Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Shoes and NaBloPoMo

I don't know why I feel the need to prove to you I really did need new shoes. Or why I am blogging about my shoes at all. I really don't know.

But here's my "proof", for whatever that's worth. Obviously, those are the new shoes on top, with actual treads. And the old shoes on the bottom, worn out to the midsole. I even feel taller in the new shoes. It's weird.
I am also posting to forewarn you that November is National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) where bloggers everywhere are invited to post every day for a month. Hooray! You know I love it and can't resist the challenge. So, be advised I will be posting a lot this month. Like, every day. Coincidentally, I also have your questions still to answer - so I have lots to write about! Enjoy! (I hope)

Halloween 2010

(note: here in Utah, when Halloween falls on a Sunday, trick or treating happens on Sat)

This year for Halloween,
Abigail came up with her own costume for the Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland,
Elisabeth was a cat,
Samuel was C3PO for the 3rd yr in a row for his school party and then decided to be Clifford the Big Red Dog for trick or treating,
and Isaac was Harry Potter (which we rented from a neighbor at 8:30 the night before his class party after he dug through our costume box and couldn't come up with anything better than a creative combination of a feather boa and a clown wig. umm. I told him that was not just not working.)

But it would seem our Halloween was cursed.

First, the store was all out of Pumpkins on Fri night when Zac went grocery shopping. So no Jack o' Lanterns this year. (We've made the mistake of buying our pumpkins early and having them smashed by vandalizing teenagers before we could even carve them. And we've also made the mistake of carving them too early and having them moldy and shriveling by Halloween. Someday we'll figure out the best timing.)

And I started feeling sick Fri night with a sore throat and general yuckiness. So Sat I stayed in bed and slept pretty much all day while Zac cleaned the whole house and took care of the crazy kids.

And then, in the afternoon we came to the realization that our fridge wasn't working. Everything in the freezer was thawed, so it appeared that it had been non-functional for quite awhile. My mom had decided to come down and join us in our Halloween "fun." But instead, she was greeted by me walking around like a zombie still in my pajamas, Zac freaking out by trying to salvage as much of our food as possible and trying to decide what to do with the fridge, and the kids wound up and overexcited by the anticipation of sugar-overdosing.

So. We skipped our church chili-cookoff/fall festival and spent the time carting some food over to our neighbor's freezer, calling around to find an emergency appliance repair man, buying ice and filling up a cooler with other food, evaluating and throwing out the food that was beyond saving (UGH), and also taking care of some Sat tasks that hadn't gotten done because I hadn't gotten out of bed to make sure they got done. (Thanks, mom for helping us out with all of that.)

It was also raining.

So anyway - Zac took the kids out trick or treating in the rain. My mom and I stayed home watching a movie, leaving the bowl of candy out on the doorstep because I didn't feel like greeting trick or treaters, and waiting for the fridge guy.

And then, we let the kids eat some candy. Isaac almost caught the kitchen on fire when he decided to turn on the kettle for hot chocolate without noticing all the junk I had left on the stovetop (from cleaning off the top of the fridge so we could pull it out). He melted a couple dry-erase markers and filled up the house with the stench of melting plastic.
So, no hot chocolate. Kids were promptly put to bed. We got all the food put back into our fridge (after our $150 emergency repair).
And that was the end of our Halloween. Finally. phew! ;)
Hopefully we'll have better luck next year . . .

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Colleen Gets Her Own Post

ok, my friend Colleen is getting her own post for this one. Here's why: if it hadn't been for her, and the super-cool blog of her own, then I would not be here blogging. It's true. Three years ago, Colleen introduced me first (I think) to Goodreads, then to her blog, then to Google Reader, then inspired me to start my own blog. And I haven't looked back. ;)
So, thanks Colleen for introducing me to the wonderful world of blogging - and also for helping me overcome some of my embarrassment over my teenage self. She likes to draw out all my deepest secrets. hahaha.

