Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Joys of Jury Duty

Consider this your disclaimer: this post has nothing to do with exercise except that the room I was confined in was so hot that I was sweating as if I had just returned from a run.

A while ago I received the most dreaded piece of mail imaginable. Not credit card offers. Not even credit card bills. Nay, worse. A summons for JURY DUTY.

Yesterday my date arrived to show up and serve my time. I joined almost 40 other potential jurors in a crammed room of the court house and we started to get our sweat on. That room was warm. We were shown a video basically saying "Stop being so crabby about being here. It's your civic duty, even if it's inconvenient. So suck it up and stop whining you big baby!" (Disclaimer: the video never used the words "crabby" or "suck it up" or "stop whining" but the message was clear.)

Then we waited there in the hot box waiting room. And waited. And just for good measure, we waited a little more.

At the precise moment when people had become so overheated that we were going to start taking our shirts off, we were taken into the court room. There, we got a little run down from the judge. The plan for the day: 1) fill out a survey, 2) take a lunch break, then 3) come back for individual interviews with the judge and lawyers.

We were told that the big mass of us would be trimmed down to 19 by the end of the day, and then that group would be trimmed again to the final jury of 8 members. We would be called back randomly and once the 19 were selected, everyone else could leave.

We returned from lunch at 1pm and waited in the court room as people were called back to the judge's office. Everyone sat in quiet anticipation. Interviews were taking about 15 minutes EACH (FYI: getting through 40 people may literally take forever.)

Some people returned after their interview with a big smile because they had been dismissed. Some people came back with a dejected face and reluctantly took an available juror seat. And some people didn't come back at all! They vanished, never to be seen from again. I figured they gave a wrong answer the judge threw them right in the paddy wagon.

I sat there and waited as the minutes, then hours dragged by. I was so thankful I brought a book. I felt so sad for the suckers who didn't have a book and had to stare at their hands for almost five hours. There was little talking. Every once in a while you'd hear a little giggle, but it soon returned to silence.

Following our lunch break when we had been sitting there for four and a half hours I thought to myself "I could have run a marathon in the time I've been sitting here!" The crowd slowly dwindled until there were three of us left. And finally, finally at 5:43pm the three of us were told that all spots had been filled and we could go home.

No interview, no real-life-CSI action, no excitement. Just "Okay, you can go home now." Aside from my lunch break, this little experience took 9 hours and 43 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. But - on the bright side - I did earn $18 jury pay for my day of "service". I think I would have rather run a marathon.

Have you had the "pleasure" of jury duty before?
This was a first for me.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Taking A Rest Week

I remembered the minor detail that you're supposed to take a little time to RECOVER after running a marathon. I didn't do that too well last week. So I decided to make this my LAZY recovery week.

A recovery week wouldn't be complete without ice cream, a pack (or 3) of Hostess donuts, an enormous gas station cookie (or 3), and half a tub of cookie dough that my wife and I hid from the children so we wouldn't have to share.

(In all honesty, that isn't only part of a recovery week. It's also part of a training week. Or a taper week. Or a summer week. Or a week that's on the calendar.)

BUT....don't send the Diabetes Police yet. I also ate a ton of fruits and vegetables. I even got made fun of at work for my ultra-healthy lunch.

Monday, June 20th 2011: 5 mile run very early in the morning before work.

Tuesday, June 21st 2011: 14 mile bike ride before work. The junk food caught up with me, only rode 13.6 mph.

That night I also ran an easy 3 miler. For me, exercise = sleep deprivation. I either get up painfully early or run late at night. Tuesday night I didn't get home until 11:20pm. Ouch. I tried to get a picture of the bats that fly all over at night. (FYI: getting a picture of a bat is HARD!) This is the best I could do:

Wednesday, June 22nd 2011: 11 mile bike ride with the Mrs @ 12.1 mph. We were more interested in fun than exercise and enjoyed this kid-free hour.

Thursday, June 23rd 2011:
2.5 miles at the track with Jackson. Jackson got up early with me so we could run before it became 384 thousand degrees outside. Good times.

I love this track because it's dirt. I'm a firm believer that any mile on dirt or trail is better than a mile on pavement. (I've finally gotten used to running with large quantities of rocks in my shoes.)

The rest of the week: nothing. Glorious nothing.

Do you ever get made fun of at work for what you eat?

I do every once in a while. I'm okay with it though. When I eat healthy I don't feel guilty when I do indulge.

