Friday, May 29, 2009

Kentucky? Why?

When I told people that I was going on vacation to Kentucky, the most common response I got was, "Why??!!" But really there is so much to see and do there, it was so much fun!

The first day we were there we went to Keeneland Race Track. There were no races going on that day, but we got to watch the morning workouts. We got to see what the horses do to train and we got to talk to some of the trainers and jockeys.

They were so nice and would stop and chat with us for a minute as they rode by. We were practically the only ones there, so we got a lot of personal attention. My favorite part was when one of the riders rode by and said, "If I get bucked off this horse, I might need some CPR!" It was hilarious.

We made friends with this guy, Bob, who works at the racetrack. He was great and gave us all sorts of interesting information.

My cute little cousin, McKay, came with us to the workouts. He was so fun to play with and he loved watching the horses. Here we are outside the Keeneland gift shop. So one thing about Kentucky is the gift shops are either non-existent or completely lame. So needless to say I didn't get any good souvenirs.

The track and the property were just beautiful. I loved it!

We also went to the Kentucky Horse Park. It actually was kind of lame. But we did get to see Man O War's grave, which is like the Michael Jordan of horse racing. He only lost one race (to a horse named Upset, which is where the phrase upset came from) and many of his descendents went on to become great racehorses.

My favorite part about the horse park was that we snuck behind the barns and met some of the horse owners and trainers. One lady was so excited because she had just won her first blue ribbon. We saw them washing down the horses and feeding them and stuff, which was interesting.

Then we went on a tour of some of the local horse farms. This is where the horses are bred, raised, and trained. One of my favorite parts of the trip was just driving around amongst all the horse farms...they were amazingly beautiful.

I learned more about horse breeding than I thought I ever wanted to know. But seriously some of these horses really live in luxury. This is one of the barns we saw. I didn't even know it was a barn!

We got to see some of the famous racehorses, which was really cool.

And we got to see a lot of the baby horses. So cute!

This horse scale was in one of the barns we went to. The three of us standing on it didn't even make it move. Now that is my kind of scale!

We also visited the Louisville Slugger Factory and went on a tour of their production facilities. It was a really great tour. We got to see how they make the baseball bats and all the different kinds and stuff. Apparently a lot of the major league players custom order their bats from this place and so they make them differently for each player. We got to see some of the bats being made for some of those big name players. Pretty cool.
They also have a little museum where you can hold a piece of history! Here we are holding real bats used by the major league players in games. I'm holding Mickey Mantle's. The other ones I didn't recognize their names!

Here I am with the Babe. We also tried our swing at the batting cages and we got a little miniature Louisville Slugger bat to take home. It was great!

And then we got to the real reason for the trip...Churchill Downs, Home of the Kentucky Derby!!! We were so excited when we actually saw it.

We learned so much about the Derby and about racing in general. It was so great. There is a tunnel that goes underneath the race track that we drove through, and we got to see the media houses, the barns, and my favorite part...the jail! They have little jail houses there that they put the hooligans in until after the Derby is over and they can take them to the real jail.

We even saw the barns where Mine That Bird (winner of the Derby) and Rachel Alexandra (winner of the Preakness) were housed. We think we even saw Mine That Bird himself (he was sticking his head out of the barn!) Anyway, it was really cool.
We then had lunch at the Derby cafe and had the Kentucky Sampler so we could try all the local favorites.

And then the races began! It was so exciting. We got to see the horses being prepped to go out to the racetrack when the bugle sounded. We even saw the jockey who won the Derby and the Preakness and he waved at us. He rode in three races that day.

Emma picked the winning horse every time! She won $20. Anne won a whole 20 cents and I lost $4. I guess I don't know how to pick a winning horse.

This is when my camera died. At Churchill Downs of all was so sad. But the races were really fun to watch.
The next day we went to a local Civil War site, Waveland Estate. We had the best tour guide I think I've ever had. She was great! Anyway, it was fun to see all this stuff that dated back to the war.

We also went to a Shaker Villiage. It was really interesting to learn about the Shakers and what they believed and how they lived. Apparently there are only 3 left now and they live in Maine. But this village was apparently thriving back in the day. It was a gorgeous property.

We learned all about woodworking, sewing, weaving, and broom making! Apparently the Shakers make the best brooms around that are supposed to last for 30 years. The trick is to make sure the broom can stand up on its own.

We met this crazy cooper who educated us about the difference between a pail and a bucket.

Here we are sweeping with our Shaker brooms and hats.

McKay wanted to be a Shaker too!

We got some Shaker pie at the village. It was pretty weird. It had whole lemon slices in it.