So, for my blogoversary Colleen asked if I have ever done anything illegal (aside from traffic violations). Ahem. I don't even know if I should go there. Well, may I first start by saying that the only ticket I've ever gotten was for having a front headlight out. And that said, I think it's safe to say I haven't really done anything arrestable. But, ahem (I think I might have something caught in my throat, cough cough), as Zac and I discussed this the other night, I began to get flashes of some instances where perhaps I may have been guilty by association.

Oh but then there was the occasion of the "party gone wild" with underage drinking and other myriad issues that was at my house, or rather in the field next to my house, but wasn't technically my party (my friend had her party at my house - long story) - and my parents were home and explained that the people partying in the field hadn't been invited to the party that wasn't even my party, so the cops were actually dispersed quickly and without incident.

And there were just a couple instances of running or hiding from police for being on the premises of parks, or you know, maybe Quantico Marine Corps Base, after dark, when I guess they don't really want you there.

And there might have been one or more times I kinda sorta borrowed an ID to go dancing at a club before I was 18. (ahem. but can they arrest for you that, though?!)

Ok. So. Hm. Before I dig myself any deeper into a hole (and think of anything else I may have blocked from my memory), I'd say I've answered the question enough, don't you?

Suffice it to say, ahem, I think I was a pretty good girl, overall. But I did do some dumb stuff now and then. Fair enough?! Phew! ok, done then. ;)

Anyone else want to make some confessions? Let's hear it. I'm quite certain there are many with life stories much wilder (and probably tamer, too) than mine.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


A couple people in the blogoversary post asked about my happiness.

This is interesting to me - partly because I sometimes struggle to find a definition of "happiness" that I feel, um, happy about. So, I'm still thinking on that one. But what I can answer (after some contemplation) is my happiest day.

I've had many very happy days, and many days of pure joy mixed in with innumerable combinations of other emotions. But as I tried to think of my happiest day, as much untainted by other feelings as is ever possible, it is this:

It was August 1997. I was 22 and had just gotten home from my 18 mo. mission to Germany. It had been 3 yrs since I had last seen or spoken with Zac and I had a treasured stack of weekly letters to prove that our relationship had continued to grow and flourish even in the absence of any other contact. I had already driven the 3 hrs up to NJ from VA to see him and we had survived that first nerve-wracking reunion. We had held hands again by the end of that very first day. And even shared a second-time "first kiss" (hehehe).

And then (although I might be mixing up some of the chronology), at some point, he came down with me to stay at my house for a few days before leaving to go back out to BYU. We knew by this point that our feelings for each other had not changed over our 3 yr separation. And our conversations were very quickly shifting into discussions of "what if we . . ." and "do you really think we could . . .?"

And although I don't think we had spoken the "M-Word" aloud at that point, we both knew that's what we were talking about, in tentative, speculative roundabout ways.

On one of those warm summer nights, we were outside lying on the trampoline and talking about the future and looking up at the stars. What I remember is the moment when Zac specifically said something about how if we could make our finances and things work separately, then surely we could also make them work together (yes, he was and is an accountant, deep down - hehe). And somehow the realization suddenly hit me that we were talking about building our futures, together. For real. And that it could really happen. With me. And this amazing boy. It wasn't just some future dream anymore. It was happening.

And that was when I think I was filled with more happiness than I ever thought possible. I think I jumped up and started jumping (literally, we were on a trampoline), unable to keep my emotions in check. I think I also may have cried a little. Because, even though I waited for him to buy me a ring and all of that to make our engagement official (~2 mos later), it was in that moment that I knew it. We were going to get married!

And most of my other happiest days were the natural extensions of that one moment. Getting engaged, getting married, finding out we were expecting, the birth days of each of my kids . . . . All of those days stemmed from this day, the day that we knew that whatever else might lie in store, our futures were bound up and woven together from then on. The happiest day I think I've ever known. :)

testing - again

I just got a phone call from Samuel's school teacher.

Every 3 yrs, kids in Special Ed have to be re-evaluated and their eligibility re-assessed.

That time has come.

I guess they have the option of foregoing the evaluations if they feel they have enough data already to continue without it. But in Samuel's case, they feel like they want to have a clearer idea of where he stands now, and what might be going on, to make new better goals for him and all of that. I agreed.

