Saturday, February 9, 2013
I have just created myself a new running playlist. It is rather amazing if I say so myself (thanks to Sommer too). I tried it out today and was impressed at my workout which definitely had more pep in each step!
If you are looking to rock it...check out these songs:
Too Many Fish: Karmin
Burn it Down: Awolnation
Anything Could Happen: Ellie Goulding
Next to Me: Emeil Sande'
I Love It: Icona Pop
You Feel Amazing: Radical Something
Say Yes: Radical Something
Shiver, Shiver: Walk the Moon
Vibe to This: Radical Something
Since my dear Ann moved away, I have been mostly a solo runner and must lean on a fast beat rather than a friend. And although I prefer that friend, music will have to do...
Jen, Linda, Kristi, Vanessa, Erin, Jamie, VDOT, Frank, Pete, Matt, Rob, and EVERY DEAR RUNNING PARTNER I HAVE EVER HAD....why does life have to be so busy?
If you have any favorites, please share!
Friday, December 14, 2012
Yesterday while at the music store, I came across the clearance section. There I stumbled upon a huge section of Christmas music. I couldn't resist and ended up purchasing quite a few pieces. Luckily they were 75% off...even better.
So last night I found myself at the piano. I opened one book, filled with random Christmas favorites. It was there, I saw the song, "Still, Still, Still." I began to play the music, its melody surrounding me, its simple message ringing in my ears..."Still, Still, Still."
How ironic that the birth of our Savior was so still, simple in every way...and yet the world has created so much holiday hoopla that the "still of it all" isn't so quiet anymore.
It's LOUD! It's GREEDY! It's NOW...sparkly decor raucously placed in parking lots, banners begging for holiday buyers on every corner, the SALES, the STRESS. No still.
The sacred stillness of the season is masked in the craze. Can we take ourselves away from the hyper activeness that the Christmas season has become and simply, be still?
As Thanksgiving ushers in hearts full of gratitude, may we take moments to be still and remember Him...our Savior who came so humbly into the world to teach us to stop and listen and then follow...HIM.
Not a sparkle needed. No shouting necessary. No purchase required.
Just a willingness to be still, listen and follow.
And as a special treat, here is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing, "Still, Still, Still," as the story of Christ's birth is shown. As you watch, notice all of the people in the crowded town, consumed with the bustle of life, not knowing what is actually going to transpire that very night.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
I am a songwriter. This is because, well, I have written a song. Yes, moi, the sister of Hilary Weeks (singer and song writer extraordinaire) has written a song too. Duh, I totally would be an obvious candidate for song writing with a sister like that.
So...I wrote a song many years ago. In fact, it was so many years ago, I can't remember when...or why...or even HOW I did it!
Seriously, how in the heck does one even write a song! I figure, if by some odd chance one could come up with a melody (odd chance it happened to me many years ago) and some lyrics are created, then BAM!, you are a song writer (or at least a one hit wonder in my case).
The song in which I am referring to is entitled, "Pollywog." It is absolutely the stupidest song in the world, with its catchy nonsensical (totally dumb) lyrics and simple tune. And yet, it continually pleases audiences of all ages, cultures and classes.
If you don't believe me, read them yourself (and if you are lucky, I'll throw in the melody in the next few days...I am sure you can't wait):
One day I was walking and I saw a dog. Her name was Lucy and she called me Pollywog. I said to her, that is not my name you silly dog. I said to her, "My name is Fred.
And she said,
Polly, polly, polly, polly, polly, polly, polly, polly, polly, polly, polly...wog.
Polly, polly, polly, polly, polly, polly, polly, polly, polly, polly, polly...wog.
I went to my house and started to run, saying to Lucy, you ain't much fun. I have me some legs and breathe in the air, if you don't see it, you really don't care."
And she said,
After the teasing from that old dog, I see myself in a puddle and there stands a frog. Oh my, I sigh and realize on the spot, indeed I was a polly and I had been caught.
And we say...
Is that not a seriously inspirational song?
Not only was it performed while I was in high school on many occasions, it had a four part harmony while I was a missionary in Denmark (I wish I had that recorded). It was sung at my wedding (thanks dad) and played during an awkward moment last year while waiting for a piano student to arrive (full house too). And today I sang it for the middle schoolers in their chorus class. Bam...a total success.
Now, if only I could come up with some cool dance moves to go along with it (think Gangnam Style) and I would be set for life.
