Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pink Wedding Decorations

For this wedding the brides colors were several shades of pink, everything from fuchsia to light pink.  Using those colors we incorporated them all into the different elements of design for this wedding.  The end result was a fairy tale pink wedding.

We are a Utah based wedding decoration company, serving the Greater Salt Lake and nearby Counties and areas.  If you like our decorations or would like to see more, visit our website: www.simplyenchantingevent.com

Close up view of center of backdrop

Full backdrop view

Book sign-in area

Centerpiece

Shades of pink silk floral arrangement

Gazebo for cake area

Room view

Punch fountain

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Black and White Wedding with Red's

For this wedding the bride was going for the Black and White theme adding Red as the accent color.  The result is elegant and beautiful.

We are a Utah based wedding decoration company.  If you like our decoration work or would like to view more, please visit our website at:  www.simplyenchantingevent.com.

Room view of backdrop


Book sign-on table and our locked card box

One of our silk floral arrangements

Centerpiece

Fountain area we did in front of the gift area

Cake area, gazebo with touches of reds

Gift area

Room view

Monday, May 14, 2012

Black, White and Silver Wedding Decoration

For this wedding the bride asked that I decorate going heavier on whites then add blacks and silvers.  The end results are in these pictures, as you can see the decorations turned out beautifully.  The bride and her family loved how it all turned out!

If you love our decoration work and are having a wedding in Utah, please visit my website at:
www.simplyenchantingevent.com and contact us for a consultation.








Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My National Guard Lincoln Nebraska Marathon


Medal Front
     Going into my National Guard Lincoln Nebraska Marathon, I already knew of the possibility of it being a bit more difficult than any other marathon I have done.  Because having ran the climbs and drops of Big Sur only one week prior my body hadn’t even really begun to recover.  Truthfully never having attempted something like this before, I had no idea what to expect.  There was a chance it could go fabulous or completely wrong so there was a little excitement for me with the suspense of what would happen.

The good news was a day before the marathon when I would take a step I finally didn’t feel the sharp pain shoot through my torn quads, not that meant much but it was a good sign.  My lungs were also showing signs of recovery.J  I had been mentally preparing myself for this race and the possible pain for quite a while.  In my mind I was thinking the race would end up being 25% Physical 25% Insanity and 50% mental. (In the end I think it was more like 80% mental, LOL.)
Medal Back

The couple of days before the marathon Lincoln Nebraska was around 99 degrees, I was a little worried that I would be running in the hottest and most humid temps I have ever ran in.  But come race morning during the night a huge storm rolled through cooling things off a bit.  At first when I woke up I thought I was going to be running in some crazy winds and downpour.  I was having flashbacks of Oklahoma City Marathon almost exactly a year ago so I had my garbage bag to run in ready, LOL.  But by 6am the storm was rolling out and the day was shaping up to what would be Perfect Running Conditions.

Me coming into Stadium
The race was very well organized, and started each wave of runners on time (I love races like that!)  The first mile of the race was as I expected, painful.  Forcing my body to want to run again when it was still hurt and a bit exhausted from the week prior was difficult with each step I took.  To put it into words, my quad with each step felt like a sharp stabbing pain would shoot through it.  The soreness in my knee’s felt even the slightest incline.  For my runner friends reading this, imagine the feeling your legs feel right after you finish running a marathon, how all you want to do is limp and get off your feet and legs, well that is how my body was feeling to start out with. To be honest, my body really didn’t want to run, but I knew that if I just pushed through it eventually things would start going better.  (In TheoryJ)

To help with this, I also increased my normal pace.  About a minute faster per mile than I normally run the start.  Basically miles 1-4 and leading into 5 went like this.  Painful steps, forcing the motions.  (One note, I wouldn’t say I was being speedy by any means, I ran with the 4:30 marathon pace team for most of these miles.  Normally I pace behind them a little.) On a good side, my lungs were not bothering me a bit, if anything they were completely accepting of the faster pace and run. (Thank goodness!)
View of stadium and 50 yard finishline
Around mile 5 things changed as I hoped and the sharp pains went away a little, or just gave up and went numb… Not exactly sure which, LOL…  I was actually feeling really good and enjoying the run.  We’d already past the state capitol and went through some beautiful neighborhoods.  The community was cheering us on pretty much the entire way.  They really love this race and have a fun time supporting and cheering.  You don’t always get that in all races!  Eventually we turned and did a little paved trail running.  It was a little crowded, and I was feeling so good I was actually getting annoyed when I would get stuck behind a slower group.  But slower runners were shifting to the right, and eventually got the hint to give a little room on the left for those who wanted to pass.
Nebraska State Capitol - AKA race mile 1 point

Things were going great, but I did have little struggles around mile 9.  Not because I wasn’t feeling good, but there were a few hills and my knees were just having a bit of a painful hard time on the inclines.  But things started going better soon after and I was still feeling quite good as I passed the halfway point.  Where the half marathon runners would run into the Nebraska Football Stadium and the rest of us carried on.

