• Random and Odd

    The one where I write…

    I put a lot of time and thought into the video and what I wanted it to display.  This is a little less of what my year was, but more of what I learned from it and what I want to do in 2012.

    What I learned:

    Hiking/Trail running:
    1. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread shoved into a camelbak will be a bread, peanut butter and jelly ball after 5 miles…without fail.  Use a harder bread instead.
    2. Salami is NOT a trail running food…for ANYONE involved.
    3. Running while your DayQuil battles it out with the NyQuil you took a few hours before because you thought you should sleep and then changed your mind and decided a run would be smarter …. IS NOT FUN. I might need to redo that trail because I don’t remember much of it.
    4. Running on Vicoden isn’t smart either. When my back is out, just stay in bed because it’s THOSE runs that I get lost and end up running 25.5 miles and run out of water with 10 miles left to go!
    5. Don’t do long term running in hiking shoes. I ran a good hundred miles on a pair of hiking shoes and lost about 4 toenails. They fit perfect for walking, but if you’re running you need to get about a half size bigger and shoes designed for running. duh.
    6. A camelbak (water bladder/backpacky thing) can only hold so much and I have had everything in there at one time and after a year of this figured out what is needed for me to get through a run/hike;  chomps, knife, snake bite kit, pill box, bandaids, bug spray, sunblock, backup shoe laces, lighter, food, electrolytes tabs and a favorite little snack.
    7. There will be snakes. You can’t zone out for a second when running on canyon trails or you will pay the price by either going down a cliff or stepping on a snake (or two).
    8. Pack a map. SO much less stress. SO MUCH.
    9. For me, dress light no matter how cold it is, a mile in I am going to shed the jacket and leg wear and have no place to put it.
    10. This is fun. I learned to enjoy it…that was after the shin splints, leg cramps, lost toenails, hip and back popping in and out and trial and error of actually doing it.

    In my Relationship:
    1. it’s taken awhile of wondering HOW I fell in love with him, but I did today when explaining it to a friend.  I watched that man every day during one the crappiest time of his life walk around and treat people with as much kindness as he felt they deserved. He never once complained or even hinted that his life wasn’t all that had hoped it would be.  He just was there to walk past my office and see that my door was closed and knew I was having a hard day dealing with the shit that was going on in my life and would just be nice when I had done nothing to deserve his kindness.   Without him knowing that I knew what was going on, I would see him hold his head up, go to work everyday, never take his shit out on anyone else, never lay out all his drama on anyone, never talk shit about the shit he was being put through.
    He had strength that I admired.  It took awhile, but I see that now.

    I know that this year coming year I have to stand up for myself when people aren’t treating me right. I have to take the steps THIS year to ensure that and of all the things I learned last year, the thing that will carry me through is, “I can…and I will.”

  • Random and Odd

    I am composed of 85% awesome…and 15% crippling self doubt.

    ugly as sin., originally uploaded by Random and Odd.

