Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve 5k

I wanted to have one last "huu rah" run of the year, but we all know that it is not much fun to run by yourself. I decided to create an event on Facebook, and invite a few friends and see who was willing to be my running buddy. I honestly thought that only about 5 or 6 people would show up. To my wonderful amazement, there were 17 of us on Saturday morning.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I was thinking, "What did I do? I just want to crawl back in bed. I do not want to run today." But I had already made the event and had a few people planning on attending, which made me more accountable.

My daughter Jacque was the official photographer of the event. She made this video! (I can't figure out how to post a video here, so you'll just have to click on the link.) I decided that I would set up a water station at the half way mark, just in case someone needed a drink. I cut what oranges I had at the house and took my last 4 bananas with me to share with my running buddies after the run.

The route I picked was an easy one. 3.1-ish miles. A straight road, first 1.5 miles was a gentle up climb, and then the turn around point where I put the water station. The final 1.5 miles was the best....gradual downhill. Jacque took photos of all when they crossed the "finish line." When I arrived at the half way point, where the water station was, everyone was just gathered around, chatting and laughing. This was nice as we had a chance to get to know one another. There were people that came that I knew, that I kind of knew, and people that I just met.

I felt really good on this run. Maybe the Race RX Cardio is working??? I consumed a Chocolate Raspberry GU, it was ROCTANE. May be my new favorite flavor. Today was AWESOME! I'm so glad that I did this and that so many "buddies" showed up to run. My legs felt good and strong. My breathing was in control. My yin was aligned with my yang. And I was able to share the day with lots of friends.

After our run, Krista, Jacque, Josie, Ashlee, and myself went to Noodles & Co. for lunch! Love Noodles. I had my usual, Penne Rosa with a small salad. Happy New Years everyone. Looking forward to a great 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

I am no longer a Rookie.

When I run into friends, I'm always asked, "So what have you been up to?" My reply is usually the same. I mumble something about where I work and what my daughters and husband have been doing. In my mindset, I think that if I tell about some of my successes, I will seem like I am bragging. But you know what? I think I am short changing myself. Looking back at 2011, I have come a long way.

I have logged over 500 miles.
I had many FIRSTS! An 8k, 10k, 15k, and conquered my first half marathon.
I ran my second half marathon 1.5 months after my first, and got a personal best.
Got to ride and power the "flinstone-mobile."
Ran a personal best 5k.
Found my favorite flavor of GU, Espresso Love. (mmmmm mmmmm)
Started strength training at Race RX.
Met new friends and re-connected with old ones through running.
I placed 3rd in my age group in the TOU 5k.
Actually wore out my running shoes.
Started running with a running belt!
Ran a 5k where I didn't know a single person, in a town I was visiting, and loved it!
Oh, can you say GARMIN.
Ran with 500 other Santa's.
And counting tomorrow, participated and finished 19 running events.

Oh, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Secret Runner Exchange

This year I stumbled on a blog site that was going to do a secret runner gift exchange for Christmas.( I have participated in these types of exchanges in the past, and really enjoyed it, meeting new people. I received my gift today, from Courtney, She goes by Courtney@Nerd on the Run. I was so excited to open this gift. I look forward to trying new flavors of GU, and other things. I love the perfume. It's called "Step into Sexy." I figured this was appropriate, "step", as we are both runners.

I received a thank you email from her that was very thoughtful. I just wanted to share a little bit of that: "....and hope we can continue to motivate each other. I have been struggling to get back into running consistently, but reading stories from inspiring women like you is helpful to get my laces tied and my body out the door."

On a side note, I am going to use the Race RX Cardio program for my training for the upcoming Canyonlands Half Marathon that will be on March 17th, 2012. It is based on heart rate intervals. October of this year, I did a cardio test, and received a scheduled printout. Didn't really do much with it until last Saturday. I have done the first 5 workouts, and then was re-tested tonight. To my surprise, I am on level 5 now. The schedule that I had was a level 3. It's been amazing to see little results using the different Race RX programs.

The 10K race is a metaphor for living a good life. No matter what you do in life, don't just be a spectator, be a player. Anyone can watch from the sidelines, but few participate in the race. Choose to become the hero that you want to be.

