Sunday, December 11, 2011

Marathon 'tails

Ok so here are the tails. Most people say deets, I say tails.
I ran 26.2 miles! Huge life goal: done.
Will I do it again? The verdict is still out. Yes, I loved it, but yes, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. As of right now, I am thinking I prefer half marathons, but keep in mind that I still can't walk or move like a normal person yet. That may change.
It was the Rehoboth Beach marathon and it was a pretty small race, around 750 people in the marathon. I liked the smaller race to start because it was less intimidating, but during the race it would've been nice to have more people around because there points when I was just running by myself.

 These 2 pics are from mile 11. Obviously still loving life and loving the fact that I am on a really long run for the first time in 3 weeks and that I am finally actually doing the marathon and not just thinking about it nervously anymore. I felt great for the first 11 or so miles.

 This is from mile 19, hating life. Wondering, am I crazy? Why did I want to do this? (this really did cross my mind). Miles 11-20 were rough. It just seemed to last so long and that part of the route took us through woods where there were no people or cars or any changing scenery. I wasn't necessarily in physical pain, but I was definitely mentally struggling. When I saw Josh, I couldn't even talk to him or I would've started crying. But as soon as I got to mile 20, I knew I could do it.
 This is from mile 23. From mile 20 on, I knew I could finish it. It was a short enough distance left that each mile I went seemed to really make a difference in how far left I had to go. I remember thinking, "You know you're crazy when you have 5 miles left to run and that seems really short."

 My goal was to finish in 4 hours. I was at halfway at 1:56 I think, so I knew that I could make it in 4 if I could keep the same pace and not stop. There were points when that was all that kept me going. Overall, I stopped to pee once, tie my shoe once, once because I cramped, and I think I walked a few steps at a drink station. So overall, pretty awesome.

  So happy to be done!
My medal. I want to wear everyday until my legs don't hurt anymore so that people will know why I am walking funny.

I had a Gu at miles 7, 14, and 20. I had water at miles 8, 15, and 21. And I had a piece of banana at mile 15. I had one piece of toast and a yogurt for breakfast. Overall, I was happy with my nutrition during the race. There was one point that I felt really hungry and I knew the Gu just wasn't going to cut it, which is why I had the banana. I didn't bonk and felt like I had the same amount of energy the whole race.

So that's it! I did it and I am so glad I did. I can't believe it, either. It has been a goal for such a long time that it seems surreal that I did it. Thanks to an awesome supportive husband and a body that didn't break (yet), I managed to finish.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Meet... Franklin!

Getting used to riding in the car
This is Franklin, the newest member of the family! Isn't he the cutest dog you've ever seen?!!! He is an 8.5 month old goldendoodle.
Josh and I have wanted a dog forrrrevvvverrrrrr, and we are finally in a situation that we can have one!
Josh found out last week that he can take a dog to his office during the day while he is working. His office is in a farmhouse, so it's perfect for a dog. Once we learned that, we started looking tirelessly for the perfect match for us. Thanks to Cesar Millan,we knew what we needed to do while we were looking and what we were looking for in a dog.
There is a dog trainer nearby who got Franklin from a puppy mill. He was 8 months when she got him and had lived his whole life in a kennel :( She rescued him and was trying to find a good home for him at the same time we were looking for a good dog!

Franklin's first run! Pooped. 

It was pretty much love at first sight. He is super calm and attentive to whatever we are doing and listens to us really well. The trainer only had him for 1.5 weeks, so he is not trained in anything, but we are working with him and he has already learned so much!
He hasn't had any accidents, can sit pretty consistently (esp. with Josh), and is very patient. He can also sit for his leash. He doesn't know how to jump (so sad!) so we are working on that. He also doesn't really know how to play or fetch, but he's starting to catch on! He acts just like a big puppy--very uncoordinated, big paws that he doesn't know what to do with, and curious. Everything is pretty new to him--toys, balls, running, etc.! It is so exciting to see him learn new things so quickly. 

 He loves his bed!

Tuckered out from us trying to teach him to jump!

We are so excited to have Franklin!! I am obsessed with him, so there will be plenty of pics. And he will go everywhere with us that he is allowed. I was a little disappointed that he couldn't come to church with us today (...ok, a lot disappointed), but hopefully that is the exception and he will be able to come [almost] everywhere else with us!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Hairs

I got myself some new hairs! Well, they are still the same old hairs, but they look brand new.
I got tired of my hair being 3 different colors and ugly, so I decided to do something about it! It seems crazy dark to me, but I guess it's probably pretty close to my natural hair color.

