Dear Mute Button

Will you marry me? Only you can stop this rich loudmouth chick from yelling at me every time I'm trying to watch "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives".

 


 So, yeah - I love you - thanks for everything - keep up the good work.




Shannon + Mute

 2-getha 4-evah

Color Me RAD

Last Saturday was the Color Me Rad 5k run!  Wow, I think this is going to become a tradition.  My daughter and my friend and I all did this together.  We ran and walked (it was more important to me to share this experience with my ladies than to run it the whole way through which I could have easily done).
All clean and white before the run - holding our color packs.

 It was super fun!!  And my friend's first 5k ever.  She did fantastic!  And I always LOVE having my daughter join me on stuff like this.  I'm such a lucky mom!

Me and my girl - Don't mess with us! ;)

Brent is ROCKIN' the plan and LOST 9 Pounds last week.  
BOOYA to him! 
He's been really making that effort to stick to plan now.  I'm so thankful he's in a place right now to be able to do that.  We are going to run a 5K together in July.  It'll be super sweet!  Love my man.

I think I've turned a corner as far as my "train wreck" situation below.  Making that video "Love Never Fails" was really healing for me and allowed me to express my love to my family and friends - and to feel it as well.  I really appreciate all the comments and encouragement I have received, and especially the prayers in my behalf - thank you!!  Sharon's comment really hit me - and I think she was inspired.  Thanks Sharon!  I've never gone through anything like this before and it really is the most hardest and painful thing -  YET because of where I've come from already and SEEING what the Lord has done for me, I KNOW so much more now WHO I really am and that HE does really love and help me.

I will NOT turn to food for comfort.
I will NOT berate myself.

I WILL look for my blessings EVERY DAY.

I WILL adopt and ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE.  :)

Grateful people are Happy People!

(It's funny how my blog becomes my own pep talk!)  

Whatever you are facing... FACE it with FAITH and COURAGE!

Life is GOOOOOOOD!!

~Margene XoXoxOxO

Adaptation - 2012 Collegiate Peaks 50

Quotes abound to the effect of how you can't control external events, but you can control how you choose to react to them.

First, the facts:

Collegiate Peaks 50 - April 28, 2012
7:43
5th place

Collegiate Peaks 50 - May 4, 2011
7:45
6th place

Lap 1
I believe I was somewhere around 20th-25th place after 3 miles.  With the 25ers mixed in, there was no need to worry about position.  Every time I got the itch to push, I held myself in check.  We had a little surprise when aid station 4 (at the course high point, near 17 miles) wasn't set up yet.  I had nearly cached my water in anticipation of refilling.  Luckily, 17 to 22 was all downhill, and it forced me to stay conservative.  Turning onto the singletrack at 23.5, I knew I'd get my first look at my position.  No surprises; there were four guys ahead of me.  I estimated the gap between myself and 4th to be pretty big - at least ten minutes.  Melissa did some awesome crew work for me, getting my drink and belt ready for the second lap.  I hit the turnaround in 3:33:30-ish feeling pretty good, which was exactly what I was shooting for.  10 minutes was a big gap, but I kept thinking of how Duncan and Corey had a similar gap on me last year and didn't extend their lead on the last lap.  The race begins at the halfway point.

Lap 2
It was a bit more difficult estimating the gap between me and 6th, as the people I passed on my way back up were a mixed bag of 25ers and 50ers.  I did pick out Benjamin Dunn, who had spotted me maybe 3 minutes.  The 7 miles from the turnaround to the high point would be, at least in my mind, the crux of the day.  Last year, I absolutely wilted through this stretch.  Fortunately, I held together much better this time around.  Still, Ben had closed the gap substantially, hitting the high point aid station just as I left it.  I noticed he went through the station very quickly, which suggested to me that he was putting forth a concerted effort to make contact with me.  Having learned a lesson about skipping aid last year, I had decided that with a decent amount left in the tank, I wasn't going to worry about maintaing that gap yet.  If he wanted to chase, so be it.  I caught sight of him a few times during the 30-40 miles, but it seemed he wasn't gaining.  Aid crew at mile 38 reported that I was still about 10 minutes back of 4th.  I felt decent at this time, but the memory of falling apart in the mid-40's last year stuck.  Instead of pushing to see if I could make a dent in that gap, I stayed within myself to make sure I got to the mile 44 aid station able to run the remainder of the course in.  By the time I hit 44, I learned my gap was still 8 minutes.  Not knowing where Ben had gone, I again decided to run within myself and lock up 5th instead of risking a blowup chasing down 4th.  The last miles felt surprisingly easy - I was in so much better shape this year than last year at this point.  My mind kept looking ahead to August during the final stretch - 100 miles finally began to feel comprehendible.  

