Sunday, October 26, 2014

Top of Utah Marathon

Well, I did what I thought was impossible for me: I ran a marathon.

My parents and sister Sophie came out from California to cheer my sister Bri and I on as we attempted this feat. My parents are both running extraordinaires and my mom even ran the Boston Marathon, which you have to qualify for and is basically the Everest of American marathons. Needless to say, they were pretty thrilled that their two oldest daughters were following in their running-shoe clad footsteps.

Sophie and I snuggled on the couch in our new apartment in Salt Lake City (more on the move later) the day my parents came up. Brett and I are living on the University of Utah campus right now as Brett gets a master's in Finance, an apartment complete with cinder block walls and linoleum floors. Pretty much as cozy as it gets. But, we actually love it.

We made the drive up to Logan, Utah where the marathon was and enjoyed a great pasta dinner and getting our marathon shirts. I love using the carb-o loading excuse to eat as many plates of pasta as my stomach will let me. 

^Dancing to the music with my silly mom and sister. We McCloskey women know how to have a good time.

I definitely didn't sleep well the night before from anxiousness and excitement. Bri and I woke up around 4:30 a.m. and got our stuff together and were on our way to run a race that killed the first man to attempt it. It's the story of Pheidippides of Ancient Greece—look it up. No pressure or anything.

My dear friend Laurel, Bri and I were so excited at the start line. We all bought DI clothes and gloves that we could toss to the side and not worry about and that was such a smart decision because the first few miles were freezing. Oh, and they had heated tents that we could warm up in before the gun went off. Best idea in the universe. 

^Some professional photos from the marathon that I conveniently screenshot. The canyon was so beautiful! The leaves were turning bright yellows and reds and it was gorgeous. On the trail, we entertained the other runners by singing songs like this part from Come, Come Ye Saints, "but should we die before our journey's through . . ." You know, because we're so funny.

Running was, in a lot of ways, a lifesaver for me. In April of this year, Brett and I went through the hardest challenge we've ever had to face together. Our whole life was left in shambles. We had no idea where to pick up the pieces or where our life was going to go.

I felt like I had no control over my life, but I was running with my friend Laurel and thinking about running a half marathon. Keeping that half marathon as a goal was the only thing that was pushing me forward for the months and months after. It was the only thing that helped me feel that I was still working toward what I wanted to accomplish, and made me feel like I still had some semblance of control.

Then I started training for my marathon with my sister and Laurel together, and a very tight bond formed. I was able to express my sorrows and my struggles in a safe place, the running trail, with friends that I deeply loved. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to push yourself to your physical limits every Saturday morning while talking about anything and everything. I will always love those Saturday mornings running at 5:00 a.m. so we could get our 20 miles in before the rest of the world was awake.

Running made me feel like I could achieve my goals no matter where I was living or no matter what the rest of my life looked like. To put a religious spin on it, I can see with hindsight that God knew I was going to go through this trial and that He put Laurel and our running dates in my path so I could deal with it healthfully.

The finish line! We didn't run as fast as we would have liked, but we weren't going for time. It's the first marathon, all you care about is finishing! I had a few complications on the trail that probably slowed us down. My stomach was having a hay day and I had to use the bathroom a lot (most likely TMI, but if you know me, you know I have no filter). I would hurry in the port-a-potties on the trail, and then sprint after Bri and Laurel since they continued running. I had to sprint after them at miles 15, 21, and 23, and 24, which was just the funnest thing that's ever happened to me (heavy sarcasm). 

But, I wouldn't trade our marathon experience for the world. It's been on my bucket list since I was a little girl and I'm so glad I got to do it with two of my dearest friends. We were emotional at the end of the race and may have cried in each other's arms.

Major props to Laurel, who ran the half marathon 6 months and the marathon 9 months after she birthed her baby boy. I mean . . . 

Bri and I have the most supportive family. Our parents made signs for us and our husbands rooted for us the whole way. Brett was incredibly supportive throughout the whole training process as we would drive down to Provo every Friday night for a month so I could run with Laurel and Bri on Saturday mornings. Some of our cousins and our aunt and uncle came up to cheer us on too. We felt so loved and special.

