Lost and Found

It’s a shame when I look back and realize that the last time I wrote on this blog was January. SERIOUSLY?  Ive slipped and let it go and I’m not overly thrilled about that. Although in my defense in the time between then and now I’ve trained, traveled, had our last baby graduate high school, had parties, had visitors, hiked mountains, packed and sold a house, unpacked, packed and sold a house again.  It’s been a roller coaster that seems to have an operator that allows you to keep riding even when you’re waving like a maniac to get off!

The last time we visited I was still steeping over the “patience” thing and thinking it was pretty….amusing that my word for the year was PATIENCE, because quite frankly that word is rarely used the vocabulary of my life.

Let me tell you what, God knew exactly what he was doing laying that word down on my heart.

When May rolled around and race season started to heat up, I flew to Pittsburgh (the city of my birth) to run the Pittsburgh Marathon with my cousin. It was one of the best I’ve done, from start to finish. I had the most incredible time visiting with my family. I just soaked in the love of it all. Imagine, crazy cousins and aunts laughing hysterically over nights of wine, dinners, painting and ball games.  I also ate some AMAZING food (HELLO Primanti’s) -Ok, I have to side bar here for a second about Primanti Brothers…can I just get a shout out for those sandwiches? I mean, the genius behind a sandwich with grilled meat, coleslaw with italian dressing,  and FRENCH FRIES (yes, on the sandwich) is mind blowing!! Ok, lets stop the drooling and get back on track. The race went excellent, but MAN, was it hilly!! It was a great celebration to do with my cousin, who had decided to get back into running after taking some time off while raising her babies. We ended up doing the 5K the day before (Saturday) and the marathon on Sunday to get our extra Runner of Steel medals! Who doesn’t love that extra bling?

In June I had the inaugural Ironman Coeur d’Alene 70.3. How could I not race the half-Ironman in my own city? It was an amazing day! Being on a hometown race course with so many people and friends was truly incredible. The race brought out seasoned racers, and newbie’s looking for that next challenge. It was motivating and encouraging being out there. I think every time I looked up, there was a friendly face. It was such a fun day and I learned that I really REALLY love that half-Ironman distance.

After Ironman, I went into a waiting period. I guess this was my season starting with patience. I went into a waiting period for the month that had consumed my entire mind and calendar for the year…. August! August was the month I was going to set out to through-hike the John Muir Trail (JMT) in the Sierra Nevada’s of California. A journey that would take roughly 3 weeks and was 230-miles long.

Although I really only had a few weeks to wait after IM until I left for CA, it seemed like an eternity. I spent the time with family and friends, who asked a million questions. I studied blogs and websites about the trail. I made trial runs with my gear (I’ll post a gear list later) I doubted my ability on some days. I wondered if I could really do some of the things required of me out there in the wild. Could I make the distance daily? Could I survive almost a month on nothing but dehydrated meals? Could I deal with the cold? The altitude? The heat? The animals? Could I seriously NOT shave my legs for 3 weeks? And mostly, could I honestly not shower for that long? And HOW could I possibly carry a WAG bag (waste alleviation and gelling bag) with my waste for the entire time after coming off of Mt Whitney? Thankfully, we ended up hiking in the opposite direction and this was unnecessary, praise God! Although, having to carry a cat-hole trowel and find a decent enough place to dig a hole and “do my business” wasn’t a piece of cake for me either. ALL of this was going to be a learning experience as this was my longest through hike. AND it was going to stretch my patience in ways I couldn’t imagine.

Have you ever felt like you’ve been in a place where you’ve lost and found yourself? Where every fiber of your being seems to dismantle, peel away and come completely undone only to have the most beautiful restoration happen? To unravel to be delivered? This…this is my John Muir journey. It’s amazing that God had to get me alone and into the wild to do that type of work on me. That Ive allowed myself to get so busy at times, too busy, to sit and pay attention. That I had to be so far removed from my normal day to day life, and SO challenged, crying an agony a few days, to hear His still small voice. That he had to take me off the grid, in the middle of nowhere in the wilderness to find me. He’s always been there. He’s never left me. BUT I’ve allowed the business and the clamor of life to pull me off track. It was as beautiful as it was brutal and a journey of losing myself to find His love at an even deeper level than I could ever imagine.

 

-Con’t

 

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Splendid Fall

It’s Friday and I am so happy for that! We have a full weekend with NOTHING on our calendar!  Thankful!

