Friday, January 14, 2011

Privacy please!

No explanation available ... still looking for the words to describe it ...
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Toren's Birthday!

Toren turned 2 on January 5th. Adele made him "truck" cake, which he was pretty excited about. The candles scared him a bit at first, but after he blew them out ... and then asked to blow them out again ... and again ... and again, he finally figured this birthday stuff was pretty cool. Now every time he sees candles, like our pretty scented candles around the house, he says "Birday" and tries to blow on the. I'd have to say that I think the truck turned out pretty cool myself. I was proud of Adele's creativity, but I was especially proud that Adele decided to embrace the "racial diversity" that is in our nieghborhood with the truck driver that was made out of tootsie rolls!

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Boy has game!

Just thought I'd share a quick photo of Toren's budding basketball skills. Check out the form on this shot! Look at the follow through ... and yes, the ball went in! Toren will literally spend about 15-20 minutes on this hoop at a time, usually 4 or 5 times a day. Dude's got game! Give him another couple of months and we'll be having some serious one-on-one games in the Taylor household. Game on!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's about time....

I know, I know...I haven't been the best at keeping up on my say the least. However, I'm back, whether that be good or bad I'll leave it up to you to decide. I stopped posting last summer because I was so ill with my pregnancy and didn't have much of a break with my little one at my side. Goodness, she was lucky if she got to go outside during that time and it showed, especially when she would get excited to see a tree when we walked outside...pathetic I know. Fortunately, that passed and we played as much as we could outdoors. Needless to say, Ava is a very active little girl full of energy and life. However, now it is winter and we are stuck inside once again and to top it off we have a little one that keeps us indoors vs venturing out in the frigid cold. Poor Ava. Yep, for those of you who didn't know, Toren was born Jan. 5th and was a whoppin' 10 lbs 3 oz and 22 1/2 in long. Doug's got his lit'l linebacker....and myself...well, I'm busy and enjoying it. Ava absolutely loves the little tyke, granted, she's adjusting like any toddler needs to and in the middle of the "twos" (I won't say terrible - though they are at times - they sure are exciting times too...the "twos").

Anyhow, I'll spare the detailed update of the year and leave you with some pictures and highlights.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Trail Marathon

Three years ago one of my brother-in-laws (Stephen) convinced me that running a marathon would be fun, and since all the Garrett brothers were going to do one together, I should join them. I figured, "Hey, if Stephen can do it, then I surely can." So I did it. Of course, only one of the four ended up doing it, but I enjoyed the experience, and thus I meekly became a "runner" ... (seriously, if you saw me "run," you'd know what I meant by "runner"!)

Fast-forward three years later and here I am at the starting line of my second marathon, although this one was a little unconventional. This wasn't your regular street marathon ... this was a marathon on single-track hiking trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Beautiful? Yes! Lot's of hills? Oh, yeah! :( Anyway, I love being in the woods and on trails, so this seemed like a natural fit, right? Well, sorta ... minus the whole running for 26.2 miles thing. Anyway, If you have the time, I'll take you through all 26.2 miles, and what it was like.

Starting Line -- Adele dropped me off at the starting line at 6:00 in the morning for the 7:00 am start. I got all my trail running gear on, which consisted of trail shoes (different than running shoes ... stiffer, more traction, less cushoning), my running shirt, shorts, bandanna on my head for sweat, and a North Face running backpack (like a Camelbak). About 10 "GU" packs, and my ipod. I was set. I scanned the competition ... and realized I'd not even be close to winning, and settled into the fact that my goal was to cross the finish line ... somehow.

Miles 0-4 -- Okay, so I was so nervous and so hydrated before the race I could hardly keep from wetting my pants, but once we were off, that feeling left me ... until about mile 8, but that is beside the point. The first five miles everybody was pretty crowded on the trails. We had a bit of road running at first to sort of spread out before the trails, but still, when we hit the trail I was somewhat constrained by who was in front of me. Passing wasn't easy. The first few miles were easy, with mostly flat terrain. I just picked an easy pace, knowing that I had a long way to go. Weather was ideal, high 50's and low 60's. We ran around a lake at the first, and it was foggy, giving way to a very serene, mystic morning. It was very quiet, other than runners breathing and their footsteps. It may sound weird, but it was a crazy cool couple of miles. I felt like William Wallace from Braveheart, minus a huge sword ... and a kilt.

