Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday's Wrandom Wrambling

It's been a long time since I've rambled.  Outloud.  Publicly. 

It could be scary since I am having a freakin headache that seems to only get worse and not better and now iamforcedtomedicatewithprescriptionsthatihangontoforthesejustincasescenarios

Read that however you want to.  Go ahead and judge. 

Actually stop your judging.  The bottle has mysteriously disappeared.  Someone is going to die.  Or I hid it somewhere and can't remember where.  Sucks to be me.

I smell like roast.    I put a roast in the oven for dinner tonight (hey!.....I can put the big box that gets hot!)  and now the smell is clinging to me.  A good smell to be sure, but Jack won't leave me alone.  It's like I'm his own lick and chew stick.

Speaking of Jack, I don't know what the hell he got into in the back yard, but it's stuck in his beard.  That means it's gonna take about 4 of us to hold him still while I cut it out.  That should be all kinds of fun.

The wedding plans are in motion for Tuffy and Montana!  I have my to do list and I thank Heavenly Father every single day that I only have boys.  Tender mercy indeed.

Three more sleeps and I get to cuddle that little bundle of love called Chloee!  I get so excited just thinking about it!

Found a new blog that I am liking.  Dude is funny!  Anyone that will videotape his sister climbing through a doggie door and lives to post it, gets serious props.  Check him out.  Tell him M-Cat sent you and that will make him laugh and wonder who the hell I really am.

My mom is galavanting around Europe!  Serio?!  She goes off to serve a temple mission with her cute husband and for the two weeks that the temple closes, they need to amuse themselves around Europe.  She is at the Sweden temple, but I think they are heading just about everywhere.  One day I will be that lucky.  Galavanting - sheesh!

Met a dude Saturday during our fundraiser that was telling me all about the Marine Corp Marathon.  It's October and of course already sold out - but mark my words.....I WILL DO THIS NEXT YEAR!!!  He is with an organization that assists disabled vets to complete the marathon.  Last year he pushed a vet who lost his legs.  The ENTIRE marathon!  This year, he will be helping someone who lost his sight. 

A best friend hacks your blog and fixes your pictures.  And then texts you and tells you she did.  Crap I am lucky.  What would I do without my Shark?

Speaking of friends, one of my BFF Diva's is moving to Minnesota.  MINNESOTA!!  Who the flagnon lives in Minnesota?  Sure that's where her wife got a job, but STILL, do they have to leave us?  Starting to have some panic about it all when I let myself think about it too much.  I don't like my BFFs leaving and going far far away.  Pisses me off.

You know how everyone does the FML?  If you know what I'm talking about then you know what the F means.  I'm not gonna spell it out for the rest of you lame-o's, this is a family blog.  Most of the time.

Anywhoo - I decided instead of FML - I am gonna start typing and saying LML - love my life.  Isn't that so cheery and uplifting and happy?

Okay, I'm over it now.  Whew !......That was a close one.

Did I mention that in 3 more sleeps I get to see, hold, smell, touch, snuggle Chloee?  Have you ever physically ACHED to hold someone?  Yeah.   It's like that.  And not to be misunderstood, I am excited to see Corbin and Karalee too, but I'm SOOOOO not snuggling them.  Just Sis.

And for freaks that think my house will be empty?  It's not.  Not everyone is going to CA morons, so go pillage someone else. 

Guess I should go check that hot box in my kitchen and the pan that I put in there earlier and make sure it's okay.

Peace out girl scouts!

Wordless Wednesday

**comments off**

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I am a RUNNER therefore I..........

**warning - graphic photos - turn away if you are weak stomached**

have nastyrast feet

I warned you.  You still looked didn't you?  You're welcome for helping you throw up - purger's unite!  *fist pump*

I earned every last bit of ugly on these bad boys and I'm proud of 'em!

On that note...hope ya had a splendid Tuesday (with all your toenails intact)

PS - Parenting truth 101:  If you don't embarrass your children at least once a day, you aren't doing your job.
MCat = success today.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Returning with Honor

Splenda Daddy's mom is a saint.  No really, if we were Catholic, I'm pretty sure she would qualify.  I mean I know there are rules and stuff, but really - she's kind of up there with Mother Theresa.  I have never met a more selfless, kind, non judgemental, giving person in all my life. 

