I really love Halloween. Not only is it the start of “The Holidays” but it’s also my youngest sister’s birthday, (insert happy birthday shout-out here)! As far as I know, I have never NOT dressed up for Halloween and gone Trick or Treating, or at least gone to a church-sponsered Halloween party, or both. I did it as a child, a teenager, a college student, a newlywed (We were pregnant with J-dub and an old lady scolded us for being worse than the teenagers), a mom, and I’ll do it as a grandma, gosh dang it! The only time I remember not actually going trick or treating was the night before the SAT’s and my mom wouldn’t let me, which was probably a good plan, but I still dressed up and worked the church Halloween party so it still counts!
Let’s take a trip down Halloween Memory lane, shall we?
This is Halloween when I was 5. I was a Cabbage Patch Kid. I don’t know what possessed me to be a Cabbage Patch Kid. Perhaps that’s just what was available to me at the time. I do, however, remember that my mother, my saving grace, drew eyelashes and freckles on my face and put my hair in pigtails so I could actually look cute instead of wearing the hideously terrifying (think Quasimoto) mask that came with the plastic pink and blue “dress.”
The year before that my Grandma had made me (she MADE me!) be Mickey Mouse. That’s right, the BOY. Why, oh why couldn’t it have been Minnie? 4-year-old girls want to be a lot of things, but a boy is not one of them. And for goodness sake, the costume consisted of a plastic pantsuit. Pants! I don’t ever remember ever wearing pants ever at all ever in my whole life ever until I was in 2nd grade. And even then I thought they were boyish and uncomfortable. Even IF they came with a shirt with two pandas holding a heart-shaped balloon between them.
When I was in 1st grade I was a…wait. Can’t you tell? Isn’t it obvious? No? Well if you looked carefully you would observe that I had two buns on top of my head (aka: ears) and a cape (aka: wings). Do I have to spell everything out for you? Geez! I was a bat! Duh… Oh well, at least I get points for imagination, right?For some reason I don’t have any good Halloween pictures of myself until I was 10, and even then I wasn’t in a costume. It’s kinda cute, my sweet and photogenic little sister and me with pumpkins my other Grandma brought from Oregon. Grandma’s taking the picture. And I sure loved those Saddle Shoes. But I hate this picture. It makes me sick to my stomach to even look at. It reminds me of earlier that day at school. I was headed over to the jungle gym and some kids were at the top who were a year younger than me. They started calling out to each other, loud enough that not only could I hear them, but half the playground could hear them, “Nerd Alert! Nerd Alert!” Yeah, that was elementary school for me. Thank goodness for Junior High and High school and finally making friends!
Now this picture I love. When I was 11 I went to my first and only Daddy/Daughter Dance. We played games, ate food, took pictures and danced. It was heaven and one of a few cherished memories I have of my dad with me one-on-one.
This is when I was 15. I hadn’t yet decided what to be for Halloween. A friend and I had decided to be Thing 1 and Thing 2. It didn’t exactly work out. I think we ended up wearing Hawaiian shirts over red turtle necks. What?
When you’re a poor college student, you and your roommates and (almost) boyfriend dress up in pajamas and curlers/pigtails and go get free candy in the hills where they’re rumored to give out full candy bars. I am yet to confirm that rumor as true. Still trying, though.
I have all kinds of love for this next picture. I’m not sure what my favorite part of this picture is. It could be the fact that there’s another kid photobombing our family picture. Or the fact that my trendy straight-ironed hair is a little too…flippy. Or it might be the fact that J-dog is grabbing the jack o’ lantern by the mouth. Or it might be that Hubby and I were dressed up as…you guessed it…The Hills! wait, you didn’t guess? Neither did anyone at the party. I still think it was dang creative of me to puffy paint a picture of the nearby hills on a green sheet and cut two holes in it so Josh and I could wear it at the same time. Logistically this was not easily accomplished. But extra points for creativity on a budget!
Probably the only year we pulled off a family costume. I was pretty proud of that one. Oh no wait, once we were all Star Wars characters. But alas, no pictures of me for that one. An all too common occurrence. But aren’t Grumpy and Dopey cuuuuuute?!Contrary to popular belief, I was not “The Holy Ghost.” What a sacrilege! I’m Charlie Brown in the great pumpkin movie when he tries to be a ghost…but he cuts all these holes in his sheet…and ends up with rocks in his treat bag…Y’know? You get it? Hello?