Here is a hair diary of the process over the past 2 years. I know everyone cares about this a lot.

Josh is happy with my decision because it is pretty close to what my hair looked like when we were dating. (below). So that's always good. 

The whole process started last summer when I decided I wanted to dye my hair blonde. I figure everyone has to try that at least once in their life, right? And now I will never do it again. 

 The latest that my hair looked like. Dark tops, light bottom, no style. 

The new 'do

Life's been crazy busy. Typical schedule: run, work, school. And....of course my favorite TV shows all started this week. Parks & Rec and the Sing-Off (and Glee. but not as much as the other two) completed my week and kept me company while Josh was out of town.

Here's the running update:
We went 10 miles last Saturday. My muscles and cardiovascular endurance felt fine, but I have been having an awful problem with cramping. Every time I get to about mile 3, I get a sharp cramp in my lower right abdomen. I've never been known for my ability to handle pain, but this cramp it unbearable! It had made me super depressed at various points this week because I have had to question if I will indeed be able to do a marathon. My wonderful husband sent me this info he found on the all-knowing internet:

Ways to Prevent or Lessen the Pain of the Common Side Stitch:
1) Do not Run on a Full Stomach
You shouldn't drink large amounts of water or eat 2-4 hours before exercise. Sip small amounts (1-2 swallows) before and during exercise and wait to fully re-hydrate until after the workout. Dehydration can cause cramping as well, so do not ignore water/Gatorade during running. Always sip a few swallows at regular intervals if running for more than 30 minutes and in hot temperatures.
2) Decrease Pace and Breath Deeply
Decrease fast pace for a few minutes and continue deep breathing techniques during running. A common running sequence is a three step inhale and two step exhale pattern. Slowing down your pace will allow for you to keep up with that pattern. As you increase to near maximum speed, your breathing will become more labored. However, you can push through the pain and keep your pace if you concentrate on breathing deep by pushing your stomach out when you inhale and relaxing it as you exhale. 
3) Pre-Stretch With Side Torso Twists
Pre-stretch before running by doing side torso twists. One of the best ways to pre-stretch the area is to lift your arms over your head and lean to the left and right at the waist.
4) Perform Lower Back and Abdominal Exercises
Do more lower back and abdominal exercises - see "Achieve Washboard Abs" for more ideas. Having a strong core will help you prevent the side stitch.
I hope these ideas can help you during your timed runs and training for faster paced running.


Side stitches are a muscle spasm of the "diaphragm". The diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. In essence, it provides a boundary between the organs of the abdomen and the chest cavity where the heart and lungs are located.
The diaphragm assists in breathing. When we inhale, taking air into the lungs, the diaphragm moves down. When we exhale, the diaphragm moves up. (This detail, it becomes important later.)
Spasms of the diaphragm occur because of the movement of the internal organs as they jounce up and down whilerunning, thus pulling down and straining the diaphragm as it moves up while exhaling.
The liver in particular is usually the cause of this. It is attached to the diaphragm by two ligaments. The liver is the largest organ in the abdominal cavity and is situated in the upper right abdomen. Hence most people experience stitches on their right side, immediately below the ribs. A stomach full of food may cause this as well.
In addition, most runners are "footed". They begin and end a respiratory cycle on the same foot while running, usually in a stride to breathing ratio of 4:1 while jogging and 2:1 while running very fast. As the runner's breathing then becomes synchronized with his/her stride, exhalation consistently occurs on the same leg. If one repeatedly exhales (causing the diaphragm to move up) when the right foot hits the ground (forcing the organs on the right side of the body to move down), a side stitch may develop.


The most effective way to prevent a side stitch is to avoid "shallow" breathing. Shallow breathing can be defined as taking in a small volume of air with each breath, using only a small portion of the total lung capacity. When this occurs while running, the diaphragm remains in a consistently high position and never lowers enough to allow the connective ligaments of the liver to relax. The diaphragm becomes stressed and a spasm or "stitch" results.
Instead, one should breathe "deeply", also known as "belly breathing" while running. This allows the diaphragm to fully lower and reduce the stress on it.
Here's an exercise to try. Lie down on the floor, place a hand on your belly and breathe deeply. You are belly breathing correctly if you feel your hand raise slightly. If only your chest moves up, you are not breathing deep enough.
A technique that is very successful in preventing side stitches while running, is to periodically "purse" the lips while exhaling, as if blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. Again, deep breathing is required to be effective. (This works best for me as well as most of the runner's I work with.)
Another technique that helps, is to exhale as the left foot strikes the ground, instead of the right foot. The organs attached to the diaphragm on the left side of the body aren't as big as those on the right side, so there is less strain on the diaphragm.


