Monday, December 31, 2007

Day 3: Albuquerque, NM to Kilgore, TX

7:45am: No vampires hiding in our truck.

10:22am: Just listening to The Pelican Brief. The landscape has evolved in the last 3 hours. Mountains after Albuquerque, very vast open spaces, a brief stint of trees, beautiful layered red bluffs, endless miles of dead grasses and brush, patches of snow hiding in the shadows of the brush, dry river beds like small canyons with steep walls cut sharply in the dirt, the occasional cow, rolling hills, then back to long flat stretches. We have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery while we listen to our book. Can’t wait to rent the movie when we get back home. I can’t believe I’ve never read this book or seen the movie.

10:51am: Just went over a red river. It was a shallow, muddy, slow-moving river dyed with the deep red-brown of the soil. In the distance we can see rain clouds with streaks leading to the ground. It’s interesting—I can almost imagine living out here and watching a storm roll in, grateful for the rain. I can’t imagine, however, what it must have felt like for the people fleeing the depression, driving west on Route 66. It’s not the most inviting drive. I’m sure it would be absolutely stunning in the spring, but in the winter it would look like you were driving off to a pretty harsh life.

11:15am/12:15pm: Just crossed the state line into Texas! And crossed into the Central Time Zone. Sucks losing an hour just like that. The sky is now quite cloudy. It’s nice for a change. It’s flat for miles in every direction, and the landscape is beautiful up against the clouds. Every landscape is more beautiful with big clouds filling the sky. Especially when the rays of light stream down from the clouds.

12:34pm: Passing a town called Adrian. That is my grandmother’s name (on my dad’s side). Brings back some wonderful memories. I loved spending time with Grandma Adrian. Sometimes I look at my hands and see the small ridges in my fingernails. Grandma Adrian had ridges in her nails and seeing mine always remind me of her. I like the fact that my nails look like hers.

2:43pm: B-o-o-o-o-ring!

2:57pm: Cotton fields on all sides. White cotton on red dirt. Beautiful! And instead of trash blown all over the shoulders of the road, there’s cotton! We’re on a smaller road now. Can’t quite go as fast as on the freeway. We’re in Memphis now. Nope, not Memphis, Tenessee. Memphis, Texas. Just passed the high school—the Memphis Cyclones. Hmmmm. I think I’d rather stick with earthquakes over cyclones any day. To our left is Hollis. Ha! Hollis. And instead of bales of hay, there are semi-truck sized bales of cotton. So foreign to me.

3:04pm: Lots of people die in The Pelican Brief. Crazy. Just passed a field full of donkeys. Two of them needed to get a room…

3:29pm: Gas price in the tiny town we’re passing: $2.02 per gallon. I could handle that.

4:56pm: Bored out of my mind. The end of The Pelican Brief is dragging out longer than the Nile. I think I’m going crazy in this truck. And we just passed a field full of camels. A herd of camels in the middle of Texas? Yes, I’m sure we’re going crazy.

8:00-ish pm: I actually exercised in the truck. Sit-ups with my feet tucked under Christian’s butt. Leg lifts, more ab work, tricept work using our CD cases as weights, bicep curls, more abs. Not bad, if I do say so myself. You know what’s funny? We didn’t have Mexican food in New Mexico, and we didn’t have BBQ or steak in Texas. We really suck at that whole making the most of the places we’re visiting, huh?

10:23pm: Yes, we’re still driving. Technically, Christian is still driving. Another 50 minutes or so and we’ll be in Kilgore. Where’s Kilgore? Good question. Just past Tyler. (Six-shooter Molly’s Trading Post, Ashley’s Furniture Store, a city named Iyan??, a city named Adrian—it has definitely been a family trip—still looking for an Amy so I cover all the kids). Anyway, Kilgore is almost to the Louisiana border. We were going to stop in Wichita Falls, but decided to press on to Dallas. Just a couple hours further. We got to Fort Worth and decided we’d just keep going. It was dark out and we were just fine in the truck. Ok, technically I was going crazy, but once The Pelican Brief finally ended, I was fine. I called ahead and we have a hotel room waiting for us in Kilgore. I’m looking forward to laying down in a bed.