I don't think this will be my last marathon. It was such a good experience, and the thrill of pushing your body to the limit is addictive. I hope I get to do it again with Bri and Laurel. Let's make it an annual tradition? 

Running changed my life and was there for me when I felt like I had nothing else. This is absolutely surprising coming from a girl who threw up the first time she ran less than 3 miles with her husband (hint: that girl was me). 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

23 in SD

Brett left for Texas to work for four weeks and I am missing him like crazy. We celebrated my birthday together with a beautiful hike to Stewart Falls, shave ice, and a fancy date to Tucanos. I looove Tucanos. All you can eat Brazilian meat? Bring it on! Sadly I got no pictures, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen!

So that was Monday. Tuesday was my actual birthday but we spent the day in the car driving down to San Diego for my Poppop's memorial. More on him and that here.

It was wonderful spending time with my incredible family in the best place in the world.

^Walking on the beach getting eaten by bugs after a filling meal at Roberto's, a San Diego Mexican food staple. Aunt Diane is wearing Poppop's Air Force wings. My dad looks the most like him.

^Ritual Torrey Pines hike and walk on the beach. I'm mourning my tan. It's gone forever.

^Sophie was so good with little Ander Man. And boy is he a ham!

^Birthday dinner at Sammy's Woodfire Pizza, a place I'd been craving for a long while. Nana and Poppop used to take us here all the time, so the place was full of good memories of him.

Bri and my mom spoiled me with an outfit from Lulu Lemon for my marathon and new pants from Zara. I actually bought pants! It's a miracle!

Loving my family, and loving and missing my husband.

Up next: a showcase of our adventures in Chile at the beginning of July. Stay tuned.


Richard Dare McCloskey was born June 17, 1929 to Katharine and James Vaughn McCloskey of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania and died July 10, 2014 at his home in La Jolla, California.  His wife, Frances, sister, Carol Keogh, children Rick McCloskey, Diane Hoffman, Roger McCloskey, and stepchildren Katherine Hendrix and Karen Morse, plus 18 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, survive him.  Donations may be made in memory to the Scripps Research Institute. 
After graduating from the University of Florida, he had a 20-year career in the Air Force where he flew the T-6, B-25, B-26, B-57, C-130, and the C-47.  His next career started as a phone company Human Resource Director for the Rocky Mountain Division in Phoenix, Arizona.  In 1977, he transferred to the California Interstate Telephone Company, which later became Contel of California.  He retired in the early 90s and then was brought back as a Contractor to help with the finalization of the merger with General Telephone of California, which eventually became a Verizon subsidiary. 
Mac’s family and his fishing, golfing, tennis, and traveling friends will miss him.  The memorial will be at the Military Miramar National Cemetery.

My Poppop passed peacefully surrounded by his children and loving wife. He lived a great life full of travel, good food, and good people. I only wish I knew him more, but there will be time for that. I'll always remember Sunday evening meals at his house eating grilled salmon, listening to Andrea Bocelli, and gazing at his photography of quaint European scenes. I want to design my house after his with interesting art, white walls, and a peaceful aura.

He had quite the ceremony with a horse-drawn carriage carrying his ashes, a bagpiper, a gun salute, and a folded flag presented to my Nana by the Air Force.

I'll miss you, Poppop.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

american fork half marathon

I finally did it. After saying so many times on this blog that I was going to run a half marathon, I finally lived up to my word.

I LOVED it. I honestly enjoyed every second of it--even the 12th mile.

Waking up at 3:30 a.m. isn't my favorite, but of course I took a fat 2 hour nap after the race. And it was so beautiful seeing the sun rise over the mountains where we started.

I ran with my good friend Laurel and her mother-in-law Bonnie. The bus ride up to the mountains was super fun. The bus driver blasted the music so we could get pumped up and I found myself dancing in my seat and singing along to Nicki Minaj.

We had to wait at the start line in the mountains for almost an hour in the freezing cold. About 15 minutes before the race started, they asked us to take off our sweats and put them in our bags. I've never been so reluctant to take off my clothes in my whole life. We were shivering our petuties (spelling?) off in our little running shorts.