Miles 14-15 were on what I call the rolling paved trails of Lincoln.  Beautiful little city trail park, with a manmade small stream and mini waterfalls along the route.  The only discouraging thing was seeing the really fast runners (this portion of the course was an out and back) on my left as they were about to finish the marathon I still had a ways to go.  Eventually we came back out onto the streets again heading towards the lake at the mile 19 and a half turnaround point.

I have to mention, this marathon did something that I really LOVED!!!  The water and Gatorade cups handed out had lids with straws on them.  So not only did you not have to worry about germs or bugs having rested into your cup.  But it was easy and quick to grab and continue on your way drinking without getting sticky Gatorade all over you.  I have never seen that before in a race, and to be honest I really liked it!  It was like that at every water stop.  Not only that, but ALL the cups were completely filled, so you got plenty of liquids as the day was coming on and heating up.  Also EVERY water stop had ice; you could grab an entire cup.  During the warmer parts of the race, I did as my dad said he used to do and dumped my cup of ice up under my hat so as I ran it would just slowly melt down meJ
Chimney Rock National Monument

Shortly after mile 15, things started to head downhill for me.  Not the course, the course was mostly flat with a bit of some actually good uphill around mile 18-19…  But my body was starting to suffer and the fatigue and fact that I just ran one of the toughest courses in the country the week prior was catching up to me.  Mile by mile I was slowing down and the pains were coming back times ten.  My feet were totally tender and felt like I was running on some major bruises, not to mention some major new blisters coming on.  My knee’s felt every single step of the hills (Yes Nebraska DOES have some hillsJ

My quads, well they were just in pain all the time, but really bad whenever I would hit a decline.
I kept reminding myself that this was something I wanted to do, and how proud I was going to be of me if I finished and actually was able to accomplish my goal of two 26.2’s just one week apart.  Not only that, but I had family running the half marathon, I just kept saying “You can do it, you don’t want to be embarrassed by having to say to them, I couldn’t finish it, LOL” It worked and got me through the hard times.  But I won’t lie; those last 4 miles were a killer, a serious torture for me.  I was spent, but what was getting me through was a couple of things, I wanted it, and I was mentally prepared to push on.

Finally the stadium was in sight, and eventually I made it down the path leading to the green carpet that lead into the football stadium and then the fake green grass was in sight and so was the finish line on the 50 yard line.  I knew I was on the jumbotron, but stupid me, I forgot to look up and see for myself.  Thankfully my family took pictures of it for me!  It wasn’t my fastest finish, not by a longshot.  But surprisingly, not my slowest either.  All that mattered was it was a finish and I had just finished my 30th Overall Marathon and now my 23rd state on my goal.  To add the icing and cherry to the top, I had also just finished running 2 marathons only one week apart, and one of them one of the toughest courses in the nation.  I was thrilled, but more so all I was looking forward to doing was getting off my feet and legs, they were killing me.  There are no words to adequately describe the self-inflicted pain I was in!
Nebraska Football Stadium

The race was great, had I not just ran a marathon and trained normally I think I would have had a pretty decent finish time, if not one of my best.  I’ve also been battling a bad hip injury, bursitis and some tendonitis.  Luckily, it didn’t bother me too much in the races, and I don’t feel as though I have injured it any more.. YAY However, I’d be even more thrilled if it would heal!!

The race organization and all the National Guards men and women out along the course offering support and cheers were wonderful!  The volunteers and course cheerers were also just as great!  My dad used to run this marathon with the Utah National Guard team, and they would win the team race when they entered.  I obviously am not as fast of runner as he was, but I had a fun time with my own pace running one of the races he used to.  I was just glad I didn’t have to do it with fierce winds as he had previously warned me he always had to run with and intoJ

I also enjoyed meeting up with my cousin Kim and her daughter Katy who were also running that day in the half.  It was actually her daughter’s first half marathon; they ran it together, doing quite well actually!  Nebraska is home to quite a bit of my relatives, and since we took the trip by car we were also able to swing in and say hello to others on our way.  We had great times seeing and visiting with them all!
Now, I have decided I REALLY need to give my body a break and recover a little.  (Mostly so I don’t risk injuries.)  So a marathon I had tentatively planned for in a few weeks I have decided to pass on and wait until June to hit up a few more states marathons.  I am excited, hopefully sometime in June I will pass the halfway point on my 50 states plus D.C. goal... WAHOOOO!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My California Big Sur Marathon

Race Course View, so beautiful - near Carmel
     So not quite a year ago I entered the Big Sur Marathon.  I heard from people and the reviews in Runners World made this race out to be one I HAD to do.