So. Now I sign the consent forms for more testing.
And in the next month or so, we'll be meeting together to discuss the results.

Ugh. Do you know how much this stuff stresses me out? Do you know?

Every time a possible change is determined, my heart is pulled in so many directions. The wanting for him to be "normal" that never goes away and the sadness in knowing that he isn't, really, that also never goes away. The fierce fighting side of me willing to do what it takes in getting the best possible help for him, the resignation in knowing I don't even know what that is, or what to fight for. Knowing how much the fight takes out of me. But knowing I have to. Afraid that they will kick him out. Afraid of results I don't agree with. Afraid of being taken by surprise with results I didn't expect.

It's like the mudslide accumulation of the years of wondering and worrying all come down on me again. Or threatens, at least, at the banks of the sandbags in my mind. I forget, sometimes, the weight of it all. Sometimes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

answer #1: Elisabeth Update

Thanks to those of you that humored me with questions. Some of those are toughies, but I promise to give them some thought and work on answering them. And if you haven't asked anything yet, you still can! oh yes, indeed. Please do!! Doesn't have to be anything huge or earth-shattering either. I just figure if you read this gosh-darned thing at all, then you must have some interest in our goings-on, for whatever reason, so now's your chance to get the blog post you've always wanted.

Well. Whatever.

Answer #1 is going to be the simplest question to answer, because it's late and I'm tired. This question is in regards to Elisabeth's sleep apnea. Remember she had her tonsils and adenoids removed over the summer to help with her obstructive apnea, and also hopefully help her central sleep apnea as well. So. Did it solve the problem?

Simple answer is: we don't know for sure.
She still snores. But we don't *think* she's doing the gasping for breath like she did before. So, my best assessment is that it is definitely improved, but maybe not completely resolved.
What would be best (and was recommended by the sleep Dr) is to repeat the sleep study to see how many apnea episodes she is still having, if any. But, alas, I just can't seem to scrounge up an extra $2500 to do that.

I do think the surgery was helpful for her, though. And actually, lately she's been laying down with me in the afternoon to nap together sometimes, and her breathing, snorting, and gasping hasn't been waking me up, so that is a definite improvement. :)

In other Elisabeth sleeping news, we have made a big switch and put her in the room with Samuel on the bunk beds. She was having nightmares and trouble getting to sleep so we thought having some company might help her. And Isaac, who shared the room before, has trouble overheating (for some reason) and we thought he might sleep better in the room by the exterior walls and by himself. Samuel is a little resistant to change and wasn't too happy about any of it, but he is starting to adapt. We also thought it might be kind of nice to corral the messes the little kids make into one space and let Isaac enjoy some peace and order. And this might make it possible now to move the little kids' bedtime earlier without disrupting Isaac's bedtime (and let them sleep in, too. Isaac is an early bird.) That seems to be working nicely, too. This will only be a temporary arrangement. The boys will move back together sooner or later (there gets to be an age where I'm not comfortable with boys and girls sharing rooms) - but for now we're all pretty happy about the switch.

Anyway - thanks for asking about how's she's doing. :)

autumn days with Elisabeth

A couple weeks ago I got to go with Elisabeth on her preschool field trip to the Pumpkin Patch.

I only had to chaperone her and her little friend and they were very cute together.

She and I also (mostly) enjoy going for my walks together, and sometimes stopping at the playground on the way home. I really love fall.

And I love having happy days with my littlest one.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm not sure how to put this . . .

but when I posted this original blogoversary post 2 yrs ago, I got 19 comments with questions.

That was pretty awesome.

This time, I've gotten 2 (so far).

It's just makin' me sad. And all whiny and moany. It's not pretty.


