak CrossFit language together while the rest of us have no idea what they’re talking about. (Push jerks? Thrusters? Kipping? Are you making these words up as you go along?)

Danica
This is Dani’s first year at the intermediate school and she is one of the piano players for the school choir. (They are the only school in the area that uses student pianists.) She earned the Great American Award. (Which isn’t a huge surprise because we’ve bred the kids to be great Americans their whole lives by feeding them a steady diet of apple pie and bald eagles.) She almost died on April 1st when I skillfully installed an air horn onto our refrigerator for April Fools Day. We’re thankful she’s still with us.

Kylee
Kylee is the top dog at school this year being in 5th grade. She did Science Olympiad at school with Dani and they both won awards. She continues to take piano lessons along with the rest of the offspring and did an absolutely stellar job of helping keep our garden alive this year. She is the peacemaker of the house and is so compassionate and giving. It’s up for debate which she loves more: her family or her sock monkey collection. She is a connesour of Old Maid and Mancala.

Aunt Jackie the Poodle
Our dog Aunt Jackie is cute and loving………and mischievous and disobedient and has a raging addiction to sugar. If you take your eyes off your food for more than two seconds it will be in Aunt Jackie’s mouth. He is an avid kitchen counter surfer and he had a light bulb moment one night when he realized that he could pee upstairs and then not have to go outside in the cold wind. From then on the stairs are barricaded at night.

Melanie
Mel and I received the Congressional Medal of Honor for surviving our sixth year of teaching the 8 year olds in primary at church. She has been working as a nurse forever but recently went back to school to get her Bachelor’s Degree and finished a 2-year program in three months! After years of working in the Intensive Care Unit she became a nurse navigator for the Surgical Assessment Unit at Intermountain Healthcare. (Try saying that ten times fast. Or even one time slow.) She will now be starting nurse practitioner schooling. I have been so impressed with Mel and Jackson’s dedication to staying healthy. These guys wake up at 4:45am to go to CrossFit before going to work and school. She agreed to stay married to me when I overcooked our Thanksgiving turkey to the point that it looked like it survived a nuclear attack.

Cory
I’ve worked for the University of Utah Dialysis Program as a social worker for 10 years now. One benefit to covering four dialysis centers is that I get to go to Mesquite, Nevada which has a Popeye’s Chicken restaurant. And I believe their fried chicken is made by angels. During the year I’ve been happy to work with Altra, maker of some mighty fine running shoes. In February I set a goal to run a 100 miler each month for a year so I’m now at 10 for the year. I’ve done some scenic races like Grand Canyon 100 and Zion 100. But also some I organized myself like a run from Salt Lake to Provo and back, and a 100 miler at the high school track in July when temps reached 107 degrees. After 100 milers runners earn a belt buckle. (Spoiler alert: you can buy a belt buckle at Walmart for $11.99 and NOT have to run 100 miles.)

This year we were fortunate to take a few family vacations. Last Christmas our family present was a trip to Universal Studios and Knott’s Berry Farm which we went to in January. We went on rides, tried to not become certifiably crazy driving in California traffic, and spent $32 (no, not a typo) for a crappy pizza at Knott’s Berry Farm because there was nothing cheaper. Ahhh, the sweet smell of tourist robbery.

A few months ago we went on a short cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. It’s hard to be humble about the following fact: during the three days we were on the ship I consumed 19 (no, not a typo either) ice cream cones. I consider it one of my finest achievements. We really enjoyed getting to see some of the culture of Ensenada, spending time together, and eating enough churros to make our stomachs beg for mercy.

So I guess you could say 2014 has been a pretty awesome year. (Except for that time when the main water line to our house broke. And all those times someone in our house was barfing. Those things were slightly less than awesome.) We are so thankful for your kindness and friendship. Merry Christmas from our hissing cockroaches to yours! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

UltraRunning Magazine - Fueled By Twinkies

A while ago I was asked by UltraRunning Magazine to write an article for them........about Hostess. Yes, I was called by an executive at UltraRunning Magazine......and was asked to write about Hostess! Serious props to them for being lighthearted and thinking outside the box. Here is the article from the magazine:

I vividly remember the moment I evolved as a runner. It wasn’t the moment I crossed the finish line of my first marathon. It wasn’t that moment when my mind was fuzzy and I staggered across the finish line of my first 100-miler. Nope, not the time I was running in a wind storm and my runny nose ended up in my eye lashes. My transformation came at mile 20 of a beautiful trail run in southern Utah when I stopped at my car to refuel with a pack of Hostess Crumb Donettes.