The past 3 weekends I (we) have been on the run, out-of-town.  One Canadian adventure to see friends and participate in some fabulous wine events/tastings for 4 days during their Fall wine crush.  A quick out-of-town to the Gorge to see Maroon Five with 7 crazy girls, only to have them cancel due to weather.  I mean…what’s a little hurricane force winds, right?  We had a blast, nonetheless….and last weekend, in Seattle.  Seattle was a wind down weekend.  After an amazing summer, we wanted a little closeness with our Cub.  High school flies by, as we saw with our older kids.  They literally step onto the high school campus as freshman, and in the blink of an eye, you are watching them cross that stage, being handed their diploma.  The older they get, the harder it is to really have that quality time.  I heard the idiom once that trying to have quality time with teenagers is like nailing jello to a wall.  That’s some truth right there!  Now, I’m not a helicopter parent.  I don’t hover over my kids and require them to sit on my lap when they would rather be (and should be) out exploring the World, becoming independent, and finding out who they are and their place in this life, but we really felt like we needed some good one-on-one time with her.  So off to Seattle we went for along weekend.  Everything about it was delectable.  We laughed, shopped (that girl can SHOP) indulged in some amazing food, and sought out some sites that we had not visited in a long time.

In Canada at the Farm to Table event.  Gorgeous 6 course dinner, paired beautifully with wines from the Okanagan Valley.

In Canada at the Farm to Table event. Gorgeous 6 course dinner, paired beautifully with wines from the Okanagan Valley.

What's a trip to Seattle without seeing the Gum Wall?

What’s a trip to Seattle without seeing the Gum Wall?

....and the Fremont Troll?

….and the Fremont Troll?

An afternoon in Who-ville.  Loved these Sonic Blooms and hearing their symphonic sounds and we walked under them.

An afternoon in Who-ville. Loved these Sonic Blooms and hearing their symphonic sounds and we walked under them.

What a great food city Seattle is.  We just enjoyed the moment.  Really savored our family time.  I adore moments like that.  When the world stops spinning, the other people around you are faded out into the background of your minds photo, and all that is there is the three.  We talked about past trips to Seattle, and had some funny stories of when it was the five. It’s weird being a parent with your last child at home.  Thankful are we, that we enjoyed every drop of our kid’s lives growing up.  And still do.  As our older two are off into the world, gleaning their careers, finishing school, and getting ready to move away, we are still proud parents, watching them, relishing who they are becoming as adults, but it’s still strange, to be on the cusp of an empty nest.  We have “trained them up” (Prov 22:6) and now it’s time for them to leap out.

On another note, I am LOVING this fall running weather.  The crispness in the air. The stunning scenery of the changing leaves.  This is truly one of my favorite times of the year.  The colors here are amazing.  God has given us such a beautiful world to live in, and right now, it’s like living in a painting.  I think I forget ever year…. I forget what it looked like, and then fall arrives, and I see it again with fresh eyes.  I am wowed every year!  Hope you are out enjoying it.

I have been laid up with an injury the past few weeks, which has taken me out of my fall marathon.  That saddens me.  But I am so thankful, that with a little rest and some therapy, it is starting to feel better.  I have been out doing some short 4-5 mile runs.  It’s not where I want to be, but it’s where I need to be.  And sometimes, after an injury, you come back stronger than ever, right?  I’m banking on that.  I’m trying to keep a good focus on my form, and trying not to overdo it on the days I feel strong.  That’s a hard thing for a runner.  I’m on “simmer”  which I suppose is just about perfect for Fall.  It’s giving me some time for the other things I love.  Reading, decorating, cooking new recipes (speaking of simmering) and planning my race season for next year.  I have a few races picked out that I am excited about!

Have you started planning for next season?  What races will grace your calendars?

Driving up my hill to our home and stopped dead in my tracks by the beauty of Fall

Driving up the hill to our home and stopped dead in my tracks by the beauty of Fall

Elvis in Paris

Ready to Rock!!

Ready to Rock!!

Have you ever run in Paris near the Eiffel Tower?  In New York City, Hollywood & Venice, Italy?  Ran next to pyramids, flaming, hot volcanoes, sweeping, palm trees, and next to spectacular fountains?  Have you ran with Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Captain America, Spiderman, Winnie the Pooh, the Transformers, Danny DiVito, Jack Nicholson, Kermit the Frog, and Zach Galifianakis?   What about with gorgeous showgirls?  AND…have you done this all on ONE DAY?  Or should I say…NIGHT!

This is exactly the kind of fun you can have when you run the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon.  The Strip at Night!

This was my last ½ marathon of the season.  It was a quick-minded decision, spurred by a couple of friends that were registered to run it.  They invited me along, and I gave it about 2-seconds of thought before I said, “I’m in!”  I mean…C’mon, friends, Vegas, running and a ½ marathon at night!  How could I ever say No?

