Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Final Race

So last weekend was my final race of the year. I ran the Winter Sun 10K in Moab with my friend Ginger, and her friend Jess. There was absolutely NO sun like promised, and the temperature was somewhere in the teens. Not good when you have to wait at the starting line for a half hour plus. By the time the race started, I was numb all over. My legs seemed to be functioning on their own, and it took a good two miles before I could feel my feet again. I had taken a couple of weeks off from training, and only resumed the week of the race, so I wasn't sure how the outcome would be, but I'm always hoping for a PR. For the first little bit, I tried to take the whole experience in, knowing it was the final race of the year, and enjoyed the scenery despite the bitter cold. It didn't take long before I focused in on my running and trying to maintain as fast of a pace I could. I ended up crossing the finish line at 44:09, which is a new PR. I beat my old time by 1:07. I was pleased with that, and the only thing that would have made the year complete was a medal to go with it. Unfortunately I took 4th in my division, 20 seconds behind the 3rd place runner. That was hard to swallow. All in all, I've learned from each race, whether it be about myself, my capabilities, and tips for next time, it's been a great year and I look forward to making new goals and keep improving for next year.

After the race, we did a little bit of sight seeing, since it was our first trip to Moab. Above I'm climbing up a ladder that goes up through the rocks.

The night of the race, they have a light parade on main street. I felt like I was in "A Christmas Story". You can see Santa in the background.

The next day before we headed back home, Ginger and I took a trip into Arches National Park and did a little bit of hiking. Pictured above we are standing in front of Delicate Arch.

On the hike back down from Delicate Arch, I could resist having a little bit of fun on the trail and jumping over the rock cairns. What a great weekend.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Almost Win

Okay, maybe not a win, but I was 35 seconds off from medaling. Let's back up a little bit. For months I've been looking forward to the Malibu Half Marathon. Nothing beats running along the coast. My friend Kami joined me for the adventure for her first half marathon. Consistent training became very difficult for me as I travel a lot and ref college soccer throughout the fall. I was doing great juggling everything until the last few weeks leading up to the race. I never got a chance to get my track work or long runs in. It was still a good trip, but I would definitely do things differently next time. Anyhow, here's how it went.

Day 1:

We drove to Las Vegas and stayed at the Monte Carlo. It was a nice hotel, but we didn't really have time to enjoy the pool or anything. We ate dinner at the buffet, and I pretty much tried every dessert they had. Not really a good thing to do before a big race. We shopped at the outlets a little bit, walked to the Bellagio and around Caesar's Palace. Too exhausted to walk back, so we took a cab, and the cab driver grunted a lot. Gross.

Day 2:

Breakfast buffet. I'm not really a breakfast eater, so I lost money there. We made the drive to Teresa's to drop off our stuff and head to Malibu to pick up our race packet. It was windy and cold, so we didn't stay long. We then made the drive to Carson to the Home Depot Center to watch the LA Galaxy play the Houston Dynamo. Longest game EVER. A 30 minute late start, a 20 minute delay in each half due to a power outage, and 30 minutes of overtime. Aside from that, it was a fun game. Galaxy won 2-0, scoring a goal in each overtime period. Now I can say I was Beckham play.

Day 3:

Pho and shopping in old town Pasadena with Ami, Brandon, Teresa, and Easton, followed by New Moon for dinner. Not much else as we were prepping for our race the next morning.

Day 4:

Race day. It took the first few miles for me to feel like I was getting into a rhythm, and there actually ended up being more rolling hills that I had anticipated. No matter though, because that's where I crushed everybody. The past two half marathons I started to feel fatigued around mile 10, but that didn't happen until about mile 12.5. In that last half mile, I passed a girl, but then 2 passed me, bumping me to 6th place overall female. Only the top 5 get medals. I was SO close. I still set a personal record at 1:38.08, and placed 2nd in my division, 31st overall. It's all good numbers, and I beat my La Jolla time by 42 seconds, but I really wanted that medal.

