Sunday, December 13, 2015

Jacks Blessing

The first weekend in October Ben and Sharley blessed their new baby "Jack". As it happened they were moving that weekend from Denver to Mesa so they chose to bless Jack at Sharley's parents place in St George. It was quite central for everyone and made the blessing easier to get to. We were fortunate in that three of our six kids were able to get there. 

Ben has been feeling for some time that it was time for him to move on with his career so we weren't surprised when they told us they were moving. I offered to help him drive down and at first he declined my invitation, but later decided he could use the help. I flew to Denver Thursday evening and we spent all day Friday finishing loading the truck. They had everything pretty much loaded before I got there but all of the little things that need to be taken care of took us pretty much all day. We finally pulled out of Denver at dinner time and arrived in St George just before breakfast. It was a long drive but it was a great opportunity to sit and visit with Ben. As a bonus I got to become good friends with Kiwi. Kiwi is their dog. 

Sharley's entire family was in St George, and it was also the St George marathon that weekend, so there was not much available for hotels/motels. Lucky for us my cousin Louise and her husband Marty Nygaard live in St George and they were kind enough to put Lisa and I, (as well as Alycia and Alex), up for the weekend. Saturday morning, (after I slept in a little bit,) we were watching conference on TV. Our timing was perfect. To everyone's surprise Louise's brother-in-law, Dale Renlund, (married to Louise's sister Ruth), was called to be an apostle. What a treat it was to see Louise's reaction. The only person who knew the call was coming was Ruth. Not even Aunt Nola or their daughter Ashley knew. 

Saturday evening we had dinner with our kids and with Andrew and Lisa Jones. The Jones' are like another set of parents to Ben and they flew in for the occasion. Jack is named after their son Abram - Jack Abram. We had dinner at the Cliff-side Restaurant. It was a pretty swanky place.

Sunday morning we all headed over to the Cotters. Normally the blessing would be at church during a service, but due to conference that weekend we had it at their house. It was a beautiful occasion. The spirit was felt by all who were present. Jack is a special boy and very loved. 

It was so fun to have both Ella and Jack there.
Blessings like this don't come around every day. 

The Jones rode back to San Diego with us. It was fun to have that opportunity to visit with them. We don't get together often enough.

It rains diamonds on Saturn and Jupiter.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Avengers Half Marathon

One week after the Ragnar Relay I had a Disneyland Half Marathon that I had signed up for. It was an Avengers Half Marathon so I had to get myself a Hulk T Shirt. I apologize for the copyright marks all over my picture but I didn't have a picture of myself running so I swiped this one off the internet.

I wouldn't normally do a Disney Marathon but Justin and I had run the one in January at Disney World and if we did a Disneyland race in the same calendar year we got a fancy "Coast to Coast" medal as well. How could I pass up a free medal? Justin's friend Matt ran both races with us as well.

Disney knows how to make a big production. Here is Justin and I at the starting line. They had a big show going on. It was quite exciting.

Phil Cheung also signed up for the race. Justin, Matt and I showed up the night before and stayed in a Motel. I had to get up far too early as it was and I didn't want to get up any earlier than I had to. Phil chose to sleep in his own bed and drive up the morning of the race. I met him at the starting line.

Some how Justin, Matt and Phil ended up in Corals D & G. Even though I am the slowest of them all I was in Coral B. That gave me a twenty minute head start over them all.

There is nothing like the feeling at the starting line. Your adrenaline is high and you hear the count down going and you're feeling strong and ready to run. I love it. This was my first half marathon also and it is totally different than a marathon. At the marathon I was quite nervous because 26.2 miles is a long way. I was worried about how I would do. After two of those a half marathon was no big deal. I knew I wouldn't be fast but I also knew that it would be relatively easy.

The way I trained for the half marathon was I ran a half marathon every Saturday for two months before the race. I was ready.

The course started out running through the park. It was a lot of fun running past all of the rides.

I fully expected that we would get to run through Cinderellas castle. After all, we ran through it during the marathon in Florida. I took this picture of it along the way but we didn't get to go through it. I suspect that the path is too small and it would be a congestion point. It was quite early in the race and people were still bunched up. It was quite frustrating trying to get past all of the slow people. Yes, there were several hundred people slower than me. Here you are in the middle of a race and you have to walk because the people in front of you are walking.

Finally I was able to get past all the slow people and it was smooth sailing.

Somewhere around mile seven Justin caught up to me and we took a quick picture of the two of us. I was reluctant to post this picture because I look quite stunned. I suppose it was an accurate picture however because that is about how I felt. Actually I felt pretty good but I was in the middle of a run. 


