Monday, October 29, 2007

Weekend in Idaho

Will and I left Thursday night and drove over to Idaho Falls for the weekend. The original purpose in going was to attend my BYU-I alumni concert. (I played violin in the BYU-I Symphony Orchestra from 1996 - 1998, and my conductor is retiring this year after 24 years with the school). But the weekend ended up being more geared towards my own concert on Saturday night that was held at the Piano Gallery in Idaho Falls.

And I don't know how many of you have driven from Seattle to Idaho Falls, but once you get over the Cascades there is really not much but desert and sagebrush. So Will and I made up lots of fun car games to play on the way over - one of which was trying to name all of the capitals of the 50 states. We got stuck on West Virginina, Kentucky, and South Carolina. We ended up calling Tessha to look up the answers for us. LOL We soooo had to find out!

This is Michele McLaughlin and I after the concert. I invited Michele to be my special guest artist for the concert - and she performed 4 of her songs. Okay and I know this shirt makes me look way more prego than I really am, but it was super comfy and I didn't have to feel like I needed to suck in my stomach while up on stage. LOL.

It was a lot of fun - and I actually got my first standing ovation! How exciting! And to my great surprise we had so many people show up that they had to put out more chairs. I was really nervous when I saw everyone there because I was secretly hoping it would be a small group. But once I got my nerves out and started playing, I was really glad that I had the audience that I did.

Being back on the "Ricks" campus was kind of weird - it's changed so much! You go to school there for a few short years and it's just your own for a short time, but then you graduate and go away....and when you come back, you really feel like it's not yours anymore but it belongs to all of these new students...which I might add, looked like high schoolers to Will and I. Boy we must be getting old!

We had fun with Will's family too. The only time I've really ever been to the Thomas house is during the holidays, so it was fun to be there without a Christmas tree this time. :)

By the way, the capitals of West Virginia, Kentucky and S. Carolina are Charlston, Frankfort, and Columbia.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Grammy Update

So as a voting member of the Recording Academy, I got my ballot in the mail yesterday for the Grammy Awards in February, as did my mom. She emailed me 3 times last night (all of which I didn't read until hours later) and said "Jenni I can't find your album in any of the categories! Where is it?"

I thought, "That is odd, it should be in the New Age category."

So I went and looked through the list of entrants too. It wasn't in New Age, and so I checked Classical and it wasn't there either. And then checked most the other categories too...and it was not to be found.

"This is strange." I kept saying to myself.

So I emailed Michael Hoppe and asked if he knew what category my album went to. He wrote back and said he was surprised it wasn't there either, because he delivered it to the committee himself down in L.A. as well as one other album (which also did not appear on the list). He could only conclude that the academy is being much stricter this year on late entrances.

I don't know, there are so many politics involved that it's hard to say exactly what happened. My album was not late for entrance, but my membership was late.

So, my album will not get voted on for this year's Grammy Awards afterall. But you know what? I'm okay with that. If I was all that hopeful about it in the first place, then I would have entered it myself months ago instead of on a whim and suggestion by another artist at the last minute. Even if it had gotten in, I would have been pleasantly surprised due to the last-minute nature of its entry. I think my parents are more upset about it than I am. LOL

On a positive note though - my mom's album did get in as an entrance, unfortunately not the category she would have preferred, but she is in the Pop Instrumental category. So I will vote for her! Yay!

Monday, October 22, 2007

I Dream of...

1. Waking up and food actually sounding yummy for once.
2. Being able to sleep through the night without peeing every 2 hours.
3. Working out again LOL.
4. Prenatal vitamins that actually taste yummy.
5. Not feeling like 8 hours of sleep isn't enough.
6. Liking the smell of Will's aftershave again.
7. Liking ice cream again. (Who am I and where did Jenni go??)
8. Buying some new pants that will actually fit so I don't have to wear sweats around the house 24/7.
9. Feeling pretty again.
10. Liking food again. Yeah, that would be pretty nice. Did I already say that?

Monday, October 15, 2007

BIG NEWS: We're Expecting!

Wow three blogs in one day, but this will be the best of them all.
Yes, we're actually serious! This is for real - and we don't mean that our fish are expecting either...

We would like to officially let everyone know...we are finally pregnant and expecting our first baby in early June of 2008!

It's been a fun time playing by ourselves, but we're excited to invite a new addition to join us along the journey. With Jenni's strawberry blonde hair, and Will's freckles (and not to mention that both paternal and maternal grandmothers are redheads), we fully expect a bouncing freckly redheaded kid!