The negatives
With more mileage under me, I was hoping to shave more than 2 minutes off my time from last year.  My tier of personal goals going into the race went something like this:
C goal - sub 7:45
B goal - sub 7:38
A goal - sub 7:30
To only shave off a nominal amount was kind of a bummer.  I even have to acknowledge that the conditions were more favorable this year - last year, the heat was much more of a factor than it was yesterday.

The positives
I ran smarter splits - 3:34/4:09 vs 3:30/4:15 last year.
Less 'want to die' moments.
Felt much better post-race.
Dialed into my needs better - nutrition, hydration, electrolytes, etc.

Put it all together, and what do I have?  Well...my ultimate goal this year is a strong performance in my 100 mile debut.  Once I finished CP last year, I couldn't even fathom doubling the distance.  After yesterday, though...I can wrap my head around it.  I think my training has actually been quite appropriate for the 100, maybe even slightly at the expense of 50.  The focus on distance as opposed to turnover showed yesterday, as I didn't seem to have the ability to hammer...but I didn't have the extended periods of struggle, either.

Collegiate Peaks is a great event, and Burke Kaiser is a cool dude.  It's a bummer that this race and the Cheyenne Mountain trail races fall on the same weekend, as that's another class event.

I choose to be OK with yesterday's result.  While there are lessons to be taken away by yesterday's performance, I do think I'm on the right track for the race across the sky in August.

My Weekend..

Triston had prom.

On Friday I visited my alma mater
UCF for a baseball game.

It was a slow game but we won.

Saw an albino peacock at St Augustine, FL this weekend.

This one has a bit more color.

 
Clewie and I took a nap. 
He slept on my clothes.

Attended a crawfish boil and
ate a TON of crawfish.
I had a better day then the crawfish.

On Cheating: Empanadas

When I was working full time outside the home, I spent a lot of time worrying that I was short-changing my son by not doing the things that most of the moms in his class seemed to do: go on class trips, show up unannounced to help with a project ... you get the idea.  Patient boy as he is, there were a few times he even called me on this, suggesting that perhaps I could work at his school so that this working thing wouldn't be such a problem.

Now that I'm home with his sister, though, I don't find that I have much more time than I did before for these kinds of commitments, and I feel as guilty as ever.

Which is why I volunteered to make Spanish food for his Spanish club every week during the seven week session, in which they are studying Spain.

Much as I'm looking forward to this, it's also madness, because when I cook, it's usually at night, after everyone has gone to bed; it's simply not practical to cook while Little Miss Squirm is hanging on my leg (and no, thank you, she is not interested in watching me work from the Ergo).  So if I'm going to prepare food for eleven children, plus enough to take home to share with family members (which is how the food portion of the club has been working), I will be cooking our dinner, and then someone else's dinner (because I. informs me that "some people in Spanish club think that it's dinner time").

