Friday, December 26, 2014

An open letter to Dish Network

To whom it may concern,
    Okay, okay,.... you've had your fun. Time to get back to real business.  And by real business, I mean start airing FNC again.

When you dropped CNN, I was annoyed.  As one who likes to be informed from multiple sources, you dropping one of the major cable news providers seemed silly, but then a few days later when CNN reappeared, I figured you must have realized your mistake and quickly rectified it.

Not so this time.  I'm more than annoyed, I'm downright ticked off.  Not just because FNC has some of my favorite anchors such as Megyn Kelly and Bill O'Reilly, but there was a certain comfort in knowing that I had all angles of the news cycle,  Left leaning is provided, and then there was the Right leaning.  Now it's all off balance.

Moreover, I'm confused at your business decision.  Agree with or disagree with Fox News Channel and it's reporting, they are the number one rated cable news provider.  Number one.  In ratings.  You can't argue the numbers, so I'm curious as to which executive hit the eggnog a little too early and a little too hard to have made that poor business decision.  Or was there a deal made with that Kim dude over in North Korea?  (we call him Satan's Soldier, but that's beside the point).

At any rate, I guess our relationship is over.  I've been patient and waited but it seems that you are dead set on ticking me and thousands of other loyal customers off.  Just know that this break up is you, not me.  Come Monday, I'll be contacting Direct TV or Comcast and seeing which one offers me the sweetest deal.  And you know, they'll be offering all kinds of deals to swing us over.  I'll gladly take advantage of them.

It was a good run while we had it.  I'll miss the hopper and the prime time recordings, but all things I can live without. FNC, I cannot.

a once loyal and valued customer of Dish who now will spend her dollars with someone else.

PS (the slam on North Korea?  Just a joke. Kinda.  I pray for those people daily)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014 from the Catmull's

In the words of my late good friend Rob, "HOLY SMOKES!"

Where the freak did the time go?  Here it is, Christmas Eve and I'm barely getting our card and newsletter out.  I'm taking procrastination and making an art form out of it.

So what's been happening with the mCat and her clan?

Let's start with Corb, Karalee and Chloee.  Corb just finished up another semester at school with, of course, excellent grades.  They are renting a town home about 30 minutes away and are going to be looking for a home this next year.  He just started a job at the University of Utah in the Finance department of the Neuropsychiatric area.  So far, he is loving it, and they are offering phenomenal benefits.  I think he's going to be very happy there.  Karalee is back working with the dentist she was with before going to California and they are both serving in very time demanding callings at church.  He is the Young Men's President, and she is the Young Women's president.  I think it's safe to say the youth are in good hands there.  Chloee is in the middle of second grade, excelling, reading on a 4th grade level, still loves stuffed animals and has recently gotten into Barbie's.  She's also a whiz at Minecraft and while she tries patiently to teach me, I think she's come to the conclusion I'm a lost cause.  Her sense of humor is hysterical and I think she makes us all laugh on a daily basis.

Mindy and Luke are still in Saratoga Springs as well.  Luke was promoted to a  manager at the same company (internet coaching) he's been working for and he's doing well.  After taking most of the year off to focus on her health, Mindy recently began a new position with the Intermountain Donor Team.  She'll be scrubbing in and assisting in organ transplants.  A great position for her since it's prn (as necessary).  If for some reason she is not available, no big deal.  But when she does participate, she is doing life saving work.  An amazing blessing for her and a dream job.  They are currently serving as Sunday School teachers to the youth in their ward and they love it!  No little Lukindy's yet, but for now, they are loving on their little Zoey who is seriously one of the cutest little puppies ever.

Preston and Montana are still in their same apartment in Sandy.  Preston was promoted to a sales position a few months ago, and while it's hard work, he's loving what he does.  Montana has helped open a new Village Baker location in Sandy is still working part time while being full time Mommy to Addy.  Addy has grown in leaps and bounds.  Crud - she's gonna be speaking in full sentences before we know it!  Her blue eyes, and hair full of cowlicks is just like her Daddy, the rest is all Montana.  She is absolutely adorable and our family is so blessed to have her.  It's so fun to see them as a cute little family.  Makes my heart so happy!