     Well I also entered another Marathon for May, it wasn't until a few months ago that my brain caught up to my actions and I realized my April and May 26.2 Marathon's were only 1 week apart.

     So after the realization it became clear that I was going to be running my first 1 week apart Marathon's a bit sooner than planned.  I began training a bit more for it a little physically, but mostly mentally.
Coastal View near Monterey
     I knew that race #1 was going to be hilly, and in a perfect set up I guess I would plan a flat course then a hilly course.  Of course I am not normal and apparently enjoy to self inflict a lot of pain upon myself.  So when I got down to Monterey and picked up my race packet and then drove the course to Big Sur the day before the race it was ONLY then I realized what I was really getting myself into.

China Town San Francisco
     I decided to try not to let it effect me too much mentally, but I won't lie I hardly slept the night before the race and it had little to do with the fact of waking up at 2:30AM to get ready to make it to the buses to the starting line on time.  It was because all I could think about was, did I get myself into more than I can really do?

Race Course View
     Race morning, everything went as planned I woke up earlier than I would have preferred (this is coming from a girl who if I could would love to sleep into until 10AM everyday of my life, in my dream world of course:)
I decided to wait to eat my breakfast until I got on the buses and then while I waited for the 6:45AM start.  Figured I would try to hold onto the energy it would give me a bit longer if I waited a few hours to eat it.
Funny story, our bus driver took a wrong turn and was headed in the wrong direction some runner was paying attention and corrected her after a few miles...
Famous Pier 36 in San Francisco
Eventually an hour later we made it to the start, in the pitch black dark of the morning.  I stepped off the bus and took a deep breath of the cool mountain air filled with all those beautiful huge Redwood tree's surrounding us.

    I put on my gloves and ear covers and put on my garbage bag and found a nice place to sit for a few hours trying to keep warm while I waited for them to call for the race lineup.
Coastal View near Carmel on Race Course
Sun was starting to creep up a little before the gun went off, and I was feeling good and REALLY looking forward to running this race.

     Originally my plan was to conserve some of my energy, so I would have something left for the following week.  But something came over me, maybe it was the fact that this was the first race after 3 bad races earlier this year that I was horribly sick in.  But I felt great, I was remembering how wonderful it really did feel to feel good and run when you are healthy:)
I wasn't pushing it too hard, but harder than I planned.
The first 6 miles were basically in the beautiful forest area of Big Sur, lush green mountains and tree's surrounded and lined the way.
For a girl who's heart is always in the mountains this was the course for me!!!!
Coastal View from the Race Course

     Mile 7 we opened up into the coastal areas.  Big green rolling hills and farmers fields next to tall mountains and drop off coasts.
The winds started to pick up, at first it wasn't too bad it seemed to be coming at me from the side.  But you'd get hit in the side of the face with wind gusts that I swore were between 20-30 MPH at times that really hurt!

     I was doing great, I was starting to climb some good hills that even the steep ones weren't bothering me too much, but they weren't very long and just basically up steep and then down steep.  My mile times were about a minute per mile faster than I thought they would be.
We came around a corner that opened up into what I heard a runner say was Hurricane Hill.  We came down some steep downhill that you really had to watch yourself and keep your legs from getting to carried away.  Because you also had a view of what was coming as you rounded that corner.  2 miles of just climbing, climbing and climbing.

    I grabbed a Gatorade and a water to wash it down with and then I started on the big hill at mile 10-11.
Bixby Bridge
Who would have guessed that the steepest hill and longest hill on the course would have been my fasted mile time of the whole race:).
Apparently, my body was LOVING hills that day.
The first mile of climbing, I totally owned it, I was running 2 minutes per mile pace faster than normal, my lungs and legs felt great.  I got my second wind early on, on the hill things were great.
We rounded the corner for the 2nd mile hill climb, and there was one point that was a little steeper and I lost it just a little.
So Mile 11-12 hill, totally owned me.  I had a 3 minute per mile time slower than my regular pace.
Race Course, the road in the picture is HWY 1 we ran on

But it was okay, things were still feeling pretty good.  My legs were starting to get a little weaker, and I could really feel the miles starting on me.
Truthfully, I think it was getting hit in the face with the wind the whole way up the hill that really slowed me down.  That wind was brutal!!!

The 3 miles of mostly downhill after that is what did my legs in.  I ran down the hills in control, I didn't let my legs run away from me.  I tucked in and leaned into it to avoid as much damage to my quads as possible.  My experience helped quite a bit, but it was still a killer on the quads!!!
Taken while hiking in Big Sur
But I was looking better than some around me after the downhill took it's toll.

