Adventures In Running

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Running in Circles

Today I ran in circles for 3 hours. OK - I actually ran in ovals - but it doesn't sound as good. My running buddy Leslie Peterson and her friend Gary wanted to do a 15 mile long run for the day and I had agreed to go along. Then the weather started dumping snow. I did most of my running outside this past week, but I wasn't in the mood to run for so many hours in fresh snow and ice. Instead we went to the Olympic Oval in Kearns.

This is the ice oval set up for speed skating for the 2002 Olympic games in Salt Lake City. We ran here a couple of times last year. The track runs on the outside of the ice and 3 1/2 laps equals a mile. I purchased a lap clicker last year which was invaluable (it would drive me crazy remembering how far I had gone otherwise).

We arrived at the track a little after 9 a.m. and agreed that 52.5 laps would equal 15 miles. We each had our own little goals and I think we each achieved them. My goal was to run longer than I previously had without any walking breaks. My previous record was 10 miles back in November and I was hoping to at least do a half marathon without needing a walking break.

The nice things about the oval are that you don't have to dress warmly, there are lots of people to watch and talk to, and they pipe in music. (The bathrooms are warm and that is nice too).

For the first 10 miles I would try and do a 25 step strider to shake my legs out from running a consistent pace. My knees were a bit sore, but I wrapped the left one after 5 miles and it held out okay. After passing the 13 mile mark without stopping, it got a little harder, but I actually made it all 15 miles before stopping. Endurance has obviously increased as well as my will power since the St. George Marathon.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Gift Suggestions

To your enemy, forgiveness;

To an opponent, tolerance;

To a friend, your heart;

To a customer, service;

To all, charity

To every child, a good example;

To yourself, respect.

    -Oren Arnold

Monday, December 22, 2008

Treadmill Test - attempt 1

I went to Gold's Gym on my lunch hour to do my treadmill test. I honestly thought my lunch hour would be sufficient for this test.

As I mentioned yesterday, Sasha P challenged me to run on a treadmill at 6.6 mph (just over a 9 minute mile pace) as long as I could until I collapsed. I thought I might be able to do a couple of miles at the most.

One year ago Leslie Peterson and I both set a goal of running a 5K on a treadmill in under 30 minutes (slightly over 6.0 mph pace) and I was dying for breath at the end of that 30 minute session. I know my fitness has improved this year - but I am not sure exactly how much.

Anyway, I warmed up on the treadmill for 1 mile at 4.5 mph, then kicked the treadmill into gear at 6.6 mph. The first quarter mile I felt really great and thought, "Wow, this is going to be easier than I thought." Then next half mile I felt like I was only going to make it about 1.5 miles before dying. I determined there and then to try and make it to 3 miles no matter how bad it felt (and it felt bad at that point).

About 1 mile into the treadmill test I started settling in and my body got into the groove. Yes, I felt like I was running fast, but my heart was not pounding and my perceived exertion level was not as high as I expected it to be.

Two miles into the test I began to realize that Sasha was right and my body was in better shape than I thought. I still thought 3 miles might be my maximum, but either way I was surprising myself and knew I had to end at the 3 mile mark to get back to work. As I finished the 3 fast miles - my body was starting to feel more stressed with my breathing starting to get harder and heavier.

I will wait another week and attempt this again. I am very happy with the results.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Talking with Sasha and Sarah about Fitness

I was visiting my dad for his birthday (yesterday was Dad's and Kevin's birthdays) and dropped by Sasha and Sarah Pachev's house and ended up visiting with them for a couple of hours. We talked with them about a lot of things, but - most important - their whole family gave me lots of running information.

Sasha wants me to start doing some 5K's so that I can get an idea of where I am fitness wise. I have agreed to do one on New Year's Eve afternoon in Provo, but it may take a couple of tries for me to learn to push myself. One of the things I have learned the past year and a half is that I have not lived up to my potential. In order to get to my potential, I will have to learn to live with some discomfort and that is going to take some practice (this makes sense to me - but might not to anyone else). I have to learn to train and race hard instead of just training and racing comfortably and being pleased with improving as my fitness improves.

One of the steps Sasha recommends that I do is start doing striders on my runs. Right now I am doing 25 step increments of pushing myself hard and then slowing down, recovering a bit and doing this over and over again on a run. When this starts getting comfortable I will increase to 50 steps, then 100, 200, etc.

Sasha thinks that I am actually faster than I think I am. He challenged me to do a treadmill run. What I need to do is set the treadmill at 6.6 mph (which would put me on track for a close to 4 hour marathon) and then run until I get thrown off the treadmill. Gulp!