{sigh and big breath}
ok, carry on . . .
I'm done now.
back to regularly scheduled posting. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Blog-o-versary to Me! {reposted}

In the midst of the long 50-mile race saga, it would seem I have inadvertantly skipped over my blog anniversary! Shameful. But it's been 3 years since I hesitantly started typing away at my very first blog post and felt that little inner thrill upon seeing the screen that says "your blog post published successfully!" (it was awhile after that that I actually told anybody about it and let them take a peek at it - but nevertheless, Oct 21 was the first posted date). Now all of the first 2 yrs of posts are "private" - so in celebration of this life-changing day, I am reposting my very first blog-o-versary post again. The request still stands, by the way.

Let's play this party game again, ok??
Ask me something!! :)
(Originally Posted Oct 21, 2008)

Yes, today is the One-Year Anniversary of the day I started this blog. Amazing. And so, in celebration, I am asking for a mere simple gift:

Everyone who is reading this (and I do mean everyone, even if you've never left a comment, even if you don't really know me, even if you don't really like commenting, or blogs, or even me, I mean EVERYONE - yes, even you), please leave me a comment and give me something to write about. Just for fun. It could be anything. A question you want to ask about anything at all, a topic you'd like for me to discuss, a memory or story you want me to tell - really, anything. You can even ask for more than one thing. I'll let you. And depending on how many responses I get and the nature of what you want me to write, I may or may not answer them all. We'll see. I'll do my best.

We could call it the Big Q & A with Kristen. Or More Things You Never Really Cared to Know But I'll Tell You Anyway. Or the Most Interesting and Amazing Blog Posts Ever. (Or Things to Write About When I Don't Feel like Writing Anything - whatever).
Anyway, please please please, I'm begging for comments and questions!!!! Humor me. Indulge me. Tell me you love me. Build me up and make my day. Yeah, go ahead and lie to me. Whatever it takes. :)

Sooo . . . what do you want to know??

(and if I pick your question to answer first, guess what? You WIN! YAY!)

a few of my favorite things

rainy days in autumn

and fallen leaves on the wet sidewalk

mmmmm . . . delicious. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

just can't wait

I have 3 sisters.
And just one brother. This is his beautiful wife.
And they're having a baby boy in about 4 wks (their first)!

And I can't wait. :)
(photos from their baby shower last weekend)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

sing, sing a song

Well. Now that we have adequately and thoroughly covered The Big Race (phew!!) I am happy to have other happy news to report.

The news is that tonight
the first time,
in all 6 1/2 yrs of little Samuel's life,
that he has (to my knowledge)
sung a song.
A real song.
With words.

I know this sounds like such a small thing. But, like the time we celebrated the first time he made an approximated "K" sound, you just don't realize how important these little steps are until they are missing, and waited for, and longed for, and even mourned when it seems almost impossible to get there.

I've hated feeling almost guilty hearing Elisabeth sing songs, knowing that Samuel never did that, and doesn't still. It's a crazy sad and bittersweet thing having a younger sibling pass the older one in some milestones (or whatever it is). For the record, we are still muddling through with Samuel's issues, for the most part. It is still really really hard on most days.

And up until now, he has mostly participated in "singing" (at least at home and church) either by screaming his own made up tune, or being completely silent. Or sometimes he would try to tell us the words to something he learned, but not sing along to them. He has sometimes made up some little songs that have words, more or less. But never has he sung a "real" song. A song that anyone else knows. Not even the ABC's. And we have wondered if he ever would.

And I'm not sure where singing songs fits in exactly in the normal developmental milestone charts. Is it a skill that develops along some "normal" spectrum? Is it some sign of some disorder or another when it is completely lacking? I don't know for sure. But I am pretty certain that most normally developing children do at some point imitate and enjoy singing, even if wildly out of tune. And I know it has been, for us, a confusing and concerning void in Samuel's development so far.

So. Tonight he started singing some cute little Halloween songs that he said they had learned at school. Admittedly, he did this at a time when we were getting ready to say prayers as a family, and we actually wanted him to sit and be quiet and still (which is always a struggle). But for this occasion, we stopped telling him to be quiet and let him sing his songs. Zac and I looked at each other and smiled.

Never has it seemed so sweet to have a quiet family time disrupted by Samuel being loud and rambunctious. He was singing a song. :)

Zac's First 50: Finish Line Video

Zac's First 50: where's the finish?!?