Running downhill exacerbates side stitches since it increases the forces exerted on the entire body with each foot plant. Novice runners should walk down hills until breathing techniques are mastered.
Don't eat within one hour of running and only eat lightly within three hours of running. DO DRINK FLUIDS!!! The stomach drains fluids rather quickly. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of fatigue and should be avoided.
Preventing a side stitch using the above techniques is preferred. If you get a stitch while running try the "purse" method (blowing out the birthday candles). If the stitch continues, it is best to stop running and instead walk while concentrating on deep breathing. Continue running after the stitch goes away.

I highlighted the good stuff. Can you imagine what my textbooks look like?
Anyway, I tried to push my stomach out while I was inhaling and that made all the difference! Woot woot. I had to run slower than normal so that I could more consciously think about my breathing, but I did it! I went 7 yesterday (only 5 less than I was supposed to...) and it was good, so I think I'm still going to try to do the December 10 marathon. This week we'll have to (GET to) run 13 miles, which is essentially the farthest I've ever gone before, so it should be exciting! I'm loving it.

We still miss the mountains, but are learning to like it here, too. The people and our programs are what make it worthwhile. Otherwise, we would be in Colorado. Ah, someday.

That's all folks!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Biking History

That's right, biking history was made yesterday! At least in my household, it was.
Two years ago, I had only been on a bike a handle of times in my life. I had no desire to ride a bike when I was a kid. When I was a teenager, it was my biggest secret that I didn't know how to ride a bike. In college, I was still embarrassed about it. And then I met Josh, who just happened to be a crazy bike fanatic who did mountain bike races when I met him.
 Before he found out my secret, my two best friends  in Colorado tried to teach me how to ride. I realized it wasn't as hard as I had been imagining it to be all these years. I successfully rode up and back my street with no major catastrophes or broken bones. There was hope in my future.

Over the next two years, Josh learned I didn't really know how to ride a bike and he still loved me. But he also wanted me to get a bike and learn. Ehhhh. I relented and I quickly had my very own first bicycle. I rode back and forth to school in Provo, a total distance of 8 blocks one-way. I crashed once, stopped many cars while trying to start pedaling after a stop sign, but overall had many successful bike rides.

Then we moved away from biker friendly Utah to the crazy busy east. Despite our town priding itself on being a "bicycle friendly" community, it didn't feel very friendly to me with so many roads without shoulders and lots of traffic. I didn't ride my bike for awhile.

Towards the end of the summer, a friend from church asked me to do her a favor. That favor just happened to be doing a bike race that both of our husbands were doing together. She wanted to do a shorter version, but wanted a buddy to do it with. I agreed to do it and I am so glad I did!
 We had to wake up at what felt like the crack of dawn. I haven't been up before the sun in a long, looong time, and I like it that way.
 Our friends who persuaded me to do it. She's pregnant, so I figured if she can do it while she's pregnant, then I need to stop being a wuss and get over my fear!
 Getting ready to go to the starting line. There were several butterflies in my stomach at this point. 
 This was the part I was worried about...I knew I could handle the distance because I have been running, but I get nervous around other people on bikes. I am not very reliable about where my bike will go, so I thought I was for sure going to cause a crash with all of these cyclists right next to each other. My strategy was to wait until everyone else left, then I could go last and not have to worry about other people. It worked and there were no crashes!
 At the start!
Fittingly, the race started with a horse and buggy.
  One of the stops was at an Amish schoolhouse where they served us pie! Delicious. 

 It wasn't just a momentous day for me, though. Josh has had a goal to do a century ride (100 miles) for quite awhile. This proved to be the perfect opportunity. It was a mostly flat course, low key ride. He did super great and finished in a little over 5 hours. I don't know how he did it!
We were quite the victorious duo yesterday. I really loved it and I may be hooked. I loved riding on flat roads with all of the traffic being blocked off by policeman. Too bad it's not like that on a regular basis. I definitely am planning on riding my bike more now and seeing how far I can go!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Time!

I have been blogged out lately, but the rains have started and I figure that a hurricane is the perfect excuse and opportunity to catch up on life, right?
My view of the dreary beginnings of the storm--no damage yet!