Can’t say it’s going to be much of a New Year’s Eve. We’ll probably just check in, wash our faces, brush our teeth, and have just enough time to have a quick New Year’s kiss at midnight before we collapse asleep. Yay. What a way to ring in the new year. Maybe we’ll go to ice cream tomorrow to celebrate.

10:53pm: We can tell that there are trees everywhere. The terrain is hilly and there are thick trees on both sides of us. It’s killing me that it’s dark outside. A full day of driving with practically no trees, and now we know they’re there, but we can’t see them. I can’t wait to get up in the morning and see what it looks like.

12:00am: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Day 2: Kingman, AZ to Albuquerque, NM

Day 2: Kingman, AZ to Albuquerque, NM

I'd like to include photos in this, but the internet at this hotel is too slow. So maybe I'll add photos tomorrow night. We'll see.

6:00am: Alarms went off. We pushed snooze. And the pushed it again. And again. And again.

7:25am: Oops. We finally woke up and got out of bed. At first I was pretty annoyed. I had hoped to be on the road by 6:30. The sooner we leave, the sooner we get to our next destination. But then I realized it doesn’t really matter that much. This way we’d get to see what Kingman looked like in the daylight.

8:30am: Back on the interstate. Kingman isn’t much to look at in the daylight. Oh well. I’ve discovered that riding in a big huge Penske moving truck really isn’t so bad. The seats are comfortable and it’s quite roomy. I can stretch my legs out on the dash. I can put my maps/camera/books/CDs/laptop on the 3-foot stretch of bench seat between Christian and me and still not feel claustrophobic. Can’t quite do that in the Passat. Christian just informed me that it’s making him feel claustrophobic. Ok, I’ll clean off the seat. And singing along to music in this truck gives you the most hilarious vibrato ever. Of course, I then realized that if my vocal cords were bouncing that bad, it was no wonder that my head hurt. Oh, and you know those old weight-loss devices that were supposed to vibrate your fat in order to shrink it? I’m’ hoping this constant belly/arm/thigh vibrating is working just like that.

10:05am: Stopped to get gas, and guess what? It just happened to be the Six-Shooter Molly Trading Company! Ok, it was just a gas station store, but still! Six-Shooter Molly! Doesn’t get much better than that.

10:30am: I discovered that I can’t listen to a book and do something else at the same time. I miss everything the reader is saying. So every time I want to look at a map or read the travel guide or do something on my laptop, I have to stop the CD. I wouldn’t want to miss part of the story, right? Oh, by the way, today we’re listening to the Pelican Brief. I’ve also discovered that if I don’t see names in writing, I don’t remember them. So after about 20 minutes of saying, “Who is that? Wait, who’s this person?” I finally started writing down the characters’ names. I’m following the story much better now.

10:45am: I decided we’re going to drive on the scenic route to see the canyon on the road to Sedona. It’s a little off our path, but supposed to be very pretty. Feeling a bit like my mom during our family trip across the US, I started reading out of the tourbook about Sedona. I had literally read about three paragraphs when I looked up and… trees! There were trees! That quickly we had gone from tumble weed to real pine trees! Although I try to tell myself that long stretches of tumble-weed covered desert is beautiful, I know my true love is green. Green trees. Granted, throw some cool rock formations and Joshua trees into the desert scene, and it’s a bit better, but I still prefer the trees.

12:00pm: Age old story. Molly points out the exit to go see the canyon. Christian doesn’t want to go see it, but doesn’t say anything. Christian is grumpy the whole time. Molly confronts him about it. Everything is blown out of proportion. Trip to the canyon sucks. We drive in silence for a ridiculous amount of time. Need I say more?

1:17pm: Driving past Winslow, Arizona. Would have toyed with the idea of finding “the corner” but (1) I really don’t care to see “the corner” and (2) I’m not about to suggest we get off the freeway after the canyon fiasco.

