Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Marathon Weekend

This does not imply that the weekend was long, but that I ran a MARATHON during the weekend, and got to have all of my super fabulous sisters stay with me (really they stayed at Sharon's and were fortunate not to encounter Bill), and was had another Phase 10 tournament with my sisters. If this weekend was any indication of how the rest of the year is going to turn out, I am so excited!

I will recap the weekend in full detail, which is why it has taken me so long to post about it. A sister did insinuate that it wasn't as fantastic as I said because I wasn't eager to blog about it. Not true. This has been the busiest month of my life, well, besides getting married, and having a baby.

The sisters: Jen, Nikki, Stephanie, and Kellie all arrived on Thursday night. They were very thoughtful and arrived at the airport at the same time, which meant one trip for me, which, ordinarily wouldn't be a big deal since it is about fifteen minutes away, but Kevin and Dillan were at Catalina Island for a field trip, so I had no one t stay home with the rest of the crew. Thanks to Susie for coming down and sitting on my couch while I picked up the girls. Nikki had the cutest hair cut. They all stayed at our house that night.

Next day, we went to Last Chance. Usually, on a Friday it would be busy with all of the resellers trying to find those designer bargains, but this was a BIG Friday because a truckload of returns from Nordstrom had arrived that morning, and everybody was there. Seriously. The sisters heard the workers when they were putting out new goods that if there was any shoving or leaning over, he would pull them out of the store. That kind of behavior is NOT tolerated at LC. But once the wares are laid down, the pushing and shoving begins. You just can't do it to a worker.

Then we went to the Expo for me to pick up my packet, t shirt, and all the free samples we could get our paws on. Nothing too exciting, except for the GU Chomps, which were more tolerable than the ClifShots and waaay better than the plain old GU. I get nauseated thinking about it.

We enjoyed an evening of watching Little Miss Sunshine-edited version. Still, very funny. Then we sisters sat and talked and cried. It was the conversation that night that I felt was the reason why we were all together. Without giving the details, I will say this. I am so proud of my littlest sister. She rose above a challenge that none of us knew, and instead of letting it define her and use it as an excuse for bad choices, she is a loving mother and has a husband who loves her dearly and beautiful children, so in this situation, if there is a victor, it is her. I am in awe of her strength and the adversity that she has risen above.

On Saturday, we went to the Mesa temple. I have not been to the temple here on a Saturday during the day, and now I know why. IT WAS PACKED!!!! There were no lockers to put your clothes in! People were everywhere. We had to wait for forty five minutes to get to the final presentation room. Not that we didn't have a lovely, spiritual experience. I was so grateful to have my sisters there with me to share in such a sacred experience. And I didn't do anything silly the whole time. No snickering at a woman with a walking staff that had a white crocheted cozy on it. Truth be told, there wasn't anything to giggle about.

Since the wait was so long, we had a late lunch, which ended up being a theme for the weekend. But it threw me off in trying to "carb load." I must have had plenty of stores, though.
We had our first round in the Phase 10 round. A little history. This started two years ago when my sister, Jen, turned 40 and we were all there for her birthday, INCLUDING Matt, and my parents, and the siblings played Phase 10, where in the end we all ganged up on Kellie and she STILL won. So now, when we are all together during the summer, or whatever, we play Phase 10 to find the champion of that stay. I did very poorly and ended up helping Stephanie win, inadvertently. Went to bed in anticipation of THE BIG DAY. Slept like a baby. Really. But not the kind that wakes up all night. The kind that sleeps through the night.

The Toias took us to the starting line. We waited in the car because it was SO COLD outside. I think it was 55 degrees. Even though I was wearing a couple of layers, I can only tolerate so much. The race information advertised 300 port a potties at the beginning of the race. I didn't realize how important that was until Emily and I were caught in line when the race started.

Those cute jackets we're wearing, Emily embroidered "My 'pace' or yours?" on the back. She did get hit on at one point during the race by a guy who said he was going to keep up with her because he wanted to be at her "pace".
We didn't start running when the gun (or whatever. I have no idea since I didn't hear it) went off. We got to the starting line and wondered where everyone was and then saw that they had left! Thanks to technology, it didn't matter, because the timing chip on our shoes took care of our official start time. Since we were behind everyone, we got to pass a lot of people. That made me feel like a real athlete. The marathon was very well run with water stations every mile, or mile and half, with Cytomax as well, and there were a lot of spectators, so that helped push me along. But then it got better. I saw my sisters around mile 6. Just seeing them gave me an extra push. Emily and I chucked our jackets and my camera at them, making it a little easier to run. We ran past the LDS church and wished that they hadn't cancelled their services, because it was just about the time for the sacrament. Like they would have let us in!
This is what Emily looks like when you are running slightly behind her. She was waving like that the whole time. Crazy girl. My pageant wave came in handy for this picture. Really, I was having an amazing time. My sisters made us this poster below:
Another BIG push came from seeing that. The course runs through neighborhoods, and when I was driving around the course to see what it would be like, I felt terrible for the people that had to be trapped in their houses all day while we ran by. But, there were several regular people who had oranges to hand out and pretzels. That is kindness. Around mile fifteen a few things happened. #1 We ran by the fire department. They were giving a polite golf clap to the runners until Emily came by. All of the sudden, they were yelling and cheering. That was a theme of the race. Everyone cheering her on. Well, because look at her! #2 I felt like I was developing what I dreaded most:digestive issues (nuff said). Instead of Emily running ahead, she would run back and forth until I was out of the port a potty. What a fabulous friend (but it gets better later on). #3 We saw my sisters again. This time, Stephanie ran with us for a little while. Super fun, and another push!