In response to some of the comments I've gotten, I will first tell you that yes, Zac was very excited (and relieved) to be running again at mile 38. I think he was afraid that a lot of his training and hard work was going to be completely derailed by the dehydration problem - so the fact that he was able to get going again was thrilling for him.

We have heard reports that it was over 90 degrees out there that day - which is unseasonably hot - and it was taking its toll on most of the other runners as well.

Anyway - I was also quite relieved to see Zac with a smile on his face again.
That is, until about mile 45 when he reported to me that he was having a hard time keeping anything down.

He was rotating what he was drinking, switching from gatorade to water to coke. And had a couple different kinds of powerbars, ate half a sandwich, along with his salt pills. Salt pills, by the way, are essential for replacing the electrolytes lost through sweat (if you looked closely at Zac in some of these pics, you might be able to see crusty white stuff on his face. That's salt. From his sweat. No kidding.)

So, at this point in the game, it was crucial that he keep fluids in, keep his calories up, and keep salt replaced. Not being able to keep anything down is a problem. Not to mention throwing up while running is just gross (but throw up he did - poor guy). So he was getting concerned about this, obviously.

[Doing some research afterwards, Zac learned that he should have been taking about twice as much salt as he had been. And becoming nauseous is common with dehydration (unfortunately - since it compounds the problem) - or could also be from drinking too much at once. Great.]

But he kept running!! Talk about endurance. This guy doesn't quit. Ever.

At the finish, the runners went out .6 miles past the finish and then turned around to loop back (I'm not sure why exactly it was set up this way, but it was). So when we parked at the finish, Abigail got out to run with Zac that last 1.2 miles and keep him going strong to the finish line (Isaac wouldn't have been able to keep up, so he stuck with me). Well, where ever the finish line was. There wasn't technically a finish "line" - or it wasn't clearly marked, which was sort of interesting. I guess after 50 miles, the exact spot of the finish isn't entirely important. You make it to the lady with the stopwatch and you have finished 50 miles. ;)

(Isaac decided to mark his own line to cross for the finish)
And here comes Zac, still running strong after 50 insane miles, and Abigail, pushing him to the very end!!! Wohoooo!!!
(in the video which I'll post next, Zac is saying "where's the finish??? where's the finish?!?" as they come running up. He just needed to cross that line and stop, not a second before and not a second after!)
He finished in 9 hrs and 49 min (5:49 PM), placing 5th overall and 3rd for men's. He was a little disappointed because, like I said before, he thinks he could have finished at least an hr sooner if not for the complication he ran into. But I just think he's incredible.
Only 13 or 14 runners finished the 50 miler. About 5 dropped out along the way.
These people are just amazing. Absolutely crazy. But amazing.
So, they actually had a guy grilling food for everyone at the end. So we hung out awhile while Zac recovered somewhat (and cleaned off some of the grit and grime and crusty salt) and then we headed out on the long drive home. It took us nearly 3 hrs to drive the 50 mile dirt road course (and another hr to arrive home). Phew!
And I must confess I made Zac drive the last hr. I was tired! haha. In my defense, I had gone to bed really late, woken up super early, missed my usual nap, and driven the car for over 12 hrs. As soon as the sun went down, I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. And I think he was still running on pure adrenalin. He didn't seem fazed a bit. So as soon as we were able to drive more than 30 mph, I decided that this great adventure wouldn't really matter if I fell asleep at the wheel and killed us all - and he drove the rest of the way.