In order to cope with the snow and ice they also recommend that I run fast when the ground is clear of ice and then run slow when it is slippery. That way I will vary my pace during a training run.

Sasha suggests I work on modifying my diet and trying to get my weight down to 130 pounds. He thinks that would be an optimal weight. Both he and Sarah gave me some good ideas on eating better by eliminating processed foods and sugar out of my diet. I don't think I will go as extreme as their family does, but I plan to implement most of their suggestions. Sarah has a recipe blog in the FastRunningBlog community and I am going to check it out more.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Twilight Update - 6 days have passed

Jennifer was asking for some more Twilight pictures - so here they are. The picture above is Twilight's home. She has her bed, potty pads, toys, etc. Today I added the crate and am feeding her in it to start her on crate training.

Twilight seems to feel my monkey slippers are ominous and was attacking them and dragging them around the house today.

Here she is asking me to let her go free.

Silly dog - she is laying on her back in her bed and whining at the same time.

We have had some good days and some bad times. Yesterday afternoon and evening were bad. Lots of accidents and poop being left everywhere. Then she peed twice on my bed and kept jumping on my face and trying to bite it and wouldn't settle down. I finally took her downstairs and made her sleep in her cage all night.

We have a lot of fun playing together. Today I have been working on potty training her. Also focusing on not allowing her to bite my hands and feet unless it is just in play. Her favorite place today is my big couch and she loves to run around on it and climb on me and get buried in blankets and wrestle her purple animal. She kept trying to jump up there on her own, so I brought her little set of stairs down and she is learning to go up and down them - although they scare her a little.

My favorite men

Today is December 20th and I would like to honor my two favorite men in my life - my son, Kevin Christopher Lee and my father, John Kenneth Miles. Today happens to be both of their birthdays. Kevin is 19 years old and my dad is 82 years old.

Kevin is such a joy in my life. I always wanted to be a mother and Jennifer was my first treasure given to me and Kevin was my second. I remember my pregnancy with Kevin - I kept telling my doctor that the baby was huge - but only my internist believed me. After endless hours of labor (with no drugs), they finally took Kevin by C-Section and the doctor later apologized that he had gained 2 pounds in a few minutes. Kevin was 9lb 10 oz and about 3 1/2 weeks early. We called him 'Kevin from Heaven' when he was little (or relatively little), and he was such a sweet baby.

When he was a few weeks old he got the first of numerous bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis and would be deathly ill for a week at a time. Finally at 10 months old he was diagnosed with asthma and after a hospitalization at 11 months old he was put on nebulizer treatments. These helped us cope with the sicknesses, but we never really thought he would make it to 5 years old. Finally, at 3 years old we had his tonsils and adenoids removed and it seemed to cure his asthma (although he suffered from croup until he was at least 10 years old).

Kevin has always been an outstanding child. School came too easy for him because he was a genius, but in High School he finally started challenging himself. We could rarely punish Kevin because he was skilled at always making everybody laugh. He has always had a knack of being entertaining and looking at life with a different perspective. Video game champion, scholarship student, marathoner, athlete - a terrific son to have been granted the privilege of raising.

Kevin - thanks for helping me to laugh at life. I've always loved your hugs and you are such a cute kid. You are turning into a terrific adult and I am proud of you.

Then there is my dad. He is a terrific father. He was very supportive of us growing up (as long as it didn't cost money). He set a good example of living the gospel and working hard. My dad put up with a lot of years of emotional and verbal abuse from my mother and his personality has totally changed the last 3 1/2 years as he has been on his own. He has been great at helping me through my divorce and is there for me when I need him. As he has had health struggles in the years since he has retired, both my sister and I have been blessed to be able to be there and help him out. Oh yeah - and where would my dad be without golf (several holes in one) and watching sports on tv. I can't picture dad without those pasttimes.

I love my two favorite men.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Twilight makes her official debut

People have been telling me I need to get some puppy pictures up - so here they are!

Here is Twilight shortly after my sister dropped her off. She is a scared little puppy wondering how her world suddenly ended up turning upside down.

By day two she was much more comfortable. Here she is during a 90 minute long play session. (This toy is about 4 inches long) Here are the official 7 week old puppy pics!

My sister spent last night at my house and Twilight was playing up a storm in the late afternoon. She wore herself out so much, she slept all evening. Big mistake on my part - she then wanted to play a lot during the night. Her favorite spot to sleep was in the crook of my neck. If I turned my face away or slept on my stomach, she would get up on the pillow next to me and bark until I turned around so that she could start licking my face again. The only really funny part about it (I was pretty tired from a long run last night) was when she would fall off the pillow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mamma Mia!

