Saturday, October 10, 2015


Lots going on.

Friends doing epic things.





I have been continuing my swim lessons with my daughter.  I still struggle with a lot of the things she is teaching me but I think I'm getting better all the time.  Bri coaches me on Monday nights and then I go for another swim on Wednesdays and try to put it all into practice.  Right now I'm working hard at not stopping or lifting my head out of the water if I snort water.  Harder than it sounds.  Funny that my natural instinct when water goes in my nose and mouth is that I want to get it out.  Fighting that survival instinct and fear a bit.  I thought at first there was no way I would ever be able to not stop when I snort water.  But at my lesson on Monday I was able to do it more and more.  I'm glad I didn't give up or not be willing to try.

I haven't done much running the last few weeks and I haven't gotten a bike ride in a couple of weeks either.  The tired factor has been really hard this past month.  Actually it has been bad all summer but it's easier to manage when I'm not working because I can naps or sleep in.  Neither of which are options when I'm working.

This is a problem in general just because it affects my quality of life.  It is also a problem because it is making it hard to see how I'm going to make some of my exercise goals happen.  I'll be making an appointment with my doctor to take another whack at figuring out what is going on.

A couple of weeks ago I had another friend do a 100 mile trail run.  It was his second.  He had done one in July in Utah but we couldn't be there to support him for that race.  We planned to totally make up for it this time.  He was participating in the Mountain Lakes 100 which started and finished at Olallie Lake.

The original plan for Joe and I was to go to our campsite at Detroit Lake and then leave early (really early!) in the morning to see Tony finish.  But it turned out that a friend that was supposed to volunteer at an aid station for the run couldn't go so we decided to join the Gums at Mile 36 Pinhead Aid Station to help out.

We took off as soon as Joe got off work because we had to drive to Timothy Lake to pick up the food and gear we needed for the aid station.  That was a long drive because we had to go to Portland and then head back south again to get to the lake.  Once we loaded up all the sup;lies we headed to the spot for the aid station.  It was all gravel roads and took a long time to get there.  We got there around noon and started getting things set up.  Tables for the food, chairs for the runners to take a break in, getting the food prepped and ready and the water and electrolytes ready.

It wasn't long before we had a few runners come in.  Joe and Josh took their hydration packs and filled them with whatever the runner asked for.  I recorded their bib number and the time they arrived.  Wendie made sure all the food was full and there was plenty of whatever they wanted or needed.  It was a pretty good system that worked for us all afternoon and evening.

Tony came in as the 7th runner.  Joe and Josh had run up the trail and put up paper plates that said "1 mile to Aid" and then "1/2 mile to Aid" so that the runners would know they were getting close.  We actually heard Tony before we saw him.  He was whooping down the trail and we were shouting back.  So fun!!  I didn't realize until later that he knew that Josh and Wendie would be there but he didn't know that Joe and I would be there too.
Josh escorting Tony into the Pinhead Aid Station.
Getting things organized before heading out again.
Taking inventory of how Tony is feeling. 
Deciding on what food to chow on next.  This is serious business!
Tony is seriously the nicest guy.  He is always upbeat and has a big smile on his face.  This was no exception.  He comes trucking into the aid station, 36 miles into his run, and he has a big smile on his face and hugs for everyone.  It was so much fun to fuss over him, find out how things were going so far and make sure he had what he needed to move on.  It was definitely the highlight of the time volunteering.

But oh boy!  Volunteering was fun!  Being able to support people as they are working towards accomplishing something like running 100 miles was amazing.  We met the coolest people!  They were so gracious and appreciative of our support.  The chowed on the food and enjoyed the talking.  We made sure they were fed and watered and were good to go on to the next aid station.
Joe looks like he is stirring the witch's brew. 
This is the moon.  It was amazing.
My cell phone did not do the view justice!
I was really mad at myself for forgetting my big camera again!  
Some runners stick in my mind more than others.

There was Brian with the long beard.  Such a nice guy!  Stood by the table and chit chatted with me and Wendie and was so appreciative of the food and fluids.