"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement."
~ Steve Prefontaine

Friday, June 24, 2011

Me and the Dentist are BFFs

Speaking of pain, I got to spend an hour and a half of quality time with my Best Friend Forever, the dentist yesterday. I don't really want my BFF to be the dentist, but it seems like we hang out way too often. In the previous sentence, "hang out" means:
  • Sit in his chair
  • Let him work on my teeth with an industrial-strength drill
  • Smell smoke and realize that burning smell is, um, me
  • Try not to cry
  • Make grunts as I try to form answers when he asks questions
  • Try not to drool on myself too much as I leave his office
I am on a first-name basis with everyone in the office. I'm not exaggerating about this - when the dentist saw me he shook my hand and said "How's it going brother?" He is very friendly and competent but I DO NOT want to know the dentist so well that he calls me "brother".

I had a chipped crown that he had to drill and grind out of my mouth so that he could put a new one in. Sweet angel of death, it hurt. I broke into a cold sweat as I got worked over. It was a long hour and a half.

Judging by how often I see the dentist, you'd think I haven't touched a tooth brush since Vanilla Ice was cool. But that's not true. In fact the last time I had a cleaning, I heard the hygienist going around to her other hygienist friends saying "My patient's home care is excellent!" She was like a proud parent.

With my "excellent home care", I'm not sure how I continue to develop problems worthy of hanging out with my "brother" the dentist. I'm hoping it will be a long time before we get to hang out again.

What's your best dentist story?

Once after a root canal I couldn't drive home because I was so loopy after 2 hours of laughing gas.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Embracing Pain

Did you see the March 2011 Runner's World article about Dean Karnaze's new book? Granted, Dean may have a fairly large ego. BUT....Dean is an incredible runner. AND.....Dean is an incredible, humorous, inspiring writer. So I can overlook ego.

I loved some of Dean's quotes related to pain:

"Returning from my daily run the other morning, I came upon my neighbor, out in his slippers collecting the morning paper. He looked at me in my running gear and asked, 'Doesn't running hurt?' I thought about his question. 'It does if you're doing it right,' I said."


"I never feel more alive than when I'm in great pain, struggling against insurmountable odds and untold adversity. Hardship? Suffering? Bring it! I've said it before and I've come to believe it: There's magic in misery."

I think the challenge of moving past pain is one of the reasons I truly love running. After doing this running thing for a while, pain doesn't scare me anymore. I'm not advocating going crazy to the point where you cause injury, or running despite injury. There is a difference between pain and injury.

As long as it doesn't involve getting my blood drawn, I love the challenge of pain. Ken Chlouber said "Make friends with pain and you'll never be alone." During each race I learn a little more about how to control and override pain. Maybe, like Dean said, there really is magic in misery.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Trail Run Coming Soon!

If you live within a 4-state radius of Utah, I encourage you to sign up for the Hurricane Trails River Run coming up on July 2nd.

Course: a 4 mile loop on trails through the beautiful Confluence Park.
Registration: only $15!
Bonus: cool shirt, post-race refreshments, and a raffle with lots of prizes.

I heard shirt orders are going in at the end of this week - don't delay! CLICK HERE for the link to Hurricane City and the race registration info.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My First Metric Century Ride

I usually run in the morning or night when the kids are sleeping so that I don't take away from time with the family. But this week the kids were up in Salt Lake. So even though I was recovering from the marathon on Saturday, I took advantage of this kid-free week to run and bike myself silly.

Monday, June 13th 2011: My legs were insanely sore after the marathon on Saturday. The Monday after a marathon is always when I am most sore. Sweet mother of all things holy, my legs hurt so bad that it hurt to breathe.

Tuesday, June 14th 2011: I survived Misery Monday. By Tuesday, at least for me, the soreness and discomfort decrease significantly. Thank goodness. In fact I was feeling so good by Tuesday that I went on a 20.5 mile bike ride @ 15.9 mph.

I got chased by one dog and I had to channel my inner Lance Armstrong to go fast and leave him in the dust. I didn't really want to get Golden Retriever caught in my spokes.

Wednesday, June 15th 2011: I went on my farthest bike ride ever: 41 miles. I rode all over around Sand Hollow Reservoir and the Hurricane airport. Toward the end my legs were getting pretty floppy and it was like trying to pedal a bike with fettuccine alfredo. Going up hills, my legs became limp bizkits. But I made it.

Thursday, June 16th 2011: 6 mile run in Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. I went to some trails I had never been on before. I wandered around the Pioneer Rim trail and the City Creek trail. It was 97 degrees outside and windy which I didn't mind except for all the wind that blew in my eyes.

Most sections of the trails are not fast because of lots of hills and rocks, but the scenery more than made up for it.

Friday, June 17th 2011: Carbo loading (you guessed it, Hostess).

Saturday, June 18th 2011: Hurricane Metric Century Ride!!! For real people like me who don't know the metric system, a metric century ride is 65 miles. (And when you follow two girls who make a wrong turn, it equals 68 miles.)

