Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review: True Crew Socks

True Crew Socks recently sent me some of their socks to try out!  They are a company that puts LDS temples on socks, and they're awesome too!

Excuse the blurriness - apparently I struggle taking photographs of my own feet!  

I have to admit that I loved the socks - but they might not be ideal for the hottest of summer months.  They are quite warm!  They are a fantastic quality though, and since I'm kind of hard on my socks that makes me very happy!

On one run when I stopped at a water fountain in a park my socks sparked a conversation with a couple Mormon Mom's.  Another time I as I was running someone I ran past mentioned my socks and I got to tell them what they were.  They're conversation starters!  I loved the easy opportunities to talk about why temples mean so much to me!

I wish I had these socks earlier in the year!  I wish I had worn them to trek, and girls camp, and virtue conference!  They are certainly going in my bag next year!

Think I could convince my stake to add buying socks for all the Young Women in the 2015 Virtue Conference?  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer List Complete!

This past Saturday (which yes, technically is in August) puts a check mark on that final item that I mentioned made my July so insanely busy!  I'm so happy that all of them went well and although I enjoyed every one of them and feel so grateful to be a part of it all I'm so happy that they're over and the pace of my regular life can resume!  

This past week marked the first week since the very beginning of July that I didn't have a camping trip of some sort!  Tyler did have Cub Scout Day Camp every day though! 

He's the kid in the grey stripped shirt, backwards baseball hat.  

He had such a blast at day camp!  This was his first year going and he loved shooting bb guns, archery, the skits (I'm glad at least the participants enjoyed those) and everything else!  He had such a good time!

Henry and I tried to occupy ourselves while he was away.  Tyler is such a big part of our lives and we missed him while he was gone!  

One evening we had a big run/bike/scooter/walk planned with Vaughn's extended family.  

I got just over 6 miles in and the amount of friendly faces surrounding me far made up for the lack of a training run pace.  It was a blast!  Our family loves doing things like this together.  

As I mentioned before the last thing on my list was checked off on Saturday, but it is my favorite event of the entire summer.  We had our fourth annual Virtue Run and Conference this weekend!  This year's event was more low key than last year's massive event and although last year ranks as one of the most incredible days of my entire life, I loved the low key, personal feel of having it back down to the usual size.  This year was also notable as it was the first year that I ditched all the "race director" responsibilities and was able to run with the girls! 

We had over a hundred young women, mom's and leaders show up to run our not quite 5k course, followed by sack dinners and an awesome fireside.  I know for a fact that one of the speakers was super nervous but only managed to say one completely inappropriate thing.  

I am so grateful for all the many opportunities I've had this summer to work with the Young Women.  I know at most of the activities I'm just one of the adults in the background and most of the girls probably don't even know me, but I love watching them, I love seeing the light in their eyes, I love that I was with them enough over the summer that I got to watch them grow stronger and more amazing as they accomplished many hard tasks that they didn't know they could do before.  

Although this summer, thus far, has lacked my normal summer activities of spending time at the lake, super hard/fun training runs, and even as much family time as usual, this summer will always be one of the most amazing summers of my life.  I feel like a different, better, person coming out the other end with many, many new friends and people to love.  I don't know how I ended up being one of the lucky people able to be involved in all these different things, but I feel like even though none of these activities were aimed at me, I am the one who benefited the most.  

I know our lives are built off the work we put in, and I am so excited to see what an amazing year is built off this incredible summer!  Amazing things are rarely easy, so I'm bracing myself a little for what's to come, but I'm ready to go and do hard things! 

Okay, I still have a month and a half until school starts, still lots of time to play!  Maybe I'll get to go to the lake after all!  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Camping, Camping, Camping!

My three weeks of camping are over and I'm having a hard time re-assimilating myself to normal hygiene practices. But what an amazing three weeks they were!  