    In January of 2011 I bought my first pair of shoes. They were Merrell hiking shoes. Within the first few hikes I began to run. I knew that I shouldn’t be running in these shoes because they didn’t have the support system I would need.
    I bought a pair of Asisc trail running shoes, but after a month of running in them I had to return them because they didn’t release the heat and because I run through knee high water at certain parts of the trail and they didn’t let the water out.
    I replaced those shoes with a pair of Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes and I fell in love with them. I’m talking IN LOVE, could write a poem about them…would marry them if I could.
    During my trail running shoes adventures, Tabitha had bought a pair of Vibrams FiveFinger shoes. I wasn’t impressed with the look of the shoe or the support they would offer out there.
    Soon after Dan bought a pair of them. Again, I wasn’t impressed with the look and endlessly picked on him about them.
    Then something crazy happened…both Tabitha and Dan started getting ridiculous muscles in their calves and legs. They could both take these insane hills like they were no problem at all.
    Long before Tabitha got the shoes, I started researching the pros and cons and watching an absurd amount of podcasts on reviews from runners, doctors, podiatrists and just normal every day wearers of the shoes.
    I secretly decided I wanted to give them a try. Since I am one of those people that never wear shoes unless I’m outside and spent a million hours as a kid running around in the hills without shoes I figured what would it hurt to at least try them out.
    I got a pair a few days ago and I took them out for a spin.
    My boyfriend has watched and encouraged me on my lifestyle change but has never joined me out in my playgrounds of Auburn California. I’ve promised him to take him out on a hike and not run if he would just join me once.
    On Christmas morning with a deep desire to get a couple miles on the shoes, I asked him if he wanted to go for a walk and I picked a simple trail out in the canyons. We harnessed up the dog and headed out. I took it slow to see how the rocks and ground would feel. His walk is about equal to my slow jog and if I fell back just enough I could do short sprints to see how they would hold up. I could tell I was more in tune to the ground and how my foot struck. The Treks that I picked out have more grip than some of the other models of the FiveFingers and are made for trail running. They held up nice on the rockiest part of the trail. Not once did I say, “OUCH” like I was prepared to do.
    At the bottom of this big hill I decided I was going to do a power walk up. There is something about the shoes that actually allowed me to sprint the hill and I didn’t have the lag I normally have halfway up.
    On the way back I was encouraging the dog to do a little one minute jog with me and low and behold those little doggie legs kept up fine. I couldn’t help but notice that my boyfriend was actually doing a little bit of the running as well.

    This morning we made our way to the shoe store so he could get himself a pair of Brooks so he can (possibly) do a run with me at the beginning of the year. There is no way to put into words the pride I have right now that he’s willing to take this small step into such a huge part of my world. He said he wasn’t going to run, but I told him he might accidently start running. I’m willing to hang back and enjoy the time we have together in our first (and maybe only) official race together.

    On the Hiking with the Exes site I will be doing more on the review on the Vibrams FiveFinger Trek shoes. We shall see if this is for me. For the record, they are ugly as hell and I tried on all types of them in hopes of finding a pair that were bit stylish, but really…how can you make these Shrek feet looking shoes cute? You can’t…so I am just going to go with it and hope they grow on me.

  • Random and Odd

    *sad sigh*

    I’m a winner., originally uploaded by Random and Odd.

    I just can’t believe its December.
    This is the first year in all the years I can remember that I am truly bummed that it’s over.
    I had high hopes for 2010, but I was still working out all the bullshit from 2009 to fully grasp the new start I was being handed.

    Yesterday I began working on my “2011 – My Story”. I swear, I made myself cry thinking about how depressing it is that I have to say goodbye to this year. This is such a foreign feeling for me because it feels like every year I just want NEXT year to be better, swearing that it will be and making up my mind to FINALLY make it happen. This year, I did it. Not a few months I was doing good, feeling great, loving it…I got the WHOLE YEAR. There wasn’t a single month that I can look back on and say, “That one sucked.”
    This doesn’t mean that I didn’t have bad days, and even bad weeks. I have had some doozies. I’m going to chalk up every single dentist appointment I’ve had this year as a bad day. The cool thing about this year is that no matter how bad it got, I knew I was going to be okay and the only thing I could do was roll with it. By the time I got laid off from my job, I had built up a lot of strength. That day I was walked out, I got in the car, drove home and signed up for unemployment, went and found an apartment and gave my 45 day notice to my landlady. I kept waiting for the moment I was going to lose it, cry hysterically and freak out about my future. Later that night I was sitting outside with Lester and I asked him, “When am I going to snap?” … he said, “I don’t think you will.” He was right. I didn’t.
    Since then I have of course cried a hundred times, but mostly for really stupid stuff…like the show Biggest Loser…a perfect sunset from my balcony in Maui…and when he pulled me into his arms and said ‘this is happiness’ on Thanksgiving. They are happy tears now.