Kami finished in 2:12. She did a great job for her first half, and a bad ankle. Afterwards, I surprisingly had a lot of energy... runner's high perhaps. I played in the ocean for a little bit, and we headed back to Teresa's. I crashed EARLY that night.

Day 5:

Trip over. Time to go home. We drove the entire way home, and I do not recommend that a day after a race. My legs weren't too sore until we spent the whole day driving. We stopped in Cedar City to eat dinner, and I could barely walk.

Here is my adventure...

This year has gone by so fast, and for once I feel like I've lived it to the fullest. I've done all these races for me, and it has been such a great experience as well as what I have accomplished. I have placed in the top 10 in my division of each race. I think 7th is the worst I've done. I can't be upset with that. My last race of the year is a 10K in two weeks. I hope I keep the tradition alive and end the year with another medal.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just... A Couple Of Road Trips

Ok, so a bit of air AND road trips. First trip... University of Wyoming vs. San Diego State.

After a quick-ish flight into Denver, it took over an hour just to get my rental car, which meant very little exploring time on my drive to Laramie, WY. I lucked out with decent weather and no overtime. After a scoreless first half, SDSU put a goal away early in the second half, and added an insurance goal with just minutes remaining. The game was pretty easy, and I got out of there quick to catch my return flight to SLC. I felt like all I did was rush from place to place this trip.

Next up... New Mexico State vs. Hawaii. I had to fly into El Paso, TX the night before. That was a long trip as I had to change planes in Phoenix. This, I believe, was my first trip to Texas. Too bad I had to spend it alone. I checked into my hotel, worked out in the gym for about a half hour, and had the intent to check out the town, but just decided to get food and some snacks instead, and order pay per view in my room.

The next morning, I made the drive to Las Cruces, NM for the game. NMSU has the WORST fans I have ever had to listen to. Some old guy was heckling me from the very beginning, and since they played in the football stadium, voices carried. A couple of time, when he said something ridiculous, I made subtle gestures up to him, like brushing my shoulders to say his words don't bother me. He then proceeded to threaten me. I laughed, and kept on ignoring him. Again, we had a scoreless first half, and then NMSU scored with about 8 minutes left. Hawaii, I thought, was the better team, and definitely had more class, and were attacking the Wyoming goal when an idiot defender decided to push the Hawaii attacker in the back just outside the 18. Of course, they didn't like my call, but it was the correct call and Hawaii ended up scoring on the free kick to tie up the game with just a few minutes remaining.

OVERTIME! I was once again harassed by the old guy in the stands as regulation ended. He said "you stink"... I sniffed my armpits, and looked up at him and shook my head, raising my hands as if to say "no I don't", and I brushed him off again. About 7 minutes into the first overtime, I had to call a penalty kick against Hawaii, and that's how New Mexico won. Too bad for Hawaii. The better team doesn't always win.

On the way back to El Paso to catch my flight, I was lucky enough to hit the Nike outlet. The trip wasn't a total wash. :) It was a long trip back home, and Monday morning came way too quickly. My tough travel week was done, and now I only have one more match left of the season. I travel to the bay area on Saturday, November 7th to ref at St. Mary's. I can't wait to be done.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Medals and PR's

Since AJ did so well at the Top Of Utah 5K, I immediately looked online for another local 5K. I came across the Ribbon Run, which was my FIRST 5K with Jaycson 6 years ago. It was cheap, every finisher received a medal, it was in October, and of course it was for a good cause... keeping kids off drugs. It didn't take long to see why it was so cheap. NO chip timing, and NO prizes for placing in your age division. That's not how it was 6 years ago. We had chip timing, I placed first, and Jaycson placed second. Big disappointment...

Well... the day wasn't off to a great start. Miscommunication between Tony and myself led to a frantic scramble to get AJ there on time. I've learned my lesson, and from now on will just plan on taking care of AJ on race day. They managed to get there in time, with barely any time to warm up. AJ and I headed over to the start line, in great position so we don't get stuck behind anyone. Of course people are very inconsiderate, and a group camped out right in front of us, squeezing us back behind them. I wasn't too happy. THEN... I sort of got in a fight before the race started. If you look in the picture below, the major TOOL that was fighting with me is the guy in the blue adidas warmup just over my right shoulder.

