Heslop Family Reunion 2013

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The last week in July my mom’s side of the family, the Heslops, all gathered in Moses Lake, WA at the farmhouse for a reunion. Kelli, Tanner and I drove up late Thursday night. We woke up to the sound of four wheeler engines and Tanner immediately had to get on and go for a ride with grandpa.

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We explored around the farm house, reminiscing about all the memories we had from years ago. I found the concrete imprint of my mom’s hand when she was 10 years old and they poured their driveway. My hand is exactly the same size as my mom’s 10 year old hand.

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We did a little white washing. It was fun to get to see my Uncle Brent and get to know him better.

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After white washing in the sun it got so hot we headed up to Lybbert’s pond to swim. I love swimming in that pond. It feels cleaner to me than any pool and with a rope swing, diving board and raft, it’s much more fun!

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We all wore matching shirts on Saturday with a John Deere tractor because that is what helped all the farm work get done all the years my grandparents farmed.

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Saturday morning we had to get out the guns and go shooting. Any excuse for my dad to try out his guns.🙂 I knocked down two targets at once! I wish I could say it was because I’m such a crack shot. I don’t even know how it happened, but everyone was impressed.

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Ryan took his turn and so did Uncle Robert. You can tell that Robert had been there a few times — he hit a target every time he shot!

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I learned how to drive a four wheeler for the first time. And I pretty much fell in love. It was so beautiful out there driving along the canals and fields.

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Kelli took Tanner on a ride to see some tractors hanging out in a shed — and he was in heaven!! We wanted him to pose for this picture to recreate one like his dad has.

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That was the best we got because then he was off exploring all the other tractors around!

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If I get a chance I’ll have to upload the video of Tanner looking at the tractors.

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On the way back to the house Kelli ran her four wheeler out of gas because she has such a lead foot. So I took Tanner back and luckily the four wheeler my mom was driving had a rope on it to tow her back. You can never take that girl anywhere.

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I didn’t get Orlene in the picture, but these are the Heslop kids just eating some Strawberry Yum Yum one afternoon.

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Tanner missed his dad, so he had to talk to him on the phone. Just like a little adult.

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And the reason we all got together was to visit my Grandma. We had a delicious dinner at Chicos pizza in Moses Lake where several of the old farm hands came and told stories about working on the farm and we all got a little John Deere to keep.

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I love being in the country. The last morning, this is the sunrise I saw as we were packing up everything to head back to real life. I’m so glad I went!

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Mom’s Surprise Weekend a.k.a. Memorial Day

When my dad called and wanted to do something extra special for my mom’s big birthday this year (50!), I was completely on board.

He ended up buying them all plane tickets to fly down here to spend the weekend with me and Ty, Kelli and Tanner in Utah.

What they didn’t know was that we had convinced Cody to drive down from Wyoming too, so it everyone but Kyrk (on a mission) was able to make it.

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We had a blast.

Ty and Kelli just moved to Fairvew, UT where Tanner has fallen in love with the wildlife. As long as they are behind a fence and he doesn’t have to touch them.

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Cody put his professional tree trimming skills to work and took down a half tree in the Taylor’s front yard.

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We made Tanner a house out of the empty boxes from the move.

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We surprised my mom with another surprise party for her birthday on Saturday at my house in Provo. I invited all the family close and two of my parents close friends to come down. Both the Buyers (friends from the Navy) and the Andersons (friends from the good ol’ days) came down along with the other Taylor family and cousins. It was awesome because she had no idea and we had PLENTY of food.

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Played frisbee golf in the park… got sunburnt… and mosquito bites, but it was fun in the moment!

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We took a tour of the new office where Ty’s company is moving. And took a ride around the warehouse.

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There is a large part of my heart that loves the country.

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Did a lot of relaxing in our PJs.

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Tried to get Tanner to try bouldering.

All-in-all, a great weekend. My momma deserved such a long celebration of her birth! Love you, Mom!

Ragnar Trail Relay Zion 2013

Ragnar Trail Relay Zion 2013

Back when my new friend Brenda asked me to be on her Ragnar team I thought I was crazy, I had been running only sporadically after my marathon (all that training made me hate having a schedule to follow!) and I didn’t really know her or anyone else on the team. In fact, I only knew that she and one other girl in my ward were going to be on it. So I went into this weekend knowing that at least 5 people were going to be complete strangers and we would be spending 72 hours together.

