Monday, December 31, 2012

Hospital Visit, Nausea, and Frost Bite - Oh My

It was a challenging week at the Reese house. And by "challenging" I mean "Our house turned into a high production vomit factory."

There is nothing I hate more than throw up. (It's true. I hate throw up even more than Gloria Estifan music, cauliflour, or speed workouts.)

It was like the Angel of Death saved a little Christmas present for our family and decided to deliver it to our house the day after Christmas. He provided Mel with more nausea and vomiting than should be legal. Mel is pretty tough but by the afternoon she surrendered. "You have to take me to the emergency room."

Funny enough, every single person in the state of Utah got visited by the Angel of Death on the same day - the ER was standing room only. For a mild to moderate germaphobe like myself, there is positively nowhere that resembles Hell more than a packed emergency room full of coughing or barfing American citizens. After a few hours we got our own private nook of the hospital where Mel got meds and IV fluids.

Mel managed to fend off the Grim Reaper during our five hours at the hospital. Unfortunately the excitement wasn't over yet. Our middle daughter wanted in on the action too and started tossing cookies that evening. THAT, my friends, was a LONG night.

Amid the black plague infesting our house, I managed to squeek out 26 miles for the week. Without question, the most fun was a group 10 miler on Sand Mountain. I also got in an early morning jaunt on the Jem trail Friday:

It was bitter cold outside. It was the kind of cold that makes it hard to see because water is streaming from your eyes. The kind of cold that makes your nose drip like a leaky fausett. The kind of cold that makes your fingers feel like Otter Pops. The kind of cold that tries to pull you back to the car with every passing minute.

On this run I snapped one of my more awkward jumping photos. I'm a little uncomfortable about how closely this resembles a cheer leader. I'm really sorry about that. I will try to make sure that doesn't happen again.

Wishing you and yours a throw up free 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Amazing Running On The Cliffs

The day after Christmas I wanted to take a group of runners to check out the awesomeness of Sand Mountain. I have really fallen in love with this place since I first ran here with Zion 100 RD Matt Gunn.

It was a chilly morning. Cold temps, a moderate wind, and a dash of snow helped keep our pace steady.

If you can get through the first few miles of uphill sand slogging, you are rewarded with some of the sweetest views I've seen in southern Utah. I was fortunate to be joined by Karrie, Shane, Angel, and Lyle (who took this picture).

After five miles of running we reached my favorite part of the mountain.

Despite some chattering teeth, the views were too cool to pass up without a few pictures. Angel:

And Shane:

Lyle made sure to catch some air:

I managed to get in a jump:

And Karrie got in on the kangaroo action:

This amount of fun should be illegal. A little bit of frost bite is a very small price to pay for as much fun as we had over those ten miles. You could charge admission for the amazing views we enjoyed. Every single time I finish a trail run I can't help but feel anxious to get out again soon.

Finally, I'll share my favorite picture of the day with Mr. Lyle. Now go out and do something awesome.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mayan End Of Days Race

On Saturday I had the pleasure of participating in the Mayan End Of Days race organized by Underground Runner. I am thankful the Mayans were wrong about the end of the world because I would have been sad missing out on this race.

I was excited about this run because most of the 12 miles were on dirt. We passed a big grove of trees which made for an awesome sunrise picture:

I had a blast running with this fun group of friends including Polli, Cherie, Will, and Karrie.

I pulled out the ol' Utah Valley Half Marathon Nacho Libre mask for the race. Partly because it was cold outside and partly because the mask was purchased in Mexico, moderately close to Mayan temples. I know. That's quite the stretch in logic. Sorry about that. Photographer Alex Santiago caught Nacho out on the course.

During the race I realized that Will Shake, owner extraordinaire of High Knees Cycling has some serious ninja jumping skills.

Since the race was pretty laid back and causual we decided we'd do a little mid-race exploring. It's like this alien force: see big hill.......must run up it.