I used to offer my students a lot of advice about time management, and until recently, considered myself sort of an expert.  I have always been able to juggle multiple priorities with ease.  I signed up for a part time remote opportunity to help a former colleague, thinking that I could certainly find ten to fifteen more hours in my week.  Which is why I keep thinking that I must be doing this SAHM thing wrong.  Where does the time go during the day?  N. wakes up between 5:30 and 6.  I wake up with her, feed her and her brother breakfast and make lunch.  The boys are out the door by 7:15, and by then I usually have my cup of coffee in hand.  Play for an hour and a half, then snack for N.  Nap for an hour, during which I get dressed, clear up breakfast dishes, catch up on email.  Wake up, play for another hour, feed N. lunch.  Go to the Y if it's a good day.  Back home, play for half an hour, naptime again for N., while I shower.  She's up in an hour.  Playtime, and in another hour, the boys are home.  Dinner prep.  Bathtime.  Play with I. for half an hour.  Bedtime.  Laundry (always, always laundry).  Empty the dishwasher.  Another possible email catchup, or blog commenting, or blog post writing, and an attempt to get in an hour of remote work, if I am really lucky (which, it turns out, is only a few times a week after all).  Dinner prep for the next day.  Job hunt.  Write cover letters.  Revise resumes.  Browse for recipes, or meal plan for the week, or do some other random thing I've meant to do that night.  Maybe read a chapter of a book for my book group.  By then, it's midnight.  Or one.  And I'm up in another four and a half hours.  What am I missing?  How do other people do this so well, and hold down a part time job, and write a novel, and ...

I keep thinking that this must be like graduate school; I was well into my second year when I realized that my classmates were not reading all of the assignments.  What?!  This was a revelation to me.  Was some of the work really, truly optional?  How did they get by with doing less?  Wasn't that cheating?

In the years since graduate school, I've come to think that maybe it's not really cheating after all.  Maybe it's about doing things differently.  What can I let go of?  What doesn't really need to get done, at least, not in the way that I do it?

Do you ever feel like you're cheating?  What do you let go of, so that you retain some shred of sanity?

Empanadas are excellent on-the-run food, because you can pretty much stuff everything you need into the crust, and off you go.  The Spanish version, which is served in tapas bars, is more like a stuffed pizza than the "turnover" variety you see in Latin American cuisine.  Though Spain is not exactly known for its vegetarian-friendly fare, I've included a vegetarian option here that will stay somewhat true to the original flavor and texture of the dish.  You can also use ready-to-use pizza dough if you don't feel like making your own.

Empanadas

4 c. bread flour
pinch salt
2 t. active dry yeast
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/4 c. warm milk
1 egg. beaten

Filling
1 lb. chicken, pork or tuna; you could also use mushrooms or roasted eggplant for a vegetarian version
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 large or two small red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
2 medium Spanish onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh thyme sprig
2 bay leaves
1/2 c. broth or dry white wine, such as Albariño
8 – 10 plum tomatoes (fresh or canned), cut into small dice
2 t. pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika; you can use regular paprika, but it's just not the same!)

Sift flour and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in yeast.  Stir milk into egg yolks, and slowly pour into flour, stirring constantly.  Beat 5-10 minutes, until dough comes cleanly away from bowl.  Turn dough out into a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (if you have a stand mixer, feel free to use your dough hook).  Form into 2 equal sized balls, place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Cook chicken or eggplant/mushrooms any way you like (I grilled mine, but you could poach, too). Shred or chop well. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan set over medium-low heat, heat 1/4 c. of olive oil. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 30 minutes. Add the thyme and bay leaves, season to taste with salt and pepper, and continue to cook until the mixture turns golden, another 10 minutes. Add the broth or wine and cook until it evaporates. Stir in tomatoes and pimentón, increase the heat to medium, and cook until almost all the liquid evaporates, 10 – 15 minutes. Add chicken (or mushrooms or eggplant), cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat, discard the bay leaves, and season again with salt, if necessary.

Preheat oven to 400.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment or aluminum foil lightly sprayed with cooking oil.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a thin rectangle the size of a standard cookie sheet.  Place one layer of dough on the cookie sheet.  Spread the filling to within about 1.5" of the edge of the dough.  Brush the edges with water, cover with the other rectangle of dough, and crimp to seal.  Glaze with beaten egg and poke in several places with a fork to allow steam to escape.  Bake about 20 minutes or until golden.  Serve warm, cut into rectangles or squares.

A Little Bit of Yoga

I've never been a huge fan of yoga. I'm pretty flexible from all my years of gymnastics, but I don't care for the yoga class that is offered at my gym.