My sister and I bought Mamma Mia tonight and were singing along with the movie. I decided that the reason they made a sing-along version was to keep people from noticing how bad Pierce Brosnon really sings.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Twilight is coming home tomorrow morning!

My sister is bringing Twilight over tomorrow morning! I am so excited to have my newest addition join my family! Oh man - I may not be able to sleep tonight........

Too much of a good thing?

I decided it was time to straighten out my cabinets today and get rid of some of the junk food hiding in them.

When I was living in an apartment the past two years, my cupboards were overflowing and I had a lot of dishes and appliances in storage and food hidden under my bed in order to keep any kind of order at all.

As I looked through my cabinets today, I realize how lucky I am. I have everything unpacked and there are cupboards that are empty or only have a couple of items in them. I think I could almost store an entire year's supply of food in my cabinets (granted there is only me that I am feeding) and still have room to spare.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Running in adverse conditions

It looks like winter has finally hit the northern Utah region with a big snowstorm hitting today. From now on the winter running will be increasingly challenging. I'd like to stay outside as much as possible, but that means taking even more precautions against the changing conditions.

Summer running is pretty simple - throw on a technical running shirt and some running shorts and your shoes and head out the door. If it is really hot - add some water for a daily run and you are good to go. Oh yeah - don't forget a hat and sunglasses. I think those are invaluable. I read somewhere that you use a lot of energy and facial muscles squinting against the sun, but the hat and sunglasses allow your face to relax more. On a typical daily run this might not be significant, but when you are running for hours on end, small things like this can make a big difference. Plus, I'm not as good as I should be about throwing on sunblock, so this helps me keep the sun damage to my face down a little bit.

As the temperatures cool, the first change is usually switching from a singlet and/or t-shirt to a long-sleeved running shirt. If it is a little cooler, some lightweight gloves will keep the hands warm. This can keep me going through a lot of cooler temperatures - usually down into the low 40's. As long as the upper body stays warm and I keep moving, I am okay. I have also been experimenting with 'arm sleeves' this year and like them because they help keep the upper body warm, but can be removed as my body temperature rises from exertion.

Now that the weather is cold every day, I have to check the weather before running. Then I have to decided the following each day:
  • Head - how cold and windy is it? Is it a bill cap, ear warmers, light skull cap or heavy skull cap type of day. Do I need to wear a face mask to help warm the air a little and keep my face warmer?
  • Hands - thin gloves, heavier gloves, heaviest gloves. Gotta keep the hands warm.
  • Upper body - will one long sleeved shirt be enough? How about arm sleeves? Or do I need a t-shirt underneath, running vest, warmer outer shell, running jacket. Upper body can be adjusted by adding or removing layers and zipping and unzipping zippers.
  • Lower body - shorts, capri tights, full tights, warmest tights? Hopefully I won't have to wear thermals underneath - but it might come to that.
  • Feet - socks: lightweight or winter weight? shoes: any pair, or is it slushy and a water-resistant pair needed? Is it slippery out? Can I just run slower, or do I need yaktracks?

If that seems confusing - factor in the time of day to determine if I need to wear any reflective items or if I need to use a headlamp.

My goal is to run outside as much as I can. However, I can tell you this much - I am already looking forward to the ease of summer running.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tis the reason for the season

Today my goal was to get in the Christmas spirit. I have had a hard time getting used to being alone at the holidays this year - so thought it was time to invite the spirit of the season into my home.

This morning I spent several hours chatting with my daughter in Italy. I miss here even more around the holidays, so enjoyed the chance to talk with her off and on.

I wrote my family Christmas letter and finished stuffing the envelopes I had already addressed and got the letters in the mail. I then packed a box to ship off to my son-in-law, Jeremy in Afghanistan and another box to ship off to my daughter, Jenn in Italy.

It was also time to dig out the Christmas decorations. I am not purchasing a tree this year for my townhouse, but I put out my Christmas village, several wall decorations and then set up some of my nativity collection.

I love nativities. I think I bought my first nativity about 15 years ago and after that started getting nativities from friends and family as gifts.

Some have come and gone - but most of they have stayed around and I put out different ones each year. This year I put two of the bigger nativities in my Christmas window and several small ones in my curio cabinet. My newest nativity this year is a handblown glass nativity ornament that Jenn bought me in Venice, Italy.

My father passed on a lladro nativity set to my sister and I to share starting last Christmas and as soon as I find it and get it set up I will post pictures of this treasure.

Puppy Prep 101

Friday and Saturday I started in on my puppy prep. I figured it was time to get some of the necessities for my newest addition to the family before she actually arrives (17 days - but who's counting?)....

