Sunday, May 30, 2010

Running alone

I have found that when it comes to running, a little peer pressure is a good thing. I miss my friends in New Mexico. Many mornings I lay there thinking how much I didn't want to get up and go out in the cold, but I knew if I didn't, Annie would be saying "Juli, where were you?" It has finally cooled off here in Oz. It is not terribly cold, but the cool and dark combination makes it appealing to sleep in. Luckily, I have a running "mate" here, Jennifer Curtis, who will also be asking me "Juli, where were you?"

Last May I ran the Shiprock half marathon. I was scared. My friends were running the Moab Half (my favorite half - because it was my first). Not knowing if we would even be in the United States for Moab, I didn't register for it - we played the waiting game for about a year before finally getting a position here in Brisbane. So, I ran the Shiprock instead. My children had soccer games. I was nervous because it was the first race I had ever gone to by myself. My mother claims that I was a very independent child, but I really don't do anything on my own. I learned a lesson from the experience.

The race was good. The weather was cool and a bit rainy. The course was beautiful. The people were nice. I love New Mexico. But I was alone. About half way through the race I realized the girl in front of me was running the same pace. I caught up and talked to her. (People who don't run always ask how I can run and talk at the same time. Really, if you can't talk, you're trying too hard. That said, I do run faster when I don't talk.) It turns out the girl in front of me graduated from BYU the same year I did. We both had 5 children, 3 girls and 2 boys. Our husbands were both engineers. Another lady was listening to our conversation and said "You guys are freaking me out!" So we ran the rest of the race together, finishing within seconds of each other. It wasn't until later, when I saw the professional pictures (which I never buy - I'm not a photogenic runner, especially in the rain) that I realized our numbers were one apart! And I set a new PR.

Lesson learned: I'm never alone. It changes the way I look at people when I think that way. There are no strangers, only friends I haven't met yet.

No, it's not Mardi Gras. Jen and I are showing our numbers.

So, last week I ran another half marathon. This time, I came with a friend. And I met a few more along the course. The Warwick, Queensland, Pentathrun Half Marathon was very hilly and very foggy. It was beautiful in a very quiet way. I ran the first half of the race very fast. It's a rooky mistake for sure, but I fell for it. By half way through, I was feeling it - about the same time Michelle ran up to me. She lives out in "the bush" with her husband and 5 children. Actually, she had 6 children, but one recently passed away. I had a great experience talking with her about life, children, religion, snakes, running. It was a great race - not too hot, because of the fog. At one point I ran past a forrest where all of the spider webs were covered in dew. There were some very large spider webs - it was amazing. One issue I had was that I didn't know where the end would be. I know a half marathon is 13.1 miles, but I have no idea how many kms that is. I guessed about 20.5. After one of the many hills, I thought for sure that was the last and I started looking for the finish line. Then another hill came peeking through the fog. Just for the record, 13.1 miles is 21.1 km. What is there to do in that moment but keep moving forward (the Robinson moto.)

This is what most of the race looked like. Foggy.

That was a hard hill. But in spite of the hills, and the fog, I got a new PR! (That's the fun of being a new - ish runner - every race is a new personal record.) Thank you, AJ Curtis, for letting me use the awesome pictures you took.

I ran right past this "mountain" and had no idea it was there until the fog burned off.

Nice spandex, Shon.

I'm not the only one in my family who has been running, lately. Shon recently completed his first triathlon, in spite of tearing his calf muscle the week before. He showed the tough stuff he was made of. He couldn't walk without limping, but he still finished in good time.

Emily and Sarah also recently ran in a cross country meet. I was proud of them. They worked hard and woke up early for practices.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Yeah, I'm late, but Happy Mother's Day to everyone. I have the greatest mother and mother-in-law ever. Thanks, Moms. I am so blessed to have grown up in a house where my mom made us feel loved and confident, and taught us to serve other people. You're the best, Mom. I want to be just like you when I grow up.

We had lots of lovely fun on Mother's Day. The kids made an awesome breakfast of buttermilk waffles with strawberries, my favorite. (Thank you to Shon for cleaning up!) Our ward priesthood took over Primary for the day. It was fun to go to Relief Society again. Thanks, guys.

St. Margaret's had a special mother's day breakfast the Friday before.
The girls give their mothers a gift that they make. This year it was bangles (bracelets). I was lucky because I got three.

It's traditional at St. Margaret's to wear the previous year's gifts to the breakfast. Some of the ladies were decked in rings, earrings, scarves, necklaces, and bracelets. One lucky dad got to come in his wife's place. Yep, he came fully accessorized. What a good sport!

A special thank you to my sweet children who make me a mother. I wouldn't have it any other way.