Monday, November 12, 2012

VEGAS BABY!!!! - Ragnar Style!

Surely by now, everyone who's known me longer than a day knows what a Ragnar is.  So I don't need to give the whole history. So here's the break down: 200-ish miles, 12 runners, 2 vans and you keep going until you finish.

We started this one up at the Las Vegas Ski Resort (I didn't even know Vegas had one of those.) It's only about 45 minutes outside of Vegas, but it was plenty cold. We had an 11am start & it was a balmy 29 degrees up there.  Which was a little weird because the sun actually felt warm.

This is Joe Cox, our first runner at the start line.  He looked away just as I took the picture. Joe's from Miami and ran the infamous Florida Keys race with us a couple of years ago where we were all sick and practically crawling to the finish.  In fact, he was so sick he didn't even make it down to the finish line, he was in the hotel just dying.  Fortunately this experience went much better.

Apparently they have to make their own snow.
Here's the rest of our van T-Bone (Terrence), Me, Mom, Jacob & Pat the "Tourettes-a-saurus Rex." (He gave himself that nickname.)

It was a fun group but the 3 guys from Miami were pretty shocked by how cold it was.  Vegas did have a cold spell for the weekend.  The temps never got out of the 40's & 50's, so it would have been perfect running weather had it not been so blasted windy. But oh well, we still did pretty well.

Our team name was actually "The Parole Models" which is funny and ironic since a full half of our team is with the FBI.  Somehow I didn't get any pictures of the team name on the side of the van, but you can see we did this whole prison/dept of corrections thing complete with orange shirts, stripes and mug shots.

They dubbed me "Brenda the Jeweler" which has a backstory, but I won't get into it.

And there I get to take off for my first 5.8 miles.

 It was kind of a crappy run because all I did was run along the side of the highway with a vicious headwind trying to slow me down. But oh well. This race was very different from the other Ragnar's I've done, in that, instead of running from one point to another it kind of just wound a semi-circle around the outskirts of Vegas.  The big advantage to that was that we were never more than 20 minutes away from the hotel. So when we were the "off" van, we could go back into town to find food and relax and even hit the hotel to shower and rest for a couple of hours.
And here somehow we've fast-forwarded through the night to Saturday morning and the prep for our final legs of the race. I can't believe I ran in those tights.  They were not comfortable for running, but hey they looked cute.  And besides my final leg was only 3.5 miles so I toughed it out.

My sister Shiloh got a screen printing machine not too long ago, so she did these shirts for us. I think they turned out pretty cute.

Mom & I had a great time in the van with these guys they were a kick in the pants!  And I'm so glad Joe Cox and I got to run together again this time without ending up on our deathbeds.

 Cami and Cody were in the other van with Cami's friends Yolanda & Megan and the other two FBI dudes, Charles and Mark so I barely got to see them.  But it was fun to hang out with them in between exchanges anyway.
 OH and here's a fun fact! I was flipping through the "RagMag" before we ever started running (that's the book you get at the beginning which as the course map, race rules and a few interesting tidbits like runner spotlights) and I came across a picture of my family from the Florida race.  Turns out my mom was one of the spotlight runners for this race.  She said she sent her story and pictures into Ragnar, but they'd never told her they were going to use them, so she was as surprised as the rest of us. But it was still pretty cool.
Poor Cami and Jacob had to be in separate vans so they only got to see each other at the exchanges as well. But you know they get to see each other all the time anyway, so it's okay.

And here we all are: Yolanda, Megan, Mark, Joe, Charles, Pat, Mom, T-Bone, Jacob, Me, Cami & Cody. It was honestly one of the most fun groups I've ever run with!

And of course the highlight for me was getting my 3 medals. My Vegas medal, and my Saints & Sinners for having done Utah earlier this year and a Deuces Wild for having done Florida in January. Not a bad haul for one race.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Your Future is as Bright as your Faith"

I promised myself I would stay above the political fray this time. It's not that I don't have strong opinions, because I do. It's not that I don't think elections are important. To the contrary as a student of the law I understand the working of the government and importance of elections better than most. My choice to stay out of it was simply a personal one to rise above the negativity and criticism I saw from both sides.

Last night I told myself I would be happy today no matter what the outcome.  I would count my blessings and move forward with what I could do within my circle of influence to make my life and that of those around me better.

"Now,...we must do our duty, whatever that duty might be. Peace may be denied for a season. Some of our liberties may be curtailed. We may be inconvenienced. We may even be called on to suffer in one way or another. But God our Eternal Father will watch over this nation and all of the civilized world who look to Him. He has declared, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 33:12). Our safety lies in repentance. Our strength comes of obedience to the commandments of God. Let us be prayerful. Let us pray for righteousness. Let us pray for the forces of good. Let us reach out to help men and women of goodwill, whatever their religious persuasion and wherever they live. Let us stand firm against evil, both at home and abroad. Let us live worthy of the blessings of heaven, reforming our lives where necessary and looking to Him, the Father of us all. He has said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). Are these perilous times? They are. But there is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes. We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us." President Gordon B. Hinckley

With that I'll just say that I'm grateful today for the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I'm grateful for my beautiful family.  Grateful for the freedoms I do enjoy as a citizen of this wonderful country.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin once said ,"Come What May and LOVE it." And while no one loves getting a result of any kind forced upon them, I will not be swallowed into a black hole of shallowness and negativity. I will LOVE my life. I will move forward. And I will do my best to affect change for the better in my own little section of the world.

As the title of the post says "Your Future is as Bright as Your Faith." -Thomas S. Monson.

And right now my faith is brighter than ever.

(And for the cynics in my world who might read this, it doens't matter either way, because according to the Mayans it all ends in 6 weeks  ;) .)