We saw the home where Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's wife was raised. And this is also where Abe stayed when they would come visit his wife's family. It unfortunately was closed so we didn't get to see the inside.

We really liked just driving around and looking at the beautiful countryside.

I thought this was hilarious! It was at one of the racetracks.

In honor of Memorial Day we decided to pay tribute to Daniel Boone's grave. He was apparently one of the key people in settling Kentucky. The cemetary had a gorgeous view of the capital city of Frankfort.

We also drive across the bridge to Indiana and had lunch there overlooking the river that separates the states. We saw the place where Lewis and Clark shook hands and started their exploration of the West.

We also saw the second largest clock in the world. (Big Ben is the largest.)

And what's a trip to Kentucky without paying tribute to the Colonel?

Anyway, so that is why I wanted to go to Kentucky. It was so much fun. We also hung out with my cousin Rachel and her family. It was really fun to see them. When she announced last year that she was moving to Kentucky I told her I would be coming to visit and to go to the races and see the sites. What a great trip!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm home

I am home from my trip to Kentucky. It was so much fun! Now I need a vacation to recover from my vacation! Anyway, a big thanks to my cousin Rachel for letting us stay with her. Kentucky was so beautiful. But I do think I was allergic to the bluegrass or something because I couldn't stop sneezing and itching my eyes all weekend. Anyway, I'll post more about the trip later.

I just wanted to say that I have the best hubby EVER! I came home to a clean house, a fixed car radio, all the laundry done, a stocked fridge, and this...

Along with the roses, Matt got me a Disney Princess Horse coloring book "in case I get excited about seeing horseys again". I love it! Isn't he the best?!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The 26.2 mile recap

So we survived the marathon. Barely. I honestly don't quite know what to say about it. It is kind of anti-climatic. We've been building up to this for the past 6 months and now it's over. And I'm kind of disappointed in how it went. We finished. It took us a REALLY long time. (Our official chip time was 5 hours and 47 minutes.) It was painful. Our goal was to finish before the 6 hour cut-off time, which we did. But I'm still disappointed. I don't know why though.

I really thought we were ready for this, but it was so much harder than I ever imagined. My cute visiting teacher brought me this little marathon care package the day before. It was great!

These are all the braces we used throughout the course of our training and during the actual race to keep us in one piece.

We did stay in a place that was up Ogden Canyon and this was our view. It is a really pretty valley up there.

We stayed up there because we didn't want to get up at 2:30 in the morning to drive up to the bus loading place. So we got up at like 4:45 and went over there. We almost got lost and we were worried that we would miss the bus. But we made it to the start line just fine.

The start line was a bit chilly, but the weather for the race was really gorgeous. And it was a gorgeous course. The nice thing was that you could shed your layers of clothing at the mile markers and they would take it to the end for you. That helped a lot.

I think I got dehydrated because I went to the bathroom at the start, but then I never went again until like 2 hours after the race was over. That is SO unlike me!

We were doing really well until about Mile 19 or so, and then we hit the wall. We walked, we shuffled, we jogged, we almost cried, we kept telling ourselves we could do it. When it hurt to shuffle, we'd start walking. But then it would hurt to walk, so we had to start shuffling again.

It was a very long and painful 6 miles to the end. Honestly, it didn't even feel like an accomplishment to cross that finish line. All I could think about was how much I hurt. It was so disappointing because I felt like we had worked so hard to train for this and it didn't even feel like we had succeeded.

I know in my head that we did succeed and that running a marathon IS a HUGE accomplishment, but I just didn't feel it. I really thought we were better prepared. I think I know what I would do differently if I ever do it again.

For this one I did the bare minimum training program. I did the whole training program, but I did the minimum requirements of it. I just didn't have the time to do the maximum training program. Next time, I would do the maximum recommendations, and I would cut down the total training time from 6 months to 4-5 months. I would do the interval training and strength training and stuff more diligently during my workouts. I would practice the walk-run method throughout the whole training period. I would develop some methods to implement around Mile 19 when I really need something extra (like saving my music until then or having someone who is not running the marathon come and run with me then or having a cheering sqaud at that mile marker or something.)

Anyway, here we are after finishing. We look pretty dead, I know. My dad and Nathan both finished as well. Nathan did it in about 4 1/2 hours and my dad beat us by about 15-20 minutes. I was glad he was able to run. And I'm so glad Matt and I were able to run together. That really helped to have someone there the whole way.

We were in so much pain that we couldn't even enjoy the post-race festivities (and they were mostly over by the time we actually finished anyway). We couldn't move for the rest of the day or on Sunday, but we are feeling back to normal today.