And that, my friends, is the long story of Zac's First 50 Mile Race.
He's already planning for next time (which I can't quite wrap my head around). And he's itching to complete a 100 miler sometime in his life, as well.
I've told him I'm not going to be his crew for that one.
I can't stay awake that long. ;)

PS - Here's a note Isaac wrote to him a couple nights ago when we gave him his dinner on the "You Are Special" plate to celebrate in his honor. :)
Dear Daddy,
I'm pretty surprised you finished the 50 mile race. I doubt you would be able to finish a 100 miles run. I feel sorry that you got dehigerated (dehydrated). And I'm really sorry I wasn't able to come back and fetch you. And I'm glad that you wanted us to go with you so you wouldn't die. And I'm sorry I couldn't run with you at the end.
Great Job!
Keep running daddy.
- Isaac

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Zac's First 50: oops (lessons learned and other fun stuff)

I should start off this post with a little bit of explanation. I did not really want to be Zac's support crew (gasp! I know). It wasn't part of the original plan, actually (months ago when Zac signed up for the race) - but it turned out that it was just me. And I know it sounds terribly unsupportive to say it like this. But there are a few legitimate reasons for my feeling this way (I think):

1. I am not a runner. I don't know what it feels like to hit "the wall" and feel my body shutting down on me as I've pushed it beyond its limits. I don't really "belong" in the runner club (although I do feel like a groupie). I told Zac it would be a little like asking him to help out backstage at a ballet recital. It's not that the task itself is that "difficult," per se. It's just so beyond your comfort zone that you feel, well, uncomfortable.

2. I am not a cheerleader. I feel self-conscious and silly yelling things like "way to go!" lookin' good!" "you're doing awesome!" - esp to people I don't know. And I was afraid that driving along the race course as we did, that I would be expected to kind of be a cheerleader along the way. I am more of a behind-the-scenes, give-you-a-smile-and-a-hug-when-you're-done kind of supporter.

3. I am a worrywart. I get terribly anxious watching Zac run like this. I have deep fears of seeing him collapse - and I am not a "calm in crisis" kind of person that would deal very well with that type of scenario. So, being Zac's support crew in this race was just not really where I wanted to be. Oh well. I did it out of love, of course. ;)

Anyway - so after mile 23, Zac told us to go 7 miles ahead and stop and wait for him. Here we are at one of our pit stops.

Another really fun aspect of this whole deal was the lack of facilities, shall we say. This was the view in all directions at one point when I discovered I kinda needed a bathroom:

um. Tell me, where would you like to squat, knowing that a car or runner could be coming up the road at any minute?

Luckily, a little further up the road, I found this little gem. A lone sage brush that I willing to hike out to for even a small illusion of being shielded from view. haha. Awesome!

Meanwhile, back down the road 5 miles or so, Zac was beginning to feel the effect of the unrelenting midday sun beating down on him. Consequently, he was burning through his gatorade much faster than he had anticipated. And the heat was getting to him.

Lesson #1 - Train in the heat.

Zac had done all his long runs early in the morning before the sun had even come up, so he just hadn't even really thought about this aspect of the race. He also forgot to put on sunscreen until later in the afternoon - and the whole left side of his body is now bright red.

Anyway - so Zac ran out of gatorade long before he came to our pit stop and he became dehydrated and dizzy and not well. This was about 1 pm when he reached mile 30. After that, he had to start walking, and even thought at some points that he may have to drop out of the race (although he didn't tell me that until later). He walked for about 7 more miles (and 2 pit stops in that time), unable to get himself recovered from the dehydration until after that point.

Lesson #2 - Don't let your crew get too far ahead.

He expressed this sentiment to a fellow runner, that he had let his crew go too far ahead and was now in trouble. And the runner replied something along the lines of, "no, dude, it's the other way around." In other words, it's the crew's job to take care of the runner. (Yeah. Do you remember Reasons #1 and #3 of why I didn't want to do this?!?) So when Zac told me this, on our long drive back home that night, I basically felt like the worst runner support crew ever. Zac reassures me that I was only following his instructions and I couldn't have known otherwise. And being a first time 50-miler, he didn't really know either. But I just felt awful about it.

