"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

-Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A little ride

All morning I have been trying to get Terran to go to the aquarium, but he has been completely content playing with his toys. As I thought we were about to leave, I go into the garage and he is on his bike, adjusting his helmet. I suppose that's as good of an option as any so I grab my shoes and bike as well and we head out on a little ride. Even though the weather is still a little cooler than I would like, we enjoy rolling through the neighborhood. Inevitably, we ended up by the horses with Terran trying to feed them weeds. We took a few minutes to find ladybugs then headed home to have lunch. After lunch we both had a bowl of ice cream and I thought how I am living the stay-at-home mom dream. :)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day weekend

Somehow Memorial Day always ends up being one of the best weekends! Maybe it's because it's unplanned then turns out surprisingly awesome, and maybe it's because it is a holiday where I truly reflect on what it means and feel so grateful, but the last few years it has been great. This year included a visit from Mom and Dad, Scott's 30th birthday BBQ, a yard sale, a spontaneous front porch (driveway) get together with our friends in the neighborhood, the Run of Remembrance, and a neighborhood BBQ.

Terran loved spending so much time with Zach and me that he decided to extend it into Tuesday with a sleepover in our bed. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A day in the life

I thought it might be fun to document a normal day in my life. So this was today (not every thing but a pretty good chunk):

12 am - went to bed after staying up to get a run in. I called it quits halfway through because my body was tired and it just wasn't worth sacrificing more sleep.

6 am  - Terran wakes up earlier than anticipated and comes into my room. He sees my phone and say "show" and I don't really hesitate because I need more sleep. I spend the next hour trying to catch a few winks while adjusting his shows every 5-7 minites.

I finally decide he needs to get off the YouTube train shows, get out of his diaper, and get some breakfast. I throw on the first and easiest thing I find, lounge shorts and an old race shirt, step over his train tracks into the kitchen and notice that while I was changing he went potty in his froggy potty on his own. The "yay! Potty dance" ensues.
I open a bag of oatmeal and pour it into a bowl. He insists that it's his and I can't cook it, so I let him eat it dry and get him some yogurt. I make myself some ham and eggs, not because it sounds good, but because I think the ham is about to go bad and I hate the thought of wasting food. I'm trying to eat as I clean up Terran's yogurt mess. He then takes my yogurt and eats half of it, spitting out the mango chunks. Bon appetit!

Time to paint! I draw balloons on paper, then Terran paints them. I feel he is being mischievous, I look over, and he is painting his hands. He laughs and I smile but also remind him to only paint on paper.

It's only like 7:30 but he is ready to go out back. I open the door and try to force more breakfast down. Soon there is screaming so I run out there. It's just because the cement is cold and wet so all is well.

We start looking for bugs. We find a rolie polie and pick it up. It's fascinating to watch it curl into a ball, uncurl, and walk a little ways. Then it falls through the crack in the steps and I rush to find another. We see the neighbor cat walking around so we spend time stroking the kitty. I go in to clean up a bit, see the rest of my breakfast and take one more bite, and come back out when Terran yells "cmere" and wants to show me something.

I call our dental insurance to verify coverage. I call the DMV trying to track down where our registration stickers are. They get sent. I call our health insurance to discuss a referral from January that still hasn't been filed correctly. After months of back and forth about that ENT bill, I get it sorted out!

I make cupcakes for activity days later. Terran helps me taste test and says "dat's gooooood."

We eventually make it to the garage to get the lawn mower ready. I also get Terran's  lawn mower ready by adding more bubble solution. It doesn't work. He is pretty distraught about it so I tell him to get on my back and we will mow together. We start off and he is squealing with laughter. He loves it for about two rows then decides to go play in a bush in our front mound as I almost finish the front yard. He has to help me dump the clippings in the garbage.

I mow the back and notice our neighbors across the street come out. Terran has quite an affection for them, so I tell him I saw Cal outside and he says "a-moo" (he thinks his name is Cow) and gets his shoes and tries to head over.

After making sure he checks for cars, I throw everything back in the garage and vaguely realize I haven't gotten ready and might look like a dude. I don't think Lacey will judge me too harshly so I head on over too.

We play and chat, seeing other friends and neighbors. We end up down at the Atkinson's.

