6.30.2014

PDX 13.1


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It finally came. 

After weeks of training and anticipation I found myself boarding a plane solo for a weekend trip to Portland, OR to run in my first half marathon.

I met my dear friend Sarah there, who had flown in the previous day. We didn't waste much time on our plans to eat amazing food and see all that we could with limited time. I got in around 8:30pm, I picked her up downtown and we grabbed some grub at Bamboo Sushi, eating on the street and soaking up the Portland scene - which involved a lot of beards, piercings, tattoos, extreme hairstyles and dogs. We loved every minute and the sushi was 5/5. 

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The next morning we took the tram at OSHU to get a view of the city. Lucky for us the sky was clear and we got a great glimpse of Portland, the Willamette River, and the whole city covered in lush greenery.

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 Then we headed to the Japanese Gardens.

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It cost $10 to get into the gardens which was just about perfect. Any more $ and I wouldn't have thought it was worth it. We agreed that the koi pond and the Japanese Maples were the highlights.


The International Rose Test Garden was right next door and completely worth the little walk over. The garden is free and absolutely blew this flower girl away. So many varieties!!! We spent a lot of time just cruising around catching waves of delicious scents as they wafted through the air. Someday I hope to live in a home long enough to cultivate beautiful roses.


After all that walking in the warm sunshine we got hungry!

We headed to a recommended food pod at Washington and 10th St and were blown away by Portland's food carts.

We met Elly there, our other runner there, who moved to Eugene just a few months ago.

It was so hard deciding what to eat so we settled on the carts with the most rave reviews and they did not disappoint. We got a porchetta sandwich, a georgian food sample plate (country of Georgia), and thai chicken from Nong's Khao Man Gai. Again 5 stars. We sat by the street like true locals and devoured all of it. 



Next up was a little visit to Multnomah Falls. This waterfall puts almost any other one I have seen to shame. It's breathtaking, lush, and powerful. The worst part by far was just how crowded it was. We deliberated on hiking to the top since our race was the next morning, but in the end decided to just soak in the whole experience. We finally got to the top and were pretty underwhelmed. The view was beautiful - but we weren't sure if it was really worth it especially since it did tire our legs out a little.


A Portland MUST is hitting up the ice cream shop Salt and Straw. I have never had ice cream that even comes close to comparing. All the flavors were right up my alley and we totally tried them all: Sea Salt with Caramel, Strawberry Balsamic, Honey Lavender, Pear with Bleu Cheese, Olive Oil, Woodblock Chocolate. 


We planned on going to Pok Pok for dinner (another must) but when we got there the wait was 1.5 hrs so we opted for a farm-to-table place nearby. Afterward we grabbed some race necessities (bananas, chapstick, fresh bottled water) and hit the sack.

Bald Peak Start/Finish 
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We chose this race because it was rural in the SW hills of Portland. The course was hilly, hence the name Bald "Peak" (1800+ feet total climb) and peaceful. It ran along farmland, orchards, pastures, dense forest, open valley's, and had beautiful views of distant mountains - Hood, St Helens, Adams - although I never looked up at the right time to see them. :( 

We pulled into the parking lot just 10min before start time. We ran to the bathroom, ditched our jackets, and connected our music just as the gun went off. 

This race was intense. The first 2 miles had an 800ft climb but we powered up it. It then continued mostly up until about 5.5 miles then went straight down - this all killed my pace. I couldn't decide if the up was worse then the down. 

 I was hoping to do the race between 9 and 9:30min/mile but I had a real hard time knocking my time down after those first couple miles. Finally around mile 9 things leveled off and I was able to speed up a little just before another big hill then I cruised again at a 9min pace for miles 11 and 12. 

The last half mile was the kicker though. 500ft gain over just 1/2 mile. I saw everyone up ahead of me walking and I passed a few then I looked over and decided that I could probably walk with a big stride faster than I was running. I hiked up that hill as fast as I could sporadically trying to run. 

As I hit the top of the hill I took off again around the corner and to the finish. I had tears in my eyes and the biggest while on my face. Done! 


