Sunday, June 7, 2020

Why the sun, some trails and some time away with your tribe, gets you thinking about relationships.

Hey, wanna take a road trip with the running tribe?  Maybe get some trails in and relax?  Why yes, I do!

My running tribe planned a trip to sunny St George but at the last minute, Joni couldn't come due to an injury that makes us all sad.  Anytime, something strikes that stops one of us from running, we all mourn. It's our unique friendship.  One heart knit together with our passion for running and our love for each other.  It's something I treasure more than words can express.  At any rate, Joni stayed home and the rest of us hit the highway and headed south.
A picture in the Beaver chair.  Tradition.  Always.

Mindi found a sweet condo for us to stay in so after grabbing some food at a cool Peruvian food place, and then delivering some running shoes for my boss, we settled in for the night.  My running tribe has the ability to talk each other's ears off about anything and everything, or we can sit quietly together, each doing their own thing and still be perfectly content.  This evening was like that. I worked on work things, Mindi read, Brenda caught up on a Netflix show.  So relaxing.

Saturday morning we got up early and headed to a trail in Hurricane that Brenda knew about.  The More Cowbell trail.  I haven't been cleared to run yet, but she did say to add in more things as my foot can tolerate.  This trail was mostly flat with just a little incline and decline.  Perfect to test my foot out on.  So as Brenda and Mindi ran, I walked and enjoyed the fact that I was ON A TRAIL!! I ended up doing 5.5 miles and my foot felt great.  The other girls got in the miles they wanted and everyone was happy.

Found me a little lizard friend - Larry

Back at the condo, Mindi and I headed to the pool for some serious sun worshipping.  I can't even tell you how happy it made me.  I baked while working some things out in my head, I read, I eavesdropped on others around me and then baked some more.  Brenda eventually came down and again, just hanging out doing our own thing, perfectly comfortable with it.

For dinner that evening we fought the crowds at the Pizza Factory, took it back to the condo and again everyone settled in for evening doing their own thing.  I did some more work stuff while keeping an eye on the riots and protests over the death of George Floyd, but that's a post for another day.

Some peaceful protesters - even in St George.  I didn't really expect it.

Sunday dawned and we were slow to get moving.  We sat on the deck and enjoyed the morning before packing up, loading the car and heading to Zion's National Park.  It has been years since I've been there but both Brenda and Mindi had been there recent enough to remember the drill.  If you haven't been there it's stunningly beautiful!  They weren't charging to get into the park, but they also weren't running any shuttles into the loop where we can hit a trailhead and get a good hike in.  We had planned to try and hike to Emerald Pool's but the road was closed and there were so many cars parked along side the road that it was going to be impossible to get in.

Instead we continued driving and stopped in some pull out's to take pictures and then drove through the tunnels.  Since I was the one behind the wheel, I tasked Brenda with taking pictures where she could.

What happens when you let Brenda have your phone - love her!

Once out of the tunnels we continued driving until we could find a decent pull out.  We threw on our trail shoes, and headed down the hill and into a cool looking wash.  We explored for awhile and took some pictures.  Truly a beautiful place.

It was a weekend that I needed.  I needed to be with my besties.  I needed the reminder of just how much I love them and need to be with them. I heard something from Trey Gowdy this morning that went something like this: After our family, the next most important thing is our relationships with others.  I have besties that I love more than words can express.  Our memories, our trials, our struggles, our talks, our silences.  I have women in my life that I can't imagine not being there.
As beautiful as our surroundings were, more beautiful is our relationships.  Just missed you Joni.  More than anything.  

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Celebrating Mother's Day with the Covid in 2020

Gah!  Stupid Cornonavirus!  Stupid Covid-19! 
Here we are 3 months into the isolation/quarantine/social distancing world and now it's Mother's Day.  What to do?  Lately, I'm only mothering Miss Maggie May.

