Monday, December 28, 2009

"Caa-n't ggett wwwarm"

Today I ran 8 miles. Thought it would be a great run- quality time with me and my I-pod. I ran 11 with my mom on Saturday. I thought today would be a walk in the proverbial park- only the park was 19 degrees. I felt so heavy and so slow and so tired the whole run. I was excited to try out my new gear I got for Christmas- including Yaktrax, but I was so sweaty from the beginning of the run- not a good thing when it's in the teens. I walked a bit at the mid-point to talk on the phone, between that, being a sweaty moose, and changing my running direction- it was all over. By the time I got home I was SHHHIIIIVVVERRRRIIIINNNGGGG! We have noticed that when you let yourself get that cold, It's hard to warm up. Even after a long, hot-water-tank-emptying-shower, I am still cold. This is how Adam found me when he got home.

Yes- two hats, three sweatshirts, in a heated home, one foot from the fireplace. I won't tell you how many hours it was later. Moral of the story- Don't cool down mid-run when it's 19 degrees. And in answer to your next question- yes, duh.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Testing the (frozen) waters...

(By: Kristin)

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas. I know I did. I got a few new running items from Matt's family, so that'll be fun to put to use on the trail. Nothing helps get you on the winter trial like new gear to test out.

Speaking of getting out there, I am wondering how many of you would be interested in a winter run with us on some Saturday? If you are, leave a comment and say what Saturday works for you, what time you would prefer, and how many miles you are capable of running. Don't be shy! We'll take it all into consideration, but I was thinking some time in January or February would be fun! Maybe some time around 7 am? I have a lot of friends who have been telling me they want to get out there and run in the cold, but they have no one to go with, and haven't figured out what to wear. Wouldn't it be a blast to get a bunch of chicks out there on the Jordan River Parkway and gab while we knock out a few miles? We'll help advise you novices about what to bring/wear before the big day.

On another note, I am so bummed! The Ogden Half Marathon (which all 3 of us have procrastinated signing up for) is now full! What a bummer. Maybe we'll think about the SLC half in April? I never thought I'd be capable of running a spring half or marathon because I didn't think I could bear winter training. Ladies, I'm here to say, it's possible! And honestly not as painful as I had once believed. If I can do winter running, anyone can. Seriously- I'm ALWAYS freezing cold. But our runs have been downright comfy and cozy, I tell you!

Anyway, don't forget to mention your interest in our SheRunsLikeAGirl group run if you're thinking about it!

Check out the amazing winner of the NY Marathon! (Warning: must endure a bit of David Letterman.)


Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's a very Vegas Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone, it's Danna!
Ok, I'll be honest- since I usually am about this kind of stuff. Christmas and I are not really on speaking terms. In fact we would consider ourselves frenemies. The reason for the holiday- Yes, I'm on board. The endless to-do lists- not so much. I have thought about it this year, and this is what I find to be true. Christmas-time= double yuck. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day= Super fun. There are a few things I enjoy about Christmas- Handel's Messiah, looking at OTHER peoples Christmas lights, Dinner with Adam's family, The Christmas Concert downtown, Presents from ADAM! (he is a good gift giver...seriously good,) Crazy Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas morning with just the two of us, Hot Chocolate and Steamers with biscotti, buying stuff for Adam that he would not buy for himself. And the best tradition of all- Leaving it all behind to to go to UNChristmas Las Vegas!
We (probably best said, ME) like to go down and stay in Mandalay Bay- the best Vegas resort. There are a few things I know how to do- Vegas is one of them. Well- Vegas for Mormons that is! This year we decided to come back in time for Actual Christmas. So we went last weekend and early this week. Let me tell you how surprised we were when we found out that we had been upgraded to a totally sweet suite! For Free! Here we were paying 70 bucks a night, for a $750 room. This is my kind of Merry Christmas Surprise! We even had a private elevator to get to our chi chi room. It was bigger than my house! Marble floors, two lounge areas, a tv over the huge tub. HEAVEN!!!!

I told Adam to just leave me there- I was NOT going back. We had a riot. Adam hiked in red rocks while I lost consciousness in the spa. We ate at the buffets like refugees. I shopped for my new smaller body- which is way fun- let me tell you. We read a book together and spent time talking. That is my idea of Christmas!