The craziest thing we saw all day was a full-fledged Mayan runner. This guy was hardcore! No shirt and no shoes - and it was freezing out there! Serious props to him.

There weren't any actual trails during the race but the dirt road had some beautiful scenery along the way.

By the time we finished the race my fingers felt like Otter Pops, due in large part to my choice of bringing the $1 Walmart gloves instead of real gloves. I love this picture from Alex with the Pine Valley mountains in the background. I'm anxious to run another race with this gang:

Thanks to Underground Runner for another low-key, casual race. I'm hoping there will be more of these trail races in the future.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

35 Mile Birthday Run on Sand Mountain

I've always wanted to try to run the same number of miles as my age on my birthday. The timing has never worked out before, but this year I managed to have a day off work on December 19th. Coincidentally that happened to be my birthday. Goal: 35 miles.

I nearly aborted plans the night before the run when I looked outside at 10pm and it was snowing like crazy. Our weather here is very similar to, um, the sun. It's not supposed to snow on the sun. And yet judging by the view outside our door, you'd have thought we were in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Suddenly 35 miles seemed like the dumbest idea ever. (Unless you count The Clapper.)

When the alarm clock went off a few hours before sunrise I just wanted to stay in my nice warm bed while visions of sugar plums (Twinkies) danced in my head. But I coaxed my tired bones out of the sheets and headed out to the trail.

My destination was Sand Mountain. This was my view once the sun finally came up:

Me and Cold are not friends. We are not on speaking terms. I don't want to run in a winter wonderland. The windchill was 16 degrees and the sections of slick rock were more like a skating rink than a trail.

Although it was bitter cold, the scenery was just incredible. I realized how fortunate I was to see the rare occurrence of snow on these bright red rocks.

An hour or two after the sun came up it warmed up a few degrees and the cold didn't bother me anymore. I did some exploring on the West Rim Trail and found this cool little arch:

I kept running and checked out a new area I hadn't been to before called The Maze. I was in awe as I stood on the edge of these cliffs.

I decided I better not leave this view without getting a jumping picture first.

Out of the countless miles I have spent on the trails, this area had one of the most stunning views I have ever seen. This scenery defies description.

Eventually I headed down the mountain and did the rest of the miles down below on some quicker trails. Here is a view of the cliffs from down below.

As I finished those 35 miles, I was so glad I decided to go ahead with the run. I'm so thankful I got to see those amazing red cliffs blanketed with snow. That will be a birthday run to remember.

Side note: I think I'll be able to take a group of runners out here this coming Wednesday, the day after Christmas. Round trip to The Maze is around 14 miles. If you're interested, email me at

Friday, December 21, 2012

Our Family Christmas Letter

Here is our family Christmas letter for the year. Props to me for not adding any negative comments about Celine Dion.

Merry Christmas from the Reese family! We’ve had a great year at our house, except for that time when the dog snuck my last pack of Hostess cupcakes off the counter and ate them. Fortunately for him I learned effective anger management techniques in graduate school to prevent me from yelling obscenities or bursting into hysterical sobbing.

Kylee turned eight this year and got baptized. She is loving third grade with her teacher Mr. Clay (who I believe is regarded as the Brad Pitt of Hurricane Elementary School). Kylee has become an avid reader and artist, and has really progressed this year with piano. She has also been presented with the award of “Least Likely To Throw An Enormous Temper Tantrum During Weekly Chores”. She has started another year of gymnastics with Danica. She is a future president of the Justin Bieber Fan Club. Kylee is a little spark plug of happiness in our family.

