Wednesday, September 18, 2013

That time we went all the way to Virginia just to exercise...or...What happens when Nic calls me a wussy...or...Why did I think I was in good enough shape to run a Spartan race?

So, a while ago, Nic went to Texas to run a Spartan race with his brothers. It was a Spartan Sprint, meaning it was five miles plus obstacles. Right around his birthday, he ran the Spartan Beast in Utah, which was 13 miles. My mom, Norah, and I went to cheer him on, and as we watched the racers near the finish line, quite a few of them would stand up from the barbed-wire crawl, dizzy and tired, and nearly fall into the barriers on the side of the trail--they were SO exhausted. Here's Nic after the crawl at the end. He's not even phased.

Here we are all smiling after it was over. Well, Nic and I are smiling; Norah was very concerned about the amount of mud on her father. But take note of Nic with that big ol' grin on his face, because there is a picture of me coming up after I ran a Spartan race and it is strikingly different.

No really, I didn't even stand up for my "after" picture. These guys think they're so tough. Turds.

The thing is, I've always thought that I was so tough too--at least compared to most women. So when I told Nic that the race looked kind of fun and that I kind of felt left out and maybe I'll run one with you next time and he told me that would be cool but could I really run a Spartan race? because I'm kind of a wussy...I nearly lost my mind. In fact, I did lose my mind. Because I thought for sure I could run any stupid race I wanted to and HOW DARE HE think that I'm a wussy, let alone say it to my face. I'll show him!

And that is how I ended up running the Virginia Super Spartan.

Eight miles, 20-something obstacles. No problem, right? I was most worried about my upper-body strength. You see, if you fail on an obstacle, you have to do 30 burpees, so the extent of my training involved push-ups and such. I already go to a spin class at work twice a week and I can run, whatever, so again: thought I would be fine.

We made a trip of it. Nic's brothers haven't traveled much, so we spent a day at the mall in D.C. Look at me--so naive.

The night before the race we stuffed our faces with amazing BBQ. That is a $20 beef short rib Nic is about to demolish.

Here's our "before." So very, very naive. I got an email from the race a few days before saying that it would take some people seven or eight hours to finish. Nic assured me that it would not. Wanna know how long it took me? Six. Six hours. Six hours for eight miles.

What I didn't factor in was the location of the race. It was at the Wintergreen ski resort and basically followed the black diamond ski slopes. The first two miles were straight up the mountain. And it was in those two miles that I realized how completely and utterly over my head I was. Like, I didn't know if I could do it. And if the straight up wasn't enough, then you went straight back down, but how about go down a waterfall thing and then go straight back up again. And then if that wasn't enough, go straight back up again, but carry a giant log on your shoulder for a mile this time. It makes me feel better to note here that some people were dry-heaving or throwing up at this point.

Here's the race map that lists the obstacles:

Here's us at the sand bag carry. This is probably somewhere between mile two and three. Notice the look on Nic's face and then look at mine.

Now, you may want to check out for a second, because it's about to get real up in here. Remember how I stuffed my face with BBQ the night before? You guys, at this point, not only did I think that I wasn't going to survive, I also thought that I was going to poop myself on the trail in the process. There was not a port-a-potty until MILE SIX. Nic actually found a discarded roll of toilet paper and carried it for me just in case I had to make a mad dash for the bushes. That's true love.

At one point, Nic's brother Cory told me that he would carry me up the mountain. I'm not exactly sure what I said to him, but it had something to do with how I would roll my cold, dead corpse down the stupid mountain before I would ever let him touch me. You guys, I was in a dark, dark place.

Here's Nic on the mile-long log carry. How dare he look so not tired!

Someone also offered to carry my log for me, and again, I told them to go straight to hell--or something like that.

Here we are at the finish. The finish! And while no one had to carry me, I did allow them to lift me over the 8-foot walls, and Justin ended up with my Camelbak. Oh, and the burpees I earned for not being able to do some of the obstacles, I allowed them to be split up between my team mates.

The "after" photo that I imagined was one of me proudly wearing my medal. You know, with a look on my face like, "Ha, I showed Nic. I'm no wussy!"

Here's the reality:

To put a little more perspective into how evil this course was, think of this: The Utah race was 13 miles. It took Nic three and a half hours to finish. This race was eight miles, and without me holding him back, it took Nic four and a half hours to finish. It took him an EXTRA HOUR to go five FEWER miles. Some people took over ten hours; some people didn't finish.

Now that I'm not climbing that cursed mountain, I'm so glad I did it. Nic and I have never done anything like that together before--and although I wanted to gouge his eyes out when he tried to tell me to push myself harder, I couldn't ask for a better team mate.