Mark G. Collis, Becoming Your Own Hero

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Upcoming Races

JoAnna talked me into putting my name into a "lottery" for Canyonlands Half Marathon in Moab. I wasn't going to do it. In fact, the deadline ended, but then the next day I found out that it had been extended due to a website malfunction. I thought, "It must be fate." What are the odds that we would get in, right??? Well, guess who will be running a half marathon on March 17th in Moab? You got it, me and my gang...JoAnna, her son, Mindy, and myself.

This has lit a little fire under my feet, and got me out of my comfort zone into the "training zone."

2012 races I am registered for: (so far)
March 17th, Canyonlands Half

Pink 5k in Pleasant Grove

May 12th ,
Red Rock Relay in Moab, and then the following week, the 19th, the Ogden HALF. I know, scheduling of this didn't really make sense, but what the heck. This should keep me rockin and rollin for the first part of 2012.

October, Pink Half Marathon in Park City

Not sure if I am going to run the TOU half in 2012. Also, I would love to do the Provo Halloween Half again, this was so FUN!!! But it will be a couple of weeks after the PINK and not sure about that yet.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Reindeer Run 8k

Today I ran my first 8k, and of course, I got a PR! It was really cold this morning. When I left my house it was 11 degrees. I decided to stitch my antlers to my headband, so they wouldn't fall off. Bells were a must for my shoes. I was surprised that I was the only runner with bells on. MMHuh?

Santa started our race with a gun start, and we reindeer were off and running. The first mile is always my hardest. Today was no exception. It was bitter cold. My nose, cheeks, finger tips and lips were so cold. I wore gloves and tried to curl my fingers into the palm of my hands to conserve heat. I started out running with JoAnna, and she said that my bells were driving her nuts, so I told her that she better kick it up a notch......and she did.

About 2.5 miles and my extremities started feeling better. This is where I caught up with Lisa and Chris. Chris said, "I hear you coming." The three of us played leap frog with each other for the duration of the race. It was fun to have those two there to push me along, as I was not feeling fast today.

The course made its way through Providence and River Heights. Flat, up hill, and my all time favorite...DOWN HILL. It was nice to have hot chocolate at the finish line.

After our run, about 8 of us met at Pier 49 for lunch. Me, Marian, Lisa, Chris, Mindy, Jared, JoAnna, and Jennilyn. Heather came after she got all the race stuff put away. It was fun to mingle with old running friends, and meeting new ones as well. Lisa made the statement that this was her last race of 2011. I had never thought of it like that. Kind of makes me sad to think of it that way.

My time was 48.07 for an 8k. I thought an 8k was 5 miles, but my trusty GARMIN said 4.58. I have not really "ran" for a while. Kind of fizzled out after my half marathon in October. It's funny how even though I am still exercising, Race RX 3 x a week, that I have lost so much of my speed. Interesting. I guess it's true when they say "use it or lose it."

The Reindeer Run was sponsored by my favorite running store, Runners North. They did an awesome job putting this race together. Started on time. Nice refreshments at the end. Race route was marked well. Route itself was just challenging enough to make it fun. Long sleeve red t-shirts, and a set of antlers to each runner.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Santa's Comin...

Just found this picture today. Proof that Angie and I are comin to town!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

1st Snow Run of the Year

Not a good run. Not a bad run. Just a run. I decided to go to Hyrum to run my favorite road, down main street. I have had a hard time running lately. My legs have felt like bricks, and my mental state has been questioning my endurance and ability. Not sure what is going on. Too much training, not enough training, winter blues, burnout, no energy, lack of sleep...I know that my eating habits have not been as good as they should be......could be anything.

It was a little chilly this morning, as we were blessed to be blanketed by a carpet of snow. My run today was about 4 miles. It was nice to be outside. Good to see the sunshine.

The draw back of running on a cold morning...when cars would pass me, their exhaust would linger a long time in the air. Did not appreciate that today. The sidewalks had not been cleared, so I chose to run on the road. They were just wet, so it wasn't too bad. When I moved to the sidewalk, I just did fast walking, as it was slick.

Did not push it today, just out and about for 47 minutes.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Santa Run

Last minute, (1 week before the race), I made the decision to participate in the Santa Run. My friend Angie wanted to do this, so I signed up to be her Santa buddy. Our daughters, Jacque and Tia, also signed up to be the elf helpers. On Wednesday we drove to Ogden to pick up our Santa suits and the girls elf shirts and elf hats. Jacque and Tia decided to bling-bling their shirts. Our Santa suits were a little snug. Angie ended up getting some pj pants to run in, and I took her Santa pants.

