Friday, March 10, 2017

Mesa in March 2014

I flew home on St. Patrick's Day with a box of Baked by Melissa cupcakes in hand. I knew it would be a heavy week and I was anxious to see my family, especially my mom. She had been at my grandma's side during her last few weeks. 

The highlights of home always include my long lost meals of In-N-Out, Zupas, and Orange Patch's freshly squeezed orange juice. I got to do dinner with Kate, Natalie, Kenz and Audrey and it was really the only time I saw friends that week. It did my heart a whole lotta good. 

My parents and I checked out the newly dedicated Gilbert, Arizona Temple. It's stunning. My parents had toured it for the open house a month prior and it was neat to hear more about it in person. 

Meet Duke. Is he a rat? A dog? A mix? It's hard to tell. Duke was one of my grandma's dogs that my mom and dad took in. The poor thing missed my grandma so much and didn't know what to do. Of course he took to Sweet Mendi Sue right away but Douglas on the other hand...not so much. We had some good laughs over their interactions during the week. 

I got to tour a few of the homes my dad was building in Prescott and Queen Creek at the time. We drove to Prescott one day just me and him. I cherish that one on one time. 

I laid out one day to get some sun on my transparent body and this happened to my phone. When in AZ...

It had been years since I was in Mesa in March and each spring I desperately miss the smell of orange blossoms. I came home right at their peak and they didn't disappoint. It's the scent of my childhood and always takes me back to little league games at the ballpark surrounded by citrus groves. I wish I could bottle that smell up and keep it year round. 

I got to spend so much time with family this trip honoring my grandma. I'll write more on her funeral service later. My last night in town I went on a bike ride through the neighborhood with my dad. The sunset was magic. And I couldn't help but think it was her gift to us. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

NYC Half Marathon 2014

I applied to run the New York City Half Marathon in December and got denied. Admission is lottery based so only a certain number of runners get in. I was bummed. Then in January, the New York Road Runners added more spots and I found out I got in! I was thrilled - except now I had fewer weeks to train. Training for this race proved a bit difficult in the dead of winter, but it got me out in the city when I otherwise would have stayed in. That's one of the main reasons I love running - it connects you to the city. My long training runs were therapeutic during the snow storms that would not end and a very busy work season. I did most of my training runs in Central Park and along the East River and Hudson River Park. I think my longest training run maxed out around 12-13 miles. I picked up my race bib a few days before the big day and added my reasons of running to the wall. 

My grandma, Marilyn Patterson, was also very sick at this time. She had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and decided not to pursue medical treatments. It was so hard for me to accept and I channeled a lot of that emotion into my runs. I talked with her a few days before the race, when we knew she didn't have much time left, and I just sobbed and sobbed on my apartment floor throughout the whole conversation. She told me how much she loved me and how proud she was of me. I could do no wrong with that woman. And I loved her for it. 

Scott was swamped with work and almost had a work trip take him away that weekend. Thankfully, it didn't come to fruition. He also had zero time to train - but he sucked it up and ran it with me. We had run the Bay Ridge Half together six months earlier but then work took over and he didn't have any time for anything else. Scott didn't get drawn in the lottery but ended up running for the charity "Team in Training" with a work group. 

Race day came early. We taxied to Central Park and then waited and waited in our corral to start. I remember thinking I had never been this cold ever. It was mid-March and the race report said it was 30 degrees with about 40% humidity. I couldn't wait to start and get moving! 

The course is unbeatable. The first 10K is almost a full loop around Central Park. I lost Scott by Mile 2 and later saw him in the bathroom line near the North Woods. What a champ. The streets of Times Square are closed off to cars as runners take over. It is quite the site. My city pride was at an all-time high. The course then heads south on the West Side Highway as we passed the Empire State Building, The High Line, One World Trade, and our old Battery Park City neighborhood. Mile by mile, I reminisced on our time in the city thus far. Each neighborhood held memories. I fell in love with running here. And this course was magic! 

I saw this picture a year later on NYRR's instagram account - I thought that runner looked familiar!

After running through the tunnel, we reached the finish line at Wall Street. I felt good throughout the race and had a killer playlist to get me through. I ended up running it in 2:06 - shaving seven minutes off my previous half time. I was pretty pleased with it and thought maybe I did have it in me to run 9 races that year and qualify for the New York Marathon. I thought about my grandma a lot during that race and would have to swallow a lump in my throat each time. I found Scott at the finish and we made our way out of the chaos. 

We met Julie (who had just moved to the city) at Sarabeth's TriBeCa for a big, victory brunch. As you can see, we do not hold back on post-race meals. We earned every bite of that. 

We made our way home, showered, and got ready for church. I took this shot of Scott just before we left. He was out! I remember seeing a missed call from my mom after I got out of the shower. She asked me to call her as soon as I could. I did right away and learned that my grandma had just passed away. The tears came immediately. I felt such sadness, yet peace that she was out of pain and reunited with my sweet grandpa. I already had plans to fly out that next day - but it felt so far away. I had to teach sharing time in Primary and mustered through it. Scott had to go into to work later that afternoon and I went over to the Wilsons for Jeremy's birthday celebration with the Reeses. It felt good to be around dear friends at that time. I remember Estee giving me a big bear hug and holding me close. I went to bed that night with very sore legs, a broken heart, and a deep yearning to be with my family. 

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