We are stocked up on water and have enough food to last a few days. We pulled everything inside from off our patio. Now it is just time to wait!

I had orientation for my assistantship yesterday. It is at the Center for Disabilities Studies on campus--more can be learned about it here. Yesterday was mostly a general overview and I know I have a lot more to learn, but I am so excited for the chance I have to work in this area and hopefully help make a difference in people's lives.
Josh and I also just signed up for my first bike race (ride). It is the Amish Country Bike Tour. Josh will be doing the 100m ride and I will be doing the 15m ride. I think I am much more nervous than he is. That may be in part due to the fact that I have not ridden my bike since we have lived our friends has been borrowing it for his main source of transportation, and I have yet to get it back, so I am starting to feel the pressure! We are doing the ride with a couple of friends though, so that will make it easier and less stressful.
We are also still doing well starting our training for the marathon! We probably won't start officially training until October/November, but we are just trying to get into a good routine of running right now. I am happy to say that running with Josh has also made me faster! I used to average about 10min/mile, but since I have started running with him, I average more of 8:30min/mile! We ran 3 miles on Thurs where I actually ran a bit faster than 8min/mile. That's pretty remarkable considering my fastest mile time ever is about 7:20! So I am pleased with the results so far, although I have to admit that I really do not care how fast I ever run. To me, the joy of running is in the exercise itself and the accomplishment you feel while you're doing and after you're done, not in how fast you can do it. Maybe someday I will get so good at running distance that I can work on improving my times, but for now, I am happy to just finish the distance :)

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Maybe marathon?

I have always wanted to do a marathon and a I think the time is now! I have two done half marathons and loved them, but when I finished both of them, I took a nice long break from running. My end goal was the half, so I felt like I deserved a break at the end of each one. I have always loved running though, so even when I am not training for anything, I am still running about 10-15 miles/week.

I am thinking that the Rock n' Roll USA marathon in DC on March 17 will be the one. I'm super stoked to have a goal now because it will make it easier to run and have a schedule that I need to follow. I'm also excited because it gives me a legitimate excuse to buy new gear! I really want a running watch--that will be first on the list.

The other good news is that I think Josh is going to do it with me! I don't know if he will be able to spend all that time running and not biking, but we will see.
I am so impatient that I just want to start training now, even though I don't need to seriously start for a couple of months probably.

Visitors will of course be welcomed and appreciated for this big life event!
One of the things that has helped me get motivated for this is The Hungry Runner Girl blog. She has such a great outlook on life, running, and exercise in general. Reading her struggles and triumphs each day has inspired me!
Anyway, it is not set in stone yet, but I really want to! I have to admit that having a supportive husband who wants to join makes a huge difference.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Youth Conference 2011

Josh and I got assigned to be youth conference counselors almost as soon as we moved into our new ward. Josh, having been an EFY counselor forever and me, having wanted to be an EFY counselor forever immediately and excitedly accepted.

The theme this year was "We seek after these things" coming from the 13th article of faith. Josh was in charge of 6 boys and I was in charge of 5 girls. We were both lucky and had really great kids. There was a total of about 550 youth there, with about 100 leaders. It was held at Kutztown University in PA and had youth from the surrounding 5 stakes.

We did a lot of different activities, including games, a future fair, workshops, and several devotionals. We even got to have Sister Mary N. Cook, who is the first counselor in the General Young Women Presidency come and speak a few different occasions. She was just amazing and I think I have a new favorite general authority now! One of the things she stressed was PROS:

Pray (morning and night)
Read (the Book of Mormon, at least 5 minutes every day)
Obey (the standards in For the Strength of Youth and the commandments)
Smile (Spiritually Minded Is Life Eternal)

It is so simple and easy to remember, yet can make such a difference in the lives of each of us, not just the youth.

I love being around youth and I miss serving in YW! I loved it and definitely learned from it.

In-Laws Visit

Five days after we got back from DC, Josh's parents came out for their visit to see us in our new home. I have a feeling they will be visiting a lot more now that we are so close to them. It was a very busy week and lots of fun!

Baltimore Aquarium
I LOVE turtles.

4D movie, including a shark attack!

This little bird is SO loud! It is so cute when he makes the sound, he rears his whole body back to get enough power. If you listen at the end of the sloth video, you can hear him.

We got a treat-we watched this sloth move across the whole rain forest room! They can stay in the same spot for up to two days, so we were lucky. Here's a video of him in action::

We also went to the beach twice! The first day we tried out Cape Henlopen and the next day we went to Rehoboth. They were both crazy busy, no surprise there. Josh's mom also got us boogie boards, but the waves were very, very lame.