Super duper last minute, (Thanksgiving night), I talked Krista into doing this race with us. We picked up Krista's Santa suite about 30 minutes before the event.

Jacque and Tia's volunteer assignment was to be at the finish line. They were typing in bib numbers as runners crossed the finish line. Jacque got so cold at the finish line. Her toes were like ice cubes!

At 4:15 Angie and I headed over to the starting area. I am guessing there were about 500 people dressed like Santa. We knew that our friends Heather and Jason were going to be there. We both were trying to focus on faces, looking for these two. For some strange reason, I found them.
We got our picture taken with them. They are in our Race RX class.

An announcement came that we needed to head to 22nd and Washington, for the official starting area. While we were waiting for the start, a Santa came over to me. It was Stephanie. A girl that I have met on facebook, that is in my running group.
I was so surprised that she was able to find me, let alone recognize me amongst all those Santa's. I guess she got lucky, just as I did when I found Heather. It was time for the Santa warm up; ho ho ho jumping jacks, then boots, tummy, beard and hat. The course was on Washington Blvd, from 22nd street to 26th street. Back and forth, back and forth. There were two milk and cookie stations along the way. People were lined up on the sidewalk, cheering us on. Washington Blvd. was closed, so there were Santas running in all directions. If you wanted to cut it short, you could, just needed to not cross the finish line.

3-2-1, and the Santa's are off.
Krista ended up having a wardrobe malfunction (her Santa pants were not cooperating). She had to hold her pants up the entire route. She cut her route a little short. Angie and I continued along the path. Grapevining or running backwards along the way. Just having a jingle ole time.

There was a Christmas Lighted Parade immediately following the run. Jacque was so cold though, we went to the car, and just sat in the car with the heater on until she got warmed up. We ate at Maddox on our way home.

Would I do this run again? Yes. I would plan a little better though. I would take some chairs and set up along the route so that we would have a spot to watch the parade. Jacque would dress warmer. I would also take a thermos of hot chocolate to warm us up. It really was fun watching all the Santa's run this way and that. Ho Ho Ho.....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gobble Gobble

Today I was lucky enough to share a special moment with one of my running friends, Marian.
It was her 50th race..
Justin Pope organized a Gobbler Games 5k in Nibley. There were about 80ish people who showed up. More than I thought. It was fun to see so many families out on Thanksgiving morning.

After the race, I came home and got ready to head to my parents for dinner. What a wonderful feast I was treated to! I was so hungry too, after running in the morning. I enjoy spending time with my parents. Jacque told me the other day that one of her friends asked her where she was going for Thanksgiving, and her reply was out to my Grandma and Grandpa's. The friend then pulled a face, and said, 'I hate going to my grandparents house.' Jacque in turn replied to her, 'I love going to my grandma and grandpa's!"

As I was running this morning,
I reflected on the many things that I am thankful for. Here are just a few of my thoughts:

My family: a Mom and Dad who are the best, and I love them dearly with all my heart.
My children: 2 of the most beautiful girls in the world.
My sisters: who are 2 of my bestest friends.
My spouse: who loves and supports me and the girls unconditionally.
My friends: who I share my successes and failures with.
My pets: who love me whether I am happy or sad.
My health: which enables me to do the things that I never thought I could do.
My country: where I am able to choose freely the things I want to pursue in life.
My faith: which I rely on daily to get me through life's battles.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dash for Dallin 5k

Girls are swimming the Thanksgiving Invitational at the Davis Rec Center Friday and Saturday, so I decided to spend the night. Super decision, as last night we got hit with a killer snowstorm!

I really wanted to run a Turkey Trot somewhere, so I looked in the Bountiful area, and found a local 5k. Dash for Dallin. I signed up to run this on Saturday morning.

After the swim meet Friday got over, I went and had dinner with the MC Swim Team. As they were gathering everyone on the bus, I decided that I would just head to the hotel. I was staying at the same hotel as the team. I debated on whether or not to follow the bus to the hotel, as I did not know where it was, but decided to just go find it on my own. Big MISTAKE. I had typed in the address on mapquest, so I figured no problem. After 10 minutes or so, and ending up in SLC, I realized that I had typed the address in WRONG!! Where is my loo hoo when I need her. (She is my navigator when I drive.) I can't believe I did that. The freeway was a mess, and I could barely see the lines of the road! I figured out where the hotel was and now I had to backtrack to the Woodscross area. I didn't want to go back on the freeway, so I opted to stay on State Street for as long as I could. Finally at 9:30 I made it to the hotel!! I was so wound up that I had a hard time getting to sleep, even though I had an incredible room with a really comfy bed and heavenly pillows. I set my alarm for 6:45 am, and figured I would make the decision if I race in the morning.

