Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Red Rock Relay 2010: Snow to Sun Run

Well, as many of you know, I set a goal this year to run a 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon in preparation to run a Full Marathon in 2011. I started walking right after Lily was born and 6 weeks later I started to run. My first race was the Terror Trail Run. It was a 4 mile trail race in May. It was followed by the Fitness for America 10K in July. Then, as I was looking for a Half Marathon, I got an email from my brother Munro suggesting I participate in a relay he was signing up for. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to improve my running while visiting family in Utah at the same time!

After months of training, I flew out to Utah to run the 186 mile race with Munro, my best friend Jennie, and a bunch of Munro's cousins and members from my dad's ward. We met at Cory Ludvigson's house on Thursday and drove South to the start of the race.

After arriving at packet pickup, we swapped vans for a 12 passenger, loaded up on food, painted the van, got a few hours of sleep and then headed to the race start where our first runner would ride a ski lift to the top of a mountain and then run back down!

Cory took the first leg, running a little over 3 miles down dirt trails and shale. When she got back to the base of the ski lift she turned the running over to Munro who began running the steepest 4+ miles our van would see. Munro ran it like a champ and then passed the bracelet to Rafa, who was a little confused about what to do next! He figured it out eventually though and soon finished his 7 mile downhill and passed off to Jaron for the next 7 mile leg. Unfortunately, Jaron had been throwing up all night and had a fever. He pushed himself an AMAZING 4 miles before his body couldn't go anymore. He was out for the count after that but we didn't want to quit, so Munro quickly put his running shoes back on and finished Jaron's leg before passing off to Jennie. Jennie then had a mix of ups and downs for I think somewhere around 5 miles before she passed the bracelet to me for my longest and most uphill leg!

My first leg was almost 6 miles, all uphill. Luckily for me, it was freezing cold outside which really kept me going. I had a lot of support from the van too. They stopped every mile or so and gave me water, Gatorade, Chap-stick, and loud cheers!

After conquering what I thought would be my hardest leg, I felt GREAT! I ran hard and never stopped to walk, and I got to hand off the bracelet to the other van which meant I had all 12 runners cheering me through the shoot! When all was said and done, we packed up our things, dropped Jaron off at a hotel where he could rest and recover, and then headed to the next exchange point to wait for the other van to finish their legs.

We tried to sleep but I don't think anyone got anything more than 15 minutes or so and soon the other van arrived. They were earlier than we thought so we kind of had to rush to get our van going again, but me made it and then began our midnight legs!

Our night legs were much harder than we thought they would be. First, we were all wasted from being awake for so long, and second, we were all anticipating having to run an extra that was named the Dirty Devil and was all uphill. We were trying to decide who would run it when we saw this...

All the cars in the distance suddenly began to move upward! STRAIGHT UP! We were all a little freaked out by the steepness of the run and finally decided that the only way we could do it is if Rafa continued to run as long as he could after his leg and into Jaron's. Then the rest of us would take 1 mile at a time until it was done. Luckily, Rafa made it 2 more miles after his leg so each of us only had to take 1 mile!

I was the last runner of the night, which meant I started around 2 am. When I took the bracelet from Jennie and started to run, the rest of the runners were fast asleep in the van. I just kept hoping they would remember to bring me water along the route. At first I was scared. I was the only runner as far as I could see and I was literally in the middle of nowhere! Just as I started to believe that a coyote was about to take me out by the knees and end my life, I looked up...I have never in my life seen the stars in such abundance and beauty. I ran the rest of the way looking upward and finished with my fastest time EVER and dare say it was my favorite run EVER!

When I passed off to the other van, Munro hopped into the driver's seat and we started to drive the hour and a half trek to the next exchange point. Everyone else was asleep in the back, which is exactly what I intended to be doing until I saw Munro's face. The man had to be sleep walking and I knew if I slept, so would he, and then so would the rest of us...FOREVER! So, I started to talk...and he answered...and I talked...and somehow me made it, parked, and fell asleep without any recollection of a single word that was said. We also managed to get an hour and a half of sleep before the other van came in...and that was our total for the whole 30 hour race!