Because I know it is the one and only song I will ever write. I am totally content with the success that Pollywog has encountered through the years. But yet, there are still more ears that need to hear and hearts that need to open as they feel Pollywog's power. Yep, I think the next step is to bring Pollywog to everyone. I will be talking to my son (guitar player extraordinaire) and his band to see if we can spice up, dance up and totally spread the message of the Pollywog song (or maybe Hilary or another sibling will help). In case you didn't immediately grasp its message, here lies its meaning:
Not everyone is out to judge you, they are simply loving the you, you have become.
Or maybe the message is about judging (and bullying):
Some know it all dog, named Lucy (with her own self esteem problems), is going around taunting and teasing the new kid in town, Fred. He just moved to the area, just up from the bog around the corner. Just trying to fit in, he doesn't understand why this mangy mutt is following him around, chanting some "pollywog" nonsense.
It really is a song that morphs (hence the pollywog title) into any meaning to anyone.
I love you "Pollywog" and always will.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
I was reading in Luke, chapter 10 the other day, I came across the story of Martha and her sister Mary. We read that upon Jesus' arrival, Mary immediately sits at His feet to listen to His word.
Later, after Martha has been "cumbered about much serving," she says to the Lord, "Doth thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me."
Jesus' response surprises many of us (as I am sure most of us have felt this very way), "Martha, Martha (I love how he says her name two times...I feel the love and understanding He must have for her), thou art careful (which means worried) and troubled about many things...but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
I have read this story many times and have honestly been a little frustrated by His response. While I completely understand his explanation of Mary choosing the "better part," I can't help to have sympathy for Martha.
I mean, who doesn't start cleaning "madly" upon hearing a friend is stopping by? We quickly straighten, light a candle and pop in a batch of cookies. And if we are having really special visitors, we go all out, cleaning the entire house, baking, placing centerpieces perfectly...we do anything and everything to make our guest feel at home.
So here we have Martha, most likely preparing a lovely dinner for their special guest...feeling exhausted, wanting to join Mary at Jesus' feet but knowing the work needed to be done by someone.
But this time as I read these verses, instead of feeling like Martha was getting chastised, I felt she was given a simple reminder.
As we go through this life, there is truly only one thing that is needful...and that is our willingness to follow our Savior.
Too many times we feel we have to have the cleanest house, the skinniest bodies, the nicest cars, the best Sunday School lesson, the perfect children...and we become worried and troubled about many things...and with many people (who should be helping us).
But really, these things aren't important at all...and I think Martha knew that (and Christ gently reminded her).
Each of us are invited to bring all of our worries and troubles and for a moment sit at Jesus' feet. It is here He can comfort. He can heal. He can remind us what is needful...Him.
And then, when are "recharged," we can go about life's responsibilities.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
...As you would have others "Boo" unto you!
The Halloween tradition of "booing" a neighbor is simply delightful for all ages. It is fun to do the booing, and feeling the love of being booed. While I was visiting my parents in Utah, they happened to be "booed" one evening. Although they were a tad bit confused at first, I quickly explained the entire process, getting them both excited about picking two friends to share goodies of the season with.
Now, it was all fun and games until I was the chosen "runner," to place goodie at doorstep, ring doorbell and RUN! I think I looked pretty silly running down their street to the safety of their home without being caught. Once inside, we all giggled, excited about their friends receiving their "boo!"
And without even a kid in sight, three adults accomplished not only something "child-like" but kind by serving a neighbor with a little holiday cheer. Completely simple but really "simply" how it should be done:
"Doing unto others, as you would have them do unto you."
And so upon my return, it was time for our family to do a little "booing." We LOVE to boo our friends, the Leaps, especially their daughter, Brittany. One evening, after gathering a little treasure, Ethan and Tate, quietly walked down the street with our treat.
Knowing how great it makes my children feel when our doorbell rings and a mysterious treat is left on our doorstep, they couldn't wait to do it themselves...sharing the happiness.
And so it goes...when you serve others, you not only bring happiness to others, you feel pretty darn good inside too (even the moms, grandmas and grandpas).
Saturday, October 20, 2012
My dad is what you call a good old fashioned, go getter...he goes and gets what he wants. I witnessed my dad in action this past week on my visit to Utah. Upon my arrival to their home, we sat at my parent's kitchen table, sipping Fresca and cracking open freshly roasted salted pine nuts. I nibbled the meaty nuts and chucked the shells with ease not long after my father taught me the skill needed to fully master the pine nut eating ritual.
