Ragnar Zion

In Junior High I ran the mile run 3 times.  That was about the extent of my running career.
So when Brooke signed me up to run Ragnar Zion, you can imagine the thoughts running through my head...
I don't even own a pair of running shoes,
I don't own any outfits resembling running attire,
By the time of the run I will have a 4 month old baby,
I have to figure out how in the WORLD I am going to run 15 miles,
To sum it all up:
I'm going to die.

I had every good intention to train for this, but without owning a gym pass, and with a husband who leaves for work at 5:30 am and doesn't get back until 8:30 pm, you can imagine that it was pretty difficult to find the time.
I was able to run a total of FOUR TIMES before this event...
The first time I ran 2 miles and I had to recover for 6 hours afterward,
The second two times I ran 3 miles, recovery was better,
And the fourth time I signed up for a day visitor pass to a gym so I could attempt running 7 miles on a treadmill.  I did, in 1.5 hours with two bathroom breaks in-between.  
(Reminder: I am NOT a runner...just making it to 7 miles was a HUGE accomplishment!)

The night of April 25, I had all my belongings packed for Ragnar.

At 6:30 am on April 26, we met up with our team, GOT THE RUNS, to head down to Zion.  Our team consisted of:
My oldest brother, Cory (6.5 min/mile)
His son (my nephew) Bryce (less than a 5 min/mile)
3 of Bryce's freshmen cross country teammates from Davis (Daniel, Colten, & Colter - all less than 5 min/miles)
My amazing sister, Brooke (6.5 min/mile)
And my autistic nephew's therapist, Megan (9 min/mile - not pictured here).
Oh yeah, and ME...
I range between a 12-15 min/mile.  

This is what we had to do on the drive down:

This is what he wanted to do on the drive down:

I wish I had a picture of where we camped.  It was in a dirty, dusty, cow corral, with hundreds of other tents and runners surrounding.  This is where we'd be staying for the duration of the relay.
Here is a breakdown of how the relay worked:
There were three trails, all began and ended in Ragnar village.  Each runner runs every trail, so everyone ends up with the exact same mileage.
Green loop/easy: 3.7 miles, mostly downhill
Yellow loop/moderate: 4 miles, with a 500 ft. elevation climb within the second mile of the run
Red loop/hard: 7.5 miles, with many elevation changes.
15 miles total.
Our team was given the latest start time of 5:00pm on Friday.

I was runner #3, so my 3 legs were in the order of Red, Yellow, Green.  I was scared, but also grateful to get my hardest and longest legs over with first.
I was tagged in around 6:00pm Friday night to begin my 7.5 mile run.  Most of the trail was on very narrow deer tracks, so it felt like you had to run with one foot in front of the other.  Some of the time we also had to run in a couple inches of soft sand which made it extremely hard.  Because of the expanse of the trails, it was rare for me to see another runner.  I was glad to have my music because at times I felt lonely.
I ran the entire loop with exception of the last 1/2 mile, which was all rocky switchbacks, straight uphill.  Each of the 3 loops ended in this fashion.
Here I am, after my Red 7.5 mile leg, about to cross the finish line to tag my brother so he could start his green leg.
I completed this leg in exactly one hour, forty minutes - which was a HUGE accomplishment for me!

My next Yellow/Moderate leg began at 1:00am.  It was so hard to start this run.  After my 7.5 run I felt pretty sick, and I had a hard time eating anything or sleeping beforehand to help give me energy for run #2.  It was also FREEZING cold...I wore my long running pants with capri pants underneath, an under-armor top with gloves, headband, and running jacket over top.  Because this run was in the middle of the night, I was required to wear a headlight.  None of the trails were lit, and were only very lightly marked.
I had been warned by Brooke that this run was quite difficult, and also warned by Colton that running it in the dark was even harder...because he couldn't see well, he had tripped on a root and hurt his leg.
The run began pretty easy, but the second mile consisted of a 500 ft elevation climb to the top of a mountain...most of it in deep sand.  Most of us on our team found it faster to hike up with long strides than to run, so that's what I did.  It saved my energy, but I SO badly wanted to run because I was all alone, in the pitch black and cold weather...I WAS SCARED!  Luckily, I had downloaded hymns to listen to for this run...I know that's the only reason I got through it without having a heart attack.  The trail was also narrow, and completely unpaved - so you had to jump over bushes, or run with your legs wide because the trail dipped straight into a 'V' in the middle where water had once run down the mountain.
Around mile 2.5, I too tripped on a root (the same location that Colton tripped).  I rolled my ankle, then rolled my knee, and landed straight on the outside of it.  I felt a pull on the outside and when I stood, the pain shot straight up and down the outside of my leg.  I had to hobble-run the rest of the way to the finish line, where many other runners were suffering with injuries from the unlit trails.
I have no clue how long it took me to run this leg...I'm guessing about an hour.