Here's what happened. After being cut off by that group (the guy in the yellow jacket), that guy in the blue warmup ALSO weaseled his way right in front of AJ. I didn't say a word, but often it's expressed all over my face. I'm sure I shot him a dirty look (ok, I KNOW I did... he made me mad), and the guy freaked out, even calling me out by name. I have no idea who this guy is, but apparently I'm popular. If anyone knows me, I'm not going to back down to anyone. I gave it right back to him, saying "Dude... you just cut off a little kid." We shared a few more words, and NO, I didn't curse him out, ha ha. No matter, cause the race was about to start, and AJ and I were going to leave him in the dust... and... we did.

AJ did great, and my one regret with his training was that I hadn't introduced him to hill training just yet. The first 1/4 mile of the race was on a slight incline, and AJ was quick to comment on it. I AM happy, however, that I did track work with him a couple of weeks ago. I made him alternate easy 400's and fast 400's for a total of 8. I think that made him mentally tougher, because they are HARD, and he was pushing it hard in this race. With all the hard work AJ put in, he was able to finish the 5K in 24:27. Of course the time isn't official, because it wasn't chip timed, but I crossed at 24:23, and he was just seconds behind me. That is roughly a 7:52 minute mile. Pretty dang good for a 7 year-old. I'm so sad that winter is approaching and there aren't many more races I can do with him. I want to take him to a serious race, where he can collect some hardware. I'm hoping we can squeeze another race in before it's full blown winter.

Keep your eye on this kid. He's gonna make headlines when he gets a little older. I'm glad I can share these little things with my nephew. You make me proud buddy.

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Six Painful Games

Last weekend was my long weekend of 6 games in 3 days, in Rock Springs, Wyoming, or as I like to call it "The Hills Have Eyes Town". THANKFULLY Tony and Kimball came along to keep me company. The day was off to an early and not so good start as we tried to leave around 6:00 a.m. Little did I know that Leaving my lights on for 5 minutes would completely drain my battery, and Tony had to jump my car from the get go. We made it to Evanston with no trouble, and decided to eat breakfast and switch drivers there. I have to say... it was the NICEST McDonald's I have ever been in. Even the bathrooms had flat screen TVs, and it was a really clean establishment. Kimball liked the saddle chairs and pretended he was riding a bronco.

Unfortunately, my car battery had not recharged at all, and we required ANOTHER jump in Evanston. When we got to Rock Springs, Tony dropped me off at the field, and was kind enough to take my car to Wal-Mart to get a new battery.

It was a long day, but I got half my ref load over with. 3 games in one day, and I managed to get under one of the players skin from Western Wyoming Community College Men's Team. If you're gonna talk smack, I'm gonna put you in your place, that's all I'm gonna say.

We ate dinner, and Tony and I turned into big nerds as we sat in the room on our computers, as poor Kimball had to find his own entertainment, which was setting up a trap on the chain lock to the door.

Saturday was almost as painful, but not quite as bad since we only had 2 games to ref. Afterward, we went to the park and played with Kimball. He said that was his favorite part of the whole trip.

Luckily that night we went out to eat at Applebee's as my poor stomach couldn't take anymore fast food. I'm not used to eating at fast food restaurants, and it was starting to create some serious "family problems". When we got back to our room, Tony had a "brilliant" idea of getting Kimball all wired up on sugar so he'd crash hard and go to sleep early. Not only did Tony's plan backfire, but it seemed to create a bit of rage with Kimball. It was hilarious at times, though, and it brought about Kimball's funniest quote of the trip.

Tony: "Hey Kimball, do you wanna go swimming?"

It was actually only 10:00, but I'm sure it felt like the middle of the night. Tony ended up taking Kimball out for a quick jog outside, cause the kid couldn't sit still.

