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 :).

Mottspacers

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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Back on the blogisphere

Yikes! I haven’t been on here in a loooonnnggg while. No excuses, just bein’ a mom. Six kids, a husband, three jobs (thankfully I work from home), would keep anyone busy. One thing I have been able to keep up, thankfully is my ability to run, aka, my ability to think, zone-out and regenerize.

This year, more than any years previous, I have been LOVING my winter runs. In Utah, there is so much snow, and it is so cold, but running has been awesome.

Here are a few pics from my adventures:

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One thing that has kept running enjoyable for me this winter, is being able to meet new people. A good friend of mine who befriended me five years ago while at a local 5k, has really helped me get involved in my local running community, even moreso than I ever have before. I am meeting so many awesome and inspiring people, and am seeing such great and new places to run! One of the people I have met, is an inspiring runner, by the name of Jennilyn Eaton. I was so inspired, that I dedicated an entire column on KSL to her. Here it is.

Some more good news: I just received word that I will be representing Altra Zero Drop shoes this year as an ambassador! I have done the ambassador thing before, and to be honest, I didn’t love it, and mainly because it was a product that I didn’t feel represented me. This time around, I am so excited to be representing a company that represents me. Its simplistic nature of getting back to the basics of running is what I love! I am also so excited to be on the same team as some of my good friends. What an honor.

Now, along with the sponsorship, comes more blogging! Yay! I will do better, I promise :). I hope to keep y’all interested!

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A father-son outing ruined by spectators: Controversial?

The following is an article that was set to publish in the Deseret News today, as part of my family fitness column I do every other week. Although it still may be published, it was put on hold for further editing and screening, and not for grammatical errors … although there very well might be some. It is because, and I quote “We don’t want to indict the entire crowd, stadium and franchise, so we want to be careful.”

Are we a society that is putting the feelings of irresponsible consumers of alcohol over the children and families who’s dream it is to watch professional athletes preform at their best?

To be honest, I didn’t think it was controversial at all … maybe I just bleed controversy or something … sheesh.

What do you think? …

A father-son outing ruined by spectators

Anderson excitedly waiting for the game to start.

Anderson excitedly waiting for the game to start.

The other night, I sat in my front room, anxiously awaiting my husband and oldest son, Anderson’s return from an extremely rare father-son outing to the RSL game against Portland. Having watched the game on television, and knowing that RSL beat Portland 4-2, I fully expected the two of them to be all smiles. However, when the front door opened, there was a look of disappointment that was very apparent on both their faces.
From a very young age, much like his dad, Anderson has had a strong draw to the game of soccer – or, fútbol, as he prefers to call it. From the time he could walk, it seemed Anderson always had a soccer ball at his feet, and over the course of his nine-year life, not much has changed.

For birthdays and Christmas’s he asks for jerseys of his favorite players, Lionel Messi and Didier Drogba, as well as the biographies to go along with them so he can learn just how they became pros. I will find him searching game highlights on Youtube, and watch him study intently, every move, then watch him practice over and over those same moves in the backyard and on the field with his club soccer team.

There was even a time when Anderson was a bit peeved at my husband and me for not sending him to Spain to go to training camp. “How will I ever get to play for FC Barcelona if I don’t go to the camp,”he would emphatically ask?

I love seeing his passion at such a young age, but more than anything, I love to watch him share that passion with his dad.

There is nothing quite like watching those two practice kicking the ball into make-shift targets they’ve fashioned out of old tires, practicing juggles or just playing a father-son pick-up game. And as much as I dislike watching soccer on TV, I love watching the two of them watch it together.

A couple of weeks ago, was one of these such moments, when the two of them stayed up late to watch the RSL playoff game against the LA Galaxy on TV. They were almost synchronized in their reactions to each play that was made, as they cheered RSL to a 2-0 victory over Galaxy.

Watching those two sit together, celebrating that win, I could tell neither of them wanted that moment to end.

That night, after Anderson had gone to bed, my husband and I discussed taking some money we had saved up, to purchase tickets for he and Anderson to go to RSL’s next game against Portland. It would be a stretch, but we knew it would would be something Anderson would not soon forget.

The night of the game, Anderson got all decked out in his RSL jersey. I have never seen a boy so excited. I know my husband was equally as excited to have this time with his son.