After Dave's dad died several years ago, she took some time to get on her feet, find her ground and her new single life. 

Then she surprised us all by announcing she was going to serve a mission.  Couldn't think of a better thing for her to do.  Sure her kids and grandkids were growing and changing, but she felt the need to be of service for a greater cause.  She spent 18 months in the Georgia, Macon mission.  LOVED IT.

She came home with stories and friendships and experiences that will be HERS forever.

So a couple of years ago when she announced she was turning in her mission papers again, it came as no surprise and more of something that we all expected. 

This time she was called to the Washington DC Temple mission.  That meant that she served in the temple and visitors center.  What a spectacular mission no?

The 18 months flew by.  Some of the kids and grandkids went out this summer after she was released and enjoyed a nice vacation.  Splenda and I missed out on that, but loved hearing about their adventures.

She flew in late at night a couple of weeks ago and what a fun thing at the airport! 

It doesn't matter if your returning missionary is a young man of 21 or wise Great Grandma in her 70's - the feelings of reunion are the same!

We had a family bbq - thanks to Darrell and Cassandra for hosting - and enjoyed a great time catching up with each other and her.  I think we had almost ALL her kids and grandkids in one spot.  Just missing the few in LV.

Great Grandson Colson - born while she was gone

Great Granddaughter Ella born while she was gone

one of Chloee's last weekend's here - so excited for CAKE!

Today was the day that she spoke in church and gave her 'report'.  What an amazing woman!  Raised 7 kids while hubby worked two and three jobs.  Ran her own flower business from her home.  Served in countless positions in her ward.  Babysat grandkids.  Lost her husband in her 60's.  And yet through it all, has the strongest testimony of Jesus Christ and exemplifies His life of service more than anyone I can think of.

Her talk was wonderful as always, and just to hear her share her love for serving and meeting new people was so inspiring.

It was also fabulous to have as much family around as we could - including her husband's family.

What a blessing for me to be married into this woman's family.  Splenda Daddy takes after her in so many ways, and has followed her example of service many times.  They both inspire me.  I can't thank her enough for raising him to be the person that he is.

I have a feeling this won't be her last mission.  Of course, she'll go right to work at home, wherever she is, but I kinda think that in another year or two, we'll get the word that her mission papers are going in AGAIN. 

The next place for Joy to land will count themselves just as lucky as I do.

BFF's; Bees and Bantering

It doesn't getter better than this.

A Salt Lake Bee's game (triple A team for the Angels)

with your besties

and smack talk all night long.

Apologies to the young man we teased all night hawking "aaaaaallllllmmoooonnnnddds"  But dude, if you are gonna sing it, it's gonna garner some attention that you might not appreciate. 

Apologies to the family sitting in front of us.  I know Tib gave up her golden weiner to your son, but placing the foam finger in the position you did, was going to get some feedback from us.  That wasn't gonna go ignored.

Apologies to Colby Dewitt, whom I mistakenly called Cameron.  I think he wanted to junk punch me since I don't ever get his name right.

Apologies to the woman in the Chicago Dawg line who I kept staring at.  Really...those earrings?  I thought your earlobes were gonna pluck right off.  I just couldn't turn away.  And the fact that they kept falling in your beer made me giggle.

NO apologies to the stupid Red Sox fans who thought they needed to say something.  Really?  IT'S AUGUST YOU MORON'S!  Don't talk to me about scoreboard until the end of September.  And then don't get all irritated when I mention the number of WS rings each team has.  Saying something about the Yankees paying for them is the stupidest thing I ever heard.  Steinbrenner has the money, those are the league's payroll rules.  Stop being bitter and get an owner with more money.  Quit being the annoying little brother who is constantly trying to be as good as the big brother.  Red Sox good will NEVER equate to Yankees great.  The. end.

