Wednesday, August 17, 2016

SueBee's First Great Adventure: All Hail the Hail Balls from the Sky

It's always good to start the day with a parade. I'm sure that's a saying somewhere. It's doubly good when you have relatives in said parade. We got our spots on the corner of 18th and Capital on a cloudy Thursday Cheyenne Frontier Days morning. There were probably more horses than people in the parade... if you discount all the High School Marching Bands. Pretty soon we heard the siren of the fire truck and knew it was time to get our waving hands ready.
Here's Baby Cousin D and her adorable girls I always want to take home in my suitcase, K.D. in the hat and E.G. with the double hand wave.

And you know you're still in the Wild West if this is one of your claims to fame:
The Legendary Tom Horn, the last man to be legally hanged in Cheyenne. Of course you know the end of the parade is near when you hear the rumble of the Historic John Deere Tractors.

Standing is Cousin A. with her "little" brother C. out front. Little is in quotes because he's freakishly tall.

After the parade, it's time for the rodeo. The Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo is known as The Grandaddy of 'em All, and is the largest outdoor rodeo in the US. Sis got us tickets to the days events which were mostly qualifying rounds.
 Luckily this cute little guy wasn't in the arena getting his hooves tied.
I enjoyed the rodeo, but there were aspects that were hard to watch such as what they do to the horses and the bulls to get them to buck and the wild horse race. But what was fun to watch was the steer wrestling and team roping. The next day we went back to the fair grounds because friend D wanted to go to Indian Village and watch the dancing demonstrations and take the "behind the chutes" tour. So we wandered around the Old West Town and in and out of all the shops then headed over to Indian Village. We ate Indian Tacos and watched the clouds gather as we watched the dancing.We made our way across the fair grounds, and as we did, it began to sprinkle. Then rain. Then hail, but normal pea sized hail. Then it got bigger, and bigger... and bigger. As we were jogging past the Saloon Stage, the performer whom we later found out was Michael Martin Murphey, invited everyone on stage with him for protection. So we joined the maybe 40 other people on stage. He kept playing while ladies were jockeying for selfie positions. The hail was now golf ball sized and just kept coming harder and harder. I leaned over to my sister who was huddled in the back because she didn't have a jacket and said, "your poor car".
Shoulders were shrugged. There wasn't anything we could do, so might as well enjoy the show. Both of them. It got real interesting when a park official interrupted to tell everyone to run to the museum because there's a tornado warning. So we the naive tourists take off. I'm the smart one who wore tennis shoes, got to the museum first carrying a few hail balls in my sweatshirt. Sis arrived next, after decided to save herself after stopping mid way to wait for friend D. Those hail balls hurt when they peg you on the head. Not five minutes after arriving at the museum completely soaked, the so called tornado warning was lifted. We had a long trek to poor SueBee so we waited for the storm to pass and lighten before heading back outside. So we chatted with the museum docent, and went through the gift shop. We got a little lost trying to find SueBee, and ended up walking through the botanical gardens surveying the damage. We eventually find her, luckily no broken windows but she now had dimples. Lots and lots of dimples.

We went back to my Aunt P's house to get dry clothes and lick our wounds, and then over to Grandma's for more wound licking and dinner. Aunt P. said that there was no tornado warning issued by the national weather service. So maybe the event security were playing it safe. Uncle E. who volunteers at Frontier Days said there was only one injury reported. A lady had a head wound from a hail ball direct hit. Sis called her insurance agent about SueBee's hail damage, and his comment was, "Where are you?". It only hails where we live in California maybe once every 5-10 years, and even then it is small and slushy. Aunt P. made the comment that they were about due for a good hail storm. Just another normal summer day in Cheyenne.

more to come

Monday, August 8, 2016

SueBee's First Great Adventure: Lets get this party started

I, along with my sister have inherited the "road trip" gene from our late great mother. We love road trips. We've talked and dreamed about getting an RV and driving Route 66. Well she finally did it. Sis bought an RV! We got it home and realized it does not fit in the driveway. Oops. Guess that means we get to redo the front yard landscaping again. Yay, landscaping project! Anyway, we decided the RV's first trip should be to visit Grandma in Cheyenne Wyoming. Well she (the RV) decided she didn't want to go and threw a tantrum in the form of her engine overheating. So she spent the week we were suppose to leave at the mechanic. And we left without her in SueBee the Subaru, my sister's new car.

Sis and I packed up SueBee bright and early Tuesday morning and headed north and picked up her good friend D, and officially got on the road. Our first stop was Windy Moon Quilts in Reno Nevada.
You see, my sister is a sewer. And there is this thing called row by row, learn all about it here.  Sis decided she needed to participate, so any quilt shop within 10 miles of Interstate 80 was fair game in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

Next was a different Windy Moon Quilts in Sparks Nevada.
Then A Stitch of Country in Fernley Nevada
We also had lunch in little Fernley, a nice Mexican restaurant. Throughout this adventure, you will sense a theme, and not just quilt shop stops. Next quilt stop was Comfy Cozy Quilt Shop in Winnemucca Nevada.

A few shops down from the Comfy Cozy was this little gem. Not sure if we went in because there's a cat in the logo or because it was an antique shop. No matter, sis found a chicken to add to the collection in the backyard.
Then we saw this sticker friendly vehicle at the gas station.
We stopped in Wendover Nevada/Utah for the night. Then up early to battle through Utah and Wyoming. Fisrt stop on day 2 was Saltair Utah, on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. A former resort/spa/amusement park/everything under the sun now music venue/saltwater taffy maker. Weird place.

We chose only one quilt shop in Salt Lake City, ... And Sew On, and Davidene's Quilt Shop in Park City Utah.

Crossed the Utah/Wyoming border and stopped off at Common Threads Quilting in Evanston Wyoming.

Not that I was tired of quilt shops, but I wanted to stop at something else for a change. I saw a sign for Fort Bridger Historic Site, and also saw that it was the same exit as the next quilt shop, I piped up. I was thinking we'd stop at some road side plaque and learn a little history. Well, we pull up and it's not just a plaque, it's a freakin' state park with entrance fee's and re-inactors and museum, and of course gift shops. Sis dropped D and I off at Fort Bridger, so she could drive down the road to Valley Fabric Shop in Lyman Wyoming. So while D and I were getting educated about Mormon's and the Oregon Trail and U.S. Calvary, Sis was getting lost in Lyman. She found the quilt shop without the help of Siri who said it didn't exist, got her row by row pattern, forgot to take a picture (the only quilt shop stop without a photo - feel guilty yet sis?) and came back to Fort Bridger to join us and got hung up by the retired history teacher now "shop owner". He was bored and did have interesting things to say.

After our education for the day, it was back on the road to Green River Wyoming to Keama's Quilts and A Little Country Character.

I saw a sign on our way in to Green River for the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Tour, perfect for D. She LOVES horses. We find the entrance, and it says "Scenic Loop". You would figure that a loop meant it loops back to where you started. Nope. Drove some miles along a dirt road through the mountains looking for horses. Decided we should turn around since we didn't know at the time that the loop didn't actually form a loop. But got some good views of the Flaming Gorge, just not of horses.

Miss SueBee got her first dose of dirt roads. She enjoyed the views, but not the dust. I don't think she likes to get dirty. She is a subaru though, so she will need to get used to it.
 Our last quilt stop of the day was Willow Ridge Crafts in Rock Springs Wyoming.
By now the day was more than half over and we still had 270 miles to go. We put the petal to the metal and rolled into Cheyenne around 10:00pm tired but happy to have made it. Not in Tallulah May the RV, but SueBee the Subaru stepped up. And it's only the beginning of the adventure. More to come soon.

Monday, June 13, 2016

My Peak Challenge 2016: What happens when you fail

So what do you do when you fail at something? Cry? Eat junk food? Stay in bed all day? Drink copious amounts of alcohol? What do you do when you fail at something big?

If you have read this blog before then you know I participated in something called My Peak Challenge last year. I wrote about it a few times. If you don't know what it was or need a refresher, click here for the beginning and here for the end result from last year. This year was of course bigger, better, and more bad-assery. It kicked off in January and culminated for the entire month of May. There was a facebook group formed for all the participants and a two month long prep program that ran from February through the end of March that included meal prep, menu's, and an exercise program with videos and tutorials. We were to pick our challenge and had the entire month of May to complete it. And of course all the while we were raising money for cancer research. I signed up for it all. I was so excited to do it again. I got my MPC 2016 t-shirt, bought the prep program and followed it every day for the entire two months. I even found and bought a rowing machine from craig's list. All the while I was trying to decide what my May challenge would be. I decided that this year it wouldn't be a physical challenge but a professional one. I kept quiet about the whole challenge this year. No weekly blog posts about good running music or embarrassing work-out mishaps. I didn't want to blurt out what my challenge was going to be. I wanted it to be a surprise.

When I left archaeology originally, it was to pursue opening a small business. My dream was to own and operate a used bookstore and gelato shop. So I started to pursue it. I wrote a business plan, started collecting books, went to classes sponsored by the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and my local Chamber of Commerce. Learned how to make gelato from a real Italian. I put it on hold when I realized I needed money I didn't have and then my mom got sick. Well then she died, and I started My Peak Challenge 2015 last year. My sister bought me out of our house, I moved into dad's house, and I cashed out my archaeology 401k. All of a sudden, I now had money. So let's do this. Time to get this dream out of the clouds and a reality. That was going to be my May challenge. To find a building in downtown for my shop and get the necessary loans needed to get it up and running. So that's what I did. I rewrote my business plan, found the building I wanted, got my real estate agent on it, and went to a local non-profit that specializes in small businesses and their funding and the bank with my applications.

The non-profit said, "sorry, we won't fund you at this time, too high risk". The bank said the same thing. This wasn't just some normal big bank. Big banks won't even look you in the eye without coming to them with a multi-million dollar deal. I was just asking for $400,000. The bank I went to is one of the local community banks that specialize in small businesses. I tried SBA loans which are government backed and got no answers. I then asked my sister and brother-in-law to go in on it with me thinking they have collateral that I don't have and have incomes that I don't so surely the bank would like them better. Nope. The way that banks and any other financial institutions work these days are not for the common person. They work for huge conglomerates and the big money makers. They will not invest in small businesses. They just won't. They make it so hard. You have to front up to 50%, have already been in business for 3-5 years, etc. So how is someone suppose to start up, when no one will lend? You don't.

I failed. There are a ton of articles about how the current U.S. economy has killed small businesses and entrepreneurs. Google it. Read this article from Time magazine. Could I get investors? Sure, but then I have to do what they say, pay them back at their interest rate, on their terms. It wouldn't be my business, it would be theirs until I payed them off. Could I crowd fund? Sure. Could I get $300-400,000 that I need? No.

I failed. The U.S. economy failed. The only way to be an entrepreneur now is to be a 1%-er trust fund kid. And that, I am not. You have to do it outside of the traditional route. And even then you are taking a big risk. I was willing to take the risk. No one else was.

So what do you do when you fail? When your dream is dead in the water? Well, you keep getting up in the morning. You keep putting your clothes on. You keep going to that job you hate. You keep eating food. And you run. Run till you can't go any farther. You run till your tears stop flowing. You run with the music so loud you drown out the negative voice in your head telling you that you suck and you're a looser. You run. And you keep running. And get up the next day and do it all over again. Because sometimes, that's all you can do.

I did not succeed at this years My Peak Challenge. Not everyone did. Some people had to have surgeries. Others had to stop because they are on chemo treatments. Some got injured. Did these people give up because they failed to reach their peak this year? Hell no. They get up every day and go to physical therapy or to their chemo treatments. They keep going. And so will I. I will keep getting up every day. I will run because that is all I can do.

I failed. My dream of being a proud small business owner may be over, but I'm still here. And for now, I'll keep running.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

I'm still an archaeologist... sometimes

So besides my barista job at the coffee shop, I have another job. I write cultural resource reports for a friend/former co-worker/now boss who got a big-wig job. I get to write these little ditties at 3am if I choose, and clothing is not a requirement either. This all means, I work from home, remotely. Well, I actually got to do a little survey earlier this week for them. I haven't done any field work for well over a year. So when a writer of these reports or agency says a survey should be done before work can commence (hence writing the report in the first place), one of us remote writers gets to go play in the outdoors.

I got to go to Wishon Reservoir. Where's that, you say?
It's like driving to LA, only the destination is much prettier and a hell of a lot less people. Now way back in the day, I did this drive a lot. I think the last time I was in the southern sierra's was over 3 years ago when I got to play at the bottom of Shaver Lake. I've talked about the Sierra's quite a bit here on the blog. See here for one example. Well, I'm impressed I remembered how to get through Madera, and that my little putt putt made it up The Grade on Hwy 168. There are so many dead trees. So, so many. The drought and bark beetles have done a severe number on this forest. If a wildfire happens here this summer, it will be completely devastating. It will char this mountain to the core. So anyway, you drive up to Shaver Lake and then hang a right and head to Dinky Creek. I've been to Dinky Creek before, but have never actually been as far out as Wishon. The farthest I had been was Camp Fresno, and I thought as I drove past it, that from here on out will be new. What an adventure. And I saw little bits of snow still on the ground. Probably not there anymore, since we're in a heat wave. I think my ears actually screamed when they finally popped. Oh, the pressure release was amazeballs!

Well, I made it to the campground where I was going to camp. Pulled into a site I liked, and got the tent out. It took me a minute to remember how to set it up, but I got it. Man, I forgot about the bugs. I finished setting up camp, ate what constituted as my dinner at the picnic table and went straight back into my car because it was the only safe place from the Jurassic sized mosquitoes. I got bored waiting for the sun to set. So I bundled up (to keep the mosquitoes from draining me dry) and walked around a bit, but I mostly played games on the ipad.

my little campsite

if we weren't in a drought, this would all be water
So, I went to get in my tent for the night, and apparently I put it on the lovely home of the FIRE ANTS! My little tent was covered in them. Oh, hell no! So I didn't sleep in my tent. I slept in my car. It was very uncomfortable, and too hot because I couldn't roll the windows down for fear of Jurassic mosquitoes. Miserable night.

Woke up the next morning to sunshine and less mosquitoes. I ate breakfast (a crappy Starbucks frappacino thingy, applesauce, and a granola bar) and got ready to go find my survey location, a random distribution pole. Found it. Surveyed around it. Took lots of pictures of it. Was impressed that I remembered the names of the vegetation around it (trees, shrubs, and even wildflowers). I gave myself a pat on the back for that one. And I filled out my survey notes.
It was all done and over within 30 minutes. Well, shoot, now what? I'm all the way out here and it isn't even 9am. Well, I'll regret not seeing the reservoir. So I went over to the boat launch and stared at the water for a while.
Hello, Wishon
And so my little turn as archaeologist was over. But the adventure wasn't quite done yet. I got everything packed back up into my car, including the tent with FIRE ANTS, and started the drive back down the mountain. I had missed it on the way up, but drove passed this famed spot.
you have bars? no, you?
I do, if I stand on the truck.

I texted a good friend, not at this spot though, even today, my phone did not have any bars, and asked her if she wanted to have lunch. And so I turned little putt putt to Fresno. I rolled into her driveway just before noon. I got a tour of her awesome house. And spent a few hours with her and her awesome little human. Her husband, who was once upon a time, my work-husband, and in a round-about-way now I work for, had to be all responsible and go to some important work meeting thing or whatever and missed out on my presence. To bad for him. I got his wife and daughter all to myself.

I then drove the rest of the way home. Unpacked the car, including the tent with FIRE ANTS. I put the tent back up in the backyard. The hot trunk killed the FIRE ANTS (yea) and only carcasses remained (double yea). But I still needed to air out and dry the tent. I did laundry, showered, picked spinach for my sisters chickens, and uploaded my notes and pictures to the company server.

I sat around and thought, I still got this. I still know how to do this. That was fun. And oh man, did I have the best sleep in my comfy big girl bed that night!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

To My Mom Part VIII: So How Are You Doing

I've been working on this one for a while now. Little by little, it gets written. Why is this one so hard? I don't know. Perhaps it is because I am not in the mood to do this, but feel like I have to get this out. These past few months (summer) have not been hard or difficult, but they haven't been easy either. And so to answer the question in the title: I fucking bloody miss her, and I'm still pissed off that she died. That's how I'm doing.

I keep getting asked this question. How are you doing? I'm fine, I say. That is all I ever say. My answer never changes. Quit asking how I'm doing. If I want to tell you how I'm really doing, I will tell you. I won't need a prompt. I know this is a common question, even to people not mourning a death, so I get it. It's just one of those conversation starter questions in general. It gets asked two to three times a day at work at least. But when asked by people "in the know" a lot, it gets annoying. Quit it. In an effort to quell this question a bit, here is my true and honest response.

How am I doing? I got up this morning. I put clothes on. And if I worked out or had to work today, then I actually left the house as well. Congratulations! I keep getting up.  I keep moving. I get out of bed everyday. Keep moving. This song is on my running playlist on the ipod nano. First song I hear after it gets charged or the playlist starts over. I keep moving.

Working out and running has been the one thing that has helped me through this so far. Not the only thing, but the one thing that I have found, that I do, where I find joy, happiness, and motivation to keep going in life. Life goes on, and we can chose to keep going with it or stay stagnate. I was stagnate after her death. It was a shock. It all happened so fast. We were suppose to have more time. She was suppose to come home. I was stagnate and didn't do or feel or anything for two months. I think that that was okay. We all sat around and stared at walls for a bit. It's a lot to process. But then you have to pick yourself up. You can't stay in that space forever. Working on my physical body with exercise and eating better got me out of my stagnate phase. And once I started on this new direction (because there are many directions one can take), I found that I really enjoy it. I find myself smiling and doing mental high fives and fist bumps after good runs. Sometimes they aren't mental and I quickly look around to see if anyone out mowing their lawn or walking their dog just saw me fist bump my imaginary friend. Some runs aren't so fun. They're painful from burning lungs, side stitches, or the inhalation of bugs, lethargy, too hot, too muggy, or some other random ugh. At the end of those runs, I shrug them off and say to myself that I still got out the door today, and I did it anyway.

So how are you doing?

I don't want to be stagnate anymore. When you or a sibling, parent, spouse, BFF is on a cancer  journey, your own life gets put on hold. You're focused on that person. You're going to chemo appointments, and Doctor visits. You're doing things that the other person wants to do. Everything is about them. I was on hold. So after mom passed away, I didn't need to be on hold anymore. Of course it takes a bit to get going again. Putting yourself back into drive after being in neutral for so long, takes a bit of trial and error and procrastination. But I'm doing it. I said earlier that this year (2015) is all about not settling. Well, I'm keeping myself to it. I've gotten myself into a physical shape that I have never been in before, not even when I was in High School playing 3 different sports at the same time, going from one practice to the next practice to the next. And I feel pretty awesome. I have body issues, as does probably 99% of the female of our species. I have come to a point now that I am almost... almost actually happy with my body. I'm doing little things that are pushing me to get out of ruts and fixing things. Little things like finally moving my 401k from a former employer to an IRA, that I will actually control and not some crazy wack-a-doodle former co-worker/cake nazi. Little things like cutting all my hair off. Little things like joining new groups and meeting new people. Actually buying new clothes. These are big things to me. Yes, even the clothes thing. I still have/wear things I've had since high school. That was 20 years ago!

 This running thing I'm doing now is something my mom was never able to do. She struggled with weight her entire adult life. I find it ironic that when she was at her best (pre-cancer), which was 2010, she had lost 80 pounds and was really excited, I was at my worst, 30 pounds overweight and miserable. When I started running again after her death, I thought I would do it "for her" because she couldn't. But by thinking that way, I was never going to succeed. Do I run "in her honor" then? No, that's not right either. I run for me. That may be seen as selfish, but it's the truth, and it is the right framework for my continued success. Mom is gone, but I'm still here. I have to do things for me now.

this song is also on the running playlist. A bit more "happy" and something I strive for.

Here's another thing, July sucks. I'm glad it's over. Why does July suck now? Well, mom and dad's anniversary was July 1st. Mom's birthday was July 9th. About four of my parents favorite couples also have wedding anniversaries within 2 weeks of theirs. And they had trips planned with some of these favorite couples. Mom always had something big planned in July. She did this past July. It was to be another epic road trip across the country. She loved the 4th! Making dad BBQ and having people over all month long... if they were home. I think, next to Christmas, July (summer) was her favorite time of year.

It's hard. We sit around sometimes while playing cards or something and think, "she's not here to share this". We miss her not being able to experience things and events with us anymore. No more high school graduations for her grandsons. No more input, design ideas, or help with home renovation projects. Doing our kitchen without mom was hard. She would have loved it. Picking out the cabinet stain, back splash, granite counter top color, etc. We had to do that on our own, for the first time. Sis and I would stand in the middle of the kitchen in the drywall dust cloud and say, "damn, she would have loved this".

I'm not sure this really answers the "how are you doing" question. I'm still angry. I'm still sad. I'm still depressed. I'm lethargic. I'm apathetic. I'm confused. I'm also happy, energetic, glad, and optimistic sometimes. It depends on the day, the weather, TV show or movie I recently watched, book I just finished, interactions with other humans, and all sorts of other things I cannot control like the spinning of our planet through the universe. Sometimes I need to be around people. Sometimes I need to be at the ocean. Sometimes I need trees. And sometimes I need to be alone. And sometimes I just want my mom.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

To My Mom Part VII: The (almost) Golden One

Today would have been mom and dad's 50th wedding anniversary. I didn't have to work today and wanted out of the house. Dad wanted to stay in the air conditioning. So he stayed and I went to the coast to escape the 100+ degrees and residual smoke from a 70+ acre fire south of town.

I drove south past Monterey to Garrapata Beach in Big Sur. Jack Johnson music got me there. I walked around, picked my spot in the sand and set up camp. Ate my PB&J sandwich, snapped a few pics, and got down to reading. Not an hour later, rain drops. Rain? Seriously? "It will pass", I say. Nope, going to rain harder now. I put my hood up on my sweatshirt, packed up, and went back up the cliffs to the car.

I was at a good part in the book, so kept reading in the safety of my dry car. Looked up a few chapters later and couldn't even see the ocean anymore. Marine layer was in for the day. Drove back up the coast to Imagine Dragons music, with a small pit stop in Marina to pee. Thought I got stuck in the bathroom stall in the Target, but only a frantic jiggling of the stall door and a few swear words, and I was free! Walked over the to REI store. They were having a clearance sale. Sorry but still paying $30.00+ for a t-shirt is not a clearance! Left empty handed.

Rolled back into Gilroy and it wasn't in the 100's anymore. Stopped at Goodwill and rummaged through the clothes and got 2 pairs of new to me jeans for a whopping $16 bucks. I now have 2 pairs of jeans that fit my new running legs. Woot woot.

I survived the rainy beach, and dad survived the air conditioning. All is well. Sucks that mom didn't make it to the "golden" anniversary. She had made plans. But such is life. We all survived a big milestone day today. Tomorrow will be just another day. Next week will have another big milestone day without mom. But that's another post.

Some may think that driving 50+ miles and through traffic only to spend an hour or so at a beach... in the rain a crappy day. But I don't. I find it quite funny actually. Ironic. I did escape the heat. And don't worry, I'm sure mom is still laughing at my misadventure.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

The end of the Bikini 100 Challenge

If you don't know what the heck I'm about to talk about, go and read this first. Then come back. It will make more sense.

I'm an overachiever. The Peak Posse's May challenge was to challenge ourselves to 100 something. It could be fitness related like walk 100km or be able to do 100 sit-ups by months end. Or it could be something completely different. One gal did 100 random acts of kindness. I challenged myself to run 100 miles in the month. That's 31 days to run 100 miles. I broke it up into the 4 weeks in the month. Week 1 had 2 extra days, and week 4 had 1 extra day. I logged my miles by day and week and totaled up at the end of each week and put money in the jar at the end of each week. (part of the challenge is raising money for Caitriona Balfe's charity, World Child Cancer)

At the beginning I wasn't sure I would be able to pull it off. During the months of My Peak Challenge, I would run between 2-4 miles, three days a week. And those 4 mile days were hard. In order to get rest days, I would have to run 5 miles, 5 days a week. Thank god for the extra 2 days that first week. I ran 7 of the 9 days that first week, and only 2 of those days, I was able to run 5 or more miles. But because it was a longer week, I was able to exceed my weekly goals of 25 miles and ran 30.42 miles. So I had a 5 mile lead going into week 2.

Week 2 wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. I ran 5 days and had 2 rest days, and only 1 of those days did I go over 5 miles. I did a total of 22.38 that week, which cut my lead buffer down to just under 3 miles.

I challenged myself in week 3 to run 5+ miles each day. No short runs. (I know, a challenge in a challenge. Just a glutton for punishment) I noticed two things during this week. One was that I was starting to feel the impact of running this much in my feet. My lungs and legs were fine. No soreness, but my feet were starting to ache and thought I'd better do as much as I can now while I still can, before I give out. And two, it was getting easier to go farther and farther. I would chose to turn here instead of there or continue this way instead of that way which would lengthen the route by half a mile or mile. I ran 5 days that week and each run was 5+ miles, the shortest being 5.19 and the longest being 8.07. I did 29.66 miles in week 3 which put me in a good lead going into the last week.

Week 4, the last week. I ran Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday came up and for some reason I had a hard time getting myself out the door. I only needed 6 more miles to reach my 100 goal. So I told myself I could just do two shorter runs Thursday and Friday and it would be complete, ahead of schedule even. So off I go. I got to a point where I needed to make the first turn decision which would either shorten or lengthen the route. I chose to lengthen it. I kept choosing to lengthen it. I thought, hey, let's see if I can do 10 miles... like right now. I mean, that's just 2 miles short of a half-marathon. A freaking bloody half-marathon! I can totally do this. Well... I was tired at mile 5, and stopped in my front yard and watered myself with the hose. But I kept going. I stopped again at the park at mile 7.5 for the drinking fountain. I kept going. When the time came to make that last decision of turning to lengthen, I chose to go home instead. I was tired and was running like an old frumpy woman. On the home stretch I said to myself, "you fucking did it! These last few miles are icing on the cake." Oh cake...
Sorry, in dream land for a bit there. I managed 8.84 miles. Still my longest run ever to date. I collapsed as gracefully as one can in the backyard.

I ran 102.83 miles. Boom. My heels and hip bursitis tell me that yes, I can do this, but please for the love of all that is holy and covered in chocolate, don't ever do it again. Okay. Because my dad said he would match, $103 dollars (I'm rounding up) is getting donated to World Child Cancer (this link is to the just giving page where you too can donate if you wish) on behalf of The Peak Posse and $103 dollars is going to help me get new and awesome hiking boots for trekking up and down volcanoes with Balls. If you don't know who Balls is, read this.

So I did it. It was a challenge, but it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I thought, I'd have a hard time getting in the distance needed each day. I thought I might get sick or hurt myself in some way and not be able to finish it. Or I thought I'd just dive into a depression and just not do it. But the opposite happened. The running saved me from the dive I was on into depression. I ate lots of protein and took vitamins. I have no idea if they helped, but I knew they wouldn't hurt. I also ate my fruits and veggies. I knew I needed to keep my energy up.

I've noticed that I am leaner now. I've slimmed down. And by the time I hit mile 3, I am in the groove and just go go go, like I can just keep going forever. I do get quite parched though by mile 6. When I get home after a 6+ miler, I practically inhale my water bottle.

I bought a new hat to run in. Bought it off cafe press. It's a piece of crap. I had to restitch the patch on it, but I wanted a new hat and this is what I wanted it to say, so I fixed it and wear it.

 Even if you run on sidewalks, like I do, you must pay attention to your surroundings. No zoning out. You never know when a little yip yip will come plunging out of a bush to "chase you". And press pause on your music while waiting at a stop light. Even when you get your little flashing walking dude, wait. Make eye contact and stare those mother fuckers down! Had I not done that on one occasion I would be a blood splatter on the asphalt right now. Not one but two cars ran the red light on me.
You can stop reading now if you want, but I'm going to continue blabbing on for just a bit more. I have to share just one more thing. Some of the Posse Lassies are just starting on their health and fitness journeys and some have been discouraged by their lack of progress or success. I've been running off and on with varying success going on 5 years now. And only in this last year, starting with My Peak Challenge have I been truly successful in meeting my goals. I was never unrealistic before, but I lacked the proper motivation, I think. It takes time. I'm not the same person I was 5 years ago. I decided in January when I decided to participate in My Peak Challenge that this year was going to be all about Not Settling. Not settling for just okay. Not settling for just finishing, but to finish on fire! I'm not going to settle for not doing something or going somewhere because I don't have the money or vacation time. I'll find a way. And so, don't beat yourself up for not being able to run a mile. I couldn't even do that 5 years ago. Just starting out was torture. My entire body hurt. My lungs burned. I had an asthma attack, and I don't have asthma. When I first started, I had to walk at least half of each mile.

I will leave you with my only "fat" picture I could find from 5 years ago...
And today with $103 dollars in a jar!
and yes, that is my awesome "strong is the new skinny" tank
I did it with 3 days to spare. Next week, I'm not going to do anything. Except rest my poor feet. Then it's time to change it up again and start doing some new strength training, and if I can find a rower on craigslist or ebay, I'll give my feet some more "rest" by changing up my cardio as well.

And I think I need new running shoes too, och aye.