Miles 4-8 -- We hit a small aid station being manned by Boy Scouts at mile 3.7, with some water, bannanas, pretzels, Gu's, and sports drinks ... oh yeah, and salt and raw potatoes. Apparently raw potatoes and salt are good for those few hearty souls doing 40 miles that day. Anyway, immediately after the aid station we began our almost 5 mile ascent up the mountain ... about 3,600 feet of elevation gain. Running quickly turned into a power hike up the mountain. You could tell those who weren't ready for the climb because they quickly faded. I was going strong the entire way up the mountain, even running in spots that weren't too steep. Again, I tried to take it easy knowing I had a long way to go.

Miles 9-13 -- At the top of the mountain we had to check in at a small aid station before our descent. Now, one would think that coming down the mountain would be easy and fun, as I did. However, that is not the case. While it's easy to go fast, I soon realized that I had to control how fast I came down the mountain so as to not injure myself by stepping on a rock or root, or going off the trail on a sharp switchback. After about 3 miles, my legs felt like they were going to explode ... no, seriously, I thought they were going to blow up! They were full of blood and they were huge ... kinda liked that part, actually! Ok, just kidding. Anyway, even though I was trying to control myself going downhill, I was still going too fast. How do I know this? Easy, when you trip and hit the ground, roll down the hill a couple of times, and end up laying on your back looking up through the trees, you instantly know you were going too fast. Yes, that happened! Fortunately, it didn't hurt, and more importantly, nobody was around to see me fall. By this point in the race, things had spread out a bit and I was mostly alone, which I loved. I definetly started feeling my energy levels being depleted through this point of the race. I had not really been able to train on steep terrain, so it was taking a lot of energy for me to run up and down that mountain. Plus, given the fact that I wasn't the most dedicated in my training, this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone! Anyway, the race was comprised of a 13 mile loop, so at mile 13 I came through the starting line to check in, restock my supplies, and head out again. It took me 2:25, which put my on pace for a 5:00 finish, about what I expected. Here's me half-way through the race.
Miles 13-17 -- After a quick pit stop, I was back out. This time, I pretty much had the trail to myself. We started with about 80 runners, but only about 30 runners went further than a half-marathon, or 2 loops. It was a little too lonely ... and a little depressing knowing what I had left to do to be done. The last few miles before coming into the half-way mark were surprisingly difficult, and I felt about as tired at this point as I had at the end of my longest training run, which was 20 miles. This was not a good sign. Again, these miles were the easiest of the loop, so I was able to just kind of move along at about the same pace as I had the first time through. The fog was gone, but it was still beautiful and peaceful.

Miles 18-22 -- I hit the aid station right before the climb. The Boy Scouts wished me luck and told me I was looking "strong." That's a lie ... but hey, it made me feel good. This time around, I power-hiked the entire stretch. I knew there was no way I'd make it if I actually tried to run any uphill portion of this. Again, I moved along at a pretty good pace. While I was "walking," some old guy came up behind me. We chatted for a bit, then he asked to pass me. I told him good luck, and that I'd see him at the finish line. He responded with "only if you're doing all 40!" Meaning, he was running a 40 mile ultramarathon, and he was passing me ... and he was in his late 40's! Sort had myself a little humble pie at this point. Nonetheless, I was running my own race. Fortunately, he was the only one to pass me going up the hill. I was getting pretty anxious to reach the top, but it seemed to drag on forever. I was getting pretty tired, and was starting to feel a good burn in my legs and lungs. During this stretch I started getting some random aches and pains in my back and shoulders, mostly from my backpack ... and the grind of going so far. I pulled some Advil out of my backpack and carried on to the check-in station on the top of the moutain.

Miles 22-Finish -- After checking in, I pulled out my cell phone to call Adele and give her an idea as to how far away I was so she could time to meet me at the finish. I sorta felt like a dork pulling out a cell phone in the middle of a race in the middle of the woods, but hey, nobody could see me, so I didn't care. I started down the hill and quickly caught up to another runner who was going a bit slower than I wanted to go, but I didn't dare pass and then not be able to run fast enough to "justify" the pass, so I settled in behind him for a bit during the steepest part of the descent. All I can say about the next 3 miles is "holy canoly!" My legs were killing me! I had nothing left in my legs, and I could feel the lactic acid starting to buil up in them. At this point, my knees and hips started to ache quite a bit, and I just tried to put the pain out of my mind and run ... to sorta zone out ... and it seemed to work. Pretty soon the guy pulled over to walk and I passed him and kept going. My pace was slowing, but I kept pushing knowing I didn't have to run for a long time after the race, so I could afford to hurt for several days.