At this transformative period of my life, I already had a long-standing love affair with Hostess products. But I had never had the pleasure of using them to fill my veins with sugar during a run before. I stashed some in my car and planned to eat one or two Donettes instead of a Gu packet. But they were so good that I ate another. And then another. And before I knew it, I was standing with an empty package, crumbs down my shirt, and a stomach that audibly said “thank you for your gracious gift.” 

I was surprised how well my stomach tolerated the donuts in the middle of a long run. I was fully expecting a gastrointestinal revolt. I was so surprised in fact, that on the next long run I tried a Hostess Snowball. As much as it pains me to talk bad about something so delicious, I admit that the Snowball didn’t go over well mid-run. For you unfortunate souls who haven’t had a Snowball before, imagine a velvety cream center covered by chocolate cake covered by a thick layer of marshmallow covered by pink coconut sprinkles. I had a “No duh!” moment after I tried to run and my stomach didn’t feel very good. Shocker! I can think of nothing worse than a bad case of Snowball Gut. (Well, except for eating cauliflower or listening to Celine Dion. I believe those things actually are worse than Snowball Gut.)

Every year I organize a half marathon in celebration of all things Hostess. A requirement of the fun run includes eating a Hostess product every three miles, although “The Hostess With The Mostest” Award goes to the person who, you guessed it, eats the most Hostess. It’s not often that you can say you gained weight during a running event instead of losing weight! The “race” is enjoyed by everybody and nobody at the same time. 

After a great deal of trial and error, I’ve come to realize that the best Hostess product during running was my first Hostess product: the Crumb Donette. I only wish that these little morsels of heaven had a different name. I’d prefer that they just be called Donuts. I feel like I’m risking my Man Card by saying how much I love a food that ends in “ette”. 

According to Dr. Thomas Dansie at the Institute for Completely Imaginary Facts, “A Twinkie contains the superior combination of monocalcium phosphate, sodium stearoyl, and soy lecithin to fuel the demands of a grueling ultramarathon.” As ultrarunners, we are striving to extend our durability and longevity. It seems only fitting that we ought to consume products that contain enough preservatives to survive the apocalypse. 

Surely I can’t be alone in my desire for Twinkie-flavored Gu packets or energy bars that taste like cream-filled cupcakes with little white swirls on top. These would be a true revolution in ultramarathon fueling. Chia seeds are so 2009! Until then, we’ll have to subsist on Chocodiles and Ding Dongs. Is it important to eat healthy in training and racing? Without a doubt! I certainly eat more than my share of rabbit food. But is it okay to fudge a little with junk food while training for an ultra? I sure hope so. Otherwise I should retire right now.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Zion National Park Photo Dump

We live about a half hour away from Zion National Park. Even living so close, there are enormous amounts of the park that I've never experienced before. The day after Thanksgiving my brother-in-law Matt showed me around some new spots. Here is a photo dump of some of the cool things I saw that day:


Check out this sweet slot canyon!


Me and my son Jackson:

This is Jackson, my niece's husband Nick, and brother-in-law Matt:

And finally my favorite picture of the trip. I know they're all over the place, but I've never seen one in Zion. She gave me a subtle smile as if to say "Go ahead my friend, take some pictures. It's cool. But if you get any closer I'll put one of these horns through your abdomen."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Dislike For Costco, Hot Pockets, and PTSD

I survived a trip to Costco. ON THE WEEK OF THANKSGIVING. That is at least 140% more impressive than running a 100 miler. Costco on the week of Thanksgiving combines two of the things I hate the most: 

1) Shopping
2) Enormous crowds of people who you get trapped behind....because they aren't moving....because they have created a log jam of humans....because they just HAVE to get a sample of a Hot Pocket. 

But seriously. What has humanity come to when we are willing to stand in line at a sample table to get a little bite of a Hot Pocket? (Although Costco does have one enormous redeeming quality: pumpkin pie.)

