Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Laugh at the Confusion, Live for the Moment!

Another epic hike!  Wow!  This one had elevation and distance.  We even dragged our 14 year old along.  She was not too happy about it at first since the first three miles were all up hill.  But she was a trooper and did all 11 miles!!  Not that she had much choice.  ;-) Actually she did awesome and it was her longest hike ever!  Super proud of my sweet girl and love that she likes to go along and do these types of things with her mom and dad!  The dog came along as well.  She LOVES going on hikes and being off leash.  I made the mistake of asking her if she wanted to go for a run about an hour before we were supposed to leave.  She whined at me for about 20 minutes because she wanted to leave NOW!  I will not ask her that again until it is time to walk out the door! lol  Silly puppy!
We started at Peavy Arboretum and worked our way across the Saddle, towards Dimple Hill and then down to the Oak Creek Gate.
The weather was perfect (for this time of year) and it didn't rain.  We even saw some blue sky on occasion.
Some parts were hard.  Lot's of up hill and it was work.  Again, for the third week in a row, no frustration.  I have truly turned a corner.  Do I wish I was stronger?  Absolutely!  Do I realize that I kick ass for being out there and getting it done?  Absolutely!
Two of my favorite people!  
Love being able to go on hikes like this that are practically out my back door.  
I took a break from my normal eating and just let it go during the holidays.  I realized just how clean I have been eating the last few months because my gut rebelled big time.  I enjoyed the treats, chocolates, cinnamon rolls, fudge, etc that were around this past week but I paid dearly for indulging.  I don't think there will be a repeat performance next year!  Not worth it at all!!!  In a way it was a good lesson for me.  I realized that I had been doing very well in eating healthy and that my body likes that lifestyle better.  :-)  Nothing like being miserable for a few days to help me figure it out!  The hike on Sunday was a nice way to burn off some of the crap I had been eating so I could hit the reset button on Monday.

Monday was MUCH better!  I drank a ton of water, which meant I was peeing every other minute.  At least when I'm home I can do that.  Unlike work where I have to time bathroom breaks between classes.  I ate well and kept things under control.  I had a bit of a headache but that is to be expected when coming off a sugar withdrawal.  At least for me.  An entire year of no sugar and then BAM a week of overindulgence does not make for a happy head!

I even went to the movies and did not eat popcorn.  The movie popcorn is always so good but then I am miserable all evening after.  I'm pretty sure that whatever is in the butter or the way the popcorn is cooked does not fit the gluten free lifestyle.  I always feel crummy after so I don't know why I put myself through that.  I think this is the first time at the movies with NO popcorn, NO candy and NO soda!  Funny, I still really enjoyed the movie.  AND I didn't have to get up to pee half way through because I had been drinking a giant soda.  :-)  Go figure.

Two years ago I began this blog to help me and maybe let other people know that they aren't alone in the struggle to become healthier.  It's not an easy journey and has not gone the way that I had planned.  I'm not where I thought I would be at this point in the journey.  Blogging (or journaling) about the journey has helped me keep things in perspective, keeps me accountable and has helped me focus on the positives rather than the negatives.  (Most of the time!)  :-)

This is the time of year for New Years Resolutions.  I won't be making one this year.  I'm such a rebel.  Actually I will be continuing my work towards beting a healthier and happier me.  I don't think this is a new resolution, just a continuation of my long term goal.  I don't have any set plans yet, I will be holding off until after I finish my internship in April and see where I am at then.  For now the focus will be getting through this last part of my Masters degree, drinking lots of water and eating as healthy as I can.  Oh, and continuing to be completely thankful for the amazing friends and family who have walked with me on this journey.  I'm so proud of all they have accomplished in reaching their goals and learning from their failures.  I want to be just like them when I grow up.  :-)
This is perfect for where I am at right now!  Learning to laugh at the confusion and live for the moment!
I think this will be my theme for 2015!  Instead of having a resolution I will have a theme and work on what I can control and laugh at the rest.  :-)

Tomorrow I participate in the Hangover Run once again.  I can't wait!  Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!!

Trail therapy.

I've talked about this before.

How on the trail there is opportunity to work through things, either alone or with friends.

How on the trail there is opportunity to spend time in God's wonder.

How on the trail there is opportunity to examine yourself.