    What is going to happen in 2012? I know I am going to keep doing the things that made 2011 so fantastic, cultivate the friendships that made 2011 amazing and start repairing the things I need to repair.
    I want to take on a new hobby that I can do on Saturdays. I’m thinking rock climbing or kayaking.

    This year I am going to truly celebrate new year party when I VERY sadly say goodbye to my favoritest year and welcome a brand new year.

  • Random and Odd

    Thank you for giving. I’ll take real good care of it.

    Maui 2011, originally uploaded by Random and Odd.

    Everyone is doing the “I’m Thankful for…” the whole month of November until Thanksgiving on Facebook again this year. I have done a few, but they were always the funny things that get overlooked, like Qtips.

    Last year on my blog I pointed out the small things I am grateful for. Looking over it, I am still grateful for those things, but this time I want to be thankful for this year as a whole.

    I have been reading about my friends and what they have had to go through this year and my first thing I am grateful for is my health and the health of my children. SO many of my friends spend hours on the road driving their very young children to get Chemotherapy sessions far away from home. When some parents are stressing about their kids unmade beds, I have another parent who is stressing on her son’s blood cell count. I’m hoping Alyx gets a good hair cut for her school pictures and one of my friends is hoping her kid doesn’t get teased because her daughter has no hair yet because the chemo made it fall out.
    Are you kids not getting good grades in school? I have a friend whos kid is homeschooled because he is in the hospital so much because of brittle bones. Facebook has shown me that as a parent, I am so lucky that my kids are where they are. If not happy…at least HEALTHY.

    Speaking of happy. This time last year I was in a weird place with Lester. We were broke up/still seeing each other and I was right on the brink of getting ready to get over him and move on. I told him once, the best thing you ever did was leave me because you showed me that I can get over you too. I’ve said it before, but losing what we had last year was harder than the loss of my marriage. The marriage loss hurt was for the girls and all that they would lose. When Lester and I broke up, it was all my loss.
    This year we are on a whole different train. I’m not sure when It got easier, but it has. Does he still drive me crazy? Yes. He does. Does he want to strangle me at every turn? Yup. Right now, the happy outweighs everything else. There are times when we are together and I look over at him and he smiles and it’s the most real smile I have ever seen. For those of you that don’t know Lester, he’s not big on smiling or showing that he’s happy. In the 2 years we have been together he’s gotten so much better at just letting go and being dorky with me. This will come as a shock to some of you, but I’m not a super serious person. When it’s OUR time, be it just the two of us or when his son is there, or my kids…we can just laugh and make jokes. I am grateful for the love we have for each other. I am grateful that we can have two different lives in two different towns and 99% of the time we are flawless when it comes to dividing time and how we are when we aren’t together. I am grateful for our Sundays. I leave early in the morning and I trail run all day and then at the end of the day I watch him play hockey. It might have not been enough for someone else, but it’s perfect for me. I am grateful.

    Oh the gratefulness just keeps coming. I miss Kara so much, but I am so happy that we have a place that we talk and she can spill her heart out. Her writing has gotten so good, it’s like a novel I don’t want to put down. Every day I want her to come home because the missing of her is out of control, but I know she’s still testing out those wings and soon she will fly. It probably won’t be home that she lands, but she better always circle back because she is my other half in this life. She is the other half of her sisters and she better come back and spend more time with her baby sister because she needs her.
    She sent me a text as I was sitting in the chair to get the tattoo. “Just Breath” she says to me. Her and I had been going back and forth about the tattoo design. I had told her not to get a tattoo that she will regret or one that links her to someone. “After ALL that you told me, you are getting Lester’s tattoo? ARE YOU CRAZY!? What if he does something horrible to you and you have to look at that every day and think of it?”
    She has a point, but I also had mine. I’m not a tattoo person, AT ALL. I made a deal with Lester and even though I thought he would never really do it, he did it. My part of the deal was I get a tattoo. I told Kara that no matter if I got the tattoo 15 years after Lester and I broke up, that first tattoo would ALWAYS be the ‘bet’ tattoo and as soon as I got it, no matter who I was with or the meaning of the tattoo, it would be, “yeah, this is the one I should have gotten when I was with Lester.”
    People have done some shitty things and I don’t need a tattoo to remember it. I have a good memory.
    This tattoo is our tattoo now. He was gracious enough to share it with me and I cherish it. This will always remind me of the most amazing year I have ever had. It symbolizes the changes in my life and the commitment I have made to change and grow. This tattoo is the year I took on mountains and I won. This was the year I Let Go.
    “If it gets too bad mom, just hold your breath when it hurts and breath when it doesn’t.”
    I found that I can hold my breath for ten straight minutes. ;)
    I’m grateful that my daughter always knows when it’s a bad day it’s a root beer day. I am grateful that she knows the exact moment to call when the needle went in and when to shut up about it.

