Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where I was on September 11, 2001

I was 5 1/2 months pregnant with my youngest child and partial bed rest, meaning I did as little as I could. Lee's niece, Lindsy, was living with us during her senior in high-school. She was getting ready for school and I'd just woken up Breanna who was in second grade. A neighbor boy, Josh Crittenden, sometimes got a ride with Lindsy in the morning and he came to the front door and told us a plane had just hit a building in New York. I turned on the TV and we all watched the live report. I had no doubt it was a horrible accident. How could a plane go off course like that?

Smoke was pouring out the building, they were talking about all the people trapped on the top floors and then while we watched, a second plane hit a second building. We all went quiet--the whole world did as all doubt that this was an accident disappeared. Lindsy and Josh left for school, I finished getting Breanna ready. Just before she left, the first tower fell. It was horrible. I thought of all the moms who'd sent their kids to school that morning before going to work. All the people with pregnant wives or who were pregnant themselves--people like me who'd had a normal morning. I sat on the couch, watching the replay over and over again and wondering what would happen next. Then the plane hit the pentagon. And then the flight in Boston crashed into the field.

I had never been so grateful to live in little Willard, Utah. I felt safe here. I watched all the broadcasts until I couldn't take it anymore. I cried, I prayed, I wondered what the future would be like for my children.

Six weeks later I had my last child two months early. The following April my oldest child was baptized. In June Lindsy got married. Life went on. I didn't know anyone who died in the towers. I didn't know anyone who knew anyone who died in the towers. But it did change things. My children have grown up in a world that has been at constant war. Some of Lee's family have joined the armed forces. My oldest daughter wants to go into the military. I have the same fear of the future I had then, and yet I have the same faith I had too. Faith that we are strong, that we will move forward, and faith that those people who died were embraced by loved ones on the other side. I believe the intensity of September 11th will happen again. Perhaps several times in my lifetime. It scares me to think about that. I hope that fear is a healthy one, though. That it drives me to hold my children a little tighter, and teach them a little better about what I believe life is about. I still get emotional when I think of that day, and I still pray for those who lost so much. And I still hope for the strength to endure what might come next.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Top of Utah 1/2 Marathon 2011 Report

On Saturday, August 27th, my sister Crystal and I ran the Top of Utah 1/2 Marathon in Cache Valley Utah. It was my second 1/2 marathon. Because I had surgery in June, my training was affected (Yeah, yeah, that's it, nothing else like laziness got in my way. Certainly not). I started running again in mid-July and was back up to 7 miles by August. I ran between 12 and 25 miles a week for the next three weeks and did my last long run (12.5) 9 days before the race. I felt ready.

Crystal came up from Southern Utah two days prior and that was great too, she is so much to fun to hang out with and we really enjoy our time together. Friday afternoon we drove up to Providence and stood in line for our goodie bag with our number, some coupons and our shirt. The shirt was AWESOME. It was a woman's fit and I absolutely love it. I didn't know what I was going to wear until I got it, and then I knew I would be wearing that shirt. I've worn it for every run since then and am considering buying a second one if I can figure out how.

Friday night we carbed up on spaghetti and salad and ice cream. I over-hydrated myself which meant I was up every hour most the night to use the bathroom--not sure I will do that again. I did not sleep great and finally took 1/2 a Tylenol PM. I slept about four hours, but I felt good when I got up. We left my house in Willard at 4:50 and stood in line for a good 20 minutes waiting to get on the bus. At one point we both popped out of line to use the bathrooms, but that was scary cause it was dark and there were two thousand people there and we got close to losing one another, but we reconnected, got on the bus, and headed up the canyon and drank our 5 hour energies.

It was getting lighter by the time we arrived and since we are girls and we were nervous, we got in line for the bathrooms again. They had lots of port a potties which was so appreciated. Just as we got up to our 'turn' in line, they told us to start lining up. We are seasoned pros and therefore smirked as people took off from the lines they'd been waiting in for the potties to get in line. We knew there was still a good ten minutes. We took our second pit stop and mosied over to the starting line. TOU put up signs that helped the runners 'seed' themselves based on how fast they expected to be. This was a great idea, I thought, and we got in line but then spotted another bathroom and thought 'what the hell' let's go one more time. It was a chipped run, meaning you have a microchip that's activated once you cross the starting line. Until you cross the line, your clock doesn't start. We used the bathrooms and because of our time-takingness we were the very last two people to cross the line. But this is brilliant, in my opinion, because you only pass people for the first little while.

The canyon was awesome. It was beautiful, only a few annoying cars that couldn't figure out how to pass 2,600 people (losers!), downhill but not a steep grade. For most of the canyon part there was a breeze that was just right. At the six mile mark I stopped to use the potties (Yes, I'm paranoid) and made squinty eyes at all the men who would just hop of the trail for thirty seconds and then hop back on. Not fair, but I can buy cuter running clothes so I guess it all works out.