The next morning, I awoke to my dad packing up his car. He explained he was heading to the high country, some 4 hour drive to harvest more pine nuts. The process was quite demanding, requiring a large tarp to be laid under pine laden tree and secured with rocks. Next, a long pole is heaved into the high branches and with pure muscle strength (and precision), the nuts are knocked from their home above to the tarp below. My dad then takes the nuts to a water source and sifts out the fallen branches, pine cones and other unwanted items that find themselves on the tarp, mixed in with the beloved pine nuts.
After driving miles back home, the nuts were then washed and sorted, sprinkled with salt and placed in the oven for roasting.
Most people aren't willing to take the time and effort to acquire something as simple as pine nuts. I mean, one can purchase a bag of pine nuts at the local grocery store (and they are even shelled for you!). Who wants to drive for hours and expend large amounts of energy and time for a nut!?
My dad. Me. You.
It isn't really about the pine nut at all. It is all about what you LOVE and what you are willing to do for something you love.
Take the conversation I had with a man during the St. George marathon. He appeared next to me around mile 14. I was feeling fresh and alive...so was he. This allowed us to talk freely. We struck up a conversation about our goals for our race. He asked what time I was shooting for. After my reply, "Under 3:30," he told me he was going to stick with me. That led to further discussion about this particular race. It was his first. I told him, although I was from Virginia, I had run the last 16 of this race some 20 years ago with my friends after returning from an L.D.S mission from Denmark. He then replied, "Oh, you are a Virginian Mormon." Upon hearing his tone, I quickly assessed he probably wasn't a Mormon. I then said, "Oh then you must be a Utah non-Mormon." He laughed and explained he was a "Jack Mormon," which is a Mormon who isn't active in the church.
He seemed a bit embarrassed by his current state but I assured him not to worry. I said that it is essential we truly want to work for something. Those things we cherish, we work for and thus we hold dear. I explained that like our marathon journey, we wanted more than to simply finish the race, we hoped to finish with a specific time. Because of such a lofty goal, months of orchestrated training runs, dedication and time would be required. It was important to us.
I continued to explain, "Like our relationship with God, if we want to feel close to Him, we must put our time and efforts on Him." I wanted him to realize that if he wanted a closer relationship to God he would be required to work...just like running. And just like his ability to run fast and far, he would begin to grow closer to his Heavenly Father. Similar to the search for "pine nuts," requiring hours of driving, searching, knocking down, cleaning, sorting, roasting...we must go and get...and then we reap the rewards of what we truly want to reap.
I cherish my father's many adventures throughout his life, doing things he loves with those he loves.
Are you willing to go and get what you love?
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The alarm goes off at 4:00 (am!) and I begin my pre marathon ritual which consists of eating a large bowl of oatmeal, drinking a glass of water, hair styling (long thick hair if left alone will result in a sweaty rat’s nest) and making sure my running outfit is perfect for the upcoming conditions.
I head to the buses that will carry the runners on a 26.2 mile journey away from the finish line, along the race route to the start of the marathon. It is along this drive, my seat passenger points out various aspects of the race that we will encounter along our run. She shows me the road that drops us into the town that only leads us to our steep climb along miles 7 and 8. We see groups of volunteers preparing each water stop that we will soon partake. After what seems like a journey in itself, we leave the buses and enter phase two of any marathon, the bathroom lines.
It is dark. It is windy and extremely cold. The lines are tremendously long and I search for the “best” one. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, my turn finally comes.
By now, the marathon start time fast approaches. I quickly place my valuables in the designated drop off area and make my way to the start.
I am alone as I stand in line with thousands of runners. I am okay with being alone. I truly believe running a race is an individual journey. Although I know not a soul in my sight, I feel the support of friends and family with me. I know they have seen my hard work. They know how much this race means to me and will be awaiting to hear from me at the end of my chosen adventure. This gives me strength as the gun sounds.
I always seem to tear up just a bit as I begin the first miles of a marathon. The miles of running, the early mornings, late nights, tempo runs, speed workouts…the commitment to a goal and the knowledge that I did everything I had promised to do takes center stage. I am ready to face the hills, the heat, the muscle pain, muscle fatigue, mental struggles…I am ready to race.