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Finished right in the middle of the pack:

98 out of 214 finishers 
38 out of 117 women
13 out of 34 in age group




I love that we did this together. All three of us started running just over a year ago. We endured and enjoyed Ragnar together and now this. I'm so proud. 


Through the whole race I felt great. The hills were grueling but I powered through. Afterward we knew just what we wanted: milkshakes and the beach. 


Haystack Rock
 Cannon Beach, OR

We drove out to Cannon Beach, unfortunately there was a sandcastle competition so the traffic was horrendous going out to that little town, but we make it and got dark chocolate shakes from The Chocolate Cafe as soon as we parked. It was great to walk our legs out along the beach and reflect on the race to the sounds of the waves and the wind on our faces (we were actually freezing). 

After a bit we got a couple of crepes to chow on and headed back to Portland for massages - or more accurately, "the weirdest massage of my life" or even "shaken Hayley syndrome" or "I'm trying sooooo hard not to giggle through this embarrassment." After being shaken, breathed on, and whispered to, we dined at Irving St Kitchen and and filled our bellies with porchetta, steak, and grilled trout. 


Before saying our goodbyes to Elly we drove a little north to St Johns Bridge taking in the scenery just as the sun set.

Sarah and I went to see Fault in our Stars and stayed up waaay too late chatting.


Sunday morning we grabbed a donut before heading to church. We have a Voodoo Doughnut in Denver so we opted for a more "non-touristy" place and went to Blue Star. Then hit a couple tourist must do's.

Pioneer Square 

Keep it weird. 

I kinda really loved Portland. 

After sacrament meeting we had a little lunch at Pok Pok (right when it opened) then more ice cream at Salt and Straw before heading to the airport. 


Peace out PDX. It was so great! Thanks ladies for the amazing time! :)


6.13.2014

Hey Hey, THREE TWO!

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At the beginning of June I turned 32.

I decided that my birthday, hands down, falls at the absolute best time of year. It's warm out all day with cool mornings and evenings. The sun shines and the birds sing. Everything is blooming and alive. People are out and about, happy and donning their summer skin. See? It's the best.

I'm honestly such a fan of being in my 30's. I feel more confident, brave, and secure. I feel more love toward others and I am better at managing my relationships. It's a good place. At the same time I feel like I'm learning so much. Many of my dearest friends, close family members, and we ourselves are experiencing real life trials and challenges. I have learned to be a little kinder to everyone. I know that even the "happiest" of families are facing real life dragons every. single. day.

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My life at 32?

I am staying home with my girls still, but have gotten an itch to go back to work part-time. I'm excited about it, but also nervous as I know there will be a lot of adjusting.

I am serving in the women's organization at church where I lead a committee that plans activities for the women. I love this responsibility - it suits me well. I have a firm belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know I am loved by an almighty God and that I am his daughter. I am grateful everyday that I have the opportunity to be with my family for eternity. I can be rebellious and stubborn, but I am trying to soften my heart.

I still struggle to keep a tidy house and I admit that it bother's me. I have a hard time feeling successful as a homemaker and mother when things are constantly out-of-order even though I know that it isn't really important if things are neat. My bathroom and the playroom are constant battles.

My projects. Quilts for each of the girls this year are coming along, I just planted a few more shrubs and flowers in the back yard (keeping the damn bunnies out of my garden is a constant project). We just got the house repainted and are getting a window fixed after all the storm damage from last year.

I am running, running, and running. I feel so strong and healthy lately - like I'm in the best shape of my life. My first half-marathon is in a week in Portland, OR. My right hip bother's me a bit as does the plantar fasciitis in my right foot, but I have found ways to manage them. During the week I get up at 6am and run to get home by the time the girls are rising and Easy is off to work. On Saturday mornings I run longer enjoying perfect Colorado sunrises, the clean air, and seeing my little part of the world wake up.