Kimball watching "The Iron Giant"

Sunday there was only one game left, and of course, it was freezing and the storm decided to hit right at game time. Now I normally DON'T do this, which is wear pants when I ref, but I was just a linesman, and it was not worth it to freeze. I put my windbreaker AND my jacket underneath my uniform, and I'm sure I looked like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, but I did not care. It was fun to have Kimball run up and down the field with me for a little bit, until the snow REALLY started coming down. I had to have my back to the field at times, because the wind was blowing the snow hard in my face and it HURT. When halftime came, the Wyoming team didn't want to play anymore, so we got to leave. WAHOO!!!

I don't think I want to go back next year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Crazy Nephew

So last Saturday was the Top of Utah marathon and 5K. I've been trying to get everyone and anyone to come join me in the local fun. Well... one of my recruits was my 7 year-old nephew AJ. We did some training over the past few weeks, but due to my crazy schedule, I wasn't able to train AJ as much as I would have liked. It really didn't seem to matter, because the kid is a natural!

Right after the gun went off, my friend Kami, AJ, and I took off at a pretty good pace. I'd look over to AJ, and his little legs were just a pumpin'. I was slightly worried, but figured I'd just keep pushing him until he couldn't push hard anymore. After a couple of minutes, I leaned down to him, and told him about a little game we were going to play. I told him when I point to someone that is ahead of us, that is our next target to pass. About 1.5 miles out, I pointed to a kid about 50 yards ahead of us, and asked AJ if he thought he could "take" that kid. He said "yeah" in a surely manner, and the kid became our next victim. As soon as we passed the kid, I noticed he had sped up to try and pass AJ back. AJ, on the other hand was not about to lose his lead. He too picked up his pace so the kid couldn't get by him. He is a true Yeates. I watched as the two of them battled it out for a good quarter of a mile, and then I guess the kid gave up, because he seemed to disappear. I finished at the 26:12 mark, and AJ was only 2 seconds behind me as we sprinted in to the finish line. I took second in my division without even trying, which was awesome, and AJ placed first in the 11 and under division by NINE minutes. I'm still so impressed by the kid.

So AJ seems to have a bit of the running bug, and I don't mind taking a race here and there a little easy to run with him and keep him improving. I've already got us signed up for the Ribbon Run on October 10th in Hyde Park. I'm tailoring a program for him to go for a PR.

My friend Kami Essig also set a PR for the race, and finished 4th in her division. She is also set to run the Inaugural Malibu Half Marathon in November with me. I can't wait for that one. I am hoping for a PR in that race. As of right now, we have 52 more days to train. The TOU 5K was just the motivation I needed to get back on track. Since college soccer started, my body has felt pretty worn down, and it's been hard to stay motivated in my training program, but this week I am 3 for 3, and am gaining momentum. I'M BACK!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Full Plate

The busy season has officially started. I am currently coaching Emily Ty's U10 soccer team, which have been making tremendous progress. I have already reffed 4 college games, with 2 tough games four days apart, both going to double overtime. 90 minutes alone wreak havoc on my hamstrings, but 110? That's just 20 extra minutes of sprinting, not to mention the toll traveling takes on the body. On top of college, I have decided to start my own business so to speak. SLY F.I.T. Fitness Individualized Training. I feel like I've been successful with my own training, I've been helping friends and co-workers, and have finally ordered the course materials to be certified.

Unwinding on top of the Stratosphere after a tough game at UNLV

Why I decided to pile everything on during my busiest time of year? I couldn't tell you, other than I guess it's best to not let an idea or dream get cold, so I'm going for it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Monster Project

So for the past couple of weeks I have taken on a monster of a project. I have been searching through all of my negatives from the past, and taking them into the photo place to get digitized and put onto discs. So far I have over 4,500 images to catalog and organize. I then plan on making a highlight photo book for each year. It is SO time consuming, but I know in the long run, it will be completely worth the time and money spent. It is amazing to look back and see how everyone has changed. Here are a few of my memories.

Baby Fallon in 1993.

Zip-lining at Lake Powell in 1996.

Hawaii with Chris in 1998.

More Lake Powell with my big bro in 1998.

Shooting guns with Cory & Rita in 1999.

My trip to Mexico with my friends in 2000.