Lately, A has been asking me to teach her yoga. Well, I just don't know that much of it to be of any use, so when I found out that the Lululemon in Boulder offers a free yoga class on Sundays, and that kids are welcome to attend, I figured I would take her to one and see if she liked it.


I'll admit that I was a bit nervous since I didn't see any other kids show up. The instructor came over and introduced herself, and that took off some of the edge. A set up our mats towards the back, and class started. It wasn't a very technical yoga class, and A made it about 45 minutes into it before she didn't want to do anymore. We started doing more complicated balance moves and she was having a hard time figuring them out. She very quietly sat on her mat until it was time for the meditation. Overall, she did GREAT. She didn't talk, she did most of the poses well, and she allowed me and the instructor to adjust her legs/hands as necessary.


The main problem with this class? During all the moves I was looking around the store wanting to try stuff on. I guess that's probably the point. Anyway, A says she wants to go back, so I figure as long as she is interested, we will go.

Country Music Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, April 28
Nashville, TN
State #45
Weather - HOT. HUMID.


We had originally planned to run the Country Music half marathon last year, but decided to postpone a year due to all the time we were going to be gone in May. This year, we really lucked out that the other L was going to be running also. It would have likely been a total disaster had she not been there to help us out.

We left the hotel a bit late for the airport. By the time we got there, we only had an hour until our flight left. OF COURSE the security line would be crazy long for the first time in ages. It took as a half hour to get through, we literally walked up to the gate right as "B" was boarding. Once on the plane, turns out there was some weather issues and we sat on the runway for 45 minutes before we left. Obviously we landed late as a result.


Originally we were going to take the shuttle to our hotel, but L just came and picked us up since it wasn't that far away. We dropped off our stuff at the hotel and then headed downtown to pick up our packets. We parked kind of far away so we didn't have to pay for parking. Gave me a chance to see part of the city:

AT&T "batman" building
Downtown
The expo was a cluster. Holy cow. I have never been to such a crowded place IN MY LIFE. We had to wait in a line outside just to get in. Then it was one long winding line through the building, down a few escalators, into the hall. Luckily, we seemed to be in the only corral with no line for bibs, so that was nice. I was pretty psyched to get a red shirt. I really don't like the white ones they have been doing for all other races. It was way too chaotic to go too thoroughly through the expo, but I headed over to see Cheryl at Razzy Roo. She wasn't working, but her sister was there. I did notice that she changed some of her advertising... Look familiar??

I'm a celebrity! 
After leaving the expo, we headed over to the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. We were really happy that there was no wait to be seated. Turns out that makes NO difference. Still took over an hour to get food. RIDICULOUS.

BUT IT WAS TASTY!
We walked around downtown for a few minutes, stopped at an ice cream parlor (where I shared a brownie with L)

And posed for a picture in front of a giant boot:


We were back at the hotel by 8, and we needed to head to bed early since L warned that there would be a lot of traffic and we had to take a shuttle from the finish line to the start. We decided to leave at 5 with a 7 am start.

RACE DAY


Woke up around 4:20, and got ready. I had slept really well, but I felt tired. It seemed like we were leaving crazy early. Within 10 minutes, I knew we had probably not left enough time. Again, it was a good thing L was with us, because we would not have known alternate ways to get anywhere. Traffic was a standstill on the highway, she took us a back way into the city, and we managed to find FREE parking (all public lots were charging $20... crooks). We booked over to the stadium - the city looked pretty from the pedestrian bridge:


We found the line for the shuttle, and I checked the weather. The app lies, it was already over 60 degrees before we were even out of the car.


LP Field
So. Turns out we were in the VIP line, but we didn't know it for a few minutes. Then we had to run to the other side of the stadium for the "regular people" shuttle. The line was RIDICULOUS. We probably waited in line for 20 minutes. By the time we got dropped off at the starting area, it was already 6:25. We ran to the Parthenon for the half fanatic picture - and we were only one minute late!