A few hours later, we were famished so we had our post-marathon feast at Sizzler. We all ate a TON! Except for Nathan, who ate a ton and a half!

Anyway, that was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. But I am glad I did it. And even though I didn't do a very good job, I CAN say that I have run a marathon.

Melissa (my sister in law) took some videos of us crossing the finish line, so I'll have to post those as soon as I can. A big thanks to my parents and Matt's parents and Melissa who came to cheer us on. We love you!

I think I just feel a little bit defeated. Like the marathon defeated me instead of me defeating the marathon. Grrr. But now I am ready for my marathon trip to Kentucky!

P.S. Leslie was the winner of the time guess. I'll send you your prize soon. Email me your address though. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I'm getting nervous. This race is in THREE DAYS!

What if I don't make it? What if my hamstrings or knees start acting up again? What if it is the most miserable experience of my life? What if I get lost and don't make it to the start line? What if I forget something? What if I chaff? What if I get blisters or my toenails fall off? What if my clothes are too hot or too cold for the temperature? What if my alarm clock doesn't go off in the morning and I sleep through the whole thing? What if my iPod breaks? What if I pass out? Or what if any of that stuff happens to Matt?

Plus, my dad is deathly ill and might not be able to run with us. I feel so sad. All that training and then he gets sick. I'm praying for a miracle so he will be able to do it.

OK, I'm going to go get a paper bag now...

Monday, May 11, 2009

5 days

We are ready! Our marathon is this Saturday and we're as ready as we're gonna get. Our longest training run was 20 miles, and that was really hard so we hope we're gonna make it that extra 6.2. The training program we used said that was all we needed before the race so we're taking their word for it. The final 2-3 weeks leading up to the race are supposed to be tapering weeks, so we've gradually been decreasing the mileage. Saturday we did an easy run of 6.5 miles and this week we're only supposed to run twice for no more than 20-30 minutes.

My legs are back to normal, although Matt's have been giving him a bit of trouble. We're healthy. We've stocked up on Powerade and Clif Bars. We've planned our meals out for the week and have plenty of pasta and baked potatoes in the line-up. We've got a hotel up Ogden Canyon, just a few miles from the start line, thanks to my dad. We've got our knee braces and we're all set up to get our knees taped up by my dad's physical therapist friend on Friday afternoon. I bought a cute new running outfit for the occasion (you know, for motivation!), and I have my lucky charm all ready to go...

My speedy socks! I've been saving them specifically for the marathon. They're gonna give me that extra little something I'm gonna need. And last but not least, we are ready to unleash our SECRET WEAPON! We practiced it last week and it worked like a charm.

All we've got left to do is find a good pasta place in Ogden for dinner Friday night. And a place for our post-marathon feast on Saturday afternoon! Any suggestions?

So please pray for us that we will be able to finish injury-free. And pray for my dad to get better. He got sick last week and is still coughing up a storm. My dad and brother are running with us, and my mom is doing the 5K.

And please come and watch us! We need all the support and cheering we can get. Some places to watch are: Eden Park (using alternate route over North Ogden Divide); The mouth of Ogden Canyon on 12th Street; Ogden Parkway - by Dinosaur Park, Rainbow Gardens or the Timbermine Restaurant; 24th and Grant Street; or the Finish Line at 25th Street. You can find a course map and race specifics at the marathon website. The race starts at 7 a.m., but no spectators are allowed until Mile 13, so you don't even have to get up that early. And it will probably take us 2.5 hours to get to Mile 13.

Finally, I am taking guesses on how long it will take us to finish. The person who guesses the closest to our actual finishing time will win a prize!

P.S. If I die during this marathon, it must be my time to go. :) It's been great knowing ya!

"The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but to he that endureth to the end."

Yay for Moms!

Happy Mother's Day to my most awesome mom! She is the greatest and has taught me so much. She is very patient and really tries hard to make people happy. She is so creative and always has really fun ideas. She never yells. She is always supportive of us and our dreams. She gives so much service to those around her. She doesn't complain. Thanks, Mom for your great example. I love you!

And I'd also like to wish a Happy Mother's Day to my mother in law. She is also great. She is very generous and loving. She is a people person and is happy and friendly. And most of all, she raised Matt and taught him well! I really did marry into a great family!

I kept telling Matt that he didn't need to do anything special for me since I am not a mother yet, but he insisted. So he got me a blender. (Don't worry, I really wanted one! It wasn't a Father of the Bride repeat.) And then he made me a smoothie in it for breakfast. (after I showed him how to make a smoothie!) And he also made some blueberry muffins. Thank you honey for making it a special day for me even though I am not a mother!