The best part of the whole night was after the game while setting up for the fireworks show, they brought a young man out for a contest. He had to throw a ball into a hole on a board. Poor kid had to have only been about 12 or 13, and he just couldn't even get close. They even gave him extra chances, but he couldn't do it. You could see the disappointment and maybe a little embarrassment on his face but the announcer was cute and let him know that he had won a prize after all and to turn and look on the big screen.  He and his mom and little sisters turned and there was his dad in his fatigues talking to them.  The audio was cutting out, but watching that families face needed no words.  Dad's talking was only a minute and the next thing you know he is walking out of the dugout and towards his kids!  Seems he returned after a deployment to Afghanistan and surprised his family! Seriously the moment of the night!

Capped off with fireworks and it's a perfect date!

Thanks Erickson's for having the Catmull's out for a night of fun!

Having Fun while working to Find a Cure

Remember when I begged and pleaded for your support

Yeah, well the event went on anyway and while the turn out was disappointing, those that came and were involved had a great time!

Met Tib and Adam at the crack of dawn and started setting up the tents, food and prizes.
Gradually all the volunteers came by and Ken got the route all marked up

Lisa and I were set up at the first aid station, and dang if a couple of the riders were too fast and were weren't there for them when they passed by.  No problemo though, we were there for them on their way back

In the meantime, TeachingFourth came by and hung out for some good times!

and then I let him take the camera for a bit while we played around and encouraged the riders

My cute, cute Alexis - my one YW who braved this all on her own and ROCKED IT!! 

JZ is seriously a FUN dude and added so much life to the party there at our little aid station.  I was sad he had to take off.  If you're not a reader of his already, you should be.  You will find him

After that Lis and I were chillin, talking to the runners and other bikers along the trail, offering water, garnering some donations and basically having a great time. 

Lisa and James - James was part of the SAG support. Grateful those guys since there were a few flat tires along the way

I guess not everyone found the ride so exciting : )

Ana and her daughter Lindsey.  Another young lady that took the ride by the horns and showed it who's boss! 

By about 12:45 or so, we had all the riders back off the course, tents taken down, food put away and prizes given.

It was a fantastic event and in all honesty SHOULD have been much more well attended.  However, as any event organizer knows, the first year is hard.  It takes a couple of years to get the word out, people involved and have it grow - I'm banking on next year.

Tiburon did a fantastic job.  After watching her work her butt off for weeks to make this come together, I was disappointed for her that we didn't get more riders but my admiration for her grew as she handled the occasion like a pro.  As word gets out and more people understand what a great cause they are donating their time and resources for, I've no doubt it will become THE kids ride to do!

And if you are still interested in donating

Friday, August 26, 2011

Funny Bone Friday - Things I may have heard, or said, or just thought in my head

"Don't stop!  My pants are still down"

"That movie was awesome up until the point that we turned it on and pushed play"

Chloee: "Mimi - my boobs are gonna be bigger than yours.  And longer!"

"Take it out and lick it off!"

"That's where your kind shops"

"I'm glad you can enjoy my son so much"

"Honey, daddy had a repressed childhood, try to understand."

"Your hair glows in the dark - someone put Melissa up front"

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Political or......not?

I know right?  Been a long time since I posted anything political.  Not because I don't care or try to stay up to date on what's going on, but really, had a few other things on my mind that past couple months.

However, after Splenda Daddy sent me the following video - I gosh!  This guys says it EXACTLY the way I feel.

I realize he is flying relatively low under the radar and isn't a candidate for 2012, but he eloquently states my very feelings. 

I like him.

(realize it's a 20min view, but he says it perfectly, and so well)
I hope he is around 2016

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful for a son and daughter-in-love who are so vested in Chloee!  They love her so much and I have never worried LESS about her.  They are great parents and doing a fabulous job!
Kar has more than stepped up to the plate - she has hit a home run and I love her for it and am thankful for BOTH of them!
And I'm thankful for this beautiful little girl - I love her so much and am SO happy to see HER happy!!
(and aren't those pigtails the cutest??)

What are you thankful for today/

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A plea to my local friends - Kids for a Cure Bike Ride 2011 - DO IT!!

As most of you know, I have a bestie Shark who has a Type 1 diabetic son.  I have watched first had their battle day after day after day.  Sucks.

Tib does an annual ride for the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and is hosting a fundraiser THIS SATURDAY!

