Running Through May - Part 1: Ragnar

This May brought me my first Ragnar Trail Relay and my fourth BolderBoulder. First I’ll give you the low-down on the Ragnar.

On May 12-13, I was part of an 8 person group that took turns running through trails near Zion National Park. Yes, there are crazy people who voluntarily run miles through the desert at odd hours of the day for fun. 😉 A few weeks before the race, a friend reached out to me asking if I wanted to join their team, because they were short one person. In those weeks leading up to the race my emotions ranged from excited to do something new with my friends to crazy terrified that I’d fail or break myself or something crazy would happen (because I’m not the most graceful person). We ended up having a super fun time and we placed 15th out of 313 teams (despite me dragging down my teams average pace 😜)

Our team name was "El Mem̃o", and we all dressed like memes. Also, none of their systems could handle an M with a tilda, so variations included "El Memzo" and, my personal favorite, "El Mem?_o".

A few things I learned and will hopefully remember for next time:

Detail of my DIY Nyan Cat costume

  1. You won’t sleep enough. Of course, you might have guessed that, but really, I didn’t realize just how little I’d get. Between my runs, I tried to sleep, but often woke in a panic, wondering if I’d missed my next turn.
  2. Eating is hard when you need to run so much. I typically run in the morning on a mostly empty stomach, but when you have to run multiple times in a 24 hour period, you need to fuel your body without feeling too full, and you need to be aware of foods that might not sit well in this sort of scenario. I had my first ever shot blocks, but also tried to eat normal things like bananas and nut butter. ALSO, you don’t want to et caught in a situation where you need to go to the bathroom on the course (you’ll get disqualified, too).
  3. I’m so glad I brought a change of clothes for each run. There wasn’t enough time between runs for my clothes to fully dry, so having extra outfits was amazing. Especially socks.
  4. It’s super fun! We dressed up and didn’t take ourselves too seriously. I started with a bunch of doubt and fear, but my teammates were super sweet, and I couldn’t be happier with how much we as a group cheered each other on.

Some things I would have changed if I were in charge of the whole event… 

Zion through the car window

  • Don’t call it “Zion” because it’s not actually in Zion. It's near Zion.
  • Try to keep track of where teams set up camp so that people who don’t arrive together can find each other because there's practically no cell reception.
  • Don’t break down the event the instant people stop running. There were s’mores the night before we got there and the night that we were running, but not the night when everyone had finished! Seems a little crazy to me - all other races I’ve done make it feel like a party once everyone is done! Instead it felt like a ghost town. Maybe other Ragnar events do it differently, but this was pretty strange to me.

Anyway… We kicked butt, had fun, and did get to drive through Zion National Park when we went back home 😍

Bring it on, 2017!

Like me, you might be hearing a lot of people saying that 2016 sucked. We lost what seems like countless artists, scientists, and icons. A lot of people are scared of what the future holds, and scary news articles are clogging our Facebook feeds. Heck, 2016 gave me my first broken bones and crazy medical bills.

Babies make everything okay 

BUT, because I think it’s good to see the silver lining whenever possible, let’s find some good. No matter what, our lives are going to be filled with ups and downs. If our lives were perfect 100% of the time, we wouldn't grow. So, in honor of a new year, here are a few things that I loved about 2016:

  1. I got to travel a lot, including a bunch of places I’ve never been. Not only did I go to New York and Chicago for the first time, I got to go on my belated honeymoon and spent 3 weeks in Europe. That’s amazing.
  2. I have a new cousin, and I got to visit with him in his first days. And thank goodness for technology, because I get to see pictures of him and his adorable brother all the time.
  3. I went to a few weddings, and several friends got engaged! What’s happier than love??

I used selfies from each country we visited in 2016 for our holiday card, and I love how it turned out!

And then there’s the little things I know I take for granted each day - those mundane things that don’t seem like much, but make me among the luckiest on the planet. I have a house to call my own, there is food in my fridge, I have two sweet furry babies who love me (or at least recognize that I’m the bringer of food), and every day I get to wake up next to the man I love, the guy who makes me smile, the boy who knows how to make me feel special. 2016 was full of tiny, wonderful moments.

We also can’t just expect 2017 to be better purely because it’s a “New Year”. We need to work for our happiness - pursue goals to enrich our lives, and fight for what we believe in. We can't be complacent - we need to donate to organizations we are passionate about (when we have the means), we need to volunteer, and we need to show compassion for those less fortunate than us, and do what we can to show them that they are valued by society, that we want them to succeed.

