Friday, June 26, 2009

My Day with Brigg

I got to spend a whole day with my nephew Brigg in Logan. This is what we did:

We visited Utah State University

We swung on swings at Adam's Park

We went to the Logan Temple (my favorite) and this light was his favorite.

Then we went shopping...

And then we ordered pizza! He ate 2 pieces :).

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Best Run of My Life

Isn't it true that most normal human beings will, when given a bag of trail mix, pick out their favorite nut or non nut. Or when given a bag of starburst, choose the pink and red ones over the orange and yellow? I think we are a pick-outer kind of people. Yes I made that word up, get over it. Some people hate the idea of picking out the best stuff and leaving the gross stuff for everyone else. The way I figure it, those are just the slow people who don't get there in time to pick out what they want so they complain a lot.

I am definitely a pick-outer so to give you an idea of what it was like to run the Wasatch Back, I'm going to pick out the best stuff.

On my first leg, the best part was passing the guy in the yellow shirt. Ashley (one of my New Zealand friends) pointed him out to me before I started. He left a few minutes before me and I didn't think I'd be able to catch him. Well, I did. I passed him about 10 feet before we were to exchange our baton (a slap wrist bracelet) to the next runner. VICTORY!

On my second leg the best part was passing a guy who passed me about 2 miles before. That means I had more endurance to keep my same pace (or get faster) over time, and he didn't. When you pass someone it's called a road kill. I think this one was especially sweet because he had passed me before. I wanted to yell: YOU SHALL NOT PASS, but I didn't of course because I was worried he'd mistake me for Gandolf or something.

On my third leg my favorite part was the young boy who was practically bouncing off the walls saying this was the best run of his life. He was helping me have a better attitude because I was pretty tired on this last run. He was probably 15 years old and was faster than me which kind of hurt my pride, but we ran neck and neck for a minute and he had such a great demeanor about him. Thanks buddy. My next favorite part about leg 3 was FINISHING.

Overall favorite part: our whole team picture at the very end of the race. I loved being on a team and we weren't ever all together until that last moment. My next overall favorite part was that this race kicked my butt. It was hard, and I am SORE, and now I feel like I can do anything because I did this. I love running- how can I describe the way I feel about running? Running will never break up with me, or grow old, or expire. Isn't that comforting? :)

Some people do drugs, I just run.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Last But Not Least

Okay, last one. By the way, I'm going to hang these signs up on the team van as I run each leg (my sister was wondering).

Finally, after a lot of internal debating (kind of like internal bleeding, but less fatal) I picked a final contestant for Leg 3. Actually I picked the final contestants-plural- for Leg 3. Last year I spent 3 amazing months in Invercargill, New Zealand. We met a lot of incredible people and I could easily dedicate this last leg to every person I met in New Zealand, but that isn’t specific enough. I chose to dedicate Leg 3 to the faithful members of the Invercargill, New Zealand Branch. The Nau Nau’s, Setu’s, Ngahooro’s, Kawe-Small’s, Waivaru’s, Kerr’s, Bro. Bennett, and many others. A Branch is like a Ward (a geographical grouping of members of the LDS church) only smaller. Never in my life have I met people who had so little and yet were so happy. Some of the members couldn’t even read or speak very well, and yet every week they would diligently fulfill their callings to the best of their ability. I was touched by the faith of these people. My life will never be the same after my interaction with the members of the Invercargill Branch. They have probably already forgotten me, but I will never forget them. As I run my last leg I’ll be thinking of the many ways these people have changed my life.

Leg 3: 3.1 miles, flat, MY FINALE, for the members of the Invercargill, New Zealand Branch.

Leg Two

Next I thought of someone I knew in Jr. High and High School but who I haven’t seen in 3 years. He was in all my choir classes, and a few others, and we became great friends. He ran track in high school and was part of our high school's amazing 4X4 relay team. He was fast…way fast. I had a lot of friends on the track team mostly because of my association with this kid. His name is Chris Bringhurst. He has been telling me for YEARS that I should be a runner. One day we were on a bus for some reason and he said, “Abby, you have HUGE calves!” He assured me that was a compliment. I looked at him funny and told him I’m not sure that is the kind of compliment a girl wants to hear. He said that means I would make a good runner. Once, the track team slept over on my front lawn because they wanted to have a yard sale in a high traffic area. I live right on a busy road so they used our front lawn. His coach talked to my dad and found out he was a runner, and then I never heard the end of Chris and Coach Benson telling me I should be a runner. Well Chris, I’m finally a runner—so leg 2 is for you. I think he is in Ukraine on a mission right now, so I’ll have to send him a letter or something. If anyone reading this knows for sure where Chris is right now, tell me please!

Leg 2: 8.1 miles, gradual uphill, at about 1:30 AM; dedicated to Chris Bringhurst.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Leg Numero Uno

To clarify, the Wasatch Back is made up of 36 'legs'. Each of the 12 members on my team will run 3 legs total. I am not running 188 miles, I'm only running a total of 18.1.

It was easy to decide who I would dedicate my first and hardest leg to. Stephanie Santistevan—otherwise known by me (and a few others) as Stevie, and occasionally Stevo.