12:53pm: Dinosaur spotting.

3:54pm: All’s quiet on the western-heading-eastern front. Not much to report. Beautiful carved red hills and bluffs. Is that what they’re called? We stopped to grab something to munch on (Reeses Pieces just aren’t cutting it). I felt like eating a taco. A real, small, authentic taco. We’re in New Mexico. Shouldn’t there be little taquerias on every corner? Nope. We got gorditas at Taco Bell. Oh well. 124 miles to Albuquerque.

5:31pm: Just passed a speed limit: “75mph, minimum 65mph in left lane.” Amen. No slow pokes in the fast lane. That’s why we’re in the slow lane. ☹

5:50pm: Arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Right on schedule. Even with the canyon fiasco. Checked into a hotel near Old Town. First thing we did? Call the movie theaters. And do you know what? A guy actually answered! What the heck? I was expecting a recorded message with the movie times and was actually caught speechless when he asked if he could help me. Funny.

6:50pm: Walked around Old Town. Of course, it was almost 7:00pm on a Sunday night. Nothing was open. But it was fun to walk around anyway. We were looking for a place to eat dinner, but didn’t want Mexican food (funny since that’s all I wanted for lunch). Walked back to our hotel—frozen.

7:30pm: Drove the massive moving truck to downtown, parked it, and ate at a yummy little pizza place—mmmmmm! Burping up garlic for hours after—not so mmmmm. Then we walked across the street to the movie theater. As we came around the corner, we saw a Tucano’s Brazilian Churrascaria. Oops. Christian just about died when he saw it. If only we had gone to buy the movie tickets before going to the pizza place.

10:30pm: Left the movie theater after watching I am Legend. Although it was very good (quite different from the book, but fun to compare the similarities and differences), we kicked ourselves the entire way home. We don’t like scary movies! What were we thinking?! I can’t wait to walk out to our dark moving truck in the morning. We’re both going to pee our pants worrying about vampires hiding in it.

11:25pm: Going to bed WAY too late. Let’s see if we can get up in the morning…

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Day 1: Mountain View, CA to Kingman, AZ

Unfortunately, our wonderful friends, the Derbys, are moving back to Alabama. We will miss them so much. Especially since we decided not to move to Alabama with them. I know the idea of following friends across the country sounds a bit odd, but this friend also happens to be Christian’s boss. So we had the option of moving out there with them. But because of Christian’s schooling (2 more years! You can do it, Christian!) and because we don’t want to move Richard again (2 ½ more years! You can do it, Richard!), we decided we need to stay here. Although an adventure on the other side of the country sounded pretty fun.

So with the Derby’s moving, and Mike with a broken back, they needed someone to drive all their stuff back to Alabama. Who better to pay to do it then Christian? So we’re in a moving truck full of the Derby’s stuff driving across the country. This is our adventure.

We got up at 5:20am. Showered, put our stuff in the car, and went over to help the Derbys load up the last of their things. At 7:45am we said our goodbyes (ok, not really—we’re going to see them in 4 days) and set out.

We’re all set with books on CD. In fact, we have about 100 hours worth of books on CD. Today we’re listening to I am Legend. Maybe we’ll go see the movie tonightl

11:04am: We’re about an hour from Bakersfield. Agricultural fields stretch for miles on either side of us. Not much to look at. Yet I looked out just at the right time to see a little tan-colored fox walking lazily through the field. He was almost perfectly camouflaged. Sneaky little fella.

2:09pm: In Tehachapi looking for a gas station. Molly’s legs are going numb. Christian runs a stop sign. We spend a half hour in Kmart looking for a power inverter. Molly gets some comfy sweats. Christian makes lots of u-turns. Molly discovers she is literally sitting on the gas tank and is very glad she watched so many Myth Busters episodes that showed how hard it is to make a gas tank explode.

4:05pm: Barstow, CA. Just finished listening to I am Legend. Unfortunately the 4th (of 5) CD was scratched and we had to skip to disc 5. We missed quite a bit of the story. And we just can’t see a Will Smith movie ending like the book ended. So now we have to go see the movie to see if it stuck to the original story.