OK, you get THIS one, right? Josh and I are each other! Good thing we didn’t go to any church-sponsored events this year, as cross-dressing is frowned upon. Heh heh. But seriously, this was a great couples costume.
Every year we carve pumpkins and most years we make and frost spooky-shaped sugar cookies and eat them and give them out to people and eat them some more. This year I got too busy for the pumpkin carving and forgot about it until it was too late. How could I? That’s the unpardonable sin of all holiday-dom! Although the kids barely noticed and weren’t all that shook up about it. Maybe I CAN be forgiven. Someday.
Some of the cookies turned out OK but I forgot to buy butter, was busy, forgot about them, didn’t feel like doing anything with them, and so we never got around to frosting them. Mothering fail. So it finally happened: my worst (OK not WORST) nightmare has come true (I actually have recurring nightmares about this). I am unprepared for a holiday. I know, I know, no holiday is perfect. And we’ll still have fun. I just hope this lapse in holiday tradition doesn’t extend to Thanksgiving and Christmas (cue screechy horror music)!
My head is too small. My face is too shiny. My stomach is too jiggly. My laugh is too loud. My chin is too…double. My nostrils look like big feet. I sleep too much. I eat WAY too much.
These are just a few of the things I am embarrassed about. Like, REALLY embarrassed about. Like, so much so that I just assume everyone is thinking about them all the time. I mean, I am, so isn’t everyone else? If you have noticed them, don’t tell me: I’m self-conscious enough as it is, and some of these things I’m aware of because people have actually pointed them out to me. But most people would either say I am making it up, they haven’t even noticed them or else they really couldn’t care less. Some may even think they are positive or endearing attributes. (Again, if you don’t, DON’T TELL ME!) How do I know that other people aren’t as disgusted with me as I am? Because I’m not disgusted by you. And neither is anybody else.
I recently asked people if, hypothetically, they would ever tell other people what they were self-conscious about, and some people actually responded with very real answers. As I read their statements of horrible shame and self-distortion, I realized that ALL of their embarrassments were either absolutely untrue, a non-issue, or were actually endearing. Not ONE thing they said was something they should be self-conscious of. Not even ONE! This is by no means a scientific study, and there are things about other people that we don’t like and things about us that they don’t like. But in all reality, we aren’t even close to the ugly, fat, gross, poor, weird, failures that we think we are.
Think about your friends. Unless you are a total jerk (which, for all I know, some of you very well may be) you don’t think of your friends as weird, ugly, fat, poor, gross, failures. As for the people I know, the things they were embarrassed about were things like, talking too much (not even true), unconventional fashion and style making others uncomfortable (untrue, and um, endearing!), medical conditions (a total non-issue), lack of accomplishments/education/money (also a total non-issue), Their weight (either not true, or a non-issue. Nobody else even thinks about it and we all think you’re cute!), lack of talent (not even true), lack of domestic skills (untrue, a non-issue, AND endearing)…you get the picture.
Most (all?) people are self-conscious about so very many things. It’s what keeps us striving for more instead of responding to the possibility of self-improvement with, “Nah, I’m good.” But like anything, it can be taken to the extreme, and most people (mainly women?) distort themselves. I’m guilty on myriad occasions of saying out loud, “I hate myself.” “I’m so stupid/fat/ugly/annoying.” “I’m such an idiot/jerk/loser.” And even writing that gets me down. We need to stay positive! We must! We shall! We need to see ourselves the way our friends see us and the way Dove corporation sees us! Seriously, though. Those “Real Beauty Sketches” get me every time!
For the past 9 months I have been busy. No, not busy making a baby (I wish), I’ve been busy not blogging. I miss it. I miss you. Do you miss me? I’ve been oscillating between A) Too much fun and busy-ness to blog, and B) Being too depressed and lazy to blog. Thus no blog posts since December of 2012. Where has the time GONE? In that time have moved to a new town (and climate), now that all my kids are in school I have started homeschooling exactly one of my four children (weird, I know), and I have become even more obese (it’s a problem). But in general life is good and I am working on a new blog post that you may or may not be interested in. So keep an eye out for it and when I post it you can love it (if you do, comment!) or hate it (if you do, comment!) or not care enough to comment (well then don’t).
