Thursday, May 1, 2014

honey badgers on the run!

Back in November, people in my running club were talking about getting teams together for the American Odyssey Relay. It's like Ragnar, but organized locally. I had never done a relay before, but kind of had it on my running to-do list, so thought I would join in. Somehow 6 months went by, and we ran the relay this past weekend.

Let me start off by warning you that relays are a terrible idea. You will get NO sleep, it will take up your entire weekend (plus the packing and organizing beforehand), it will cost too much money, and you are running a very small portion of the actual race. I texted Beau at 4am, "This is awful in so many ways."

But actually? It was tons of fun.

There are 12 people on a team, divided into 2 vans. The vans leapfrog each other- Van 1 goes first, runners 1 - 6. Van 2 is waits at the exchange point where runner 6 finishes, and then Van 2 takes over for runners 7-12. Van 1 drives ahead to the next exchange to wait for runner 12, and then runner 1 starts the whole thing over again. Each runner runs 3 legs and the total distance is about 200 miles from Gettysburg, PA to Washington, DC.

the whole team at the starting line

cool shot of Van 2
Our team was kind of a hodge podge group, and I didn't know most people super well. My van consisted of me, Jaclyn (a friend from my stake growing up), Brenna (someone I met through Jaclyn who thru hiked the AT last year), Lexi (a good friend from running club), Lexi's co worker Matt, and Matt's twin brother, Josh. Um, I loved my van. I cannot think of a better group of 6 personalities to be together for 30+ hours in a small SUV operating on no sleep.

Van 1, minus Jaclyn who was running at the time

Lexi, our Runner 6 and MVP
being cozy in the Pilot
At the suggestion of Everett (my nephew), our team name was "the Honey Badgers". There is a HILARIOUS youtube video about honey badgers, but I hesitate to link to it because of the bad language. Google it if you care to watch it. :)

The other team from my running club nicknamed themselves "the Badger Catchers". I thought they were pretty clever.

I was runner 4 and absolutely loved my runs. My first was the hardest at 9 miles, and hilly. My night run was pretty short, 4 miles, and my final leg was at about 5:30am on the C&O Canal for 6.7 miles. I loved that I got to enjoy the sunrise and beautiful morning.

this is me saying "wheeee running is fun!"

Runner 4 to Runner 5!
 Once Lexi finished her night run, we all intended on sleeping a few hours before our last legs. You'd think it would be easy to fall asleep after being up for so long and running.... but no. I think I slept about an hour and then our alarms were going off to go meet Van 2 the exchange. I felt SO nauseous and SO yuck. It was the weirdest feeling to be standing along side the C&O Canal at 3:30 in the morning to cheer on our teammates. Sometimes I looked around and was like, "Why are all these full grown adults choosing to make up silly teams names, cheers, and sometimes costumes for this crazy event?" It's this interesting camaraderie mentality. Normally I do not stick my head out of car windows and yell encouragement to strangers running as I drive by. But in a relay, you do.

"Honey badger don't care. Honey badger just TAKES what it wants."
finishing my first leg
Trying to sleep at the second exchange.
our darling mascot
Once our van had finished our third run, we drove to the finish line downtown and collapsed, waiting for Van 2. It was exhausting just laying there. Beau came to meet us at the finish line after volunteering at one of the exchanges. He saved the day, like usual, by giving us the opportunity to pack up his car with our stuff so we could get home as soon as Van 2 finished up.

Jaclyn, Brenna, and I at the finish
Finally, a few hours later, our last runner came in and we all ran across the finish line together. Success!

I'm smiling because I know I'm going home soon.
All kidding aside, it really was a lot of fun. I would be hesitant to do another relay because this one fell into place so well. My van-mates were perfect, the weather (for my runs) was perfect, the mileage and course was perfect, and I don't know if another relay would be able to live up to this experience. But just like SO MANY things in my life (Marathon! Skyline Century! Thru hike!) I will probably forget every miserable thing and still want to do it again if the opportunity comes up again. But this time maybe I won't be the team captain. :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

what we've been up to in the past couple months

Why is it that when I actually do have some sort of life update to post about, I still don't blog?

So, changes for Beau and I. First of all, Beau has been working as an intern for AOL since July 2013. The position was always the kind of thing that would most likely turn into a permanent position, but as these things go, you never actually know what will happen. So ever since last fall, Beau's boss (who really liked him, duh) had been trying to get Beau hired at AOL. These things take time, you know, so naturally Beau continued to look for work elsewhere as a backup plan. AOL has a great campus (full gym? gourmet cafeteria? scooters to ride in the hallways? why not!) and is 10 minutes from our apartment. THEN, sometime in February, Beau got an interview with KPMG. And then another. And another. And the next thing he knew, both AOL and KPMG were offering Beau permanent positions in the same week. While AOL would certainly be the more convenient and fun position, we both felt that KPMG would be the better career choice and provide more opportunities. So here we are! Beau has been at KPMG for 2 weeks now and so far it's been really great.