7:00 a.m. decision made:
I will run the Dash for Dallin 5k in Kaysville. The weather was nice and sunny. I thought it would be colder than it was. I wore my under armor tights with my running skirt, my heat gear long sleeve top with a t-shirt over that, a Brooke's neon jacket, gloves, and my ear warmers. My upper body actually got hot. The race started at the Davis High School. When I arrived at the starting area I walked into the school to stay warm until the start time. I talked to a couple of people at the start line. Even though I did not know anyone, everyone seemed so friendly. I've noticed that at many races. The course was pretty hilly! First half was all up hill, zig zagging back and forth. Then the downhill began! Yeah! Love the law of gravity.

I learned that Dallin is a teenager who was diagnosed with cancer in July. He was at the starting area, looked about 16. Really cute young man. When the Dr.'s went in to remove the tumor, they noticed it had grown. His best chance was to amputate his leg. This was a fundraiser that I just happened to find on the internet. There were about 150 to 200 people who came out this morning. A mother's group was matching donations up to $1,500.00; the t shirt company donated all shirts; and the food was donated by Smiths. Sounds like the community is really supporting this family. I wonder why certain people, especially children get cancer. It is not fair. I spoke with Dallin's aunt and introduced myself, as we had been corresponding via email. Like I said, I did not know a single soul at this event, and yet I never felt out of place either. Hmm? Interesting.

Warning...sappy moment. When Dallin's aunt was introducing Dallin and was saying to him and the crowd, "When you have your dark days remember all these people who are hear today who love you, and support you." I started getting all choked up and teary eyed! Families, children, toddlers, babies in strollers, teenagers, adults of all ages, sizes, and abilities, and of course even dogs came out to support this local young man.

I tried to take a photo of me while I was running. Is this what I really look like??
I'm sorry morning runners. I didn't realize I look this bad! Oh, and the neon jacket does not photograph well. I look completely off balance, like I am in a dream. Note to self..wear some makeup in the morning!! My time today 30 minutes. I am grateful that I can run.

I realize that I have been blessed with health and strength to overcome not only the miles on the road, but also to overcome the hard times in life when you want to throw in the towel. When I cross the line now, it is a celebration of the fact that I didn't quit.

Tasya Lacy, U.S. Navy Human Resources Officer

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Scaling Back

Even though I am just a novice runner, these past couple of weeks of cutting back have felt good. I still am doing my Race RX class 3 times a week. I was kind of getting a mental burn out from running, but now I feel rejuvenated, and am looking forward to my upcoming run this Saturday.

Yesterday I got my Runners World magazine in the mail. So excited. I really enjoy reading this magazine. One of the articles talks about how taking a break is both physically ans mentally good for you. Cutting your miles to zero and do light cross training gives your body time to repair tiny muscle tears and restock levels of hormones and enzymes that facilitate muscle regeneration. (page 31) Another point that was brought up in the article says that the number of days you should back off after a race is equal to the number of miles you ran...half-marathoners should take it easy for 13 days. That makes sense.

**From the outside looking in, you can't understand it. From the inside looking out, you can't explain it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

First run after Half

Monday the 7th, I was able to do 10 miles on the exercise bike, then Race RX that night. Wednesday was Race RX. We did lunges up the ying yang, and my glutes and hamstrings are sore to the touch. In fact, the last set of lunges that I did, my legs were quivering.
Thursday morning I did not have to go to work until 11, so I took advantage of the extra time and did a 3 mile run in that morning. It was cold. About 25ish degrees. Although it was really sunny, I never did get warm. This was my first real run since the Halloween Half on October 29th. Did not really push it, 3 miles in 34 minutes. I ran the 1st mile, then just walk/run the other 2.

Someone asked me today if I thought that I would ever run a full marathon. Certainly something to think about. When I ran a 5k, I thought maybe I could do a 10k. When I ran a 10k, I thought a 15k would be a challenge. When I completed a 15k, I knew that I could complete a half marathon. Now that I have 2 half marathons under my belt, ........

Proud of those who are running the Javaline Jundred in AZ this weekend. 100 mile Ultra.