Danica is nine and has a blast in her fourth grade class. Her teacher often complements her advanced writing abilities. Dani is also quite the accomplished reader and I’m just waiting for her to tell us that she wants to read War and Peace over the weekend. She has taken off with piano and has gotten very good with sight reading. She joined the school choir this year and is aspiring to be the next Taylor Swift. Because of a heart issue, she gets a painful shot each month but afterward earns a Big Eyed Animal. She has dozens of animals by now and knows each of them by name.
Jackson is eleven and started his first year at intermediate school for sixth grade. He liked intermediate school until his science class did a project measuring bacteria levels at different parts of the school. Pardon me while I try to not throw up. He won second place in regionals for the history fair and earned the Great American Award. One highlight for Jackson was to be chosen as the pianist for the school choir. Admittedly, I get goose bumps when I see him playing the piano for this huge group of singers. He has become a piano guru, playing everything from Billy Joel to Bohemian Rhapsody. He beats me every single time I play him in Wii basketball.

Mel has managed to retain her crown as Most Awesome Wife Ever. She is giving and thoughtful and compassionate. She is still working as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital, but this year has also trained and become part of the team that works with heart patients and neurosurgery patients. She is currently in the midst of training for the Baker’s Dozen Half Marathon coming up in the middle of December. One of her favorite things this year was adopting a black Brillo Pad with legs…..I mean a poodle……named Jack. (Yes, the same animal that ate my Hostess cupcake. Yes, I am still working on forgiveness.)

I continue to work as a social worker for the University of Utah Dialysis Program which I enjoy. I had an article in UltraRunning Magazine earlier in the year and ran five ultramarathons including the Zion 100: 100 miles in 35 hours, and thankfully no throw up or lost toe nails. I am also pleased to report that I ran a half marathon dressed as Nacho Libre. (The first and last time that will happen.) I enjoy posting pictures and writing at

In March Mel and I went to the Virgin Islands with some friends who had a condo there. Our activities included lounging on the beach, eating enough coconut ice cream to feed a starving nation, and trying not to die since they drive on the opposite side of the road there.

In April we took the kids on a cruise to Mexico with some of my extended family. Highlights for the kids included riding up and down the glass elevators while jumping, creating animals by folding the hand towels, and eating enough ice cream from the all-you-can-eat machine to feed a starving nation.

In June we had the pleasure of having Chris Praetzel stay at our house for a night. Chris was a few states into his journey of running self-supported from one side of the United States to the other side (he has since arrived on the East coast!). It was cool to spend some time with someone in the midst of doing something so amazing.

A special moment for our children was when Mel and I introduced them to the 80’s television show Alf. Since then we have had a few Alf-watching marathons. I also recollected a few other memorable experiences from the year:

January 6th: Kylee wandered to our room in the middle of the night. I didn’t know this, so while I was sleeping she woke me up whining that Jackson and Dani needed to buy her a new pack of corn nuts because they were eating all her corn nuts without asking. I was dazed and barely awake and muttered “Okay, I’ll talk to them later.” And then drifted off to sleep. A few minutes later she woke me up again complaining about them eating her corn nuts. I told her that I would talk to them later. Then when my alarm went off I woke up and realized that Kylee was sleeping in my bed. And….I realized that all this whining about corn nuts was Kylee talking in her sleep. She didn’t remember a thing about it.

January 23rd: Mel called me on Friday laughing her guts out. That morning Jackson was going through the cupboards and found a bag of ginger chews that I had bought. He asked if he could take one to school. I got a little smile on my face because I know how awful they taste. I told him that I bought them because they are supposed to help your stomach if you get sick while running, but they don’t taste very good. He wanted to take one anyway so I just giggled to myself and said that was fine. So Mel called me after picking up the kids from school and Jackson told me his story. He ate the ginger chew after lunch and said that it made him so sick that he kept having dry heaves during the rest of recess. Too funny.

April 16th: Last Friday Mel called in sick to work. For some reason her eyes were so swollen and red. I was a little more worried than I let on. They looked really, really bad. That night she was joking and said to Jackson “Jackson, I need you to go in your room and get something for me to scratch my eyes with.” He didn’t know she was kidding so he went into his room and looked around. He came back with a hair brush and Mel said that wouldn’t work. So he looked around for another minute and came back with a wrapper from some basketball cards. He explained that if she crunched it up she could scratch her eyes with it. It was really thoughtful how he kept trying to find something that would work for her.