Two hours later, after a poo accident and a tired and hungry child, we head back to the house. Terran has a meltdown since it's past naptime and he hasn't had lunch. He refuses to eat but we head to his room with a cup of half-water half-juice and another of milk. He screams a few more times and goes potty on the big potty and we are both really excited about it, then goes to sleep.

I sleep for about 16 minutes and once I wake up my mind starts thinking of all I could do if I don't sleep.

I frost the cupcakes and prepare stuff for activity days. I find out that I get to head up the activity. I try to motivate myself for my run. I fight for energy in my legs as I try to maintain an 8 min/mile. Every so often I take my headphones out to make sure Terran isn't crying. Around 4 miles in, I notice he came down the stairs, 40 minutes earlier than I expected. His first word is "choo", so I set up a show and explain I have to finish my workout. I'm only interrupted maybe four times as I finish. He starts being silly to get my attention. I grab him and we laugh. We go upstairs to play trains. I think about making dinner, then realize I haven't heard from Zach which means he probably isn't coming home. He was working "in the field" today.

I talk to my sister on the phone about new mom, new baby stuff. Then I realize I better get showered if I want to go to activity days clean. I wonder if I can trust Terran without a diaper on and decide I can. He went potty on his own during my shower. :) I get us both ready and make sure he gets bread and an apple before we go since there will be cupcakes and I want his belly to have something healthy in it.

We go to activity days and Terran's friend is there, so they play while I talk about modesty with the girls. Terran and Bridger snag a couple cupcakes. Jenn takes them out and keeps track of Terran. Unexpected  blessing. Everything goes great and we head home, giving one of the girls I just met a ride home. We get out of the car and Terran jumps on his bike and is off. I succumb to the fact that dinner will have to wait a little longer and I eat another cupcake.

More time with Lacey and Cal, then with several other neighbors. Terran biffs it in the street trying to kick a ball, but after a quick hug he is off running again.

We finally head inside for the night and I make dinner. Three of Terran's favorites so he will hopefully get a full belly. He refuses two out of the three.

Tub time. He finally realizes he scratched up his knee really good when he fell and rolled in the street. I take him out of the tub crying and brush his teeth. He puts his head on my forehead. We touch noses and he gives me a huge smile.

Bedtime with stories, prayer, and snuggles. A song, a hug, a kiss, and he rolls over as I tickle his back. Then my babe is snoozing.

I'm tired but I want a minute of me time. I read an article on strengthening marriage then Zach calls. He is staying at Camp Williams. He tells me about his day of combat training and I tell him about Terran's potty training success. We chat and miss each other and say goodnight.

I write this blog post, wash my face, brush my teeth, and go to bed, thankful I did my workout earlier in the day.

A pretty good day if you ask me.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Pacing a Half Marathon

Last year I thought it would be cool to become a pacer at races. I never did much about it besides look into what it took (pretty much nothing besides contacting the pacing group). Finally, at the Dogtown Half, I made a point to talk to the guy I followed on Instagram that was the owner of American Flyers Race Pacers. He explained how it worked and got my email to send me the race list and sign up sheet. I watched for months. The list fills up really fast once it was opened, so I couldn't ever seem to get on a race. They needed someone last minute for a small race called West Mountain Marathon and I offered to do it. It was for the half marathon at the 2:10 pace. It was a little slow for me, as most of my halfs are in the 1:40s, but I figured it would be good not to have too much pressure for my first time.

I got to the race a bit early and got to chat with the other pacers and get all ready. They were really friendly and I liked the environment. We were talking about being alone for part of the race since it was so small. I liked that for my first one, even though I didn't have much worry that I could get the time.

We started off and I had a group of about six or so people around me. I talked with one guy for about three miles. There was a small hill and most of the people fell behind. I was alone for a few miles, but every time I would pass or see someone I would encourage them and say good job. It was actually really hard for me to hold back on my pace. It seemed that my legs never really fired off like they would if I went a little faster, so it made them feel heavy and made the race feel harder in a way. It was also hillier than I anticipated, thought that was good since it was a training run for Ironman St. George. It was an out and back course so I was able to see a lot of people and cheer them on around the halfway point. On the way back, I was sticking around a group of five or so women. We all would pass each other back and forth. I was doing really good at sticking to the paces on my pace band. I got to talk with one lady for a few miles and we talked about pacing and our favorite races. The last three miles there were only a few people around me. One lady talked to me for a bit and I ended up leaving her behind a little. As we were going down the last two miles, she was only a little ways behind me so I tried to stay in her sight. This is where I was a little worried about hitting the right time. I looked right on, but I didn't want to make a mistake. The company wants you to be within thirty seconds of your pace, so I didn't want to be too fast or too slow.