No this does not mean we're expecting twins. LOL

Two Thumbs-Up: An excited Dad-to-Be

I (Jenni) will be 7 weeks along this Thursday, and though we would have liked to have waited a little longer before telling everyone, it has been getting harder and harder to conceal the news due to my morning sickness, absense from church, lack of appetite when out with friends, falling asleep everywhere we go, etc, etc, etc... And also because I feel like I've actually gotten fatter and have been wanting to wear a big sign on my shirt that says "I'm not normally this fat!! I'm pregnant!!"

Where I have been spending most of my mornings lately - notice I have the bathroom set up with all my closest comforts - pillow, applesauce, toilet, etc.

Even my closest friend Erika, told me last night that my face has gotten rounder. What are true friends for, right? Such honesty! Don't worry she and I tell each other stuff like that and we're fine with it. (Although now I have a complex about my face, though Will says it looks exactly the same).

But like my favorite quote from The Devil Wears Prada says "I'm only one flu away from my goalweight!". Which is what I hope morning sickness does for me - gets me back down a couple of pounds. LOL just kidding...sort of.

This is super cute - the first present Will went out and bought for our baby is a "Piggyback" from REI. It's a backpack that you can stick your little rugrat in so you can bring them with you camping and backpacking, etc. I thought it was so fitting that this was our first baby item. Will you are so adorable!

So anyway, for all of you that want to hear the story here it is. If not, that is completely understandable, and if this is where you quit reading - we did just want everyone to know how much we are both excited. We don't care if it is a boy or a girl - just pray for a healthy one. But seeing how we only have girl names picked out and can never agree on boy names, maybe a girl would be a good idea. lol. Our 1st Dr appointment is Nov.5th and we'll let you know how the ultrasound goes.

The Story

Once there was a happy couple...

Happy couple wanted to have kids! But...after a year and a half - still no luck. Happy couple even went to fertility specialists.

(Okay that is just a horrible picture of the happy girl, by the way)

So the Doctor prescribed Clomid to the happy couple - a miracle fertility drug that helps produce multiple eggs during ovulation. The happy girl thought, "Yeah but we're healthy - let's just keep trying ourselves." So the happy couple did not use Clomid.

Meanwhile, the happy girl was not so happy at her dayjob.

Happy girl's job = stress, stress, stress, and MORE stress!

Enter Happy Girl's mother:

Happy girl's mother said month after month, "You just need to quit your job and then you'll get pregnant."

"Yeah right." Happy girl would say.

But finally the job did get too stressful, and the happy girl decided to give her notice to quit.

Happy wife = Happy husband

And thus we have, again, a happy couple.

Then the happy couple decided to move! They packed up all their belongings, filled up a uHaul and moved to a new happy home.

And then...

After the move, happy girl was 2 days late...

"It's nothing" she thought, as it had turned out to be nothing so many times before.

But then...

It didn't turn out to be nothing. It turned out to be something indeed...

"NO WAY!!!!" she proclaimed out loud in disbelief. And the happy girl proceeded to rip out the instructions on the test to be sure she had taken it accurately.

"ARE YOU SURE??" proclaimed the happy boy, and then two days later had happy girl re-test just to be sure. (Hence the reason for two tests).

And then, the happy girl realized that she should have just listened to her mother in the first place. As the happy couple determined exactly when the bundle of joy was conceived, it was about 2-3 days after she gave notice to quit her job.

The happy girl - standing next to the Snoqualmie Historic Train - 6 wks, 2 dys preggers


Will and Jenni

P.S. Don't forget to read the other blogs - Will has big news. Keep reading...

2nd blog today - Lots to read: Our New Home

Before I even start this blog, I have to first say please note that Will also posted a blog today about his ultramarathon - so please scroll down and read that one too. We don't normally post multiple blogs on the same day, but since we are today - I just wanted to let you know since his blog is getting bumped down. I'm so proud of my Ultra-Marathon-Man!

Okay so we finally have the new place somewhat organized, so here are some pics that we finally took.

Our place is not the big house on the left, but the guest house above the garage on the right.
Here is a more accurate shot.

Here is the view from the window next to the piano.

The entryway

As you come in the front door, this is what you see - the kitchen.

And as you come around the corner, you start to see into the big huge room - which I'll explain next.

The Everything Room - Living room, Dining room, and music room.

Looking onto the opposite wall from where the piano is. There are 3 doors, left is our bedroom, middle is the bathroom, and right is the office.

Our Bedroom

My little hideaway - finally a closet big enough to share with Will. lol.

The Bathroom


One corner of the office, the "Movie watching" part of it.

And the other corner - the very unorganized music studio part of it.

And that's all folks!

YAY! I'm an Ultramarathoner!