I run for_________________. Still working on that one.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Testing Results

Thursday I went in to Race RX to complete my final testing for the MC squared exercise program. I was very surprised by the results. I was part of the testing group for 2 months. When I first started I could only do 16 push ups in one minute and 11 sit ups in one minute. Now, 32 push ups and 22 sit ups! Major improvement. My grip strength went from a 50 to a 70. My body fat percentage went from 20% to 18%. When I was asked to do some squats while holding a bar above my head with my arms straight, I had to lift my heels. Now I can do it w/o lifting my heels. And for some strange reason I lost 3 pounds!! Interesting Results!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sore legs

Four days post-half marathon and my legs are still feeling it. Went to my Race RX class tonight. I ended up wrapping my left quad with an ace bandage. To my surprise exercising and stretching sure felt good. Well......except for the side lunges on the rip 60 cable bands. It was not a good feeling.

Ahh, my left knee finally popped! Been waiting for that.

I enjoy the freedom and positive energy I get when I run. I'd like to stay healthy enough so that I'll be one of those old ladies who is still out there running, like our local Julia Barrett!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Half Marathon

Today I ran my 2nd half marathon....the Halloween Half in Provo. I met up with a friend from high school, Mendy, and ran with her group. We were the Flinstones. I was Betty. The course was very scenic. Loved running past Bridal Falls. I met lots of new friends today.

I met a man named Bart.
His father pushes him through lots of marathons, half's, 5k's and 10k's. I felt very blessed to have met him and his dad.

My friend Mindy and I arrived in Provo about 6:30 pm, and went straight to the University Mall for our packet pickup. I visited with some of the other runners in line. Met a guy from Brigham City, and his first half was the Smithfield Not your Mamma's half! We talked about that, and how it was uphill and a hard course. When I finally got to the area to pick up my stuff and guess who I ran into???? TIMMY!!! The MC swim coach's son. It was so fun to see him, as he graduated last year and is going to BYU right now.
Timmy and his sister Nikki were running this race also.

After packet pick up, we were both starving, so we headed to Noodles & Co. for dinner. I love Noodles! I had the Tomato Penne Rosa with Parmesan Crusted Chicken. mmmmmmm. While we were eating, I received a phone call from Mendy. They were just pulling into town and headed to pick up their packets. We met up with her and her group after we finished eating. It was fun to meet new friends, and to see Mendy again. I haven't seen her for 20 years! She had bought a "lot" of Flinstone costumes, so we went through them and found 2 that Mindy and I could use.

Mindy and I finally got back to our hotel around 10:30. By the time that we got all of our running stuff situated for in the morning and turned out the lights, it was 11:58!! Our alarm was going to go off at 4:30 am, as we were going to meet up with everyone at 5:15 to get on the bus.

Our bus was a really nice one. Not a school bus. It was like a really nice greyhound bus. We were on the 3rd bus, and we started to head up to Sundance at 5:24 am.
So far, so good. I tried to rest on the bus, as I didn't sleep very good, if at all. I took some yogurt and homemade granola to eat for breakfast up at the starting area. I looked out the window every now and then. One of the times I looked out we were passing a resort/hotel area. I figured this was Sundance. Our bus kept going. We were on a very narrow, one lane width, windy road. The tree branches were scraping the bus. I kind of looked out the side windows and the front of the bus, and I see another bus coming down the road. "MMM, are we going to back down this road?" I am thinking.
The bus comes to a stop, and bus driver 1,2, and 3 get out for a "conference." He comes back in and we all get off the bus, and start walking down this really dark road. No moon. No stars. No light to help us see where the crap we are going. We get to the "resort" looking place and wander up a grass hill, and low and behold............there is the "tent." Was nice to finally arrive at the starting tent. There were heaters inside, which was really nice. I had brought a plastic bag to sit on, and a fleece blanket with me. Glad I did, as the ground was cold, so I sat on the blanket. I ate my breakfast about this time.

As more and more runners arrive the atmosphere in the tent was really positive.

There was a costume contest. Two categories, individual and group.
Our group took 4th place. The winning group was dressed up as minions from "Despicable Me." They were really funny looking. They took a well deserved 1st place! After the costume contest, it was about time for the first wave of runners to start, so the tent cleared out. It was this time that I was feeling cold. I am sure with all the bodies in that area it was keeping me warm. We had 20 minutes before our start time, so I started eating my protein bar, drank a little bit of a cocacola, and headed to the honey buckets for my last pit stop.