My first camping trip was to help as staff at our church's Young Women's Camp for girls 12-18.  It was my 6th year in a row attending as a leader, 8th total as a leader (I didn't go the years I was a newlywed and when I had brand new babies), and if you count when I was a girl 14th year overall.  Needless to say I love camp!  I have absolutely zero photos from camp, but it was, as usual, a grand adventure.

The next week I got to spend tromping through the wilderness in pioneer clothes as staff helping recreate on a small scale the mormon pioneer trek to Utah.  

I was staff, so while the youth were doing this:

(No, this was not a male dominated trek, but these awesome boys went down the hill over and over again to pull up the carts.)

I was doing official looking, but far less strenuous things like this:

Let's be honest, it was hard to sit back and watch the kids do all the hard work and not get involved.  But the other people on the staff were amazing and I had a ball!

All these other gals got the tomahawk to stick fairly quickly.  It's embarrassing to say how long it took me to get one to stick, but once I got it I repeated it multiple times.  This is my look of intense concentration, and probably barely suppressed rage.  I also look like this when racing, but the only sharp instrument I carry during a race is my wit.  

My next camping trip was our annual Nelson Cousin's Camp.  

For my kids cousin's camp is one of the highlights of summer! 

Of course, we don't let a little thing like sleeping in a tent keep us from watching Le Tour de France!  (By we I really mean Vaughn because I was in the true wilderness for most of the tour and had no idea what was going on.)

And this one has nothing to do with the post, I'm just adding it for educational purposes.  

Vaughn was a rock star Dad and re-roofed our house AND watched the kids while I was at camp.  Then numerous family members helped out with our kids so he could go back to work while I kept playing at trek.  I'm so glad that I got to finish off my month of camping surrounded by my family.  After two weeks away I was glad to be back with them!  

Now that my month of camping is over it's time to start training again instead of just running for fun.  After 5 months of only fun runs it's gong to be painful (both mentally and physically) to add tempo and speed back into the mix, but it's past time.  I'm antsy to get some fitness back! Any advice or motivation to get me moving again would be great!   

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Alex Boye Concerts!

Wow!  This week has been nuts, but SO MUCH FUN!  

Thursday night we had our final rehearsal for our Ensign Symphony & Chorus concerts.  It was a blast! Alex Boye didn't hold back, even in rehearsal!  That man has a huge personality!

We spent, Friday, the 4th of July, roofing our house.  I can't tell you how grateful I am for those men, and their wives who let them come on a holiday!  

I mostly picked up derbies around the house and tried to keep shoes on my kids so they didn't step on a rusty nail!

I did squeeze in an awesome, but hot, run with April.  Man alive, as I was boiling on my run all I could think was how hot it must be for the guys on the roof!  I don't know how I manage to get the most amazing running buddies, but April was my first and is for sure one of the best! 

Saturday I ditched Vaughn and the roofing project for to head up to Benaroya Hall in Seattle for our two concerts.  Our tech rehearsal before the concerts were...interesting.  There were a lot of technical problems, the AC in the hall wasn't working, blah, blah, blah.  Good thing our last combined rehearsal was amazing or I would have been panicked!  However, when we got to the matinee performance things started clicking! I may have single handily ruined a song by playing the opening chord in the wrong key, which lead the choir to be off, but I would never outright admit to that.  If I thought Alex was energetic in rehearsal, in concert he was on fire!  That man is a true performer, engaging the audience as a whole and individuals at the same time, that's an incredible talent to have!  Plus the amount of time he spent in the lobby and backstage signing things, taking pictures, and spreading words of compliment and cheer was just impressive.  He may have gone back do his dressing room and collapsed, but if that is the case you would never know it!  He was so beyond kind to everyone he interacted with.  Plus, hearing that man testify about his life and his beliefs is powerful stuff!!  It added a whole new level of excitement and emotion to everything!