Me at the finish line dinner celebration! Super Hungry! YUM!

It's official! Sorry, I took so long to report back. I wasn't out lost,running all week trying to find the finish line, I actually did finish the race last Saturday and I am now an ultramarathoner. Looking back, I think I picked a pretty hard race to be my first 50km. The 10,000 feet of vertical climb was pretty strenuous when combined with the 31 miles of hiking trails. It's been a week since the race but my quads hurt for days. Ouch!

So, for those of you who want to know what it is like to compete in a 9 hour race stick around and I'll try and describe it. If you could care less and think I have gone crazy, then you can just scroll down and browse the pictures and watch the videos. I forewarn you now, it's a long blog.

So, the night before I was up pretty late making sure I had packed everything I could possibly think I would need for the next day, stuffing it into a backpack for Jenni to carry around. I had pages of maps and directions for Jenni, so that she would be able to hike into strategic places throughout the race with a backpack full of this stuff I might need.

I ended up getting to bed a couple hours later than I would have liked and morning came early.
We had to be out of the house by 6am to get to the mountain and be registered before the 7am start. I wanted to wait until the day of the race to register just in case the weather was really bad or if I was still injured. Well, my injuries seemed to be healing just fine, but the weather had been really bad all week long. It had just poured and poured all week long. I swear I even saw some cats and dogs falling from the sky. The weather wasn't supposed to be too bad for Saturday so I decided to go for it knowing that the trails would be a mud bath.

This is me waiting under a tent to stay out of the rain before the start of the race.

It ended up being a pretty chilling morning around 40 degrees. They had propane heaters that most of the runners were huddled around trying to stay warm. Finally the time came and the race was off. I was surprised by the number of runners that showed up. There must have been about 100 people in the race. I later found out that the trail running legend Tim Twietmeyer was competing in this race as well. He went on to take 2nd place. Not bad for a 50-year old guy.

The deserted starting line, minutes after the race got started.

As you can tell from the picture it was still a bit dark when we started. Headlamps weren't required, but they could have come in handy for that first 30 minutes or so. Also, you can see from the picture that it had been raining. It continued to rain lightly on us all day long, but never huge down pours.

The race started out on a gravel road for about 1/2 mile to help everyone get into their places before jumping into the trail. Once on the trails, it was hard to pass or be passed because there wasn't much room. One runner would have to stand aside while the other past (I guess this is why they call it single track LOL). From everything I had heard and read about starting an ultra. The strategy is to "Start slow, then taper off" LOL. It's so easy to get excited and sprint right out and go fast for 5-10 miles, but you have to remember to pace yourself. You have to stop and think, can I keep this pace up for 8-9 hours? I'm sure it was pretty funny for Jenni to watch us take off, because the gun goes off and we all just slowing start off, no one running or dashing for 1st place, just people shuffling their feet along hoping they can do that all day long.

This is me at the starting line. Jenni had to take a picture of my Grandpa butt.

Yes, take another look at that picture I do have the whitest legs there. LOL and it's not just because I'm closest to the flash. I'm sure that is my legs radiating their whiteness. I would like to say its because of my lack of running the 6 weeks leading up to the race or because I train on the trails where the sun can't penetrate through all the tress, but the real reason is just because I'm white! LOL

So, about my grandpa butt, as you can see, some people were carrying backpacks, or fanny packs filled with liquids, food, accessories. I didn't want to carry all that and was hoping my beautiful crew member Jenni would be able to meet me at designated spots, so I stuffed my cell phone and lots of maps, etc into my back pocket. hence the grandpa butt.

The race was lots of fun for the first 7 miles. It was the 7 easiest miles of the course and everybody was close together as we really couldn't pass very much. You could look in front or behind you and just see a stream of people like a long snake slithering through the forest. People were chatting back and forth and we were all having a great time. About 4 miles into the race we passed by a runner laying on the ground saying over and over, "Boy do I feel stupid". I'm not sure exactly what happened. I'm guessing a sprained ankle, but they didn't seem to be in pain.

After our first aid station at mile 4 it was all down hill for the next 3 miles to the next aid station where as the first 4 miles were fun roller coasters going up and down hills anywhere from 20 feet to 500 feet. At one point a runner in front of me took off on the wrong trail. I decided to be a good Samaritan and chase her down and direct her onto the right trail. This would turn out to be a blessing in disguise later.

I decided the downhills where going to be my chance to gain a little ground on people. With gravity on your side it's faster going down then up. This can be really hard on a runner's legs though and punish a runner later on in the race. I was willing to take this chance.