Let me preface, as a young mother, I HATED Mother's day.  I've never been one for sugary sweet emotions and lovey, cheesy crap.  Don't get me wrong, I'm overly affectionate and a hugger that can be obnoxious but all the flowery, butterflies that tend to come with Mother's day makes me very anxious and uncomfortable.  Raising my children, I always felt like I was sucking at it all the time.  Every night in bed, I would feel such overwhelming guilt about how the day went.  Yelling, threatening, fighting, grumpiness....  I would want to throw up and beg God to make my children forget it all and help me be better the next day.  And then, rinse repeat.  I always felt like I didn't measure up to all the things the world was telling me that a good mother should be.  I worked full time, I had little patience, I dealt with my own anxiety in a horrible way and I always felt like I was a terrible example to my boys.  Oh the swear words!!  I wasn't close to my own mother during those years so I was forging on my own and in my mind doing a class A shitty job.  Sadly, going to church always enhanced my feelings of guilt, so I often made excuses to skip that week.

And then they grew up and went about their own lives.  I watched them turn into amazing men.  In their own individual ways they are stellar human beings doing good things with their lives.  They have become father's to their own children and I am amazed at how damn good they are at it!  Of course, they had the best example in their own dad, but I'll save that for Father's day.  In spite of my own shit show of a mother, they turned out to be incredible people!

I still feel guilt.  There are things I would certainly change if I had to do it all over again, but I also realized that all mothers suffer these same feelings.  We all feel inadequate and that we are in way over our heads, but we muddle through hoping for the best.  I came to realize that I can't change a thing and that through it all I  loved my children more than my own life.  Even if I didn't communicate it very well, I LOVED them.  I can live with that.  And,the fact that I can help pay for their therapy too.

This weekend, I was grateful that my kids wanted to come over and we got very creative in how we did it.

Thankfully, I have children that are flexible and willing to adapt.  We staggered visits between Saturday and Sunday so that we could see all the kids and grands, keep our distance and limit the risk of infection.  I would be crushed if any of them got sick because of me or Splenda Daddy.

Saturday afternoon Corbin and his girls came for lunch.  The weather was perfect so we sat on the deck catching up, jumping on the tramp and riding the 4 wheeler.  All things that we tend to do when the family is together.  All memories that I hope imprint on my grandkids.

Later, Preston brought his girls and hung out for awhile.  They were so excited!  They love sleep overs and coming over and it's been hard to not have our usual time together.  They loved doing all their favorite things.

We took some flowers to Dave's mom.  She is in an assisted living center and she is on lock down, but gratefully she has a balcony and we can chat outside.

I sent some Crumbl cookies to my Mom so we didn't risk anything with her.  I asked her to send a selfie with her cookies.  This is so classic her.  I love it!  I love her.  And I especially love how our relationship has become what it is.

Felt like I should post the latest pic we have together since she doesn't selfie very well.

Sunday, Luke and Mindy came with their boys and again, the weather was perfect so we had some fun outside and the boys loved playing with all their favorite things.

Such a perfect weekend!  I was able to Marco Polo  Karalee and Montana so I did get a chance to connect with every single one of my children.  I couldn't have asked for a better Mother's day during the pandemic.  Hopefully next year, we might all be on a lovely vacation together.  I can hope but for now, this was perfection.

I know longer hate Mother's day. I don't embrace it and  I still feel guilt but I suppose that's just the way it is.  Maybe the guilt is there to remind me to love them that much harder. 
Even if they are grown ass men.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Mad Moose and the Triple Crown

Since my car accident a little over 9 weeks ago, subsequent broken foot, I haven't been able to run.  When the doctor told me it would be at least 4 months before I'd be able to, I was devastated.  Telling me that there would be no running is like telling me I can't breathe anymore.  It's every part of me. It's my happy thing.  It helps keep my anxiety under control.  It's like water, necessity for my human sustainment.  I informed her that I had a 50k in four weeks so her answer wasn't acceptable.  She laughed.

This particular race was one I was looking forward to SO much!  My running tribe of besties had signed up for the Triple Crown an event hosted by Mad Moose events and held in Moab.  We had done one of their races the year before and were so impressed with their race event that this made total sense.  We did the first in the trio in November of  2019 - a 50 miler - Dead Horse Ultra.  Our first 50 miler!  It was beautiful, the aid stations were awesome, the volunteers stellar, it was perfect!

We went back in January to do Arches Ultra.  This time was just the 50k.  It was a awful.  Not because of anything the race directors had control over, it was just mucky, muddy, slushy and cold.  The last 5 miles were a death march for me but I kept telling myself that it would be worth it because once I was done, I would only have one more race in March (when it would be warmer) and I'd have that Triple Crown!