Splenda and I went to Boston this past April so I could run the marathon and had an awesome experience.    It was a once in a lifetime experience that I have no interest in attempting to repeat.  When asked if I'll go back to Boston to run?  Nope.  One and done.  It was perfect and I don't want any other memory of it.
Splenda got a nice promotion and with the extra money came a whole lot of extra work.  He's immersed in a ginormous project for about the next year.  He'll breath again in late 2015, but until then, he and his laptop are besties.  As for me?  Still working part time at Wasatch Running Center and loving every minute of it.  We have the best crew, the best customers and there is much to be said for doing what one loves.  And although, I've been sidelined the past little bit with some neck and back issues, I've got some big running/triathlon goals for 2015.  Splenda is still serving on the High Council in our Stake and I'm still teaching Sunday School.

This summer we were able to get all of us up to the family cabin for a weekend and I think it was seriously the best time of our lives.  We have never laughed so hard, or enjoyed being with each so much!  It has been a huge relief having all the kids back home in Utah and so close by.  We are close to each other, talk frequently if not daily, send funnies to each other in a group hangout session and often just drop in for quick visits.  I could have never dreamed that my little family would be so happy!  We've had some bumps with some health issues here and there, but overall, we are a most blessed family.

2014 has been an awesome year for the Catmull's and here's looking forward to an even better 2015!

Peace, Blessings and Merry Christmas


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday's Wrandom Wrambling

It's been a while since I've verbally vomited, perhaps it's time to purge.

First of all, holy smokes, the big ride is here!  I will be on a plane early tomorrow morning bound for Tuscon, Arizona and my first ever JDRF ride.  I am humbled and blessed to be given the opportunity to ride with Ethan and Tiburon for a cause that is so very personal to my bestie.

I couldn't have gotten there without the help of some very kind and very generous friends.  I believe I have personally replied to all donors via email and I've given a public shout out on fb to those that I could, but there were several who wished to remain anonymous - and I sincerely, sincerely thank you.

Should be warmer there than it is here.  Although, I was hoping for high 80's it  looks like it will be 70's.

I will not complain.

Okay, maybe I'll complain about my continued back pain.  Seriously?  Over. It.
I'm doing everything I know to do, following doc orders and just can't seem to keep the pain under control. And the really frustrating thing?  I feel good for a day or two and then bam - more pain and not necessarily in the same spot.  So frustrating.  So done.

And I'm gonna take that broken back and go ride 107 miles.  I am bat crap crazy.

Is it just me or are people really struggling?  I mean, all around me are family members, friends, acquaintances, neighbors etc that are going through some really crappy challenges.  Like REALLY crappy.  Like the kind that makes my heart hurt and my eyes leak.  I feel for them.

I'm over here knocking on wood because other than a little back pain, and some usual annoyances, life is pretty good at the mCat's house.  We've had a nice run for a couple of years, I've enjoyed the break.  Life is good.  I shouldn't hold my breath right?  What is life if not challenges to refine us and make us grow.

I'll enjoy the calm before the storm.

My poor doggie.  Had over 20 teeth pulled.  At least she has her four front fangs so her tongue will stay in.  Her breath has never smelled better.  Dental hygiene for dogs is not to be ignored.  Lesson learned.

Sooo, I'm seriously toying with the idea of doing an Ironman.  Okay, I'll do a half Ironman first, but I really want to check that off my bucket list.  Good thing I like to bike and swim and I'm decent at them.  I am excited for the cross training over the winter and working at all three disciplines.

I can't believe it's been almost a whole year since my kids moved back from SoCal.  I have loved every minute of having them so close.  Not gonna lie, sort of miss the excuses to take a long weekend and jet off to Chloeefornia, but weighing it all, I much prefer them closer to home.  Love having all my little chickens gathered around.

Working on another tree for Festival of Tree's.  Remember when I did one a couple of years ago?  Click here to refresh your memory.  This one is running themed (big surprise), to promote awareness for Cystic Fibrosis and to honor my DIL and her Cysters that live with it.  You can catch her story here.  It's been fun coming up with ideas but stressful making them happen.  Once I get home from the ride, my attention will be 100% on Festival.  I'm excited to see how this turns out.  And hope that I can actually pull it all together.  Maybe you could keep your fingers crossed for me.  I'm grateful for the friends and family that are helping me.  No way could I do this alone.