At mile 7 was the first big aid station. They had all sorts of food and goodies. I grabbed a handful of gummy bears and some more liquids and waited in line for the port-a-potty for about 5 minutes as I watched all those people I had passed come through the aid station and pass me and take back there lead. For some reason I was okay with that. I was competing against myself and achieving my goal of running an ultramarathon. I stood in line with a smile on my face.

After my brief pee break I was back on the trail. We had to cross over a hwy and head into a new park. It was when I started climbing up the next hill that I realized maybe why I was lingering at the aid station. I was now entering the toughest 10 miles of the coarse. We had to climb up 2000 feet and go up and over three different summits on squak mountain.

Up was the only way, I had started on my upward journey not getting more than 1/2 mile and all of a sudden my calf muscles in both of my legs started cramping up on me. This was quite a surprise to me as I have never ever had problems with cramping before. It hurt pretty bad I had to run/walk just a certain way so not to entice my calves to cramp up. I had to stop about every 1/4 mile and stretch my calves to get them to relax on me before I could continue up and over squak mountain. I started analyzing and figured I had not drank very much water all week. I was dehydrated and needed liquids and electrolytes to overcome my cramping, knowing that it would take hours before the cramping would ease up.

Towards the top of the mountain, there wasn't much of a trail and we had to pull ourselves up the hillside by roots and branches. It was quite challenging. We were also now up in the clouds and the fog added to the mysterious squak mountain tales of dwarfs and trolls. From the top it was all down hill to the 12 mile aid station and the first spot I would see Jenni. I was excited, once again gravity was on my side and liquid would be available to start working out my leg cramps. It was full speed down 2000 feet to reach my aid.

This is me flying through the 12 mile aid station so fast that it was a blur. LOL

Not really speeding through there. Again, I actually took my time at this aid station as well. Probably at least 5 minutes. It was so great to see Jenni there cheering me on. She had to hike 1/2 mile just to meet me here for these brief minutes. She spent so much of the day waiting for me, all bundle up trying to stay warm in the wet weather. THANK YOU JENNI!!!

Here's the video of me coming into the 12 mile aid station

I tried to drink lots. I again used the bathroom. I even changed my wet muddy socks, thanks to Jenni. Again, anyone I had passed on the way down, flew through the aid station and were again ahead of me. It was hard leaving Jenni knowing that I wouldn't see her for another 10 miles and knowing what was ahead; almost 4000 feet of climbing and I was worried about my cramping legs.

I went to the snack bar looking for my gummy bears. They didn't have any and I was sad. Those are my favorite sugar rush during a race. They did have skittles and M&M's though. I must have been somewhat out of it as I couldn't figure out which ones where skittles and which ones were M&M's so I grabbed a hand of both, knowing that I had delicious skittles in one of my hands. I made the mistake of doing this before going to the port-a-potty. As I got to the port-a-potty. I tried to figure out how to do this with both my hands full. Again, probably somewhat out of it, I shoved both handfuls of skittles and M&M's into my mouth so that I could go the bathroom. There is not a worse combination of candy then sugary skittles and chocolaty M&M's to make matters worse I forgot to get another drink to wash these down in my hurry to leave. So I said my goodbye to Jenni and with a mouth full of skittles/M&M's I headed for my journey back up and over squak mountain.

The next 5 miles were the hardest of the race for me. I'm glad they came early on and not later in the race. During a regular marathon everybody hits what is called, "the wall". It's brief, lasts only 1 mile or so. They feel like they can't go on anymore. Their legs are done moving. They just want to stop and be done. Well, I was about to hit my "Wall" mentally and physically.

After the aid station the trail looped around and went straight back over the top of the mountain. There really weren't any switchbacks or easy ways up. The trail just went straight up the side of the mountain. I had hit my wall. This time my quads were the muscles cramping up. It seemed every step that I took up the hill, my quads would try to lock up on me. I was stopping and stretching every few minutes to try and loosen and relax them. I was hoping I had drank enough at the aid station to help rehydrate me. I wasn't feeling the outcome of that yet.

Luckily, I had my cell phone on me. I called Jenni and talked with her until I had finally reached the summit. She helped me get up that mountain. I put her on speaker phone and together we hiked straight up the hillside. This really helped me pass the time and get the focus off of what I was doing.

Every time I stopped to stretch my quads it seemed that people would pass me up. I even remember getting passed up by a guy with a sprained ankle. LOL Anyway, after Jenni got me back on top of Squak Mountain I let her go and started my descent back down the mountain. I was excited to have all the hills of Squak Mountain behind me. It was all downhill to the next aid station at mile 17.