Dave, L, Me
Pre-race, matchy matchy
Right after taking the picture, the other L ran into her speedy friend from work and they headed to the start line since we only had about 15 minutes until the start. L and I needed to use the bathroom. We were in line by where we took the picture for about 5 minutes and didn't move an inch. I called the other L and found out there were more bathrooms at the start, so we ran over there. This picture was taken AFTER the gun went off. Look how long all the lines still are. C'MON ROCK N' ROLL. AT OVER $100 A PERSON YOU CAN'T HAVE MORE BATHROOMS?????


As a result of the bathroom situation, we were not able to start in our corral. We had to start way back in corral 14. It was insanely crowded:


We started out slow, but that was fine by me since it was going to be a hot and humid day. And thanks to the other L having run it before, we also knew it was going to be HILLY.

Mile 1 - Already ROASTING
The first few miles were hot, but not too hard. L and I were chatting a bit and I didn't even turn on my iPod until probably mile 2. I heated up QUICK. With as much as I was sweating, I knew that I was sweating and wiping the sunscreen right off my face. I hate getting that stuff in my eyes, it burns so bad!!

The course got a lot harder after we passed mile 2. Miles 3 & 4 were probably the hardest on the course. We were looking for the other B who said she was cheering around mile 3, but we never saw her. She probably thought she missed us since we started over 15 minutes late.

We finally caught up to Dave around mile 4.5. He got a few pictures of us, then we went on ahead. I am pretty sure I have never run such a crowded race. It was really hard to keep a steady pace because people were running together and/or stopping to walk at every hill. Even the downhills!


Every once in a while, there was shade, and THAT was really nice:

About halfway
I really don't remember that much of the race itself. I did stop at three different tables for beer. I put ice down my bra because I was so hot. I dumped water over my head at every aid station after the first one. I did not walk a SINGLE hill. I got annoyed at the sheer masses of people that gave up and yet chose to walk in the middle of the course. I complained about the heat. A LOT. I will say that the course was challenging, but the first half was MUCH worse. Until about mile 12.5. At that point, L dug deep and was able to have a strong finish (like she always does). My legs were DONE, and it took every ounce of energy in me to NOT walk. Even the downhill finish didn't do much to improve my pace. I was wasted.

Typical for a rock n' roll race, it was a cluster finish that lasted about a quarter mile and took probably 15 minutes to walk through. We did get a wet, cold towel at the end, but other than that, I wasn't too impressed with this race. It seemed really disorganized and way too crowded. I did, however, enjoy that the course has AWESOME crowd support. I think just about every inch of the course had people cheering. That was really neat. The rest? Meh.



Bib #6595
Official Time - 2:18:11
Official 5K - 32:16
Official 10K - 1:04:57
Official Pace - 10:33
Overall Place - 8059/22326
Gender Place - 3897/14212
Division Place - 784/2518
Garmin Time - 2:18:12
Garmin Distance - 13.23 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:27
Mile 1 - 9:50
Mile 2 - 9:53
Mile 3 - 10:48
Mile 4 - 10:42
Mile 5 - 10:39
Mile 6 - 10:23
Mile 7 - 10:40
Mile 8 - 10:35
Mile 9 - 10:43
Mile 10 - 10:05
Mile 11 - 10:19
Mile 12 - 10:33
Mile 13 - 10:42
Mile 13.1ish - 9:42


We found the other L without TOO much trouble, then walked back to the car and headed to the hotel to shower. We drove back into the city, and met B for lunch at Pharmacy - a burger and beer garden. I had a delicious burger and sweet potato fries. YUM!!


Right after lunch, we had to head to the airport. Uneventful flight to Denver. We landed a few minutes early, got on the shuttle right away, and then we were the SECOND people dropped off. Awesome.

ANZAC Day 2012

On ANZAC Day our girls proudly marched with their schools to honour our service men and women.
Here is Teddy marching with the primary school.  (I wasn't quick enough to also photograph Kitcat, Ducky and Mousie.)
Possum marched with the high school.The school groups lead the parade and then sat down to cheer on the rest of the marchers.
Dragon and I supported them from the sidelines and then watched the rest of the parade.  Smiling, flag-waving war veterans were chauffeured by in vintage cars.
This vintage war place (Spitfire?) flew up and down above the parade.
There it goes again - quite a highlight of the event.
It's always great when there are horses in the ANZAC March.  These ones provided added entertainment because, as we later found out, they just happened to leave behind some smelly droppings right in front of the schools' seating area. Apparently it caused quite a stir amongst the younger students.
After the March we came home and turned on the TV to watch the big parade being held in the city, to see if we could get a glimpse of HB in the military band.  We also watched the Dawn Service at Gallipoli, which brings me to this drawing by Teddy.
  