November is a slow time at the running store.  Which kind of bums me out.  I miss the familiar faces that come in often, the new people I meet and the stories of training and racing.  Can't wait for the first of the new year when everyone gets their resolutions going and training ramps back up.  I think I'm addicted to the positive energy.

Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Peace and blessings yo


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Snow Canyon 1/2 marathon - Desert, Dust and Demons

So over a week later, I get around to posting my thoughts on the Snow Canyon half. Why?  Mostly because I haven't carved out the time to do it.  Partly because I always need some time to decompress and process my experience and performance.

Friday afternoon Brenda and I hit the road.  A quick stop in Saratoga Springs to see Chlo in her Halloween costume and away we went.  Can I tell you how much I love road trips with besties?  It's like the time and miles fly by while we are talking non stop!
One must always stop in Beaver and take a pic in the chair
gorgeous sunset

We got into town, picked up our packets and headed to the Pizza Factory for some carb loading.  Never can go wrong at the Pizza Factory right?!  A HUGE thank you and hug of gratitude to Candice (Brenda''s niece) for letting us crash at her house.  A queen size air mattress, my pillow and my Yankee's blankie and I was set for a good night of sleep.

Thankfully, the race didn't start at the butt crack of dawn, and none of us had a burning desire to be on the first bus, so we had a little more sleep than I usually get the morning of race day.  We had just enough time at the start to hit the porta potties, see a few friends (wish I had gotten more pictures) and sing the national anthem.

The sunrise was beautiful

Us?  Not quite as much

Love me the Chanda!

Brenda's garmin was still trying to get the satellites, so we hung back while the rest of the crowd took off.  I think we were one of the very last people to cross the start line.  I had the metronome going and plugged in both ears and away we went.

Brenda and I stayed together for about 30 steps and then were separated.  I had no expectations for this race other than to run the best I could, post a decent time (preferably sub 2), and not get hurt,  I'd been having some major back pain, I have the century ride coming up, and I promised Splenda Daddy I wouldn't push it.  My plan now was to just run for the fun of running and try to enjoy the scenery.

It wasn't a typical St George day.  It was cold, rain clouds spitting every so often, and WIND.  When I say wind, I mean WIND.  Running.  Straight.  In.  To.  The. Wind.   Oh until we got out of the canyon and then it was a crosswind.  The crosswinds brought gusts of dust.  I could feel the little grains hitting my legs.

I felt good and kept up with my metronome until mile 11.  I had stopped once to retie my shoes (seriously, I tie shoes all day long and I can't even keep my own from coming undone?  WTC?).  Though the wind was brutal, I had warmed up and was now just in my tank and shorts.

Mile eleven is about when I hit the crosswinds.  They brought the dust and demons with them. Quite suddenly, I am feeling some pain in my right hip.  A familiar ache, but not one that I have had for years.  About the same time, I felt my left knee hurting and knew it was coming from my IT band.  Well sheesh - I haven't had IT band issues in years either.  What the crap?

I kept running even though both legs were hurting while the demon mind games began.  Pressing at the forefront was the promise I had made to Splenda Daddy about not pushing it.  I weighed that promise and the reality of a long bike ride commitment and allowed myself to walk.   Did walking feel any better?  Nope.  In fact worse, since the voices in my head just get easier to hear.

"You're walking. What a joke"
 "A measly half marathon, and you've already tapped out"
"Dude, no one even needs to train for a half, you just phone it in, and here you are walking - how pathetic"
"Look at everyone passing you, they are so much stronger than you are."
"So weak"
"Who do you think you are even entertaining the idea of an Ironman?  You can't even make it through a stupid half marathon!"
"If you would just stop being lazy and train better, you wouldn't be walking right now, you would already be finished"

And on and on it went for the next almost 2 miles.  Walk some, run some.  Walk some, run some. Verbally abuse myself some more.

