Life is a Highway

There are less than two months until the SLC Marathon, which means 6 weeks of training and 2 weeks for taper for the 1/2.  I've struggled with my left hip and right shin, but it's looking up this week and I had a great track session on Tuesday night which boosted my confidence.

My long run is only 6.2 miles now, but I hope to do 8, 10, 12, 14, 8, 4 over the next 8 weeks, with one step back week mixed in there in the middle somewhere.  My legs are taking a long time in getting used to it, this time around.  I can't believe I still have right shin issues over a year later from when they began.

I took this picture last week.  I thought it'd turn out cooler, but it's still pretty sweet.  My Noosas.
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Last weekend we celebrated Valentine's Day alongside the fact that we've been together for four years as of Wednesday, 2/20!  This time of year we always reminisce about those crazy days when we met.  I found the itinerary still in my inbox (yes I connected to Vegas and got a lot of crap for it- but it saved me $100!). 

The funny thing is my biggest fear upon meeting Ben was that he would have a high voice that would damage this "super hot" vision I had of him from Facebook.  Marriage has definitely given me a bigger perspective of the important things in life (hahaha), and I have grown up immensely.  (And no, no high voice if you're wondering.  lol)
Each year we combine the two celebrations and do something extra fun like go to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse!  It has the most delicious steaks on the planet, that you can easily cut with a butter knife.
Ben got me Valentine's Day flowers.  However, they arrived two days late.  Haha!  Don't order your flowers from 1-800-Flowers.  They get 0/5 stars and are super rude.

Saturday we got a refund and I still got free flowers and chocolates!  Free is excellent.  They are so pretty and for some reason I loved the chocolates more than I should have.
Ben bought me a new phone for Valentine's Day because I had to carry the charger around with my other one because it wasn't reliable.  He switched my phone service over to a new phone while I was at ballet that night.  I decided to stay an extra hour at ballet and sent him a text...

Well after 10pm I was leaving downtown Phoenix, and I tried to call Ben and realized my phone wasn't working.  Then I realized my text to him never went through and I started to panic because I knew he would be really worried after I didn't show up at home, and he couldn't reach me.  I tried calling him numerous times to no avail.  I had no idea what was going on with my phone, but I was able to call collect.  After a few minutes (of Ben typing in the credit card # to accept the call), he answered and had been outside for 30-45 minutes waiting for me in the street, worried like crazy.  So sad!!  So Valentine's Day was good, but ...not a particularly lucky day.
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One of the biggest news as of late (well not new to the immediate family), my little brother came publicly out as a religious gay, thus choosing to live a celibate life, and his story has gone viral.
He has captured it in a clever video where he videoed our reactions.  You can visit his blog to see his video and story.  He is a courageous man and his main goal is to help others like him, regardless of any opposition that putting his story out there, would bring.

My brother rocks and has had so much support, it makes me so happy.  He is amazing.

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My other little brother (I have two), made it to Tucson, Arizona, on Monday morning.  (He actually brought the snow with him, but that's a different story.)  His first area isn't even in Arizona at all, but New Mexico in a tiny, tiny town called Deming.
His blog is up to date with the latest news from Deming:  http://elderdallinhales.blogspot.com/

The picture below is Dallin and his girlfriend, Sister Palmer, both at the MTC at the same time.  She went to California.  They are cute.
Wednesday it snowed here.  Excuse me, correction, it GRAPPLED here.  Yeah, wtfreak is grapple.  It's like an icier version of snow or something.  Not hail, not sleet, and looks pretty much like snow.  (Who names these things. . .haboob, grapple. . .)
Anyways, it was pretty insane because people don't know how to drive in the snow because we don't get that here, so they were sliding all over the place and Ben saw a motorcycle slide in the slush and tip over.  It was like the headline story for three days, this storm.  People had enough to make snow...er...grapplemen.

See... no exaggeration.  That is definitely snow.  Links for all the snow pictures from my favorite tv channel, MyFoxPhoenix (seriously, I watch them every morning and they are all my bffs, especially Rick.  I'm such a dork.  :P
Weather
Weather
I think that's all for now.  I hope you are having a great weekend!  I started this post daaaaays ago, so now it's time to get ready for Saturday date night at Sapporo!!  :]
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HDRs are BACK

Happy Valentine's Day!!
This post really has nothing to do with the holiday. . .