Stevie was my freshman roommate—I’ve mentioned her a few times before on my blog. She was a runner long before I ever decided to pick it up. Not only is she a runner, but she actually WINS races. Freshman year she ran the St. George marathon and won first place in her age division. And you can bet that wasn’t the last race she won. But that’s not why I think Stevie is a champion. This girl has faced some hard challenges in her life, but she always comes out victorious. She has this incredibly joyful attitude that lightens any situation. She is beautiful, smart, and super talented. I love being around her because she makes me feel important. When I feel like I have it rough, I always think of Stevie and all that she has conquered, and she gives me inspiration to push forward. She is in Belgium for an internship and then she’s going to hop on over to Italy to live and nanny there for a year or so—that is a dream she has had as long as I’ve known her and probably much longer.

Leg #1: 6.9 miles with a killer downhill (drop 1200 feet in 3 miles-mostly gravel), dedicated to Stevie.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I'm Not Just Running a Race

A woman who writes for the Deseret News and who also runs the Wasatch Back every year, wrote an article with a few tips for first time runners. The Wasatch Back is a 188 mile relay race from Logan to Park City. There are 12 members on my team and we’ll each run 3 times within a 24 hour period. They call each of your 3 runs “legs”. I’ll tell you more about the actual race after I run it on Friday and Saturday. This post is about one of the woman writers’ tips. She said she dedicated each of her 3 legs to a different person. She said it added to the fun of the race, because it is supposed to be fun, and it helped her push a little harder knowing she was running for someone else.

After reading the article I turned off my light, got under my covers, and instead of sleeping thought desperately about who I was going to dedicate my legs to. I have a lot of people in my family, and they inspire me on an almost hourly basis. I’ll spend the rest of my life being inspired by my family members so I decided not to choose family members. Besides, how could I pick just 3?

I want to share with everyone each of my 3 selections and a little background as to why I chose them (sorry Jenny and Mom and a few others who have already heard).To save you all from reading a novel in one sitting I’m going to post one a day for the next 3 days. So stay tuned! (This is all part of my ‘get psyched up’ plan.)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sometimes I go to New Mexico

I went to New Mexico this last week to visit my sister Sarah and her kids. Sarah's oldest daughter Kaitlyn just turned 8 years old. In the LDS church 8 is a pretty important birthday because it means you can be baptized into the church, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was really neat to be there for Kaitlyn's baptism.

Let me tell you a little about Sarah's life. I got there Tuesday night and then woke up Wednesday to tag along as they went about their normal routine. The girls have swim team at 8:00 AM, then they come home for a short break before they all go to swim lessons at 11:45 AM. Straight from swim lessons the girls go to Children's Music Theater practice for 3 hours while the two youngest go home to play and take a nap. After CMT they have about an hour to rest until dinner and then their dad comes home, they get ready for bed, have family scriptures, read Harry Potter or other stories for the little ones, and then finally lights out and they go to bed (theoretically). The next morning they start the whole thing all over again. I was EXHAUSTED after one day.

My parents and little brother drove down and got there Friday evening. We played kickball Saturday morning and then just sat around until the baptism. Sunday we went to Sacrament meeting and then drove home. I fell asleep to the melodious sound of dad cracking his sunflower seeds, eating the actual seed and then placing the shell in a cup. Over and over and over and over for 10 hours. When we got home we found my car and our Mazda parked on our front lawn instead of in their respective places at the side of the house and in the garage. We knew it could only be two people: Betsy and Russ. So I pretended like my ipod got stolen out of the car because it was parked on the front lawn and the automatic lock button doesn't always lock all 4 doors. I only kept up the lie for like a minute but it was still fun--I think I scared Betsy and Russ for at least 30 seconds.

Pictures of me and Kaitlyn--she has my curly hair and my huge gap in between her two front teeth. Many of you who haven't known me all my life don't know that I suffered a severe case of gapped teeth until I finally got braces in high school. I looked pretty much just like Kaitlyn.

I AM PECULIAR (this is a permanent post. If you have already read it, scroll down to see my latest)

Those of you who read my blog could probably make a list of all the reasons that you think I am a bit peculiar. No worries, I would be the first to shout an amen to everything you could think of. I know I’m peculiar; but let me tell you the number one thing on my list that I think makes me a peculiar person.

I know where I come from, why I am here and where I am going. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of you will know me as a “Mormon” although that is just a nickname. The word ‘Saint’ just means ‘member’ in this context. I believe in God the Eternal Father, that I am a daughter of God, and that He loves me and wants me to be happy. I believe in my Savior Jesus Christ who lived a perfect life, atoned for my sins, died and was resurrected all that I might enjoy the blessing of being forgiven of my sins, and having my body and spirit reunited after death. I know that just as God called prophets in the Old and New Testament times that He has in fact called a prophet to lead and guide us today. I believe that families can live together for eternity; death does not have to be the end of our relationships with the ones we love. Some of you may wonder how on earth I can know these things. As I learn more and more from the Bible and other scriptures and actually live what I learn I see the promises the Lord has made being fulfilled in my life, and I feel the Holy Spirit bear witness that these things are true.

I know, I’m peculiar, but thankfully there are over 13 million other peculiar members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and with each year that number grows. I feel so much joy and happiness in my life because of this knowledge. If you want to know more depth about anything I have said that makes me peculiar, visit This website explains in detail much of what I have just professed to believe and more.