Finally, I reached the last downhill and decided I was going to run the rest of the way regardless.  My legs didn't feel any better when I was walking so I might as well run and get this over with.  Sadly, they were hurting and unsteady so I about fell flat on my face as my tired feet wouldn't lift up quick enough and I stumbled.  Thankfully, I didn't go down, but I'm sure it was an amusing sight for those around me as I staggered around trying to stay upright.

As I crossed the finish line and stopped my garmin, I heard the announcer read my name.  I actually cringed a little on the inside because the race clock was well over two hours, though my garmin had something different.  I had to remind myself that we started several minutes after the gun.

After pushing my way through the crowded finish chute and retrieving my bag (with my warm bathrobe), I stretched and assessed my legs.  Well, aren't they feeling just fine now.  Walking was no problem.  No pain.  What the crap?  I felt so betrayed by them on the course just two miles previously and now they were just fine.  What a weakling..... and then the voices all over again.

Met up with Brenda and Candice and after a quick clean up, stop at Brenda's parents, we were on the road home again.  I loved the distraction of talking about life and everything else besides the race.  Brenda did well coming off of her injury and I think we both were just glad to have this over with.  Chalk one race down in the Runner's Series.

Why the demon talk?  Why the mean voices in my head?  I think every athlete deals with these at times.  We doubt our abilities.  We doubt our training.  We doubt our very worth of even participating.  It's so self destructive and quite frankly, if allowed, it completely inhibits our ability to succeed.  It's a stumbling block to even progress in our chosen sport.  It can destroy the joy of the sport and one's chosen hobby.

Such it is with life.  There are day's that I think everyone deals with those demon voices of doubt.  The whisperings that we aren't good enough, aren't worthy of happiness, aren't capable....etc etc etc.
Satan would like nothing more than for us to fail.  His only goal in his miserable existence is to take us down with him.  He can't stand seeing success in us, so he does what he can to knock us down any way possible.  Take our legs out from underneath us, if you will.  He does that best by creating feelings of unworthiness and convincing us that we have no value.  If he can get in our heads and make us believe we have nothing to offer, than he has won.

I, just like you, deal with these feelings far more often than I'd like to.  The challenge is to "keep our legs underneath us"  Sure there will be some aches and pains, and on occasion, it's okay to walk through them, but we have to keep those legs moving.  Forward.  Eye on the finish line.  Even if we wobble a little, even if we stumble......we just keep moving.  The more we keep moving, the quieter the voices will get. The louder your legs become and eventually you can quiet the mean talk altogether.  At least for a little while.

Remembering that I am a daughter of God with talents that He chose to give to me specifically, helps to keep the voices at bay.  Remembering that my value as a person, as a wife, mother, grandmother do not lie in how fast I can run, but rather from continuing to run even when it gets hard.  Remembering that though life brings strong headwinds, crosswinds with swirling dust, rain and loose laces, it always brings joy, happiness, success, and ultimately a finish line of glory that is worth pushing through the pain for.

So, Snow Canyon - you may have gotten the best of me for those last two miles, I am better, stronger and most importantly, LOUDER than any voice that can creep into my head.

PS - wanna know a secret?  Don't tell anyone, but I am training for a full Ironman.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

St George Marathon 2015 - Time with friends is as good as the runner's high

This year marked my 5th year running St George and I absolutely LOVE it!  A sentimental favorite since it was my first ever marathon that you can read about here.  I know the course well now, I know what to expect and how to train.

This season has been weird.  Ever since running Boston (which you can read about here), I just can't get the mojo back.  I've already described it during my Big Cottonwood recap here, but I thought maybe things would be different for this one.  I was excited to race, I was excited to be in St George, I was excited to be with my friends.  I haven't done any speedwork training so a sub 4 was not realistic.  Instead, I decided that a sub 4:15 would be awesome but more importantly, I wanted to find the "high".  The "mojo".  The "I run because I love it" feelings.

Alex and I left SLC about 4 on Thursday and headed down south.  A quick meet up with Darrell and Marissa and then getting a good night's sleep.