This was the first year of the ride and I couldn't pass up a $15 entry fee. The route went around the Sand Hollow Reservoir, then up to Springdale (near Zion National Park) and back. I didn't think that after doing a marathon a week ago I would be able to do the whole ride so I told them I was just doing the Sand Hollow loop (22 miles).

But after that loop there was a rest stop with drinks, fruit, and cookies. I ate a few handfuls of Fig Newtons and felt like a million bucks. So.....I decided to try for the full distance!

I rode with my friend Kyle almost the whole way and it was fun to have some company as we worked our way up some insane-in-the-membrane hills. In fact I climbed a total of 3,032 FEET during the ride. Positively nuts.

The thing I really liked was that this was an organized, supported bike RIDE, not a RACE. It had a completely different feel than a marathon. There wasn't a pressing sense of urgency and people were there just to have fun. Very cool. We finally reached Springdale and I ate my body weight in Fig Newtons. But I didn't feel like a million bucks. It was 93 degrees outside and I didn't do very good at hydrating.

I felt so happy as we rolled to the finish. I was proud of myself for riding up hills that I thought would be impossible to ride. I also liked having it be a new experience, unlike anything I had done before. At the end we had Creamies and great food from Durango's. My watch said I burned 3,267 calories, although I probably replaced most of those with cookies. Our souvenir was a bike bracelet which I think I'll add to my display of race medals.

But the grand prize for finishers was (regrettably not a lifetime supply of Fig Newtons)...a reflective vest!

I can't believe that I rode 68 miles. I am glad I decided to go all the way on the ride. I have really come to value that sense of accomplishment.

"The truth is that we can learn to condition our minds, bodies, and emotions to link pain or pleasure to whatever we choose. By changing what we link pain and pleasure to, we will instantly change our behavior. "
Tony Robbins, author and motivational speaker

Friday, June 17, 2011

Desert Sunset Pictures

I have 3 cameras. Baby Camera (my cell phone). Mama Camera (Panasonic Lumix that I take running). And Papa Camera (Canon Rebel). So a few nights ago I took Papa Camera out to the Grapevine Trail in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve at sunset. Here are a few of my favorites:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Utah Valley Marathon Review 2011

I ran my first marathon two and a half years ago. If you had told me at the time that 2.5 years later I would be running my 10th marathon I would have washed your mouth out with soap for lying. But the Utah Valley Marathon on Saturday was indeed my tenth marathon. Just plain nuts.

The weekend started out Friday night with lots of carbo loading at Carrabbas with our friends Ashley, Matt, Ty, Tom, Liz, Mel, and Renee. I have some CRAZY fast friends. Except for Mel who ran the half marathon, these guys finished the marathon hours (yes, HOURS) before me. They rule.

Bus loading for the marathon started at 3:30am. (WHAT?!?! As if running 26.2 miles wasn't hard enough already.) You won't believe who I saw at the starting line!

Yes - Pony Tail Man! (You can read more about him here.) Pony Tail Man doesn't know he's stalking me, but I've been seeing him a lot lately.

His pony tail is funny. I giggle every time I think about it. But let me be very clear. Would I grow a pont tail like this if I could? Um, in a heart beat. I can't make fun of him too much. After all, I wear a fanny pack when I run.

The weather started out perfect. Thankfully no rain like when I ran the race last year. I had fun seeing lots of friends and fellow bloggers. And the scenery....incredible.

My knees felt way, way better than the Ogden Marathon three weeks ago. To be honest, that race was miserable. But for this race I actually felt good and had fun. I pulled out the Happy Anniversary Mel shirt from last year (our 13 year anniversary!):

For some reason I felt very strong mentally during this race. I remembered a quote by Ryan Hall about staying focused on the moment and not being distracted by what you still have to do. I think I did this better than any other race I've run.

I was so happy to get to the aid stations that had oranges and bananas because I was HUNGRY. If they had offered a Denny's Grand Slam breakfast I would have taken it.

I made a quick bathroom stop at mile 13, just in the nick of time. My bladder was holding what felt like seven gallons of Powerade and I was uncomfortably close to wearing seven gallons of Powerade.

I love taking pictures of tunnels. The key to taking pictures in a tunnel: you must turn the flash off. Then you get this "light at the end of the tunnel" look:

Something peculiar happened around mile 20: I started feeling good! I got into kind of a groove and passed lots of people in the last six miles when it seemed like most people were doing the marathon death shuffle. Although this aid station around mile 22 seemed pretty appealing:

On a serious note, the volunteers at this race were exceptional. Each of them was so happy and helpful. I made sure to tell each of them thanks. It's really cool that people would give up their Saturday morning to stand in the heat and give me a cup of water.