The first few miles whiz by as my body wants to keep up with others running too fast (for we all are fresh), jockeying for positioning and adrenaline pushing me along.
The sun begins to rise above the mountains and its warmth settles on our backs. Extra clothing quickly starts to fly over head as runners now get serious about settling into their paces.
My mind gravitates quickly to the daunting miles that lie ahead and I wonder if I will be able to keep my pace and succeed with my goal of breaking my personal record of a 3:30 marathon. It is here, during these early miles, that I remind myself, I am capable of reaching my goal. But in order to accomplish it, I must try. I know it will not be easy but it is possible…if I simply try.
With that I begin my descent into a little town…with a “big” hill. I hadn’t really expected many uphills along this race but had been warned about it by my friends. As the road turned, I looked up, and there, in the distance, I see it, the longest uphill road in history.
It is here, the pace group for the 3:25 runners (a pacer leads a group of runners with the goal of 3:25 along, giving advice, encouragement and keeping pace) approaches from behind. I can hear the lead pacer saying, “Okay, runners, gear up for this hill. Keep a steady pace…we can do this!”
For a moment, as the group of about 20 runners passes along side me, I think I will jump aboard and give this pace a whirl…but seeing how fast they approached and passed me, I decide to forgo that stupid idea and keep my current pace.
Running up that hill was completely insane. Runners were walking. Runners were huffing and puffing. Runners were suffering. I was suffering. But I decided to try to keep moving forward and that I did. Before I knew it, mile 7 and 8 were a thing of the past.
Unfortunately, the uphill climbing did not agree with my previously pained hamstrings. I had taken a few Advil before the race and had planned on popping a few during…but alas, I had forgotten them in my bag. After a few miles of some good pain in my right hammy, I chanced upon a spectator offering tissues and Advil. I quickly put out my hand, receiving the blessed pills.
At mile 10, I notice that at the water stops, there is also a med tent. There, two or three people are down on their knees ready to rub “Ben Gay” on any area in need of attention. I decide to make a quick stop, where a person dabs this much needed cream onto my right hamstring.
Miles pass, with even more hills and I anticipate the promise of a 2000 feet drop in elevation. I can't wait to let my hamstrings take a break and let my quads take over.
It doesn't take long before the downhill portions begin. I immediately and without much effort, begin making my way, down…down…down into Snow Canyon. Here the constant red rock is met with white rock making for the most beautiful vistas.
My body is pleased with this new arrangement, letting the quads finally do some work. I begin to pick up my pace and quickly fall into a comfortable groove.
As mile 19 approaches, I look ahead and in the distance, I can see the 3:25 pace group. I thought to myself at the time, “maybe I can catch them.” I begin to slowly pass people and begin anticipating the descent into St. George. It would be here that my friend Amy would be cheering. I am so relieved I feel so good at this late stage into the race.
Sure enough, right at mile 23, I see Amy and Reed. Sign in hand, they cheer for me, giving me that final push to keep going. Newly charged, I notice the balloons carried by the 3:25 pace group only a few blocks ahead. I quickly gain and by mile 24, I have reached them. I can't believe I have actually caught them. I know at that moment I will beat my 3:30 time. But now, I might actually beat it BIG time! I am surprised I feel as good as I do. Normally in a race, there is a mysterious point of time that “a light switch” goes off and I feel horrible both in body and mind. But here, at mile 24.5, I feel fine. Stride in stride with the other runners, I make my way to the final mile. As I turn the corner, the crowds are cheering, “One more mile!” But then, it happened, the switch is flipped and my body says, “I have had enough.”
It is strange when this happens. You wonder why you can’t simply keep running at pace when you only have a half of a mile left. But you can’t. In fact, you can barely keep running. Your mind is screaming at you to stop this nonsense…stop! In fact, other runners around you are already walking.
With the temptation to stop looming, there is comes, the light ahead, the blessed finish line. Turning the final corner, I see the balloons in the distance…only .2 miles to go. The crowds cheer with words of encouragement, “Only two more blocks!” I can do this!
My mind wanders back to the start of the race. The place I was only 3 hours ago, with a long and an arduous 26 miles to go, now with only 2 blocks to go. I can do this!
The pace group I have joined finishes. Countless others have too.
And now it is my turn. I cross the finish line. Not only can I do this...I just did (and shattered my previous time by over 5 minutes) coming in at 3:25:27.