Last Sunday I went on a hike with my husband and four good friends.  We had planned a little Christmas gathering and the first thing on the agenda when we were planning our activities for the day was to go on a hike.  The second thing was that the hike needed to be something new.  We decided to go do the 400 gate hike.  Joe had done this one before and two others in the group had done parts of it but it was new to the rest of us.  Joe said the first three miles were pretty steep but then after it wasn't too bad.

With my new attitude about my abilities firmly in place (tightly griped like a life-line) I embarked out with my friends on a new trail.  I was a little worried that I would revert back to the way I have been and not enjoy myself.  I was determined to have a good time with a good attitude.

Joe wasn't kidding.  The first three miles were tough but they were fun too.  I know, right?  That doesn't sound like me.  Or at least, it doesn't sound like me this past year.  Makes me feel like I'm finding my way back to the having fun at all costs part that I had lost.

What made it fun?  Well, two friends took off running up the hill and I just laughed because I knew that was SO not happening for me.  And I was okay with it.

My husband and two other friends were up ahead of me while I worked my way up the hill and I enjoyed listening to them laugh and talk.  With no envy or feeling inadequate because I was in the back  I was okay with it.
Love these people!
Then I started thinking about what had changed and why I was okay with being in the back when I have spent the last year being so frustrated and angry about it.  Yes, I am admitting that I was angry.  I have been angry with myself for not being better, for not working harder, for letting events of the past year hold me back and make me sad, for not shaking off the emotions that get in the way and moving forward.  For not being stronger.  For not being Badass with Sparkle.

I realized that the thing that was really getting in my way on the hikes was that I was worried.  I was worried there would come a point where my friends would stop inviting me because I slowed them down, or because I couldn't keep up.  So I would try to keep up, feel uncomfortable, not be able to breath or whatever, and I would get frustrated with myself.  I should have had much more faith in my friends.  I owe them apologies for not trusting in their friendship and acceptance of where I am at.
Loved all the ferns in this part of the forest.
I realized that I was starting to view our outings with dread because of this.  I wanted the time with them but it was being tarnished with my own bad attitude.  Too many tears and frustrations focusing in on what I didn't have instead of what I do have.  My husband Joe and my friend Wendie bore the brunt of this and thankfully just kept encouraging me and dragging my sorry butt along during this past year.  Again, apologies owed for focusing on the negative instead of just being thankful that I can even be there at all.
We actually saw some blue sky!!
So here I am, trudging up this hill.  At the back of the group.  Aware that I'm going to be sore and tired later.  And I was happy.  For the second hike in a row I was happy where I am at.  This made me feel like the last hike wasn't a fluke.  I have turned a corner and while I'm sure there will be days that I'm frustrated, and days where I'm sad, I think that I'm going down the road of figuring out how to be okay where I am.  Such a good road to be on!
Beautiful!  I can't wait to go again and see the view on a clear day.
The hike was hard but awesome!  It rained.  The wind blew.  But I was with my husband who spent most of the hike hanging with me, which I loved.  I got to laugh and joke with my friends.  I got to see a new and different part of the beautiful world I live in.
This was at the top of the last big hill we had to climb.  Can't really see how steep it was but believe me, it was steep.  :-)
The afternoon consisted of laughter, football, chili, cornbread, laughter, adult beverages, laughter, pushups, and did I mention laughter?  Can't get much better than that!!  Such a perfect way to begin Christmas week and my winter vacation!

The other fun thing that happened last weekend was that I went on a run with my daughter on Saturday.  We ran in the pouring down rain.  I took the dog.  We got soaked.  We ran some, we walked some.  It was a blast.  No worrying about pace.  No worrying about running the whole thing.  Just get in three miles and call it good.  Did better than I thought I would considering how long it has been since I actually have gone for a run.  I think that might be because of how I have changed my focus.
My beautiful girl was proud to wear one of my race shirts.  Made me realize that I should be more proud of my races too!
Why am I running/hiking/biking/swimming now?  Because I want to.  Not because I am on a training plan.  Not because of a race I'm signed up for that I must PR in.  Not because I have to run all of a race or somehow it won't count.  Not because I need to loose a bunch of weight in order to feel like I've accomplished something.  Not for all of the other silly things I build up in my head.  I am going to do these things because I WANT to do them.  I want to be healthy!  It is supposed to be fun!  I'm especially focused on reclaiming the fun.
I love this sweet puppy!  
I have the annual Hangover Run coming up next week.  I'm probably going to suck at it.  I never have done this one well so I really have nothing to worry about.  I am going to go and have a fantastic time and enjoy my friends and family.  It is always a fantastic way to start off the new year!