That lady caught up to me and we pushed it to the finish. I knew we were right inside 2:10, so I kept the same pace and ran through the finish line with her ahead of me. 2:09:15. I was a few seconds too fast, but in the circumstance with running in with that lady and no one even close behind me, plus it was such a small race, I decided that was pretty good for my first time.

I ran a few more miles with another pacer, and then booked it home so that Zach could head out prairie dog hunting. It was a great time and I look forward to pacing again.

Terran and Bridger

Oh, to be two and have your best friend live three doors down! Terran and Bridger have become such good friends that they somehow manage to play together every single day! Bridger is about seven months older than Terran. In the beginning, they really didn't care to play together. Terran liked tagging along with Bridger's older sister, Chloe, and Bridger did his own thing. As time went on, they became buds.

Bridger started coming down to our house, running and calling out for Terran. Terran would run and meet him on the sidewalk and they would stop and chat for a minute before commencing play time, whether that be looking for bugs or riding bikes.

Apparently, when Bridger wakes up each morning, he asks to play with Terran. If we are outside and Bridger isn't, Terran asks for him. Terran calls him "chee," which means "kid" usually but when he says it a certain way I know he is talking about Bridger.

Since Terran started potty training, Bridger had noticed. One morning he woke up and went to the bathroom and told his mom he wanted to be like Terran.

Jen (his mom) and I have now stopped three fistfights between them. Boys, right? It's been over bikes and bugs and who knows what else!

One of my favorite stories of those two happened outside. We were across the street at the Freeman's and Bridger came flying overwanting to pay. They played there with Cal for a few minutes then ended up walking back down to Bridger's. I kept an eye on them the whole way but wanted to give Terran a little space and freedom. They played in Bridger's garage for a moment and when I glanced back they were headed our way. One had a hunting rifle and the other had a machine Nerf gun. They were strolling down the neighborhood with a "nobody's gonna mess with us" air about them and I couldn't help but start laughing. Two little two year olds patrolling the neighborhood. :)

Terran Tidbits

Every time we go out in public, people still comment on Terran's hair. How thick it is, how awesome, how no two year olds have that much hair, etc. It is getting a bit longer again and I love it. He sometimes lets me style it, but it's usually a quick job or I have to chase him around the house and just get what gel in it I can. He usually ends up with a messy style, but it's adorable and matches his adventurous personality. He absolutely hates when I wash it in the tub though. He cries and says "ow, ow, ow" the whole time.

He says I love you with his fingers, trying to do the sign language. :)

Terran loves to run and tuck and roll onto his bed at nighttime. He also likes to climb on his bookshelf and jump into his bed. Gotta get a little more crazy energy out right before bed...

Terran said "I love you" to me twice this past week, but refuses to say it on demand.

Terran and his buddy Bridger have now had three episodes of tempers mixed with pushing and balled fists. At two years old?

Speaking of tempers, Terran's has been shining through lately. Just tonight, he was kicking in the bathroom door because Zach had locked it and he wanted in! 

Terran only eats the crust off pieces of bread. And it has to be the kind with seeds.

Potty training

We started potty training last week. I mentioned before my thoughts on when to start and I decided that since we would be home for a few weeks that it would be a good time to try.

I geared up by making a potty chart and getting star stickers for it. I modeled it after numerous charts I found online. I also made sure to have a new kind of sweet treat that Terran would love but doesn't have very often (Skittles). We talked about using the potty and I started reading a Big Boy potty book I had gotten him last year sometime. I had a clear schedule and was trying to stay home as much as possible. We talked about it through the weekend and I started on Monday.

I told him how we weren't going to use diapers anymore and instead we were going to wear his train underwear and go potty in his froggy potty. I was getting everything ready for the day and he was in the basement and wet his pants a little. After that first instance, he did wonderfully. I took him to the potty every so often and he pretty much peed every time. He got a star for pulling down his undies, sitting on the potty, peeing on the potty, flushing the toilet and washing his hands. He loved it, and I didn't even use the treats yet.