So far I have:
  • 3 books on dog training
  • A magazine on Yorky puppies
  • 2 different packs of pee pads
  • A set of stairs for my bed for the puppy (courtesy of my sister)
  • A retractable leash
  • Dog brush
  • Regular leash
  • Toenail clippers
  • Baby/Dog gate
  • A dog pad for the tile floor she will be on when I am gone
  • Doggy toothbrush and toothpaste
  • About 6 puppy sized toys
  • 2 puppy outfits
  • Some training treats
  • Some wire for my balcony so the puppy won't fall off (courtesy of my sister)
  • Teething toys
  • 2 water bowls and a food bowl
  • Tray to put the food and water bowls on

My sister is also providing me with:

  • Puppy chow
  • Some shampoo and conditioner
  • A collar
  • A toy
  • A blanket or bed for the puppy
  • The puppy pen they are currently in
  • More piddle pads
  • Twilight the awesome, beautiful, adorable puppy!

I went by my sister's house last night and held Twilight twice. The first time she was pretty scared and kept shaking until I wrapped her in her blanky. The puppies are all getting pretty active - but still clumsy. The first girl went to her new home yesterday morning and all the puppies experienced their first bath.

Later in the evening I came back and picked up Twilight again and she crawled up my chest and started licking my face like crazy. Guess she got used to me again.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Trails on Antelope Island

Antelope Island is a great island to run on. The only time I don't really enjoy it is during the summer when the 'no see-ums' attack and even that is liveable if you put on enough bug juice.

I have run all of the allowed trails on the island and thought this would be a good time to post about them:

The Lakeside Trail: This trail is about 3 miles long each way and runs between the White Rock Bay campground and Bridger Bay campground. Except for one really rocky section in the middle, this is an easy trail and great for taking young families on hikes.

Frary Peak Trail: Not for the faint of heart or legs. The first mile of the uphill is literally breathtaking, after that it is just tough. The uphill slog is worth it for the run downhill when you are done. I have done the section after the antennas to the top of Frary Peak several times, but it is really rough and exposed and quite scary (some scrambling on all fours). I think everyone should do it once to say they have done it and seen the views - but no longer think it is worth the risk to my body and mind and avoid it.

White Rock Bay Trail: 7-8 miles around this. There have been some new sections cut in the last two years, so this trail keeps changing. This is a good trail for hiking and running - you don't have to focus on your footing and will see lots of horses, buffalo and other runners/hikers/bikers. It is also worth taking the side trail up to the antenna towers to see the old buildings up there.

Elephant Head Trail: This trail has some nice single track, but you do have to watch your footing. It is an out-and-back trail. One of the two trails that you have to do part of White Rock Bay and then head up the steep uphill past Lone Tree to get to.

Split Rock Trail: This is the other trail that requires you to go on White Rock Bay to get to. This is a nice loop trail and you can choose to either run down a long downhill to the valley and then up several miles of switchbacks or run the several miles of switchbacks and then face the long uphill run (my preferred version). This is the first place I was ever charged by a buffalo - I went up the side of the valleys that time. Take time to stop and view the old horse corral and read the signs when you are going by. Sometimes in the winter this trail can get a little slick because the sun doesn't melt patches of ice on the south walls.

Mountain View Trail: This trail runs along the front of the island. It starts just after the causeway, passes the start to the Frary Peak Trail and ends up at the ranch houses. A nice easy trail with short uphills and downhills.


The Causeway: 7 miles of flat running and biking each way. Kind of stinky near the start of the causeway. This used to be a lot prettier before the lake receded. The Great Salt Lake is at a pretty low level and definitely needs some good rain and snow fall in order to get it up higher. You often have to deal with a crosswind - but I highly recommend this for biking with young children.

Running on Antelope Island

I went for a run on Antelope Island this morning. It used to be a lot easier to get to the island when I lived in Layton - now it is about a 40 mile drive just to get to the causeway. However, it was a nice sunny day and a beautiful day to be experiencing nature up close and personal.

I am running the Buffalo Run ( in March, 2009 for the fourth year in a row and they hold training runs on the island so that we can get some trail running in and get used to the conditions. I took my friend Leslie's dog Odee along for some company and to get him some exercise. I had to have Odee on a leash and that was an experience, because he is not a tiny dog.
As you can see in this picture of Leslie and Odee - Odee is about the size of a small horse. He is part Great Pyranese and is a sweet dog. He even has his own set of running saddlebags so that he can carry his own water and treats.