Click here

What makes this fun, is it's all about the kids.  Ethan has watched her do rides for the JDRF and wondered why there wasn't a ride that kids could do.  So, being the awesome momma that she is, this is her fundraiser.

$15.00 registration fee.  That's it kids.  You can ride your bike, your scooter, run it, walk it, or even just come and hang out and win a raffle prize.  There will also be some awesome items for the silent auction.

As I've watched her work over the past many weeks putting this all together, hustling for donations and phone call after phone call - I am simply in awe of her dedication.  I want this to be BIG - I want it to be so successful that it will be worth all her hard work! 

Really, what I want is a cure for type 1 diabetes, and every penny gets us one step further. 

So deets:

Saturday August 27, 2011  8:30am - 12:00pm
Gardner Village, West Jordan, UT

1100 West 7800 South
West Jordan, UT

Click for registration details, or you can register the morning of - either way come out and support this great cause.

And.....rumor has it a certain MCat will be at water/rest station #1 (6 miles in) - come see me and say hi!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spiritual Sunday - a sprint or a marathon?

I've always said I have my most spiritual moments when on a run. 

Some say that it is hard to feel the Spirit if you have distractions like TV or music, but I beg to differ.  At least for me.  At least yesterday.  Eminem might not be anyone else's choice to listen to, but his beat is the perfect leg speed and it was easy for me to fall into a good cadence and just think.

When I started running again 4 years ago, I was doing 5k's.  Most every weekend.  A 5k race or even a 10k, but I kept them short.  And speedy.  I was placing in my age group, coming home with winner swag and having a great time.

Over the past two years, my training has changed and I'm going more for distance.  I quickly found, much to my discouragement, that my speed decreased as my endurance increased.  I understood the trade off.  Not that marathon runners can't be fast, there are many who are, I just wasn't going to be one of those.  Not this season anyway, but that's for another time.

As I observed the past couple of longer distance events, I have paid a lot of attention to the runners themselves.

We are an odd bunch.  Who gets up at crazy wack times in the morning just to run?  Who ices down, soothes aches and pains only to turn around and do it all again the next day?  It's a rare breed, the runner is.  And I have come to notice the difference between a short distance runner and a long distance runner.

At the start of the sprint race, most racers are sizing up the competition.  Who looks like they are my age category?  Who do I need to beat?  How can I make sure I place in the top three?  And then when the gun goes off it's usually a fairly fast dash at the start. Elbowing, some maneuvering around bodies to position for a quick take off out of the crowd.  As the short distance runner passes or gets passed he pays attention to the person.  Are they in my age group?  Do I need to get past them to place?  For those of us that are competitive, it's all about what I have to do to finish in the top three of my age group.  Even for those not very competitive it's always a treat to see how well you did in comparison to others your age.

At the start of a marathon, things are much calmer.  No jostling out of the gate, just a nice flow and easy stride while everyone settles into a comfortable pace.  If we look around at each other, it's to either chat to pass the time, or check out what new water belt someone is sporting.  The most important thing a long distance runner is concerned with is his watch.  The pace, the time, the heart rate.

Whereas the short distance is about the competition, the long distance is about oneself.
Thus, my epiphany:

I hit 45 years old this year. That's older than I remember my mom being my whole life.  You know how you get this age for your mom stuck in your head and she never gets older than that?  Yeah, my mom is 33.  Forever 33.  So when I turned 45, it felt old.  Add the huge life changes over the past year and I've felt beaten.  The marathon yesterday taught me some valuable lessons.  For crying out loud, I have 5 hours of solid "in my own damn head" time - I better come out learning something good!

So much of my life has been a competition.  And it always will be.  It's in my nature to be competitive and to want to win.  I don't think that will ever go away, it's part of what defines me.  However, I decided to apply that to life.  The short distance and the long distance.

Just as the short distance runner's goal is to beat the competition the long distance runners goal is to beat herself.  Better her time, her pace and her finish.  Too often I think we get caught up in the short distance version of life.  Fast, scrambled, sizing ourselves up, seeing where we fit in, and trying to outdo each other.  For me, I'm tired of that race.  I'm tired of being judged.  And judging others for that matter.  I no longer have the stomach for a short distance race.  For the jostling, the jockeying for position, the mind games of passing and being passed.

