Monday, April 27, 2009

"Runnin' Runnin"

Remember that hit song "Let's Get It Started"? This blog's title comes from the opening lines of that song—very fitting since that song pumped me up during many a long run.

Remember when I ran 5 miles? That was fun.

You know what is even more fun than 5 miles? 13.1!

This post has been a long time coming. I was too nervous to talk about training for my half-marathon up until the point when I knew I could do it. Sometimes I like to keep expectations low, both others' expectations and my own. This is because I love to surprise myself with what I can accomplish rather than disappoint myself by falling short. (For example, I always set out on a long run telling myself I'll run, say, 6 miles, and I'll end up running 8.)

The main purpose for our trip to Salt Lake last week was to run a half-marathon with my sisters. My sister-in-law, Sally, ran the full marathon (she is a powerhouse!), and my sister Mary and I ran the half. Mary, by the way, is the peppiest runner you've ever seen—cheering at all the spectators, instead of the other way around. It was so funny! She and I crossed the finish line together.

So, partly for my own personal history and also for anyone who's interested, here are some random thoughts about running:
  • I love it! I never in a million, trillion years would have thought I could be a runner.
  • Running gave me a sense of accomplishment that I've been craving. Day-to-day life as a wife and mother doesn't always provide tangible rewards or measurements of progress. I experienced a new runner's high with each mile I added, and it would last all week long.
  • Speaking of miles, I did all my long runs along the Chrystal Springs Reservoir (the Sawyer Camp Trail). I started with 5, then progressed each week to 8, 9, 11, and 12. The last two Saturdays before the race I ran 8.
  • I don't know if I could have done this if I had just thought "I'm going run a half-marathon" when I was totally out of shape. What helped for me, at least, was getting in good cardio shape before I really started running. I spent more than a month at the gym alternating between the treadmill, bike, and elliptical, shooting for 50 minutes (give or take) of cardio plus a few weights at each session. After that, I was shocked at how easily the miles came.
  • Goodness do I love my nikeplus! (A chip in my shoe syncs with my ipod and records my times, distances, calories burned, etc. on each run.) Below you can see our half-marathon. The dip toward the end represents the hit our pace took as we ascended the long and gradual hill that is State Street in SLC. You probably have never noticed when you've driven it that you're going up (toward the capital buliding), but you CANNOT MISS IT when you're at mile running mile 12 (in Sally's case, mile 25!).
  • The race started at the University of Utah and ended in the Gateway Mall.
  • All in all, Mary and I finished in 2 hours, 16 minutes, and 56 seconds, which is 10:27 per mile—not bad for a beginner! My time would not have been as fast without Mary there, so thank you, sis!

So what next? If anyone has any ideas, I'm open to them!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pearly Whites

That's right, my baby's got his first tooth! He cut it like a champion while we were in Utah. I've been trying so hard to capture that pearly white on camera, and I finally was successful! Click on these pictures to see it.

This last one I had to add just because I think his face is priceless in it. And it also shows off how much hair he's got these days. (It's still not much, but we like it that way.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

The World's Best Family Vacation

Yep, that's right. The world's best. I think right now I'm experiencing what my sister calls the post-vacation blues, because my Utah trip was just that wonderful!

I spent the first two nights with Ryan's parents in Provo. It was wonderful to spend some time with each member of their family. We just sat around talking and watching Trenton play on the floor for hours on end. It was chilly when we arrived, and by Wednesday it was a winter wonderland in the middle of April. (Trenton's first snow!) A big thanks to the Nielsens for oohing and ahhing over all my boy's tricks.

We spent the next three nights with my family in Murray. All three of my siblings were together for the first time in a year and a half. It was bliss. One of my favorite moments was having all four of us in "my bedroom" late one night, chatting like we were all young again.

More details to come, but for now, some pictures....

Relaxin' with Grandma Nielsen

Relaxin' with Grandma Williams

Playtime with Uncle Kyle

What? Snow?...WHY?

The pre-race glow

Trenton with his beautiful cousin Ashlyn

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Biggest Loser

I've gotta say, I was excited when Helen fell below the yellow line last night. Ever since she wanted her daughter to go home so that she could stay on the ranch and keep losing weight, I haven't been able to let it go. (Seriously, her own child!!) Oh well, maybe next time.

I'm a little bit addicted to the Biggest Loser, but at least I can say that the show has positive results—and not just for the contestants. My best workouts are always Wednesday mornings after I watch it. I pretend Jillian's yelling at me, "LAST CHANCE WORKOUT, Erica!"

I know. It's no surprise—I'm kind of a dork.

So, does anyone want to chime in on who their favorite and least favorite contestants are?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Zoom for Zambia

Remember how I went to Africa a few years ago? (Most of you are probably wondering when I'll stop talking about it!) The nonprofit organization I went with, Mothers Without Borders, does incredible work in Zambia, as well as other underdeveloped nations. Two girls who are going on this summer's expedition to Zambia are sponsoring a 5k in Palo Alto on May 9th, with all the proceeds going to Mothers Without Borders. I'm planning on running it and would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE for any of you to join me!

For more info, click on over to Zoom for Zambia. And if you'd like to run or walk for these beautiful faces, please let me know!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Wicked Afternoon

Merry Christmas to me! I've been anticipating this day since the moment I opened my Christmas present from Ryan and saw this well-loved image—

I fell in love with the music from Wicked when Kimber introduced me to it our freshman year at BYU. Now I can finally say I've seen it. And yes, the production is just as amazing as you're imagining. Our tickets were for the fourth row (Ryan tends to go all out when he does things), and the first thing I said when the show started was "I can see their lip gloss!" You could see every detail of each performer's face. Needless to say, it was incredible.

I think I will owe Amber for life for watching Trenton alllll afternoon. Thank you, dear!! And thanks to my sweet husband for such a thoughtful (and fun!) gift.

Wicked rocks!