Before the evening performance they had a VIP event with Alex on the balcony of the lobby.  Because I'm the Symphony VP I was able to attend.  I looked down into the lobby and saw the organization president, Andy, walking my family up the stairs so they could join me.  I don't think he realizes how much this meant to me, and especially my completely star struck boys!  It was a little tender mercy that I am truly grateful for!  After getting to see a little of Alex the man, and not just the YouTube sensation, it made me so happy that my kids adore him because he is someone they can admire both on and even more importantly, off the stage.    

Our evening concert was even better than the first!  We worked out a few bugs and although a few new ones popped up I didn't completely ruin an entire song by myself this time.  :)  

I love that this photo is of my favorite song from the concert to play, Peponi.

I think I had more fun during these concerts than I've ever had on stage before.  I was just having a blast!  I was touched, I was teary (the Star Spangled Banner gets me every time!) and I got to get down and groove!  Look out for his single "Lemonade" that's coming out next month!  We played that as our encore and it brought down the house!  You'll love it! 

It was just over a year ago I sat in a Seattle Symphony concert and thought that it would sure be fun to do something like that.  I never thought I would ever get to do something like that.  Dreams can come true people.  Yesterday was one of those days that I will forever look back on as one of the special ones!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Stress magnifies insecurities.

I had this whole blog post typed out listing why July is going to be a super stressful month for me, how I'm sure everyone I'm working with thinks I'm doing a horrible job, and how I'm tired just thinking about it and how I feel guilty that I can't handle as much as most people and blah, blah, blah.  As I looked back on what I read I realized it was one huge, giant, whine fest that I'm sure no one wants to read, although I'm sure a handful of you sweet people would and would leave a super encouraging comment at the end.  

Basically, I'm worried I won't be able to live up to all the commitments I've made.

I'm not talking about just the activities I'm involved in: Symphony concert this weekend, church Girls Camp, youth Pioneer Trek, Cousins Camp, Cub Scout Day Camp, Virtue Conference, our house getting roofed and painted, etc.

Although the most time consuming parts of my commitments, I realize that those are really just check-marks on a list and if I look past them I see my true concerns.  They aren't as easy to pin down, and they aren't as easy to tell if I've accomplished my goals.  They include things like:

  • Am I focusing on the wrong priorities by leaving my kids two weeks in a row to help out at youth camps?  
  • Am I going to appropriately focus on the things that keep me grounded (scripture reading, prayer, personal development) this month?  I recognize that most of the month is in the service of others, but if I do not refill myself I have nothing to offer others. 
These items certainly are not a comprehensive list, but it's adequate to show what concerns truly lie under it all.

I've had a few meltdowns.  The most dramatic one is probably when I e-mailed my Ensign Symphony & Chorus president and music director and basically said "I don't think anyone likes me!"  Okay, not really, I said that I felt like I wasn't doing my job well and if they agreed they were welcome to replace me with no guilt.  They both responded and said "We all feel like that at times, you're fine, buck up."  Of course, in much nicer and encouraging terms.  

Isn't it interesting how the worst part of stress is really how it magnifies our insecurities about ourselves?  

My poor husband:  He has been my supporter, my crazy-barometer, and at times, the venting post.  He's been treating me far better than I've been treating him. 

I hope that by the end of the month I can say I've conducted myself in a way that is constant to not only my current character, but in alignment with the long term goals of my character.  

That should be easy, right?  

Friday, June 27, 2014

Do I want to run a marathon?

If you read my title and sang it in your mind to the song "Do you want to build a snowman?" then you read it correctly.  

Race photos are deceptive.  I keep looking at my race photos from the half marathon this past weekend.  Sure, there are some that make me look like I'm dying, I'm pretty sure race photographers specialize in that type of photo, but there are some that actually look like I'm having fun!  Well, there are one or two of me yelling at Lynette too...

But they are deceiving me into thinking that the half was fun!  What?  I'm sure my brain forgot that I hate long distances!  That's why I've sworn off marathons forever!  To add to my photographic mind games my brain has been drawn to old pictures of me (old meaning last summer when I was actually training hard) where I look so strong.

Between actually having fun at a half marathon, and missing that fitness level it has me thinking crazy things!

