Monday, October 2, 2017

Confessions, Whiplash, Decisions, and a Marathon

I was hoping I would get a chance to write this post, it's a subject that has been on my mind for a while. First, for those interested let me give you a quick breakdown of what has gone on this past month.


1 First, I slacked off for about two weeks in August on marathon training. Which normally wouldn't be a big deal, but something happened right as I got back into it which set me back more, I'll explain in a minute.

2 I've been enjoying exploring new places, the photos today are courtesy of some of this past weekends rock climbing and caving adventures.

3 I have a marathon coming up this Saturday. I only decided to run it about a week ago. When I finish this marathon it will be my 40th overall.

4 I have to volunteer at the same marathon I am running (for a college class), luckily I scored a day before the race at the expo volunteer gig.

5 If any of you remember my back diagnosis about 2 years ago, well my back does not enjoy running long distances, after about 15-18 miles it's nearly impossible for me to bend over. So I tell myself to suck it up buttercup! Exercise is painful but good for it!

6 I did a mini rock climb up around a waterfall last weekend and then went caving, and broke major rule #1 don't try anything new a week before a marathon, LOL Luckily, I was fine.
But I will be honest as I placed one foot and had to swing my body to get my other leg around a rock corner (no rope) with only a waterfall and long drop off with sharp rocks below me, I was more tense than normal only because I didn't want to fall and ruin my marathon plans, LOL

7 I dropped 12 pounds over the past two weeks, I wanted any extra advantage I could get to help me knock a few more minutes off my finish time!

9 Despite a few obstacles, I am very happy! Life really is pretty great, I'm doing good in my classes! I realize nothing is ever perfect but it's all about attitude and when you decide to be happy life has a way of being great even when bad things happen!


* In early September I was in a car accident, a high school kid wearing one of those medical boots well the boot was too big and he couldn't get it from the gas to the brake in time. Short story, he slammed into me ruining my cute car and giving me a case of neck strain aka whiplash.

* I had to take nearly two more weeks off running to let my neck heal.

* The reason I waited until a week ago to decide about the Marathon this Saturday is that my neck has not been recovering very quickly.

* My running pace has suffered drastically. Pre-accident I was running at a pace which would have allowed me a finish time an hour faster than I am running now after the accident. Because after about 12 miles my neck gets pretty stiff and sore and I am slowing down because of it.

* The good news is my ruined car was able to be fixed. The kid who hit me had insurance and although I had a rental for several weeks, I finally have my car back and it looks good as new.


* I decided knowing my body pretty well that I was only going to do a one-week taper or 10-day taper. This allowed me to get in the extra long run and get back into running steady but gradual after the accident a few weeks ago.

* I did get in two 18 milers and one 19 during training, one before and two after.

* I'm slow, really slow. To put it frankly, I'm about an hour slower than I was pre-accident when it comes to 18-miles. That's a huge deal, especially since I was originally already planning a slow 5 hour marathon finish time. Now I'm very worried about an extremily slow close to 6 hour.... I can't even think about it too much, I cringe... (Obviously it's a mental issue, I'm working on that even as I type!)

* While normally no biggie just suck it up and deal with it. Not in this case as the marathon I'm running is a strickly finish 6 hours or less. I'm glad they do that, I like that they cater to people who train to run races. But, I literally have no room for error I'll get my first DNF if I can't deal with my neck pains. But trust me, I will do everything in my power to get that finish!

MARATHON yes this one is an EMOTIONAL one for sure!!!

This has been nearly a five-year battle (4 years 9 months to be exact) back from a work foot tendon injury that most never recover from. Years of specialists, physical therapy, set backs and only the dream of running a marathon again.

I cannot tell you how excited and nervous I am for Saturday. I remember the first specialist I was sent to when I originally was injured and remember vividly him telling me to give up running and find a less active sport because I probably had seen my last marathon in my past.

Of course, when he told me this I did what any sane person would do, I ignored him and dismissed him like yesterday's trash and went out and found a specialist who works with athletes and runners and one who believed I could recover. And yes, I did find that man, and he and a physical therapist who was also a marathon runner worked on my team to get me back. While they did tell me it would take time and setbacks were likely, they knew if I worked hard enough, did everything right, used patience in my recovery, that I would have my chance to line up at a marathon again.