Another thing I did over the Thanksgiving break (besides cooking a turkey to the point that it looked like it had been through a nuclear attack) was to run. 

One run was at the high school track. This was the first time I had been to the track since I ran a 100 miler there in July when it was 107 degrees. (Unfortunately that 107 number isn't exaggerated.) Stepping foot on the track again triggered a bit of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I promptly fell to the ground and started whimpering and sucking my thumb. Then I jumped over people.

Those people were my wife Mel and my daughter Kylee. It was totally fun running with them. Until we decided that the only thing more fun than running around the track in the cold morning air was to NOT run on the track in the cold morning air and go drink hot chocolate instead.

The day after Thanksgiving I went on my first real run in a whole month. Back in February I set a goal to run a 100 miler each month for 12 months in a row. (Right now I'm up to 10.) After I finished the Javelina Jundred at the first of November I gave my body an extended break. I did a few very short runs and did some hiking but basically I didn't run for four weeks. 

So on that day after Thanksgiving I went to my home trail. The place where I fell in love with running on dirt. It's called the JEM Trail. Dear JEM Trail: You. Complete. Me.

The temperature that day was exactly what the temperature will be in heaven. It felt so, so good to be back to real running.

Can I tell you why I love running trails like this so much? Because there is no Costco. No people standing in front of you standing still transfixed by slippers. No Hot Pockets.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Sad Resemblance To National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

My weekend was the opposite of boring. And by "the opposite of boring" I mean that it was embarrassing, adventurous, and downright frightening.

EMBARRASSING
Here's a confession for you: I've never cooked a turkey. Well, until Sunday. And then I cooked the crap out of a turkey. My wife was at work. I was in charge of making food. This is NEVER, EVER a good idea. EVER.

So I take the turkey out of it's skin-tight bag. Spoiler alert: an uncooked turkey is beyond disgusting. You're telling me I need to stick my hand into a bird's orifice and pull out the neck? And the gizzards? Can we go with Plan B and just get Little Caesar's?

So I cook the turkey. And in my defense it didn't have one of those popper-outer things that tells you when it's done. I took the turkey out of the oven and it looks a chainsaw massacre happened in my oven. You know that scene from the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswold cuts open the turkey? It was EXACTLY like that. Did I mention that extended family were coming over for dinner? This is what the turkey looked like. BEFORE I cut it. Fail.

FRIGHTENING
Later that night I was walking into my bedroom. I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. Then I looked down. AND SAW A SPIDER CRAWLING UP MY SHIRT TOWARD MY NECK. I involuntarily let out this little yelp that sounded not unlike a four year old girl. I slapped that spider off my shirt, whipped off my shoe, and smashed it. And unfortunately my wife heard my little baby yelp.

ADVENTUROUS
I took Jackson and Danica to the Prospector Trail. I couldn't count the number of times I've run here. It's one of my all time favorite trails. It was unbelievably awesome to take them there and show them around.



We saw this big rock on the side of the trail and Dani said "Can I climb up there?" Once she got up she said "Dad, you should come up here too!" And at that moment the lighting was beyond perfect.


It seemed only appropriate that we get a jumping picture along the way. A family that wears Altra shoes together stays together.

In a highly unusual twist of fate there was almost no whining the whole time. I believe the last time that happened was, um, let me think.....never.

We got back to the car as the sun was setting. The sunset was the perfect ending to a perfect adventure.

There was no complaining about the absence of a bathroom. No crying after a trip and fall. And no screaming because a spider was on them. (The scream as the result of a spider would be the next day. And the scream would be from me.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Red Mountain Trail In Two Words

I visited the Red Mountain Trail in southern Utah for the first time last week. The highlight of the trail is an incredible overlook of Snow Canyon State Park. Here are some views from the trail....two words at a time.

Striped rocks.

Pretty technical.

More climbing.

Snow Canyon!!

Same pose.

Incredible views.

Very high.

My legs are still recovering from the Javelina Jundred so I didn't go very far. And I didn't go very fast. Instead of getting lots of miles I took it easy and made a few rock towers.

Don't fall.

If you're in the St. George area I'd highly recommend checking this one out. There are lots of offshoots of the trail to get more miles. (Or you can start off on the wrong trail and get some bonus miles like I did.) You can see more info on the Red Mountain Trail HERE.