Then I have a 10k in January and I don't anticipate setting any records at that race too.  But once again, I get to spend time with people I think are amazing.  So I already know it will be a fantastic day and I can't wait.

Also time for me to stop focusing on myself and remember to be the kind of person and friend that my friends need me to be!!!
Got a mug this week that has this quote on it.  Been thinking about it all week.  :-)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Happy Where I'm At!

Today I went on a hike.  Not a terribly difficult route.  It's just under 7 miles on an old logging road.  Nice and wide which makes it fun when there is a group because we can all walk together side by side.  It was my friend Tony's birthday.  He had gone on a run earlier and timed it so that he finished his run so he could join us on the hike.  We also had Josh, Wendie and Wendie's cousin Holly.
I originally had planned to leave the puppy at home.  But she got so excited when I put on my running clothes that I just didn't have the heart to put her in her kennel.  Talk about a happy puppy!  She has done really well with her training the past year.  The only problem has been occasionally being stubborn about coming when we call.  Working with my trainer, we got her a shock collar and had a lesson on how to use it properly.  Wow!  It has worked miracles!  I decided to put the shock collar on her and let her try a hike off leash.  That way I had a little back up if she decided to take off.

Bailey did awesome!  She stayed on the trail we were hiking on.  She stayed in sight the whole time.  She ran around in circles, ran ahead and then back and basically had a great time.  So much more fun than her pulling on the leash the whole time.  When there were other runners or bikes I would call her and have her heel next to me, still off leash, and she was awesome!  Several times we met people with dogs and she said hi to the other dogs but then came when I called her.  I was super proud of how well she did.  My little puppy is growing up fast!  :-)
First off leash hike!  She was AWESOME!
At one point in the hike I had stopped to adjust Bailey's collar and got a ways behind the group.  This was towards the end of the hike, around mile five, and we were walking uphill.  I just didn't have the energy to run to catch up.  In the past this would have really frustrated me and discouraged me.  However, even though I haven't been running or hiking for several months, I've been thinking about my running and exercise in general.
I know that I made the right choice to take a break and focus on my grad school classes.  The classes have been very stressful this fall and a lot of work.  So, I'm walking quite a ways behind the group and thinking about where I was a year ago and where I am now.  A year ago I had been doing really well on my running and was getting faster.  But I had just started taking a new medication to deal with my pre-diabetic symptoms and it didn't make me feel good.  Plus I was pissy about having to take the medication in the first place so I didn't have a great attitude about it.   I was in my first semester of grad school.  I was tired all the time, not losing weight and in general just frustrated.

This year I am getting ready to start my last term of grad school after the holidays. (YAY!) I have adjusted to the medication and I'm not pissy about it (most of the time).  I have hopes that I can get to a point where I have lost enough weight and my exercise is consistent that I can quit.  Today is not that day and I'm okay with it.  I haven't been running but I have been making sure I get my 10,000 steps in every day on my Fitbit.  Luckily I have a job where I stand a lot and I move around my classroom a lot and sometimes I walk around the halls at lunch to get more steps in.  We ran today and for everyone else it was just an easy jog.  I was okay but I couldn't have gone much faster and we were only going about a 14' mile pace.  I have some rebuilding to do once I start hitting the pavement again.  Today is not that day and I'm okay with it.
Getting kisses from my sweet puppy!  So in love with this dog!  :-)
I guess what was great about today was that instead of getting mad at myself for where I am not, I was happy about where I am.  I have amazing friends that encourage and support me and constantly remind me that I need to work on MY journey.  I watched them walking ahead of me, talking and laughing and I felt blessed!  These were some of my people and they didn't care that I was slow.  They were glad I had come along.  They weren't annoyed (I hope) by my silly dog running around them.  They thought she was doing great.  So today, for once, I was able to go on a hike and not beat myself up because I couldn't do more, go faster, do better.  I was content with where am right now.
Ice Storm and then Wind Storm.  Lots of damage but it was beautiful still.  
Maybe that is one of the things I needed to work on this fall instead of running.  Learning to be okay with where I am at.  This past year I have been so frustrated that I wasn't where I thought I would be by now.  Frustrated that my body hasn't cooperated with my efforts and we can't figure out why.  Frustrated that I'm still tired all the time and we can't figure out why.  This fall I have been able to let a lot of that go.