     Amazing coastal views, you could hear the waves crashing below.  The morning was still full of mist, some places so thick in mist that you couldn't see down the drop offs or very far ahead of you.  The wind gusts were mad crazy too.  In the mist it was like getting slapped in the face with ice cold power, it was cold but okay.  I only thought about grabbing my gloves again once or twice.  But never did, the mist would come and go quickly and then it would be back to perfect running temperatures.

    When we hit the Bixby Bridge, my legs were a little like Jello, but not so bad yet.  Crossing over the bridge was fun.  When we rounded the corner from up above, you could hear in the mist the faintest sound of Classical Music being played from a Baby Grand.
The closer you got to the bridge the louder it became.  Eventually I passed the guy in the Tux playing the Baby Grand.
I thought it fitting that such a beautiful serene course, the music that they gave us there, and at the different mile markers throughout was mostly classical or High School bands or Orchestra's.
Night View taken from my hotel window - Golden Gate Bridge

    Miles 13-22 were just steady up hill or downhill, I didn't find much of any flat.  But they were seriously beautiful!  I was pushing it pretty hard until mile 22, somewhere between Miles 22-23 is when my legs just had it, and boy were they in pain!
My tired legs and lungs were one thing.  My face was wind whipped and my shins were starting with some sharp stabbing pains.
The good news, we were back in the forests near Carmel and the winds gusts were gone.
Bad news, the roads were slanted a bit, likely to keep help the rain water drain.  But slanted roads means having to use your ankles and shins more than normal to support you and keep you running in a straight line.
Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco
Man, it totally hurt and there was no way to avoid it!!!

     The last 4 miles of the race were the longest for me, I hurt.  But I was so proud of myself, I was going to be finishing about 30 minutes faster than I had even planned.
We had a killer hill at mile 25, I am not even going to lie that hill totally owned me.  I was completely spent by the time I got to it.  When I got over it, well lets just say it was a happy moment!
Coastal View from Race Course
Amazing what a good race, no illness can do for you!  This race reminded me how much I really do love running these things! Eventually I made it to the finish line, and to be honest I was SO glad I had family there to pick me up!!!  Most races I go at them alone, but this one I wasn't alone.  Knowing I wasn't going to have to walk miles to my car or back to my hotel, was such a relief I can't even explain!!

This was one of the hardest races I have ever done.  (Not sure if the hardest, but it was close!)  I can't remember the numbers exactly but I ran over 3,150+ feet uphill in the race, and a bit more than 3,175 downhill.  No wonder I was in so much pain by the finish!  But regardless of the pain, I was thrilled with my finish time and how well I did on a few of the hills.  
Muir Woods

     Absolutely gorgeous course, I loved it, it was breathtaking most of the way!  The volunteers were amazing, and the race was extremely well organized.  The people who came out to either sing, play music or cheer were also great.  All of them had to tough out those crazy cold winds off the ocean and they didn't have a way to warm themselves like the runners did by running.
Great race, I can totally see why so many people rave about this one!  I can already say this one will make my top 10 favorite Marathon's in America list.
Walking Through Muir Woods

     California was my 22nd Marathon state I have finished.  By crossing the finish line, I am now on the half way point of my goal this week to run 2 Full Marathons in 1 week.
Call me crazy, insane or totally addicted to pain if you will.  I have to admit I am excited to try it.

Two days later, my lungs are exhausted I am reminded of how tired they are every time I take a deep breath.  My feet have a few minor blisters, and my body is starting to get the scabs over the area's of chaffing.
My legs are shot, they hurt.  I tried jogging on them yesterday.  Only made it a few feet before I almost fell on my face. LOL

I can make it up and down stairs only slightly easier than yesterday, but it's still an extremely painful thing to do and one I am trying to do as much as I can to hopefully recover quicker.
     Like anyone who runs a marathon, the rest of the body is exhausted and aches and my body would love nothing other than a long recovery.
But that isn't going to happen.  I am hoping most of the soreness from moving will go away by this weekend, but I already know what is coming.
My next marathon in 5 days is going to hurt, that is a likely fact.  It's all going to be a mind game, and I am prepared for it.  I am excited to see if I can pull it off.
Muir Woods - Ancient Redwoods
We shall see:)

Golden Gate Bridge, View from my Hotel Window (Great View,huh)
San Francisco Pier 36 Seals seeking some sun:)
These pictures you are seeing on this post were either taken the day before on the race course.  (No I am not a runner who stops and takes pictures while on the course, LOL)  Or they were taken the day prior when I went hiking in Big Sur, or in days prior to the race while on my trip in different parts of San Francisco and Muir Woods.  I hadn't been to this part of California before, and I reminded myself that California is a beautiful state, I need to visit it more often!!!!

Alcatraz Island "The Rock"