My new nickname

imageBrian and I have a nickname for almost everyone we know. The more we like someone, the more nicknames we have. A few of mine are ma sqaw, not the mama (from a show called The Dinosaurs that was on when Emily was little), crabby for thirty years, Rach etc. About the time we hit Death Valley Brian started calling me Schleprock. After a couple of days I asked him what that was about. He loved The Flinstones when he was little so he told me that Schleprock was a character on the show that always had bad luck. He said Fred and Barney would tell him to go away.
I was the one who planned the vacation so I earned the nickname.

Here is a recap of our disaster vacation.
1. We went to pick up the rental car and the lady gave us two choices so we picked the bigger one. When we checkout a different lady says it’s a bigger size and we owe more money. I said that’s not happening that lady told us we could have that one. So I had to track her down in the parking lot and she attempts to blame me. I confronted her and she signed the paper so it was the same price.
2. At the end of the race my phone jams up and I did not get a picture with the bear.
3. Brian had heard about the California mudslides while I was running but thought surely it won’t affect us. Of course it did and that drive turned into nine hours.
4. Our first night we spent at sequoia it rained overnight. This caused the restaurant help to be severely understaffed from call ins. Therefore, breakfast took over an hour.
5. Some of the stuff we wanted to see was unavailable due to the rain.
6. On the way to Death Valley I look to see how much that park costs to get into and find out they had rain the night before. A bunch of people got stuck at Scotty’s castle and half of what we wanted to do was not available.
7. The place I wanted to see the most was badwater and it had already been closed from the rain the week before.
8. Death Valley had spotty cell service and our dog got lost. It’s our cell numbers on the dogs tags.
9. We arrive in the Grand Canyon to sleet and find out they usually have snow by Halloween.
10. We arrive at the airport three hours early and still almost miss the plane.

Although all this makes it seem like we had a horrible time, it really was the best vacation ever. Here are some positives
1. The plane didn’t crash.
2. It was fun to watch Brian be amazed by the trees, wildlife, and nature. He was in guy heaven.
3. I found an amazing ring made by Navajo’s.
4. I ran my race faster than I thought I would.
5. Many hours of quality time due to no wifi and cell service.
6. My dog was found and safe.

Brian bought himself some property so I told him I’m picking the anniversary trip. I think he was pleasantly surprised how man like it was. He loved the Grand Canyon tour and said it was more than worth the money. That says a lot more than I could ever articulate.

Mole moral~ When crazy things happen on vacation come up with a funny nickname and have fun with it. As we were booking down the hall to get on the plane I put my hands over my head and yelled I am Shleprock.


Death Valley

The idea to visit Death Valley came about this past June when my mom, Allyson, and I all visited Uncle Larry in South Carolina. My mom wanted to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway because she heard it was beautiful. While we were driving it, I noticed it was a national park. After arriving back to Uncle Larry’s house I googled national parks and Death Valley came up. So then I google Death Valley and came across a book called To the Edge: A Man, Death Valley, and the mystery of Endurance. It’s about a writer who was to cover an ultramarthon race in Death Valley valley and decided to run it himself with only seven months training. After I finished the book I knew I had to visit and informed Brian that we would be going there for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. I really had no idea what to expect.

There are only three places to stay unless you want to camp. (Not this girl). Furnace creek, stovepipe wells, and Panamint springs. When I was pricing them some of the rooms at furnace creek were 600 a night. I eliminated that place really quick and it was by far the nicest from the outside. It seems like Panamint springs was not open which is just as well because it looked a little shabby. We stayed at stovepipe wells which was in the middle. It got its name back in the day as the only well around. Miners would come to find it and someone finally stuck a stovepipe up to mark it. It is no longer in use but can be seen three miles away. However due to the rain the night before that road was closed. It was the same road that ran to Scotty’s Castle which was also closed. Actually the rainstorm stranded a group of people up there for 24 hours.

No one lives in death valley except the people who work there. There are no subdivisions or anything.

The race starts at badwater which is 279 feet below sea level and the lowest point in North America. I wanted to see this most of all but it had been closed for a week due to the rain they received the week before. We were able to see it from Dantes pass which was 5000 feet above sea level. The hotel was at sea level and it was 80 degrees and Dantes pass was 60. The change in temperature and air pressure related to how far above sea level we were was really fascinating. The race ends at Mt. Whitney which is 8300 feet above sea level. The race goes past all three hotels and is 135 miles long. I thought it was a slow climb, boy was I ever wrong. We drove part of the course as they run right on the highway. It’s climbing up and down 5000 feet at least three times. It’s total insanity.

There were a few things open to see and they were really cool. Brian and I hiked 2 miles into a canyon which said do not attempt of rain predicted. We quickly realized even .2 inch of rain would cause flash flooding and down pouring of water. The ground is so hard it doesn’t absorb much of anything so rain washes everything out.

I wanted to see the place that actually has fish but it was rained out. The place with the moving rocks also not available. I did convince Brian to drive down rainbow canyon and it was kind of like Dorothy waking up in Oz. This area receives a lot more rain. There were big trees and they were green. I found red and yellow plants. Some of the trees had orange flowers. There was an 8 mile hike we wanted to do but we had no time. We had to leave for the Grand Canyon. The colors were awesome but I’m an earth color person.

There is so much more to see and do that I already told Brian I want to come back for my big birthday. It is only a ninety minute drive from Vegas. I would like to stay for five days. This means I need to work on upper body and core so we can do some of the harder hikes.


Mole moral~ you just never know what agreeing to walk a half marathon with Jen P and Erin S would lead to six years later. That led to running which lead me to the book which brought me to Death Valley the most awesome place I’ve ever been.