Early Februrary, I booked our hotel rooms and I was excited for March, Moab and running in the red dirt.  Bam.  Accident.  Broken foot.  Covid.  Sadly, the race directors had to cancel the race and Moab literally closed.  If you did not live there, you could not go there.  That was very disheartening since Mad Moose offered their runners to run it virtually, they could even do the race route, they just couldn't support it nor endorse it.  We had still planned on going down, I'd just hang out in the hotel, while they ran. Nope.  Moab essentially shut their doors.

So doing the race virtually was still an option and my friends planned a day to go out to Antelope Island and get the 31 miles done.  I was having the most horrific and long, drawn out pity party you could think of.  I couldn't even walk let alone run.  I had a knee scooter and would for the next foreseeable future.  I felt so crushed.  On a whim, I reached out the race directors and told them my situation.  I had paid for the Triple Crown and really, really wanted a way to earn it.  I proposed getting the 50k done on my knee scooter.  I wouldn't be able to do it all in one day, but would that be an acceptable deal?  

They were SO kind!  I could get as little as 10 miles in a certain time frame and I would qualify. So off I went! I wasn't just going to do 10 miles by the deadline, but I was going to get the whole 31 miles.  Every day I went out on my knee scooter.  Sometimes with my little Maggie along, sometimes with Splenda Daddy, but mostly by myself.  I would do as many miles in a a single outing as my knee could take. I forced myself up hills, and then fought the challenge to keep control going back down.  I have to say, doing in on the knee scooter was harder than if I could have just run it out on my own two legs.

I emailed the RD's to let them know I was done.  I also inquired about buying more sticker since when my car was totaled, I lost all the cool stickers I had on the windows.  I offered to buy them and they directed  to their on-line store, I just hadn't taken the time to do it.  Today, my happy mail arrived!!  Not just the swag for the Triple Crown, but stickers too!

I can't thank Justin and Denise enough for being so gracious to me.  They truly do know how to put on a race event.  They've become my favorite for the trail races that I love!  Mad Moose events is stellar and I can't say enough good about them!

This Covid crap is really putting the sting into the racing community.  Not just the disappointment of the runners when events have to be canceled, but the race directors and event planners as well.  They lose thousands of dollars when races have to be canceled.   Sure big ones like Boston can reschedule, but for local events it's impossible. My heart goes out to them. They are a business just like others. and they are getting hit just like the rest. The problem is, I don't think there is stimulus money or small business loans for them.  They have to eat it and pray that this ends soon and that next season is successful.

One thing I do know is that with gyms being closed and people in self isolation, I've seen a lot of new folks getting into running.  That has to bode well right?

And I'll be back.  I don't know when, but I will.  And I'll be back with a vengeance.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Spreading some goodness at Mountain Point Medical Center with UtahRUN and Hoka One One

With life drastically changed right now and let's face it, sucking it big time, I'm glad when I get to have a day filled with happiness.

Some context and background.  I have been running in Hoka shoes for years.  I won't run in anything else.  I have so many pairs that it's laughable.  Unless you're Splenda Daddy and then maybe it's cry-able.  Just kidding he's as much a believer as I am.  You see, after my two neck surgeries I was told to stop running.  I didn't. I stuck with my Hoka's.  After a couple of injections in my knees for arthritis, I was told to stop running.  I didn't.  I stuck with my Hoka's.  I have found that as long as I run in my Hoka's, train on my treadmill and the trails and only race on the trails, I have been able to run injury free now for over 5 years.  I really limit my road miles to no more than a 5k but the mountain trails have my love.  Jeez, I'm a freaking walking spokesperson for Hoka and the benefit they are to runners, walkers, anyone who needs deluxe cushion under them.

As manager and buyer at UtahRUN, I get to interact with our vendors and sales rep's.  My Hoka rep's have been outstanding and some of my favorite people to work with.  They, along with many other brands have been extending offers to reward our health care workers on the front lines during this Covid pandemic.  My Hoka rep reached out first with the easiest way to accomplish this as a combined effort.  With UtahRUN's owner's blessing, I jumped on it.  I reached out to a hospital right in the same town but after no timely response, I thought of the hospital just a few miles away that had taken such good care of me after my car accident.  They are a little smaller and not part of the big fish of Healthcare systems in the state of Utah, but they still have ER staff that are exposed and dealing with the Corona Virus just the same as others. 