The next day was just as great and I was really hoping things were going to be that easy. The second night it was almost bedtime and I was reading on the couch. Terran was playing with Zach and I thought to have him go potty, but I didn't act on it. Not even a minute later Terran peed in his undies. We cleaned it up and got ready for bed. Two days and only two accidents. I liked how things were going. He hadn't pooped yet, he somehow only did with a diaper so that was okay.

Wednesday I was just a bit late every time he had to go potty. I wasn't getting him to sit on it enough or we would be outside playing and he would get distracted and go in his undies. He also pooped in his underwear, and that wasn't very fun to clean up. He started fighting me when I would ask him to sit on the potty. Accident after accident and I was losing a little bit of hope.

The next few days were a little better, but not like the first two days. He would cry and scream sometimes when I was trying to get him to sit on the potty. Then I would basically bribe him to sit on the potty with treats, which he would, and then he would go. But after a few times, the bribing didn't really help either. The stars lost their luster after the second day. I think there were too many columns where he got too many stars so they really weren't special.I started getting frustrated and I am sure that emotion crept into my voice, even as I tried to be patience and explain things over and over.

Zach did really well to help him get into his undies and to go on the potty, but I think he also started getting frustrated with the accidents and the fight.

I bought pull ups and we tried those when we went out with some friends, but they leaked through on his first pee. It was weird, but I guess they are for when they are mostly potty trained and barely pee?? I don't know.

On Sunday he ended up in a diaper a lot with church and his nap, then in the evening he had several accidents, a few right in a row. Poop, pee, then poop again. That wasn't fun to clean up! I started wondering if we should wait longer. I have had many people they waited until three years old with their boys and it was easy. Or I had heard that if you try and it doesn't work to try again in a few months. I was considering this and after a couple accidents Zach came in and said he wasn't ready. But, I really wasn't quite ready to give up. Terran had actually made quite a bit of progress in understanding the concept. He would hold himself or dance a little when he needed to go. He was learning pulling up and pulling down his underwear. When he couldn't go on the potty he would say "it won't work." I think he might have been fighting sitting on the potty so much because many of those times he recognized that he didn't have to go. I decided I would try at least another week and see how it went.

I had read about potty training probably about a year ago and kind of went off of memory. Sunday night I read into it some and got a few new ideas, mainly that when we are home it means no pants. No undies, no diapers, just bare bottom. I decided to try that this week.

It is now Monday afternoon and he has been perfect. Zero accidents, several pees in the potty, when he had to toot he got really worried and ran to the potty. I figured he had to go poo, so we tried sitting on the potty three times for several minutes. He never went, but he didn't fight me about it and he didn't have an accident, so that is progress. He did run and get me a diaper for him to put on, which reinforced my idea that he had to go. But I explained again that when we are home he no longer wears diapers and they are only when we go to stores or places without potties. He tried to get me to put his diaper on one more time, I reexplained, and he accepted it. He loves flushing it down the toilet and does a good job washing his hands. One time he was outside playing, then he came running in looking for his potty. I grabbed it and he sat down and went. That was great! It was one of the few times he initiated going on the potty, but he has done that a few more times today. I am glad I am still trying. Hopefully this week just gets better instead of regressing as it goes on like last week.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Ironman St. George 70.3