Cory started us out on our last legs with a 3 mile run that managed to finish off her sprained ankle and carpel tunnel with a twisted knee! She was amazing at pushing through the pain and finished strong before passing off to Munro again. Munro ran his leg quickly and felt so good afterward that he decided to go for a new goal and run a total of 26.2 miles by the end of the relay. None of us minded because it meant we wouldn't have to run Jaron's last leg! Rafa went next and was also feeling awesome so after Munro jumped out to finish his last mile with him, he continued on into Jaron's leg with Munro for the next mile! Then Munro finished off Jaron's leg and continued to run the first mile of Jennie's leg to round out his mileage. Jennie continued on after we picked up Munro and managed to run 5 miles with a GIANT blister on the bottom of her foot before passing off to me one last time.

I was tired and shaky at this point but took comfort in the fact that this would be my shortest and flattest leg. I ran out of the shoot and took my first corner before I looked up and saw a fork in the road. One side continued flatly to the left, the other went up a NASTILY steep hill that I couldn't see the top of. I started turning left when I saw the van at the top of the hill and my father in law at the bottom waving me toward them. DOH!!!

I wanted to cry, but instead, told myself that I can do hard things and no matter what, I was going to run that hill! AND I DID RUN IT! As well as the rest of my leg at a relatively quick pace before handing off to the other van. I was greeted with monster cookies and high fives before we packed up to shower and meet the other van at the finish line!

As we waited, we got to enjoy the beautiful 96 degree weather in St. George. A HUGE contrast to the 38 degree weather we started in! We also were able to collect our finishers shirts and batons and say our good byes, since I would be going back to Chicago soon. Then we ran through the finish line together and celebrated our 30 hour team effort to conquer 186 miles of Utah's most beautiful terrain.

The Red Rock Relay was both difficult and rewarding for me and I can't wait to do it again... hopefully with Kevin in tow. But until then, I have a marathon to train for!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Adventures in Utah Part 2: Playin' in PG

After 5 fantastic days in Kaysville and 3 days racing, I headed down to Pleasant Grove to hang out with the Uda gang.

On my first day there I visited Sarah, Tau, Noa, and Micah in Springville. The blanket was for baby Micah but Noa thought he should give it a try first. After a short visit, Sarah and I packed ourselves up to Provo where we participated in a VERY HARD 1.5 hour Tahitian class! My legs were sore!

The next day I woke up early, played with Gizmo and the girls, and then went on a run around Apple Grove. It was a beautiful and relaxing morning.

That same day we went back to Provo to visit Rachel in her new house. We made the most wonderful Pink Sugar cookies, ate lunch at Bajio's, and spent the afternoon at a nearby park.

Here is Brooklyn, Mason Noa, Grandma Uda, Malia, Sarah, and Micah, making the downhill trek to the park. It was easy getting there but the journey back up to the house was much more difficult!

Mason held Brooklyn's hand the whole way to the park and back. He was so sweet to watch over her and it really made my job easier as well.

On Friday, Liz, Mom and I took the girls over to see Scarlet and Jake's house. After checking it out we ate at the Malt Shoppe in Provo and then took a tour through Tony and Liz's recording studio.

My friend Shannon even managed to drop by while we were at Scarlet's house. She brought her cute daughter with her and we had an enjoyable visit.

Here is Lily and Clara.They are about 3 weeks apart in age, and just like their moms, one is a little speck of sunshine and the other is a loud and large bundle of fun!

Later that night we went back to Rachel's house to meet for a girls night out + Dad. Here is mom and dad getting ready for the fun!

We were all so excited to eat at the Olive Garden that things got a little CRAZY...

But don't worry, as soon as we got to the restaurant our brains went back to normal...whatever that means.

On Saturday (the day before I flew back home) I was lucky enough to go to the Aquarium in Sandy with ALL of my Utah nieces and nephews. The kids had so much fun playing together and were able to see a rain forest exhibit with parrots and cockroaches as well as pet a stingray and starfish. When we were done we ate at good old McDonald's and then went home to watch movies, pack bags and get ready for Sunday.