4:16pm: Just drove by a heart-wrenching and sobering scene. A crumpled SUV on its side about 15 feet off the right shoulder. About 6 cars were stopped and people were standing around the cab of the SUV. Half a dozen others just standing around. Looked like there were still people in the SUV. No fire trucks yet. No ambulance. Wanted to stop, but what good would two more people standing around do? All I could do is say a little prayer for the people in the SUV.

4:38pm: Molly declares she doesn’t want to eat any more fast food. We’ve only been on the road for 8 hours. It’s going to be a long trip.

4:45pm: It's now dark out. BORING!

So we listened to some Darwin Awards, watched ourselves lose an hour crossing the Arizona border, found a cheap hotel, had a lovely dinner at Denny's (yeah--we're going all out), and now it's time for bed.

Have I bored you enough? Stay tuned for more super exciting driving across the country details...

Christmas 2007

What a wonderful Christmas. This was probably my favorite Christmas so far. Considering my horrible memory, I guess that’s not saying a whole lot, but it really was great.

It all started with Christmas music. I have never been crazy on listening to Christmas music. I’ve always liked it, but really only listened to it when someone else put it on. And technically I only like the traditional “classic” Christmas music. Modern spins on Christmas music really kind of annoy me. So this year I purchased my first very own Christmas music: Christmas with the Rat Pack (Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, etc.). And I constantly listened to KBAY (I know, I know—it’s KBAY, but during December they play all Christmas music).

But don’t worry—I’ll still only listen to Christmas in December. None of this discounting Thanksgiving and starting Christmas celebrations the day after Halloween. ☺

Next came the Christmas tree! It was beautiful. We went up to the mountains and chopped it down. Know what I learned this year? If everyone in the country cut down a real tree every year, it would be way better for the environment than everyone in the country buying one plastic tree each to last them for the rest of their lives. Makes me feel much better about cutting down trees every year. Granted, I probably could have figured that out on my own if I had thought about it. Trees giving off oxygen, requiring practically no water, biodegradable, renewable resource, etc. Yay! I’m being good to the environment!

Next came the gift giving. Sadly, two apartments in our area burnt down due to a grease fire. It was heartwarming to see a member of our ward at church send out an email to collect money and clothing for the displaced families. It felt amazing to directly help out a couple of families we didn’t even know.

For Christmas, we had Christian’s family over on Christmas Eve day. We had a yummy breakfast, opened presents, and watched movies.

We drove down to Hollister on Christmas Eve and spent the night and Christmas Day with my family. Everyone was there. Grandma Bernice, Mom, Dad, Ian, Kitty, Camden, Quincee, Taitum, Sutton, Tyler, Ashley, Charlie, Junior Junior in Ashley’s tummy, Amy, Ivan, Diego, Ashley, Jose, Christian, and me. There were a million presents to open in the morning and it was madness as everyone opened gifts. It’s normally very orderly with one person opening at a time, but because of the sheer number of gifts, it was crazy.

And on Christmas Eve we held our first Carter nativity reinactment. Complete with a baby Jesusa, a Josepha, a Mary, an angel, and a lion and cow. Oh, and Ian’s wonderful reading abilities. Mary is no longer Joseph’s espoused wife, but his estranged wife. I mean, it’s almost 2008, right?

Christian and I had a little contest going. I told him he was going to be SO excited about his gift. He told me I was going to be even more excited about mine. I couldn’t wait! Although what my parents and I got him was awesome, I think he was right.

Christian’s gift:


My gifts:

(map of US with frame)

(clipless pedals)

Of course, what good are clipless pedals if you don’t have shoes to go with them? So on the 26th, the first thing I did was go buy clipless shoes (with my allowance, of course). I cleaned my bike (which was useless, because I went out riding again on wet roads and got it all gritty again), installed my bike computer that Ashley gave me for my birthday, put on my clipless pedals, and sat there watching TV clicking my shoes in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out.