I have finally taken my camera out to do some HDRs.  I had almost forgotten how.  haha!  There's a trend with all of my pictures of making them as bright and cheerful as possible.  Probably why I love HDRs.  They just make you happy.
 Below is the regular shot, or the "before," shot, if you will.  Boring as.  It's more of a "semi-happy" image.
Some others (I will have to take some with clouds, because clouds are cool looking):


The one below isn't even HDR!  I took it almost two years ago in Daybreak, (South Jordan?) Utah.  I love Daybreak.  It is so unique and colorful.
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Is anybody so sad to hear about Olympian Pistorius, like I am?  I don't get it.  I loved watching him.  He was inspirational!  Now he's a murderer?

Have a great Valentine's Day!  We will be celebrating this weekend since tonight I have ballet.  :]

PS.  We received the first week's emails from Elder Hales.
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Race Day - Arizona Spartan Sprint (+ my rambles)

Race: Arizona Spartan Sprint
Location: McDowell Mountain
Date: Saturday, February 9, 2013
Distance: 4.7 miles plus 15+ obstacles

Goal: none
Time: 58:49
Age group placement: 6th Elites
Gender placement: 32nd Elites
Overall placement: 40th Elites
Total finishers: 5635 Finishers

It was a balmy 38 degrees and windy for Ben's 8am elite heat, and my 8:15am.  When I saw a "winter storm" on the radar for Saturday, I began to dread this race.  Last year we were drenched in the first 1/4 mile.  Brrr.

Ben is below right, in the black!  This was at like 3.5-4 miles, somewhere in that range.
McDowell Mountain is really, really pretty, and had I not been so cold, I would have taken a bazillion pictures.  I was excited about some blue sky here, and some sunshine!
And tadah!  Team Nemesis this year?  One [awesome] person.
Soooo I didn't even race.  I was way too cold to get wet.  haha!  I debated and debated, and thought I'd wait and see how Ben felt afterwards, or maybe wait until noon when my in-laws were racing when it might warm up.  

What a weather fluke of a day to have the Spartan.  I stole (with permission of course) some of Nate, Becky & friends pics since we are the worst cheerleaders and didn't stick around.  (We did hook up later.)
(Below is where I burned my calories shivering.)  :D
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On top of not running the Spartan with Ben, we took a giant step in the wrong direction with the home we're trying to buy, a short sale.  Last week the bank countered 30% over market value.  We really want this house, but not more than we don't want to be upside down in it.  So the deal may be close to dead.

It's sad because the owners are going to probably foreclose next month, and the bank won't get any more for the house at that point.  Banks just don't believe in logic.  Bah.

Soooo we are still looking at homes and have two others in mind after this weekend.  Look how cute this pool is. . . (in AZ you really need access to a pool in the summer).  I call it the "desert jungle pool."
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The nice thing about not working as much anymore, is I actually cook dinner again (yippee!).  This dish is potatoes (I used sweet), chicken, green beans with dry Italian dressing seasonings.  Cover with tinfoil, bake at 350 for one hour. . .walah, it comes out like this.  Thank you Pinterest (of course).
I found a copycat Cheesecake Factory's Madeira Chicken recipe that I want to try next.  It will require me to buy wine,. . . which I have never done before. . .
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We received our first letter from Elder Hales (note that my name is first because I am more loved).  Dallin is doing great, liking the MTC (Missionary Training Center), got 1-2 hours of sleep his first night there, and was put in as District Leader his second day!  He will head to Tucson a week from today.  I am a proud sis.
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February weather around here has been odd.  It's almost like a winter monsoon season.  It's been super cold these last few days which is great for my heart rate when I run, but I am such a wuss (read: didn't do Spartan).  

I am constantly snapping pictures on my routes.  When I first got to Arizona I was like, "eh. . .weeds. . .dirt, where's the green. . ." but now I find Arizona to be super pretty and I am obsessed with cactuses...cacti (plural form. . .still don't know), and the sky.  

I am going to go out with my camera and shoot some HDRs here soon.  I'm stoked as.
Now that I've officially bored the world with my ramblings, I will leave you with a little fun secret of mine:

I'm back dancing.  Ballet.  I'm soooo happy too.  I'm "stoked as."
Have a wonderful week and don't freeze or get snowed in.  3 days until Valentine's Day!
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Dropping Dil Off & Celebrity Race Times

All morning I thought about how I was here, working in my pajamas like old times (and looking as publicly unacceptable as possible), while many of my family were eating lunch together before going to drop Dallin off at the MTC.  But it's official, he is on a mission!!!  Love you bro.
I already wrote him a letter this morning at DearElder.com (free!) which means he will receive it the same day.  His current schedule is to head to Tucson, AZ, on 2/18.  He will do amazing!  His addresses are listed on his blog:  http://elderdallinhales.blogspot.com/
This (below) is Dil's girlfriend, Maddi, whom left on a misson two weeks ago.  They will briefly see each other at the MTC before she heads to San Diego to serve for 18 months.
What a couple of hardworking and memorable years Dallin is about to have.  I can't wait to hear about his journey as he serves the Lord!
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Anywho...on that note, I found this in my drafts folder from awhile back, but it's awesome-fun information:

In a Runner's World magazine many, many months ago, it listed some celebrities and their half or full marathon times.  I would name the person and make Ben guess their time, and most of the time he was surprised.  I have learned that I can't judge a runner by his/her physique.  50% of the time I am way off!

The FULL marathon:
Apolo Ohno - 3:25:12 @ 2011 NYC Marathon (7:50 pace) (source)


George Bush - 3:44:52 @ 1993 Houston Marathon (8:35 pace) (source)


Ryan Reynolds - 3:50:22 @ 2008 NYC Marathon (8:48 pace) (source)



Will Ferrell - 3:56:12 @ 2003 Boston Marathon (9:01 pace)  (source)

Alanis Morrissette - 4:28:45 @ 2009 NYC Marathon (10:16 pace)
Sarah Palin - 3:59:36 @ Humpy's Marathon (9:09 pace)
Sean P. Diddy Combs - 4:14:54 @ 2003 NYC Marathon (9:44 pace)
Oprah Winfrey - 4:29:15 @ 1994 Marine Corps Marathon (10:17 pace)
Bill Rancic (you know, Giuliana's hubby) - 4:31:31 @ 2001 Chicago Marathon (10:19 pace)
Shia LaBeouf - 4:35 @ 2010 LA Marathon (10:30 pace)
Drew Carey - 4:37:11 @ 2011 Marine Corps Marathon (10:34 pace)
Al Gore - 4:54:25 @ 1997 Marine Corps Marathon (11:14 pace)
Katie Holmes - 5:29:58 @ 2007 NYC Marathon (12:36 pace)
Mario Lopez - 5:41:41 @ Boston Marathon (15:03 pace)
Al Roker - 7:09:44 @ 2010 NYC Marathon  (16:25 pace)
Kate Gosslin - 4:59:21 @ 2008 Las Vegas Rock 'n Roll (11:26 pace)


The HALF Marathon:
Apolo Ohno - 1:40:59 @ 2011 Chicago 1/2 Marathon (7:43 pace) (source)
Sarah Palin - 1:46:10 @ 2011 Storm Lake 1/2 Marathon (8:06 pace) (source)

Drew Carey - 1:50:46 @ 2011 Disneyland 1/2 Marathon (8:27 pace) (source)

Hugh Jackman - 2:05:52 @ 2011 NYC 1/2 Marathon (9:37 pace) (source)
Jennifer Love Hewitt - 3:09:13 @ 2010 Rock 'n Roll LA 1/2 Marathon (14:26 pace) (source)
Jennifer Love Hewitt & Alex Beh: Marathon Mates

Al Roker - 3:20:58 @ Rock 'n Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon (13:20 pace) (source)

I want to beat Sarah Palin.
So who do you want to beat??



One perk of a soon-to-be missionary:

Dallin:  *comes in wearing some cool white Nikes*
Christy:  Those are cool Nikes, huh boo. *Jabs Ben*
Ben:  Yeah.  . . .can I have em? *jokingly*
Dallin:  *stares for a second*
Dallin:  Sure.  *Takes of Nikes and Ben puts them on.*

Now Ben has some cool white Nikes.

Have a happy humpday!  I wonder what Dil is doing this very second.
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