I had another perfect Sunday to add to my list of Sunday fails. Of course it started out like any other Sunday (couldn’t find Big Girl’s shoes, Boy #2 didn’t have time to brush his teeth, and Hubby was mad about the aforementioned unpreparedness). Also, I was not looking forward to teaching my Primary class. Blasphemous, I know, but it’s hard when you’ve got a student who completely refuses to cooperate in any way, shape or form, and this time was no exception.
Most of the kids were pretty good and I didn’t have a particularly large class that day. It was even kind of rewarding to be teaching a lesson on the Easter story, even if it was Christmastime (how was I supposed to know the second to last lesson in the book was to be given on Easter rather than at the end of the year?). It was even cute when I asked the kids what resurrection was and one kid said, “I’m drawing a blank.” When I explained what resurrection was and that Jesus was resurrected, he asked, “Will WE come back alive?” When I said yes, he gasped and said, “No way. You’ve got to be KIDDING me!” To which another child responded “No, I know someone who died and they’re dead. ” I explained that we won’t be resurrected until a long time later. “Like 100 days?” “Like 100 years,” I said. They were even more shocked when I told them that everyone was going to be resurrected, even the bad guys. It was kind of a fun lesson to give. They were actually engaged (mostly) and although they were a little squirrelly, the lesson went on without much incident (except for the frequently recurring need to remind one kid not to lean on the girl next to him).
Then we went to the part of Primary where all the different ages of kids are together. Things started fine (they always do) until my youngest daughter, Little Girl, tried sitting on my lap. I told her to sit quietly in her seat, but she would have none of it. In her defense it was the third hour that we had been expecting her to sit still in church. She probably would have been OK with it if I hadn’t been there, but I was, and wouldn’t let her on my lap, so she lay on the floor in front of me while the other teacher was trying to teach her lesson. I tried to ignore her (Little Girl, not the teacher) so instead of engaging her I took off my shoe to adjust my little no-show sock that I was wearing with my flats. I wear them to keep my feet from getting sweaty and stinky, but in reality they slip down until they are hanging by one toe and doing little good. Attempting to adjust said sock, I took it off and stretched it out to put it back on. Just then my daughter tried again to get into my lap, causing me to let go of the sock, which flung through the air. All the while the teacher is teaching, oblivious (thank goodness) to the chaos in front of her. Being a little helper, one of my primary kids got up to hand me my crumpled and sweaty (yes, it was actually a little damp) sock. Little girl was still trying to get onto my lap. I took the sock back as quickly as I could, hoping that the boy wouldn’t mention how gross it was. Luckily he didn’t. I put on my sock in the most angry way one can, and sent Little Girl out in to the hallway to sit until she was willing to sit in her chair. Then we went on as if nothing had happened.
The moral of this story is: “Don’t teach primary if you have kids young enough to want to sit on your lap.” That, or “Don’t take your socks off in public.” Yeah, that one’s probably more doable, not to mention courteous.
Warning: This post contains descriptions and/or images that may be disturbing to some readers, i.e., some of it’s gross.
Also, it’s very very long. I have included headings so you can skip to the parts you are interested in. And like my friend said in HIS marathon blog post, it’s a long post because it’s a long race!
Why Run a Marathon?
I never ever wanted to run a marathon. 26.2 miles? Never. Ever. It wasn’t even on my bucket list. I’ve wanted to learn Spanish, go on a Prager Listener Cruise, visit the Mayan (Incan? Olmec?) Ruins, publish a book, and and do all sorts of other things. But running a marathon was NOT one of them. I have always enjoyed running. I ran the 1/2-mile, the mile and the 2-mile in track in high school. I wanted to join Cross Country, but I honestly did not think I would be able to run a full 3 miles. And I always thought that running a marathon was not humanly possible and that people who did it were superhuman.
I started running longer distances (like 4-5 miles) after I had kids and was trying to lose the weight. I tried to run as far as I could in one hour and began running farther and farther, finally running six miles at a time (not within the intended hour). Then one day my friend asked me to run the Fontana Days Half Marathon with her. My first reaction was, “What?! HECK no!” But the more I thought about it, the more it sounded like fun. I thought that if I could jump into a training schedule, and run the number of miles that were required of me at that point out from the race, then I’d do it. I ran 8 miles that Saturday and was fine, so I signed up. I ran that half marathon and two others and was hooked. I thought, if I can run this far, I’m halfway from a marathon! Lots of people say that humans aren’t meant to do this, reminding me that the first person to run a marathon, Pheidippides, died at his destination (roughly 25 miles from the battle of Marathon to Athens). But I say, he didn’t have a water belt, Gu, and Power Bars, but I do! If other people can do it, then so can I! So I started training.