Teddy's class, along with most school classes around the country, have been discussing the origins of ANZAC day.  They focused on the story of Simpson and his donkey.
I am very proud of her drawing skills, and her ability to recall all the details of the story, but I am not sure why she chose to focus on the moment of his death (note the bullet about to enter his head) in her picture.

Back and pissed off.

Somebody forwarded me this page as a guideline for how things "should" be running at my house. And it's not that I don't think children should be taught these things or know how to do stuff independently, it's the whole smug, preachy tone that gets up my nose. Like, my ten-point-seven-five year old does not know how to mow the lawn or change the freakin' fuses (which is not an issue anyway - what, are we in the fifties? I have not seen a burned out fuse since I was 12 and it was about 1984. And that fuse was from THE FIFTIES.), therefore I should feel BAD about myself and realise that my mothering is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Even the title irritates me now. My kids aren't that busy, but I'm still happy. What does that make me - an underachiever? I have enough to worry about in my life, thanks so much, without lying awake nights thinking "oh CRAP they don't know about WATTAGE."

So in response to this, we blew off school yesterday and I took the kids to the park for the entire afternoon. I laid on my stomach on the grass and read "Kristin Lavransdatter" while the kids kept BUSY, doing this




and it was great.

*****
Disclaimer: no offense, heavy scheduling is fine, do what's best for you, blah blah blah.

I gave in!


I've been keeping busy and keeping myself occupied. 

But These last two days I hit a wall.  And I gave in. 
  
I didn't give in to any junk food or off-plan food, actually my appetite is not there much. 
  
I submitted to my heartache and sorrow from my recent train wreck.  It's been two days full of raw emotion.  God knows all the effort and changes in my life I've made to do and be a better person and how I have been putting the feelings of others ahead of my own.  He knows!!  

So why do I have to be blindsided (again) from someone so dear to me?  It was aimed purposely at my weakest spot.  I honestly cannot think of a single thing I have done that was mean, out of line, offensive, overdone, smothering, or wrong.  How can someone throw a true friend away?  Aren't friendships worth fixing?  I am treated like I am an enemy.   Like there is nothing good about me to warrant any kind of contact with me.

Yet, it's not even an option for me to be bitter against her because I don't want to go that route.  Maybe I miss a friend that was never really my friend.  I will need Divine help to find peace or healing from this.

As this situation has left me feeling so cold, unwanted and unloved - I've been grasping for the love that my Savior has for me.   I've thought of my parents on the other side of the veil, and how surely they are watching me and would comfort me if they could.  And my own loving husband who has always been there for me, I know he loves me.  I do have people who stand by me and haven't just walked away.  

I've been listening to a song called "Love Never Fails" by Mercy River.  This song seems to speak in music, what my heart feels.  I know that Love is what really matters. Love is what will come through in the end.  I want to fill my heart with love, not with sorrow.  I feel SO much love, joy, and happiness for each of family and friends - including my blogger friends.

Today, I made a video to this song "Love Never Fails" because I felt like the song could say what my heart cannot.  That I'm CHOOSING the path of love. I'd like to share that video in this post - I think it's worth watching.  I've dedicated it to my parents, my family, and all my friends!

I want to live with NO REGRETS. 

I want to live my life showing my love to others.  

I always regretting not showing my love to my mother and then she passed away.  And that didn't hurt her as much as it has hurt me.  With-holding our love from others really hurts US in the end.
  
So, NO REGRETS.   
Forgive those that hurt me.   
Forgive myself.
Move on.