When we saw him walking up to the car, not doing very well and saying he was dehydrated, I felt awful. He ended up walking for a ways and Abigail walked for a little bit with him. But Zac was noticably discouraged that this was going to add over an hr to his finish time, if he was even able to finish at all.
Gratefully, by about 3 pm and mile 38 he was feeling better and able to start running again. And . . . we'll continue from there next time . . . ;)

Oh, but just as a side note - the roads were AWFUL. I couldn't drive more than about 20 mph the entire 50 mile route. And there were sometimes trucks that would come barreling down the road like this, with no regard for the runners or crews stopped along the road:

And my car (and everything else) soon was completely covered with a gritty layer of grime like this:
I think there was dirt in every crevice known to man. Whatever that means.
(to be continued . . . )

Zac's First 50: Mile 23 Video

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Zac's First 50: the first half, or the calm before the storm

We were all pretty excited to get going on this adventure. The open road stretched interminably in front of us. It was a beautiful clear day. The kids were happy about their games and excited to give daddy the things he needed at the stops. And Zac was running well.

(there he is, running happily down the long, dry and dusty road)

He had written out this plan for me to have an idea of how often to drive ahead and stop and wait for him, and what he would need (generally) at each stop, so we could have it ready for him (this plan was fairly quickly discarded, as we realized that Zac's needs were going to be different than anticipated, and the roads required much slower driving than I had ever imagined. But, at this stage, it all seemed like a fine and dandy plan) ;)

It seems that a great percentage of the strategy for these ultra-marathons is planning to make sure you consume enough calories, electrolytes and fluid to maintain physical functioning for this long amount of time running. It is crucial - and, as we discovered, a tricky learning process, discovering what works for your body and what you need and can handle. More on this later . . .

approx 10 am, mile 16: we arrived at Simpson Springs Pony Express Trail Monument. We got out, looked around, took some pictures, and made use of the one and only (primitive) toilet available on the entire 50 mile course. It was wonderful.

Approx 11 am, mile 19: The kids got out to run alongside Zac for a little bit. Fun, fun.

Zac was feeling good, running well, and making excellent time. Everything was going great!

Plus, we saw antelope. yay. :)

So, after our pit stop at mile 23 or so and Zac was seemingly well-stocked and doing well, he told me to go ahead another 7 miles and wait for him there.
And that's . . . when he realized there were some things he hadn't planned for. Of course.
(to be continued . . . ) :)

Zac's First 50: Prep and Start

I'm having a hard time thinking through how to blog about this, so I'm just going to dive in with some pictures from the beginning, and hopefully it will all make some sort of sense, be at least marginally interesting, and won't go on tooooo long. We hope. :)

The night before Zac stopped at the store to pick up some things we needed for race day. I went to the store later to pick up the things he forgot. And then we sent my niece to the gas station even later to get what I had forgotten. Of course I was feeling just a little panicky and unprepared by that point. But we finally got everything done, bags packed, instructions left for babysitters, and the car loaded. Phew!! (This endeavor required 3 plans: Zac's eating and running plan, the "eating and keeping busy in the car" plan, and the "taking care of kids at home" plan.")

So - we left at 6 am in the morning to drive out to the start out by Faust UT.

The support crew vehicle:

posing up by the start:
sun coming up - yay!:

the start line:
(there were actually 4 starts, 5 am for the slow 100 milers, 6 am for the slow 50 milers, 7 am for the normal 100 milers and 8 am for the normal 50 milers. So these are the 50 milers at 8 am who deemed themselves "normal." hahaha.)
Zac is in the red jacket with the white number on his leg (left of the guy with the white shirt)

And they're off!!!:

The cars were instructed to wait 15 min while the runners came down off the hill before heading off to "crew their runners."
We had no idea what we were in for, but before we knew it, we were off, too. And so the fun begins . . .

He did it!!!

Zac finished his first 50 mile race in 9 hrs 49 min coming in 5th place overall!!
We spent almost 17 hrs total in the car (I can't even figure out the math on how that happened).
And we're all trying to recover. haha.
Full Story (with all the gory details - and lots of pictures) Coming Soon . . . !!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

FAQ's about Zac's Crazy Race

So, I've been talking about this on facebook and "real life" for awhile now, but for those of you who are missing out on those 2 facets of my dialogue, I'm putting this here too. I'd hate for anyone to feel left out. :)

On Friday Zac is running the Pony Express 50 Mile Race. (it is also a 100 mile race - Zac is "only" running the 50). He's been training insanely for a long time now, waking up at 4 am on Sat mornings to get his 30 mile runs in before our day gets going. Here are some of the most common FAQ's I've been getting as I tell people about this insanity (and you must know, I can't talk about it without just a little tinge of spousal pride creeping into my voice . . . even when I complain and think he's nuts, I'm still so impressed with him. Just to be clear.)