Instead, I think I am in it now more for the long run. I care only about my own watch.  My own pace, time and heart rate.  I want to enjoy the others I encounter along the route.  I want to admire their strides, their new tools to help them and to encourage them as they encourage me.

At about mile 11, I noticed runners coming back down the trail so I knew we had a turn around ahead.  Even though, my ipod was blasting, I caught a man telling me "great job - remember to conserve - it's gonna get harder"
He was ahead of me.  He knew what was coming for me.  He knew what to counsel me to do.  I want to pay more attention to those who have been down the path before.  There is much to learn from each other.  We go through experiences not just to learn for ourselves, but to help others who will also face similar challenges.  We need to learn from each other and share with each other, not compare as we pass.

Sometimes the course is lonely.  There isn't anyone else around and you have to go it alone.  You've got to love yourself enough to get yourself through some of those times of seemingly isolation.   I added a favorite song to my race play list and I listened to it a couple of times back to back just to get me through some hard miles.  "Beautiful" by Bette Midler.  Sure, I change some words when I am with my Young Women, but yesterday I was singing it out loud.  Why are we so hard on ourselves?  Why do we find every little thing wrong and turn it into major flaws?  Why is it so hard to just love ourselves?  Women in particular are just down right mean to ourselves and each other for that matter.  Sometimes life is too hard to go it alone.  The miles are lonely.  Not only do we have to love ourselves enough to be alone with ourselves, but then we need to be a friend to the other lonely ones.  We need to cut ourselves and each other some slack.  Not every mile is a pretty, easy, friendly, fun mile.  But it's a mile nonetheless and deserves the same respect as the next.

Some miles are easy.  We catch a break in life now and then, and we can sort of 'coast through', but always, always, be prepared for the hill that could be right around the corner.  Sometimes the hill is simply too steep to run.  The only way to get to the top is to walk it.  Some challenges in life are so hard, so painful that we can barely get through it.  As long as we are walking.  Moving forward.  Crawling if necessary, we will eventually get to the top of the hill.  And for some of us, it's only to be met with yet ANOTHER "hill"  

Sometimes the discouragement is so strong it can overwhelm us.  We want to quit.  We're sure we can't do it.  And then, there is an aid station in sight.  A minute to stop, rehydrate, get some food, stretch, and maybe cool down a bit.  Church on Sunday's seem to be my aid station.  A day to settle down, take a breather and focus on the long range goal.

But then, we just start running again.  One foot after the other.  Some miles we have great leg turnover.  Some legs, we are shuffling.  For the long distance runner, that's okay - it's a long race.  It will all work out in the end - just keep track of the time and watch your pace.

As I watched the injured man hobble early on, I wondered how he was possibly going to finish.  I looked at the DNF list and didn't see anyone I thought could be him.  I'm guessing he did it.  Sometimes we get hurt and we could easily pull ourselves out.  Instead, do we have what it takes to push through despite the challenge?  Are we there to encourage those that are injured?  We can't run the course for them, but we can be a cheerleader.  And everyone needs a cheerleader.

We are watched all the time whether we realize it or not.  What message do we send about ourselves?  As Splenda and I were just hanging around the end, a couple passed by and caught my attention.  She congratulated me and I congratulated them.  She told me that they had been behind me a good portion of the run and that she was very impressed I didn't litter.  And then they walked away.
I didn't litter?  Wha?  I had to rack my brains to remember that back at mile 19, when I opened a pack of shot-bloks that instead of tossing the wrapper like everyone else, I just ran with it in my hand until the next garbage can, then I pulled off the course, stopped long enough to toss it and then got back on.  To me it was no big deal, and I had no idea anyone was even paying attention.
Others are watching us all the time.  We are walking examples of something.  What will that something be for you?

By the time I saw the finish line, I needed Splenda there.  I needed to see him.  I didn't hear his voice (things were pretty numb everywhere), but  just knowing he was there was enough for me.  I knew I could sprint the last couple hundred of feet because he would catch me if I fell.