Goldilocks Half Marathon


image  How many people plan a 25th wedding anniversary trip and look for a run to do while on it. At least one person, because that’s exactly what I did. I found this run and it was awesome. First of all, it was girls only so instead of getting another giant medal to add to my medal rack, I received a necklace. The course support on this run was even better than Disney runs. There were water stops and bathrooms every two miles. The bathrooms were pink and sadly I had a phone malfunction and did not get a picture. At mile 10 they handed out ice pops and I being the juvenile delinquent that I am, took a blue one. It was a yummy surprise. We boarded buses at 05:45 and they took us 13.1 miles away and dropped us off and we ran back.

The run was through red rock canyon and it was gorgeous. However unless you love running hills, I can’t recommend it. It was tough. I run around my neighborhood and since I live at the top of a giant hill, I end every run up the hill. Last week I ran 4 miles straight including my hill and the hill on Vogel that goes up to Simpson school. I’m glad I did, made this more tolerable.

This was a smaller run and they had pacer’s so I started out with the 2:45 group which I didn’t last a 1/4 mile. I realized they were running way too fast. I am a negative split runner which means I start slow and end fast. Normal people start off fast and end slower. Before mile 1 the three-hour pace group was ahead of me and then the mind games started. My goal was three hours or less. I quickly realized they were running faster than the pace. When I pointed this out, the girl said yes planning to do the first six faster because of hills and then coast the last six. That plan was the exact opposite of how I run. So they were in front of me until the major hill around 5-6. I finally got ahead of them and never looked back. That’s a lie, I kept making sure they weren’t catching me.



Not too long after the hill it started raining and drizzled for about three miles. It was my first race that it actually rained. This time I was smart and did not wear white. I was really hot so I was fine with it. All the time we were running, guys on bicycles were cycling back and forth making sure we runners were doing ok. It was nice.

So I rounded the corner to the finish and there was Brian waiting for me. I almost started crying right there. However I kept it together and finished under the goal and ahead of the pacer. I attempted to have my picture taken with the bear but my phone jammed up and got stuck on Siri asking what I needed. I wanted to choke that computer person out.


Mole moral~ Set a goal and achieve it! I had foot surgery five months ago and decided if I take it slow I could do a half this fall. I’m an over achiever, I’ve done two. Or maybe I really am a functioning psycho!



Fun with flags

Having creative kids can be both a blessing and a curse. Allyson says to me on Tuesday that her friend Kurtis birthday party is Saturday. She asks me if I can make the flag of his country he created called Atica. She then adds can you make it the size of his door. He currently has the Canadian flag hanging there but she thought this one would be cooler. So she drew me this picture










I took a look at it and said yes I think I can do that. Then she wanted to know what sort of material I was going to use  I said how about silky and she agreed that would work. When she came home from school she asked if I had bought the material and then approved. It took me a while to decide how to cut it out and work out the math. Of course I managed to cut the blue square the wrong size and make another trip to Hobby Lobby. Once I got it together I felt like the red was too narrow. I had to tell myself you are not Betsy Ross, it looks fine. The best part was my cricut cutting machine has a setting for silky material so it cut that star out. That was freaking awesome! Here is the final piece to which Allyson said what if Kurtis doesn’t like it? I said I will wrap it around his neck and choke him out. Allyson then told me that was just a little extreme. Maybe, maybe not.

Mole moral~Fun with flags is from Big Bang Theory. Sheldon my favorite character and his girlfriend Amy did a cable show. Also I can pretty much do anything I set my mind to and this flag made hemming Emily’s bridesmaid dress a piece of cake


Eat More Chicken

imageIt’s been a little over two years since I was able to run a half marathon. It’s not been quite five months since I had my foot surgery and when I crossed the finish line the announcer said Rachel (didn’t touch my last name) from Arnold just finished her first half since foot surgery. It was an awesome feeling to cross the line and get a medal.

I woke up at five am to be ready to run at seven-thirty. Because of the construction on fifth street in St. Charles I thought it best to park in the casino parking garage. It was a mile walk to the start line. I got in line for the bathrooms and by the time I had my turn I ran up to the start and crossed the start line within one minute. Runners are always fun to talk to and in the bathroom line these two younger girls were doing their first full. They had bought into the hydration theory and the red-head had sucked down like 24 ounces of water and was working on Gatorade. She was doing the potty dance for fifteen minutes and was considering just peeing her pants. When they ran past me she said I wish we were running with you. Me too, sister, me too. And for the first five miles I was thinking about running a full in the spring.

When I first signed up my goal was to finish and then I signed up for Vegas race and realized I need to finish in three hours or less to have time to shower before we hit the road for six hours. (I know I will just ask for a late check out so I’m not pressured). However my friend Shelly wasn’t able to walk it with me so then I set a goal of less than three hours. I would have succeeded if I hadn’t had to wait for a bathroom for five minutes at mile four. It was my turn to do the potty dance.

Around mile six and seven we ran through new town. I finally realized it makes me think of the houses from the movie Edward Scissorhands. I even saw a dinosaur statue which would have been way cooler if it were a shrub. So I was trying to pick out which house he would stay at. And this folks is what I think about to get through this.

Well mile 9-10 was the horrible hill that is like three of mine. It goes on and on and on but after that it’s a nice downhill. I decided I was running the last mile straight and texted Meg to tell her so that I would do it. My last mile was a 12 which is pretty good for an average pace of 13:45 for the entire race.

I’ve been a little hard on myself for missing my goal by a little under two minutes. I have to tell myself to knock it off. I just had major foot surgery and only been back running for 14 weeks and started with 1/2 mile at a 22 pace. But you know my motto: the faster you go, the sooner you finish.

Mole moral:Never park a mile from the start. The walk back to the car seems like it’s 20 miles long and dying seems so much easier.