So while all that was going on, I was getting reeeeally sick of commuting to Gainesville for not my dream job. I mean, I really don't mind the actual work and I like my coworkers, but I guess I just decided that it was time to move on. A couple of fortuitous snow days allowed me some time to email every person on the planet (or stake) to see what kind of job opportunities might be out there for me. And long story short, things fell into place just so that I felt comfortable quitting my job to pursue what I actually want to do with my life. I got connected with an ABA therapist in the area to be trained to work with autistic children, and I also wanted to get some students to teach riding lessons again. I knew I wouldn't be able to do therapy and lessons full time (not yet, anyway), so when I told Don's Johns I was resigning, I was lucky enough that they are letting me work part time (and remotely!) for as long as I am able. How great is this? So right now I have three jobs. Ha. I still go to Gainesville a couple times a week, but I have a good amount of lessons students and two days of doing ABA therapy. And lots more room for growth!

So that's that. I love how much I love our apartment (thanks, parents!) because I spend more time in it now working from home. That reminds me, I've been meaning to do a little photo tour of our place to show it off. Also because I need help. Decorating skills evade me. How sad is it that I have on my to do list to browse pinterest for ideas and my "home ideas" board is still pretty empty?

As for other things going on, Beau's school is going well, and he's almost done with his second full year. One more year to go! Not that I'm the one doing the work or anything. He goes to China in May with his class! how exciting. Maybe Beau will do a guest blog post about that.

Okay, so a blog post is no good without pictures, so here's some stuff from my/Beau's phone:

Running on a snow day with my neighbor! Incidentally, this was also the snow day I decided to get serious about job hunting.

we took Adriel to the Lego movie for her birthday!

Crazy snow. Maybe even a different day than the running picture.
This is another way I spend my snow days. Cycling and the Wii.

Beau's grandfather passed away and he and his immediate family went to Reno for the funeral

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

tuesday night portraits

A snippet from our texting conversation. Beau at school, me at home.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

random blog post on this wonderful Sunday

Can we talk about how great 9am church is? I'm home by 12:30, and the rest of the day is free for lounging, going for walks, napping..... oh and reading scriptures and general conference talks of course.

I really have no particular plan for a blog post, except for that a sufficient amount of time has passed that I feel like I should make an appearance. But, I really like the photos from our Thanksgiving hike, and posting something new will push that down from the top of the page. MY LIFE IS HARD.

So, December. Time to blog about December. We started off the month by going to my work Christmas party, which is always a fun time. My office is becoming a lot more cohesive and fun; I quite like my job in general except for the long commute. The Christmas party was especially fun because I was awarded person of the year for accounting. It sure helps that the department is small and there has been some turnover, leaving it up to process of elimination.

Nancy was out of town for the holidays, so I was happy to fill in for a few days at the barn. Beau and I fed/cleaned stalls Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. I tried to snap a picture of the ponies all their heads out of the stall, but they were just mad I was standing there instead of giving them their breakfast.

Naturally, this is the only picture I took on Christmas Day. We also made crepes, I went running, we went to the Tagg's for some feasting, etc. etc.

Random photo of me in my favorite Christmas gift- these boots from my mother in law! They are great. Also note that there are 5 containers of ice cream in the shopping basket. I regret nothing.

Oh, and our anniversary! Well, I think this was the day after. But we went to the temple on the weekend of our anniversary. It worked out nicely that when we were leaving, it was dark and all the lights were on.

I think New Year's may have been just as fun as Christmas. Beau and I and my cousin Shawney had registered for the Brambleton 10k. Beau has been joining my running club on the Thursday night track workouts. It's been a great motivator for both of us. I had hopes of running a certain pace, but I had never actually ran 6 miles at my goal pace before.  I was kind of nervous/excited, as if it were a long race or something. I ran really well and felt good the whole time, coming in under my goal of 50 minutes. I was super surprised when checking the official results to see that not only was I 15th overall for women, but there was no one above me in the 20-29 age group. I accomplished one of my life long goals of getting on the podium at a race!

Also, my running club signed up as a team, and they take the top four finishers on each team for a cumulative time. My team won first for the 10k, so I even got a medal, too!