I have a Savior in Jesus Christ who will be at my finish line after this long marathon of life.  He will catch me if I fall.  I just have to keep pushing mile after mile.  Hill after hill.  Sometimes I am the cheerleader, other times I am being cheered on.  I will love myself enough to do the hard miles alone.  I have the aid stations weekly to refuel and re-focus.  I will no longer worry about being passed, passing someone else or placing in my age division. 
My focus is on my watch.  My pace.  My time.  My heart rate.  Making sure that I better myself.

In the end, whenever that comes, I will cross the finish line sprinting, knowing I kept my focus on the long distance of eternity and not the short sprint of just this life alone.

And bonus feature - if you aren't already a Divine Miss M fan, you should be

Park City Marathon 2011 - I am in awe. I am in pain. I had a spiritual epiphany.

I registered for this one because of the Grand Slam

I do four marathons in the season, I get a big cool medal and the bragging rights to call myself a Grand Slammer. 

I missed Ogden, so in order to get my four in - Park City was my next available option.  I didn't think much about it except that I expected the scenery to be gorgeous.  I knew the altitude was going to be a challenge, but really, I just didn't think about it too much.  Normal training, took it easy at Epic and kept it in the back of my mind as just another marathon to check off.

I may have greatly slightly underestimated it all.  I started to give it some second thoughts during the weekend of Epic and after talking to both Wayne and Aimee who had done Park City before.  They both gently, tried to help me understand that it.was.brutal.  Admittedly I got nervous.  Decided to evaluate my goals and decide what I wanted out of this one. 
1.  I need it for the Grand Slam so just finishing would be a good start
2.  It's not a BQ so no need to even pretend I could hope for that.
3.  Sub 5 hours and I would be pleased.

That was it.  That was all the expectation that I put into it.  I wanted to just run, enjoy the scenery and finish respectably.

Saturday morning came early but gratefully not as early as most marathon mornings. There is no shuttle to the top of a mountain so no early am bus ride to catch and then sit around fire for a couple of hours trying to stay warm.  Instead, I hit the I-80 and made it to PC in about 40 minutes.   I parked near the  start/finish line and went into the fieldhouse to stretch and warm up.

There were several people already there so I found a spot on the stairs to sit and get my race music queued up.  Of course, fellow runners are chatty people so during the next 30 or 45 minutes, I met a man from Colorado (Georgia originally) who was running a marathon in every state; a young woman there to do the half who just picked up running, and a older gentleman who had run this course several times.  He guaranteed us all that there would be NO pr for this one, and to conserve on the first half to kick it up on the last half.

Remember, I am not one to review the course or check elevation much.  I get a general idea but I don't want to know about every single hill or turn or aid station.  I just like to run and take things as they come.  After hearing him, I was starting to get a tich nervous.  I stuck firm to my sub 5 goal and decided to follow his advice on reserving during the first half.

After the pre-race potty stop and the national anthem, we were off.  The sun was just beginning to rise and while it was a bit chilly, it was still grand running weather.  After mile 1, I checked my pace and was just over a 9 minute mile.  I felt okay about that and was feeling good so I hoped it was a pace I could keep at.

I passed the guy from Colorado who, by the way, was running with a torn calf muscle.  He was limping and I still wonder if he even finished.  I passed a guy from the gym, asked about his wife, chatted for a moment and moved on. 

The scenery really was gorgeous.  The sun rise in the mountains.  The first 6 miles were fabulous.  I thought, 'what are those guys talking about brutal?  this is great - I could run forever'

Yeah, got over that pretty quick.  From there on out - it was a climb.  And a climb.  And a climb.  Hill after hill after hill after hill.  And the more I climbed the thinner the air got.  The thinner the air got, the harder it was to breathe.  The harder it was to breathe, the less oxygen I could get to my muscles.  The less oxygen to my muscles meant my legs wouldn't work.

By mile 16 at the FREAKING TOP OF THE FREAKING MOUNTAIN - I had had enough!
This was where the course looped back down.  I placed a couple of phone calls to friends to let them know where I was and to vent my utter frustration.  The downhill was just as brutal!

I was hurting.  I was tired.  I was hot.

The course thus far had been through some paved asphalt, quiet neighborhoods, trail, under some bridges, along the running trail in the city, and up to the ski lifts.
It was now winding through the east part of town which is uphill and downhill.  Over and over and over again.
Mile 18 was unrunnable.  I had to walk.  I couldn't make my legs run.