That downhill section hurt the worse out of the entire race. Now both my quads and calves were cramping up on me and almost continually. It hurt so bad. The trail going down was steep and hard on my legs. At one point as I was stopped on the side of the trail trying to get my calf muscle to relax and quite cramping, a lady I recognized stopped and asked me if I was having trouble with cramping. I mentioned that I was and she pulled out some supplements from her fanny pack and offered me some electrolyte and potassium pills. I thanked her and she was once again back on the trail. This just happened to be the woman that I had chased down earlier in the race when she took off on the wrong trail. Maybe this was her way of repaying the favor.

I was now more excited to get down the hill to the aid station to get more liquids and take these supplements. I painfully worked my way back down the hillside to cross over the highway and re coupe at the 17 mile aid station. When I got to the highway to cross over, they had me wait a few moments because a car crash had just happened. They were having the runners dart across the highway when there weren't any cars. So a car stopped to let runners across and a car behind him plowed into him. Luckily no one was hurt especially the runners.

I was so excited to be at this aid station. It meant that I had conquered Squak Mountain and didn't have to return again. I took my supplements and drank lots and lots of Accelerade. I wanted to make sure I wouldn't be dehydrated. I was so tired of cramping up. It seemed like I spent most of my time stretching instead of running. I drank and drank while chatting to the volunteer staff. Jenni couldn't meet me here because of the highway and no parking lot.

After a few more minutes and liquids I was back on the trail again. This time with a smile on my face. I was climbing my last 1000+ hill. Once I was back up to the top of this hill, then all the other climbs were less than 600 feet and a lot more manageable. I also only had 5 more miles and I would be at my next aid station and I would be able to see Jenni again.

Once again on the climb back up cougar mountain I called Jenni and chatted with her most of the way up to the summit. This made the time pass faster and easier. I also wasn't cramping up as much any more. I only had to stop and stretch a handful of times. When I got to the top of the hill I let Jenni go as she was picking up lunch at McDonald's and needed time to eat and get to the next aid station before I.

The next few miles to the aid station were relatively quiet and peaceful. The trail had leveled off and was more of a roller coaster ride now, twisting and twirling its way through the forest floor, little ups and downs of 50 feet or so made it lots of fun along with lots of log hopping.

It was in this stretch that the inevitable finally happened. I was expecting it, but didn't know when it would happen. I got lapped by the 1st place runner in the 50 MILE race. They started at 5am a few hours before our race and they were doing 2 smaller versions of our 1 big lap. Half an hour later I got passed by the 2nd place guy in that race as well. I was amazed at the speed they still had knowing that they had been running for 2 hours longer than I had and had traveled almost twice as far as me.

Later in the week I googled the 1st place runner to find out that the guy that won had won almost every race he had competed in this past year. He also trains by running 175 miles a week and was won quite a few big time marathons. Needless to say he was fast. Luckily those were the only 50 milers that past me.

Anyways, back to my now what seemed puny, 50 km race. A few minutes after the 2nd place guy passed me another runner came flying up past me and I thought we was the 3rd place runner, but noticed that he was wearing the same color bib as me, so he was in my race. I thought to myself why is someone in my race running this fast and is just now passing me. He asked me if the jugs of water that we had passed half an hour earlier was the aid station. I replied that it wasn't, but that there was a full aid station just one more mile ahead of us. We just had to climb a 600 foot wall and it would be up on top of there. He politely thanked me and took off just as fast as he had sped up on me.

I thought that was odd, but just kept on trucking along. By this time I had gone over 20 miles and had climbed 8,000 of the 10,000 vertical feet. I was starting to get hungry, real hungry. Jenni's McDonald hamburger was starting to sound real yummy. I was secretly hoping that she had bought an extra one and brought it along, but since I hadn't asked her to I'm sure she hadn't. This urge for food pushed me up that last 600 foot wall and into the aid station.

me at the 22 mile aid station drinking and waving

Take notice of the guy sitting behind me trying to warm up by wearing the tin foil blanket while stuffing his face with goodies. That's the guy who came flying by me that I thought was the 3rd place guy of the 50 miler but was actually in my race. He had gotten lost in the forest for quite awhile and had been running the same circle over and over not able to find this aid station. Poor guy. I thought he was done as he had already ran more than me and still had 9 more miles to go. Nope! After warming up and getting food and water into his belly he darted off and Jenni said he finished strong over 15 minutes before me. Wow! What a trooper.

There were others that were dropping out at this aid station. It was hard to want to leave that aid station. They had all sorts of goodies and food. I stayed for about 10 minutes eating and drinking and chatting with Jenni. I had lots of sandwiches and cookies. I left with a pretty full belly. It felt good.