There was the woman who was so excited that we had watermelon.  She stood by the table and had several slices.  We made sure she took one to nibble at while she was running.  She was just happy and bubbly and so excited that we had watermelon that I'm pretty sure that got her through the next seven miles to the next aid station.  :-)

There was the two gentlemen from Canada. We were chatting them up and found out that one was the race marshall for large trail run in Squamish, BC.  He had signed up for this race a couple of weeks before.  He talked his friend into signing up too.  So this guy had signed up the Monday before and he had never run farther than 50 miles!  Holy Moley!!!

Then there was a group that came through together.  They were all from Washington but from all over Washington.  They had met through a running group and did a lot of events together.  One of the men was wearing a hat that said "Run Happy" on it.  This was in honor of a member of the group that had passed away.  The whole group was having a great time

I think my favorite person of the day was the older gentleman from Canada.  He came in towards the end of the day and was one of the last runners we would see.  He had taken a tumble and had a bloody knee.  We got him settled in a chair and then made sure he was taken care of.  Joe cleaned up his wound and got him bandaged up.  Josh took care of his liquids and Wendie and I made sure he had whatever he wanted to munch on.  He had little pins that he gave each of us with the Canada flag on them.  He said he liked to pass them out to the kind Americans he meets at races from the kind Canadian.  We loved it!!

It was getting close to 8:00 p.m. when the replacement volunteers arrived.  The route for the 100 miles had the runners coming back through the same aid station at about mile 90.  We took off for Olallie Lake.  It was not a quick trip!  All the roads were gravel and some were more traveled on than others.  We were following Josh and Wendie.  Good thing they knew where to go because I'm pretty sure that they could have lost us out in the middle of nowhere pretty easily.

We didn't get to Olallie lake until after 10:00 p.m.  Kristy had a cabin at the lake but the cabin was very small and she would be coming there as soon as she was done seeing Tony at Timothy Lake.  Joe and I slept in our Yukon.  Joe had taken out the back row of seats before we left home so he put the totes and supplies on the top of the car and we snuggled in to sleep in the car.

I had a headache most of the day but the drive to the lake was hard on keeping it at bay.  I was more than ready to get some sleep.  However, I had a hard time staying warm.  The first little while it was hard to sleep because my head hurt.  Then later it was hard to sleep because I was so cold.  I was in a big cozy sleeping bag, I had about three layers of clothes on, I had a blanket wrapped around me in the sleeping bag and I had my big Columbia coat laying over the top of me.  I was still cold.  Ugh.

All too soon it was 4:00 a.m. and it was time to get up and head to the finish line.  We thought Tony would be finishing between 20 and 21 hours.  (Isn't that crazy?!)  I added another layer to my clothes in an attempt to get a little warmer and then we headed to the finish line.

The sun started coming up and shining on Mt. Jefferson.  Oh Wow!!  It was incredibly beautiful and we kept walking down to the shore of the lake to see the changes in the view.  Mt. Jefferson was on the opposite side of the lake and was so beautiful!  I had never been to this lake before and I loved it! I can't wait to go there again and just spend some time relaxing.

God's creation in action is an amazing thing to witness.  
The winner of the event came in at 16 hours and 15 minutes! How crazy is that?  I can't imagine running 100 miles, let alone doing it with that time.

We started seeing a few runners come in and it was so much fun to recognize them from the aid station and be happy for them for finishing!

There was one woman who came running in and she was wiping tears from her eyes as she came around the corner towards the finish line.  We were yelling and cheering for her.  When she crossed the finish line she was immediately wrapped up in a huge hug from a loved one.  It was awesome.  I'm pretty sure that everyone in our group was a bit weepy over that one.  Mostly the girls but I'm pretty sure Joe was right there with us.  :-)
Kristy and I getting more pictures of the lake and the mountain.  Love this woman!!
We were all getting a bit worried about Tony because 20 hours and then 21 hours had gone by.  Kristy talked to a few of the runners that had finished that she had met when she was at Timothy Lake.  They said they had seen Tony and he was doing good but was feeling tight and tired but not to worry. Ha!  It is impossible not to worry when someone you care about is doing something epic like this and you can't check in on them.

We saw Brian the bearded guy and the Canadian duo both finish as well as a lot of other people we recognized.  So much fun to see them finish after we saw them at mile 36.