Shortly after that I saw the Angels "A" in the distance. I knew we would be running through the stadium. It was shortly after this picture that Lisa sent me a text telling me to quite stopping to take pictures and go for a PR. I had been sending updates along the way. I wanted to have fun since I was sick when I ran the marathon in January and I thought I was dying during the run.

And before I knew it I was in the parking lot. 

And then I was running across home plate. The picture in the park was taken right next to home plate. 

And the next thing I knew I was receiving my two medals. Matt and Phil never did catch up to me. Matt because he had a sore ankle and Phil because he likes to stop and take pictures with all of the Disney characters.

In case you can't tell, Phil is dressed as Hawk-eye. While that costume probably felt nice and warm at the start of the race when we were all freezing, it had to have been miserable during the race. Once I got going I had no problem staying warm but I would have been way too hot dressed like that.

I am not sure why that guys bum is in my picture. 

I have decided that I love to run half marathons. They are fun and easy. The only problem with a marathon is that I have to spend at least seven or eight hours a week training for it and that is far too disruptive in my life.

The last time the Cubs won the world series, 
Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, and New Mexico were not yet states.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Ragnar #4

I love running in Ragnar Relay races. My very first "race" was a Ragnar. I remember I had always talked to Alan Bird about his marathons and the next thing I know he had invited me to join his Ragnar team. Spending thirty hours straight in a car with six people cheering on your team mates makes for a very close group of friends by the time you're done.

In my last Ragnar Mom, Kira, Ben and Sharley ran with us. It was so much fun and I think Kira must have convinced Justin how fun it was because apparently his family planned a Ragnar this year. At the last minute two of Justins cousins were unable to participate so lucky for Alex and myself, we were invited to join. I of course didn't hesitate. This Ragnar was in Las Vegas.

Justin created a "whatsapp" text group so everyone on the team started checking in on Thursday announcing their departure plans.

 Justin, Chelsea and Dallin were chilling in the first class lounge at the Calgary airport.

Alex was still at work but looking forward to catching a late flight to Vegas.

Chelsea and Justin on the plane.  I should point out the "creeper" who was sitting behind them. 

 I was the first to arrive in Vegas and let everyone know of my arrival.

Brian checked in from Phoenix letting us know that he was getting ready to leave.

There is that creeper "again".
 Teresa, Andrea, Dallin, Jason, Katie and Curtis were in van #1 and got up at 3:30 Friday morning to get to the starting line for a 5:30 start. The poor guys. Van #2 was sound asleep.
The starting line was in the mountains at the Ski and Snow Board resort. 

Curtis in his pirate outfit.

Maybe Van #1 had to get up early but their reward was a long down hill run. This is Curtis handing off to Jason.

Do you see the shadows cheering Jason on?

Jason handing off to Andrea

 Does Andrea look excited or what?

And then Andrea hands off to Katie to bring the baton into Van #2.

Meanwhile we are starting to get moving at the house looking forward to an exciting day.

Justin, Alex and myself in the middle seat

Chelsea and Angie with Brian in the back seat. Heading to our starting line.

Katie after her leg.

The entire team except for Angie who is running to bring the baton to Van #2.

Justin, Brian, Craig, Alex, Fred, Chelsea Sarah, Andrea, Teresa, Dallin, Katie, Ryan, Curtis, Jason

Van #2 is at the starting line ready to relieve Van #1. Brian, Alex, Angie, Justin, Chelsea, Fred

The kiss that started it all. When Teresa brought it in for Van #1 and handed off to Chelsea she gave her nice peck on the cheek. By the time this run was finished we decided to change our name to the kissing cousins. You will see why.

Chelsea started out for Van #2 and then handed off to me.

Hanging in there. 

Chelsea enthusiastically cheering me on. 

I then handed off to Alex

 Brian was next so he decided to stretch.

Alex drew the short straw. He had a long five mile stretch that was all up hill. It was a trough run but he ran well.

You gotta love our tattoo's

We had made a bunch of stickers with our team name and we would stick them onto as many cars as we could. While we were waiting for Alex; Angie and I walked past a police car. I told Angie that she should stick one on the cop car. To my horror she proceeded to do just that. As I walked away pretending not to know her I heard the cop yell at her asking her, "what do you think you're doing?" When she explained he gave her a bunch of police badges. Pretty cool.

And here comes Alex into the exchange point.

To Alex's great surprise he was greeted by Brian with a big wet kiss. 

Brian handed off to Justin.