Friday morning Alex and I went out for a quick 20 minute "shake out the legs" run which felt good.  I felt confident.  No niggling pain.  Cardio felt good.  I figured I would shoot for the best come race morning.

The expo is one of the funnest parts of St George marathon for me.  I LOVE people watching, interacting with our customers that come and say hi, and meeting new people.  Since I knew that there would be no BQ or sub 4 in my plan for the next day, I decided I wanted to capture as many friends as I could.  I wanted to make it FUN again!


Bill & Tracy

Jody & Josh


Susie & Glenn


Adrian - a new customer and first time marathoner!

Kandi, Wan and Janae

I left the expo about 3 and headed over to Doug's office.  He very KINDLY agreed to be on the course at about halfway through with some more Ucan for me.  I had it all prepared and just dropped it off to him.  Seriously, I have the best friends ever!

After the Ucan drop off, I hit the grocery store, found my maple bar and some bottled water, then headed to Pier 49 and picked up my pre-race dinner.
Doesn't that look so good?  It's been my go-to meal now for all 5 years I've run and it's never let me down! 

After a phone call home to the Splenda Daddy and some dinking around on my laptop, I turned it all off and went to sleep.  All by 8pm. I know right?!?!  Love going to bed that early.  The downside was, out of habit I flipped the lock on the hotel door and poor Alex was locked out when she tried to get in later that night.  No biggie, woke up, let her in, and back to sleep.

This year, I decided to forgo getting on the early bus.  I never win the stinking raffles anyway and instead I wanted to ride with friends and then meet more at the start line.

It was cold at the start!  Like brrrrr cold.  Which is okay since we know it's gonna be wicked hot a little later on.  I was grateful for the space blanket, and for meeting up with more friends.

There is a fun running group on Facebook that I belong to called Run4Fun.  We usually draw a 4 on our calf or shoulder so we can identify each other during races.  Thanks Kimberly for your perfect 4 on my calf
Nothing makes the start line better than being with friends and having fun!
Paul & Molly (seriously my bro and sis from another mother)

A bunch of Run 4Funner's.  We did a flash mob of Thriller.  Really wishing I would have had the foresight to have someone video us.  Hysterical, in that most of didn't really know how to do the dance and instead just tried to follow Molly and Kimberly  Such fun times!

By then it was time to get in line for the porta potties, and then line up with a pacer.  Enrique and I got in between the 4:10 and the 4:15 pacers, sang the National Anthem and then we were shuffling our way to the start line and the timing pad.

Started in a nice comfortable pace.  Leaving the bathrobe on was a good idea since it kept my legs warm and I knew that I could dump it quickly and I didn't care if I didn't get it back.  Lot's of weaving around people, and finding open space on the road but overall. my pace was staying fairly even and I felt good.

At mile 5, I decided to use the restroom (bladder full from Monster and Ucan) and while I waited in line, I got my metronome going.  When I headed back out, I had lost Enrique but now was feeling fantastic with an excellent pace going.  I swear to you, that steady cadence in my ear is, yes boring, but does such a good job of making me keep my foot turnover quick.  Even when I stop and walk through water breaks, I could easily get right back on cadence.

The sun was up, it was getting warm, I had long ditched my bathrobe, long sleeve T and gloves.  Veyo hill was done and over and I was enjoying the scenery.  Seriously, love this course.  It's so pretty!  And since almost everyone I know runs it, I am constantly running (literally) into a friend!

(photo cred goes to Kandi and I love the photobomber in the back)

Doug had told me he would be at about mile 15 (the last place spectators could be and not get stuck there), so as I neared I began to watch for him.  
Be still my heart, there are these cute little red headed boys holding signs and cheering!!

I wish I had a pic of those cute little boys!  Doug handed me my blessed cold bottle of Ucan, wished me well, and off again I went!

Again, settling into the steady cadence and nice pace.  I honestly felt great!  I made sure to drink the Ucan without sucking air and just waited until the next aid station and tossed the bottle.

Mile 20 is when it all fell apart.  Somewhere between that mile marker and mile 21, but gut went south.  Cramping, pain and gosh dang I need a porta potty!  
Jumped into the first one I could get to and spent 3 or 4 minutes trying to convince my guts that they needed to stay put and not dump everywhere.