I decided to walk up to where Wendie and Josh had their car and get warmed up a little.  Wendie and I sat in the car with the heat on and chit chatted.  Joe and Josh had been talking next to the car and they had disappeared.  We figured they had gone up the road to see if they could meet up with Tony.
Lisa & Wendie selfie.  Yet another amazing woman that God has placed in my life.  
All of a sudden Wendie says, "He's coming, he's coming!" We pile out of the car and start whooping it up so that Kristy will know that he's on his way to the finish.  It was so good to see him!!

Tony finished with the time of 22 hours and 59 minutes!  Not what he was hoping for but again, I can't even imagine doing a 100 miles at all, let alone in that amount of time!!  AWESOME!!
I'm done!  
Kristy asking what Tony needed.  
Getting the run down on the struggles for the last leg of the race. 
Love these people!!  Felt privileged once again to be any part of this epic day.
It was so fun to be there for his finish and celebrate his accomplishment.  We got him sitting down in one of our big OSU chairs and fussed over him.  He said that he hard gotten really tired and really struggled the last 10 miles or so.  He basically walked and tried to stay awake.  Since the temperatures dipped to right at 30 degrees or a bit lower that night it would have been really bad for him to stop and sleep at all.  I'm so glad that he kept moving!!

Eventually Joe and I decided that it was time for us to head out and we gave Tony a few more hugs and congratulations.

It wasn't until we were heading home that I realized that I had forgotten to give Tony his "I ran a 100 miles so I get brownies!" brownies. I had asked him what his favorite cookie was so I could make him a batch like I did for Josh.  His response was "Brownies!"  Hey, if you want brownies instead of cookies for running 100 miles I can make that happen!  I felt so bad that I hadn't given him the container before we left.  I sent them to work with Joe and Kristy picked them up the next day.  Tony sent me a text letting me know he like them.  :-)  He certainly earned them!!

There are some things that my friends do that I think, "Hmmmm, I wonder if I could do that some day?"  Running a 100 mile trail run is not on that list of things I think I might want to do someday.  I have absolutely no desire to even contemplate this type of achievement.  But I am super proud of my friends that do have that goal and have met that goal!  Not many people can say they know someone who has run a 100 mile trail run.  Check me out, I know two!!

Joe and I headed for home.  Joe drove and I totally crashed.  I felt bad because I know it is hard for Joe when he is tired and everyone in the car is sleeping.  But I just couldn't keep my eyes open.

When we got home he headed straight for bed.  I had a little bit of a nap in the car so I felt like I should get some stuff done.  Meighan helped me unload the car and then I vacuumed it out.  Then I went to the store and got milk and then ran the car through the car wash.  It looked so much better after that!  I also ordered pizzas and picked them up on the way home because I totally didn't feel like cooking and I was pretty sure Joe wouldn't either.
My car was a dusty mess.  I can only imagine what it would have looked like if it had been muddy. lol
That evening Joe and I went to bed early.  We may not have run 100 miles but it was a busy weekend and we were tired!  Work was the next day so we needed some rest.

I had a swim lesson with Bri the next evening.  Every time we have a lesson I feel like I do a little better.  She has me working on not stopping when I snort water.  I really thought there was no way I would ever be able to do that. Funny that my natural reaction to water being in my mouth and nose and making me unable to breath is to stop and get it out.   But I managed it one time during the lesson and that was just enough to make me think that maybe I could learn to overcome that need to stop.

Joe came along to the lesson and Bri worked with him on his stroke.  It's been driving her nuts and she is positive she can get his stroke more efficient and he will gain 15 minutes on his Ironman swim.  Joe is a bit skeptical but was willing to learn.  It is pretty funny to have our daughter bossing us both around.