As I said, there were starting waves of runners. One group for those who planned to finish before 2.10 and the other group. Obviously, I was in the 2nd wave.
My goal was to be better than 2.30. Was hoping for 2.20. I go get in line w/my Flinstone buddies, but I wanted to see what the 2.30 pacer looked like. I wanted to make sure that I was ahead of her. She was wearing a hawaiian outfit. So as long as she didn't pass me, I figured I would be ok. I hear people counting down, and realize that I had not started my GARMIN!!! AAAUUGGHH. I click start, and it is searching, searching, searching for a sattelite signal. FINALLY get it, and then I cross the start line. As I am running, all of sudden my watch beeps and vibrates. What is going on I am thinking. It is supposed to do that at every mile, and I had just barely started. Well, I forgot that last week, I had set it to alert me every minute. So my watch beeped and vibrated every minute, the entire 13.1 miles. I think that this was a good thing, as I was not so focused on the mileage. The miles seemed to go really fast.

I got to the bottom of the hill, and got stopped by the UHP. They needed to let some of the backed up canyon traffic through. As I crossed the 4 lane highway and continued down the canyon, I looked at the cars that were stoppeed. I saw 2 vans that were shuttleing a group from China. The passengers were waving like crazy, so I smile and wave back to them. There also was a little girl, about 5 or 6 years old that had her head out the window and I waved to her and she waved back. It was nice to have some spectators along the route that gave all runners support. Some of the aid stations ran out of water and HEED, which was a bummer.

The race started at an elevation of about 7000 feet. The first 5 miles was a BRUTAL 1600 ft elevation drop!!! OUCHY MOMMA! Total elevation drop from start to finish was 2100 ft!!! I didn't realize how hard downhill running was! I enjoyed the TOU half course, so figured I would be ok. Man my calves are so tight. Nothing that rest and relaxation won't fix. I came in at 2.22.04. I did get stopped at the highway for at least 15 seconds or more, so realistically maybe 2.21?

I waited for all of our Flinstones to finish. Mendy had built a Flinstone car!!!
After our last runner came in, we all got in the car and crossed the finish line, again.

Now this is the funny thing. When I got home, I went into the bathroom cause I had to pee so bad. When I was buttoning up my pants, I see something dark out of the corner of my eye.........and in an instant flash, my car keys go flushing down the toliet!!! All I could do was laugh histarically.
Am I insane? They say that running is mental, ya know.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just a Thought

Tuesday, October 25th, 4 miles on Eliptical (33 min = 8.25 min mile) and 1 mile cooldown walk on treadmill. Taking it easy, getting ready for Saturaday!!! The Halloween Half Marathon in Provo!

Went to Macey's last night to pick up some snacks for upcoming swim meet. Picked up a package of sweet rolls. mmmmmmm my favorite! Do they count in the "carb loading" theory?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thunder Mountain

On the way home from Sparks, NV, we passed this very unusual house. Off the freeway we go to explore. I did a little research of how to get there. I found out that the home was fenced in, but you could still walk around the outer grounds area. When we got there, we were walking around, and here comes this guy over to me. I noticed that he had been working on a travel trailer that was near the property. Well one thing led to another, and we struck up a conversation. (Thanks Dad for the social skills!) I love talking with new people, finding out what their story is. Turns out that he is now the care taker of this place. He is a good friend of Frank's son. (Frank is the man who built this monument/home.) He told me a little about the builder, and what vandals had done in the past, and that the son had prayed and a man came and visited the property and sent him a $20,000 check to start restoration of the home. Then he says to me, "If you would like, I could unlock the gate for you and you can walk around a little closer." Wow I am thinking, that would be great!

Thunder Mountain, was built by Frank Dean Van Zant. Sounds like he was an ex methodist minister turned Indian Cheif who called himself Cheif Rolling Thunder Mountain. The home started out as a travel trailer, then he built around it. There are walls around walls. As we looked through one of the windows, we just saw another wall with various sculptures and rambling writing. The windows are windows out of vehicles. The walls mostly have glass bottles in them. Lots of concrete sculptures. Very imaginative. Turns out he was artist of the year in 1983, I think. Would have been interesting to go inside of this place.

I emailed some pictures to my family, and I got this response from my nephew JR, "I just thought that it was funny that both Lori and I would stop at the same weird house in the middle of nowhere!!!" I thought that was so funny, that JR and I would actually find the same place!! I love Art Houses!