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But Zion National Park is so pretty. And I love running and the feeling of community at a race, so I went ahead and said yes.

I’m so glad I did. I’m going to say this right now, if you get an opportunity to do a relay race with a team — DO IT.

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We made team t-shirts for everyone that turned out great. Really time consuming, but they were CHEAP and looked awesome.

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We headed out early Friday morning, April 26, 2013, after loading everyone’s camping gear into Brenda’s truck. We made pretty good time so we stopped for lunch.

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From left to right, Becca, me, Cathy and Brenda.

We stayed just a little too long at lunch and so we had to book it down to the campsite so our team could get checked in and our first runner could change and we could make our start time.

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When we got to the campsite there was a NEVER ending line of trucks and vehicles parked along the road with their occupants all waiting for the shuttle to take them in to the campsite. We sent our first runner on one of the shuttles and we dug through the truck (this picture is me trying to find something in the coolers in the back of the truck without unloading it.)

After a good half hour wait or more we loaded everything on to a shuttle and then perched precariously on top of the stuff and drove in.

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Then we had to carry everything we brought to our campsite which was not close to the dump site. And we brought a LOT of stuff.

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We set up three tents, one for gear and two for sleeping. We were all strangers before, but we aren’t anymore.

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We each ran the same three legs, but we had a rotation all figured out so we knew who was running when. I asked to run the longest leg first because I had basically NO training for this race and I wanted to make sure I would be able to finish my third leg.

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So my first leg was the 7.5 mile loop. It was long and it was SANDY. I felt like I was running on a beach. My calves could not handle it, and I got a bunch of sand in my shoes and got blisters. 5 of them.

Luckily on this leg they had a water station a few miles out and that saved me because I ran in 80 degree weather at 4 in the afternoon.

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The loop felt like it would never end and there were no mile markers so you had NO idea how much farther you had to go. But it did have some pretty views.

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Like I said, my feet were sandy.

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My friend Cathy from the ward was the other person I really knew before this trip. I knew I liked her but I didn’t know how cool she was until after this trip. She was the runner immediately before me so every time she finished I took off running. Which also meant that our schedules were fairly similar.

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As the sun started to go down it started to get chilly but I wanted to stay awake until after my second leg which ended up starting at midnight, almost on the dot.

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Every body tried to stay fueled up and loose throughout the night. It was weird to be eating such random times and things. We were all sweaty and just stayed in our running clothes for 24 hours.

I ran the 4 mile leg at midnight. It was my first time running at night with a headlamp and it took me a while to get the position figured out. You don’t want the light too far out in front or you forget what the terrain right in front of you looks like, but too close and you end up running a lot more slowly because you don’t want to run past what you know. I’m sure there were a bunch of gospel principles I could have been thinking about on this hike… but all I could think about was the fact that I was literally running to the top of the mountain. This leg gained 400 feet in a mile. It was so steep. So steep.

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I came back and tried to sleep but couldn’t get to sleep because my lungs were so cold from running at night so I ended up sleeping for about three hours. I woke up and really enjoyed the sunrise. This is the finish line and the place where every leg ended and you exchanged with your next runner. Really cool arch.

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The campsite was so crowded but it got surprisingly quiet at night. I guess that’s the beauty of having everyone around needing to get up and be running too!

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I ran my last leg pretty early in the morning and I really like it, but I was tired. I think I’d like to run that trail again on fresh legs and see how it goes. The end of all three trails converged for the last half mile up switchbacks. Seriously so steep and narrow, it was difficult to find a way to pass people without feeling like you were going to slide down the mountain.

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When our last runner finished his leg we were all there waiting to cheer him on in our team shirts and we ran across the finish line together. They gave us our medals and we took team pictures.

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We finished in just barely under 24 hours of running.

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We all took showers and cleaned up and then drove through Zion National Park to go to Springdale for a celebration dinner. It was delicious and felt so good to sit down somewhere clean. I love camping, but I also love being clean.

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Because we had the campsite already paid for we stayed Saturday night too. We got up and made breakfast, packed up camp and went to church. After church we went on a little walk hike to the Emerald Pools.

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It was really pretty but my blisters were complaining the entire time! I was really glad to get in the truck and head out and back to civilization.

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Valentines and Vegas

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We had a lot of fun celebrating Valentine’s Day this year. We took a note out of Leslie Nope’s notebook and did our very own Galentine’s Dinner. It was a blast!