So yesterday morning I got all bundled up and went on a ride. I was expecting to feel this great difference in terms of riding ease, but then I realized that I hadn’t been on a real bike ride in, um, probably a couple months. And then I realized that I had only exercised twice since my marathon (out of sheer laziness—I felt perfectly fine two days after the marathon). So if my muscles and lungs had been ready for it, I’m sure I would have felt the difference. Instead, I just huffed and puffed my way out to Stevens Creek Reservoir and back. I practically froze on the way back. It took my toes about 20 minutes in the shower to fully thaw. But the clipless pedals worked great. Now I just have to get my lungs and quads to catch up.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Sometimes I eat chocolate while driving.

Sometimes I accidently drop pieces of the chocolate on my lap (we call that "pulling a Denise").

Sometimes I don't notice that a piece has fallen onto the seat.

And sometimes it stays there for the rest of my drive.

And every time, I get out of my car to go do something.

And every time, I come back to my car.

Sometimes I go to get in and I notice there's a nice piece of half-melted chocolate smashed onto my seat.

And sometimes that chocolate looks like poo.

And sometimes I'm horrified to realize that I probably have half-melted chocolate that looks like poo stuck to the backside of my pants.

But luckily yesterday I was wearing pin-striped black pants, so it wouldn't have shown up anyway.

Lucky me.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

want to walk a mile in my shoes?

No, really. Would you like to walk a mile in my shoes?

Because that's what I did last night. In pointy-toed, high-heel stilettos.

This is how my evening went down:

Because I had left my bike at work, Christian took me to the train in the morning, and I just planned on riding my bike back to the train after work. I wore my pointy-toed, high-heel stilettos. No big deal. I've ridden my bike in them before. I look silly, but other than that it's just the same as riding with normal shoes--only your toes are on the pedal anyway.

I left work at 4:50pm, with just enough time to ride to the train. Or so I thought. By the time I got on my bike, I was very late. And then it started raining on the way to the train. No big deal. I had on my trusty water-resistant windbreaker from Sports Basement.

I got to the train station just as the train, the 22 bus, and the 522 bus were all pulling away. That sucks.

So I waited about 15 minutes for the next bus. It came, I put my bike on the front, and I played Tetris on my phone on the way home. Not so bad.

I got off the bus in Mountain View, got on my bike, rode about 50 feet, and noticed a strange sound coming from my front tire. As I watched it, I noticed something shiny on the tire going around and around and around. So I stopped and pulled out a nice sharp chunk of glass. Great. Just great.

I kept riding hoping that it hadn't punctured the inner tube. No suck luck. Less than a block later I had a completely flat tire.

By this time I was about a mile from home. So I hoofed it the last mile in my pointy-toed, high-heel stilettos. Keep in mind that this trek included a romp through the mud in the park where they were doing construction on the sidewalk.

So it took me an hour and ten minutes to get home, but I made it!

And not one blister or hot spot.

I love my shoes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

shirts and more

If anyone needs any screenprinting jobs (on shirts/pants/jackets, etc. for family reunions, sports teams, etc.), look no further.

This is my sister, Ashley, and her boyfriend, Jose. Jose does screenprinting. Does that make him a screenprinter? Is that what you'd call him? Jose is a screenprinter.

This is my nephew Diego.

These are the screenprints Ashley and Jose made on baby clothes for Diego.

Need I say more? Let me know if you're interested and I'll send you more samples.

Friday, December 14, 2007

the twelve expenses of Christmas

12) A tune-up and repair on the Acura.

11) A re-repair on the Acura when the first repair didn't fix it.

10) A repair on the dryer.

9) A traffic ticket for turning left when I wasn't supposed to.

8) Registration fees for the Acura.

7) A broken computer system on the Passat.

6) A new headlight for the Passat.

5) A new battery for the Acura.

4) An overdraft fee.

3) Three more to go? Bring it on, fate!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

the good, the bad, and the ugly

Note to readers: This is probably the longest post I’ve ever written, but 26 miles is a LONG way to run and I just had too many memories to leave any of them out. If you want the reader's digest version, just read the bold print throughout.