I have been thinking about what I want to accomplish and how I'm going to get there for new goals.  I have some thoughts bouncing around so that I can hit the ground running (pun intended) when I'm done with grad school.  Maybe I needed to take a break so that I could learn to be okay with where I am and also be okay with not reaching my goals every time.  I am terribly hard on myself in many areas and that is also something I have been working on.  If my family and friends are proud of me, I need to learn to be proud of myself too.  I have done some pretty kick ass things in the last three and a half years.  Things I never would have thought I could do when I started this whole running thing and I could barely run the corners of the track.

New plan is to keep cheering on my kick ass friends that are accomplishing Big Hairy Ass Goals!! I will remember that what they are doing is not what I need to be doing, that does make my goals less, just different.  Some of the things they do I don't even want to do, so there is no need to feel less about what I'm doing.  I will remember that the only person who was thinking my goals were small and stupid was me and that is NOT okay anymore.  I will also cut myself some slack when life, parenting, work, being a wife, housework, chores, grocery shopping, laundry (the list goes on!) gets in the way of my goals on occasion.  Because I have a pretty sweet life.  Actually I have an exceptionally awesome life and the best part is I get to share it with my best friend.  :-)
New pants, like Joe's only in my favorite color.  Best part?  I thought they wouldn't fit.  :-)
One more week of work and school and then I get two weeks off of work and a month off of grad school.  It will be awesome to rest my brain for a bit.  I signed up for a 10k in January so I will be getting my run on this week.  It will be slow and sad and not anywhere close to where I was or where I want to be and I'm okay with that.  My daughter is going to run the 10k too, it will be her first!  So we are going to be training together.  How cool is that?  I'm super excited!
Today has been a great day!  Can't wait to continue my journey with the better attitude AND add back in the running.
Bailey is a wee bit tired, can't imagine why!  :-)
Life is a journey!  Run Happy!!
Next step, figuring what the hell I want....

Friday, November 28, 2014


There has been quite a bit of whining on my end lately about my journey.  I apologize for that.  I try to be honest because sometimes this journey is just plain and simply HARD.  Not every one can just turn the switch and make it happen.  Some of us have turned the switch and there is a short circuit because nothing happens.  My doctor told me last week that if he lined up 10 people that are doing what I'm doing 6 of them would have fantastic results, 2 would be lying about what they are doing and 2 would be randomly wired to not have things work easily.  Lucky me, I seem to be one of the last four.  I hope I'm the randomly wired and not the lying to myself one but either way, not getting results is not fun.

However, I have been working on changing my attitude....again.  :-)  Our character trait of the month at my school is Positive Attitude.  I have always tried to live that example to my students even when having a hard day or not feeling good.  One of my awesome teacher pals has a motto that I love.  "Fake it till you make it!"  Slap a smile on your face and get to work.  So I have been taking steps to improve my attitude and continue to work on my self-image and self-esteem.  Not an easy task since I have not had a good self-image or high self-esteem, well, as long as I can remember (even when I was thin, then I was nerdy. lol)

So here are things that I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for my husband.  Wow!  I could be on this roller coaster without him helping me and that would really not be fun.  I'm so thankful that he is willing to ride with me and support me.

I'm thankful for my kids.  They are just great people and fun to be with.  I may not have done everything right as their mom but I did a lot of things good because they are awesome.  Last night my 22 year old son picked up his almost 20 year old sister and then they both came and picked up the 14 year old.  They had an overnighter at the oldest's apartment with a planned trip to Dutch Bros and a Star Wars Marathon.  Sounds pretty great and how fun that they like hanging out together.  I am a blessed mom!

I am thankful for all my parents, sibling and nieces and nephews.  And I have a LOT!  Because my husband's family is mine too (another blessing!) and all the wonderful people that we have adopted into our family over the years.  Laughing is the name of the game when we get together.

I am thankful for old friends that have known me forever and still love me today.  Some I have known since middle school and keep in touch through Facebook.  Others I found in high school or at church.  God put Sheryl into my life to be the sister of my heart when I was 17 and far away from home.  She still blesses me today! To have people care about you for over 20 years and they don't have to, they aren't family, is pretty cool.

