Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oh that? That's just my survival shuffle.

My last companion in the mission field was a cross country runner for USU.  She helped me drop about 15lbs before heading home. (I could have used to drop about 15 more, but hey, at least it was an improvement).  I loved Hermana Johnson for more than just her ability to inspire me to run.  She was one of the most pure hearted people I have ever met.  She was stubborn as a mule but not afraid to admit when she was wrong.  She was awesome.

The thing that I found so amazing about her is that she LOVED to run.  For her birthday, we got up a half hour earlier than normal so that we could go on this mega long run and tackle this hill (that was most definitely out of our area...) and so that she could just get out there and stretch her legs.  We ran hard and fast and when we got to the huge hill, I was about to die.

This is us on our run.  Look how chubby I was...yuck!

This is when she taught me about the survival shuffle.

It is basically just moving your legs like you are running even though you are going slower than a running pace.  It allows you to rest, but to not let yourself give up and walk.  I love the survival shuffle.

I am a mere two days away from my first solo half marathon.  The only other time I ran a half marathon, I ran with my dad who helped me to finish without stopping.  This new race is going to be really different because I will be by myself.  I have a great ability of talking myself out of things I really want when I am tired or feel like it is too hard.  I am so very worried about this in the race on Saturday because I REALLY want to finish this half by myself and be able to say that I did just as well as when I ran with my dad.  I am more scared then I ever remember being about anything, but I am trying to look forward to the race regardless of my fear.

I was looking up things online about different running techniques during long races and I came across a phrase that has stuck with me this week.  The advice for the runner was simple: Think that you can.

President Faust gave a talk back in 2002 in priesthood session called I Believe I can, I knew I Could.  While most of it applies to the use of the priesthood, there were a few things that stood out to me.  First he said, 'At times all of us are called upon to stretch ourselves and do more than we think we can.'  This experience is not unique to me, nor to this time.  ALL of us at times are going to be asked to do something that is seemingly impossible, but will help us prove what we are made of. (I know I wasn't really called upon to run this race, but bare with me.)

President Faust went on to say the following:'The Lord entrusts all of His servants...with spiritual talents.  The Lord, who endows us with these talents, tells us: 'I believe you can. I believe you can.'

So if you happen to be in the crowd on Saturday, and you see me running by, don't be surprised if you see my lips moving and hear the words 'I think I can.'

And don't be scared if I look like death...thats just part of the survival shuffle.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Nintendo and the Easter Bunny

Yesterday was my good buddy Rob's birthday and for his birthday, we celebrated the day before with a surprise party including but not limited to a little Rockband.  Rockband may very well be the only video game that I can even semi play...and if you saw me play drums you might just beg to differ.

Over the years I have thought a lot about why it is that I stink so badly at video games, and I realized the other day that the person at fault is...The Easter Bunny.  

The Christmas I turned ten or eleven, my older brother got a Nintendo gaming system.  We were all really excited about it.  Strategically Santa had left my older sister a Game Genie or something like that.  It was a universal cheat...not that we really needed it since the only games we had were Duck Hunt, Super Mario Brothers, Mike Tyson Knock Out and some game that had to do with fighting Ninjas.  Regardless, we were in kid heaven.  Christmas break was spent playing the Nintendo.  I wasn't any good of course so level 1-2 of Mario Brothers was about as far as I got, but my older siblings plowed through like they had been playing for years. And in all actuality they probably were since they were old enough to have friends who also had Nintendos.  We were a bit behind on the video gamer trend. I would watch my older brother for hours as he got past level after level and got closer to eventually beating King Kupa.  My parents I am sure were just grateful to get us all to keep quiet for long periods of time.  Having five kids may not seem like that big of a deal if you come from a big family, but we were a very energetic group.  I'm sure at times it felt to my parents as if they had 15.

The one thing my parents probably did not expect was my little brother, who was three or four at the time, to also love playing Nintendo.  He of course couldn't play very least I think he was, but he would often fall asleep playing the game.  A few times my parents even caught him, in the middle of the night, curled up in a ball on our play room floor with the remote control in his hand and the Super Mario Brothers theme playing on repeat.  This was a bit disconcerting to my parents who forsaw a life of couchpotatoe-ness and were afraid to raise a nerdy child.  So they did what any parent would do.  They came up with a deceiving plan that would make sure the Nintendo was gone without having to look like mean parents.

Easter is an exciting time of year for little kids.  Besides Christmas, it is the most exciting holiday as you wake up and go on killer scavenger hunts looking for baskets and hidden eggs. (Hopefully your parents will remember where all the eggs are hidden so that  you do not have to go through what we went through one year, finding an egg, very well hidden by my dad, a few WEEKS after Easter. :)  We woke that Easter morning anticipating the hunt for eggs, candy and our individual baskets.  Imagine my little brother's surprise, when his basket was hidden in plain sight, right where the Nintendo had been placed just the evening before.  Imagine his further astonishment when there was a note attached to his basket from the Easter Bunny.  I do not remember the specifics of the note, but in essence it said that the Easter Bunny had left Jaden's basket in exchange for the Nintendo.  I remember him saying distinctly, 'He stole it?!?' to which my parents just nodded their heads and said yes.

For months after that, if anything we liked went missing, we would simply state that the Easter Bunny had taken it.  It was as if he transformed from a happy little rabbit spreading cheer and candy to a dirty thief.  He was the most hated of all of the holiday representatives.  Years later as I was rummaging through old things as we packed up our house to move I found our old Nintendo.  I had long since realized that it was my parents, and not the Easter Bunny, who had taken it, but I had not known its true fate.  I learned that my older siblings were actually in on the deal and were allowed to know its whereabouts and when the younger siblings were asleep or gone, they were allowed to get it out and play.

I laugh at how creative my parents are and were back then.  I wonder how many other things like this were done to keep my parents sane and to help us kids be better...and less annoying.  

I wonder what happened to my old recorder?

I bet the Easter Bunny took it. :)