My favorite crafting project of this holiday season!

2016 was also the year I was the most tired, I think. Maybe that's just part of being an adult, but I know that I don't sleep enough, and I often take on too many projects. But how lucky am I that I'm exhausted because I have so many people in my life I want to share my time with, and so many hobbies/passions that I would rather pursue than sleep?

I also know that more artists and actors and musicians will die in 2017. Unfortunately that’s life. So we need to appreciate it while we can, and celebrate the little things, the big things, and everything in between. Honor the legacy of those we've lost, whether we've known them personally or not. Take pride that you've gotten to live in the same world with them, and never, ever forget them.

Life is sweet (and often bittersweet, and sometimes downright sucky). We can’t forget that.

Firsts

Both 2015 and 2016 seem to be filled with firsts. Most notably, in 2015 Nathaniel and I got married and bought our first home. 2016's firsts have included some not-so-fun things, like my first broken bones. But what this makes me think about is that even after 28 years living in the same town, and 11 years with the same partner, I still get to experience new things.

IMG_3728.jpg

Recently my cousin, her girlfriend, and two of their friends came to visit. They're from Florida and they got to experience snow for the first time. It was so wonderful seeing them enjoy themselves with a sense of almost child-like wonder. They even voluntarily shoveled my driveway! They made snowmen in my front yard, threw snowballs at each other, and got to see lots of elk! It was so nice seeing them experience something so new. It’s cool that they’ll remember this first, because I definitely don’t remember my first time in the snow because I was so young.

Luckily, I too have a lot of fun firsts coming up. In a few weeks I get to go to New York for the first time, and in May/June we’re finally taking a belated honeymoon, and I get to see quite a few European cities for the first time! I am so excited to explore!

Sometimes I worry that I’m doing too much of the same thing day to day, but then I’m reminded of all the firsts that surprise me (or that we plan). They may not all be perfect and exciting, but they show me that the world is a crazy, wonderful place, full of people who are willing to help, and happy to share.

One-Handed Adventures

Tomorrow, I hopefully get the pins taken out of my hand, which hopefully means I get to start getting back to my normal self. This whole ordeal has really made me appreciate being able to function at 100%.

So, I thought I’d share a bit about my one-handed adventures, because it’s been a while!

Baking:

I very much enjoy baking and cooking, and I had cookie cravings, and my husband’s birthday was last week, so I didn’t let having broken fingers completely stop me. I kept recipes simple - I needed to be able to use my stand mixer, and nothing could be too crazy large or heavy since anything I carry is with one hand. I did make some pretty sweet little footballs for the Super Bowl, though!

Cleaning:

Don't worry, this sock is clean.

For a while, my “cleaning” consisted of small organizational tasks, trying to keep common areas looking nice, but as I started to feel better, I was able to start sweeping and vacuuming. I know it sounds lame, but after a while you just want your space to be clean, and clean-looking. As much as possible, I’ve tried to only use dishes that can be thrown in the dishwasher, because I still can’t hand-wash things because I can’t get my cast wet. I have been able to fold laundry, but it’s a very slow process, and turning socks right side in is a royal pain in the butt.

Exercise:

With the pins in my hand, I haven’t done yoga, and I miss it. The pressure that could potentially be put on the bones, even in modified poses, isn’t something the doctor wanted me to do, so I (very impatiently) am waiting for the day I can go back. So instead I’ve been walking a lot, and finally, about 3.5 weeks after my surgery, I started running again. Easy runs, slower than I’d like, but I’ll get it back.

Creativity:

All of my usual creative outlets require two hands: crafting, sewing, playing my instruments… I guess at least I can call these activities physical therapy once I’m allowed to start doing them again. I tried making myself an orange bow for the Super Bowl, which ended up looking pretty stupid, but whatever, it was the only orange I could find. I also made a construction paper card for Nathaniel’s birthday, which was ok, but would have been a lot prettier if I’d been fully-functional. My sister, her boyfriend and I all went to a painting class, too, and luckily I got by just fine with one hand.

Going out:

At least my cast matches my favorite dress!

Most times this is fine. Every once in a while I have to have Nathaniel cut my food for me (one time a waitress asked if she could). But the biggest difference is that everyone asks how I hurt myself (and many people joke that I must have punched someone). I don’t mind - it’s nice that, in general, people are extremely friendly, kind-hearted and wish me well. Most people agree, though, that the story is pretty lame, and I should make up a story about saving babies from a burning building. ;)

Here’s hoping that tomorrow goes well, and that I’ll be closer to normal soon!