Camping in Island Park with Tony & Melissa, and Kimmie & Bryce in 2001

Delivering the most amazing speech of the night at Teresa and Mitch's wedding in 2002.

Flying an airplane in 2003

My first 5K with Jaycson in 2003

A Hawaiian Adventure in 2004

It's been great going down memory lane, and makes me more excited to continue making memories. So everyone... pick up your camera and take some pictures TODAY!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Nature Filled Weekend

What... a weekend. My good friend Katie convinced me to run a half marathon up in Ashton, Idaho where she now lives. I... of course, thought it sounded like fun... up until the 10th mile, anyway. I drove up on a Friday afternoon, and we checked out the course and did a little bit of site-seeing. Afterwards, I made a special "pot sticker" dinner, and spent the rest of the night catching up.

The race went pretty well, the first 3 miles was on a trail, which I'm sure slowed me down a bit when I got caught up behind slow people. At mile 2, I decided it was time to keep track of my "kills" of the female variety. I ended the race at a +19. It was also great to have Steve, Katie, and the kids, Abi & Evan (Ed) to cheer me on along the way, and they even made a clever little sign. Of all the nights, the night before, the smoke detectors decided to go off on three separate occasions, waking up the entire house.

The first 8 miles were a piece of cake, and around mile 10, I was starting to wish it was over. I kept going strong, and finished with a 1:43:14 time and third in my division. It's amazing how not playing soccer has affected my speed. All in all, I'm pretty proud of my accomplishments this year. Each race I have entered, I have at least placed in the top 10 in my division. I'm hoping to keep that streak going.

After the race and the medal ceremony, we packed in as much as we could before I had to leave the next day. Check out my Mesa Falls Adventures in my newest movie.

Thanks again Katie and Steve for an awesome weekend. No more letting 4 years go by before our next adventure!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Battles Of A Runner

"You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your face." - Gatorade Ad

Totally surprised I didn't burst into flames... it's good to be DONE!

No matter what you do, or what sport you play, everyone faces their own battles. I often wonder what other runners are thinking and what their challenges are. During my last race on Pioneer Day, which was a 10K, I thought a lot about those battles I faced.

TRAINING: I only had a week and a half to train for a 6.2 mile run after 3 weeks off due to a knee injury, and finally a cortisone injection to get it back and functional again. If anyone knows me, I train hard for optimal performance.

DISCIPLINE: It takes discipline to keep a training schedule and stick to it. There are days where I'm tired, but no matter what, I push through my workouts with everything I have.

HEAT: There are so many levels of heat. First, I feel that training in the middle of the day, in the heat makes me work harder, so I opt to run during my lunch break. During my 10K, I noticed another level of heat that I face. My race pace pushes my body so hard that even at 8:00 in the morning, I can feel my body temperature rise so high that I feel like my shirt is suffocating me. If I can get my midsection some fresh air, I tend to do better. Then, there's the dry mouth heat, that you feel like you're going to die if you don't get a few ounces of liquids in your body, or poured over your head.

PAIN: There are so many types of pain. The pain in your legs that turns them to jello, but you keep going anyway. Physical pain, such as blisters from miles and miles of rubbing. The worst kind of pain, is the pain in your gut, just under your rib cage beneath the xyphoid process. It's the pain where you can't decide if you are going to hyperventilate or throw up. But again, you keep going.

MIND GAMES: There comes a point where I feel like my mind has split into two. One second, it will tell my body... "It's okay to walk." NO.. it's not okay, for me, and I have to quickly snap back to reality before my body catches wind of the suggestion. It's easy to give in, and I in fact did during that race while going up "Goliath Hill". I will say I was disappointed in myself for that, which leads me to the final and most crucial battle I face.

COMPETOREXIA: Yes, I made up this disorder, but it makes total sense to me. I am SO competitive that no matter how well I do, it's not quite good enough for me. I guess you can call it being hard on myself, and I have no idea where to draw that line. I finished the 10K in 46:26. Not a bad time, with all things considering. 1- I am coming off an injury, 2- it's still a sub 8 pace, and 3- I placed in my division. As a competorexic, this is what I see... 1- injury or not, I should be better, 2- I didn't set a personal record (PR), 3- I placed SECOND, not first. After each race I've run, I have received so many compliments on how great my stride is, or how well I tackle hills, or how someone has tried to catch up to me, but just couldn't. I am so bad at receiving compliments, and in my mind, I can't help but think of the things I should have done better.