The marathon is all I’ve thought about for the past few months. It especially consumed me during the 3 weeks leading up to the race. I have Plantar Fasciitis which causes my heel to hurt. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor who is a family friend, and he helped keep it at bay while I did the training. I followed the training plan (Hal Higdon’s Novice Supreme with a few tweaks of my own) and did my 16-mile run and even my 18-mile run without much pain in my heel. But after my last long run, the 20 -miler, my heel was killing me. So much so that I stopped running altogether. The good news was that I was in the tapering phase of my training, which means that I was supposed to be cutting back on my mileage and running less and less in the weeks leading up to the marathon. But I was supposed to be running 12, 8, and 6 mile runs; not no runs at all. I tried running 2 miles here and 1 mile there, but it just kept hurting so I stopped again. The looming marathon had me worried out of my mind. They say to trust your training. If you can do the training, then you can do the race. And I HAD run 20 miles. But I was afraid that my heel hurting and my not running for 3 weeks would undo all that I had worked so hard for. I was slow enough as it was, running my 20-miler at a 15-something minute/mile pace. A lot longer than the 13.75 minute/mile pace I had to do to finish within the 6 hour time limit of the racei wanted to do: the Santa Barbara International Marathon. I was also worried that I had failed to lose the amount of weight I wanted to. Actually, I failed to lose any. OK, OK, I GAINED weight during my training. Not good for someone 70 pounds overweight, with heel pain wanting to run a marathon. It was a gamble, but I decided to do what most runners do: ignore the injury and run anyway. And hey, worst case scenario: my heel starts hurting and I drop out. At least I tried. As a friend once said, “‘Did Not Finish’ is better than ‘Did Not Start’”. But that result would still leave me devastated and crying my eyes out. I really hoped that a “DNF” was not in my future.
The Morning of the Race
My same friend who ran the Fontana half with me was running the Santa Barbara Half Marathon with her sister so we all went up to Santa Barbara together to stay in a hotel. We had a blast. It was the kind of fun that can only end in a noise complaint from the neighbors (yeah, it was that bad). But that was mostly the two sister’s fault. I was the good one. As is common on race eve, we went to bed late and woke up early. I could barely eat, not from nerves, but from eating so much the night before (I really shouldn’t have had that extra piece of pizza. OR that second doughnut). But I forced down some carbs, protein, and a whole Gatorade and we left for the race. We waited in line together for the shuttle buses for a while, but when we separated I felt so alone. I was really doing this. On my own. I got the proverbial butterflies in my tummy, and there were a lot of them. While waiting for the marathon bus I met a guy doing his 80-something-eth marathon. He told me that he had run one last week, was running the one that day, another the next day (back-to-back marathons? who DOES that?!) and then had another planned for the next week. I was like, ” Wow! Yeah, this is my first…so…yeah.” But he was really nice and wished me luck.
The bus dropped us off and we had to walk (!) to the starting line. I was so mad. I wanted to conserve my energy and did not want to travel a single centimeter on foot farther than 26.2 miles that day. But alas, I followed the crowd up a semi-steep hill to a high school parking lot. Everyone was passing me on that hill and I just remember thinking, I’m conserving energy, so it’s OK that I’m the slowest one here. Things will be different in the race. It was a foreshadow of things to come.
In the parking lot by the starting line I ate some more, drank another Gatorade (gotta hydrate!), took some Ibuprofen (I know, I know, I could die of a heart attack. But seriously, I think I was more likely to be in intense pain due to my heel than to keel over from heart failure), peed, stretched, pood (don’t want to have to go during the race), stretched some more, and found my way to the back of the pack behind the starting line. I saw a friend there and we chatted for a minute. We were both running the full marathon, but since he was hoping to stick with the 4:30 pace group (that’s the group that wants to finish in 4 hrs. and 30 min.) and I wanted to finish close to the time limit (6 hrs.) we separated and got ready for the horn/gun/bell. I can’t really remember what they did to start the race. For all I know someone might have yelled, “On your mark, get set, go!” I just followed the crowd as it surged over the starting line and I high-fived the announcer on my way. The butterflies in my tummy had been coming and going and now they were coming again. I was so nervous and so excited!