I'm looking through my phone to see what other photos I can post, and I don't have anything! No cute pictures of Soren from when Ashley and Tim were at the hourse for a couple weeks. Nothing from the litle cabin where we stayed on a quick overnighter on the AT. No pictures of Truman really excited to get a pony ride or the girls feeding sugar cubes to the horses. Someone needs to be more quick on the trigger with their phone. I'M LOOKING AT YOU, BEAU.
(That's a total joke. Beau should start counting how many times I leave my phone in my purse or car all day or say "hey.... can you call my phone? I can't find it.")
Sorry this is a super lame blog post. It's been sitting in my drafts for 10 days now.... so happy end of 2013! Now I can move onto January.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving on the AT

Months ago, we decided that we would use the 4 day Thanksgiving weekend to go hiking on the AT. It worked out nicely that my uncle and cousin had similar plans, so we were able to coordinate with them for drop off and pickup. It's too bad we couldn't join the Parks or Dicksons who were both coincidentally in Texas, but it's hard to justify traveling for such a short and hectic holiday.

We went down to one of the best sections of the trail, near Roanoke. The section we did includes Tinker Cliffs, McAfee Knob, and Dragon's Tooth. We haven't done very much winter hiking, and this Thanksgiving showed some record low temperatures for Virginia. We packed warm, and off we went early Thursday down to Catawba.

I don't know if it was the lighting or luck or Beau developing his photographer's eye, but he took some great pictures this weekend!

heading up to Tinker
We were both in 0' sleeping bags and many many layers including thermals, down jackets, thick gloves, and multiple socks. Thank goodness for mummy sleeping bags.

Beau's face in this one cracks me up. This was the third attempt after he kept closing his eyes.
We got up bright and early Friday morning to catch sunrise on McAfee Knob. The sky was absolutely gorgeous.

the view from our shelter the first night

on the knob
 We set up our sleeping bags and made our breakfast and hot chocolate. Breakfast in bed.

Eventually we had to get up and get going. That was the hard part.

Even though it was freezing at night, the day temperatures weren't too bad when while we were hiking. The trail was pretty empty and we really enjoyed the better views that winter affords. The trail looked so different from when we were there on our thru hike because we could see through the trees and down the ridge line.

On our thru hike, we did this section going the other direction, so I had forgotten how technical the climb is up Dragon's Tooth. This would be way more fun with a day pack.

Cooking dinner in the dark. The shorter daylight hours kill me.
We had a new tent we've only used once, so it was nice to get acquainted with it. I must admit it's a huge relief to know that I never have to hike and tent in the rain again. I'm a day/occasional weekend hiker now and I love it. (Plus, on the PCT it rarely rains.....)

 The whole trip was pretty perfect. We planned just the right number of miles, brought just the right amount of food, and had a great time!

Monday, November 18, 2013

We made a table!

One of the first things we wanted to accomplish upon moving into our new apartment was building an butcher block island table for the kitchen. My initial vision for the project came from this how-to and images like this. The floor plan in our basement apartment is very open, and we wanted to create more of a division between the kitchen and living area. Also, who doesn't want more counter space?

The cheapest option I found for buying a new butcher block counter top was from Ikea, at about $200. Then I started looking around on Craigslist, and after a few weeks, a table came up for $50. The table top was 3' x 5' and 3" thick. I'm not sure what kind of wood it is, but it's heavy and dark, which is what we were looking for. We had a very interesting time fitting it into our trunk, especially since it was pouring rain and the block was sticking out a couple feet. On the beltway.

On to construction. We loosely went off these plans from Ana White's blog. She has such great stuff on her website! We didn't have access to one of the tools she uses, so my dad helped us figure out how we wanted to attach the legs and shelving.

First was a trip to Home Depot. We were very glad my dad could accompany us and help us get all the right stuff.

We started with cutting the legs and skirt. We just screwed the legs to the skirt, then screwed the skirt to the little 2x1 piece, then screwed the 2x1 to the table. 

Then the shelf.  We decided it'd be easiest to put all the slats down and then make one cut to get the ends all the same length. Spacing out the 15 slats to have even spacing between them was really hard.

When we stood up the table for the first time, it was a little higher than I expected it to be. We wanted it to be taller than counter top, but I guess it seemed even bigger than I imagined. I like it, though. It fits nicely and if we decide to ever put bar stools with it, it'll be a good height for that.

Once the shelf was on, it looked pretty good!

Our goal was to have the table done for our annual caramel apple making. We finished it (well, except for staining) about an hour before Lauren and Steve came over. Success!

It had only been up for less than 24 hours and I was already wondering how I ever lived without a counter in the middle of the kitchen.

The table stayed un-stained for a couple weeks (I have such a "that's good enough" attitude about stuff like this), but on Saturday Beau worked on it while I was out. We were kind of clueless about what kind of stain we wanted to use (and omg all the choices of shades that look exactly the same!) and picked one we thought would be a tad lighter than the table. It ended up being darker than we thought, but I think it looks really good.