Tuesday I went for a short run.  I got a late start because I fell asleep on the couch when I got home.  (That dang tired thing, if I stop at all after work it is hard to get moving again.)  But I decided to go anyway.  My goal was to do a minimum of two miles.  Nothing super long or strenuous.  I just wanted to be moving for a bit.  The first mile I ran in 12'28".  This is a decent pace and I wasn't feeling particularly strained so I bumped up the pace for the second mile.  My second mile was 11'36".  I ran another half mile and called it good and walked the rest of the way home.  I enjoyed the fact that instead of beating myself up for not going farther or going faster I simply enjoyed that I went.  Getting a mile under 12 minutes and having the average pace for the run be 11'59" was a bonus.  The additional bonus was the beautiful fall colors we are enjoying right now.  The trees look spectacular.
Gorgeous color!
On Wednesday I went to lap swim and swam for 30 minutes. Bri had told me on Monday that my form was looking really good and that she was going to start working on my stamina.  So I decided to try and swim the whole 30 minutes without stopping at the wall to rest between laps.  I didn't try and go fast.  I just worked on keeping my form and not stopping.  I did the first 500 yards in 13 minutes which is the fastest I have done a 500 so far.  But then I started getting tired.  Bri had told me that she wanted me to be sure to keep my form, even when I was tired so that's what I concentrated on.  I tried not to get frustrated because I was obviously slowing down.  I was able to do 1050 yards in 30 minutes.  This is the best I have done in that amount of time.

I also began a plank challenge.  One of those 30 day challenges that you find on Pinterest.  The first day I had to do a 20 second plank and I thought it was so hard.  I'm on day 10 and my second day of a 60 second plank.  Holy crap!  Seriously, this is not an easy thing to do.

But it's making a difference already and I can feel those muscles in my abdomen getting firmer.  It is crazy how one simple exercise can bring change so fast.  Or maybe I'm noticing it more because I feel fitter.  Either way, it's really cool.

Friday was an inservice day from school and Joe had the day off.  Meighan was busy at a church event so Joe and I just spent the day together running errands and getting some stuff done.  We went to the outlet mall about an hour or so from our house.  Joe was looking for some cold weather running pants that wasn't "boring".  I wanted to try on some new coats because all the ones I have are too big and frumpy looking.  (This is a good problem for my ego but a bad problem for my wallet.)  I love coats.  Probably because I live in Oregon and we don't really believe in umbrellas.  So having a good coat is important.  Having one that is cute and stylish and a fun color will be fun for a change.  I have been buying men's coats for a long time in order to have them fit.  They don't have a lot of options for colors and the styles are rather square shaped.  Go figure, they are designed for men.  I didn't buy anything but I did get a small rush in the store when I put one on and it zipped up easily and looked good.

I did get an Underarmor shirt that is for cold weather.  Fun color and it was a size Large!  I put on the XL and Joe thought it was too baggy.  I put on the Large and Joe thought it looked good.  He has always been helpful and honest about how I look in clothes.  I would rather have his honest opinion then have him say everything looks flattering when it really doesn't.

Later in the afternoon we headed to Corvallis to go for a hike.  Joe took little side trails and other routes to get the distance he wanted.  I had decided to try and run from the Saddle all the way to the top of Powderhouse.  I haven't been running much lately so I wasn't very optimistic about how this would go but I wanted to give it a shot.

The dog was in heaven!  We hadn't been on a hike for weeks and she loves going so much.  Almost the first two miles was uphill.  Not super steep but steady.  Joe popped out of a side trail and doubled back to me and ran with me for a bit.  I had planned to stop and rest when I got to the top of the hill but I felt pretty good, a little winded and tired but not wiped out so I kept going.  Then I had a lot of downhill, about a mile and a half of downhill and I was able to move right along.  This may sound weird but sometimes I struggle going downhill as much as uphill but for different reasons.  I worry about going too fast and losing my footing and falling.  Since this is a lot like my fear of falling off my bike I decided to quit doing that.  :-)  I wasn't at full speed but I didn't slow down because I was being cautious.

The last little bit of trail going to the top of Powderhouse is a steep single track.  It's a bit challenging for me in general.  It's even more challenging when I have been running the entire time and I'm tired. But I did it!  I got really slow but I kept moving.