Those butterflies continued to come and go as I ran the first mile or so. I was looking for the mile 1 marker when I was pleasantly surprised to see the 2-mile marker. I hoped the rest of the race would go that fast and tried not to think about the mile 3 marker. After what was surely 2 miles I started looking for the mile 4 marker. That’s when I saw the mile 3 marker. The same thing happened at mile 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, you get the idea. Whenever I thought it had definitely been 2 miles, I discovered that it had only been one. At about mile 6 (? 9? I’m really not sure) things started to look familiar and I realized that we were back at the high school. We passed near the starting line AGAIN and I commented to a person next to me that I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. Were we ever going to get anywhere?!
Most of the race is a blur, and I can’t remember what happened at what mile but here are some of the things that I do remember:
-People were passing my like I was standing still. And I had been at the back. Maybe they were late to the race. I was quickly getting farther and farther behind the pack.
-A little toddler girl with a lion hoodie on tried running with us and I said, “Go, go go!” She was adorable.
-THE best was when a group of high school kids who were handing out water started shouting, “Go Crystal, go Crystal, go Crystal, go Crystal!” It was a much-needed boost! By the way, they knew my name because your name is printed on the front of your race bib.
-I was trying to keep up with another overweight girl running with a more fit girl who I assumed was her trainer. The more fit girl was talking to her the whole time and stuck with her The. Whole. Time. They were getting farther and farther ahead. When she stopped to pee I finally got my chance to pass her up, but afterward she quickly passed me by. But I tried my darndest to keep that girl in my sights. It was a great motivator. I ended up doing the first 6 or so miles at about a 12-something minute/mile pace, way better than the 15-something pace I did when I did my 20 mile training run. That 15-something pace included bathroom breaks and I had gone JUST before the race, so I hoped I wouldn’t have to go the whole time (wishful thinking).
-I saw a few people turn around and walk back. I felt so bad for them. I’m sure they trained just as long and just as hard as I did, paid just as much for the race entry, showed up eager and excited and even ran a good 9 miles or so. But something happened and they ended up walking back. I really felt sad for them.
- A few weeks ago I asked everyone I could think of; the race organizers, People on a Runner’s World forum, friends on Facebook; what happens if you don’t meet the 6 hour time limit of the Marathon? Well I was about to find out because at about mile 10 (???) I looked behind me and saw a school bus, a motorcycle cop, and a couple of ”Budget” rental moving trucks behind them. I thought, so THIS is what happens when you don’t meet the time limit. They were following behind me very slowly and I realized that I was dead last. I started cracking up. Then a photographer took my picture, just as I was telling the people on the side of the road, “I’m last! Ha ha ha!”
-Here are some pictures of me at the race. http://www2.brightroom.com/email/105434/621/152773687 They are SOOOOO not flattering, and when I saw them I was thinking, that’s how fat I am? And more importantly, that’s how I run??? Embarrassing. Notice the Budget trucks in the background? FYI, the pictures in which I am laughing are the pictures of me realizing that I was last in a race of 1,300+ people.
-I was in a race against the bus for what seemed like several miles when a cyclist told me that they were going to start opening up the streets to traffic, so unless I could stay ahead of the bus, I should move onto the sidewalk. Confident that I could keep racing the bus to the finish line, I nodded and kept on running. Not long afterward, the motorcycle cop came up to me and told me the same thing. But I wasn’t phased, I was still technically ahead of the bus! So I kept going. After awhile the bus passed me, I moved to the sidewalk and tried to catch up with it. When I did, the bus driver stopped ME (I was furious! Didn’t he know that this was a RACE?!) And told me that I could either get on the bus now and be driven to the finish line festivities, or else I was on my own with no one stopping traffic for me. I was offended that he would suggest that I wasn’t going to finish, and I assured him that I WAS finishing this race, so I left him in a hurry and hoped I could stay ahead of him. But instead of following slowly behind like he had been doing, he just took off up the road to pick up weary stragglers.