    The big things year I am grateful for. My car, by the grace of GOD is still on the road, getting me to point B. I am healthy. I can recognize a good day and know a bad day might be right around the corner, but being grateful for THAT day and live in the day, not the week or year. To recognize the strength I have and build from there. The love I am lucky to have from an amazing man. My family…my sister because that woman…she puts up with sooooooooooooooooo much.

    I am grateful for what I do have and not jealous for what I don’t have. I’ve thrown away a lot in my life and I’ve learned from it. Being able to see the goodness of this life and what is left of it is what I have learned this year. NEVER take for granted the calmness in your life, because once you start getting petty and snide…shit will get real and it could get VERY UGLY.

    Just sayin’.

  • Random and Odd

    Sometimes you got to go through Hell before you get to Heaven…


    Another 4am morning.

    I got up this morning and made a pot of coffee while Lester snored away.  One of the patio doors was barely cracked open and I could hear this high wind coming from outside.  It sounded like I was in the middle of a hurricane.  Looking out at the courtyard you can see the trees bending in t

    before we left California I checked the weather forecast and it said each day was going to be windy with showers.  It also said it was going to be 83 degrees. So far we have had the winds, no showers and it’s been a lot warmer than I thought it was going to be.
    On the news yesterday morning the weather woman said, “Grab your jacket before you leave!”
    After our 2nd shore dive yesterday and we were driving home in our wet clothes, windows down I had to laugh…yeah, this is coat weather.
    I finally opened the patio door, expecting the high winds to be cold.  Nope, warm. I love Maui.

    We had a change of plans yesterday because the boat fix didn’t work.  We ended driving to the other part of Maui and doing a beach dive.  Both of us have dove this part of the island. 15 years ago I did this dive and I got my ass kicked by the coral reef when I went up to high and got caught in the surf.  This time I stayed low and only came up when I wanted to go into a cave or through an arch.
    The first dive was amazing. It made up for the shit dive we did on Monday to the boat.   It takes awhile to get back in the swing of Scuba. The technical side of it is easy, it’s the relaxing and enjoying the view that gets forgotten when making sure all the technical stuff is taken care of.
    The first dive we saw the whole spectrum of fish.  My favorite are always the bright yellow fish, but this time I was enamored by this tye dye looking fish.  This little guy was enormous and was spitting out rock and sand endlessly. He was a comedy act to watch.

    After that dive we drug our asses back up the beach and washed off and headed to get food.  Is 10:30 am to early for rum?  We got back to the condo after the best lunch and I laid down while Lester download the pictures.  Within minutes I was out.  He gave me a whopping 25 minute nap before waking me up and telling me that the clouds were dark where we were going to do our second dive and we needed to get moving to beat the storm.
    It was dark and the beach we were going to dive from was choppy so we decided to do the same dive we had done earlier that morning.
    This time we saw turtles, eels, trumpet fish and this amazing arch.  The snorkelers had told us they saw a couple reef sharks in a cave and my goal was to find those sharks to get in close to get a picture.  I located the cave they said they saw it in and I went in very slow, stopping my bubbles so I could focus in each direction.  Just as I was about into the dark part of the cave, a yellow fish darted out from behind some coral and scared the living shit out of me. I screamed and did this sissy ass back swim.  Turning around I looked for Lester, hoping he didn’t see me have that freak out moment.  Nope, he saw something shiny and wasn’t paying attention.  I decided that if I was going shark hunting, I better make sure that Lester is there to make sure he can get a picture of the shark that is likely going to take off my arm.