Odee and I did 11 miles yesterday. That was my goal to hit 40 miles for the week. Odee decided I wasn't allowed an easy warmup and took off running and I did my best to keep up. Luckily, he is still a dog, so had to stop and christen a lot of bushes the first two miles before he could settle down and be serious.

We first ran the White Rock Bay trail. In my previous years of running on Antelope Island, I always walked the uphills, but thought I would just run slow up them today. We took our first break at the bench at mile 3 on the White Rock trail and Odee downed an entire bottle of water. It has a long, slow uphill that we had steamed up. Some of the runners headed up past Lone Tree to run the Elephant Head trail -but I honestly didn't think Odee would be able to handle the steep uphill and knew he would block my view of that trails rocks, so I went left and continued around White Rock.

A mile or so later we hit the next uphill and it was steeper and Odee just couldn't run it, so I used him as an excuse to walk. About then, Jim Skaggs, the race director of the Buffalo Run caught up to some of us and told us he had just got permission for us to run a new section of trail that would mean we could avoid the next big hill. I love exploring new trail and jumped at the chance. It took us back down the north side of White Rock and was a series of sweet, easy uphills and downhills. There were 6 buffalo grazing in a small area and the trail actually looped around them for about a mile. Odee was tired enough that he didn't bother with them and I think the buffalo thought Odee was big enough that they didn't want to mess with him either.

About mile 8 we could see the jeep and Odee wouldn't even take a break to drink and was pacing me pretty fast. He could smell the barn - as they say. I tried to tell him we weren't done running, but he wouldn't listen. I think he had a sad look on his face as we ran past the car. We headed around the White Rock Bay campgrounds and over to the Lakeside trail and ran it a mile or so before turning around and heading back to the car. Odee was 'dog tired' - so it was time to call it quits.

If my training continues and I can stay healthy - I should be able to take another 30 minutes to an hour off my 50K time come March.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 30 - And So It Ends

I have to admit that I am probably the most grateful tonight to be finished with putting out a new post each day. I felt like I was pretty boring most of the time - hope somebody out there enjoyed it.

The last four days have been very productive for me. I sometimes put off projects for no good reason, and then find out that I made them into much more of a production than they really were. Some of the items I caught up this weekend include:
  • Spending time with my son
  • Cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for all of my family
  • Getting the dishes done from the same Thanksgiving dinner that afternoon
  • Paid all my bills
  • Filed all my bills/papers/statements
  • Organized my computer
  • Took a nap
  • Ran 10 miles
  • Figured out my foot injury and how to let it heal
  • Did a race with my sister
  • Cleaned and oiled my cowboy boots (and replaced the totally shot insoles) - my work will be relieved at this (they tease me about my cowboy boots)
  • Cleaned up my office
  • Taught a primary lesson at church for one of my neighbors
  • Called an old friend
  • Had another Thanksgiving dinner with some other friends (a vegetarian/low sugar dinner)
  • Shot my new pistol
  • Cleaned all my guns
  • Ate too much food (including junk food)


Saturday, November 29, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 29

Today I am thankful for a full and happy life.

This morning I went to Lehi and ran on the Jordan River Parkway with some other runners from the Fast Running Blog. It was a great day and I was happy to be able to still run in shorts. I taped my left foot and used my new insoles and my foot seemed pretty happy about that.

I averaged about 12 minutes per mile for 10 miles - including the uphills. My goal was to be able to run the 10 miles without any walking breaks. The only break I took was a drink break at 5.25 miles. It felt really good to see that my training and hard work is paying off. My next goal is to be able to run 13.1 miles non-stop.

This picture was taken by the Standard Examiner. My sister and I entered the Santa Fun Run before the Ogden Christmas Light Parade. It was Marcia's first race ever, and I walked it with her and we had a great time. She supplied the red sweat pants and our santa lights. The hats, beards and shirts were part of the race entry. We had about 200 "santa's" participate. At one point we got bags of candy from Brooke and Chad (Marcia's kids who were also taking our pictures and cheering us on) and got rid of all the candy in one block - but were very popular for a few minutes there.

Friday, November 28, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 28

I have been the only one at work today because I always volunteer to be the 'skeleton crew' for the day after Thanksgiving (aka Black Friday). I have been listening to Christmas music and catching up on lot of projects that have been backing up. I have gone shopping enough on this day in the past and remember the crazed looks in people's eyes and determined faces as they bargain shop their way into debt and am actually quite happy having a reason to avoid the mania.

Here's to catching up at work!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving - Day 27

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. That's Twilight sitting in Kevin's shoe in the picture. Kevin was so happy to be able to torment small critters!