April 27th: This morning Danica put a letter, picture, and a little prize in the shoes of all the family members. I got a fish sticker that she got from school, and her letter was so sweet. It says: “Dear Dad, you are my favorite dad ever! I love you so much! Whenever I think of you I just get tear drops in my eyes. That is how much I love you! You are one fascinating and very awesome dad! From Danica”. Now that is awesome.

Dani kicked my butt (again) in the Wii video game Just Dance. She said that at school for Fun Friday, the grade played Just Dance. After each song, the winner could move on to the next round. Dani said that she never lost, and kept going each time. She said at one point she got bored and took a break for a little bit, but when she came back she started winning again and played the rest of the time. We thought that was pretty funny. That just shows how good she is!

Our family has been so blessed this year. We are thankful for our family, our jobs, our friends and neighbors, and for the birth of the Savior that we celebrate during this season. We could not ask for more. Happy holidays and Merry Christmas! Love, the Reeses

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012 Baker's Dozen Half Marathon Race Report

The 2012 Baker's Dozen Half Marathon and 5k was the most fun I've ever had as a race director. (Click HERE if you missed yesterday's summary and pictures.) I was nervous about the cold, rainy weather on race morning. Fortunately the most awesome group of runners ever showed up ready to have a good time.

I created a new course for this year's race which was four loops of 3.2ish miles. I love the loop idea because I think it makes races more of a social event. Social = fun.

I was so impressed with how many runners showed up wearing costumes including Twinkie the Kid and his fiance cupcake who won the Best Costume Awards.

We were honored to have the amazingly talented Alex Santiago photographing the race. He was able to perfectly capture the low-key, happy mood of the race.

The great thing about the loop course was that we could watch the race unfold right in front of us. As early as the first lap we knew that my friend Tom was going to be tough for anyone to catch.

Who needs Gu packets when you have to eat a cookie, donut, or cupcake at the Sugar Shack after each lap?

My goal for the race was to celebrate the pure joy of running. As I watched runners along the course I got goose bumps seeing what looked like true happiness. This is how running should be - fun.

One thing I was really proud of was the race shirt given to each runner. I thought the shirt design from Cherie Santiago was beyond awesome. I loved seeing runners wearing them out on the course.

Mr. Tom Dansie did indeed end up winning the race. I was happy to present him with a well-deserved pack of Twinkies.

Shortly after Tom finished, the first female finisher - TyAnn Clark finished the race. It is clear that Ty is having difficulty containing her overwhelming excitement after being awarded with a Ding Dong.

Although the first finishers were done, there was still more fun to be had out on the course. Cherie the Shirt Designer explodes with awesomeness. This is proof that stormy weather can make a cool race even more epic.

I had so much fun seeing runners sport their bling at the finish line.

Each time runners came past the Sugar Shack they had to eat a treat. After they ate a snack, a volunteer marked their hand, and in order to earn a medal they needed to have three marks. BUT runners could try to eat the most snacks and be crowned the SUGAR SLAYER. You won't believe this, but despite all his marks, Justin was NOT the Sugar Slayer!

The distinguished award of Sugar Slayer was presented to Micah Peterson who also won the title last year. He ate an astonishing 30 (no, not a typo) snacks. 30! I think I saw him sweating frosting. His blood stream was clogged with chunks of snickerdoodles.

I was so blessed to have help in making preparations for the race. My sweet wife helped with much of the behind-the-scenes stuff. I couldn't have pulled off the race without all the amazing volunteers, including Jess and Kristy who manned the Sugar Shack.

And finally, I was thankful for all the runners who supported the race. I really felt honored to be associated with such a great group of runners. They helped accomplish my vision of having a social, fun running event. Running can, and should be fun! If it's're doing something wrong.

Enjoy this slideshow of pictures courtesy of Alex Santiago: