Monday, June 25, 2012

Purple Wedding Decoration

We are a Salt Lake City, Utah based mobile wedding and event decoration company, if you like the decorations you see, or would like to see more of our work and what we have available.  
Please visit our website: 
We also may come to nearby state boarder cities in Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada, contact us for details.

This particular Brides colors were darker purples and Greens, we used eggplant and wisteria as the main linen colors.  As well as satin eggplant colored swags on the backdrop.  Hints of apple green and key lime colors around the room and in the floral arrangements.

Our Pillar Wedding Backdrop, with satin swags

Glowing banquet tables

Book sign-in area and our secured lock-box

Wedding cake table - pre-cake:)

Eiffel tower centerpieces with purple daffodils with apple green centers, and white roses.

Our silk floral arrangements


Our fun frog water fountain

Picture and Video area

Room accents on book table

Back of room view

Front of room view

Room view



Monday, June 18, 2012

My Minnesota Marathon

Split Rock Lighthouse
     So Minnesota was my 25th marathon state on my goal and it was a fabulous race!  I ran the Grandma's Marathon in Duluth along the beautiful coast of Lake Superior and lush tree lined roads.  It was a decent size marathon, I believe around 7,000+ entrants and an amazing group of volunteers and race organizers.  Also to clarify for people like my sister, it was not a race just for Grandma's.  Well I maybe for a few, but not me:)

     We were pre-warned in the days leading up to the race to expect temps in the 70's and horrible humidity up in the 85% range.  The temperature was expected to be perfect, but add the high humidity and it had the possibility of being a REALLY hot race.  They also warned us about a chance of rain showers.
Having run a lot of HOT races this year both with and without humidity, I prepared fully and I was perfectly hydrated going into it.

Northern Coast of Lake Superior
     The race had a shuttle bus that actually picked me up right in front of my hotel.  Guess that is one of the benefits of staying at one of the race recommended hotels.  Truthfully the only reason I ended up at the Radisson in Duluth (which I swear was the highest priced hotel in the city).  Wasn't because I wanted to pay a small fortune each night, but I was an idiot and left booking my hotel until a few months prior and basically I didn't have a choice.  When you wait too late, you are basically stuck with places that have prices others tried to avoid.  That aside, it was a nice hotel and I did have a fabulous room that overlooked the city and Lake Superior and their famous Ariel Lift Bridge

    So after a short 30 minute bus ride into the small town of Two Harbors, more specifically I believe it was a car dealerships parking lot:)  Right next to the railroad tracks and on the Scenic North Shore Road.  When I arrived at first I just noticed that it kind of felt like it was getting hotter by the minute,
When it came time for the race to begin someone sang the star-spangled-banner.  I was in line for the port-o-potties which more often than not ends up being my location during the song in a race LOL.  Then the fighter jets flew over, and I have to say it was AWESOME!  One moment nothing then they were there and if you blinked you'd of missed it since they were so fast and I swear flying as low as they could so it was even louder for us.
Right after the jet flew over they played the theme from Top Gun "Highway to the Danger Zone."  I loved that touch!  At that point I was seriously hooked and finally caught on to the race energy and I was ready to go.

Gooseberry Falls
     The first few miles went pretty good, I eased into the race having some weird pains in my calves and ankles which I think were from my new shoes that might not have been as broken in as they should have been.  I adjusted my pace and mixed things up a bit and by mile 3 the pains seemed to be gone completely.  I was sweating A LOT from the heat on the so far not really a cloud in the sky day, and my stomach was growling because I didn't eat enough that morning.  But other than those two things, I was feeling pretty fabulous!
The race was so well organized, medical support at every mile (which I didn't need, thank goodness!)  Water every other mile starting at mile 3 and a very happy and energetic group of volunteers.

Two Harbors Lighthouse
   



The first 12 miles for me were pretty hot, the sun was full out and there was little to no breeze.  But after that the clouds started to roll in, and drop the temperature a little.  Then the winds started kicking up from the lake and hitting us with cooler little breezes of air, so to me it was absolutely perfect for running.

     Not only that but the course was just beautiful, pine tree's and other kinds lined the street completely forest like.  All traffic was stopped so it was only us runners out on the road and the occasional group of spectators who came out.
When the tree's weren't to my left, the beautiful lake was.  While the sun was out the lake was just beautiful and blue.  When the sun went behind the clouds and the winds kicked up, you could hear the waves crashing along the rocky coastlines.  (In my opinion the lake was like being next to the ocean, when it was wavy.)
I don't run with headphones anymore so I just enjoyed nature sounds, runners talk and the occasional stereo or band out on the course.

Aerial Bridge in Duluth
     I felt pretty good until around mile 17, that is when my feet started to really begin the soreness coming back, which I think was mostly due to the fact that possibly I didn't give them enough of a rest since 2 weeks ago when I ran my last marathon...
Temperance Falls
My stomach was on empty and I probably ate more during this marathon than I ever have before.  Thank you oranges, banana's and the yummy Dum Dum suckers I took...  To be honest, I am just thankful that they all agreed with my stomach and didn't cause me any other problems.

     I had a first in this marathon, I was cut off by a deer.  Seriously, a doe came out of the forest line around mile 21.5 and made a run for it, towards the lake.  It was fun to see happen!
I have seen deer before out running but this was the first one who crossed my path in a race.  I laugh because now I have been cut off by not only a deer.  But in the past I had a huge bull moose come run side by side a few steps with me before cutting me off.  I also had a mountain lion come out of the bush once and cross the road path in front of me and I have cut off a coyote while out on a run before.
Guess I have just been lucky to get these opportunities!!!

Upper Cascade Falls
     I was really starting to feel it by mile 23, I really didn't care for that mile not a bit.  I think the steepest hill of the course was during this mile, and in a distance down the lake I could see the Aerial Bridge (the finish line) it looked close, but with still a few miles to go it couldn't have felt further...

     However, eventually I snapped out of it I guess I can thank the weather for that.  The cooler breezy temps turned a bit colder and the rain was drizzling down on me.  When I reached downtown and the red brick made streets I got a little burst of energy.  Well it was that or the fact that I was starting to freeze and I just wanted to get the pain over with as soon as possible and get off my feet.
Lower Cascade Falls
Eventually I reached Canal Park area and after running around a huge ship (over a 1/4 of a mile at least, you notice these things when you are hurting, LOL)  After coming around the ship I could see the finish.  Some guy says to me at mile 26, "It's just the easy part left now."  Famous words I often hear by someone who I can assure you has NEVER run a marathon before.  As the last .2 of the course is in my opinion the worst and sometimes seems like it lasts forever.  (Especially when you can see the finish:)

     Thrilled to have finished state #25 and my 32nd marathon overall, I accepted my medal, my finishers t-shirt (love when they give them at the finish rather than before the race!  See then you don't have a bunch of first time marathon runners running in a shirt they haven't yet earned.)  I gladly welcomed the foil blanket that was wrapped around me (I was wet and freezing!!)  I decided to skip any food or drink at the finish, I wanted off my feet and I had a long walk back to my hotel still to go.
Luckily the city is equipped with a skywalk system that connects miles of the city together through climate controlled walkways above the streets and through buildings.  I had a little over a mile walk through them before I came out of one that exited right into my hotel.  (Also thankful for signs and directions in them, since I really had no idea where I was going or how to get back on my own!)

Lake Superior Coastal View
     When I finally was able to sit on the bed and kick off my shoes, ahhh it was fabulous.  Still very painful, but finally I was off of them.  It was so soothing I just laid down on the bed still in my foil blanket and didn't mean to but crashed for a few hours.  When I got up to walk to the shower, the foot pain was like it never left and like walking on bruises...  Luckily this race I didn't get any blisters, and had only a couple of spots on my body with bad chaffing.

Duluth Lake Walk
     Duluth and the drive along the Northern Minnesota Superior Coast is just beautiful!  Green and lush, a beautiful lake that I learned is so big if you spread out all the water it would cover not only the US but all of Canada, Mexico and all of South America with 1 foot of water.  (Thought that was interesting enough to mention:)  Great lighthouses and sheer cliffs.  Huge rivers and some amazing waterfalls.  The pictures you are seeing in this post are what I took as I visited the area, some were taken right along the race course we ran.

     Being a country girl, obviously Minnesota is a great place for someone like me to visit!  Plenty of places to see and so many trails to hike.
Also I am not going to lie, I loved what I call the MinneSLOWtaLK. LOL  I just wished more of them had that long slooooow drawn out way of talking, I loved it!  They were my favorite runners to listen to while in the race too, LOL LOL LOL..
Great trip, I'd love to make it back someday!  Also, this is one of those races that is put on so well and has such a great course that I wouldn't mind running it again!