I am thankful for changes in my life that resulted in amazing friends.  When we moved to Albany it was hard.  We left a large circle of people that Joe had grown up with to live in a town where we knew nobody.  My son became friends with this boy from school and low and behold we discovered our wonderful friends Faylene and Dwayne.  I can't even begin to tell you how much I treasure the friendship of these two fabulous people and how much I love their boys.

I am thankful for new friends.  In the last couple of years we have made some new people that quickly became solid friends.  The kind that you feel like you have known forever and that you are absolutely going to keep.  The encouragement I receive from Josh and Wendie Gum is amazing.  I have been at my lowest low, been a crying, weepy mess that is pretty sure I will fail.  They both love on me, encourage me, tell me to get up and get moving.  All in a way that is full of love.  I'm blessed to have them as a big part of my life.  And through the Gums we have met many, many other wonderful friends that I plan to keep for a very long time!

I'm thankful for my drive to work.  What?  Yep.  The last few weeks God has given me the most amazing sunrises.  They always seem to happen on a day that I am struggling or stressing.  It is the most amazing way to start of the day.  I have felt several times that God has shown me these sunrises to encourage me and start my day off with a blessing and a smile.  Thank you God!  :-)  Every single one of these pictures is from a different morning in the last two weeks.

They are all taken from almost the same spot and yet all are different.  So Beautiful!!

I'm thankful for all the random people in the last few weeks that have told me that I have encouraged them in some way.  Some have been at work, some have been former students, some have been people I hardly know.  Sometimes we feel like we are all alone in our struggles, it really is encouraging to know that other people share the same struggles but are still moving forward.  Glad I can help people feel encouraged.  I know there are MANY people in my life that do that for me.

I have a lot to be thankful for and that is what I'm focusing on.  I've got it pretty good and if my pant size isn't exactly where I want it, it won't be the end of the world.  I will continue to work on being the healthiest, best me possible and try to enjoy the ride as I go.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014



I feel like I have been struggling for a really long time.

Running in place and getting nowhere fast.

I thought I'd be a lot farther towards my weight loss goal by now.

I thought I'd be faster by now.

I thought I wouldn't cringe every time I see a picture of myself anymore.

I thought we would have figured out why I am tired....all....the....time.

Sometimes having friends that make goals and then proceed to kick those goals to the curb can be very discouraging.  Not that I'm not totally thrilled with how awesome they are.  It's just that it is hard to always be left behind.

I worry that they might think that I'm not really working at my goals like I say I am.  To lose weight it is a simple case of take less in and move more.  Joe tells me that all the time.  Other people tell me that all the time.  Obviously I must be doing something wrong or not being honest about what I am taking in or how much I am moving, right?  Except I'm not.  Honest.

Four years of running.  

Three years of being tired all the time.

Two years of working very focused on losing weight and running.

Two years of going to the doctor with many, many, many different tests to try and figure out what is going on with me.

I have lost 40 pounds.  That's good.  I know that.  It's WAY better than gaining 40 pounds. (If that had happened I would have been pushing 300 pounds).  That doesn't mean I'm not frustrated.  Forty pounds over four years means ten pounds a year.  At this rate I will make my goal weight in about another five years.  Ugh.

Staying positive is hard.  Staying motivated is hard.  I took a break from running this fall and I know that it was the right decision because I am WAY less stressed about getting my runs in and doing my homework.   I have been able to get my weight to slowly creep back down again but again have hit the wall and am stuck.  I feel all bloated and fat.  Then I saw the pictures from the Silver Falls 7 Miler.  Ugh.

I had such a good day.  I really had fun on the run.  I had a total blast after the run hanging out with my friends and tailgating in the parking lot.  That should be the end of it.  Great day!  Period.

Why do I let pictures have such a negative impact on me?  I look at the pictures that runwild posted and I see a fat girl.  My husband looks at the same pictures and his comment was "Look at those muscles on your legs!"  and "Love the smile!"  I see someone who looks EXACTLY the same as the year before.  Where's the progress?  Where is the change?  Where is the visible reflection of all my hard work?

I do not see it!

I feel like a failure.

I worry that my friends will give up on me, if they haven't already.  I worry that my husband is disappointed in me and just not saying anything so that I won't be more discouraged.  