Jenni asked me to pose how I really felt instead of smiling. LOL

Team UltraWill LOL

Showing off my Grandpa Bum again. Jenni got a kick out of it.

This is the video from Mile 22 Aid Station

It was time to end the fun and get back to work. With a full belly and hugs and kisses from my crew member Jenni I was once again back on the trail. This next section was pretty hilly but it went pretty quick. I was excited as I had completed 22 miles and only seen Jenni twice, but now I was going to be able to see her in just 3 more miles at mile 25 and again at mile 28 and then at the finish at mile 31, so my spirits were boosted knowing I would be having a cheerleader every 3 miles.

The time was going by quickly, and when I say that I actually mean it in a bad way. The time was really going by too fast. I realized I had to push myself, so that I wouldn't be cutoff at the mile 25 aid station (which was back at the start). The race course was going to shut down after 9 hours and if you hadn't crossed the finish line by then, you would be considered a DNF (did not finish). If you reached an aid station and at your current pace you wouldn't be able to finish in time they would stop you. I really didn't want to have ran 25 miles and climbed 9,000 vertical feet just to be disqualified. So, I pushed myself, not knowing if I was considered too late to keep going.

I got back to the start and ran a few hundred yards with Jenni to the 25 mile aid station. They waived me on, but said I had just made the cut-off. phew! I could now finally stop and regain my composure and focus on the last 6 miles. This was the last cutoff, now I just had to make it to the finish line before the 9 hour time limit. Jenni walked with me for awhile as I calculated out loud trying to figure out if that was possible. It was, but I was going to have to run faster than the pace I had been keeping thoughout the 1st 25 miles.

I really didn't know if that was going to be possible. I was now entering new territory. I had never ran more than a marathon (26.2 miles) plus I had already climbed over 9,000 vertical feet. I had 6 more miles to run and I was determined to finish in time. I left Jenni waiting in a spot I would circle around to in 3 more miles and pushed forward giving it all mentally and physicaly.

(After the race was over I found out that they extended the qualifing time from 9 hours to 11 hours because of the difficulty of the course. If I would have known that, I could have walked the remaining 6 miles and still had plenty of time. I'm glad I didn't know that. It helped push me forward making sure to used all my energy)

This next 3 miles was the same as the first 3 miles of the course. This I was glad of. I now knew what to expect. I hadn't run any of these trails before my race, mainly because I was injured most of that time. It was nice to now be on familar ground. I knew when and were the hills were and how long they were. I used this to my advantage and started running faster than I had most of the day. I was doing it. I was cutting off time and it looked as if I would finish in under 9 hours.

Jenni decided to hike in the trail a couple hundred yards and she was a nice suprise out there in the middle of the forest when I bumped into her. She refueled me with some water and we walked for awhile and then I took off to finish the last 3 miles. I was excited, knowing that if I could keep this pace up I would finish and finally be considered an ultramarathoner. I was also excited to know that next time I saw Jenni I would be finished and not have to run anymore.

My legs were starting to give up on me, but my spirits were high and that kept me going. I really wasn't cramping anymore and I was finally hydrated well. But my leg muscles were just done. They had worked extra hard with all the cramping.

With about 1-1/2 miles left I knew I was going to finish in time. It was such a great feeling. I just hobbled and shuffled along, knowing that my legs were done. My whole body was screaming at me to stop, but the smile on my face kept me going.

I rounded the final corner and saw Jenni and the finish line. It was such a feeling of accomplishment. I had did it. I was now an ultrarunner. I finished in 8 hours 45 minutes. I had ran more than 31 continual miles on steep, rocky, muddy, rooty, log fallen trails. I had climbed almost 10,000 vertical feet. And I couldn't have done it with out Jenni's support and positive attitude.

I was asked the next day, "So are you ever going to do another race like this?" I answered, "Ask me in a week." And then I just chuckled, knowing that I would say "No" in that moment with all the sore, still muscles, but knowing in a week when my body had recovered that I wouldn't be able to resist the temptation and would answer "YES!"

It's now been a week. To answer the question, "I can't wait! Next up, a 50 miler! shh!! don't tell Jenni" hehehe

Me at the finish line
Video of me crossing the finish line. Can you tell I have been running the last 9 hours. LOL

For those of you who actually read all that? You are officially Ultra-Bloggers!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dancing the Night Away

After a classy dinner at Arby's, last night Will and I and our friends Aaron and Erika went to the Stake's Gold & Green Ball. And I have to say it was probably one of the best church dances we've ever been to.