-I had finally passed the lady and her trainer as they started walking. But when the bus passed me I didn’t see anyone on it, so I assumed they were still back there and I was no longer last. I was slowing down, too. I had run too fast (for me) for the first several miles and now I was going so slow that the 12-something minute/mile average had turned into a 15-something minute/mile AVERAGE. Meaning that at this point I was going way slower than a 15 minute/mile. I don’t know how slow I was going at this point because the number of miles to divide into however many minutes I had gone altogether was getting too large for my little non-math-oriented brain.
-This is where the race got really hard. I caught up to a girl, and we started chatting. It was nice having someone with me who was equally slow as me and equally determined to finish this race, no matter how long it took. Unfortunately at this point we were “on our own” and had to stop at stop lights and didn’t have signs showing us which way to turn on which streets. There were still a few cones set up so we followed those, and when we weren’t sure where we were going, there were people taking down water tables and they were able to give us directions. I understood only part of them, but we kept running. I use the term “running” loosely. It was more like a jog or even a shuffle. But it was propelling us forward, and that’s all that mattered.
-At one point a little more than halfway through the race I ran out of water on my water belt and didn’t see any more operating water stations. I was terrified that I wouldn’t get through the marathon due to lack of water, so I prayed and prayed that there would be a water station soon: I was getting really thirsty. Amazingly, around the corner there was a fully operational water station and they filled up all of my bottles. They even sent me with an extra bottle of water to take with me. Hallelujah! Along the way there were a few more water stations. Some were packing up and gave us water bottles, some were unmanned but had cups of water set out for us stragglers. Either way, we stayed hydrated, thank goodness!
-About mile 14 I started to feel like, We’re only halfway? How am I ever going to get through the rest of this race? My buddy and I were running through neighborhoods, through a bike trail with lots of forks in the road, and through more neighborhoods. I wasn’t sure which way to go, but I started to notice these spray painted arrows on the ground that seemed to point the direction that looked like the correct way to me, so I started following those and miraculously they led me in the right direction. Especially miraculous because, as I found out later, those arrows weren’t for us.
-At around mile 15 I had to stop and poo again. My tummy had been hurting for awhile and I was glad of some relief, just not glad of the pee that was all over the seat and the lack of toilet paper in the stall. I resorted to using seat protectors to wipe down the seat and wipe…whatever else. Thank goodness they had those, at least.
-About a week before the marathon, our branch president (that’s the guy in charge of our congregation at church, kind of like a pastor) Told Hubby and I that Hubby should come to the race and run the last 6-8 miles with me. I wasn’t so sure that was a great idea. Who would watch our kids? Oh yeah, and Hubby hates to run! But the Branch President and his wife offered to watch the kids, and Hubby agreed to run with me. We found a bus route that would take him from the finish line to the 20 mile marker and I would meet him there.
-At about mile 15/16/17/18/19 we kept telling each other how far we had to go to meet Hubby and she said, I can’t WAIT to meet your husband!!! I couldn’t either. Only 5 more miles/4 more/3/2/1!
How My Hubby Saved Me
We finally got there and I was overwhelmed with relief! I saw him walking toward us and I just knew everything would be OK. He was supposed to have taken the bus to the 20 mile marker but found out that the bus stop was 4 miles away from the finish line, where he was parked. So he walked 6.2 miles along the race route from the finish line to the 20 mile marker and waited for me for 2 1/2 hours (thankfully he brought a book) before I showed up. Lucky for my husband I was “running” so slow that Hubby was able to just walk beside me which was really good for him because he hates hates hates to run. Whenever I stopped to walk he’d pull me by the hand and make me run.
This is when I started to get weird. I was on the verge of tears and was saying over and over again how glad I was that he was there. I looked at my skin and it was a blotchy pink and white. Also, I felt kind of week and…lightheaded isn’t the word…light bodied. So I ate some Gu (WITH caffeine) and I was OK.
Up to this point those arrows had been leading me in the right direction, so when I saw those arrows point to the right I started to turn right down a street. Hubby stopped me and said, “No, we go straight.” I was positive that we were supposed to turn because that’s what the ever-present arrows were telling us to do, but Hubby insisted that he had come from this direction earlier and he knew we were supposed to go straight. It hit me that if he hadn’t been there I would have followed those arrows off the course to who knows where and ended up lost and alone. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to realize I was lost, or what I would have done at that point. I can only assume that I would have sat down on the ground and started sobbing until I was able to flag down a car driving by and ask them to drive me to the 20 mile marker where I was supposed to meet Hubby.