So remember when I asked what happens if you don’t train hard enough for a marathon? If you have the time, read on. Let’s go for a little run.

Keep in mind that I’m not being a pessimist, just honest. I’m pretty in tune with my body and I know when I haven’t trained enough. So I already knew I was going to struggle. I think it’s actually easier to know in advance that it’s going to be a hard run. So I’ll hold nothing back here.

I woke up at 5:45am. For the first time ever, I didn’t prepare any of my stuff the night before the race. Didn’t put my race chip on my shoes. Didn’t put my bib number on my tank top. Didn’t fill my water bottles. But it didn’t faze me at all. So I moseyed around getting ready, woke up Christian, and off we went.

After a 15-minute drive, Christian dropped me off at the start line. I quickly met up with Julia and Maren in the (huge) porta potty line. Kaylynn, Ed, and Paul soon joined us, and we decided to ditch the porta potty. There would be plenty on the course.

Waiting for the start was a lot of fun. We chatted, we laughed, we held hands and pushed our way through the crown, we gagged at the smell of bad pre-race B.O. (Come on, people, wash your running clothes!), and we jumped up and down trying to ignore the fact that it was only 45 degrees out (10 degrees warmer than last year, though!).

And then it started. My first thoughts? “Wow. I’m about to run 26 miles. What was I thinking?” and “Yay! Time to run!” The first mile of Cal is great. Down hill is a great way to start a race. Makes you feel so strong! Not to mention we were cracking up at everything that came our of Paul and Ed’s mouths. So were the people around us, actually.

After a mile, I just let my body take over. It was nice. I didn’t push myself; I just let myself run a comfortable pace. I also knew that the second half of the race was going to be hell no matter what I did, so I just did what felt good.

The first 10 miles literally flew by. I didn’t even feel like I was running. Rolling hills, little neighborhoods, lots of runners. In fact, I realized after about 5 miles that I had been following the double yellow line in the middle of the road almost the whole time. When I realized how annoying the little reflector bumps were getting, I moved to the right side—where I found Christian every 5 miles. Nothing is better than seeing him on the side of the road. A big smile, a couple words of encouragement, sometimes a kiss, and then I’m alone again for another 5 miles.

I saw two people trip and fall within the first 5 miles. Definitely puts you on top of your game. Could you imagine hurting yourself 3 miles into a marathon after all that training? Sad!

Around mile 13 or 14 I lost the guy in the kilt, whom I had been following for the majority of the first half. At that moment I knew I was starting to slow down. No big deal. That’s how it happens every time. I was still able to pull off 10-minute miles through mile 15. But that’s when I started getting tired…

Kaylynn soon caught up to me and it made me really happy to see her doing so well. She was running like a rock star and I knew right then and there that she was going to finish strong. I love seeing my friends running fast and feeling good. (Just for the record, she DID finish like a rock star!) But as she and Lindsey disappeared in front of me, I sadly realized I was going to struggle for the rest of the race.

By mile 17 my body was starting to crash. The first thing that went through my mind was, “What? Mile 17? Come on! This isn’t supposed to happen until at least mile 20!” It was tough. Knowing that I was crashing and still had 9 miles to go was difficult. Running 9 miles is hard enough as it is. Imagine running 9 miles when you’re already exhausted. NOT my idea of a good time. It was impossible to convince myself that 9 miles was no big deal. It was a big deal.

I distracted myself a bit by eavesdropping on a nearby conversation. I actually slowed down a bit to join in the conversation and do a little research for a curriculum project in one of my graduate classes. Amazing. I actually did school work at mile 17 of a marathon. Who would have thought?

Not long after that, I saw a woman puking on the side of the road. I immediately thought, “Yeah, that’s why I don’t push myself,” and started feeling a little better about the fact that I had slowed down.

