Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pre Thanksgiving post - or in my case the real deal

I've posted before about our changing Thanksgiving tradition and well lookie here, I've changed it up again!

Now with all three boys married, instead of heading to the local Golden Corral, and hoping that some of them might join us, and put pressure on them for the whole "alternate every other year thing", I wanted to be selfish and unselfish at the same time.   It's hard on married couples, especially young ones to please both sets of parents.  And yet, both parents want to have their kids home for holidays. But, I just didn't feel like I could add to this for my own kids. Or even add to the stress of the other parents, who are my friends!

Instead we have now deemed the Sunday prior as OUR family Thanksgiving dinner.  Just the nuclear group.  Me, the Splenda, each boy and spouse and their children.  Of course we couldn't have Corb, Kar and Chloee this year, but knowing that they will be home next week is enough.  The rest of us gathered anyway.

One of my biggest pet peeves about cooking Thanksgiving at home is it always seems like it's just another Sunday dinner. Nothing special about it except for a change in the menu.  Instead of a typical roast, we do turkey.  Seems like such a hassle for a few minutes around the table chatting just like we do every other Sunday.  Whereas, if we hit the Golden Corral, that is different.  We NEVER go there except on Thanksgiving.  I was skeptical about changing things up and although I jumped on board, I didn't really think it would be anything special.

Splenda Daddy made sure to make it different.

We cooked the usual turkey, potatoes, gravy, yams, stuffing (Thanks Grandpa Jon), jello, corn, rolls and pumpkin dessert.  But instead, I used matching dishes (laugh if you will, it's reality kids), fancy goblets, nice serving bowls (instead of just dishing straight out of the cooking pans), napkins and a full set of cutlery.  

I know RIGHT?!?!  Go me!

After loading plates, Splenda asked everyone to go around the table and talk about what they were thankful for.  I realize that this is probably a very standard thing for most families to do, but for us, our usual dinner table banter is filled with jokes, snark, a mention of poop or two and good natured teasing.  Getting serious and thankful isn't our usual MO.

Can I just tell you how in awe I was of my kids?  Every last one of them, set aside their usual silly selves and got real.  The level of genuine and authenticity in the room was overwhelming.  Each of my sons expressed gratitude for their wives, their families, their faith, their parents, and for each other.  My sons have a unique and special relationship between the three of them.  I love it.

As I listened to my daughter-in-love's express their love and thankfulness for their husbands, the hard work and ability to provide for them and their families, for being a part OUR family, and for their health and happiness, my heart started pounding and the little salty discharge that leaks from my eyes occasionally, started to pool up.

It then was Splenda's turn.  He tried to make me go first so he could go last, but we all know how that argument would end up.  Him doing the right thing and going first.

I listened to my cute husband talk about how much he loved his God, his testimony, his children (all of them), his grand girls, and now I was afraid I wasn't even going to be able to choke out words.  Seriously.  I was pretty much done for.

And then.  There they are.  All looking at me and waiting for me to speak.  How can I possibly follow all that?  Everything I felt was already expressed and looking at them, was like looking into a mirror.  Only I feel like the reflection back to me was much better than what I was putting out.

I choked out some feelings, leaked from my eyes and then in true mCat form, cracked a joke of some sort and made everyone start eating.

Food was good.
Conversation was better.
Spirit felt was best.

I think I really like this new tradition.  Come Thursday?  Splenda Daddy and I will go run a 5k, and then maybe come home and take a nap.  Maybe a movie.  Maybe clean the house.  Maybe go visit some family without pressure of what time to be there, and what to bring for a meal.  Maybe nothing.  

At any rate, we will be stress free.  Our kids will be stress free.  It will truly be a Thankful day for just 'being'. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The viral Facebook game and my answers

Anyone on Facebook has seen this game making the rounds, and the rounds, and the ROUNDS.  Someone gives you a number and then you have to list that many things about you that people might not know.

And I will admit, I love reading stuff that I didn't know about some of my friends.  There has been some pretty cool stuff put out there.  Of course, simply by "liking" a few of them, I was assigned a number and sucked into the play.  
Being the contrary person I am sometimes, I decided to play with a twist.
Below is my post:

So this whole numbers game thingie that seems to be puking itself all over facebook.....

I admit to enjoying reading new things about my friends, but feel such pressure to play when I really don't think I have anything unknown about me. 

So I'm giving it a twist. I was assigned the number 9. I'm listing 9 things about me. Two of them are lies. Guess which ones.

1. Everyone called me Missy as a little girl.
2. I ran XC in high school.
3. My dad died when I was 14 and it sucked.
4. Splenda Daddy and I met on a blind date.
5. I have the weirdest food aversions known to man.
6. I often think I'm fat
7. Splenda Daddy and I have matching tattoos that we got when we were first married, young and stupid.
8. I cannot picture my life without a dog in it.
9. I bottle fed baby kittens when their mother abandoned them at birth.