Justin then handed off to Angie but of course he can't hand off like a normal person but to her shock she was greeted with a big wet kiss. She shouldn't have been surprised though because he had been threatening to do so all morning. Between Chelsea, Justin and his dad, the kissing cousins was becoming a movement that ended up renaming our team the "Kissing Cousins". We became well known among our team mates.

When we were finished our first round we went back to the house to chill. I actually had a nap but everyone else was downstairs having a good visit. I suffered a minor bought of FOMO but feel asleep before I could do anything about it. Not long before midnight we were once again on the track. Chelsea led the way and then handed off to me with a kiss on the cheek.

When I came in to hand off to Alex I was a bit surprised to see that Alex had a horn. Angie had brought along a unicorn horn so Alex had to run with that.

Justin had what may have been the most beautiful of all runs. Between  Las Vegas and Boulder the road goes over a small pass. Justin ran on a trail that roughly paralleled the road. It was out in the boonies so there was no light and Justin decided to turn off his head light and run in the dark. He took this picture of the city lights. He also claims that the stars were exceptionally bright and he witnessed no less than 12 shooting stars.

Justin handing off to Angie and Sarah to finish off Van #2's night time run.

Angie had the last night time leg for Van 2. She was nervous about running alone at night so Sarah ran with her to offer moral support. This leg ended only blocks from Sarahs house so she knew the area well. She may have shown Angie a few shortcuts.

Curtis must have had a good nap, he looks rather chipper.

Julie was actually signed up with the team from the beginning but an injury late in the training forced her to give up her spot. That is how I got on the team. Well an injury in Van #2 gave Julie an opportunity to run this one leg. She looks quite exited don't you think?

Jason comes in and hands off to Julie

A sample of the view that we had along the run.

Teresa and Natalie

On Angies night time run some jerk ran past her and did a karate chop and yelled out "kill". It was rather rude but of course the rest of the race we were karate chopping all over the place.

Chelsea, Angie, Craig, Alex, Justin and Jason

Most of Van #2.

clockwise from bottom left, Katie, Teresa, Dallin, Curtis and Julie
Uncle Craig saved the day. Teresa was nursing so she couldn't be too far from her baby. Uncle Craig basically followed Van #2 with the baby in tow so Teresa could nurse him as required.

Craig, Alex, Angie , Fred, Brian, Julie, Curtis, Chelsea, Dallin, Justin, Natalie, Teresa

I didn't want to freak Chelsea out too much so when she handed off to me next I picked her up and swung her around. I figured that would be less traumatizing that a kiss.

When I handed off to Alex next he was wearing a sombrero and greeted me with a kiss on the cheek. Apparently as I was out running they came across a garage sale. Alex picked up a sombrero.

And Angie picked up this weird beaded head covering. I'm not quite sure what she's doing here.

When Alex came in to hand off to Brian he was greeted with a bear hug. We were truly getting cozy on this run.

Brian picking up refreshments and cheers along his run.

And then the ultimate was the full on lip-lock between father and son.

We were racking up the kills.

Teresa coming out of the tunnel we all formed for her.

Early on our leg Justin was waiting for Brian to come in when he saw a man come in but he had no one greeting him. He then started yelling for "Brooke". Justin then went looking for Brooke. He was in a crowd of people yelling for Brooke when the girl next to him said, "I'm Brooke". Justin told her that her Dad was waiting for her on the exchange point. During the rest of the race we met up with Brooke and her family at least a dozen times and every time we did everyone yelled "BROOKE".

The funniest part was that in the evening, after the race was over we were in a buffet eating dinner and there was Brooke and her family.

This is a picture of some of us with Brooke.

Angie went in the porta pottie to do her thing when Brian thought it would be fun to trap her inside. She was quite concerned when she tried to exit the porta potti and the door wouldn't open.

These are some random pictures that I pulled off the Ragnar web site.

Here are coming across the finish line

Receiving my medal

Cheering our fearless leader Andrea with gratitude for all the work she did.

Go Team

Team Palmertoe

Celebrating at the end

Brian, Chelsea and Justin Palmer. Thank you for letting me run with your family.

Breakfast the next morning.

The Hash House has big servings of really good stuff.

Taste testing at the Coke Place on the strip.

And poor Justin had to go home to looking at this outside of his office window. Poor guy.

But he had a very cool medal.

We all wandered around the strip the next morning but Alex was hitching a ride home with Julie so they missed out on this cool roller coaster. Justin got yelled out for snapping this picture even though there was a big sign saying NO PICTURES. You can see Justin and myself in the front car holding our hands in the air. Chelsea is hidden behind Justin and Brian behind me.

Alex had too much excess energy so him and Julie went home and partied up a storm at some dance.
human beings can run farther than any other animal on earth