After that pit stop, which took about 6 minutes, I set my cap to catch up with Crystal and was feeling pretty dang good. The sun came up over the mountain at about mile 8. I no like running in the sun and I could honestly feel my energy begin to plummet after that. We entered some neighborhoods at the base of the canyon with blessed shade and at mile 9 I took a GU packet and some water. I caught up to Crystal at mile 10 and didn't feel like the GU kicked in. By mile 11 I was really struggling. I was starting to feel sick to my stomach and the blasted sun was killing me. We'd been running for two hours by that point and I was barely getting my feet off the ground. Thank goodness for Crystal. She kept me talking and reminded me to lift my knees and keep my arms moving.

At mile 12 we caught up with a friend of Crystals who had slowed to a walk. Crystal cheered her on too. She ran with us until the last 1/2 mile when she finally had to walk again. I was seriously sick by this point and although I could see the finish line, I did not know that I was going to make it. It was the hardest mile I have ever run. Crystal was a trooper though and just kept pumping me up. Finally when there was only about 200 yards left I told Crystal to go and she was able to move ahead. I hope I wasn't holding her back. I don't know that I've ever been so relieved when I finally crossed that finish line. They handed me the snazzy medal and Crystal was there to hug me. She's fabulous. then we went on the hunt for water. We could see people with cups but couldn't tell where it was, which was really frustrating. There were two thousand people milling around this tiny area and it felt like it took forever for us to find the water and food station. They had some fruit and rolls and fat boy ice cream sandwiches. All I wanted was a banana and lots of water. I was really feeling icky.

They did prize drawing for an hour. The prizes were awesome, and they were running it quickly, but it was still an hour and I felt like absolute garbage by the time they finished. The trophies were awesome--little native American metal cut outs on natural stone. I didn't even come close to winning one but they were cute and unique.

After the prizes (of which neither of us won) We headed to Jamba Juice for smoothies and Einstein's for bagels. Yum, Yum. We ate and rehashed the race and figured out everything they needed to do to improve it while agreeing it was still a good run. Then we headed home.

Now, as a little aside, my dad was a track coach when I was younger which meant as a teenager I had no choice but to hate running because he loved it. I also hated avocados and artichokes for the same reason. I grew up, love avocados and artichokes and ... running. When he was track coach at Taylorsville High he created what he called the Buick club based on the fact that when someone throws up, they make a sound kind of like the word Buick. He made up t-shirts and when one of his runners ran so hard they pukes, they got a shirt. It was very cool.

I have never run hard enough to buick. Never. There's only been a time or two that I ran hard enough to feel queasy. However, on the way home from the run the queasy I'd felt since mile 12 started getting worse. I tried to ignore it but about the time we came around the bend and I could see Mantua reservoir I knew I was not going to make it home. I announced my situation to Crystal and then started pulling over. I made it about ten yard off the highway before I lost my smoothie and bagel into the sagebrush. I had officially joined the Buick club. It wasn't nearly as cool as I thought it was when my dad made up those shirts, though.

Crystal drove the rest of the way home and shortly thereafter Lee took all our kids to the pool in North Ogden. The goal was to shower and sleep while they were gone. The shower part was great, but though I laid there for an hour, I couldn't sleep. Instead, I got myself a coke Slurpee on my way to the pool to relieve Lee (He's working on his Master's degree and has homework all the time). I stayed at the pool for a few hours while Crystal cleaned the house for a BBQ (certainly my being gone wasn't part of a bigger plan :-) We had a great BBQ and then we went to bed. I couldn't sleep again, but took another 1/2 a Tylenol PM and manged to get a little bit.

I had an awesome Sunday nap, though.

So, all in all, it was a good run on a great course. I wish I'd trained better (I only ran three times a week) and I wish it hadn't been so hot. I wish the water station had been easier to find at the end, but other than that it was great. I would like to run it again. My time was not great, 2:30:29--8 minutes slower than my time at the Snow Canyon 1/2 last year, but I'd only had 6 weeks to train after my gall bladder surgery and I'm 5 pounds heavier.

Crys and I are trying to find another 1/2 to do this fall/winter and I'm working hard to improve my time.

BUT I can officially say "I ran Top of Utah and I have the shirt to prove it!"

Friday, September 02, 2011

iPad Contest, Wanna enter?

I am so excited for the release of Pumpkin Roll! This book will be published by, Shadow Mountain, my publishers national imprint and have better availability nationwide. In addition, Deseret Book has recently added their own ebook line, DB Bookshelf, which is available a free app for iPhone, iPad, and iPad Touch. To celebrate these exciting events for us, Shadow Mountain and I are sponsoring a contest for a new iPad2 as part of the national launch for Pumpkin Roll. There are multiple ways to enter between now and November 1, 2011. Winners will be announced and notified November 3th 2011.

How to enter:

*Leave a comment on a participating blog
*Become a participating blog and post about the contest
*Post contest or book release announcement on Social Networks
*Pre-order or purchase a copy of Pumpkin Roll
*Enter drawing at a Live Event
*Answer a question from Chapter One of Pumpkin Roll available at

Click HERE for detailed entry information.