I reached out via email and within minutes had a reply excited about the opportunity we were offering them. We had some back and forth figuring out logistics and then we were set.
Mountain Point Medical Center in Lehi, UT

Yesterday, three of us from UtahRUN and a videographer Travis (there to capture it all) met at the hospital with over 70 pairs of Hoka One One shoes. 
Jess, Mindi, me, Travis

We got set up in a board room and in two different shifts were able to fit 24 ER nurses with brand new, comfortable shoes.  They could choose which model was most comfortable, and sometimes we even had the perfect color. 
Nurses with their new Hoka's

They look awesome on their feet!

Words cannot express how heartwarming it was to hear and see the gratitude they expressed to us.  I watched as some nurses who had just finished their shifts put on a pair and then audibly sigh as they walked around on the marshmellow-like feeling of their Hoka's with smiles on their faces.What an incredible feeling it was to be able to express OUR gratitude to them for all their hard work and sacrifice with a simple gesture of new shoes and then they in turn expressed their gratitude for the new shoes.  I only wish our Hoka One One rep could have been there.  It truly was a amazing experience.

I wish there was more of this in this world. 
Mutual respect. 
Mutual gratitude for the actions of others.
Love reciprocated.

I am so grateful to work for UtahRUN and the amazing owner who wants to serve the community in any way he can.
I am so thankful to Tres, my Hoka One One rep, and their amazing program of giving back to our heroes on the front lines, in the trenches, doing the dirty work.  Those nurses run around for 12 hours tending to the sick all the while hoping they don't contract it themselves.  Not to mention the injured that come in as well.  I've watched them.  I've seen them in their element and they are amazing.  Thank a nurse the next time you see one!

And yeah..... mutual respect, love reciprocated.  Give it a try.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Hope on a Sunday despite the stupid Covid

It's been a hard week.
Like really hard. 
Like the darkest abyss, lowest point hard. 

I went through the motions, but I felt nothing.  I couldn't be nice.  I hated everyone and everything.  Beyond the constant state of irritation, I felt nothing.  No happiness, no sadness. Nothing.   My poor husband could offer no help. No music, no podcast, no TV show, no movie, none of my usual sources of distraction were working.

I prayed.  I read my scriptures.  I did the things I've been taught to do that usually bring happiness and peace in my life. Nothing.

I finally broke down Friday and asked my husband for a priesthood blessing.  For those that might be reading and are new around these parts, I'm a Latter Day Saint.  We believe that Christ's church he established in the New Testament and was lost with the death of the disciples has been restored including His priesthood.  My husband, among millions on male members of my church hold that priesthood and he can give me blessings of health, healing and comfort.  All outcomes depending on my faith and the will of the Lord. 

His blessing Friday night was very nice, and I felt the Spirit of my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ providing his words.  I cried.  I went to bed pleading in my heart that I would wake up feeling better.  Feeling different.  Feeling something.

And I did.  I woke up for the first time in a long time not wishing I was dead.  I woke up and was actually happy that I woke up instead of disappointed I hadn't peacefully passed in my sleep.  It wasn't all butterflies and unicorns but it has been a start.

I know I can't be alone in these feelings.  Covid-19 has wreaked such havoc on our lives that it is way too easy to become hopeless and despondent. I was there.  Now, don't get me wrong, I wasn't truly suicidal, but I was certainly more than happy to be done.   I know others feel that way, but *gasp* we don't talk about it.  People then get worried, they get protective and unbearingly hoverish.  I just made up that word, but think hovering in a negative way.

Saturday, I got on my bike trainer, bot an hour in and then some light weights.  I made my bed, opened all the blinds, cleaned my kitchen and put on some new clothes I had purchased previously.
We got in the car, complete with my pup Maggie and headed out for a drive.  No real plan in place other than a custard from Nielsen's.  We just wanted to be out in the sunshine and the only way to safely do that is in our car.  We ended up driving to Park City, and tried to go over Guardman's Pass but it's still too early in the year, so instead we went through Heber, and Provo Canyon to basically travel a large circle back home.  It did wonders for me.  We listened to a book we both enjoyed, with Maggie in my lap I constantly was stroking her, petting her and kissing her.  All soothing things.  Topping things off were my ministering sisters dropping off flowers and a treat (to add to some my daughter-in-love dropped off earlier in the week), we got some take out and watched a movie.  It was a day that wasn't steeped in routine.
(Mt Timpanogos in the background)

Today, Sunday is another day of sunshine and warmth.  Some gospel studying, a zoom call hearing about my dear friend's mission to Panama, a walk with the dogs and an evening finishing up laundry, some work stuff and getting ready for the week.