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So much good food when it’s all girls getting together. I was STUFFED by the time the night was over.

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We also decided to get a group of girls together and go to Vegas. We borrowed Jess’ parents minivan so we could have one party bus for all 7 girls. It was awesome.

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We stayed in St. George on Friday night at Janeen’s house, slept in some, worked out and then headed out for some lunch. (Left to Right: Jennifer (my roommate), Jessica (my roommate) and me.)

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From left to right: Katie with the sunglasses, Jill in the yellow, Janeen in maroon and Katie in the stripes. These girls are some of my favorite girls in the world right now. We were in the same ward last year and this year we just get to hang out all the time.

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We decided to make this a classy, cheap trip so we all stayed in one room at the Stratosphere. That’s right, 7 girls in one hotel room. We got cozy.

It made it awesome though because we could stay up until all hours of the night and no one had to leave to get to their room.

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We had to eat at Serendipity on the strip!

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And of course we had to try their frozen hot chocolate.

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It was delicious. Weirdly tasted nothing like a chocolate shake and exactly like the name says, frozen hot chocolate.

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We did the typical Vegas things, walking the strip, enjoying the fountain show at the Bellagio, and hitting up M&M World. Those are the most expensive M&M’s you’ll every buy. I promise.

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Who wouldn’t take a photo trying to be an M&M character? Who do you think represented theirs best!?

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We saw an awesome variety show where some incredible gymnasts did feats of strength I cannot comprehend. And believe me, we tried them.

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Such a fun, fun weekend with great girls. Sometimes, I love my life.

Christmas 2012

I’m only 3 months behind on blogging. I feel like I’ve really accomplished something with my life.

The Christmas season starts off planning the annual LinkTrust Holiday Jubilee.

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We work hard to make this party awesome. This year we had a movie theme and did these cool baskets as party favors for each employee.

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We also did an awards show, reminiscent of the Oscars, but much more funny because all of the presenters and awards were inside jokes. These are the two owners of our company receiving their lifetime achievement award.

The party was a blast and it really kicked off the season.

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the plethora of treats that everyone makes only around that time of year. My roommates and I decided that this year we were going to give it a try and make some of our own treats.

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My first try at almond roca did not turn out so well.

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So we moved on to soft caramels, fudge and butterscotch fudge. They were all successes, and delicious. That butterscotch fudge had ORANGE zest in it. Delicious. If you couldn’t tell, fudge is one of my absolute favorite treats.

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I got back on the horse (after going to the store for more butter) and re-did almond roca. This time it totally turned out. I figured out that you just can’t stir it too much or you break the sugar apart.

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Making good use of our treadmill, we put all the treats together that night. The next couple of days we delivered them to visiting teachees and friends.

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Then my family drove down! I tried to think of fun things for us to eat and I saw these little penguins on Pinterest. So we made them! They were easy and fun, and pretty tasty too!

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Christmas Eve we read the Christmas story, no re-enactment this year with the kids being just Ryan and me.

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Christmas morning was great, we got to talk to Kyrk on his mission in San Antonio, Texas. We got to skype with Cody and Ty and Kelli.

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I know my house is not the most comfortable for guests, but I loved having my family here. It was so much fun to hang out and relax, eat good food and just be lazy together. Especially my dad. He’s so great and when we’re at their house he’s so busy he never gets a chance to relax, so I hope he did while he was here.

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My parents went to pick up my nephew when Ty and Kelli were heading out for the trip of a lifetime to visit Ty’s mission in Guatemala. While he was here my mom and I accidentally wore the exact same outfit.🙂 I guess she raised me well.

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It was fun to hang out with my baby brother. Who isn’t so much like a baby anymore. He’s huge. And I think he’s not done growing. He’s also pretty cool too. It’s fun to be able to hang out and like similar things — although I’m not into Skyrim quite yet.🙂

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While they were here we had my Uncle Craig and Aunt Liz and their kids over for dinner. It was a tight squeeze but we made it!

The entire holiday was a great success!

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Thanksgiving 2012

I got to spend Thanksgiving at my parent’s house and I apparently am really bad at taking pictures with the family! Too much food to eat I guess.

After my marathon, I had a couple of days to chill at home and then my mom and I spent a day doing girl stuff before I had to head to the airport.

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We got pedicures and it was amazing, they even did a hot rock massage on my feet.