(view of a section of the course - looks exciting, huh?) ;)
1. 50 miles by himself?? not a team??

No, indeed. This is not a relay race. Zac likes to torture himself all on his own terms. (And I think he wants the glory all to himself at the finish - haha, jk)

2. Where is this race??

The race follows the Pony Express Trail starting out in the middle of nothing (Faust UT to be exact) and then following dirt and gravel roads for 50 miles farther into nothing, ending at Fish Springs UT.

3. People really do this??

Yes, apparently there are 19 people registered for the 50 miler, and then an additional 20 or so running the full 100 mile race. Not content to be "just" a marathon runner, Zac is making his foray into Endurance Running, which I guess is its own crazy beast reserved for the few truly crazy runners.

4. How long will it take him to finish?

At first I thought Zac said he was hoping to finish in under 12 hrs. The winner last yr finished in 9 hrs 30 min (or thereabouts). Zac is now shooting for somewhere between 8-9 hrs . . . or 10 or 11, or whatever it takes, I guess. There is so much that can happen and go wrong in a race where one is running 50 stinkin' miles, so it is a little hard to predict a time the first time, I guess.

5. And you're going to watch?

yes, well. This race doesn't provide any aid stations, so each runner is required to provide their own support crew. That's me. So I get to drive along for 12 -whatever hours giving Zac his water, gatorade, powerbars, salt tablets, vaseline, and whatever else he might require along the way. He's made a plan for me so I know approximately when he'll be needing what, but I'm still nervous. I don't want some other hard core runners getting mad at me for being in the wrong place, in their way, getting dust in their face, or something. I don't even know. Zac assures me this is all supposed to be very fun and bonding for everyone involved. But I'm not really feeling it. hahaha.

My biggest hope is just that Zac does as well as he hopes and doesn't get injured or collapse or something. That is always my prayer when he's out on crazy long runs (and mountain trail runs). These things just make me nervous. I've seen some people in pretty bad shape crossing some marathon finish lines, and sometimes even with the best preparation, unforeseen things can happen that can make you be one of those unfortunate people. So I'm always anxious for his safety and well-being (I have no hope for his sanity - ha! jk).

(I'll be driving along like this)

6. What are you doing with your kids?
Abigail and Isaac get to come with me and cheer him along. They can also get out and run alongside for some short stretches or even bring a bike and ride along. Mostly, we'll be playing card games, eating snacks and reading books. Not a bad way to spend the day, I suppose.
The little kids have been divied out among friends and family who will be taking shifts watching them from 6 am til approx 8 pm (including travel time). Hallelujah for people who love us and are willing to help us out!!
7. What's out there?
I've been told to look for wild horses, antelope, and maybe rattlesnakes. Other than that, there is nothing. And I do mean NOTHING. No cell phone coverage. No gas stations. No houses. No bathrooms (ONE portapotty stop for the entire 50 mile route). Seriously.
8. WHY is he doing this?
well, who knows if there will ever be an adequate answer to that. But I watch him plan out his run, with the food, and strategy for making it, pace for mileage or whatever, and he's setting out all his gear and making all his lists and he's been so excited he can barely sleep all this week, so all I know is that he loves it. What more of an answer can anyone give??
So, wish us luck. Of course we will be posting results and pics and all of that good stuff this weekend!!

(photos taken from the official race website linked above. And, disclaimer, some of my facts as far as times and such may not be 100% accurate but I'm too lazy to fact-check right now. Zac will correct my mistakes later, I'm sure. No worries) :)

wordless wednesday

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

(Elisabeth, May 2006, 3 1/2 wks old)

sometimes I just have to wonder if she's ever going to outgrow this . . .

Sunday, October 10, 2010

fall fun

So pretty up in the mountains. :)
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