I was drinking water, I was eating oranges, I was gu'ing, I was shotbloking, I was doing everything I could, but at this point, I really wasn't feeling well.

As we came across the back part of the golf course, I wondered if I should stop. I was unsteady on my feet.  I felt a little dizzy and wanted to puke.
I let myself walk a little more and told myself that if I could get to mile 21 then there would be no quitting.

Made it to mile 21

I let myself walk some more.  Dumped water on my head in an attempt to cool myself down and checked my pace.  If I kept running, I could still finish sub 5.  I decided that my legs hurt even more when I stopped so I just had to keep going.

Not gonna lie.  I was in tears.  My body screamed for me to stop and I honestly have no idea how I did it,  but my feet kept moving.

We were now back on trail.  It was hot, a little dusty and the sun was getting high.  I watched as other runners were in the same boat as I was.  Struggling.  Walking/running/trotting - any combination we could come up with to keep moving forward. 

It felt like forever but I finally could see that I was within a mile.  We were on a path behind some homes and a sweet old couple stood out by the course and sprayed the runners with water as we ran by.  I think they might have saved my life - it was the best thing I had felt in hours!  It was just enough to help me round the corner and see the finish.

As I started to come through the people lined chute - I started to tear up again.  I hurt so bad.  I was so tired.  I felt like I had been beaten in a street fight. 
And then, there was the Splenda in hand - cheering on his "Trixie" (explanation below) - so of course I started to cry more and then decided I was not going to limp or stagger across the finish line - I was going to SPRINT!

When I looked at the clock I saw 4:58 and some change so I knew I had made my goal of sub 5.  That was enough for me.  I had done it.  I was through. I didn't quit.  I didn't fail.

I put a cold, wet rag on my head and tried to get my head to clear and eyes to focus so I wouldn't fall down.  You know how you see those guys collapse at the finish?  Yeah, I get it now.  I understand why.
This literally kicked my butt!  It was so hard.  The hardest run I have ever done.  And I was so glad it was over.

I met Splenda in the spectator area and we walked around while I still tried to get my bearings.  We finally found some grass in the shade, and I let myself sit.  Took off my shoes and socks and felt like I was getting normal again.

They were doing a raffle and so as we were leaving, I heard my number called.  I came away the lucky winner of a nice new head lamp - SWEET!

We also met a gentleman that I had been with at the finish.  I had noticed his shirt that marked he had run a marathon in every state.  He happened to walk by us and needed to borrow a cell phone.  We chatted for a minute.  Meet my new idol Larry

He was over 70 years old and this was his 773 rd marathon.  SEVEN HUNDRED AND SEVENTY THREE

*shakes head in amazement*

By now, all I wanted was home and an ice bath.  Both were never better.

Final stats:
Official finish time: 4:57:47.4
11th out of 17 in my age group
96th out of 156 of all women
255 of 385 overall.

I think I am going to separate my spiritual thoughts into a different post  and leave this one with the final thoughts of - CRAP!  This was hard.  It was hard for at least 20.2 miles of it.  I have never wanted to quit more in my life.  I don't remember feeling so much pain.  Or trying harder to breathe.  Or trying to keep my wits about me.

Solid respect for anyone who ever tackles this course.  No lie  - it's brutal.

Will I do it again?

I'm gonna take my cool finisher's medal and my sub 5 time and call it good.

Yes I am blonde now. 
No, it's whiter than this picture. 
Yes, it completely changes how I look. 
No, I am not afraid to do things like this. 
No, I didn't change my name to Trixi - it's a joke with Splenda
Yes, it mostly likely is a mid-life crisis. 
 Deal with it.

*spiritual post coming soon

Jack needs the dog whisperer

He's crazy.  That's all there is to it.  He's lost his ever loving mind.

Exhibit A - the rug that was attacked and destroy

Exhibit B - the propane tank that is the deadly enemy and must be attacked each and every morning.

I think my neighbors would like to kill me and/or him, but I promise, this is just a phase....just a phase........

Good thing he is so cute and cuddly.  Otherwise.....