As I stepped back out on to the course, I noticed how much time I had lost and figured my sub 4:15 was gone.  I felt deflated and discouraged.  Enough that I whipped the ear piece out and turned off the metronome.  Instead of posting a personal PR for this course, I was going to be lucky if I finished based on the anger my gut was giving me AGAIN.

'Twas the story until about mile 23.  In and out of porta potties and feeling like crap.  And then, as suddenly as it came upon me, it was gone.  Not completely, but I found that I could run pretty steadily and was wishing for my metronome again.  Huh.  Weird.  Okay, so alrighty then, goals back on.  

I look at my watch and figure I can't pull the sub 4:15, I had lost too much time for that, but dang it, I was gonna run as hard and strong as I could and just see how close I could come.

The last couple of miles through town are always a crap shoot.  Some years I feel great and some years I want to die.  This year was good.  There's the little kids with the popsicles, and here's the people with the cold, wet towel, now here's the last turn and the finish is in sight!

I stayed steady and gave as much push as I could at the finish and ended with:

A minute off my PR for this course, but you know what?  Considering I spent so much time in the crapper, I'm okay with it!  

I walked through the runner's finish area, got my medal, found the coke tent and then some shade to sit down and call Splenda.  I wasn't feeling good again and didn't trust my legs to take my another step without some stretching and rest.

After chatting with a few friends, I made my way over to the WRC Grand Slam tent, plopped myself in the shade and basked in all the glory stories of everyone who came by


Ron and Cole

Monte, London, Carl, Jenn, Wan and Adrian

Vince & Kathy

My girl Brenda - amazing!  She was on crutches just 5 weeks ago!

Ellen and Brenda

Adam - one of my favorite Slam customers!

I walked away for a minute and came back to find more love from friends - thanks Kandi!

I can never say it enough - I have the BEST friends!

We packed up and loaded the slam tent, Alex and I got some frozen custard and then hit the road.  I was thankful that she would drive.  I laid back my seat, relaxed and we listened to conference.  
Okay, so maybe Alex listened to conference and I took a nap.

Lot's of time to think this one over.  I feel good about my time.  I feel good about my performance.  Not what I wanted but certainly not my worst.  The runner's high is still eluding me, but what made this year so special was all the friendships that I enjoyed during the weekend.  Runner's make good people and I am blessed far more than I deserve with so many good friends in my life.

I decided that I would take a break this winter and cut back on the running.  Maybe three days a week and incorporate more yoga, weightlifting and spinning.  In fact, I have the Tour de Tuscon coming up next month that I reeeeeally need to get ready for.  I'm hoping that by mixing it up a bit and cutting back, I'll find the love.

At least that was my plan until the Runner's Series opened and yep - register I did!  
I guess I could have worse vices right?

Thanks STG Marathon RD's for another fantastic experience.  Thanks to all my friends who made a point to say hi, take a pic, give encouragement, and cheer me on.  I am indeed a very blessed girl.


PS - I'm riding the Tour de Tuscon for the JDRF and am needing to raise funds.  If you feel so inclined to toss a buck or two towards my goal, I would GREATLY appreciate it! Link is here

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Big Cottonwood Marathon 2014 - the time I became a Ucan believer but lost my runner's high

I know, I know....... so late with my usual post-race wrap up.  Been busy yo.

So the Big Cottonwood Marathon was a couple of Saturday's ago and as usual, I loved it!

The first year, I participated as a pacer/sweeper, you can read about it here

The second year, I freaking QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON!  You can read about it here

This year was a plan to pace my friend to HER Boston Qualifying time.  Turns out, she didn't need me at all - girl rocked.  All.On.Her.Own.

Training had been sporadic leading up to race day.  I don't have any kind of excuse other than I've lost my mojo.  My heart hasn't been in it.  Running feels like a chore instead of a blessed relief.  I dread it instead of love it.  But I digress...we'll address that later.

Race day arrived, I ate my oatmeal, grabbed my pre-packed stuff and headed out the door.  On Facebook several of us had arranged to meet at spot to be able to ride the bus together and start the day off fun!
(I love these people!)