We had a wonderful trip to Utah and are SO grateful for ALL of our family and friends who made an effort to come see us. We love and miss you all and can't wait to see you again next year!

Adventures in Utah Part 1: Hangin' in Kaysville

If you were wondering why I've been missing from the blogging world, it is because I was in Utah from September 7th until the 19th. Kevin couldn't come because of work but the girls and I still had fun with all our family in Utah!

We started out our trip in Kaysville where we were visited by Auntie Sara and Uncle Craig. They spoiled the girls with hugs and kisses, and a beautiful treasure box that Brooklyn has been stuffing necklaces in ever since.

Soon after we arrived I had to leave the girls to go run a relay race, but they were in good hands. Grandma and Grandpa Hanks nursed Brooklyn back to health (she started puking and had a fever on the airplane) and even let her help make a GIGANTIC batch of monster cookies.

When I got back from the race Auntie Janna and cousin Audrey drove down from Idaho to pay us a visit. Grandma Hanks set up the backyard water park for the kids and they went to town drinking and splashing in the water.

It was a hot day so the girls actually played for a long time before finally agreeing on a nap! Obviously, they were enjoying themselves.

Besides playing in the water in the backyard, Auntie Janna also treated the girls to a visit to the pond where they got to help feed the ducks!

Nearing the end of our visit, Janna and Grandpa Hanks took us to the Utah State Fair. It was very hot that day but ice cream and lemonade seemed to cool us off enough to stick around awhile.

Auntie Janna was even nice enough to take Brooklyn on the carousel since I get sick on anything that repetitively turns in a circle. Brooklyn loves rides so it really was a special treat.

But the highlight of the State Fair was the pony ride. Brooklyn was SO proud of herself for riding all by herself. Her funny moment on the pony came when she suddenly realized there was another pony behind her and she yelled, "Oh no! Mommy! The black horse is catching up to me!" Super cute!

The next day we went with Grandma to the Dinosaur Park. We had many dinosaur encounters (most were scarier than I had anticipated) but the girls didn't seem to be scared and they really had fun.

After walking the dino-trail, we stopped in the park for a little while and let the girls get the rest of their wiggles out. Audrey and Lily were laughing their heads off when we put them in the swing together.

To close out our Kaysville trip, we sat the girls down for a photo shoot. Auntie Janna bought the girls matching outfits and Grandpa was the camera man.

It was the hardest photo shoot I have ever witnessed. Everyone was crying and wiggling and crying again! But we still managed to get a few good shots. Enjoy!

More about the Red Rock Relay Race and our visit to Pleasant Grove to come. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What's Been Going On....

For our anniversary, Kevin bought me these pink roses. Brooklyn was obsessed with them and eventually loved them all to death. But they were beautiful and brought a lot of happiness into out home until that point!

I've been running a lot lately to get ready for my two upcoming races. The Red Rock Relay will be this coming Friday and Saturday, and the Apple Fest 1/2 Marathon is on the 25th. This is usually what happens when I get home from a long Saturday run. I crash on the floor to watch some TV while I cool off, and the girls crash on me!

Brooklyn and Lily have started to "hang out" with each other. Lily laughs at everything Brooklyn does, and Brooklyn takes VERY good care of her little sister. My favorite thing to watch is when Brooklyn waves toys around until Lily chases her for them. As soon as Lily crawls to Brooklyn, Brooklyn runs to the other side of the room. Lily then laughs and tries again. So fun to watch!

We got invited to a Kanikapila with the Halau that I dance for. There was TONS of food, lots of friends, and a whole bunch of talented entertainers! Kevin and I got to dance Keahialapa and Ku'u hoa, Brooklyn made a million friends, and Lily got to be held every second of the night by different admirers.

Lily has gone from getting up on her hands and knees and throwing herself forward into a face plant, followed by vigorous swimming movements, to actually crawling army style.

She has also learned how to sit up on her own and shake her head NO!

Anyway, I'm about to head out to Utah for the rest of the month so there will definitely be more posts, but until then, I just wanted to catch up with these little random moments!