What a great day.
As per usual, I could not sleep the night before. 12am - 3am was all I got. My mind was racing with thoughts on goals, nutrition, weather, seeing my family on the course, last year's times, everything related to the race.
My dad drove me down to the race start. Zach was working and Mom was waiting for Terran to wake up and then would come find me on the course.
I met a really pleasant woman from California on the shuttle bus into the park and we got body marked together. She was nervous for her first one so I tried to give her some tips and help her feel comfortable.  We saw each other a few times before the swim and gave each other smiles. I got my stuff all ready and then before I knew it they were closing transition. I found Zach and Dad pretty easily and we were just chatting because I had about an hour until my wave. Robyn found me and gave me a hug and good luck wishes. I decided to go to the bathroom because those butterflies were making my belly feel funny. We waited in the slowest line, but it gave Amanda time to get to the park and find us. Brock came over and I realized my wave was getting closer! Dad headed over to see the pros come out and we saw the first few guys headed out. I headed to my wave group and felt pretty calm. I knew I was ready and all my gear was ready to go. I chatted with three girls as we walked down the corral. It was nice to have last year's experience to go off of.
Dad found me again right before I headed to the sand. Amanda found me in the crowd and I gave her two thumbs up! The three minutes in between each group were going really quick so I had to get in the zone. I wanted to line up close to the front. The swim start wasn't as far out as last year so we were crowded around the starting line, everyone moving and kicking to stay afloat, bumping into each other.
The horn blared and we were off. It was chaotic. The climbing over each other things I have always heard about but never experienced...it happened. People grabbing my feet, arms hitting my face, full bodies bumping into me and not moving. I tried to steer clear of people but someone would always come back up by me. It was hard to keep a rhythm.  I finally got in one when the fast swimmers of the next wave would hit. It was like that the whole way. Although frustrating, I was able to stay composed for most of it and keep swimming. My goggles weren't flawless but I was able to deal with a tiny drip on the left without interfering with my swim. The last stretch seemed to never end, but then I was at the ramp! I ran up it feeling happy and strong and thinking I did pretty well. I love the volunteers that rip off the wetsuit and make it so easy!
One of my goals was to have a little bit quicker transitions. I had a great position down the main aisle and had all my stuff laid out. While I was swimming I realized that I had forgotten to get my Garmin out and ready. I was hoping it was still in my bike shoe!
It was there, and transition went pretty flawlessly. I was able to swallow a few bites of banana and get my socks on my wet feet okay. As I headed out, it was crowded at the bike mount area and I had to avoid hitting people and getting hit. I saw Zach and Dad as I headed out. Every one was going really slow, which was weird to me, so I passed a bunch on that small downhill and tried to find the gear that would be comfortable. There were a lot of participants. I'm guessing the crowdedness came from the different wave structure this year, but it was problem a few times throughout the race. 
I got into my groove and rode through Hurricane. I saw Rachelle Ballard and some of her family before the turn onto SR-9. That gave me a little boost and I was feeling really good. 
A few miles later my triceps were burning and I couldn't believe it. I was only like fifteen miles in! But I realized it was probably my lack of swim training and my arms must have worked pretty hard to stay quick in the water.
The ride through Hurricane and into Washington went great, with a few times of having to slow down because there wasn't enough room to pass! Not my favorite thing, but not too big of a deal either. I saw Dad again as I came down from Coral Canyon and turned onto the overpass road. He caught back up to me on the overpass and cheered me on. He asked how I was and I honestly felt great! I felt like I was pushing the pace a bit but also that I could maintain it. The stretch from there to Red Hills Parkway didn't drag on as it has in the past and before I knew it, I was up on that hill. We saw the lead pro on his run, so that was a wonderful distraction from the slower pace I usually have on that spot. I spent the next several miles watching the pros, cheering on many of them, and hoping Heather Wurtele was in the lead. We finally saw the women, with Meredith Kessler in the lead and Heather in third. I thought "oh, well, Meredith is great and too bad about Heather." And I kept biking. Turns out, Heather caught up and won, which was really exciting to me!
I was still feeling good as I passed Bluff and headed into Snow Canyon. According to my watch, I was about twenty minutes ahead, so I just needed to maintain my goal average of about 17-18 miles per hour and I would be right on for sub-6.
This is about where my mind messed up a little bit because somehow I thought I was closer to the park than I was, so that stretch was really long. I hit 40 miles coming into the park, and that blew a bit of wind out of my sails because I thought I was a little farther than that. I checked my watch and I think I was still ahead of schedule, but I also knew that the hard part was up ahead. I didn't know that they had added additional hills on a bike path, and an out-and-back, all in the park. That was pretty hard and my legs were feeling it. I also started to feel the heat right about this point. I had tossed a water bottle and grabbed a Gatorade, which was really too sweet and since it wasn't water I couldn't dump it on my head. I started looking forward to getting some water at T2. I finally passed the out-and-back turn around (it seemed like FOREVER to get there from the bike path) and I was tired. I headed up into Snow Canyon, wondering if my legs had enough strength. 
Earlier in the week I had told my Dad that I had never stopped on Snow Canyon and I never planned to. It was a good thing I had told him that because the instant the thought of stopping came into my head, that claim put the Kabosh on it. So I knew there was no stopping and I just had to keep my legs moving. There were a lot of people struggling and I was able to exchange comments a few times to keep my mind distracted.
Finally I was at the top and willing my legs to take advantage of the downhill, but they were pretty roasted. This is where my mind zeroed in on making the best of what energy I had and just getting to T2. I felt like I was doing okay timewise, but I knew I would going to have to perform well to get sub-6. The way my legs were feeling, I had to wonder if that would be possible once I started running. 
I had come into the race being sick for 5 weeks and only 8 weeks of training, so I knew that optimal performance was not likely. As I was finishing those last few miles on the bike, I was okay with the possibility of not achieving sub-6, but I also knew that I still wanted to do the best I could that day and that meant working hard and digging deep. So that's what I did those last ten miles. I pushed when I could and got to T2, seeing Zach, Terran and Mom cheering me on as I rode down Main Street (Dad said he was running for the camera). Amanda had also been cheering her heart out right before the round about, so I knew I had some positive energy to run toward.