Maybe I actually do want to run another marathon!

I mean, sure, we all knew this was coming eventually, but is it actually here?  Maybe.

The desire to train again has been slowly coming back, but do I have enough of it?  I'm terrified that I'll burn out again and that will be the end of my running forever!  I haven't even started doing speed work again yet, so adding long runs (meaning more than about 8, I've been lazy lately) to the wouldn't be smart quite yet.  

Step one - Add speed work back into my training
Step two - actually commit and pay for a race 
Step three - freak out and ask myself if that's really what I want to do
Step four - buckle down and actually train hard because I'm terrified of marathons and do not want to fail again

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Brooks Glycerin 12 Review

You guys, I'm a complete sucker for running shoes.  I can't stop.  I love them so much!  

But seriously, look at these kicks!  

Runners know that you're supposed to buy a shoe for fit/feel first and looks second, or even lower depending on your priority list.  So when my absolute favorite shoe in the world comes in awesome colors I squeal inside like some adolescent would squeal at whoever the popular person young people are squealing at these days.  (Yeah, I'm 80 inside.  I'm resigned to that fact.)

Seriously though, the Brooks Glycerin 11's were my absolute favorite shoe I had ever tried up until that point.  I think the Brook's Ghost is still listed as my favorite shoe on my gear page, and I still use the Ghost a lot, but my favorite shoe is really the Glycerin.  The Ghost and the Glycerin have a lot of similarities and the best description I've heard to describe the difference between the two came from a Brook's rep last year when he told me "The Ghost is like a Toyota, reliable, dependable, and a great car, but it doesn't compare to the comfort and amenities of a Cadillac."  And yeah, unfortunately the price reflects that. 

I've worn a lot of different types of shoes over the years.  I even went full on minimal for awhile and wore vibrams.  I've tried enough different types of support in shoes that I've learned what I really like.  As a forefoot/midfoot striker I recognize that I look for different things in shoes than most people.  In running shoes most cushioning is in the heel, which is great for most people, but it doesn't matter at all to me.  I don't care what kind of drop is on my shoes, I don't care what kind of curved heel they invent that promises a smooth transition, I hardly even put weight on my heels.  See tread wear from an old retired pair of shoes below (the Glycerin 11's)

Heels, hardly touched, forefoot, trashed.  

Since most of the padding is in the heel and not so much in the forefoot I tend to run through shoes faster than most people.  So the difference between the Toyota model and the Cadillac model is huge for me.  I can run in them longer, they are a lot more comfortable, and I am much happier in them.

These are hands down my favorite shoes ever!

Now - what else is involved that makes these shoes awesome?  

  • Parts of the shoe are constructed with using a 3D printer so there are minimal seams.  If you are someone with bunions you'll love not having that annoying seam there.  Plus saying something used a 3D printer just makes it automatically sound more awesome.
  • I love that they don't have the midsole post.  It makes the shoe really quiet and super smooth as you transition through the push-off (and yes, even as a forefoot/midfoot striker I still notice the smoothness of the push-off)
  • Again with the midsole post, it makes them super duper quiet.  I have a quiet stride anyway and am often scaring people on the trail as I "sneak" up behind them.  These shoes help my effort to scare the socks off people.  Okay, that's not the real reason, but I do love how quiet they are. 
  • This shoe isn't the lightest, but the newest edition is only 9.1 ounces, as opposed to the 11's which were 9.6
  • The colors!  Scroll back up and drool over those shoes again!  Seriously!  
  • If you are a heel striker the curved heel really does help you have a smooth and straight transition from heel to toe.
  • Just FYI - This is a neutral shoe and although I absolutely adore it for training runs I do opt for a lighter shoe when I'm racing (ie the Brooks PureConnect, Brooks T-7, Brooks ST-5).  

Obviously I'm a total shoe nerd.  

Although the 12's have been updated with a few things, the ride felt the same to me and I can tell I'm going to love the 12's as much, or more, than I do the 11's.