When I met up with Christian at mile 20, I was exhausted. I didn’t want to run anymore. I knew it was going to be hard. My back hurt, my hips hurt, and I still had 6 miles to go. He gave me a kiss, ran with me for a bit, told me I would do great, and said he’d see me at the finish. By that time, Julia, Maren, and Rebecca had met up with me (and Sarah soon joined). It was great to see them. We chatted for a bit while we ran. I was glad Maren was still feeling really good. It was her first marathon and she was AMAZING! It was also comforting to know that Julia had had a hard first half. I wan’t the only one struggling.

On the way to mile 21, Julia looked at me and said, “What do you say we push the pace from here on out and PR?” I actually just laughed at her and said, “I know my body. I slow down, not speed up.” But I tried anyway. We pushed a 10-minute pace that mile. My quads and calves were burning in a way they never had before. My legs felt like they were going to lock up any second.

We came around the corner and there was the bridge. A little sadness came over me. This had been my favorite part of the marathon the year before. At this point in the marathon last year, I felt strong--I felt like I could just keep going--I didn’t even notice that the bridge was a hill--I looked out at the water as I ran and enjoyed every second of it. But this year was a different story. I was exhausted. My body hurt. It felt like a hill. I tried to look out and enjoy the scenery, but all I could do was look at the pavement in front of me and see the distance between me and the other girls slowly increase. As we came over the top of the bridge, I bit the bullet and called ahead, “Julia—PR for me, ok? I have to slow down.” It was sad.

Just for the record, that’s why I run by myself sometimes. It’s hard mentally to know that you can’t keep up. We all have our slow days, but feeling like I’m trying to keep up with someone can make my run so much harder. I was sad to see them go, but I knew I couldn’t keep up for the last 4 miles.

4 miles. 4 miles. Just a quick out and back at Steven’s Creek, right? Yeah, that would have been nice. Miles 22-25 were hard. Hard hard hard. My back hurt, my legs hurt, and I honestly didn’t have that much desire to keep running. But I don’t run a marathon to stop at mile 23. Even if I have to walk some, I only stop at mile 26.2.

At mile 24, I saw a medical team lifting a girl onto a stretcher. Scary. Yet another reason why I don’t push myself too hard. I hope she’s ok.

Between miles 24 and 25, a man was standing up ahead handing out slices of oranges. I was about 20 feet away when he gave out his last one. He walked back to his car to slice more, and what did I do? I followed him. I wanted one so badly. That sliced orange looked WAY better than another shot of nasty gu. So I followed him. And I got the first slice of the next batch of oranges. Mmmmm! I devoured that thing as I started running again. I must have looked like I was starving as I ate that orange. Juice was running down my chin, and I didn’t even care. I think I spent the next half mile trying to get pieces of the orange out of my teeth. I guess it was a good distracter.

Somewhere along the way a guy walking the opposite direction was playing a recorder. I remembered him from the year before. Have you ever listened to a recorder? No matter what you play, it sounds like a lullaby. This guy was playing The Eye of the Tiger. I was tempted to yell, “Are you kidding me? You’re putting us all to sleep! Come on, man! You can’t do that this far into a marathon!” Next year I’m giving him a piece of my mind.

Just before mile 25, a girl on the side of the road was shouting out to the runners that we should cheer for the relay runners. Keep in mind that she was not cheering. She was telling us to cheer for the relay runners. It was like she was rallying for a good cause. Her tone of voice sounded like she was trying to make us feel guilty for not cheering for them. Excuse me? Am I not on mile 24 of a MARATHON?? The relay runners are doing awesome. Many of them have never run as far as they are running today. But what the heck, girl? That’s what you’re here for! Don’t tell me to cheer for anyone but myself two miles from the end of a marathon. I felt like punching her in the face. I was close enough, too. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough energy. So I just kept running.

Speaking of relay runners, I hear Liz was dancing and singing during her leg. That would have been some great entertainment!

Lindsey met up with me just before the 25-mile mark. I was so tired. It was nice to see her. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the best conversationalist. I wasn’t unhappy, though. I knew the race was going to be hard. So all I had to do was get through the last little bit. She kept saying, “You’re almost there!” and I kept thinking, “Damn straight I’m almost there!!” It was pretty funny.