They really went all out for this. They had a real live big band that played all sorts of old tunes from Moonlight Seranade to Sing, Sing, Sing with a Swing. And the decorations were incredible - they had this chandelier in the middle of the dancefloor that they made out of sparkly twine and white lights. And since the theme was "Night at the Oscars", we got our picture taken by the papperazi on the red carpet on the way in.

It was so much fun - and it was really a blast to dance with Will again. It's so sad how there aren't as many chances to dance together after you get married (beforehand seems like you go to church singles dances every weekend). There is something incredibly magical about dancing - last night as I was looking into Will's eyes I just felt all gooey inside. I'm such a lucky girl!

They also had the Northwest Ballroom Company come and do a 30 min floorshow for us. Oh my goodness, after watching them I never wanted to be a dancer so badly in my life as I did last night.
This was us at the end of the dance - we look pretty tired huh. LOL

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Music set to Motion Picture

For those of you who might be unfamiliar with , it's a website dedicated to exposing pianists of new age and contemporary genres in conjunction with providing music available to the students involved with the Swan Lake Moving Image and Music Awards.

Three of my songs were selected by film students this year to make short films for the SLMIM awards: "Release", "Fly Away", and "The Tempest".

You can watch the videos by clicking here

Winners will be announced in late October. I think the film students did a really great job timing their work to the beats and accents in the music. "Release" filmed by Alexander Lorenz (in the Digital Film Category) and "The Tempest" (in the Animation Category) filmed by Tobias Kolodziey both made it as finalists in the competition.

P.S. You have to watch these films keeping in mind that these students were trying to acheive a couple of things - 1) putting into practice techniques learned in their classes for their categories (digital, animation, etc.), 2) the use of light (being hard to capture accurately on film), and 3) sincing to music.

Monday, October 8, 2007

FYI on who's who

Sometimes our blog is a little confusing because both Will and I post, and sometimes people are confused who is writing them. Just FYI - we changed our settings so that when Will posts, at the end it will say "Posted by Will Thomas", or when I blog it will say "Posted by Jenni Thomas".

However most previous blogs will say "Posted by Jenni Thomas" just because these new settings only effect recent and future postings. Sorry for not being better at saying who is who!

Anyway - just FYI!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Getting ready for my 1st ultramarathon. mood - nervous, but anxious

At the beginning of summer I made a goal to make more time for trail running; a favorite past time of mine. I realized that last summer was the first summer that I hadn't competed in a race and it had almost been two years since my last official race and 3 years since my last marathon.

So I started training by jogging a local trail during my lunch break. After about two months of this I started to get excited and found my race - The North Face Endurance Accelerade 50km (31+ miles) trail race here in the foothills of the Cascades. This race would be the longest solo (non-relay) race I have attempted. It would be my first attempt at an ultramarathon (anything longer than a 26.2 mile marathon).

This race takes place on hiking trails and I will be climbing almost 10,000 feet in elevation during the race as I run up and down 3 different mountains. Unlike a marathon with no elevation change and 10,000 runners all being cheered by crowds along the way, this race will be me and about 25-50 other runners with a water cooler placed every 5-10 miles to stop and get a drink and no crowds to cheer you on.

These two hills are the northern tip of the course

So, the day I found this race and decided this would be my big race of the year, it wasn't more than 4 hours later that I was playing church basketball and sprained my ankle really bad. After a week or two I tried to play basketball again and ending up spraining my other ankle. Once they both started to heal I strapped on my ankle braces and went for a jog only to injure the arch of my foot (running with ankle braces really did a number on my arches) and worst of all I tore a muscle/tendon in my lower leg.

This is a picture of my feet with all my injuries

I tried to keep running but was just getting worse off, so I promised Jenni that I wouldn't run again until my race to let everything heal. So, I've had the past month and half off, now I feel fat and and out of shape but at least I'm pretty sure all my injuries have healed up. LOL

So on Saturday I hope to be able to say I'm an official ultramarathoner. Wish me luck!

Back again so soon?

Well, apparently I spoke too soon on that last blog. I have a wonderful husband, who promised me internet connection today (we finally got our wireless router in the mail yesterday). And due to the fact that we both fell asleep at 8pm last night, Will decided to get up at 5am this morning to get our computer out of the box, get it all set up, and hook up the internet for me so I wouldn't have to drive 30 minutes into town to find the library to check my email. NOT that I minded! But...well, all I have to say is that it is nice to have internet at home again. And Will is going to get lots of hugs and kisses tonight when he gets home for doing that for me.

So, contrary to what I said in our last blog, it won't be as late as next week before you hear from us again. lol.

The past week has been quite interesting. I went from working a full time 40+ hours a week job, to being a stay-at-home housewife/fulltime musician. I have to say...I'm still grasping it.

