Sharing my passion with my kids & Pony Express 5k RP

The time has finally come to be able to share my passion for running with my kids. Aside from a few little fun runs and a 5K that I ran with my oldest daughter, Aspen, the kids haven’t been too much into the running thing.

For the past six years, I have been a soccer mom, dance mom, and most recently, gymnastics and diving mom. All of these things have been great and rewarding, and I have loved every minute of it. However, I don’t play soccer, I don’t dance, and aside from my self-taught flipping skills on the trampoline, and jumping off houseboats and cliffs at Lake Powell, my gymnastics and diving abilities stop there.

I never want to push my kids into doing something they don’t want to, and I was elated when Aspen, my 8-year-old said she wanted to run at the Hershey’s track meet. After all, this is where I began running, and where I spent much of my summers from ages 11-14 doing. I wanted so badly to be able to relate to my kids in something that has meant so much to me over the past 20 years.

Knowing that Aspen has tiny legs, and hasn’t done too much by the way of running, I signed her up for the 100m and 400m.

An hour before the meet, my oldest, Anderson – whose 10th birthday we were celebrating that day – decided he wanted in the fun, too. This was a big deal because he had soccer practice that day, and he wanted to bring cookies to his team.  I quickly signed him up for the 100m and 50m dashes.

Long story short, Aspen did very well, despite being the youngest of the youngest (an 8-year-old in a group of 9-10 year olds). Best of all, she still had a smile after.

Anderson ran both races in his new Messi shoes, and ended up taking 3rd overall in the 100m and 2nd overall in the 50m, qualifying him for the district meet.

It was so fun to see the two of them racing, enjoying it, and having success.

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I had all of my kids with me at the meet, and after seeing how much fun it was, they all wanted me to sign them up for the kid’s race that was after the 5K I was running that weekend.

Jump ahead to today: The Pony Express 5K.

This is a race that is super fast. I ran it in 2012, and it’s where I got my 5K PR. Today, though, I wanted to use it more as a training run. I have a marathon in July, and needed to get a long run in with some fast miles. So, I decided to run the 3.5 miles to the start, race the 5K at about a 6:00-6:10 pace, do a cool-down while I waited for the kids’ race to start, then run the 6 miles home.

Before I started my run to the start, I was worried about two things: water and my shoe (laces). I didn’t want to bring water, and risk losing a bottle or pack. Also, my Altra Intuition 1.5s are the perfect shoe, but the shoelaces come untied often. I debated whether to wear my old racers (Adidas Adizero Manas), but with the amount of slower miles I was putting in, I was a little worried about the cushion. I had the thought to change the shoelaces out, but the thought came too late.

That would be a MAJOR mistake.

I started out with a REALLY dry mouth, and would spend the entire race trying to wet my mouth. Also, after tying and re-tying my shoes, only about 1/4 mile into the race, they both came untied. Ugh. I was sitting in 2nd place overall behind a good friend of mine, Brandon Dase. When I stopped to tie my shoes, two men passed me. It took me about 1/2 a mile to  catch back up to the two men, and right as I passed them, it happened again. There was no way I was going to run another two miles with untied shoes, so I sopped to tie them, and this time, I took longer to make sure they were tied TIGHT!

The rest of the race was uneventful, and I felt great, going at a comfortable pace – which I forgot to look at my watch to see what pace I was running. It took me until a bout a 1/2 mile to go in the race, before I passed the first of the two men, and 1/4 mile before I passed the next one.

I ended up with an 18:52, first place female and 2nd overall. I felt great, despite being bugged about my shoes and very thirsty.

Right after, I did a small cool-down with Brandon, and then the kiddies arrived.

They all looked so cute in their little running outfits and numbers. I was more excited for this than my race. My 4-year-old, Azure, wanted my husband to run with her, so I stayed at the finish with 8-month-old Axel, to cheer them all in.

Anderson (10) was the first to come in,  winning the race by 3-4 seconds. Ace (7) came in about 10 seconds later, then Aspen (8), Aussie (6), and Azure and Adam came in, holding hands and smiling.

Here are some pics of the kids finishing. For some reason, my phone didn’t work when Ace finished, so I took a pic when we got home.

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Anderson won $5 and a free pizza, and I came home with $75. Minus costs, the Browns came home with $30 and a pizza. Not bad for a morning’s (not) work :).

After, I ran a very warm 6 miles home … then walked 2 miles at a parade while pulling my Azure’s bike with her on it the whole way. I am one tired, happy momma :).

 

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A rewarding experience

A few months ago, I interviewed for a position at ksl.com, helping to find content for the site. Spencer Hall (the man interviewing me) asked where I lived. When I told him Eagle Mountain, he said that there were a bunch of tips coming in to the newsroom about a man camped in a tent. I hadn’t heard anything about it. 