I passed this guy at about mile 24, so I had a little more than 2.5 miles left, which at this point, seemed like a whole other marathon! From this point on I was running pretty close to another runner about my same age. We kept passing each other all the way into the finish. His legs were locking up and cramping on him, so he couldn't run at times. I could feel myself almost getting there, so I chose to walk to try to prevent it. It worked ... well, at least my legs didn't lock up during the race. I hit a final aid station at about mile 25, and I promised the Boy Scouts a rank advancement if they'd carry me in to the finish line, but they wouldn't! Booo! Anyway, I had lots of thoughts during this last little bit ... most suicidal, and thoughts about not seeing my family again, about why was I so dumb for doing this in the first place ... you know,thoughts like that. I had hit a literal "wall" on my descent up the mountain, so I was hating life pretty good at this point. I kept chugging and finally finished in 5:25. It took me 25 minutes longer the second loop, which I didn't mind, considering I was just happy to finish.

Coming in to the finish line.

Being greeted by the race director as I crossed the finish line.

A little celebratory kiss!

Yes, I am in pain ... as Ava literally runs circles around me. Sad thing is, I was running about as fast as she was the last few miles..

This is what people look like when they can't feel their legs!

My dust "tan" line in all it's glory.

All in all, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, I'm going to do a couple of these next year. Even though the physical punishment of running 26.2 miles in the mountains is pretty intense, the sense of accomplishment and the mental stamina required left me with an incredible feeling of pure satisfaction. Marathons have an ability to take your body to the edge ... to a place you've never visited unless you've "been there and done that," and helps you know what the phrase "mind over matter" really means. Even though I "felt" that race for many days in my body, the mental aspects of it never will leave.

Some Summer Highlights!

Okay ... fine ... we get it! We are really bad bloggers! Our sincerest apologies! Great, now that that is over, we can finally move on. Since there is no way for us to catch up on the action past summer, we wanted to post a few highlights of what's been happening since ... well, April, when we last posted a blog. Gee, that's what ... six months ... yeah, we're really bad. We do have an excuse; however, and that is that Adele felt really crappy for several months when she was in the first few months of her pregnancy. Once out of practice, it's hard to jump back into the swing of things. That said, here's some highlights of the summer .. with more to follow.

Street Basketball Tournament:
In an effort to be an EOB -- and Equal Opportunity Blogger -- aka, try not to make every blog about Ava, I've included a little pic of a little 3 on 3 streetball tournament that I was in with a couple of friends, Dave Nielson and Brad Hinton. We did ok, considering we mostly played some "brothas from the Hood!" As you can see, the setting was something you don't find in Idaho Falls. I'm the dude in a blue shirt and black shorts that's about to take this sap to the rack! Boo-ya!

Swimming ... You Bet!
We had a pretty nice pool at the complex where we live, so we would take Ava there often. As you can see, she was always "stylin" at the pool! She loved the floatie thingy ... most of the time, and of course, she couldn't go out without her shades. But then again, what chic chick would? And yes, those are "new" teeth that Ava is showing off!

Cooking Time:Since Ava's favorite toy is her mome, Adele started incorporating Ava's "helpfullness" in the kitchen. Rather than her crying at Adele's feet all day, she just put her to work. Is this violating child labor laws? Eh, who cares ... as long as it's within the walls of my h0me, it's legal! Just this morning Ava kept saying "chair ... chair ... chair." We couldn't figure out what she wanted. Eventually, Adele realized that Ava wanted to stand on the chair next to mom to help prepare her breakfast. Shoot, if this keeps up, Adele might be able to take some breaks while Ava whips us up something tasty to eat! Or maybe not ...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

We love visitors

Stephen and Brooke came to visit us this month and we absolutely loved their company. The only downer was that a huge storm came through knocking off all the blossom petals the night they arrived, so they missed the cherry blossoms by sad...oh, and Ava was sick the majority of their visit. That didn't stop them from enjoying their trip, of course.
Though, after their return from Italy the week before, the US architecture just doesn't stand to Italian Renaissance, however, taking part of US History can top any Italian structure. Stephen couldn't get over the fact that he helped Doug write the last paragraph of a speech he wrote for the Senator, and we all thoroughly enjoyed watching him revel in his opportunity to leave his "mark" in US History.
Despite Ava's sickness we still tried to get out with them here and there.
Great Falls...great family.
I love my bro...and doesn't Brooke just look lovely. Actually, Ava absolutely loves Stephen and always has. She will stare at him for lengthy periods of time...just fascinated with his presence. I just wish we could get into that tiny brain of hers and figure out what she's really thinking.
I was pretty excited at how this picture turned out...I think we'll actually be framing this one.