My first day at home alone was Monday. I got up and finished organizing our bedroom, put some boxes away (because we do have a housefull of them lying around right now). And then I stood there and thought, "Now what?". I was hungry, so I went to the kitchen and made myself a sandwich. Not a microwavable Lean Cuisine or a quick bagel, but an actual sandwich - which took me about a whole 5 minutes to make I might add. Usually with my recently x'd-job, if I was hungry I would have to run home and grab something that I could take back with me, hurry and stuff it in my face and grab some gum to cover up my lunch breath before meeting with more people.

So after my sandwich, I thought "I'll go into town and do some errands."

I showered and left. Then I realized I didn't have a clue where I was going. Our new home is out in the sticks practically, and there are two towns nearby. Obviously I miscalculated which was the one I thought was the closest. Good thing I had some good CDs to listen to in the car, and particularly enjoyed looking at all of the fall leaves falling from the trees, the tractors and trucks passing me by.

Tractors and trucks? Farms? Trees? Yeah, well then I got all inspired to turn the radio over to the country station. For those of you that know me well, I'm not exactly a country music conoisseure. It's not that I don't like country, I just never listen to it. But after going to a country music concert a few weekends ago (thanks Chris and Jennifer) at the fair, and then listening to it on the radio as I was driving into town, I totally felt like a true country girl. LOL.

I went to the craft store, which I hadn't been to last October of 2006. Then I went to the grocery store, thinking I should probably pick up some groceries - but have you ever gone to the store not knowing what to get so you come home with a bunch of nothing? That was my experience. Oh and then I had to go to the post office to mail a few CD orders, and didn't know where that was. But I could have sworn I saw a small independently owned mail-it center on the way into town, so I thought I would just stop there on the way back home. But then someone called me, I got totally distracted, even missed my turn to go home and ended way out in another town on the OTHER side the opposite direction of where I was supposed to be going.

Man I was a total mess~!

Will came home that evening and said "You're acting like someone who just quit their fulltime job and you have no idea what to do now." LOL

I've been so excited to be at home now and to have the time to work on my music projects, and to finally be a better housewife. Okay I am not old-fashioned at all and neither is Will, but I think there is something special about coming home to dinner cooking in the oven and a clean welcoming house. So as part of my newfound way of life, it is one of my goals to be able to do that for Will. Today is Thursday and so far I'm 3 for 4. That is pretty far, right? Hehe.

My problem now though is that my piano desperately needs tuning. Like BAD! I can't even stand to play any of the notes on the lower register because any sort of octives make it sound like a honky-tonk bar piano. (pianos go out of tune when you move them). But I have to wait 3 weeks before having it tuned, as the piano continues to adjust to its new environment and the strings settle.

So, so far, my fulltime musican plan has kind of not started yet. LOL AND so instead I would think "Yay! I have plenty of time to work out!" And yeah...that hasn't happened either. I actually cancelled my gym membership once we decided to move out to the sticks because I thought "Yessss! I will have plenty of roads to walk on and I won't have to worry about getting jumped by any gangsta punks!" LOL (Seriously, I was afraid of that where we moved from).

But as of today, it's now our 5th day that we've lived at our new place. Monday I attempted to use our staircase and climb stairs for 30 minutes. That lasted about 5 minutes and it started to rain. And it's been raining every single day since. Today I got so excited because the sun started to peek out, but as I opened the front door - I realized it was one of those NW tricks: the sun is shining and it's raining at the SAME TIME. So my walking shoes are still sitting next to the front door, waiting for their debut on outdoor pavement. lol.

So in a nutshell: It's been kind of weird not working, but in a good way. We love our new home, but it's still a mess. We will invite you local friends over when it's finally organized and I'll make a big pot of simmering wassail (thanks to Dalynn for making me crave it now, after she asked for the recipe). Living out in the country is fun, but it's a good idea to make sure and fill up your gas tank BEFORE it gets to E.

I am SOOO rambling!

Will says hi, by the way.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

We'll be nonexistent for another few days

Hey Everyone,

We just wanted to let you know that our move was successful last weekend - but we still don't have our computer set up or internet access at our new place. (I'm at the library right now). So thanks for your patience with us - sorry to anyone who has emailed and I haven't responded - I only have a limited time on these library computers, and I'm only checking once a day. Next week I'll blog and fill you all in on how our move was, how life is, etc.

Will is running an ultra-marathon this weekend, which is 30 miles. Wish him luck! He's been babying a calf injury for the last month, and it's finally healed anough where he can run this race. I think he is crazy for running 30 miles, but he loves these races. =)