Just this past Thursday, I went for an early morning run with mu friend, Jen, and passed a campsite off the side of the road. When I got home, I texted Spencer telling him that there was a man camped out in EM.


He asked if I could get the story. That night, Jen, her son, Tyler and I went out to talk to him. His name is Roy Glieter. He is a very interesting man on a mission, and very, very kind.

From the second we got there, he just talked and talked. It was so hard to write down info. I thought about tape recording it, but I am actually glad I didn’t. As he went on, I found myself just listening, and cluing in to different things he would say. I wrote down things that jumped out at me, but for the most part, I just listened.

I got the feeling that, although his mission is a good one, he was a soft and kind-hearted man. He was actually kind of funny. Near the end of the conversation, he looked at Jen and I and said, “It looks like you two have smoked a good joint.” We laughed and told him that we were both long distance runners and had six children. Thus, the reason for the glossed-over look :).

When we left, he made sure to give us one of his bracelets that he makes during his spare time. He gives them to each visitor with the condition that each help 5 homeless people. As he handed us the bracelets, he said that he was almost out.

2014 04 30 Ray Gleiter 2 photo by Tyler Richards 2014 04 30 Ray Gleiter 3 photo by Tyler Richards 2014 04 30 Ray Gleiter photo by Tyler Richards

As I was driving home from the store today, I had the thought that it might be nice to give him some supplies to make bracelets with. He was such a giving man, with little to give. I had the impression that it was important for him to be able to give.
I was almost home, and knew that my mom was on her way to my house, so I asked if she could pick up some hemp and beads, so we could take it to him. She did, and as soon as Adam and the kids got home from school, we drove to his camp site.

This time, however, he was a lot more calm and didn’t talk as much. He listened, and we had a great conversation. I showed the kids his trailer that he pulled, and they all just loved his dogs.

As we were about to leave, I wished him good luck. He looked at me and said,”You know where the word, ‘luck’ comes from? Lucifer!.” He went on to tell me he didn’t want luck. I then told him we’d pray for him, and he was happy to have our prayers.

He will be moving on to Colorado in the morning, but this time, he hopes to be able to drive the camper that someone gave to him.

Here is the link to the article on ksl.com.

I am so grateful to have had the experience. I will not soon forget it.

For more info on Roy, just search, “Roy Glieter.” All sorts of pics, news stories and even YouTube videos will come up.

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Our little shoeless girl. She had them on when we left the house. Oh, well. At least she has a  smile  :)

Our little shoeless girl. She had them on when we left the house. Oh, well. At least she has a smile :)

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A run through the tulips and trip to the zoo … and a brick road?

For starters, I am no good at titles. By now, you should know that. However, this past weekend seemed a little Wizard of Oz-esq, with all that went on.

On Friday was my son, Ace’s first grade field trip (Lions, tigers, bears …) . With my older two kids, I went as a chaperone, and promised myself that I would go to every first grade zoo trip with all my kids. This year, however, I had a new baby that I couldn’t leave with anyone, and the rules were, I couldn’t be a chaperone if I had my own children with me.

So, I decided to just show up at the zoo and follow Ace’s class around. I took the three younger kids with me, and it was a lot of fun! I couldn’t get any pictures because the week before, I dropped my phone face down on my in-law’s driveway, and it is pretty much useless. luckily, a good friend of mine was there with her son, and spotted us on our way out.  I didn’t ask her to take a pic; she just snapped one. I wish I could have returned the favor.

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On the way home, the breaks in our Denali were metal on metal. Thankfully, we have a great neighbor who fixes cars. I dropped it off after picking the kids off at school.

The next day was the Thanksgiving Point 1/2 marathon. This is the mother of all 1/2 marathons. I ran this in 2012, and really struggled with it. I had a coach at the time, and he had a goal of me to run a 1:22, but I really had no idea the amount of hills involved, and although I finished in 3rd place with a 1:27, I was really bummed, and it left a really bad taste in my mouth.

I debated whether to run it or not. I was given an elite entry from the super cool RD, Kendall Wimmer, so I didn’t feel the pressure to run because I didn’t pay. Also, my oldest son had a soccer game that morning that I didn’t want to miss.

However, as the week went on, it was looking more and more like there was going to be a storm. I thought hard about it, and figured that if I went to the game, I would end up sitting in the car with the kids. I even thought about calling my brother, Rand to watch the kids while I went to the game, but I would still end up in the car with the baby, because I couldn’t leave him with a babysitter for that long (the game was an hour away).