We saw Emily's people before this, so don't think that they weren't present. She got a visor from her husband as we ran. Then we saw my people: Kevin and the kids. What a huge highlight to see my children watch me achieve something that I worked for that wasn't easy. Ran some more, then saw them again. This time Dillan joined me in the running. He ran by me for about a mile and kept telling me that I could run faster, while he was bounding and not working that hard to keep up with me. That was a motivator, too, having him by me, encouraging me. Saw the sisters at mile 22. They had made another sign. This time it said "You're not a Vegetable. You're almost there. Keep up the Pace." Background on the vegetable remark: I was sitting in a movie theater and for some reason the lyrics to "Wanna Be Startin' Something" by Michael Jackson popped into my head "You' re a vegetable..." and I thought, that can't be right. He's singing about being a vegetable. Like a carrot? So I texted my MJ loving sisters and asked them if that was really what he was saying. They said yes, because a vegetable is someone that doesn't do anything. That made sense. Still running. This part had the only "hill" in the course, and it was very slight, but still, when you have ran for 23.5 miles, any bump feels like a mountain. Feeling good, but slowing down. At mile 25, I felt like I was getting really hot, thought about when I was hiking the Grand Canyon, and just wanted to walk for a minute. Emily came back to me and yelled "You DON'T walk at mile 25. You walk at mile 22, but NOT 25!" Then she spoke words of motivation to inspire me to finish "You can watch the award shows tonight while you lay on your couch." I found this so funny that she chose that to be my motivator that I couldn't help myself and had to run. Made it to the end, and as promised, we held hands across the finish line. In one of the pictures that you can buy for $34.95 it looks like she is dragging me across. This is us at the end:

I chose to cover up my amazing post four children abs, so that Emily wouldn't have to share the limelight with me. My sisters made us the candy leis and got me the balloons, and Kevin and the kids gave Emily and I cards. The marathon gave us all sorts of snacks and water and the shiny blanket, and a medal for finishing. All in all, great marathon.
This is my cute little family. Kevin got them silly string to shoot at me at the end, and also the beads around their necks and pinwheels. He's a fun dad.

For those of you who don't know my wonderful sisters, they are from left to right: Kellie, Stephanie, me, Jen, and Nikki. This would have been so much harder without them. I can't thank them enough for being there. I tried, though.

The nice thing about running a marathon, is that you have little to no responsibilities for the rest of the day. Not a bad reason to run that far.

For those of you wondering about the soreness issue, on a scale from one to ten, I was at a one (one was the least, by they way). This may be because of effective training, or because of my basis for comparison. Comparing it to the soreness and toe issues I had when we hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim, the marathon was ten times EASIER. And when I compare it to the first time that I hiked the Grand Canyon, when I had not trained at all and was out of shape, it was a hundred times easier than that! After all, I did almost cry during the first hike, and there were no tears here.

Phase 10 Round 2: I won!

Monday, I treated my sisters to facials and massages. It was a little token of my gratitude for them all being there to support me. I am so grateful that they all could be there. If even one sister wasn't there, it would not have been the same, and we would have kept saying, It would be nice if _____ was here, but we didn't have to and just got to bond and enjoy each other without the distractions of children/ husbands. This was such a wonderful, bonding weekend, full of laughs, tears, teasing, and sisterhood. I owe it all to my very dear friend, Emily. She has a free pass now to do whatever or ask whatever from me, because without her asking me to run the marathon with her, and a little bit of competitiveness on my part to get all my sisters at the marathon, this wouldn't have happened. I would run a hundred more (and just might. I am hooked!) if it meant I could have my sisters (and even a brother!) together. I am so blessed to have each one of my sisters!

Phase 10 Round 3: I won! Which means, I am the official champion of this stay. Not that anyone is keeping track or anything.....

And, for the record, I held Emily back from running as fast as she could. She qualified for Boston a few weeks before this marathon, and THEN less than two weeks after the Rock and Roll, she WON a marathon (for the ladies)! Who does that?! She is a true friend.

What was my time, you ask? Well, since I had never ran any kind of race before in my life, and really, had only been running for two and a half months, I was going to be happy with 4:30, but I ran a 4:12.05. Emily ran a 4:12.04. Hmmmm. Looks like there will be a rematch.

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