My second place medal

My new goal is to try and find a good balance and learn to be proud of my own accomplishments. I have another half marathon coming up on Saturday in Ashton, Idaho, and I really want to take it easy, because let's face it... Races HURT. But then my competorexia kicks in, and I want to at least win my division. I'm still torn on how hard I want to run, but chances are... I'm going to kill myself. Wish me luck.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Favorite Holiday

My favorite holiday has always been the 4th of July.  When I was younger, the whole family would always gather at my grandparents' house, which was just across the street from where I grew up.  We would all go to the Hyrum parade, and hang out at Grandma's afterward for a BBQ.  Grandpa used to put up their volleyball net and we would play all afternoon until the annual water fight would break out.  On the way home from the Brigham City fireworks, Tony and I both were telling Melissa about the same 4th of July memory, when we watched the movie "Watcher In The Woods".  That memory had always stood out to me, I'm not sure why, and thought it was funny when Tony brought it up as well.  

Hyrum Parade 1974

As we've been getting older, we've starting making our own traditions, but keeping the important ones intact.  Tony and I now run the Freedom Run 15K every year before the parade, which starts at the hydro plant up Blacksmith Fork Canyon, and goes all the way down the the square (Lincoln Elementary) in Hyrum.  This year I was a bit devastated.  Because of my injuries, I was unable to run, so in order to still be a part of the tradition, I biked it while Tony ran.  To make things more memorable, AJ and Emily Ty biked it with me.  The kids did great, even though at times they were painfully slow, but it was a joy to have their company.  I hope this is a memory they will always carry with them.

Things aren't quite what they used to be, as family has dwindled off and gone their separate ways, but no matter what, I will always carry those memories with me, and vow to continue to make many many more.  I'm thankful for those who fought for our country and for our freedom.  I'm thankful for my siblings and the bond we have, no matter how strange it can be... we keep each other sane.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Ragnar Challenge

RAGNAR RELAY WASATCH BACK 2009:  What an experience!  I'm so glad I was able to be a part of it all.  Here's the rundown of how it all went.

VAN-MATES:  Neil, Taylor, Jamie, Kami, Sara, Sly, Ali, MaryAnn, & Sue (taking the pic).  We were the all-stars of our team, and it was great making new friends.  We definitely had a great time cheering each other on and making each other laugh.  Kami was runner 7, Jamie runner 8, Sara runner 9, Taylor runner 10 (he had the "Ragnar"), I was runner 11, and Neil was runner 12.  Ali was bike support, MaryAnne was driver, and Sue was all-round support.

THE WORST OF RAGNAR:  Not being able to compete 100%.  I injured my upper back pretty seriously 4 days prior to the race.  That meant I had limited trunk rotation, so I couldn't get a full arm swing in, but what was worse was I could only use about 1/3 of my lung capacity as it KILLED to breath deeply.  That totally messed with my stride, pace, pretty much everything, not to mention the shoulder and trap pain I had due to guarding.  I had to drug up on schedule in order to endure the run and the car ride.  On top of all that, it's allergy season which meant I would have bouts of sneezing fits, which was also painful.

THE BEST OF RAGNAR:  I've listed my top 5 best memories of the race below.

#1 - The "one mile to go" marker.  It was the best feeling to see that marker, although I think either that was the longest mile EVER, or they lied to us and there was actually 2 miles to go.  Either way, it meant there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that was comforting.

#2 - Meeting up with Tony.  Unfortunately, my brother was on a different team "The Slowskys", but we kept in good contact via text messaging, and were able to see each other at a few of the exchanges.  His encouragement definitely kept me in it.  Especially the text he sent me to "suck it up" when I asked how to  treat a blister.  What great advice.  Ha ha.