I'm having a little bit of trouble figuring out what to put on the shelf. We already have a decent amount of storage space. Maybe some cute serving bowls? I kind of lack of "cute" kitchen stuff. My measuring cups are cheap and plastic from the BYU creamery my freshman year. My pots and pans are mostly mismatched from various inheritances and thrift store finds. I don't think we have more than 3 matching glasses. None of this bothers me, it's just kind of funny when I go to peel a cucumber and pick up my grandpa's vegetable peeler.

Anyway, now we have this great island! I can't say it would have gone this well if it weren't for Pappy!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Skyline Sufferfest 2013

Do people read blogs anymore? I feel like Instagram has taken over the blog world a little bit. I'm okay with it.

Sometimes I post on my fitness blog, and when I wrote about our recenty Skyline Drive century, Beau asked why I didn't post it on this blog, too. Which begs the question of why do I have two blogs anyway? I don't really know. Well, I guess I do. Because sometimes I find something funny or interesting I want to share, but I'm not really a big facebook sharer (except that one time I was and that got really interesting really quickly) so I put it on the "other" blog, the one I don't think anyone actually reads, just to feel the release of telling someone something you find interesting. Also, I don't like people thinking that running/cycling/hiking is all I/we do. Because I think sometimes it seems like that. And when the only photos or events I have to blog about are running/cycling/hiking related, I feel like I'm feeding this weird stereotype that I made up in my head that everyone thinks that's all I do. The people in my head are harsh critics, I guess.

Anyway, I really am just trying to write a little intro to my re posting of our Skyline Century:


Our SAG driver, aka my cousin Chapman, dropped us off just before the north entrance of the park. According to the thermometer in the car, it was around 30' at the base of the Shenandoahs. We pulled on our earwarmers and gloves, stuffed some HotHands into our shoes, checked our tires (all 6 tires were brand spanking new!), and were on our way. The first 5 miles are a long gradual climb and actually felt a little easier than I expected. It may have been something to do with the prescence of hot chocolate waiting at the top. The cold was completely bearable if not pleasant when climbing, but not quite as comfortable going downhill.
just before we started

fer cute.
 The first 40 or so miles passed quickly. I know this part of Skyline well, having ridden it quite a few times. We got to Skyland, the highest point of the road and where Chapman was waiting, and scarfed down a TON of food. My cocoa banana oat muffins were a hit, especially with a smear of peanut butter on them. I also took to scoops of peanut butter dipped in granola. The intense hunger of long hard bike ride is awfully reminiscent of my thru hike. Also, just for kicks, I counted how many times I noticed we crossed the AT. I got to 10. I'm sure there were some I missed.

The next wayside was at mile 50ish, and I have never felt as tired after 50 miles as I was at that moment. Like, can-barely-pedal-another-foot kind of tired. Sitting in the grass at Big Meadows was the first time it occurred to me that maybe I was in over my head. Maybe I wouldn't be able to do the whole 105 miles.
Randy the super human pointed out that the next 25 miles really weren't that bad. A trick I learned thru hiking (where I looked at a profile elevation map of the trail approximately 43,209,423,098 times) is to cover up the map with your hands, and only show the next chunk of miles you're focusing on. When you just look at task immediately on hand, the rest doesn't seem so overwhelming. Magic!

So all I thought about was mile 75. Every tenth of a mile my odometer ticked up was a little victory towards my goal of getting to mile 75. Randy was a champ and led the pace line the entire way, encouraging us every mile. Eventually we got to mile 75, and then pushed up a big climb to the next wayside at mile 80, and then I was all about counting down and praising every mile passed as another mile closer to the end.

Finally, finally, we got to mile 100 and were rewarded with a glorious speedy downhill to the finish. It was JUST starting to get dark, and we finished at about 6:00pm. Oh and then there was BBQ on the way home and pulled pork has never been so delicious.

While we were riding along, I asked Randy to rate his perceived difficulty of the day's ride, with 1 being a short ride on the very flat W&OD trail, and 10 being LOTOJA. He thought for a moment and responded, "Probably a six."

Six?? Seriously?? This is the hardest ride I've ever done and you're calling this a six?

But the next day, he emailed us and changed his statement a little. He uploads his Garmin data into a software program that takes into account the intensity, power output, and duration of the ride and spits out a Training Stress Score. For LOTOJA, the TSS was 811. The Skyline Sufferfest was 750. Here is the approximate guide for interpreting the TSS:
  • Less than 150 - low (recovery generally complete by following day)
  • 150-300 - medium (some residual fatigue may be present the next day, but gone by the second day
  • 300-450 - high (some residual fatigue may be present even after two days)
  • Greater than 450 - very high (residual fatigue lasting several days likely)
So, yeah...... higher than a six.


Kudos for reading a long way of saying we pedaled up hills and down hills for an entire day!