    At about 1500 lbs of air it was time to turn around, I made my way up and over this reef and it opened up into this pocket of amazingness.  The big yellow fish that had been leading the way to this slice of heaven didn’t steer me wrong.  I made my way through this coral arch and out into another pocket with a cave.
    I turned around again to watch Lester come through the arch and I smiled.
    This is my dive buddy now. This is the person I trust with my life with.

    With that thought, I promise to take him more seriously when he’s pointing out that he’s running out of air in his tank.

  • Random and Odd

    “Of all the timezones, God loves Hawaii the most.”

    Maui 2011, originally uploaded by Random and Odd.

    I rolled over this morning expecting it to be long past 4am because I had woken up so many times that I was sure I had overslept our 6:30 wake up alarm.
    Looking over Lester’s body to the clock I had to giggle. “4am.”
    He said, “Ready to get up?” He was awake too and ready to start our day.

    Yesterday we did a shore dive outside the resort we are staying at. We wanted to test out the underwater camera and the ‘water resistant’ box we got to put the electronic key to the car in so we can beach dive in other places. The camera housing held up wonderfully. The water resistant box is not waterproof.
    There is this large military ship/boat docked out by our resort. It’s a really good distance away, but I was sure we could swim out to it. I had forgotten how heavy scuba gear is when you have to haul it down to a beach, put it on, swim to the dive spot, drop down and dive for 20 minutes, swim back and then haul it all back up…soaking wet with noodles for arms and legs.
    I did really well on the way out there. When the dive was over I looked back at the shoreline that looked about 20 miles away. In my head I little conversation that went just like this; “Fuuuuuuuckkkk meeeee. I did NOT think this all the way through. Okay, Kristine we are going to just swim and keep swimming and aim for the middle of the resort. I got this.”
    That little pep talk got me about half way there and that’s when I realized I wasn’t using my legs when I was swimming. I was doing this little kid kicking and had resorted to dog paddling. It was time to pep talk myself again, “Oh knock this shit off Kristine and kick your goddammn legs! “ I took off again and with little doubts of being able to make it slipping in and having to squash them down we made it back to the beach. A huge wave came and I let it pick me up and I walked right up on the beach. It wasn’t the image I had in my head the whole time I was swimming back in. The scene in my head involved me crawling up, spitting salt water, crying and grabbing my cramping legs.
    Nope. It was yet another moment where I realized I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for. I’m physically stronger than I thought I was.

    Lester and I went over to our friend’s house and helped him fix his boat and then afterward he took me up to Lahaina where we walked around and went into all these shops. I found Alyx’s necklace I told her I would get her. This was my strategy to make sure Alyx loved it; pick what my sister Kathy would love and Alyx will love it.
    With Marina, I knew what she wanted, but I had no idea what design she would want. After a few days of pricing every single hippy bag I could find I finally found a place that was reasonable and I took a picture and texted it to her to ask her what design she liked. She picked the one I would have NEVER picked for her. Two of the 4 girls are taken care of and now I just need to find Kara and Shea their gifts and since Lester likes to shop, I won’t need to panic and do last minute airport shopping.

    Today we are doing a double boat dive to work on the reef. I’ve never done this before, but we are putting on all our gear then putting a whole other gear set together and then taking it down with us. When we run out of air we just take off our gear and move over into the other gear. This will make it so we don’t have to resurface and change tanks.

    Depending on how tired we are after working on the reef, Lester said he will take me to the 7 sacred pools and down the road to Hana. I am almost TOO excited about this.