Trail in Split Rock State Park
     Well a few weeks off racing for me now, this running wedding decorator is beginning the start of the busy summer wedding season:)  Then one more race this summer before I am going to take a couple of months off marathons.  Let my body heal a little and give it some well needed relief before September when I have a super big fall line up of races set up.  Well maybe not too much relief, since I won't be racing I am going to work on a few other things and see if I can gradually work on dropping my marathon time a little:)
Stormy day Superior Lake View

Northern Lake Superior Cliffs



Monday, June 4, 2012

My Wyoming Marathon

They had a GREAT looking finisher medal
     Woke up early on the morning of June 3rd, to meet the race bus to take me to the start.  Even just walking to the bus at 5am I could tell it was going to be a warm day.
Runners hung out at the Casper Events Center before the race started, the officials had drinks and bagel breakfast and other items for runners to snack on.  This was up on a hill above the town, so from there you had a great view of the sun coming up over the valley as you waited for the Casper Marathon to begin.

     Race started at 6:30am with the gunshots of some local ROTC members, they had the full marathon & relay start first and the half marathon started 30 minutes later.  There was hardly a cloud in the sky and the officials said at the start that we were only going to have light 7mph winds along the course.

The first few miles were nice, just gradual rolling hills.  The sun was up and even though it felt like it was already 70 degree's out, it still had the morning air feel to it.  The first 6 miles was an area fit for lots of deer and antelope, just grassy rolling hills and quite a bit of nothing else.

     I had something happen to me that has never happened before, sometime between miles 4 and 5 I was having issues with my right shoe.  At first I thought I just stepped on a rock, but after a few checks I realized that wasn't the case.  I was getting annoyed with the sound that my shoe would make every time I would take a step, but I just told myself to get used to it and get over it.  It wasn't until several miles later as the sound got a bit more annoying, and I got into the double digits in mileage that I realized what had really happened.  One of the gel or air pockets that are built into the shoe for comfort and additional cushion had popped.
The particular Saucony shoes I was wearing were different than most, they not only had the extra cushion support in the heal but also up in the forefoot area.  I had popped one in the forefoot area, lucky me:)

     Well eventually after a circle around up on top, we were able to take the downhill drop into the valley below and then the turn onto the paved trails that run along side the North Platte River.  Miles 7 & 8 are early on in the race but myself and other runners were already realizing by then that the heat of the day was coming on in full force.  So far up until this point I had zero shade, and even on the trails the few tree's along the river weren't throwing shade anywhere near the trails direction.
My favorite part along this part of the course was natures sounds.  Being a small race all runners were pretty spaced out, and for the most part you could run alone.  Near the river the crickets and bugs were loud as ever, and it sounded like hundreds of croaking frogs, and several different kinds of them.  So here nature provided my music.  (I don't run with headphones in races anymore.)  For a girl who loves the outdoors, I loved this part!
View from the race start looking out to Casper

     Mile 9 we passed right next to the finish line, and also the area with practically the only shade on the course.  This race I had my sister and her cute adorable kids come with me.  Since our hotel was right next to the finish line and her kids had woken early she brought them out to cheer for me before they went to breakfast.  It was fun having them there cheering and waving at me.  I haven't had family out cheering me on a race course in many years, this was really fun (excluding finish line cheering:)!  I waved again to them from high up on the bridge as I crossed the North Platte River and looked down to see them below, it was fun to see them, made my day!

     The rest of the course is when the sun was a seriously unforgiving killer, man it was HOT!!!  We were still on a river trail, and the hills were slight and rolling aside from a few steeper spots.  But there was literally NO shade.  The sun just beat down on us, I felt like I was seriously baking.

     The volunteers along this course were GREAT!  I do have to mention them, not only were they happy and cheerful to every runner, but they were more than accommodating.  They were out in that hot sun too, but at times some would walk up a ways from the water stand to give you one glass to cool yourself off with so you'd be ready for another by the time you got to the actual stand.
They had ICE too, I was SOOOOO grateful for that!  I'd take a cup of ice every time and dump half of it on my head under my hat, to slowly melt over me while I ran.  You may laugh at this, but I'd take the other half and discovered the sports bra is a great place to dump a bunch of ice into, to also slowly melt down you over the next mile or so.