Have fun! (or not - you can think it's dumb, 'sokay)

Ask me how FUN it's been to see the guesses!  Holy smokes!  Things that I thought were obvious lies, people believed, and things that are true, others have thought were impossible to believe.  So rather than just post the two lies, I thought I'd make a post out of it, and expound on each one.

1.  Everyone called me Missy as a little girl - TRUE.  When I moved to a completely different high school my sophomore year of school, I decided that I no longer liked Missy and wanted to be a little more "sophisticated" with Melissa.  At this point in my life, I get called both (even though mCat is the most common) and I don't mind any of them.  I actually kind of like Missy now.

2.  I ran XC in high school - FALSE.  Nope.  Not even THOUGHT about running track, or team anything.  I ran on my own because I liked to run.  I wasn't consistent and had no idea what I was doing, but I do remember the feeling I had when I would get back to the house ready to vomit from fatigue.  And I liked it.

3.  My dad died when I was 14.  And it sucked - TRUE.  That would probably require a whole post itself, and I'm not in the mood, but yes it's true.  He was only 36.  Ask me how hard THAT birthday was for me?  And as any child who experiences the loss of a parent while they are young, the grieving process is life long  There are key, pivotal times in your life that you really, REALLY wish your missing parent was there.  So in a sense, it still sucks.

4.  Splenda Daddy and I met on a blind date - TRUE.  In fact, if anyone searched my blog, they would find a post about it.  I was scared of him, and smitten all at the same time.  It's been 30 years and I'm no longer scared, just smitten.

5.  I have the weirdest food aversions known to man - TRUE.  This was an obvio one.  And unless you really want to be confused, don't ask.  Just....... I have some serious food aversions.

6.  I often think I'm fat - TRUE.  And before anyone start formulating any kind of comment to deflect that, remember this - no matter what size a person is, there are always some body image hang ups.  Considering that I once weighed over 165 pounds, I often still see the fat girl in the mirror.  No matter what anyone says.  And that's a battle that many women face daily.

7.  Splenda Daddy and I have matching tattoos that we got when we were first married, young and stupid - FALSE.  I'm not a fan of large elaborate tat's, but I've made no secret that I would have one if I didn't have my particular belief system about my body.  But know this, if the prophet of my church came out and said a small one on my right ankle in the form of an infinity symbol was okay, I would be ALL OVER IT.

8.  I cannot picture my life without a dog in it - TRUE.  I actually don't ever remember a period of my life that I didn't have at least one dog.  I love them. Most every breed, and yes I grieve when they pass away, but then I'm ready for a new one.  They are members of my family. 

9.  I bottle fed baby kittens when their mother abandoned them at birth - TRUE.  Gotcha on this one!  Everyone knows my dislike of cats so how on earth would I be caught actually attempting to keep some alive?  I was 15, we had a cat who gave birth under my bed and then disappeared.  After some sad crying and freaking out, we were given some instructions from a vet on what and how to feed them and I proceeded to do my very best.  One by one, they died.  Usually right while I was holding them.  Traumatizing really.  I suppose that's why I detest cats now.  

So.  Now you know.  It was fun adding the little twist and seeing what people thought was either true or false. And please, I beg of you, if I "like" your status on your own list, don't assign me a number.  I'm all played out over here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

St George Marathon 2013 - the one where my legs felt like lead, but I still pulled off a course PR

Oh my beloved St George Marathon.  The one I love so very, very much!

This was my 4th year and while I missed a super important commitment back up in Northern Utah on the same day, at least I had a great experience AGAIN with this event.

Becca and I headed down Thursday night in preparation for the expo Friday.

Of course, a nice easy run was in order Friday morning.  Nothing long or hard, just enough to stretch out the legs and enjoy the sunshine.

The Expo is one of my favorite parts of the weekend.  I love the energy of all the runners and vendors.  D, Becca and M, and I had a great time chatting with people, talking running, the course and I had a sweet visit with some fb/irl friends!
(Doug, me and Monique)

I was able to sneak away early, grabbed some dinner and crashed back at the hotel.  I laid out all my race gear and then climbed in bed to attempt as much sleep as possible.

Gosh that alarm goes off early.  Race day is ALWAYS early!  I quietly got ready (so as not to wake up Sleeping Beauty Becca), and made my way down to the lobby to catch a ride in the shuttle to the start line.

As I got to the buses, I started texting a friend trying to connect up at the start line.  We never made it on the same bus, but eventually found one another at the fires.

Love me the fires.

The start line was cold this year.  Colder than it has ever been in my experience down there.  I was grateful for my tights, blankie, gloves and the direct source of heat from the fire.  That's the one advantage of taking one of the first buses.  I also love to just listen to others talking, feel the energy, think over the course and try to start some positive talk in my head.  This particular morning was especially relaxing.  No pressure.  I had already qualified for Boston, so that monkey was off my back.  I really didn't set any expectations for myself other than to post something respectable.

Soon enough, we made our way over to the trucks and I hucked my drop bag in.  Somewhere, in the chaos of the porta potties, bag drop off and trying to find the 3:45 pacer, I missed the national anthem.  At this point, runners were moving forward and we were off.