Life is GOOD
~Margene

SoCal Ragnar Relay (Part 3)

If you have read Part 1 and Part 2, then continue on :D

So I survived my second run, and for most of us, this was our longest leg. Heather followed me with an almost 9 miler. I was getting a bit tired, and knew I would have to be up early to run my last leg. I don't even know when this picture was taken, but we are awfully smiley for being in the dark:


I am pretty certain that I started to fall asleep before we even made it to the exchange point with van 2. I don't even think I got out of the car except to use the bathroom. I probably was able to get a few hours of sleep, which I think is more than most people got. I'll take it.

I vaguely remember getting up when Shannon left for her last run since I had to change clothes and get ready. Not sure what time it was when I headed out. It was still sort of dark, I think around 5:30 am? I had another longish leg, over 7 miles, and I knew that there were some super tough hills in there.

The first few miles weren't too bad, it was humid though, and I was sweating. I had only brought along my little handheld water bottle, so had less water than usual, but I had figured that it would be ok since it was cooler/dark out. I also had forgotten my GU. Good thing I managed to eat a strawberry pop tart before heading out.

I spent most of the run obsessing about my forgotten GU. Around mile 4 I got stuck at a traffic light crossing the highway for almost three minutes. During that time, I managed to whine to the runners waiting with me about forgetting my GU. A super nice runner from the "Rangry Birds" gave me a package of chomps. Seriously saved me!

I ran out of water halfway up the first hill. Made me super cranky for the rest of my run. I kept hoping to see my van so they could throw water at me, but they must have headed right to the exchange. The biggest hill of all, seriously looked liked | for a quarter mile on the profile, and I walked the whole thing. I was tired and thirsty and NOT feeling it. The downhill was great and I smoked a few people heading into my final exchange. I come up to the exchange and see Sandy, but Heather was missing... she had run back to the van to get her map because she was afraid of getting lost. Due to the fog, the night hours were extended until 7:30. Considering ALL THE WALKING and the time spent at the stop light, my time is pretty dang amazing.

Leg 3 - 7.44 miles, 1:20:58 (10:52 pace)

While driving to the next exchange, we took a detour by the ACTUAL RUNNINGSKIRTS STORE:


The Heather/Julie exchange... chaotic. There had been a wedding proposal RIGHT before Heather got there, and in our hurry to go see it, Julie forgot her bib. Here you can see her taking Heather's. Good thing we weren't going for time. We really sucked at the exchanges.


Julie hands off to Sandy.


Look, Sandy is happy and PUMPED to run. Again. Love her!


Madison anxiously awaiting her last leg, and the final run for our van. I tried to warn her that it was a billion degrees, but she didn't listen and headed out in the sweatshirt anyway.


Hand off is a success!


Go, go, go!!


Madison rocked her last leg, passing 20ish people. Crazy!! Meanwhile, Shannon and Julie were reading "Ragmag" to an illiterate monkey. Or so they said...


When we were all done we headed to breakfast and I had the biggest omelet ever in the whole world. Plus pancakes. And part of Heather's food. And some of Sandy's bacon waffles. I'm a pig :(


Our van rocked. Especially Madison!


After we were done eating, we headed to Shannon's house, where we were able to take HOT showers and change clothes. Also meant we had to clean the van, inside and out. Turns out that black window paint is REALLY HARD to get off white paint. FYI, don't do it. If you do, you'll likely have to use a magic eraser to get it off. We even had time to do a little shopping at Lululemon in La Jolla (sorry, Sandy, for bringing you to the dark side). I dozed off again on the drive to the finish line.

We finished on the beach. And it was FREEZING.


Our well-deserved beer. Cheers to Van of Awesome!!


And then I found the tallest guy EVER.

The final picture of the nerd herd in our finish line "costumes"


The medal is ginormous:


We were going to stick around to watch the ultra team finish, but we were exhausted and still had a LONG drive back up to Orange County.

Honestly, this was the most fun EVER. I had the best ladies ever in my van, and other than my mild freak out before leg 2, I was enjoying myself the entire time. I remember thinking that other people didn't seem to be having as much fun as we were, and I felt bad for them. I don't think I'd change anything, other than maybe packing a bit more carefully. Although, I didn't bring anything I didn't use.