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We took a ferry in to downtown Seattle and it was awesome. I love ferries.

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We walked along the pier, ate some seafood, browsed the Pike Place shops and window shopped for hours. I love all the stores down there and going with my mom was a blast!

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When I got back to Utah it was time to decorate for Christmas! I had a hot date with a cute boy. Tanner helped me put up Christmas decorations and we just had a lot of fun playing. I know I’m biased, but I think I probably have the cutest nephew out there.

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Seattle Ghost Marathon

When my friend, Melinda, convinced me to try cross country at McLoughlin Junior High about 15 years ago I doubt she knew she would be affecting my life this much.

I gave cross country a shot that hot day on the track in 7th grade and I’ve inconsistently been a runner ever since.

I don’t really know what hit me in July 2012, but I decided that it was time for me to reach a goal that had been percolating in the back of my mind… I was going to run a marathon.

I was a little nervous because after two previous half marathons I’d hurt my foot training for a marathon and it had kept me from running for a solid year.

I took out my trusty training schedule and plotted it all out on my calendar.

Then all it took was four months of solid running (and it came to feel like all I did was run the closer I got to the marathon.)

As I got closer I realized that choosing the Seattle Ghost Marathon might not have been the smartest idea I’d ever had. Seattle in November is RAINY. I started to get really scared that I might have to run for hours and hours in the freezing rain.

However, two days after Thanksgiving, we got up early and drove up to Seward Park on Lake Washington where the race started and finished.

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I could not believe how lucky I was!

The weather could not have been more perfect. It was cool, but not too cool and the sun even came out! I fell asleep in the car on the way up and so instead of spacing out a ton of calories over the drive up, I just chewed a protein bar up quickly and jumped out to get my packet and race number.

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Can you believe that sunrise?

I was so ready to go. For some reason every other race I’ve run I’ve been so anxious for the race I nervous peed at least 5 times before the race begin. This time though I just decided that if I had to pee sometime during the race I’d go ahead and stop– this race was not one I was running for time.

I started with the majority of the half marathon runners and I even beat a lot of those people as they ran. Up until mile 16 or 17 I was doing absolutely fine, felt great and just pretty much loving life.

Then I turned down some fuel from my parents who were out walking the course and I started to regret it. So I called them from a couple miles down the road and had them come bring me a protein bar. I think I was about 3 and a half hours in at this point and I was starting to really feel it.

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The protein bar gave me more energy and I even had to chuckle at the signs my aunt and uncle posted along the route — cheering me on and making me a little bit embarrassed that everyone knew there was someone named Kyna and someone named Beans running this race. But I did love it.

I hit mile 21 and I thought I was going to cry. I just hit a wall, I think this is where my lack of pre-race fueling really caught up to me. Luckily right around the corner was my family waiting for me!

My little brother Ryan ran the half mile up and back to the turn around point with me and I came back to the fuel station where my family was. I ate a potato dipped in salt (probably the best tasting snack I have ever eaten, EVER.) And then my other brother, Ty, and my sister-in-law, Kelli, told me they were going to run the last 4 miles with me.

I honestly don’t know how long the stinkin’ race would have taken me if they hadn’t run with me. Ty kept pushing me along and Kelli made me feel like I was a rockstar, saying all these supportive things and pretending like I was just an incredible runner.

All of that family support meant so much to me.

I crossed the finish line at 5:14 and was so happy to be done!

During the race I had run with a woman who was part of the Seattle running club and she runs a marathon every other weekend. No joke. I don’t know how she has the time to run that much, but she was legit. She was only running the half the day of my race because she was running the full Seattle Marathon the next day. She was so excited for me and that I was running my first marathon that she waited for nearly 2 hours to see me finish the marathon. I don’t even remember her name but she was so nice! It made me remember why I love races. Even if you’re not fast, not official and a stranger, being out there on that same track means you belong.

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After the race I grabbed my medal, took my shoes off, rolled up my tights and waded into Lake Washington. That cold water was… COLD. But it probably really helped my feet and calves recover.

We all piled into the van and headed over to Aunt Orlene and Uncle Stan’s house for a post-race lunch.

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Before we filled up on potato salad and sloppy joes (on specailly-purchased gluten free buns), I made everyone take some pictures with me.

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Then I jumped in the shower and washed away 5 hours of sweat. I don’t know if a shower has ever felt so good.