I tagged Cory again for his 7.5 mile leg.  He returned in even worse shape than I had...badly sprained ankle, banged up knee, and torn up, bloody finger.

I had to have my knee taped up, and for the next few hours I tried to keep it warm and moving.  I attempted to jog a few times but could hardly even walk on it.  Eventually I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to run my Green/Easy leg.  I felt upset and sad, but in the end, it was the best decision not to run it.  Colter ended up running my last leg for me.

 It was such an amazing experience being able to hand off to my bother, Cory.  He was always waiting for me with a smile, and words of encouragement...telling me that I was doing so well.  

Coming to the finish line of our very last leg.  Colton ran his 7.5 mile leg in the dead heat in 55 minutes.

Out of over 200 teams, including the Soloman Pro-Team, we ended up finishing in 4th place with over 300 kills!

 My incredible sister...I can't believe what a talented runner she is!  She was there for me at every send off, and every finish, even in the middle of the night.  I looked forward to seeing her because I knew that she would give me a hug and tell me that she was so proud of how I was doing.  I love her SO much!
Brooke ran over 26 miles in the Wasatch Back Ragnar a couple years ago and said that the 15 miles of trail running this time was WAY harder!  

Shane...what an amazing husband and father!  He and Cole came down and stayed in a cabin while I ran the relay. 

 During all of my runs, especially my night run, I couldn't stop thinking about Cole.  He has given my life so much purpose, so much to live for.  It truly was because of him that I was able to finish.

And since I know you all wanted to see a picture of my feet, here is my biggest RAGNAR WOUND...
I stubbed my toe pretty hard during my night run (I tripped 3 times).
That baby is for sure falling off...just in time for ballet recital and swim suit season.
Day 2:

 I had to drill a hole in the nail to release the blood and pressure.  It was all I could do to not pass out while drilling.

Day 3:  it got even worse!  I had to drill another hole in it last night.

 Besides my ogre toe, running the Ragnar Zion Relay was an incredible experience.  It was HARD, but it was so neat to prove to myself that I can do hard things...things that seem impossible!


The things nobody tells you.

Okay, maybe they really did, but you either chose not to listen, or had no clue what they were talking about until YOU experienced it on your own.  

1.  Sometimes you come to the point of complete and utter exhaustion, feel frustrated beyond belief, and wonder if your patience tank has been running on empty for a few hundred miles or so.
And every time this happens, you call on your Savior, pleading with him to give you just a few more miles...just a little more strength...just a little more peace, until the world is alright again.  Then you promise, over and over, to try your very hardest to be the earthly mother your son deserves.  You apologize in advance for knowing you will be asking for His helping hands and forgiveness again very soon.

2.  In the middle of the night, the sound of your baby waking up makes your stomach sink so low you wonder if it's going to get mixed up inside your uterus making it impossible for you to conceive another child.
Until you're in his room, holding him tight, and telling him  "shhh...mommy's right here, I've got you.  The night isn't as dark as it may seem, little love...everything is going to be alright".  Your stomach will replace itself, and the only worry you'll then have is that your body will turn to complete goo because your heart is burning with so much love for your sweet baby.

3.  You always feel like you're earning an "F" in the mommy department.  Sometimes you wonder if you'll be kicked out of the class because your baby deserves an "A+" mommy.  Every single day there will be moments when you sit for a second and realize that you have no clue what you're doing.

I'm still trying to figure out how to fix this one.  Here's what I do know: Scouring the internet for answers will leave you scrambling... like you're holding onto a mini inner tube in the middle of a raging ocean; But listening to your heart will lead you to a lifeboat - with a lifeguard on board.  That lifeguard will always stretch His hand out to yours to pull you to safety...to tell you that you're okay...there is no need to be afraid.

4.  You look at other mothers and they always seem to have everything put together.
But guess what?  Those mothers don't.  They are sailing the same ocean you are.  You are probably seeing them when they're amidst calm seas.  But remember, the tide always gets high - no matter who, no matter where, and no matter what. 

5.  You begin to feel like you're going crazy from lack of sleep.
You are.  You may find yourself trying in desperation for a few minutes to do things like this and wondering why in the world it's not working:

This craziness is also confirmed when your husband walks into the room in the middle of the night singing and pretending he is a superhero (Ironman to be exact).  Also confirmed when he looks at you right in your made-up eyes and asks if you've had time to shower and get ready today.  Just laugh about it.  Love him a little bit more.  He means you no harm. 

6.  Your meals will consist of running to the pantry, grabbing the box of graham crackers and shoving them down your throat as fast as you possibly can (yes...you WILL become a ravenous beast because you have 5 seconds to feed yourself breakfast, lunch, & dinner).
The plus side?  When you snuggle your baby, you completely forget how hungry you are.  Then during story time you don't have to make the sound of the lion - your stomach will do it for you.

7.  You will wonder how after seventeen thousand loads of laundry and dishes you could possibly have any dirty clothes or unclean bottles.
Okay okay, I must admit that I actually love this part of motherhood.  Folding warm, clean baby clothes and putting away clean, cute little bottles?  Come on...you've got to admit there is something majorly sweet about that.

