A couple of weekends ago, Jason and I capitalized on NomiAnn's free babysitting and ran a 5K with St. George's BYU Alumni Chapter. While driving to the race, Jason mused, "I wonder if I should run fast and win it or if I should just run with you..."
Never one to hold my honey back, I let him know that he was free to run untethered by my short legs and asthmatic lungs. (How am I doing with the guilt trip?) Even though we missed the start of the race by a full fifteen seconds thanks to a last minute potty run, Jason easily caught up with the leaders and left them in the dust, finishing the race in 21 minutes, a full two or three minutes before anyone else.
And to salvage my own reputation, I dragged my booty across the finish line before the rest of the other boys and most of the other girls, securing third place and a nifty prize with my 24:45 finish. What can I say? It was an extremely small race.
Invigorated by our victories, we signed up for the Butch Cassidy 10K the following weekend. This local race begins in Springdale, just outside of Zion National Park, and ends in the tiny ghost town of Grafton. Not wanting to leave our kids out of the fun, we borrowed a double jogger and lifted weights to prepare our arms for pushing fifty extra pounds of children a piece. Challenging as it was, we were prepared for the steep, uphill sections of course, just as we were prepared for the gravel road at the end. What we were NOT prepared for, however, was SNOW!!! Blizzarding snow! Gee-gosh-wish-I'd-brought-my-ski-goggles-'cause-this-is-really-stinging-my-face-and-I-can't-see kind of snow! The first few flurries started falling at mile 1 and kept on coming right until the very end. All bundled in blankets, my charge Brookln handled the unexpected weather with grace. Eli, on the other hand, apparently howled for the last three miles--not that I actually heard him. Even with two extra kids and a rickety jogger, Jason is still ridiculously quick.
Needless to say, this was not the race we expected. But hey, it certainly was memorable! While the post-race party might have been more exciting were we not all frozen, we were grateful to have pushed through to the finish.
(Note: The rest of these pictures were taken later in the day when the weather was gorgeous, so don't let the sunshine deceive you--we froze!)
It was also fun to explore the quaint, deserted town of Grafton.
But perhaps most significantly, Jason and I learned a valuable lesson as we pressed onward, concerned about our children. Through the wet and cold, we both contemplated the pioneers crossing through these same passes without the luxury of a heated shuttle waiting at the end to take them home.
On our way out, we passed Grafton's beautiful old cemetery nestled in the rocks.
The emotional closeness I felt to the pioneers intensified when I noticed the names of three little Andrus (my maiden name) babies who were buried in this very place.
Thankfully, by this point our little ones were all warm, well-fed, and very happy.
And so, we continued our journey on to Zion National Park on a gorgeous fall day that was obviously worth photographing.
Instead of sticking to the popular paths, we let the kids guide us into less explored territory on the East side. They loved the freedom of trailblazing their own way through the wash, and were thrilled to discover autumn all around them.
Crisp, crunchy leaves with a fresh snap in the air--ahh, the joys of November!
Jason's journey was a bit more pungent, courtesy of Eli's diaper. Needless to say, we cut our hike a bit short.
First, however, the girls discovered a boulder so round they are convinced that it must actually be a petrified dinosaur egg. (And hey, considering all the dinosaur farms in the area, anything's possible...)
You know, we nearly pulled out of the 10K after looking at the foreboding weather forecast. (It predicted rain, not snow, by the way.) In retrospect, I'm so glad that we hung in there for the full experience--the decadent afternoon was made so much brighter by the dreary morning. Hard as it can be, I hope we can all embrace life in its fullest--no matter what the weather at the moment.