It's been a battle, I won't go into all of the details. But the fact that my body is ready and can in fact run a marathon now is a thrill in itself. Which is why, even when I was in the car accident I wasn't going to let it set me back any more that I had to let it.

Yes, this marathon because of the accident might be one of my slowest ever, and it might hurt quite a bit more than normal. But the beauty of running especially 26.2 is that anything can happen. Good or bad, so there is just as good of a chance of me doing better than what seems possible just as it is to have the greatest worst race ever! So I am optimistic!

So yes Saturday I am lining up and as I knock out miles 1 through 26.2 I'll be thinking (for a minute) of that first specialist who told me I'd never run a marathon again.

Why think of him? Because no one can ever tell me what I can or cannot do. I have way too much passion for life and for the things I want to do in my life. The only one who tells me I can or cannot do something is ME and since just like the marathon requires I have a butt load of endurance for any obstacles or setbacks life tosses my way!

So nerves, excitement, pain, and thrill... Well Bring it, because Saturday morning the laces will be double tied and this body is conquring the marathon again!!!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Slot Canyons, Caves all inside a Cathedral, Definitely an Adventure Worth Taking!

It's been a while since I've kept up my favorite posts which are my Travel Tuesday posts. I've been on a lot of adventures this past year and it's time I start sharing them with you all.  This week I'm going to showcase my most recent travels which took me to Cathedral Gorge State Park in Eastern Nevada.

Funny story, I only learned about this park about a month ago. Came across a blog post about it and it only took one image and I knew I was going to go find it. When I realized how close it was to me, that just made it a done deal!

Let me tell you this is a very lesser known spot and a bit out of the way. Even on a Saturday, we had most slots, caves, tunnels, and hikes to ourselves.

It's a smaller state park but it makes up for it in what you are able to see.

We went through over 20 slot canyons, same types of rock but each had their own uniqueness to them and colors as well as surprises.

The tunnels and caves were pretty interesting to go through as well. Down on my belly a few times hoping my butt wasn't too big to fit through the tunnel cracks, LOL  Luckily it wasn't.

You can tell why they call it Cathedral, because of the texture and the height of the walls.

The best advice I can give if you are going to visit this park, get out and explore. The more you do on foot the more you will find.

In fact, we ran into a couple down there who had gone through the entire park and each stop and hadn't seen any of the slots or caves. The reason being they didn't get out and walk towards the cracks and crevices. They are everywhere, but you have to venture into them!

No technical skills required to see most!  There are a few rope areas, the ropes are provided, but mostly these slots and tunnels are for anyone who can walk and move through them.

How to get there? Well, they are about a 2.5-hour drive from Las Vegas. Or if you are from Cedar City or St. George Utah, you're looking at 1.5 hours.

I found the canyons to be creepy and hauntingly beautiful in the best ways. I would highly recommend this for anyone who is on a road trip in the area and wants to take a beautiful detour!

Summers are hot, we were hiking in around 103. But it's in mid-elevation (over 4,000 feet) so spring and fall are probably the best times to visit. Winters do get colder and likely some snow.

But no matter the temp, once you get back in the slots it is much cooler. I'd say 10-20 degree's cooler in spots, so they are a welcome experience to go through.

I do actually have a lot more pictures, but I'll save them for Instagram. If you don't already follow me on Instagram and you enjoy travel pictures, I have to say I post about travel about 99% of the time.

There are so many places in this country that are absolutely stunning, but I am just going to say it out west we have sights that are unbelievable and nothing like the rest of the country has! You have to travel here to see them, and if you know a local to give you tips it will make your adventures all the greater!!!

Well, I can't really say much more about this park, it's stunning and unique! The pictures say more than I can, but even they don't really do it justice!

If you go:

* Bring lots of water and snacks.
* There is currently a $7 car entrance fee.
* There is a campground, dump station, showers, and water.
* It can be seen in an afternoon or a day or two.
* There are also other nearby state parks worth seeing about 15-30 minute north.
* Be careful not to damage the rocks and canyons
* Hiking in the caves and slots, you will get dusty and dirty
* Do not hike into the slots when it is raining or if it looks like it may rain.