I spent the rest of the day relaxing, stretching and my fantastic mother gave me a massage both that night and the next day. Because of her sweet, sweet hands I barely felt sore at all! I guess my training did pay off!!

Everyone has asked me since if I’ll ever do another marathon. I don’t know if I’ll ever do a full again. I’m not completely opposed to the idea, but I think I’ll go back to half marathons for now!

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A best friend’s wedding

I’ve been lucky enough to go to all of my college roommate’s weddings. The most recent one was for Cami, a girl who is as different from me as our hometowns. She grew up outside of L.A. I grew up in the country, Moses Lake, WA to Sundance, WY.

In the end, I think it’s our differences that have made us such great friends. And I was so happy to see her celebrate her special day.

She met a great guy and in November they decided to tie the knot. The got married Nov. 17 and so I got to spend my birthday in some what warm southern California, decorating and finishing up last minute details for her reception the next day.

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Even in November they had fantastic weather and a beautiful sealing. I absolutely approve of her husband, Devan is thoughtful and considerate and makes Cami so happy.

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I’m so glad I got to be there.

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One of the best parts of the weekend was getting to hang out with my good friend, Mara. She was also on our freshman floor in Deseret Towers and I’m so glad we’re still friends 10 years later!! We’re actually planning a reunion for next summer for all the freshman girls!

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Happy Wedding, Cami and Devan!

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My Face is SO Hot Right Now

Today marked the first day of a day I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Taper time!

To celebrate with me, please watch the video below:

But, replace “Hammer time” with “Taper time”… it makes it much better.

I’m excited to finally be in the same month as my marathon since I’ve been training since JULY.

A lot of great things have come from all of this training, number one being I’ve run farther than I ever thought I’d be able to ever. And more distance still to come!

I have also had a lot of fun exploring Provo/ Orem on foot. I have also discovered TED talks as podcasts. I think I’ll have to write about all of the interesting things I’ve learned while running. Look up TED talks, listen/watch any of them. You will not be disappointed.

I have also learned that when I run in the cold my face gets incredibly hot for the rest of the day. Right now, I have a metal ruler pressed against my face to try to cool it down. Any remedies for this?!?

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Denver 2012

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To celebrate my roommate, Jessica’s, birthday we went to Denver!

We got awesome flight deals out of PROVO (best airport EVER) on Frontier and headed off for four days of sightseeing, eating and music.

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We headed straight into downtown Denver when we arrived. First stop: Larimer Square for some lunch and shopping.

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I love the cute shops all over downtown. They really know how to turn on the charm!

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After some meandering we decided to watch some MLB.

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The Colorado Rockies lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks, but I still loved it. I love a good baseball game.

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Monday we worked out with Jess’ cousins and her “Stroller Strides” group. I am training for a marathon and I was literally dying. Those mommas know how to work it. After such a good work out we stopped at the Moonlight Cafe in Commerce City for some amazing breakfast. Jess had banana bread french toast and I had a Southwestern omelet that was at least as big as my head.

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Monday afternoon we browsed a used bookstore, pretended like we had room for all of the pretty books in our suitcase and stopped by Sweet Action ice cream for a treat. I tried Roasted Green Chili, Sour Cream and Chive, Molasses and Pomegranate ice creams. The Molasses and Pomegranate were good. The other ones were just as weird as they sounded.

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In the end I ordered Salted Butterscotch and milk chocolate. Delicious.

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Finally it was time for the entire reason we went to Denver– the Jason Mraz and Christina Perri concert! The Red Rocks amphitheater is seriously incredible. The sound quality is beyond compare, it’s so pretty to look over Denver and to be outside. I loved it!

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We got pretty good seats and chilled until night fell and the concert started.

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It was amazing. Christina is a great performer and Jason Mraz is a lyric master.

I was so captivated by Mr. A-Z that I didn’t think to take very many pictures or video. But I did take some of Christina Perri!

Tuesday we slept in, ate delicious gluten free pancakes (well, I did– Jess’ were normal) in the flavors of pineapple upside down cake, peanut butter cup and blueberry at Snooze. AMAZING.

Then we saw the movie “Trouble with the Curve”. Really cute, but I wish Justin Timberlake’s character would have played a bigger part, he was my favorite part.

All in all, a great weekend, I hope Jess had a great birthday. I’m so glad I have good roommates who are also my friends! Happy Birthday, Jess!

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