However, upon finding their seats, more specifically, who they were sitting by, my husband knew this would not turn out as they had hoped. They were surrounded by a group of foul-mouthed, beer-drinking indiviudals, who spent from pre-game to the very last second of the game, yelling obsenities and throwing objects around. My husband recounted asking one to please stop, motioning to Anderson. The man yelled back at my husband saying, “I don’t say anything here, that I wouldn’t say in front of my own child.” He then continued with his behavior.

That night was to be a night that a father and his son spent together, enjoying a game they both love. In stead, it was ruined by a group of spectators acting like idiots.

I’m not sure if or when there will be another time when the two of them will be able to attend a professional soccer game. I only wish they could have been able to enjoy it.

So, if you are reading this, and are one of those individuals who attends professional games only for the chance it gives you to drink alcohol and yell out obsenities, I ask you to please don’t. That little boy and his father you might be sitting next to, have not come to hear you; they want to enjoy a rare moment together, watching a sport they love, and build (good) lasting memories.

Arianne Brown is a mother to six young kids and an avid runner. For more articles by Arianne, “like” her Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WriterArianneBrown?hc_location=stream) page or follow her on twitter @arimom5.

 

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Running during pregnancy and beyond

uring all of my pregnancies, I have done my best to be fit through all of them. It wasn’t until this last one – #6 – that I decided to take on the challenge of maintaining a substantial level of fitness until the very end.

Knowing that racing was something I wanted to stay away from, so that I didn’t push it too hard, I decided that pacing would be the best way to go. So, I ended up pacing the SLC Marathon, Provo 1/2, Utah Valley 1/2 and HOMM 1/2 at 6 months along. I threw in one half marathon at 22 weeks along, just to see how my fitness level was before the UV 1/2, which I ended up winning, surprisingly :/.

All of this and more helped me to realize what the pregnant body is capable of. And despite some (joking) concerns from my Dr., who by the end, was completely on board, all was good. I felt fantastic the whole way through, and was even able to run three miles just hours before I delivered my handsome 7 lb 7 oz little baby boy.

Delivery was great and fast, with recovery even better … despite the regular post-pregnancy annoyances (I wrote about here).

Speaking of post-pregnancy, I want to talk a little bit about getting back into shape. Now, there are so many ideas, opinions of when to begin exercising. And anyone who has a baby is given that “magic” number of six weeks.

For some this may be necessary, but for me, the Dr. might as well give me PPD or extremely high anxiety and stress. Staying inactive for one or two weeks would make me nuts; six weeks of inactivity would drive me insane. Here’s an article I wrote about that, too :).

In my past pregnancies, I have gone on light walks the first couple of weeks, and then begin short runs at two weeks. However, a good friend of mine told me that she was back to running days after.

Although I wouldn’t recommend this if you weren’t extremely active before, I decided to take the challenge. At six days (after all the engorgement had gone down, allowing me to wear a bra again), I went for a 3 mile run. I figured I had easily run that far one week before, so I should be able to do it again.

Guess what? I was fine. Despite feeling a little wobbly in my legs and gushy in my stomach, I slowly ran those three miles. I kept close tabs on my bleeding, which was minimal. I felt great!

With each day following, I would head out for anywhere between three and five miles, and with each day, I felt better, stronger and faster. And at three weeks post-baby, I had put in 32 miles in one week.

Since then, I have maintained 4-6 miles a day, with 8 miles run just yesterday, at my one month mark. I even ran a little (impromptu) race three days ago at my husband’s school. It was a middle school race against the parents and teachers. I convinced my husband to run it, and I was planning on going for a run after, so I wore my running clothes.

My good friend saw that I was wearing my running clothes, and also seeing it as an opportunity for her to hold my baby, she told me to run it. So, seconds after the gun went off, I raced off to catch the runners. It was a two mile run, that I ended up running the two mile course in 13:55.

Here are some pictures:

running with my friend.

running with my friend.

Adam didn't expect a HS XC runner, fresh off of state to be there. He still came out with an 11:55. Not bad for having just paddle-boarded all the way home!

Adam didn’t expect a HS XC runner, fresh off of state to be there. He still came out with an 11:55. Not bad for having just paddle-boarded all the way home!

The finish.

The finish.

we are right after the race. Ignore the red-faced lady with her tongue sticking out. Yikes!

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While there, one of my inspirations was there: My friend, Catey … MOTHER OF 9!!  She blogs at http://randomthoughtsfromthezoo.blogspot.com/, if you’re interested.

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I felt great the whole run! … I feel great! More importantly, I am me again, and when I am me again, I am better able to take care of my family.

 

My sweet kids, and my reason for vowing to be healthy :). I sure do love them.

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