^Seeing the lake get brighter was exquisite. I love me some nature.

The race started and we were in the very back trying to get to the starting line. The first few miles were thrilling and we turned it into a game of "pass the slow, old people." There were so many people that we had to dart in and out and find little tiny holes we could pass through.

The race was entirely beautiful and the mountains blessed us with a nice breeze. I loved the bikers and observers cheering us on and giving us water and goo. I had so much adrenaline rushing through me. Races are a million times more exciting than regular Saturday long runs.

I finished with a better time than I expected (1:55) and with a huge smile on my face. In January of this year, running was the bane of my existence. I even threw up the first time running with my husband, ha! Now I consider 10 miles to be easy. It's amazing how your body can adapt and grow in such a small amount of time.

^^Kneader's french toast after the race. Delicious. Thanks to my supportive and wonderful husband for the pictures and for cheering me on at the finish line.

^^Lovely friend. I'm so glad I started running with her. She's got me through some hard times these past few months. And goodness, I need to learn to suck it in after eating!

People of the world, running is great. If I can do it, you absolutely can too.

We are running the Top of Utah marathon this September. Wish us luck because we're sure going to need it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hawaii II

Oh Hawaii. How I want to live there. We stayed in a beach house on Sunset Beach in Oahu and it was just pure amazing. We spent late nights playing Scattergories and making family dinners, early mornings snorkeling at Shark's Cove (my personal favorite from the trip), and afternoons relaxing on the gorgeous, surreal beaches and just being the crazy, overly loud family that we are. 

Here are some things we did in pictures:

^Visiting my mom's Aunt Reiko  (the little, cute, Asian woman in the front) and her cousin Rosslyn.

^Pearl Harbor. Everything was closed. Apparently Hawaiians are scared of wind.

^Bean, ice cream, and mochi ball concoction at the famous Matsumoto's shave ice shack.

^The boys jumping off rocks at Waimea Beach until the lifeguards kicked them out.

^Taking super adorable pictures.

^My mom and I went running almost every morning. We woke up super early because Utah is 4 hours ahead of Hawaii and California 3. It was nice running at 6:00 a.m. We saw a lot of beautiful vegetation on our runs as well as some cool animals. This is a chicken with its chicks, but apparently they are native to Hawaii and run wild.

^Going to Waimea Falls and looking super white doing it. As you can see, Brett and I glowed with our luminescent paleness.

^Early morning workout improvisations. Sophie makes for good squat weights. And Brett's head in the background enjoying the ocean. 

^More shave ice

^Giovanni's Shrimp. Holy moly, this is a must! We went here when I was about 15 and I've been dreaming about this garlic shrimp ever since. I was ecstatic when we went back. Garlic shrimp + a lump of rice + spiced barbecue corn-on-the-cob= heaven in my mouth. Now I want it again. Boo, another reason why I need to live on Oahu!

^Sister time at Sunset Beach. 

^I want to live in that hut.

^The Polynesian Cultural Center. It's a theme park of sorts produced and maintained by BYU-Hawaii. You get to learn about all the different Polynesian islands from Samoa to Tonga to Tahiti to Fiji. My favorite by far is the Maori from New Zealand (pictured with me above). They performed an opening ritual for us honoring fallen soldiers and I got emotional. Yes, I'm very weird.

The pictures below are by the fabulous and stunning Bree Hanneman that took the pictures in the previous post. Her husband and Garrett's friend Seek gave us surfing lessons. He also treated us to some very refreshing acai bowls at his restaurant.

I might actually be a surfer if San Diego water was as warm as Hawaii water. I could have stayed out surfing all day every day!

On our last night there, we all were at the beach watching the sunset while Dad and Sophie were snorkeling. Sophie was a mermaid in her past life. I just sat there feeling the soft wind on my face and watching the sun peek out of the clouds like God wanted a peep at the ocean and it just hit me that the world is beautiful and life can be hard but it can also be very good.

What a great bonding time this was before Marcus went on his mission to Chicago. He is there now and we are so proud and excited for him!

I love my family.