But my favorite part of the entire race (followed closely by the amazing first half and the slice of orange at mile 24) was when I was coming around the corner and could see the finish line. No, no, no. It wasn’t because I could see the finish. I didn’t really care about that. I knew it was there. It was there last year, too. As I came around the corner, Kaylynn, Brook, and Liz (and I’m sure a bunch of other people, but they are the only ones I remember) were standing there cheering me on. Kaylynn looked at me and with big eyes pointed behind me and yelled, “Hurry!!” I knew immediately that she meant that the 5-hour pace team was behind me. Of course, I knew that my chip time was really 4:54, so it wouldn’t have mattered if they passed me. But I thought it was so funny that I laughed and kicked it up a notch, reaching the finish line well ahead of the pace team. Interesting that something so simple could make the last bit of my marathon so enjoyable.

Post Race: We had a lot of fun taking pictures, reminiscing about the funny parts of the race, and enjoying lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. On the way back to my brother’s house, I told Christian that I wouldn’t be running any more marathons for a while. If I don’t have time to properly train, it’s just not a good idea. By the time we got to my brother’s house my back didn’t hurt anymore and I actually felt great. The next day I was only as sore as if I had done a hard track workout. Two days later I was thinking about what my next race would be. Three days later my body felt perfectly normal. Very strange. What an amazing recovery!

I even realized that I only added on 10 minutes to last year’s time. And I added it on to the FIRST half of my marathon. Wait, what? I actually ran the second half one minute faster than last year. How exactly does that work? Running is a strange thing, my friends. A very strange thing.

So was the marathon worth it? Hard to say. The first half was amazing. The second half was a living hell. Hanging out with friends was a ton of fun. Running just to finish the race was not. Lessons learned? (1) I can run a marathon even without training hard enough, but I should probably train harder next time, (2) I still love running, (3) recorders should NOT be played during a marathon, and (4) don’t make a runner mad at mile 24—she just might punch you in the face.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

thursday tid-bits

1) My post about my marathon is coming soon. Just haven't had a chance to upload all the photos and get my thoughts down on paper.

2) At my meeting on Monday, someone set a platter of cookies on a platform placed precariously on an extra conference phone which had been set on a conference-room chair. Not realizing the platter wasn't stable, I reached for a cookie. Upon touching the cookie (not even lifting it up, just touching it), the entire platter slid of and all the cookies went flying. How embarassing.

3) I need my readers' opinions: How much would someone have to pay YOU to drive their moving truck across the country? Would it be worth it?

4) I'm back on track with the getting-in-super-shape-and-maybe-even-a-six-pack thing. I don't like New Years Resolutions because no one ever keeps them. So my plan is to get it done before New Years. Honestly, it's really hard. But I ran my marahon and now I'm ready to make every muscle in my body sore--starting with my butt. My inspiration? Last month's Runners World cover. I mean, who wouldn't want those abs?

5) I only have one group project and one paper due. Then I'm done with this semester.

6) Tell me--how do you find a balance? Constantly being practical and always sacrificing to prepare for your financial future, and living your life to enjoy it and being care-free enough to follow your dreams and know that it will all work out in the end.

7) I really want a Christmas tree. A full-sized Christmas tree. This will be our first big tree. I think I might pop if I don't get one this week. Anyone have any suggestions on where to get a nice tree for not too much money?

8) We have squirrels on our roof (or in our roof--I can't tell--but I think they live IN the roof). Sometimes we can hear them running around. One of them eats my tomatoes--stupid squirrel! They're lucky they're cute. Lately, around 7am every morning, they get into a scuffle. I can hear them running around right above my bed. They wake me up. And I love it. If they were rats, I'd be grossed out. But because they are squirrels, I think it's great. I love hearing animals--birds, squirrels, dogs, cats, horses, cows, chickens. But in my apartment, I have to settle for the sound of squirrels running around. I take what I can get.