    I was talking to Marina and Alyx back at home and they said it’s freezing and off and on raining. The woman at the hot tub last night mentioned post vacation depression. Thinking about going back already is sad. It’s days away, but I want to make sure I don’t miss a moment and memory.

    It’s only Tuesday and I since my day is starting out at 4am, I have hours to go make those memories!!

  • Random and Odd

    Not a single complaint.

    Maui 2011, originally uploaded by Random and Odd.

    This is my second morning in Maui and again I can’t sleep past 4am. Yesterday I did the same thing, but I wasn’t alone. Lester and I were both awake and too excited to sleep.
    This morning I have the patio doors wide open and even though it’s still dark outside I can hear the waves crashing on the beach. Hot Kona coffee and sounds of the ocean in Maui … now that’s the best part of waking up!

    Yesterday was our first full day on the island. We met our friend of many years to take out on his boat to go scuba diving. It’s been a couple years since we went scuba diving and 2 years ago I had a devil may care attitude about life and wasn’t nervous at all. In fact, so much as I was the only one out of 4 that did the first dive…and without a dive buddy. Yesterday, my nerves got the best of me before I even got out on the boat. Lester asked if I was okay and I told him I was nervous. He asked why I was nervous and I had no response…”because I am.” And he came back with, “well stop. Stop being nervous.”
    I love that man more than most things, but truly sometimes he’s just straight retarded. He realized that was a lame comment and he smiled and messed up my hair. He’s learning that he must quickly redeem himself before I raise my eyebrows at his volume of stupidity. His smiles defuse any explosive situation he might have created.
    Our friend, Bill who lives on the island asked how I was doing and told him the same thing. “It’s alright, Darlin’. You’ll be fine. I’m right here and I’ll make sure you’ll be safe.” BINGO. He nailed that one on the first try! I relaxed a little bit and stared out at the ocean waiting for our boat to come back in. Bill was the first person that I went scuba diving with after I was certified. He’s got this Texas’esque accent that he has never lost while living in Maui for 500 years and it’s down right adorable. I could hear his voice in my head the last time I went diving…”Have fun and be safe!” “check your depth sweetheart!” “if you get scared, look at me Darlin, it will be fine.” So when we got on the boat and started getting ready to go in and he started talking I began to feel better. Once I got all my gear on and went off the side of the boat backwards I was fine. All that anxiety for nothing…I was comfortable.
    Bill took us out to the reef he built. It’s compiled of a bunch of stuff he collected when cleaning up the ocean. He wrote out the words ALOHA and new coral is growing on it and to be honest, when you come down to about 60 feet and you’re hovering above it, it’s breathtaking.
    Hidden in a coral shelf was a white tipped shark. We came in close and I sat on the bottom of the ocean (about 90 feet) and watched and waited. He came out slowly and was arm distance away.
    Holy hell, I love my life!

    After our morning dive we came home and I slept like the dead while Lester hosed off all our gear and watched TV for a bit. Note to self: when taking Tylenol from a friend to rid yourself of a headache…make sure it doesn’t say PM after it, and be sure if you do still take it, only take ONE and not TWO.

    We found a great taco shop on suggestion from one of the guys at the dive company and next door was a tattoo shop. Just walking in made me nervous. Lester had designed the tattoo he’s getting while he’s here and I took one of his designs for myself. I’m not a tattoo person, but I did make a deal with him. If he went skydiving, I would get a tattoo. I had weaseled my way out of my end of the bargain, but when we decided to come to Maui I told him that I would get it while I was here.
    I showed the artist the tattoo that I want and he made a print out of it so I can wear it around for a day to see if it’s where I want it to be. Just him prepping the area for the stencil made me sick to my stomach. After it went on it looked HUGE and I began to regret even putting the stencil on! As I walked around and began to look at it on my skin, I decided it’s not as big as I originally thought and I do like it a lot. It’s a tattoo that I have been staring at for 2 years nearly every other night and I am very familiar with it. So on Thursday I will be getting my first tattoo…and I will probably either barf or pass out during the process.