We had an enjoyable Thanksgiving at my townhouse. I wish I had thought to take pictures of everyone - but it was fun to have everyone over. Marcia brought the puppies and they were the stars of the day and got well spoiled. They also christened my carpet several times. Twilight seemed to realize it was her house and ran all over the dining room.

This is my sister, Marcia and her son, Chad. Her husband, Gary, daughter, Brooke, and Brooke's husband Jake were also there.

This is my nephew, Jon. He was having fun playing with the puppies too. My dad was also there, but I didn't get pictures of him.

And where would any celebration be without Kevin providing the entertainment. As you can see, not only did we have the standard turkey for Thanksgiving, but we had 2 other turkeys - one made out of vegetables and one called Kevin

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 26

I guess it is ungrateful of me to grumble about work yesterday without giving thanks for actually having employment. I enjoy my work as a Database Analyst for a growing IT company. While the company is not perfect, it is pretty good. There are a lot of great co-workers and I really like upper management.

My job is very challenging and I can never sit back and rest. There are plenty of opportunities to continue to learn and grow.

The more I read on the news about rising unemployment and people losing their homes because of the economy - the more I am grateful for having a stable job and being appreciated for the work I do.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 25

Today I am grateful for the ability and time to go out and exercise. Some days I just want to bang my head against the wall and scream out loud when frustrating problems arise at work. If I wasn't healthy enough to work out, I'm sure I would be living in a padded room by now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 24

Today I am saluting optimism. I have been lucky to be blessed with a fairly optimistic attitude to life and enjoy hanging out with optimistic people much more than with pessimistic people.

We all suffer trials, adversities, tribulations, etc in life and can choose whether we accept them gracefully and learn from them or choose to be grumpy about everything.

Life is so much better if we can laugh at it. Being miserable only makes everyone else around you miserable.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 23

I went up to my sister's house tonight to visit her and see the puppies. They have grown soooo much. As soon as I got near their cage, one of them toddled over to me. It was fun to watch them interact with each other and try and wrestle. They are a bit clumsy, but very cute.

I had pretty well narrowed my choices down to the two 'runts of the litter' and made up my mind which puppy will be mine. I picked the last-born, runt (who is also acting as the leader). She has only a tiny bit of white hair on her chest. Her name is 'Twilight' and she is absolutely adorable.

30 days from tomorrow and I will be able to bring home the newest member of my family.

Their first meal of puppy food

Saturday, November 22, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 22

I ran for 16 miles today and am really grateful for Saturdays and for long runs. Long runs can be extremely different (most of the time) from the daily runs and I like the differences. These can include:
  • A chance to increase mileage. Long runs are typically the longest run of the week and give you the chance to push your limits. Particularly when you are gearing up for your first marathon, this run gives you the chance to get into double digits, break the half marathon point, break into the 20+ mile range, etc.
  • Long runs are typically followed by rest days. I really like rest days (even though they are sometimes very restless days).
  • There is a satisfaction that comes from completing a successful long run that you just don't get from a short run. It is easy to 'knock off' the daily run without eating or drinking or a lot of preparation in advance - but most of the time you have to allow a significant period of time to get the long run done in and prepare with food, drinks, supplements, etc.

Friday, November 21, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 21

Today is my birthday, so I thought I would celebrate myself. Happy Birthday to me!

I was born November 21, 1960 in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am the youngest child of John and Theone Miles. My oldest brother, Michael Jon died in infancy, but I joined ranks with Kerry, Marcia and Regan at home.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

30 days of Thanksgiving - Day 20

Today I am thankful for my father. My dad is an awesome guy. He is such a supportive person and has been beside me through thick and thin. I don't know if I could have made the changes I did in my life in 2006 if I had not been able to stay with him and have a safe haven.

Dad - thanks for all you do!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 19

My daughter says I am evil. I guess that is a good thing to be somedays. The reason she says I am evil is because she was up all night reading 'Twilight' by Stephanie Meyer and I have been the one encouraging her.

I love this book. It is not great literature, but it is a great story. The entire world is in love with vampires and wants to meet a vampire and be dazzled. The movie based on Twilight comes out tomorrow and I cannot wait to see it.

As a matter of fact - my new puppy already has a name: Twilight

What I like best about Twilight is that it helped me realize that I still have a romantic streak hidden somewhere inside of me. Only in this last year, between falling in love with Enchanted, getting hooked on Jane Eyre, and then the Twilight series have I started to want to love someone and be loved by someone like these people experienced.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 18

As I was laying in bed this morning (see earlier blog), I thought about how grateful I am for computers. First off – without computers I wouldn't have my current job. Secondly – I wouldn't be posting this blog. Thirdly – most of us would be totally lost.