     Many runners were complaining of the heat, I think just about everyone who spoke to me between miles 10-25 their only conversation was the heat.  Although I agreed it was hot, if I dwell on it or let it occupy my mind too much while still running it wouldn't be a good idea mentally for me, so I would just politely nod or say something else to them non heat related!
Maybe because I am from Utah and I am used to dry heat I knew what to expect and how to make sure I stayed hydrated enough.  If I am going to be honest, I think I prefer dry hot heat to humid hot heat if I have to run in it...
One runner said to me at mile 11, "if I didn't need this state on my list I would pull out of this race and call it quits, this heat is horrible".  (There were quite a few of us there running this race to knock Wyoming off out state goal lists:)
For me I wouldn't quit a race because of the heat, as long as I was hydrated and doing well.  I just kept thinking, if she is thinking thoughts like that now before even the half way, she's set for a miserable race!
Independence Rock

     I was doing pretty good with throwing the heat factor out of my mind until around mile 16, that is when I really started to notice that it was taking a good draining on my energy.  By now I had realized what my shoe problem was as well, and l I was glad there weren't many runners, because if someone had to run by my side the whole way, they'd be so annoyed with my shoe's popping and sucking sound every time I took a step.  The problem was, by the issues were becoming noticeable to me.  It wasn't only the sound, I was realizing that having an uneven shoe bottom was causing me pain.  Even just that slight dip in the foot area, messes everything up.  My hip all the way down my leg was hurting from having been running with the uneven shoe surface.

     Sometimes things happen that are out of your control, and a shoe problem is a big one!  I'd like to say none of it bothered me, but it did.  It was mentally wearing away at me little by little, because of that I was also letting the heat factor get into my thoughts way much too.
Once one or two things start bothering you, its apparently very easy to let several more into your mind to bother you more.
Miles 21-26 were horrible for me, I was barely hanging on mentally.  I was hot, (wasn't sure exactly but I knew it was upper 80's if not 90 degree's for pretty much the entire race.)  I was not only hot, but exhausted, my leg hurting, my foot felt like it had one major blister on it and truthfully all I wanted to  do was get to the finish line to get this race over and find some shade!

     Finally I crossed back over the North Platte River, and up the hill to the top of the bridge where the finish line was in sight.  Ended up having one of my WORST races ever, finish time wise it took me considerably longer to run this 26.2 miles than EVER before.  I was disappointed, but truthfully around mile 23 when I knew it was going to be a bad time, I kind of gave up caring too much and just put all focus on finishing.

     Thrilled to have it over, I just collapsed on a curb that had a little shade from a tree and sat there with not even enough energy to walk over and grab a cold Pepsi out of the ice cooler at the finish to drink while I rested.  (However, eventually I got up, and grabbed a Pepsi on my walk back to meet up with my sister - I love me a ice cold Pepsi after a hard run:)

     The Casper Marathon, even though it is a small town race.  The officials are energetic and fun, the volunteers were the same as well as amazing.  They cheered and were more than willing to help and make sure you had all the water, Gatorade or ice that you needed.  They had fruit and other food supplements too, but I didn't take any this race.
The course was actually quite beautiful, rolling hills, North Platte River, lots and lots of croaking frogs.  The only downside of the race is the fact that it is HOT, there are very little to no tree's for shade most of the course is full out in the hot open sun.  Welcomed is any breeze you could feel, which for us that day was practically none.
I give the race an overall thumbs up!  The officials can't control the heat, and knowing you were going to be running in that area of Wyoming you should have already known the terrain and lack of shade for the race.  So based on what they could control and their volunteers those aspects were AMAZING.  They deserve a thanks and job well done!!!

     The entire trip was one of my quickest marathon trips ever.  I drove into Casper the day before the race, and right after the race I drove back to Utah.  Didn't do much sightseeing unless you count all the antelope along the way:)  We did stop at Independence Rock on the way back.  The kids were asleep so we decided to pass on Martin's Cove.
I woke up this morning stiff and sore (I should be used to it by now...hahaha)  My right foot and leg is much more sore than the other.  My 2 blisters aren't too bad, nothing a week shouldn't heal (I hope).
At least my next race in a few weeks is in what SHOULD be a much cooler area!  Guess I'll see:)
Part of Independence Rock