Again, I focused on a quick transition, and headed out on the run. I was happy I didn't need a bathroom break like last year.
I had to take off my shoes and socks to get some rocks out (from running barefoot from the swim) and retighten my shoes. Then I was onto the run. I turned the roundabout and headed up Main, looking for my family who I knew would help me on. Smiles and cheers pushed me through that hill and Amanda and Bodie were around the corner with signs. One said "run with your heart and not your legs" which ran through my head a few times.
I came up to the Salt Lake Tri Club aid station and Robyn was there handing me ice and running with me. SHe reminded me that running is my strong suit and that I could do it. 
Then came the rest of diagonal, all at a little incline. I was getting to the first aid station and I knew I was going to walk through it to give my legs a second to catch up. I had been having a hard time keeping a quick pace and I knew that big hill was up in front of me. Walking during a race is somewhat of a strategic thing for me, so I try to use it to my best advantage. I also joke around with other runners because it keeps my mind on the overall fun experience and not how hard it is in the moment. 
Right after the first aid station, this lady was yelling to some spectators and afterward she joked that it wasn't the best idea. Another runner and I had to laugh with her, then I passed them as we turned toward Red Hills and that first big hill. Turns out, one of those ladies was Lorraine. I'll tell more of her as I go.
I picked out a post that I would run to then walk a little bit. This is a good technique for me because it keeps me going and helps me feel like I am still pushing myself. A man gave me his tip of run ten posts, walk two. I like that quite a bit and used it on the next hill, where the posts were more spread out and there was an aid station at the top so I ended up just running twenty and making it up the whole hill. I was guzzling water and pouring it on myself at every aid station. This aid station (around mile 4) I realized I had a little too much liquid in my belly so I grabbed some pretzels. I knew on the bike that somehow my nutrition was not quite working for me, and I was feeling it on the run. A little bit too much liquid and a yucky feeling brewing on the inside.
After that aid station was the big downhill and I knew if I was going to hit 6 hours I needed to haul down the hills. I pushed it as much as I felt was safe given that I still had 9 miles left. I felt awesome running fast down that hill and the adrenaline and speed stuck with me for about a mile. Then I hit the path through Pioneer Park and I deflated again. A guy passed me and said "come on, it's just a little hill" so I took that optimism and used it to run through. I got through that and headed down the downhill to the turnaround point. I had to stop for a bit because my guts were hurting so bad. I was ticked because it was a downhill and that was my only hope for speed. I knew at that point with my stomach acting up and not being able to run downhill, I wasn't going to make sub-6. Again, I was okay with that knowledge because I knew I was giving my all.
I was able to continue running and then I saw Amanda with her signs and excitement at seeing me. She told me how great I was doing and that I was right on track. As I said, I knew I was a little behind, but her encouragement pushed me up that hill. There was a new out and back at this point that I wasn't looking forward to because you see everything you just did all over again. It was hard. Lorraine and I had been passing back and forth this whole time. She would never stop running, just keeping things steady, and I would run my comfortable pace, but walk through the aid stations and on the hills. In the beginning, we were doing usual courtesies and "good job"s, but here around mile seven, we were feeling the bond of pain and similar pace a little bit. I told her how she was awesome and keeping me going, and she said the same of me. I also saw Brock Bybee as I was heading into the out and back. He was struggling a bit too and I knew the course was hard because we were both pretty confident going in.
Finally, I completed the out-and-back and was headed on the home stretch, with three more hills until the continuous downhill to the finish. I started telling every single person I passed "good job" and "way to keep moving." Somehow it kept me going. Some people would joke back with me, or encourage me as well. Lorraine would pass and give me a little inspiration. If she got too far ahead, it helped me pick up my pace. We hit about mile ten, the last little hill, and I finally asked her name. We were the same pace for a bit and I found out she was 61 and from California. She had been liking my hill countdown, so I told her we were at the last one with a tiny exception of an incline onto the bike path. I then picked up my pace because we were on the downhill of that first big hill from the start. I was feeling really good and hoping I could keep a quick pace the rest of the way, but towards the bottom of the hill, my guts were giving me so much grief I had to stop and bend over. I had been encouraging the runners just starting up the hill and they called out to make sure I was okay. Lorraine passed and made sure I was good. That got me moving again. We ran together again for a while, but I pulled ahead. Then my guts would slow me down and she would pass. We were finally on diagonal and I was trying to push the pace. I had been keeping it in the 8:00 min/mile range. A strong headwind hit and I was worried that would be a miserable two miles. It soon passed and I was fighting the deadness of my legs with wanting to finish under 6:20. Then I saw my dad. Tears sprang up to my eyes as he ran over and I saw Mom and Terran in their cheer spots. Dad gave me a five and I knew it was a perfectly timed boost. The aid station was just ahead and I knew Robyn was just passed that. I was able to keep pushing and then I saw her and her group sprayed me with water guns and she ran with me for a minute. I turned the roundabout and headed down Main. Lorraine was just ahead. A boy somehow ended up next to me, and as I looked at him to say good job, I realized he was really young. He told me he was 18 and his birthday was Tuesday. He was the youngest participant. We ran step for step, which was good for me. Usually I can muster speed to sprint that finishing chute, but I was just about spent with aching guts. I saw Amanda and pulled in front of the kid to give her a five. He sped up to stay with me, keeping me moving quick. Then Zach was there in the crowd, cheering for me! He was loud and that meant a lot to me because he isn't like that naturally and I had to tell him before the race that he needed to be because it would help me. Right after seeing him, the finish line was up ahead. That boy was still close and we had caught Lorraine. Those last hundred feet were huge for me and my mind registered that I was finishing! I crossed that line triumphant, not thinking about my time but knowing that I had given it all I had that day! I got my hat, medal, and water then Lorraine and I hugged. She said she usually finishes around 6:10 but not on that course! We thanked each other for being there together the whole race and took a finish line photo together. 
As I was coming out of the corral, Robyn was there to hug me and hold me as I had a few little sobs come crashing out. 
We took a picture and she stayed with me until Zach and his dad came around. Then I spotted Mom and Terran. Dad came up shortly after with a hug. It was everything I needed.