8.  Toward the middle of each day, you begin to crave adult conversation because you think you're going crazy with baby talk, story time, and singing silly songs.
Until you talk with adults.  Then you realize that you desperately miss the happiness and simplicity talking with your baby gives you.  You miss his clear, truthful eyes...you miss his un-denying smile...and you miss his pure little heart. 

9.  You've given up your entire life to raise this little boy.  
And it was the best decision you've ever made.

Said Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh,
"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

Thank you for giving my life so much purpose my sweet Cole.  You're my everything!


Our little piece of Heaven...

Has stolen our hearts!

You've figured out a new super duper awesome trick!  You try to fit every single one of your fingers in your mouth multiple times a day.  It produces unimaginable amounts of drool, triggers your gag reflex, and paranoids mom as she hopes you haven't touched anything too dirty.
All in all, you're adorable no matter what you do!

Mom and Daddy love to peek over your crib when you wake up from naps.  It is very rare that we are met with still tired, sad faces like these!  Most of the time you are giggling and talking to yourself before you even see our faces.

 A few of your favorite things:
bathtime morning and night...you splish, splash, and giggle the whole time.
Laying on your changing table
And watching Mickey Mouse on the ipad while you sit in the bumbo.  (Okay you may have only done this once, but I think you enjoyed it!) ;)

You have developed other super duper awesome talents too Coliebug!
You have successfully figured out how to put one finger in your nose while the other sits in your mouth,
In one day you rolled from your tummy to your back AND your back to your tummy, both directions!   We were amazed because we had never even tried to help you do that!  We love you, our little wiggle worm.
You also figured out the family 'nose hook'...following right in cousin Eric's footsteps!

Sweet Cole, Daddy and Mommy just can't get enough of you!

 Wherever you are, we want to be!

You really enjoyed Disneyland and were such a good boy while we were there!

You and Yizzy the Lizard have developed a deep bond with each other...and I don't blame that lizard for wanting to eat, sleep, and play with you...

Because let's be honest, baby boy...
you're irresistible



And anyhow.

Our little love,
Exactly one year ago today mommy and daddy's most fervent prayers were answered when we discovered that you were on your way...our little miracle was coming at last.  
4 months ago, that little bundle of blessings arrived...we held you close to our hearts and promised that you would be ours, and we would be yours, forever and ever.
With you, Cole, our days are filled with sunshine and laughter, and our nights are filled with starlight and peace.  Your contagious smile, infectious laugh, and sweet soul bring a little piece of heaven into our home and make it a much better place to be.
Let's hang on to each other, okay?
Happy 4 months to you, our sweet one.  
mommy and daddy can't get enough...we love you!

Easter & April Fools (aka, my birthday!)

 We spent Saturday at my parent's home to celebrate Easter.  My parents always put together a fabulous meal, but my favorite tradition of my side of the family is the Easter egg hunt for all the kids!
The sons and sons-in-law are in charge of hiding the eggs for the kids, and those guys can find some pretty outrageous spots!  It is so fun to watch all the kids, AND adults hoist themselves into trees, or climb ladders to find eggs full of candy and other goodies.  (Cole slept through the whole thing...)

All of the gents:
Danny, Michael, Cory, Dad, Eric, Shane, Mat

All of the ladies:
Nina, Amy, me, Mom, Brooke, Holly, Maize

Sunday we enjoyed church a little extra...mostly because of this:
What a view!  As I'm sure you've caught on by now, Cole doesn't really enjoy being held and snuggled because he is so interested in the world around him.  During church he either lays across our laps, or on the bench between us...I love it!

After church we took a nice walk to visit a few families in our neighborhood. 

In the evening we met up at Shane's parent's home for a second Easter dinner!  Little Kallie sure was interested in Cole...(can't blame her...he's a looker for sure!)

Then late that night, after we put Cole down, Shane and I spent some time dying eggs and looking through the Easter basket I had put together.  I had filled tons of plastic eggs with candy and each with a slip of paper that answered the question "because of you..."
I'll spare you the sappy details of what each of them said ;)

Shane said he had never dyed Easter eggs, so both he and I were pretty excited!  We just did it all out of neon food coloring, and they turned out SO awesome!

 Then came my birthday!  I was greeted bright and early on April Fools by little Dundee wearing a birthday hat, buttermilk pancakes and green smoothie breakfast, and sissy coming over to bring me my first birthday gift...3 little succulents in the cutest little pots.  

Then, Shane, Cole, and I went out to the lego exhibit in Park City and did some shopping afterwards.   I DO NOT like shopping, but I have been in desperate need for some new clothes.  Luckily, Gap had most of their merchandise for 70% off!  I found a few shirts and we made our way back home in the pouring rain that I am sure Heavenly Father had sent just for me!

 25 years young.  and not getting any younger.