So, I decided I would run it. My younger brother came to watch the kids, and I figured since Adam and my oldest didn’t have to leave until 7:30, and my race started at 7:00, I could be done by 8:30, and home by 9:00. He would only have to watch the kids for an hour and a half.

I also thought that if I could place, I would win at least $150, which would cover the cost of the breaks.

That morning, I fed Axel right before I left, and was at the start at 6:50 (10 min before the start).

I warmed up as much as I could have in the wet, rainy cold weather, and before I knew it, the race was underway.

I ran the first few miles with fellow Altra ambassador, Zac Marion. He is such a cool cat. He is a great trail and ultra runner, and just runs so relaxed. There were two girls ahead of us, and I had the thought to go with them, but my legs didn’t agree.

I have only done one speed work-out in two years, and it was mile repeats the Monday before. I just didn’t have the turn-over. I settled into a good pace, and just held it. The rain kept coming down, and it was awesome.

There were so many turns and rolling hills, long hill climbs, and only a few downhills. There was even a brick road! This time, however, I really liked it! I felt relaxed and happy the whole time. If only I could kick it into that next gear. Oh, well. It will come.

With about a quarter mile to go, Zac — who, by the way has quite the mane to behold (but not at all cowardly) –  came back and ran me in to a 1:33, and 3rd place finish. I felt like Dorothy skipping on the yellow brick road. If only I had a scarecrow and a tin man, it would have been prrrrrfect!

I was able to win $15o, which was about the cost to replace the breaks. Really, what a blessing it was.

Almost as soon as I crossed the finish line, I sprinted to the car to head home to my kids. I made it home just after 9:15, to a smiling, happy group of kids, thanks to my awesome brother, Rand.

TGH5 TGH3 TGH2 TGH1

 

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A party and a pony ride

Due to last week’s DNF, I really had a rough go for a couple of days. It was spring break, and we had taken the first half of the week after the race to take the kids to Park City for a few days. I didn’t want to be a bum mom because I was so disappointed, but I knew I needed to have another goal and personal triumph, and quick. This is the way I typically deal with failure; I try to get back on the horse as quickly as I can. I actually wrote a column about productively dealing with failure while in Park City. Can you say, one track mind?!

Moving right along … In order to get my mind off the race and focused on something else, I quickly signed up for a half marathon that would take place the next Saturday (today). It was the Herriman 1/2. This year was the inaugural year for the race, and it looked like a lot of fun. Furthermore, it wasn’t an easy race by any means, with a lot of hills. I didn’t want to run a race that was a cake walk. I wanted to do something hard.

However, I couldn’t call this race and official “getting back on the horse,” so I have deemed it as my “pony ride.”

It was a great pony ride at that.

It started out with the first 2 miles or so going up a pretty steep climb, then it flattened out for a little bit with some down, some gradual up through mile 6. Then from miles 6-8, it was flat to a gradual down. Miles 8-10.5 were a pretty steep climb with rolling hills, followed by a short downhill through to 11.5 or so. Then we turned back around and ran the remainder of the course uphill to a finish on the grass for 200 meters or so.

I just went out and enjoyed the run. I relaxed, breathed and took it at a solid, but not too difficult a pace.

I ended up first overall in the women, with a time of 1:33.10. Results here. I really felt like I had a lot of solid miles left in me, and that was a great confidence builder, which I really  needed.

To top it all off, I won a gift card for a free pair of shoes. And since I don’t need any because I am all Altra-ed up, my husband gets to benefit from it. He needs some new shoes badly. I feel good I was able to do this for him. He really deserves it :).

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The group of pacers who posed with some Motts juice. Yes, they got to keep it :)

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Me and Kelli. I have only met her once before, but who I feel like I’ve known forever.

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Breathing hard after the finish

Now, what about the “party” part of the title?

Well, our fourth child, Aussie, had a birthday this week. Last year I didn’t do a party, so I promised him we’d do one this year. The problem is, we are not partiers. I don’t like throwing them, and it just seem they are always a dog and pony show for parents, and I am a little … well, a lot turned off by it.

However, a promise is a promise, so I asked him what he wanted to do. He said he wanted to take a few friends for a hike up our favorite mountain, which has been newly named, “Turtle Hill Trail.” This sounded like a great idea!

I texted a few of his friend’s’ parents (no need for formal invites). I gathered a bunch of those string backpack things that we had around the house, filled them with Mott’s products that I have received from being a Mott’s Mom (applesauce, fruit snacks, fruit punch). I also threw in some granola bars, crackers and a few Nilla Wafers. This would be their hiking pack, and we would eat the snacks at the top of the hike while we opened presents. And, yes, I hooffed all the of the gifts up to the top. It actually wasn’t that bad. The kids were great, and it really was smiles all the way … even when we encountered a snake on the way down, which I didn’t get a picture of, darn-it.