This is where the mile markers disappeared and I found myself arguing with Hubby over how far we had gone. I was always convinced that we had gone farther than we actually had when we would see the occasional mileage painted on the ground.
When we finally made it to the last mile (Hubby remembered them shouting to the runners at this point that they only had one mile to go) I was barely moving forward. I kept stopping to walk, but would walk so slow I didn’t think I would ever get there, so I’d start running again. I kept praying that I would get my medal even though I was so far behind. We could see the stadium where the finish line was and it looked so far away, but soon we entered the stadium parking lot and I saw a family getting into an SUV. There was a girl who looked about my age, who said to me, “Are you JUST finishing???” ” said, “Yeah.” And she went on and on as I was running past about how I was an inspiration. As I passed I heard from behind me that whole family yell, “Go Crystal!!!!” I started crying.
I entered the stadium and saw the finish line. I started booking it. The timer was no longer up and working, but the mats were down and I pounded over those mats 7 hours and 5 minutes after I started, 1 hour and 5 minutes after the time limit, and well after they had packed up all the vendors and took down the finish line festivities. I was greeted by a sweet woman with a medal and some snacks for me. The time limit was an hour before so they did NOT have to do that. But they did and I was soooooooo grateful. I had finished! ME! I FINISHED A MARATHON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was euphoric. My buddy and the girl with her trainer were a little ways behind me. From what I can tell I was 4th from last. Not last!
I was so sore for the next week that I was limping. Luckily my heel stopped hurting during the race and didn’t hurt after, but my foot and ankle swelled up so much that I went to the Dr. and they checked me for blood clots. There were no blood clots, just tissue damage, apparently. Don’t worry, the swelling went down. But NOW my heel hurts. So 3 weeks after the marathon I’m still limping. Check out my cool blisters:
During the last couple miles of the race I felt my toenail moving around and I thought it had fallen off. When I looked at it, it was still there, but I could tell it was only connected to the edges by the skin. I put a Band-aid on it because it was oozing clear liquid. I think it was a popped blister under the toenail. I was tired of not being able to wear shoes because of the sensitivity of the nail, so I tried ripping it off. First I pulled it off with the skin still attached to the bottom. Then it was just flapping there and I couldn’t have that, so I held onto the top skin so it wouldn’t rip too much and I ripped off the rest of the nail. Luckily it didn’t hurt, it was just creepy.
It was a rough race, but as a friend said to me, “remember that the first guy who ran a marathon died when it was finished. I guess anything less than death is a good thing.” Tru dat, sista! I’m just glad I’m alive!
I just watched “Mormon in America” on YouTube last week and started to write some quick thoughts about it (because I developed more than a few very strong opinions about it) in a Facebook post, but it became ridiculously long. So, lucky you: it’s now a blog post! If you haven’t seen it and want to know what I’m talking about, you can watch it HERE.
First off, my problems with this video:
1) That one girl with the big lips (who even IS that?) says we’re secretive. Huh? We literally knock on doors begging you to listen to what we’re about! The reasons so few people know what we actually believe are that they a) don’t really care to know or b) hear misrepresentations/lies/half-truths about us.
2) Their telling of the Joseph Smith Story was so incomplete. They didn’t even MENTION that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in the grove of trees. Nor did they mention that he got an answer from God telling him that he shouldn’t join any of the churches at the time, which was really what he prayed about, and is the whole point of the story. If you want to read the actual story in Joseph Smith’s own words, you can read about it HERE.
3) The idea that we can’t drink caffeine is a common misconception. It’s actually no coffee, tea, drugs, tobacco or alcohol. The lady that said she’s only had one coke, once in her life, is not representative of everyone. I live off diet Dr. Pepper (for better or worse) and I’m worthy to go to the temple.
4) Why interview Abby Huntsman (I just realized who the big-lipped lady was) of all people? Why do they always seem to interview more people who’ve left the church than people who are still in it. Which is a better way to get know what being a Mormon is really like? I think it’s good to interview both. But it seemed like the bulk of the interviews were from her.
5) Despite what Abby says, not everything about the church is black and white. You aren’t either all in or all out. We welcome all people to our Sunday meetings, whether or not they live our gospel. How did Abby grow up in The Church and not know that? We’re always being told to bring people into the fold and invite people to come to activities. And not on the condition that you aren’t a smoker or a swearer. If you want to come to church with me, please do. We’d love to have you.