I have tried very hard, through the process of writing this blog, to be very honest in my writing.  Not everything in this journey is easy or quick.  I cannot be a positive ray of sunshine all the time.  I get frustrated and discouraged.  I want to give up.  I want to say screw it and go eat a giant bag of Ruffles.  And occasionally I do make poor choices and eat the giant bag of Ruffles.

But here's the thing.

The really important thing.

The thing that keeps me going, moving forward, trying again.

I'm worth it.  

I am worth the effort.  

I matter.  

Eventually I will win.  And yes, it sounds like I'm in a battle.  I am.  With my own body.  But between me, my doctor and the encouragement of my friends and family I will keep moving forward.  I will take the steps that are right for me and not compare my journey to the journey others have been on.

So even if it takes five years to get to my goal weight then that's what I will work towards.  It just means I will look fabulous at 50.

This was another week of encouraging memes and pictures on Facebook and Pinterest that really hit home.  So in order to end this blog on a positive note these are the ones that spoke to me this week or made me smile.

Found on Pinterest via
Found via Pinterest

Found on Pinterest via
I want to hang out on this corner all the time!  Who wants to join me?
via Pinterest and
And my personal favorite!
Thanks for letting me vent.  :-)  If you can relate than know that I'm rooting for you!  Just keep moving forward.  It's still a better direction than the alternative!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Silver Falls Trail Runs 2014

Last summer I signed up for the Silver Falls 7 Miler.  This is the first time they have had this length of a trail run during the event.  I have done the Half Marathon twice before and thought it would be nice to do the shorter route this year. I signed up back on August 1st before I had done my big reassessment of my goals and priorities.  So what's a girl to do when they signed up for a 7 mile trail run and they haven't been running?

Run it anyway.

I didn't plan to run at all.  I actually just planned on hiking it and enjoying the day.  No biggie because I absolutely love Silver Falls State Park and figured there are definitely worse ways to spend a fall morning.  If you want a gorgeous hike any time of the year this is the park to go to!

We had three friends who were participating in the 50k that was going on as well.  They started their journey at 7:30 in the morning.  I waited for Joe to get home from work and we loaded up the car and we headed out.  Our race started at 9:00 and we made it to the park by 8:30 so we had time to get ready and get started. puts on a fantastic race and we enjoy every single one of their trail runs that we participate in.  The Silver Falls weekend has morphed over the years.  Originally it was just a half marathon and the numbers were limited.  The numbers are still limited but now they have a 7 miler, a 50k, a Marathon and a Half Marathon over the first Saturday and Sunday of November.  If you think you want to get into one of these races next year I suggest you put a reminder on your phone, it fills up fast!

We found Wendie right away and she let us know that Josh, Kristi and Tony had gotten off to a good start.  She would be meeting up with them at various aid stations on the route to make sure they had anything they needed and were doing alright.  She got this picture of me and my fabulous hubby.

Always encouraging and supportive in whatever I'm doing!  
The race began and Joe took off.  I decided to run for a bit just to get warmed up.  I actually felt pretty good.  As I was going I begin to think maybe I could change what I planned to do for this hike.  Now I decided I would run (slowly) as much as I could and then walk on the up hills.  If I got to a point where this was too much I would go back to the original plan of hiking the route.

I had to walk up a little bit when the trail went up to the Rim Trail but then it flattened out, somewhat, so I began to run again.  Because I have a track record of tripping and falling on the trails I took it easy in areas with lots of rocks or roots showing.  We followed the Rim Trail down to the North Falls where I had to stop and get some pictures. 
North Falls
Typically by this time of year most of the leaves have fallen off the trees but there were still a lot on the trees and all the yellow was so beautiful to run through.
Oregon beauty!
I was not running fast but I was still running and I felt good.  It was fun to be out and have no specific goal other than to finish.  I think my journey the last few months has been remembering that having a goal to finish is an excellent goal.  I don't always have to be fast or beat my time from a previous year.  I can have a goal that says "Yay!  I got my butt off the couch today!  Winner!"

I knew that the trail was not too steep until I got to the Lower South Falls.  Then there would be stairs.  I think stairs are worse than hills!  So I figured as long as I felt good I would keep running until I got to those stairs.  

Lower South Falls
I used the stairs as an opportunity to refuel and use my inhaler.  Then I just plugged away at them.  I didn't count them but according the the trail map brochure for Silver Falls there are 185 steps.  Ugh.  I so need to add stairs and hills to my training!