    It’s been 2 hours and the sun still isn’t up. HURRY! I’m ready to start my day!!

  • Random and Odd

    Such a Life!!

    DSC_0362, originally uploaded by Random and Odd.

    Yes, it has been forever since I have updated Random and Odd.
    For the last few weeks, things have been very busy and I haven’t been motivated to do much.

    2 weeks ago I moved out of the rental house and into an apartment. Marina asked me, “This must be just weird for you…you ok?” I told her after all the things that have happened in the last two years that this wasn’t even phasing me.
    The move went much easier than expected. I had signed up for the apartment a few hours after being laid off and I was approved after I showed proof that I wasn’t responsible for the excessive late payments on a car I no longer own. There was a solid month of being able to be fully packed up and ready to go on move day.
    I really like my apartment. I’m tucked into a neat, secluded corner that is surrounded by trees. When the wind is blowing really hard, it sounds like I have a waterfall on my patio. It’s cozy and I have already made it feel like home.

    The week after moving, Team Hiking with the Exes ran in the Merrell Mud Run in Folsom. There were a few things I wanted to accomplish this year and this wasn’t one of them…this was actually a Dan and Tabitha idea. Dan wanted to sign up for Tough Mudder which I believe is ran by the Marines and they have a part that you run through live wires and face getting electrocuted. This wasn’t my idea of ‘fun’. Tabitha wanted to sign up for the one that is in the middle of the desert and again…I vetoed joining that one. We settled for a local one.
    Lester came out to support me and take pictures (the one above) and I can’t tell you how much it meant to have him there. His smile when I crossed the finish line made it all worth it. The smile of course was probably there because he knew he wasn’t going to have to stand around waiting anymore and that we would be able to go home and get our nap.
    I don’t ask him to come out to any of the silly things I do and I offer to take him out running with us, but he ever so sweetly declines. I do believe that he will start hiking with me, if I hike and don’t run. (I’ll move him slowly into the running after a couple months)
    The Mud Run was pretty neat though. I have an issue with large crowds, but I had to just ‘Let Go’ and focus on getting there and doing what I had signed up for. When I got there and saw all the people and the mud pit I just had to laugh and say, “I really signed up and paid for this?” Tabitha was laughing because it wasn’t any different than a typical weekend mind fuck. I looked at her and said, “this isn’t my thing.” She just rolled her eyes and said, “You haven’t even done it yet!” It wouldn’t be a typical weekend mind fuck if I didn’t start complaining before we even got there.
    It actually wasn’t any different than our weekend runs on the trail except crawling under the cargo net and through the tunnel. During the winter the mud pit resembles an uphill stretch we climb when we are in training.
    I did have a Tabitha moment during the run when I got over the cargo net and saw a fellow runner stuck on the top, one leg over and frozen with fear. The next few minutes I stood there and coaxed him down. By coaxing I mean I was yelling at him military style telling him to MOVE IT MOVE IT MOVE IT and telling him that people were coming and that cargo net was going to get rocking. His best bet was to just fall off that damn thing than to just sit there. “You can do this! You got this far! Look at you and where you have been!!! PUT THAT LEG OVER NOW!!!” and he did. He had pushed through that mental spot and got to moving. I took off running after I saw he was okay. I heard his friend say a bit down the road “That’s the woman that got you over.” And him yell, “Thank you!” I waved and ran into the water to get the first part of mud out of my bra.
    All in all, it was a great day. I did what I set out to do, I started and I finished. The bonus part was helping a fellow runner out.

    This week has been finally settling into my little world and getting ready for our vacation. Yes, I said vacation!!!
    Lester and I have been talking about going scuba diving for a long time and we often thought of going to Monterey, but it’s too cold and not the diving we want to do.
    A couple weeks ago a bit of time opened up for both of us to drop everything and go scuba diving, so we booked it and have been counting the days.
    We went to the scuba store and got some essentials. Got our suitcase in order for all our gear and tonight I will be packing up my clothes. I have 3 pairs of shorts, a drawer full of tank tops and 2 pairs of flip flops. I’m going to also throw my trail shoes in there in hopes that when we finally come up for air that we can get a couple short hikes in. I’ll be happy if all we do is scuba dive, but since I have been to Maui two other times and did nothing other than scuba diving I would love to see something else on the island. I can’t wait to get back into to the water and see that magical world.