6) This woman’s an idiot! She hopes people can one day go into the temple?! Every new temple has an open house, available to anyone and everyone so that they can go inside, look around and learn what they are all about. And the reason that anyone and everyone can’t go to the temple once it has been dedicated is that it’s a place where we can be safe from outside influences, pray, worship, and perform sacred ordinances. We don’t want any curious bystander or angry anti-Mormon walking in and heckling people. And in reality, anyone CAN go, they just have to live by certain standards. Any establishment has rules. You need to pay money and get a photo ID/membership card just to get into Costco, for goodness sake. Is THAT a “secret” place?
7) Geez, does anyone actually know anything about the temple garment?? Despite what they said, or what some people might do, I, personally don’t wear them when I exercise. At Brigham Young University, which is the church-run university, you aren’t even allowed to wear garments with your BYU issue gym clothes, the shorts are too short for that. We are supposed to wear them as often as possible, and how often that is, is a matter of individual discretion. On another note:we do not believe that temple garments have magical powers. Their purpose is to remind you of your covenants and help protect you against temptation. And *gasp* HOLY CRAP! OF COURSE no one’s going to show you their garments, Brian Williams! How DARE you have the audacity to ask people to show you their underwear! Would you ask that of anyone else? Oh, you wear a man-thong, that’s different than what I wear, so can I see it? That is just shameful. And then they show people wearing the temple garment anyway. How inappropriate. That was highly offensive.
8) And women aren’t equal to men?! I can’t believe I’m hearing such nonsense. Different roles doesn’t mean not equal. Men do priesthood stuff that women don’t do. So what? Women can give birth and men can’t. It’s not better or worse, it’s just different.
9) The “feminist” lady in the church has a problem with decision-making authority in the church. That has nothing to do with being a feminist. You either believe the prophet is called of God or you don’t. If he is, then what he gets from God is the word of God. If he’s not, leave The Church because he must be a whack-job. Why stay in a religion and fight against the way it is? If you don’t agree with it, either you are wrong and you decide to accept it the way it is, or the religion is wrong and you leave it.
10) The ladies they refer to as being excommunicated in 1993 were excommunicated because they wrote bullsh** lies about the church, were given a chance to repent of their wrongs, but refused. Not because they were feminists, like the blonde interviewer lady (can’t remember her name) was saying.
11) The guy from the musical, “The Book of Mormon” is described as a Mormon when he’s actually a self-proclaimed Ex-Mormon. There’s a difference in perspective between someone living the faith, and someone who no longer is. And speaking of that musical, if I were to produce a musical about a group of people, let’s say homosexuals, and make fun of them and spoute half-truths and lies about that group, it would be an outrage. But with “The Book of Mormon” we’re all just supposed to sit back and what? Laugh at ourselves? I can laugh at myself and Mormon culture, but that musical (I’m thinking of the song, “I Believe”) does not describe me or any other Mormon that I know and certainly not the doctrine of The CHurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
What I DID like about the video:
1) They point out that EVERY religion has stories and beliefs that seem outlandish to outsiders, that doesn’t make it a “cult”.
2) The black guy (can’t remember his name either) mentioned that he’s never faced discrimination. And their family is so cute! I love that they show them teaching the gospel in their home., and the kids are so insightful and positive about the gospel. That’s what it’s all about.
3) I love that that guy’s wife brought up the fact that WE BELIEVE IN THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST! AKA: GRACE! Why is it that people think we don’t???
4) The stuff about the Welfare Program was phenomenal. It reminded me about how poor my family was growing up. I remember my dad working in the Bishop’s Storehouse to help “work for” the free food we got every month. It’s an amazing program and I think they really captured the essence of that.
10) I like that they explained that we have an unpaid clergy.
For me, the bottom line is that I don’t really care if you believe in the church or don’t believe in the church. But I DO want you to know the truth about what is Church doctrine, what is Mormon lore/culture/tradition, and what is just plain NOT TRUE.
If you want to get the actual facts about what we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe, go to Mormon.org/faq where you can find simple, concise, official answers to frequently asked questions about the church. There are also thoughts from members about those same questions. You can even visit my Mormon.org profile where I talk about my experience with the church HERE.
If you have any questions or comments or want to agree or disagree, feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!