Will this week be better than last?  I feel hopeful that it will.  Does anything change with Covid -19?  In my world no.  Still isolating as much as possible.  Still missing all the things that this miserable virus has taken away from me.  Maybe I'll slump back into the dark abyss.  I don't know.  I just know that I feel more hopeful. 

That will be enough for now.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Life amid Covid-19 and other random thoughts

*blows dust off blog*

OMG - I almost didn't even remember how to long in and create a post. My last post was in 2018, a year after the previous ones.  It's clear that with the emergence of social media, blogging went the way of the dinosaur.

Facebook.  Facebook is what killed blogging.  It came on the scene, knocked over MySpace and took off like a rocket.  Soon, myself and all the connections I made through blogging deserted our own little pieces of the interwebz and began building followers and racking up our friend numbers.  I loved it!  I could connect with family members clear across the country, my blogging friends, friends in real life and friends of friends.  I found myself posting multiple times a day and commenting on every post I could.  I posted funny situations, serious thoughts and shared pictures.  I began journaling my life on social media.  Soon, I would have "memories" show up of the things I had posted a year previous and I became content with that form of connection. Years I have spent on Facebook, and then Instagram came and it was another form to connect,  Now we have Twitter, Reddit, Tik Tok, Marco Polo, Snapshat and I'm sure more that I don't even know about. Each have their pro's and con's, and I use most of them on some level.  What I enjoy the most is the connection I have to family members.  These platforms are great for seeing pictures and video's of my kids and grandkids.

So why am I so restless about it all?  Well,  currently life is in a state of  unease and unknown.  We are dealing with a global pandemic - Covid-19  a Corona virus that originated in China and has since spread all over the world with millions infected and dying.  My home state of Utah is doing fairly well with it at the current time, but we are behind others in the onset of infection, so our numbers will likely get worse before we get better.  We are practicing CDC guidelines of  washing hands frequently, not leaving our home except for essential needs, wearing masks when in public and practicing "social distancing" which is no closer than 6 feet to another person not of your household.  To say that this is a disruption in our lives is an understatement.  Restaurants can no longer host people inside, grocery stores have limited hours, essentials have been cleaned out of the shelves as people anticipate the worst, many businesses have suspended their services and sadly many have had to simply close - costing millions their jobs.  The unemployment rate is astounding.  Spending even 15 minutes googling around about this virus and the effects on lives and our economy is enough to cause even the calmest of persons some serious anxiety. 

You would think at a time like this, social media would be my place to turn to.  I could use it as an escape, chat with friends, check in on family, find some humor among this daily bleakness.  And I think for many people, this is exactly the purpose it serves.  For me?  It's not.  Facebook and Instagram's algorithms have made it a barren wasteland of nothing but meme's either funny or intended to be inspirational (I'm just as guilty) but all miss the mark for me. I love seeing pictures of my family and friends, but it seems that those particular social media platforms would rather I not.  I almost have to go searching for them and that's just too time consuming. And before anyone starts to tell me about unfollowing or muting... I know all of this.  It doesn't help.

So, I'm stepping away and going back to a forum that I enjoy.  I like writing out my thoughts and feelings.  Sometimes they are coherent, most times they are random.  But if I'm going to journal my life, I think I prefer this platform.   It's here on my piece of the internet that doesn't belong to Facebook or other social media, only to Google (which is likely just another devil to beholden to).  I no longer have to feel my self-imposed pressure to "like posts" or comment just to let someone know I am validating them.  I'll use text and messenger to stay in contact with friends during this time of isolation. And while I can't even go to church right now, I can share my spiritual thoughts here.  For myself.  For anyone who stumbles upon it.  For my family to see after I'm long gone.

If they want to.