    Okay, time to unpack another box.


  • Random and Odd

    Iowa Hill

    IMAG0098, originally uploaded by Random and Odd.

    We have been running Steven’s trail on the other side of the canyon most of this year. It’s a ten mile trail and it’s mostly all sun exposure, which means if your ass doesn’t hit that trail running at 6am you will be coming back up that incline in full fun for 2 hours…and you will die. This is the trail that snapped my will and broke my spirit. It also made me the strong trail runner I feel I am today.
    Yesterday we finally did the other side of the canyon and it was like night and day but with just as much intensity. This trail is under the most beautiful trees. It’s completely shaded all the way to the river. The very, very, very cold river.
    This weekend I was going to devote my Sunday to cleaning out my garage, but decided I wanted to do something fun instead. I woke up in a great mood and I was ready to get moving. Tabitha wasn’t going to go running because she wasn’t feeling good and Dan was pretty tired from his day trip to the beach. I was on my own. Within minutes everything went to shit and we all decided it was time to just lace up and get on the trail.
    The road just to get to the trail head was insane. It’s a one lane road with blind corners all the way up, so without saying, for eight and half miles my anxiety level was off the charts. We pulled up into this very small town and for a minute we started to worry. Most of the time where we go, there are no people and so we don’t have too worry to much about people knowing how long our car is unattended.
    We went inside in the store and the people there were so very nice. The grandson came out and walked us down to the official start of the trail because for the first 500 feet of this trail it cuts through the backyard of his grandma’s home. “No worries, even the Forestry guys couldn’t find the trail.” This was reassuring.

    We had decided that before we even left the house that this was going to be a hike and not a trail run, not a training run, not a push-push-push run…we were going to go back to what we started and just hike it. That lasted about 600 yards in and then we started the run. It actually felt good because it FELT like a very mellow decline all the way. There were parts of the trail that were covered in very wet, slippery moss and we would have to walk it out until we got to another opening where the running could start up again. There were so many times that I would be running and see Dan or Tabitha stopped looking over the edge of the cliff and I knew that the view was going to be breathtaking and I wasn’t wrong. The water that was miles below was this amazing color of blue and green because of the minerals in the water. It was hard to believe that was our destination.

    We found our spot and before eating I knew that it didn’t matter how cold the water was, I was going to get in and swim. It took a few minutes before my body could adapt to the freezing water, but as soon as I could get my upper body in and dunk I could get out.
    “Tabitha, you have to try this.” I said after making my way back to shore.
    She just laughed at me and said, “There is NO way you would catch me in that freezing ass water unless I was chasing a million dollars!” I just laughed because I had to agree…this water was the kind of cold you couldn’t be in more than a minute at a time without your muscles freezing up. She said, “Crazy has a face, and I am looking at it.”

    The trip back up was going to be one I was going to have to run because my legs were frozen and I was going to have to get my muscles warmed back up. I did good for about a mile before the novelty of it wore off and I was done. Two and half miles left and the incline that didn’t feel so bad going down, was a bitch coming back up.

    I have to say though, It was my favorite trail and I did better than I have done in a long time and I was proud of it.

    We went inside the store/bar when we finally made our way back up and the people that ran that place was a wealth of history information on the whole town and the trail. We sat around for about 30 minutes looking at historical pictures, having some of her amazing soup and drinking a beer.

    We got back into town, I jumped in the shower and made my way to the ice rink in time to watch Lester’s hockey game.

    Today…I’m a little sore, but so happy that my hip didn’t go out and I’m not nursing that pain today. Okay, I’m REALLY sore….and I am walking like a old woman. SO WORTH IT.