Nic also told me that I'm the toughest girl he knows in real life but am still a wussy compared to him. And you know what? I'll totally good with that.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


So back in April...

Back in April, Piper and Ellie came to visit us. Oh, and Josh and Jess, too. See what I did there?

But how much are you dying from this picture of Norah and Ellie at the zoo? Because I'm dying over here. These cousins came to visit before they left us--THEY LEFT US--to go off and live in Greece. As if Virginia wasn't far enough away! 

Norah was in heaven with these girls--we all were. We went to the aquarium, the children's museum at the Gateway, they had a sleepover and went to the BYU lacrosse game, we got to celebrate my mom's birthday all together. Sigh. I still can't believe they left us! Sorry, Jess.

The great thing is it's September and Norah is still talking about Piper and Ellie. So it makes me feel a little better knowing that they'll hit it off just as quickly next time. As a special bonus, we'll get to take a trip to Greece sometime soonish. And each time I try to tell Nic that Norah IS NOT COMING, I think of these pictures and am nearly convinced that it would be worth the plane ride with a toddler.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tiny humans

We're spoiled. We get to go to California at least twice a year, usually more. And hanging out with these little people just keeps getting better and better. Plus, Norah is turning into an amazing traveler. Last year, I felt like I would never be able to leave the house again without having her throw up on someone's carpet. Now, she is my favorite little travel buddy. She knows that ice cream is the best way to kill time before your flight at the airport.

She insists on doing an "airplane dance" after we land. 

And she is also learning the art of the selfie. Watch out, Facebook. 

We are also spoiled by the King family, who are the most amazing hosts and make us feel right at home. Alice even wrapped up her very own shopping cart so Norah could open it and play while her actual shopping-cart-birthday-present was being shipped to our house.

And these girls. These girls! They even turn waiting for a waffle sandwich into a photo op.

I know a lot of people go to California to go to Disneyland--we've done that too. But the main attraction for us is staying at Alissa's house in the forest.

We did venture out to the natural history museum in L.A., which is humongous! And awesome! Norah and Russell had so much fun. This next picture is so funny to me it hurts. Why is she posing like that? It looks like an weird 80s portrait to me--like there should be another image of just her head in the background.

Kind of like this:

Oh, and Russell is rad.

Here's my view of Norah in the forest. Uh! I could eat her up!

And this? This makes my heart so happy it might explode. LOOK AT THESE GIRLS! No, seriously. Look at these girls. Your life is now complete.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Grandpa Blaine

My Grandpa Blaine passed away recently.

At the funeral, my dad said something that kind of sums everything up for me. Having thought about "success" a lot in his life, when my dad thinks of someone who is truly successful, he thinks of Blaine. He was a man who radiated love and joy. He was slow to anger and quick to do good. He was patient and kind. He meant a lot to me, and the tears that have come since his passing don't come from sadness but from knowing how much I will miss him.

He made me feel special each time I saw him. As it all played out and cousins, aunts, uncles, and family shared their feelings on Facebook, on their own blogs, at the funeral, and since, I've been reminded of how Blaine had this effect on everyone in his life. Each one of us knew how much our grandpa loved us. We all felt special. Talk about success, right?

At the funeral, I leaned in to ask my Granny Gen how she was doing, and she asked me, "What do you do when you turn over and there's no one there?" Besides breaking my heart, she also reminded me of how I felt when my Grandpa Brinkerhoff passed away. Sometimes I feel like life is so full of pain and heartbreak that I just can't bear it. But each day I'm reminded of how amazingly full my life is. The loss of such an amazing person reminds me how precious time is. It makes me squeeze Norah a little tighter and be more consciously grateful to have Nic by my side. It reminds me to keep working toward true success and to not care about anything else.

I miss my grandpa. I miss his smile, his love, and his hotcakes. But how lucky am I to have a lifetime full of memories to smile about?

Here's my mom and I on the day of the funeral in Fielding in front of the old rock house where my grandpa grew up. It's a short drive from the cemetery where he's now buried. Being there was a cathartic way for the day to come full circle.   

Out of order

You know, like my life.

We've been out of town for the past three weekends, plus I haven't even put up pictures from Norah's birthday. But I WILL. I swear it (maybe...)

Spending time with this human is getting better and better. She was nighttime sliding the other day and had to take off her dress so it wouldn't keep slowing her down. I kept asking her to look at me for a picture, and as she climbed up the slide she yelled back, "My BUTT is looking at you!"

And that's pretty much how things are right now.