In addition to my traditional Monster and doughnut (no maple bar sadly), I had a blender bottle full of this stuff:

My new favorite nutrition product.  I tried it on a long run earlier and found fantastic results, so I decided to go with it for today.  I find that I can drink a serving of this stuff and literally need nothing for several hours.  It's built with starches that keep one's blood sugar stable instead of spiking and dropping necessitating more fuel.  It's loaded with enough calories to carry me for awhile.  I mixed up two bottles of it the night before and as I left the neighborhood, I dropped one off at my friends house who was going to volunteer at an aid station so she would have it for me about half way through.

We loaded the bus and enjoyed some chatter on the way up the canyon.  Once at the start line/waiting area, it was friggin cold!  I kept my warm clothes and space blanket on as long as possible.  There was word that there were some problems busing runners  so we were going to be getting a late start.  I was okay with that, but others began expressing concern for the heat that we'd get later.

After a final potty break, Kandi, Enrique and I lined up with the 4 hour pacer, sang the Star Spangled Banner and then off we went!  The first loop around the ski resort was slightly uphill and I have to say I liked that.  Nice way to settle into a groove before allowing oneself to start off screaming down the canyon.
My plan was to stay with the 4 hour pacer so that we'd hold back enough in the canyon to have some left in the tank for the out and back (which I knew was going to be brutal) and then the final three into the finish.

I knew Kandi had a different plan and as I watched her slowly slip away from me, I realized that she totally didn't need me.  She didn't need a pacer!  She had the training in place, the mileage, she just needed to go run her race.  I wasn't going to be able to hold her pace and still have anything left in the tank, so I let her go on and hoped that she would be okay.
(the only time we were ever really together - go Kandi!)

I settled in with the 3:55 pacers for awhile, enjoying chatting and catching up with running friend Holly until the bottom of the canyon.  Then I took advantage of another bathroom break.

(yes I am next to the old man - he's kinda my hero)

From this point on, I had lost the pacers so I headed into the out and back with determination.  I had run it before.  I knew it could end up being a death march, and my plan was to just do the best I could.  I was no longer needed as a pacer, so rather than push myself, I rearranged the plan in my head and turned this into a long, training run in preparation for St George.  Amazing what it does when you remove all pressures.  I started to enjoy it!
(that out and back was brutal)

I liked watching the leaders pass me on the other side of the street as they were heading back out.  I tried to watch for as many people as I could recognize and tried to cheer them on.  The turn around point was at mile 18.5 and I was ready for Brenda and my next bottle of Ucan!

As I approached the aid station, I saw her, hollered at her and next thing I knew she was at my side, with my bottle in hand and asking if I needed anything.  Can I just tell you what a boost it is to have a cheerleader there with goodies for ya?  Holy smokes!  Exactly what I needed.  I had been carrying a packet of Gu, just in case, but now that I had the second bottle of Ucan, I knew I wouldn't need it.  I tossed it to B and headed on my way sipping down the sweet nectar of endurance gods.

Not gonna lie, the back out was hard.  That stretch of 7 miles is exposed with no shade.  It was getting hot, and part of it is not particularly pretty.  It's rough 7 miles.  I discovered two more friends up ahead, Jenn and Paul so I gradually sped up to reach them.  We chatted for awhile and stayed together until we made the turn and the final three or so miles.

Now the course takes another steep downhill.  So basically, you've killed your quads the entire canyon, then marched the brutal 7 out and back and now have to rely on those fatigued quads to hold you down the hill some more.  Yeah, they were ticked.  Nice to know that other runners were feeling the same thing.  I even saw someone running backwards in an effort to spare the pain.

This part of the course while downhill, was still a bit hard.  Exposed.  No shade, cars on the left side of you with exhaust spewing and sadly some of those drivers were irritated at the road closures and ensuring traffic snarls and felt it necessary to take it out on us runners.  Really?  Flipping me the bird or yelling out the window is gonna make your car move faster?  Not.  It just makes me think you're an asshat.  Whatev's.  I had more on my mind than some disgruntled drivers.