Hit my Garmin right at the start pad and then tried to find a pace amongst all the runners.  It's usually pretty crowded at the start and that's okay.  Lot's of weaving around and trying to find an open space.  Again, since I had no specific goal or expectation, I was okay with some jostling.

The first 3-4 miles were pretty cold.  I actually ran with my space blanket wrapped around me, my gloves and my long sleeve 3/4 zip top.   It wasn't until about mile 5 or 6 that I ditched the space blanket.  Another half mile, I ditched the top and by the time I was ready to climb Vejo hill, I wiped my nose one last time and then ditched the gloves.

The dreaded Vejo hill.  I've run this now 4 years in a row and every year I am confident that I remember what I'm in for, and every year I realize that I am not.

Seriously.   My legs felt like lead.  Back at mile 5 they were sluggish, but now.....lead.  I kept thinking "what the crap is wrong with me?"  Thinking that once I crested the hill, they would come back to life.

Nope.  Slogging, slogging, slogging........  I started looking forward to every aid station so that I could use that as an excuse to walk through.  I took my time fueling, and drinking, and.........slogging.

As I started down Snow Canyon, a familiar shirt passed by.  I recognized a runner from the store's training group so I caught up and said hello.  Clearly, I wasn't gonna be keeping pace with him for long, so wished him well and on I slogged.

At this point now, it was just make it to the next aid station.  My legs are hurting, they feel like they weigh 100 pounds each and all I really want to do is jump into the sag wagon and go home.  This is where it all becomes a mental game.

You know the game in which your body is saying "ENOUGH ALREADY" but your mind keeps saying "but if you quit, that's another DNF.  That sucks more than anything.  Do you really want that next to your name?  How about making it to the next aid station and then seeing how you feel?"

This was the game for the rest of the course.  Each aid station, I would walk through, get some fuel, drink some liquids, have someone rub either bengay, or bio freeze on my right hip and IT band.  After stalling as long as I could, then I'd pick up the shuffle again and start the talk all over for the next two miles until the next aid station.

I love when we come downhill into town.  The crowds ALWAYS give me a boost!  By now, the temperature was absolutely perfect, the sun was out, hundreds of people cheering and lots of motivational signs.  Now is the time to let all the positive vibes outweigh the negative that your body thinks it needs to spew forth.

I remembered the section where they pass out popsicles.  Oh, how I wanted a popsicle.  Not because I was hot, but I wanted the sugar.  And YES!  They did not disappoint.  Got my beloved treat and then talked myself into making it to the next landmark.  The cold wet cloths.  In past years, when it's been blazing hot, those cold wet rags are lifesavers.  This year, I was grateful for them to be able to wipe off the sticky from my hands.  It was refreshing, and just enough to carry me to the last block and the final turn.

I had long given up looking at my Garmin since my strategy had been to go from aid station to aid station.  As I turned and headed towards the finish line, I began hoping that I had at least done some kind of respectable time.  I had no expectation of doing anything better.

As the crowds thickened and the chute narrowed, I was somehow able to pick up my pace ever so slightly.  I love finding some juice at the very, very end.  Next thing I know I hear, "HEY MCAT!!!"  I turn and see my friend Doug waving and cheering me on!  Okay.  That was all I needed for the last few feet!

I sprinted in and looked at the clock.  Wha??  I looked down at my Garmin.  What in the world?!?!
4:17 ??   My best time for this course.  Huh.

Holy freakin smokes!!  For feeling like utter crap for 21 miles of the 26.2 - I had actually pulled off my fastest time for that course!  Well lookie at that!  NGL - big smile on my face.  Happiness and every ache and pain magically disappeared replaced by the high only a runner at the end of a hard race can understand.

I grabbed a bottled water, walked through the runner's area and made my way over to WRC's Grand Slam tent.  Becca, D and M were there handing out Grand Slam medals.  I ditched my shoes and socks, and put on my flip flops and wrapped in my blankie that Becca had brought with her for me.  I stretched, relived my race and basked in what can only be described and happy, happy wonderment.

I checked my official results on their mobile app (matched my Garmin), grabbed my race shirt, retrieved my bag and then searched the discarded clothing piles to see if I could find my long sleeve 3/4 zip.

By noon or so, Becca and I were gassing up the car, getting some food and hitting the road for the drive home.  Thankfully, she was driving and I could just relax, stretch and close my eyes now and again.

Love having another STG marathon in the books.  I love this event.  I love the organizers, the expo, the course, the runners and the support of the community.  I also saw one of my new favorite signs: "Great job perfect stranger!"  How awesome is that?  One stranger cheering on, encouraging, and happy for another stranger.

You know what?  At races I never see signs like: "You suck" or  "Go idiot go!" or "What in the world were you thinking dumba**?"  Yet, every day we say or think those things of others.  Huh.  Something to consider.

Thanks to Becca, my WRC family, my supportive friends and family for another wonderful experience!

*yeah, I know I don't have very many pictures this year.....it just kinda got by me but if you REALLY want, you can read about my previous experiences