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Needless to say, it was a great day. I just love days like this!

 

 

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DNF on first 50k …

Well, I made a goal of running a 50k (32 miles) this year, and the race I chose, was the Zion Ultra 50k. I was very blessed to be given an entry from a friend of mine who was a sponsor for the race.

I trained very well for it. I got my mileage in, and felt ready for the race. However, I was clueless on the course. The description on the site was vague, and this was the first year they did a 50k, so there was nothing to compare times to. I figured that I would play it by ear, and just kind of follow the crowd.

I was given an Ultraspire spry from the company to race with, and I recently received a sponsorship from Mott’s Applesauce, which gave me great fuel, and of course, I have me Altra shoes and gear. I was really, really feeling like I had what I needed to be prepared.

My biggest concern, however, was my family. I wanted to make sure they were taken care of. My parents were so great to have the 5 older kids stay the night. Thankfully they only live 30 min away from the race, and the plan was to bring the kids down to watch me finish.  Adam would have Axel during the race.

I was worried about my 6-month-old baby, Axel. He is still nursing mostly exclusively, and I worried about him being hungry. A few weeks before, I began feeding him some of the Mott’s-to-go that I received, and thankfully, he loved it! I fed him right before the race, and felt that if everyone’s needs were taken care of, then I would be able to relax and run.

The race started out in the dark, and thankfully there were a lot of people with head lamps, so I just followed them. We started out at a really slow pace … like 8:30. I figured everyone else knew better than I did, so I just stayed with them.

After about a half a mile, I felt something wet all down my backside. My water had leaked, and it was all gone in a matter of seconds. My hear sunk because I knew that there were only three aid stations on the entire course, and  I  didn’t know where the first station was.

I continued on.  After the first mile, the road turned up a dirt trail, and the group I was following, went the wrong direction. Thankfully, someone yelled for us to turn around. This would happen another 5 times during the race.

At about mile 2, there was  river we had to cross. It was wet, and immediately following, there was a lot of loose dirt. So, yeah, dirt and sand = mud. Yuck! It was right away that I felt some waves in both my shoes. I wasn’t sure what it was. I stopped to pull up my sock, but that didn’t fix the problem, so I just kept going.

I stayed right in first place for the women, right behind two really cool guys. I felt great, and it felt easy.

As we continued on, we were running on slick rock, and it was really difficult to navigate through. In the middle of all this was the first aid station, at about 7 miles in. I wanted to fill up my pack, but I was so scared of getting lost if I wasn’t close by somebody, so I just filled up my UltrAspire cup a couple of times with Gatorade, and continued on, still feeling really good. Between that, my applesauce and  Sport Beans, I was feeling really good.

At about mile 14 we were still on slick rock, and I felt something coming up my leg. I reached back, and found that it was my insole of my shoe. It had come out! Still not wanting to lose sight of the guys ahead of me, I just rolled it up and put it in my pack. My shoe felt a little lose, but it wasn’t too bad.

I did start to feel a little depleted at about mile 17-18, and thankfully, there was where the aid station was. I filled up my water. By this time,  the course had better markings, so I wasn’t too scared of losing sight.

At about mile 20, there was a killer downhill, which I was really excited for. I needed to pick up some speed. The bad thing was, I began to feel a blister coming on in the foot that I lost the insole. I thought I’d better stop and fix my shoe. When I did, I knocked something in my water pack that caused all the water to come out. With another three hard miles before another station, and with me using up most of my applesauce and beans I felt like I was in trouble … which I was.

I got passed by the first girl at mile 22.5,  right before the last aid station. By the time I reached the station, I was delirious. I was so hungry an thirsty. I ate a half a sandwich, a piece of a watermelon and had some water, also filling up my pack. I remember my friend, Terral from Unshoes was there. He asked me how I was doing. I told him I was struggling and really missed my family.

He then told me that the hardest part of the race was up ahead, aka, “The Monkey Bowl.” It didn’t really register.

At that point, I was passed by a friend of mine, Kendall. And again, my water started to gush out. I caught it before it had all emptied out, but again, I didn’t have the hydration I needed to finish the race, and I had barely any fuel left.

I soon realized what he meant when he said that I was entering the most difficult part of the race. The Monkey Bowl was unreal. It was a steep hill climb with lots of boulders and un-runable terrain. Completely unreal. There was even a part that I had to pull myself up by a rope to get over a section. Normally, this would have been fun, but not 26 miles into the race when I have no food, no legs and no mind.