#3 - The cheering.  It was such a comfort and a nice break when I saw our van and everyone cheering me on as I ran.  It wasn't just limited to our van either.  Everyone cheered everyone on.  It was such a great atmosphere.  Along with the cheering, came our little +/- game.  We would get a point for every person we passed, and lose a point for every person that passed us.  It kept things competitive for us, and made us work harder.

#4 - Ending my first run and realizing that I CAN do this, injured and all.  One of the funniest moments was when I slapped the bracelet on Neil, and he just stood there instead of taking off.  I was wondering if he was wanting a good luck hug or something.  I just slapped him on the back, and said... "Let's go Neil."

#5 - Spending time with my friends Kami & Neil.  There's no better bonding experience than something as challenging as this.

MY FIRST LEG:  3.8 miles - Very Hard.  So my first leg was basically 3 or so miles straight uphill, then straight downhill the rest of the way.  I was able to go a good 7 minutes before I had to walk.  I guess not too bad for doing absolutely nothing but recovering for the 4 days prior.  I then worked out a good system of running the length of 2 cones, and walking 1 during the rest of the uphill stretch.  I began my leg Friday at 3:30 p.m. and finished in :38.  One girl thought she had me as she passed me during my "walk" portion, but in my head I was saying... "Just wait til I reach that cone... then you're mine!"  And... she was.  I owned her immediately.  I finished with a +6.

MY MIDNIGHT LEG:  7.3 miles - Hard.  This was one of my favorite legs of the race.  It had slight up hills, slight downhills, but was relatively flat.  I had never run with a head lamp, or reflective vest, but it was fun, and I was glad I was prepared with a headband, because apparently the head lamp kept slipping off everyone's head, but I had no trouble.  My ran began at 1:49 a.m. Saturday morning, and it was a 7.3 miler.  I was nervous about the distance, but at about mile 3, I finally figured out a pace I could deal with and get enough oxygen for the longer distance.  The weather was perfect, and the run was peaceful.  Unfortunately by changing my running stride, I started to develop a blister under the arch of my right foot at around mile 5.5, and I was starting to die.  I kept on and dealt with it and finished in 1:05.  I finished at a -2 for this leg.  One of those was because I had to re-tie my freakin' shoe twice.  I was SO annoyed!

THE FINAL LEG:  7.3 miles - Very Hard.  My last leg was 7.3 miles, mostly downhill with bits of uphill.  That was a challenge as the bounce didn't feel too good on the back or the knee, and it rained for most of my leg.  I was worried about my blister I acquired the night before, but good thing I have good instincts as I drained it and put vaseline on it before I ran, and followed Tony's advice of "sucking it up", and it didn't bother me at all during my run.  I started my leg around 10:55 a.m. Saturday morning, and it took me 1:11 to finish.  I finished at a -10 for this leg, which put me at -4 overall.  I guess considering, that wasn't a bad score.  I was still proud that I finished strong, and boy did it feel good to be done.  18.4 total miles in less than 24 hours!

THE FINISH LINE:  Not exactly what we had pictured.  Normally, the entire team runs together for a short distance across the finish line.  Well... Neil had the last leg, and took off like a bandit.  Unfortunately, the race bible didn't have directions to the finish line for the van people, so we were lost for 40 minutes and Neil crossed without us.  We eventually met up with him and van 1 for a final "Team On 3" pic with our medals.  We finished 122 overall and 84th in our division with a final time of 28:55:38.  If only I was 100% I'm sure I could have shaved 30-45 minutes off of our time.  It was a great first experience, and can't wait to do it again next year.  There's even talk of doing the Ragnar Relay Las Vegas October 9-10th.

THE RETURN:  It was nice to be home and take a nice hot shower and be clean again, but the best surprise of all was the awesome sign and balloons that greeted me on my front porch, left by Melissa and the kids.  It made all my "van-mates" jealous.  It's nice to feel loved.  :)

I now have 2 weeks to heal and prepare for the Freedom Run 15K.  This is Tony and my 4th of July new tradition.  This will be our third year competing.  I'm hoping for another PR.  Wish us luck!