I kept pushing hard. Around mile 23 I received the most glorious gift: half an Otter Pop! It had gotten hot outside and my skin was on the brink of igniting so this little gem may have saved my life:

I'm not a very emotional person but I got really choked up at mile 24. I just felt so overwhelmed and thankful that I am able to do this marathon thing. I felt so thankful that I was in the home stretch and still feeling good. The last two months since the Red Rock Ultramarathon have been difficult so I felt so happy to actually feel like a runner again. By this point it was really challenging to get one foot in front of the other, but I kept myself running! It was one of those times where I re-learned that I can do hard things. I can do hard things. Mile 24 was a pretty powerful moment for me.

I am not fast. I am not a particularly good runner. But I am tenacious and stubborn and determined. And I am too legit. Too legit to quit. The last half mile was so fun for me. I ran fast. I whooped and hollered. I gave a high five to every single spectator I could see and then I crossed the finish line in 5 hours and 24 minutes!

I felt so, so happy. It was such a huge mental boost to finish the last six miles strong. For most runners, a 5:24 marathon would have them thinking about jumping off a bridge. I realize that for most, 5:24 would be considered a dismal failure. But for me, in that moment, I was ecstatic.

I was also on the verge of blowing chunks after running so fast for that last half mile. The heat and fatigue were starting to make me a tad loopy by the time I met up with Mel and our awesome friend Braydon who both rocked the half marathon.

I had moments during the race when I thought "Why am I doing this?" But everything became so clear at mile 24. The pain and struggle led to a life-changing experience.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Few Matters Of Business

I have a few matters of business for you:

1) Pictures from the Ogden Marathon are posted. I'm happy to report that I got some pretty good jumping photos. If you're so inclined, I have a few pages of photos that you can view HERE. You'll also see plenty of un-inspiring out-takes that are inevitable when attempting a jumping photo.

2) The Hurricane Trails River Run is coming up on July 2nd! This is an awesome 4 mile trail run through beautiful Confluence Park. These are some views along the trail that I took before the race:

Registration is a steal at only $15 which includes a cool shirt and lots of cool raffle prizes. Click HERE to visit the race website which has more information and race registration. I'm excited! It's going to be fun.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

10th Marathon Coming Up!

Monday, May 30th 2011: 4 mile run/walk. Me and the Mrs. woke up at 5:00am. On Memorial Day. When we could have slept in. To go run. If that isn't dedication (or stupidity), I don't know what is. We had other stuff going the rest of the day so this was our only chance.

We went to the track at the middle school for the first time ever and I fell in love. Their track is DIRT! I adore running on dirt so I was a happy camper.

Tuesday, May 31st 2011: 45 minute run/walk. I enjoyed the dirt track so much that I went back by myself the next morning. I alternated between running on the dirt, running on the grass, and catching some air:

The weather has been simply perfect in our area lately. The cool morning air felt so good and I wish I could have spent all day out there. I caught this sunrise:

Wednesday, June 1st 2011: 11 mile bike ride in 50 minutes (13.3 mph). Mel and I went on a ride with our friends Darin and Shelly. We rode into a crazy, crazy headwind for the first half but loved having the wind at our backs on the way home.

Thursday, June 2nd 2011: Rest + Diet Mountain Dew + enormous Snickerdoodle cookie from Maverik Gas Station. I am considering quitting my job and applying for a position as Maverik Cookie Spokesman. Their cookies are the finest specimens of sugar I have ever laid my hands on. They are a piece of diabetic coma heaven.

Friday, June 3rd 2011: 6 mile run. My knees, legs, body, soul, and spleen felt good. It was a happy run.

Saturday, June 4th 2011: Nothing. We were at a family reunion and I will tell you something without one ounce of exaggeration: I guarantee that I ate more junk food on Saturday than any other citizen of the beautiful US of A. Needless to say, by the end of the day I felt gross. This next week I plan to repent and make friends with semi-healthy eating again.

We went to the park and Kylee wanted to try a jumping picture. We're starting the children young.

I will be running my 10TH MARATHON on Saturday!!!! That sounds so crazy to me. 10 marathons. I still feel like I have so much to learn and I'm excited for another challenge.

"We are not born broken. Our bodies are designed to run and our face is designed to smile."
~ Patrick Sweeney

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Do You Run By Time Or Distance?

Lately I've been considering measuring my runs by time instead of distance. I don't want to become a slave to the Garmin where I'm so focused on distance and pace that I forget I'm supposed to be having fun.

But....I think the OCD part of me might go NUTS not being able to keep track of my mileage.

Have you ever faced this dilemma? Do you run by time or distance, and why?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

And The Winner Is.....

Instead of using a random number generator I printed a slip for each entry of the contest and then my youngest offspring picked a slip out of the bowl.

And the winner is..........

For those who didn't win, I'd like to offer a consolation prize. Lets go on a run together because I would love to take a complementary jumping picture of you!

(Don't mean to brag, but once when I was five years old I actually won something too: a pineapple cake from the grocery story. Boo yah.)