I remember standing there on that path. There was nobody in front or behind that I could see. I was looking down to a very long drop down, and a very large climb up. I have never felt so alone. For a moment there — and I know that this was mostly the delirium — but I thought I might never see my family again. That was a scary thought. I wanted nothing more than to be where they were, but I couldn’t move forward fast enough. I have never felt such a feeling of complete discouragement.

At this point, there were two girls that passed me, and another came up. I asked one of the girls if she had a phone. I was so worried about my family waiting at the finish, and wanted to let them know how I was doing. She was so nice. She stopped, let me use her phone, let me have water and gave me a Cliff Bar. She had quite the potty mouth, but to be honest, her voice, regardless of slang, was music to my ears.

I was able to eventually make it to the top of the mountain at 27 miles. As I began slowly running down, another lady came up on me. I had a moment of uncertainty of the total distance of the race, so I asked her if it was 32 miles. I thought I could make it another four. She turned and said, “No, I was told this course was long and is  34 miles. At that point, I lost it. There was no way I could complete another six miles, especially at the pace I was going. And, with no more fuel or water, there really was nothing I could do.

As I rounded the corner, I came up on the some cars. The lady ahead of me stopped at one of them to get some chips and fuel. She said that if I wanted, her husband could take me back. At that point, I saw no other option.

I needed to be done. That was it.

He was so kind. He gave me a drink, some snacks, let me use his phone, and drove me back.

As we drove back, I realized that it was a downhill decent on the road for a while, and I really did only have four miles to go. There was nothing I could do about it, now.

When I got to the finish, all I wanted was to hug my husband and kids, but nobody was there. They had all gone looking for me. I was so sad. I really needed to cry, but I knew nobody. I felt so alone. Then, I saw a friend of mine who was there cheering people on. I asked for a hug, and she was kind enough to give me one. I may have even cried a little.

Finally, I connected with my family. I was so glad to see them all. My  parents and three of my brothers came down, too.

I really felt so bad that I couldn’t put on a better show, but I did my best. Next time, I will bring a surplus of fuel and make sure I have working water.

It was a great learning experience. Hopefully I can do better next time. For now, I will focus on my next races. I have a half on April 19, and a marathon on June 14. I really, really need a success. I am bummed :(.

Here is one picture of me at about mile 16.  I am the girl in the back behind the two guys I followed for the first 20 miles or so.

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A new blog

Hey, all!

I have created a new blog dedicated to the human interest stories I am so privileged to write. I titled it, “The stories of your life.” I will be posting YOUR stories because you are a lot more interesting anyway. The new blog can be found at  thestoriesofyourlife.wordpress.com. 

I will still be keeping this up with running/fitness posts, so I’d love you to still follow if you’d like :).

Thanks for reading!

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Getting above the muck

Have you ever looked at a mountain and thought, “I’d like to go up there.” Well, that is just what I did the other day when driving my kids home from school.

On Thursday and Friday of last week, I was feeling a little bogged down. A lot of it could have been work (I quit my job editing for the local newspaper … yay!!), but the inversion that Utah has been experiencing has made it kind of mucky outside.

But, as I looked at the mountain in front of me, I saw a layer of haze and then it got clearer the higher up the mountain. At that moment, I decided that I wanted to get up above the muck.

I told my husband that I was going to go up there the next morning. He, having run to the highest peak before, made sure I knew that there was really no clear trail once I reached the ridge line.

That didn’t stop me. I just wanted to get up there.

So, Saturday morning, I filled my fuel belt; one side with water, and the other with a smoothie my husband made for breakfast, packed my phone and left.

I headed up a trail I normally take to the top, then headed along the ridge line. My husband was right about there not being a trail, but I found a pretty well packed deer path through the snow that I followed all the way up and over three peaks.

It. Was. Awesome.

I was about to go up the last peak, but found that I had caught up to the family of deer I was following. It was pretty cool.

As I headed down, I decided I didn’t want to double-back, so I started to head down a different way down toward the valley. And as I headed down, I met up with a trail. The part I was on was a trail I had never run on before, but as I rounded the corner, I looked down and saw … my own footprints!

They weren’t from that particular run, but one I had done a few days prior. The path met up with one of my regular trails!

I had found an easier access point to the top! I can’t wait to head up the mountain, again. This time I will make it all the way up :).

Here are some fun pics from the run:

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My home :)

My home :)

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More deer tracks. A better path this time.

More deer tracks. A better path this time.

Looking down at the lake I ran across last winter.

Looking down at the lake I ran across last winter.

The first set of deer tracks I followed.

The first set of deer tracks I followed.

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