My longest run going into this event was 18.5 miles.  Not what I would usually want under my belt.  I knew going into the race that I was undertrained and underprepared.  Thankfully, I hadn't come up on Kandi, so I could only assume she was still killing it and was going to reach her goal.  That left me with my own head.  No music.  No metronome.  Just me and my head.  I counted for awhile and attempted to keep the right cadence.  I talked to other runners along the way.  Chatted with Galen and Angie for a few minutes, and just tried to enjoy the run.

At about mile 23, the sideache hit.  I have no idea where it came from, nor do I deal with it very often - if ever.  I slowed down and walked.  I tried slowing down my breathing, raising my arms, doing whatever I thought would help.  As I was working through it, a familiar voice came alongside me "Hey there hot stuff"  Oh my gosh there is Mindi!!  She's smiling huge knowing that she is about to crush her PR.  I picked up running with her for a few minutes but that made the sideache worse.  I congratulated her, and told her to keep going as I slowed back to a walk and tried to get the sideache under control.

For the remaining mile I alternated walking fast and running.  Looking at my Garmin, there was no qualifying time for me which was totally okay and certainly not a PR, but I would finish respectfully and that's all that mattered.  Especially since I had turned it into a long training run rather than a race with serious expectations.  The only thing I cared about then was whether or not Kandi had BQ'd.

I crossed the finish.  Looked at my garmin and stopped it.  Took a water bottle and cold wet cloth and then kept moving around while looking for friends.  It didn't take long for me to find running buddy after running buddy and I was THRILLED with all their stories of triumph!  PR's here, BQ's there!  Everyone seemed to have reached the goal they had set out and honestly, it was the greatest feeling!

I FINALLY found Kandi and learned that not only had she qualified for Boston but she CRUSHED her time by giving herself an 11 minute cush.  I couldn't have been happier for her.  And the icing on the cake?  She did it completely on her own.  Her race.  Her BQ.  Her own personal victory not shared with anyone but herself.  LOVE IT!
(I'm so incredibly proud of this lady!)

I retrieved my drop bag, picked up my results card and wandered a little bit to keep the legs moving and to keep chatting with friends and hearing of their successes.  Kandi and I met up again at a massage station for a quick pic opportunity.

I finally called Splenda Daddy and talked to him as I made my way back to my car.  I was hot, tired and sore.  He was kind, congratulatory, and supportive.  Our usual post race modus operandi :)  And one that I have come to rely on and appreciate.

As I made the drive home, I evaluated how I was feeling.  Legs in good shape, no niggling of an injury, just fatigue that should be expected.  No bonking during the run - thanks Ucan.  Decent and respectable time.  So where was my runner's high?  Where is the usual, "I can do anything" feeling that comes after a marathon?  Instead I was......meh.

I've been thinking about it for several days now and have no reasonable explanation for my lack of excitement and thrill, other than perhaps I am getting a little burned out.  Perhaps I spent all of the last part of the season training so hard while chasing that BQ, and then Boston was so freaking amazing that now, I just can't replicate those feelings and I'm left with burnout.  I'm not sure.

The event itself was top notch as always.  The RD's really do a fantastic job.  The glitches with the buses were due to last minute cancellations of drivers and there was nothing the RD could do, so I hope people will understand and cut him some slack.  The course was hard.  In fact, so hard that I feel like they have made it an HONEST qualifying course.  I don't know if I could qualify again on that course, it's that hard.  Kudos to them, I hope they ignore the whiners that want it changed back to last year.  All three years have been hard, but this year was by far the hardest.  Keep it honest boys.

Congratulations to all my friends who performed so well and reached their personal goals!  I am so happy for all of them and hope that they are still basking in those feelings of supreme accomplishment - it truly is a high.

As for me, I'll go into St George in about 10 days with the plan of running my best and seeing how it plays out.  My heart isn't it like it should be.  I think after 10/5, I'm gonna take a little break, incorporate more cross training and decrease the running a little bit so I can bring back the drive.  The love.  The mojo.  See if I can find my runner's high again.  I'm sure it's around here somewhere...

Thanks Big Cottonwood for yet another great year, and Ucan?