Funny face Josh

The most important part of their trip is that I discovered my new love--Rita's! It is an italian ice shop where you can get gelato on top of your ice, and it is pure heaven. I am entirely addicted, plus they have already sent me two coupons, which means this addiction is sustainable. Good thing.

Washington D.C.

This is old news by now, but life has been too busy to blog lately!
Josh had a scholarship orientation in Washington DC 3 weeks ago, from Mon-Thurs. This meant a free mini vacation for me!
We got there Monday night, so my first day of adventuring started Tuesday. I went to the Museum of American History and the Holocaust Museum. The biggest thing that I got out of these two museums was that our country has already been through many difficult experiences and times. Throughout all of them, life goes on. This was reassuring to me because there are times that I feel like our country is now in a crisis mode--but life goes on. Someway, somehow, we will make it through this and eventually look back on it and hopefully learn from it.

The next day, I went to the zoo. It made me think two things--1) I don't want to have children. And 2) I hate zoos.
There were a million (this does not feel like an exaggeration) screaming (neither does this) little kids running around like crazy the day I was there. I realize the zoo is probably more a place for kids than for grown-ups (which I am coming to accept that I am), but still, I'd like to be able to see the panda, too! I will admit, I have come back to my senses and do want to have kids, but I had my doubts there for a day.
I hate zoos because of an experience in the monkey house. Upon entering the monkey house, there is a big sign that explains how orangutans specifically are shy creatures. It gives suggestions on how to treat them--walk up to the glass back first, do not bang on the glass, be patient, look at them over your back, etc. Were these millions of children obeying one of those suggestions? Of course not. I am naturally a more shy, reserved person, so I felt like I could relate to those apes, and I could only imagine how terrified and psychologically damaged they felt! Not only could I relate to them, but their behavior was sullen and antisocial. They looked like they just wanted to be left alone. Now this is not the fault of the zoo--on the contrary, it seemed like they get good care and attention in the zoo. It is the fault of children and parents who do not teach their children better.
But they had this sweet apparatus to climb on, so that helped me feel a little bit better.

Other zoo highlights:

Josh got done early that day and we got to go for a brief visit to the Museum of Natural History and have dinner with his future boss.
The last day I went to the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery. I love art and I could have spent a lot longer there, but this is the only picture I took!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fourth of July, Philly Style

We were very excited to be out on the east coast for the 4th of July. This has always been my favorite holiday because it is the least stressful and has the least expectations-- as long as there are fireworks, it will pretty much be a success.
We originally planned on going to DC for the 4th, but when we learned about the celebration Philadelphia would be having, we changed our plans.
They had a week long celebration with different events each day and then on the 4th, there was a parade and a street full of entertainment, activities, food, concerts, and lots and lots of people.
Climbing the Army's rock wall.

Funny guy.

Strongman Competition

African dance group

One of the best things about the day was all the free stuff we got! In addition to these awesome hats that we'll never wear again, we got juice, Dole fruit, protein bars, fake tattoos (that I have yet to apply)...pretty sweet.
It went so fast I didn't have time to think!

Street performers

Josh had plenty of time to read more HP while we waited for the concert to start. We picked out the perfect spot in the late afternoon and waited there for a few hours. As it got closer and closer to the concert starting though, more and more people began crowding in and we realized the two of us weren't going to be enough to hold our blanket down. It turned out to be way too many people for us to sit down and still be able to see and we ended up standing almost the whole night. Oh well, live and learn!

It was a perfect night--not too hot, just a little humid, beautiful sunset, and of course, hordes of people enjoying it with us!

The day ended with the country's biggest free outdoor concert with The Roots, Sara Bareilles, Estelle, Michael McDonald, and Earth, Wind and Fire. They also surprised us by having Committed (they won the TV show "The Sing-Off and they were my favorite!) and Boyz II Men! Boyz II Men was Josh's favorite group ever growing up. It was fantastic and helped us endure the crowds.

Overall, it was a great Independence Day, but we probably won't do it again, unless we can figure out how to get the reserved seats...

The Fourth of July is also a special holiday for us because it is the holiday that we took our first road trip (to Colorado!) together and really the beginning of when we started to fall in love (2 weeks later we were engaged!). I can't believe it's been 2 years ago already! Time flies when you're in love, living your dream life with your best friend.