It was a great feeling to have met my goal of running all the way there.  Bailey and I stopped at the bench and took a little break and some pictures.  Then we headed out again.
Me and my running partner.  :-)
Trying to get a picture of kisses.  She gave them to me but I kept missing it.  lol
The weather looks cold but it was actually in the 70's and very humid.
The problem with doing an out and back route is that now all the downhills are uphills and vise versa.   Now my goal was to just run up the hill as long as I could.  I made it to the four mile mark before I had to walk but I kept up a nice fast walk.  Joe caught up with me before I started walking and ran on ahead so he could get his total miles and then he doubled back to join me for the rest of my hike.  I kept running until he got back to me and then we walked to the top of the hill together.  Once we were heading downhill again we started running again.

I finished with a distance of 6.8 miles and an average pace of 15'13" which for me on any kind of hilly trail is really good.  Factoring in that I haven't run consistently it's pretty awesome.  I was especially pleased with how well my legs did on the uphill.  The cross training with swimming is paying off and my legs are stronger.
There were leaves on the trail bigger than Bailey's head!
The evening sun through the trees was beautiful.  
Love spending time with Joe.  So glad he is not only my hubby but my best friend!  Blessed to have him by my side.
I have lamented in this blog for a couple of years now about my slow progress.  I have worked at learning to understand that progress is progress and that I need to keep moving forward.  My journey towards a healthier me has been a learning process from the start.  It's not finished yet, not by a long shot.  But I have learned a lot along the way about myself, my self-image, what I want for my goals and understanding that I should be proud of what I have accomplished (and am accomplishing) instead of focusing on how my journey hasn't been as fast, or as epic or whatever else I compared, as other people's journey.  Like me, my journey has reflected me and my struggles.  Those struggles and victories are as unique and hard won as anyone else's.

I didn't lose 50 pounds in 6 months by eating healthy and running when I first started.  I barely lost 10 pounds.

I wasn't able to go from not being able to run a mile to running a 50k.  But my Nike app says that I have run 2012 miles since I started using the app in June of 2010.  That's an average of 402 miles a year.  How cool is that?

I'm finally getting to the point in my health journey where I can start buying slimmer clothes and people are noticing the changes.  It's interesting because many people think that I have just started this journey and when I tell them I have been working on it seriously for the last three years and it has been a very slow process they don't believe me.  I think that's because for much of the weight loss it was difficult for most people to see.  I am a tall woman and I hid the weight well.  I looked like a big girl, which I was, but I also didn't look like a typical obese person.  And I was obese, morbidly obese as a matter of fact.  According to the BMI chart I'm still obese, but I'm really close to being into the overweight category.  I may be there already but I'm not weighing myself.  I only find out my weight when I go see my doctor.  I'm letting my clothes tell me that there are changes and my clothes are telling me this loud and clear right now.

The thing that I am most proud of in my journey is that I haven't given up.

I've been frustrated and mad.

I have wondered if all the work I was doing was ever going to pay off.

I have wondered what the hell I was thinking trying some of the things I have tried.  Because I'm slower than EVERYONE! (Not really true but it feels like that sometimes.)

I learned to be an athlete and set goals and sometimes fail and sometimes kick ass.

I learned that just because I'm not doing an Ironman or a 100 mile trail run doesn't mean that my shit isn't epic too.  :-)

I learned not to be so hard on myself.

I learned that if I'm doing my best then that's enough.  My journey isn't going to look like anyone else's.  That may be maddening at times but it's okay.

I also learned that the flip side of not comparing myself to others is also not letting others make me responsible for stumbles in their own journey.  I have enough to do working on my own crap.  I don't have to be responsible for someone else's crap too.  :-)  Unless I hog tie you and force feed you a cookie, I didn't make anyone do anything.

This is not the journey I thought it would be when I started.  But looking back on all the things I have learned along the way, the people that have stood by me and supported me, the new people that have come into my life and example I am setting for my kids.

I wouldn't change one frustrating moment!  

I will continue to work at being a healthier me.  I will continue to push myself out of my comfort zone and try new and scary (for me) things.  I will work on learning to be better at celebrating my own accomplishments and continue to be a cheerleader for my family and friends that are doing their own epic shit.

Life is good.  And as the running group that came through our aid station at the Mountain Lakes 100 said:


But I think I will add a few things to that:

#runhappy #bikehappy #swimhappy #behappy

#_____________ Fill in the blank on this one for whatever it is that you are doing to improve your health that makes you happy.  :-)

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