Terran wanted me to play in the water with him, so we made our way to the river. Mom quickly took over watching him as I tried to let my emotions catch up to the moment. I went to the bathroom. Amanda found us. Dad and I chatted. I got food and talked to some friends and other triathletes. I went to the bathroom. We sat by the water as I tried to eat and Brock Johnson came over to chat. I went to the bathroom. Zach found me to give me the hotel key. A few photo ops happened. I started feeling a little sunburnt. Dad was ready to go. I could barely move without getting sick again. 

It took ages, but Mom saved me and helped me get all of my gear and bike while Dad got the car. I was so sick. The sickest I have ever been after a race. They helped me get our stuff to the hotel and played with Terran while I showered. I ate leftover pizza in bed and started feeling a little better. Zach got back and we went to dinner which finally helped me feel almost normal.

Amanda swung by to give me a balloon and bag of treats, then we went to bed. I slept so great. 

The next morning we packed up and I teared up a few times and felt really sad that it was over. It is an indescribable experience that meant so much to me. I love succeeding and knowing I can accomplish things I set out to do. I love being able to do something that others think is impossible or outrageously hard. I love the other athletes who work hard for that finisher's medal. I loved everything about the experience and although training can be a struggle with a family, I can't wait to do it again. And that sub-6, I'm still coming for ya!