I am reading a lot now that my Stats class is over. I'm currently reading Unbroken which I'm totally absorbed in. I just finished Peace Like a River and I still think about it daily - it is probably one of my all-time favorites. I have a few more checked out from the library that I can't way to dive into: The Night Circus, Free-Range Kids, and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

My favorite movie of the last year was The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Favorite song lately is Fineshrine by Purity Ring

I love the relationships I have with my daughter's. We are officially out of the baby-stage. No more diapers. No more crib. I have a small purse and we go and do as we please without naps to worry about or packing around baby necessities. We are almost stroller free! I enjoy the conversations and the creativity had with my older girls and I love nothing more than to chase and tickle and play with the little ones. They are so good at entertaining themselves with dramatic role-playing adventures and they are big helps to me around the house.

I just moved up to Level 3A in piano and I enjoy it so much. I love mine and Ava's teacher and sometimes feel like lessons are more like girl-time then work.  Piano has pushed my brain to it's limits and I just love having that quiet time to myself when I practice and struggle through new technique and theory. I am actually playing real songs!

My marriage. E and I have had more stress and struggle in the past few years than ever before. We can drive each other crazy, but my love for him has honestly has never been stronger. Struggle brings that. We are so aware of each other's flaws and we have learned and are continuing to learn how to work together. In the end I know that he has my back first and loves me to the moon. I want nothing more than his happiness. When I feel vulnerable or afraid he is my rock.

Overall I feel content, blessed, and able. I am sure I will look back on this time in my life with a grateful heart.




6.11.2014

Exploring SW Colorado

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Colorado continues to shock me. It's tallest peaks and vast valley's are constantly dropping my jaw. I just can't seem to get enough of it. 

Over memorial day weekend we took off on a marathon expedition that Easy had completely planned out. First we packed up (which is always a bit of a marathon in itself) then we headed southwest to new 
territory. We traversed through the mountains in the rain and finally made it to the desert just passed Cortez, Co. 

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Then on a little farther to Four Corners Monument. 

A few things about 4 Corners: 

1st is that we had the hardest time deciding whether we should actually go to Four Corners. You see, it is in the middle of nowhere. I mean nowhere. It was beyond our camping site and we had already been in the car 8+ hours. I texted my brother who had been a few weeks earlier. His response was that it was only worth it if we were within an hour anyway (we were) and if we had cash (we did) and if we were up to dealing with somewhat rude people. Hah! 

2nd is that the Four Corners Monument doesn't actually sit on the actual geographical Four Corners. Did you hear that? It's in the wrong place! Hilarious, right? We didn't mention this to the children. 

3rd is that the only real thing to do there is take a picture (in the wrong spot) and then purchase "handmade" crafts from about 3 or 4 vendors all selling pretty much the same thing. Nonetheless we got the girls some "turquoise" bracelets and then got out of there.

We got to our campsite just as the sun was setting and as the storms started rolling. We set up our tent and cooked dinner in the cold + rain with no firewood. It was a little miserable, but we mostly laughed and tried to make the best of it.

That night we froze.


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The next morning we headed to our first "real" destination. Mesa Verde. It was incredible. A step back in time. A true wonder. 

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As we walked among the ancient ruins our whole group was transfixed with curiosity as we considered the lives these people led. Why did they move into the cliffs? What was their source of water? How did they survive and then where did they go?

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Luckily we had some pretty amazing tour guides who answered all of our questions as best as they could. And we left feeling satisfied and enriched.

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After exploring most of Mesa Verde we hit the road to Pagosa Springs, CO, which we had passed through on our way south, and found our little cabin to cozy up in for the night. I was sooooo grateful for that little cabin since was hit by a bug of some sort and had a fever and some pretty miserable head congestion. 

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I forgot to mention that Easy's dad met us on our route and was such a pleasure to have around plus a huge help. Uncle Chad also met up with us in Mesa Verde and was another great source of entertainment for the girls. My girls adore all the great men in their lives.

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We relaxed at the cabin grounds all day on Sunday. We attended church there, enjoyed the hot tubs, and we were able to rest up after the horrible nights sleep in Mesa Verde. That afternoon we drove up to Treasure Falls and hiked around a bit. 

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I wish this picture showed the scale better because the water was pounding down that cliff. 
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