Adventures In Running

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.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 6

Today I send praises to my favorite running tool - my Garmin 205. I love this watch. It tells me how far I have run, how fast I am running, lets me know when I have finished each mile on a run. I can run without this - but it reaches out to the geek in me and I have to admit I'm pretty hooked on it.

If you are a serious runner - check the Garmin's out. Nobody should be without one!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 5

Today I am grateful for one of my online friends who goes by the name of Max.

I first met Max in a forum back in 2003 and we immediately recognized a kindred spirit. We have never met in person, only talked on the phone a handful of times, but are kindred spirits. Sometimes I joke that we are Siamese Twins separated at birth.

Looking at our backgrounds, we don't have much in common. What I think draws us together is our attitude towards life. We both go with the concept (most of the time) of 'When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.' When our family situations are driving us nuts, we try to find things to laugh about. When we are depressed, we start insulting each other so that we will get out of our funk.

Max loves anything to do with Harry Potter (I really regret ordering her a wand) and believes that Edward Cullen from Twilight is her second husband. She has five kids that would drive anyone crazy – but she is the sanest person I know (that might not be saying much).

Together, the two of us – Max and Tarzan – are going steadily forward with our plans for World Domination…

Here's to you – Max – my numero uno online friend!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 4

I am really grateful for my Jeep. I know it is not everyone's dream car - but I have always wanted to have a Jeep - especially once I saw that McGuyver drove a Jeep.

This was my Mother's Day gift to myself in 2007. My son tried to total it in June of 2007 - but it was able to be rebuilt.

Now, with a new soft top on, I am ready to drive through snow and slush as winter comes in (I am also grateful for 4 wheel drive).


Monday, November 3, 2008

30 days of Thanksgiving - Day 3

Today I am thankful for my Theracane.

This looks like some weird form of torture, but is one of the neatest tools around. You can use it to find trigger points and release them and dig deep into sore and injured muscles.

I often have mine at work and it disappears a lot because my co-workers love it too.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 2

On this second day of November, I am grateful for my second born, Kevin Christopher Lee.

We worried constantly about Kevin when he was young because he was so sick with asthma related issues and we were afraid he wouldn't survive.

Where would I be without his wacky sense of humor, intelligence, hugs, and smile.

Kevin - we always called you Kevin From Heaven and you continue to live up to that name.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 1

Today is the first day of November and a great time to think of things to be Thankful for.

On this first day of the month - I want to dedicate my post to my beautiful, first born, Jennifer Maurine Lee Merkley.

Jennifer has always been such a joy to me and made me glad to be a mother (except for all the hours of colic when she was young). I was so glad to get to spend a couple of weeks with her in Italy. I am glad she is in love and happy and married - but there are days when I just plain miss her. Thank heavens for Internet phones and MSN Messenger and Email.

Jennifer - tu sei una grande figlia. Ti amo! Mama


Running with friends

Vic, Me, Suzanne & Nora - Ogden Marathon 2005

Most of the time I end up running alone because of time and location constraints. Occasionally, I am able to join a group run but a lot of the time get left in the dust on those runs because I am so slow.

I love running with my friend Leslie because we have a similar pace. Today, a group of us got together for a 10 mile run on the Jordan River Parkway. It was a beautiful run - not too hot, not too cool. In other words, JUST RIGHT.

Me and Leslie - Park City 2007

There is something about running with someone else that is hard to describe if you have never experienced it. You can talk about subjects that you would possibly never talk to someone else about and relax and enjoy conversation and kidding that we so often miss in our hectic life.

Some of my past running/walking buddies have been Virginia A, Vic M, Nora W, my son Kevin, Leslie, and the running group from Striders.

Now I have the opportunity to make new friends and am looking forward to it.

Fast Running Bloggers - 11/1/2009 - Jordan River Parkway

Me, Leslie, Marion - Enjoying those Fall colors