From the time we arrived in Vegas, we knew the 4-day weekend was going to ROCK!  And we were excited to “get this party started”

The expo was remarkable!  We picked up race packets, numbers, grabbed swag bags and T-shirts at the front end of the expo.  It was quick, well organized and we moved through with ease.  Then we entered into Running Mecca.  We all wandered through, wide-eyed, sampling products, playing games, buying running gear, seeing new shoes, socks, and wicking clothing.  We spent a good part of our afternoon there ogling all things running.  One of my <personal> biggest highlights of the expo was getting the honor and privilege to hear a talk from the amazingly, talented, US Olympian and winner of the NYC Marathon Meb Keflezighi.  What an extraordinary career this man has had.  Afterwards, we patiently waited, to get up close to Meb for pictures, and to have him autograph his book, and our race bibs.  I really wish he were my running partner.  The expo got us more excited to be participating in another Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon!

Elvis was even at the Expo

Elvis was even at the Expo

With Meb Keflezighi

With Meb Keflezighi

Our group that was running (the race) and running around Vegas until all hours of the night…er….the morning consisted of 2 girls who are RnR veterans, and have ran 3 R n R’s this year (I cannot wait to see their extra Heavy Metal BLING for doing more than one in the year) 3-NEWBIE runners, 2 that have done some smaller races, and 1 that this was IT…the first race EVER!  Out of the 3 newbies however, this was their first Half Marathon!…and there was little ol’ me…just along for the fun!

Being around the newer runners was like seeing kids at Christmas.  It was so exciting!  It was fun seeing their nervous energy, and taking everything in about the race and expo.

Race day came, and it was so bizarre to wake up at 9am-ish (after our second night of being out until 4am) and not have to be in a frenzy to get ready to race.  And well, at 9am, we would’ve already missed the start of most races.  But not in Vegas.  This race starts at night.  4:30pm.  Being that is was a late start, we really had to spend the day off of our feet (HAHAHA, that didn’t happen) and really had to watch what we were eating (HAHAHA that didn’t happen either) So, we spent the day in regular Vegas fashion, out shopping, and walking.  In fact we are pretty sure we easily covered a marathon and a half-marathon the three days we were there before the race.  (No, I’m not joking)  There is so much to see and do, that you just cannot sit still.  And although for other races, we would’ve opted to stay in and play it safe…this is Vegas after all, and all bets were off.  We threw caution to the wind.  Besides all of the walking, we danced our little legs off, ate Vietnamese food (for dinner the night before the race) we drank, we danced some more, we shopped our wallets dry, we became Mission Impossible agents, we rode roller coasters, we laughed and loved and lived everything we could of Las Vegas.

As the day went on, we got more and more excited about the race.  We walked down to the start and were giddy!  We cheered for our first-timers, and made plans for meeting at the finish.  And then we were off, with 30,000 other runners, running the Las Vegas strip at night.  I only wish I would’ve stopped one time to take a picture of how this looked.  The lights, the runners, the crowds cheering us on.  It was all so exciting.  It made the run go by so fast.  Running block after block next to towering casinos and hotels.  I ran past the Bellagio as the fountains we spraying.  We ran from one end to the other, towards the Stratosphere and though a part of Vegas that I have never been to, the infamous Fremont Street, past street performers, and fantastic bands, and before I knew it, I was heading back down the strip to the finish.  I kind of had that feeling of…”is this it?”  Not meaning I was dissatisfied with any part of this race, but that it seemed to fly by.

FINISHED!

FINISHED!

I waded through the finish-line chute where I received my medal.  This MEDAL!!!  Now…this, is a medal.  Heavy, and full of bling-y, shimmery, glitter, with the Las Vegas skyline…and, AND…wait for it….it freakin’ GLOWS IN THE DARK!  What!!??

True story!

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I continued my way through the chute, having my photo taken, getting all sorts of yummy post-race food.  There was definitely a lot to choose from. I wandered in my space blanket to the other end, and waited with a friend (we ran in together)  to cheer the rest of our crew in!  It is always so amazing and almost tearful to see a first-timer finish.  There is just something magical about it.  They think they can’t make it, they feel undertrained (jeez, don’t we all) they are in pain, convinced the finish is too far, and then…they cross that finish line!  It never gets old.  We hugged and took pictures together of our finish, and then all went back to our condos, cleaned up, ate, and guess…WENT out, again…for another 4am night of celebrating and dancing!!

I vote: one of the most fun races EVER!!  Great race for first timers, veterans, young and old!  Great course…flat, and you cannot beat the scenery.  Great crowds.  If you want thousands of people cheering for you your entire way…then Vegas is it!  Plus….you get to run..with Elvis in Paris!!

 

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We are ready to #Sweat Pink at the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon.

We are ready to #Sweat Pink at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon.

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