The trail evens out again for a bit until you get to the bottom of the South Falls.  So I ran until I got there.  There was lots of water coming over the falls and a lot of spray.  I was hot from running so the spray felt good.  I know my pictures look like typical South Falls pictures, but it is so beautiful you can't help but take them.
South Falls view from the bottom.

South Falls from the trail behind the falls.  Gorgeous fall colors!

South Falls from near the top.  Love the fog and mist and the top.
I knew when I got to the top that I only had one more hill between me and the finish.  I headed back towards the area where the finish line is but then I had to take a right and head up that last, awful hill. I'm not the only one who thinks it is not fun.  Everyone who has done these races talks about that last crappy hill.  You just say "Really? You've got to be kidding me!"  Even when you know it's coming.  Here is the name that has developed over the years for this hill:
That pretty much sums it up.
The problem is that it is super steep up and super steep down the other side so it is hard to go fast either way.  Last year was super muddy so it was slick too.  This year wasn't as slick but still hard to trudge up after all the running without training I had done.  But since I knew I was close to the finish I made it up and then gingerly made my way down the other side.  The fear of falling down, since I tend to do that, kept me from going faster on the downhill side.

A year ago a couple of guys from the Vertebrate team doing the marathon had passed me starting up the hill and encouraged me.  Then one of the guys met me coming down the other side as he was going back up to finish with another teammate.  He smiled at me and said good job.  I smiled back and said thanks.  Now that guy is my friend!  What a difference a year makes.  I sent him a selfie (he LOVES selfies....not) and told him that if he had been there this year I would have given him a big sweaty hug.  :-)  

I finished with my daughter waiting for me at the corner where you turn into go to the finish.  Seeing her smiling face cheering me on kept me running to the finish.  At the finish was my hubby and friends.  No matter how fast or slow I go there are always people at the finish telling me I did awesome.  I am doing a much better job of understanding that I accomplish much by getting out there and doing something, no matter what my speed is.  

I changed my clothes and it felt so good to be warm and dry.  We hung out at the truck for awhile with some guys who work in my school district and had a lot of fun laughing and talking.  One had done the 7 miler as well and the other had come along to cheer him on.  

Later we grabbed our chairs and headed over to the finish line to wait for our awesome 50k peeps.  We had a great time talking with people, cheering people over the finish line and just hanging out.  The marathon and the 50k people were both finishing and it was fun to watch them get loved on by their friends and families at the finish. 

Then we could see our friends.  They were all together and looked great.
Josh, Kristi and Tony come into the final stretch.
Joe, Meighan and Wendie decided they should have to finish under their arm arch while I took pictures.
Here they come! 
Great way to finish! 
Kristy finishing her longest race ever!!  Nice work lady1
Great picture of Friend Josh's awesome smile!  Great way to end the race.
They all looked really great at the finish!  They were all running and still smiling!  Quite the accomplishment.  (Side note:  Josh went back today and ran the Silver Falls Half Marathon!  Beast Mode Activated!)
No complaints about the picture Kristy!  I think you and Tony look fabulous!!
First priority after running a 50k?  Getting a beer.  Second priority?  Getting clean and warm!
Priority #1 taken care of.  Still haven't gotten to Priority #2
Joe and I had brought along our grill from home in the back of the truck.  The plan was to stay at the park and have a little post race celebration.  We had hamburgers and brats, salad, fresh fruit, chips, beer and cider.  What I didn't know was that my friends had decided to make it into a small birthday celebration for me as well.  My birthday is on Monday and they had decided to help me celebrate early.  I got an awesome tote to carry teacher-y things to and from school and some awesome Pote "Made With Love" slippers in my favorite color of purple.  There was also confetti cupcakes and candles.  It was awesome and I felt very loved.  That was just about the most perfect way to celebrate my birthday.  Hanging out, laughing and enjoying my friends after having a great time on the trail.  I love these people!!
Some of my favoritest people in the world!  Love you guys!
Enjoying my Birthday slippers!
When we finally packed up and headed home we had the perfect finish to the day.  The sky was amazing and the sunset was stunning.

Good run, good friends, good day.  I'm still looking foward to making new goals when I'm done with grad school but I sure am enjoying what I'm doing right now.  Life is good.  :-)