Just thinking back over the changes I can recall in my lifetime:

  • When I was young, you had manual typewriters and carbon paper if you needed to duplicate something
  • Selectric typewriters were a big step up. The best thing about them – being able to correct a mistake without typing an entire page over
  • CRT monitors for inputting orders. You had to follow the form, but it was a whole lot better than manually typing up an order in triplicate
  • Filing – many of my jobs involved spending hours in filing. Now, no one seems to file – we just store all our documents electronically
  • Telex and Teletype machines – when I worked for the Chicago Branch of Banca Commerciale Italiana, if we needed to get a document to the head office in Milan, Italy quickly – we typed it onto a tape and then ran the tape. It was so great to finally get our first fax machine

I can recall back in 1983 when our Credit Department got its first computer. The box sat on the floor for days until I asked when it was going to be set up. Somebody mentioned that they were waiting for a company to come in and do it and I pointed out that that just wasn't going to happen. I ended up reading the directions, setting up the computer, researching and buying software and creating processes for our entire department. I guess that was probably the start of my 'IT career'.

When I graduated from BYU in 1982 – I had never touched a computer in my life. When I went back to college for my next degree – computers were the big thing and I got a degree in Computer Science from Weber State University in 2002. Now, I spend my working time on computers and a lot of my free time. I have computers built into my iPod, cell phone, PDA, running watch, and so many things that I can't count them.

Now – it's time to post this blog and get back to work on my computer.

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 17

I love my bed. Actually - I love almost any bed - as long as it is comfortable.

To me, a bed is a bit of heaven on earth. As I child I could go hide in my bedroom and read and escape my mother's moods. As an adult, I could go hide in my bed and escape my own moods. I love crawling in a warm bed to rest after running, sleep at night, read, and sometimes just to lay there and think.

I miss the days when my children were little and would crawl into bed and snuggle with me. Memories of holding them in bed and talking with them and watching them sleep. Those are some of my fondest memories of being a mother.

My bed is my favorite place to curl up and read a book. And trust me - I spend lots of times reading.

Beds are easy to get along with too. All they ask is an occasional sheet changing and they are happy. You can change their mood by adding or taking away blankets, quilts, sheets, bedspreads and pillow. I think I'm going to go crawl back into bed and avoid going to work now.... (not).


Sunday, November 16, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 16

I love my banjo! It is not the usual instrument most people choose to play. I think that is because it chose me.

When I was 15, I went with some friends down to the Ozarks to help take care of their kids while they were on vacation. We went to an Amusement Park down near Branson (before it became famous) and I heard some bluegrass music and decided right then and there that I wanted to learn to play the banjo.

Fast Forward 29 years later ... when my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer I suddenly began to wonder why I had put off some of my dreams like running a marathon and learning to play a banjo. I used my birthday money in 2004 to pick up a student banjo and some music and taught myself to play. I am still not very good at the banjo, but I have a much nicer banjo now (by the way - those suckers are heavy) and enjoy picking away at the instrument.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 15

I love sunlight. It is probably one of my favorite of all of God's creations.

In the morning, sunlight gives the promise of a new day. I would be a failure living in the Seattle area, because I need and adore sunlight.

Particularly when running in the early morning, you often start before sunrise in the summer to avoid the heat of the day. I can't describe the emotions it brings when the sun starts coming up over the moutains and the sky starts getting lighter in the east. When that first beam of sunlight finally gets high enough to touch your skin, it is somehow magical.

In the winter I really struggle with going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. I have even purchase a sunlight lamp for my desk at work to help me cope with SADS (Seasonal Affective Disorder Syndrome). I usually cannot wait until spring comes around and the days start getting longer.

I think that might be also why I like happy faces. They remind me so much of a bright, sunny day.


Friday, November 14, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 14

I must admit that I have had a mental block about items to be thankful for. Not because I am not thankful - but because I am too lazy to work up a blog post. Here is a bullet point list of some special items I have had to be thankful for in 2008:

  • 2 great kids
  • 2 cute grandkids
  • a super running trip to Arizona in February
  • a cold, but record 50K in the Buffalo Run in March
  • recovering quickly from surgery in May
  • my sister and friends helping me out after my surgery
  • my dad getting through 2 surgeries this summer
  • PR's in both the Park City Marathon and St. George Marathon
  • surviving the St. George Marathon 2008 (best words to describe it: cold, wet, windy, miserable, challenging)
  • moving to Sandy, Utah
  • my new townhouse
  • an awesome trip to Italy to see my daughter and son-in-law


Thursday, November 13, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 13 - Trail Running Rocks!

I love trail running. It is so much more fun that running on boring roads. Today I went for my first fall trail run up Millcreek Canyon on the Pipeline Trail. It was definitely different than running there during the summer.

Some of the neat experiences I had on trails just today included:
  • Dodging my running companion Odee (a huge dog) as he kept stopping in front of me
  • Snow on the trails
  • Mud on the trails
  • Puddles on the trails
  • Shoes being sucked from the mud on the trails
  • Rocks
  • Branches
  • Roots
  • A tree across the trail from the last snowstorm
  • Dark coming early
  • Running with a flashlight and not being able to have my usual depth perception
  • Lots of uphills and downhills
  • Having to share my water bottle with the dog
  • Mud all up and down my legs

How can anyone think that running on a road is as fun as running on a trail?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

30 days of Thanksgiving – Day 12

Today I am thankful for my new townhouse. I enjoy living only 2 miles from work and have some great neighbors. It is so nice to have a place that I can call home and is all my own.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

30 days of Thanksgiving - Day 11

Today I am grateful for my sister Marcia. She is an awesome woman and I am so glad to have her as both a sister and a friend.

It has not always been that way - when we were kids I was pretty wussy and she was able to push me around pretty easily.

However, when I started college and she was a senior, she took me under her wing and helped me deal with being homesick. Away from the pressure of our family, we began to get to know each other as adults and developed a great relationship.

We have a lot of interests in common and are able to help each other with our respective families. Now she is helping me build a new family because she is giving me a puppy for Christmas who will be my new companion!

Love you sis!


Monday, November 10, 2008

30 days of Thanksgiving - Day 10

Today I am grateful for my boss, Michele. After years of reading Dilbert and other jobs I have held in the past, I could really relate to how Dilbert and other employees felt about the Pointy-Haired Boss.

Michele has been my boss now for nearly 5 years. Somehow, no matter what position I have been in with my company, she is the person I report to. She has also become my friend and I am grateful for that. I tend to be a loner and focus on my work, but she is working on guiding me about also spending time relating with my co-workers.

Michele is also a great example of leadership and patience. She is also supportive of my plans for advancing my career. So - here's to the Curly Haired Boss.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 9

It seems appropriate that today I am grateful for knowing that I am a child of God. As I sat in my church meetings the feeling came very strongly to me that I need to get back to studying my scriptures more and working on sincere prayers. No matter what, though, it is great to know that I can be forgiven when I make mistakes, that I am loved no matter what I do, and that someone out there cares for me.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 8

Oggi, ho gratitudine per la lingua italiana. Translation: Today, I am grateful for the Italian language.

When I first when to college in 1978, I thought I was going to be an Opera singer. I lived, ate, and breathed music. However, I quickly found out that while I love music, I cannot stand music theory. In order to major in vocal music, I was required to take a basic classes in Italian, German and French. I dropped most of my music classes, but stayed in my Italian class.

From the very first day of class, I fell in love with Italian. It sounded so beautiful and just felt 'right' to me. I think, deep down in my heart, I am a closet Italian. I lived in the Italian House at BYU, was in the Italian Club, minored in Italian. After graduating, I went back to Chicago and worked from 1982-1985 for the Chicago Branch of Banca Commerciale Italiana and would sometimes have to call Italy and also spoke Italian with my boss, Enzo D'Agostino.

For years, the Italian then went into hiding. When I found out that my daughter and future son-in-law were going to be stationed in Italy for 3 years, I started studying Italian again.

This September, I spent 2 1/2 weeks in Italy with my daughter and son-in-law. From the moment I got off the airplane I was surrounded by Italian and loved it. It was fun to hear, to read everywhere and even more fun to be able to communicate to the Italians.

Mi piace di parlare Italiano! (I love speaking Italian!) I bought several of my favorite books in Italian while I was on vacation there and am enjoying rereading them in Italian. Plus - it cracks me up when people see Twilight on my coffee table and pick it up to look at it and do a double take when they see it is not written in English.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Puppies - 11 days old

I went and saw the puppies again last night. They are now 11 days old. I can't wait until they open their eyes! They have about doubled in size already.

Someone has already put a deposit on the boy puppy. There is a girl that is almost the same size and then two tinier ones, I call them Runt 1 and Runt 2. Runt 1 does not have a lot of white hair on her chest. Runt 2 has a lot of white hair on her chest. I have narrowed my choice down to one of the little girls. My sister thinks those are the sweetest ones too.

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 7

Today I am thankful for Fridays. Fridays are such nice days. They hold the potential of the entire weekend to come. Work seems easier. People are more relaxed. Even a bad Friday beats most other days of the week. We need to have a few more Fridays each week.