Of course- my MOTHER emailed me to remind me of the 2 days rule. Which is... All runners should take a rest day. It is important. Sometimes we even go 2 days with out running. BUT- never, ever should you not run three days in a row. It is then a habit to not run, and can be very dangerous! So- I put on a tank top and shorts(!!!!) and ran the strip. It was fun to see everything and be totally entertained while running. There were guys handing out those disgusting fliers, and then I saw people from a local church carrying a GIANT cross. Only in Vegas. I did lots of stairs on the overpass street crossings. My calves were sore for days! Great shake-it-up run. Vacation running is super fun. It's a great way to see your destination.
Well- I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas that does not involve grinches like me. I'm going to go for a run now to cope. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

13 degrees F and 28 degrees F

This is Suzy. I've never stopped to think of the difference of a mere 15 degrees in cold weather temperature. Today, I did a lot of thinking about it. I asked my husband to check the low for today so that I could put on the right amount of layers for our run. It was supposed to be 13 degrees F. The actual temperature on our run was 28 degrees F. I never thought I would say this but I was too warm, no, hot, for a run out in the snow. Danna and I hadn't even run a mile before we had to stop and strip off an entire layer of clothing. That was certainly a sight that we were glad no one but ourselves witnessed. I even left my clothes to the side of the trail because it was too hot to tie them around my waist.

Today, it was snowing as we ran. The excellent hat Danna and Kristin gave me kept the snow off my face. Yeah! My excellent yaktrax kept me from sliding in the snow and ice. Poor Danna. I think she wanted to punch me for all the times I told her how much I liked not slipping on the ground. She will, though, have much finer calves than me because she had to work so much harder to keep her balance than I did. Maybe she will get some spikes so she doesn't slide as much either.

It is a beautiful experience to run in freshly fallen snow, undisturbed, glistening, white. It was also a beautiful experience to cross paths with Larry while we were running very hard. We think he must be very impressed with us and our dedication to the sport.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Winter Running Blahs

By: Kristin

It's snowing like mad outside and I am not happy about it. Part of that is due to the fact that my Snow Shoveler has a sore post-dislocation shoulder. I'm also not looking forward to running in it tomorrow.

I know Danna and Suzy have braved much worse, but I am a wimp. I find it so so hard to motivate my lazy bum out of bed at Vicky:thirty in the cold. Even more-so in the snow. I long for lovely summer morning runs where I don't even need a jacket.

I just got peppy text messages from both Danna and Suzy stating that we'll run at 6. I replied, "see u then" and they replied "OK!" Really? The exclamation point?

So how do I get out of bed?
1. Sheer peer pressure. (Say that little tongue twister10x fast!)
2. Fear of weight gain/desire for weight loss. Yes, even greater desire for weight loss/non-gain than for comfort, warmth, and sleep.
3. Fabulous conversation with ma girls.
4. Addiction to the "runner's high."
5. Seriously, once you do it a couple times you realize it really is not that bad. It's quite comfortable even (after the warm-up phase) and truly refreshing.
6. To avoid losing the stamina we've gained. Who wants to start huffing and puffing at 3 miles all over again?

Ok, so I'm going to do this. I think after a while you stop questioning and just go through the motions. Anyone have any motivation helps??

Guess I'll go shovel snow now.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Adventurous Washington weekend

This is Kristin, posting to you live from Washington (state). Matt and I came to see our friends Matt and Alicia Curtis for Matt C's 30th Bday.

First of all, it's a 13 hour drive from SLC so we drove all night long. This was a rough night for many reasons. The weather was rainy and verrrry foggy, the roads were icy, and I had a hard time sleeping soundly (despite the fact that Matt is an excellent night/snow driver/stay-up -all-nighter. Alicia offered to get us a hotel room, but much to my disappointment, Matt said he'd prefer she just put the money toward our gas fill-ups to help with the over-all cost of the trip. I was bummed. :)

At about 2:30 Matt and I had a super scary experience in a snowy mountain. The battery light kept coming on, the head and dash lights kept getting dimmer, and the wipers kept getting slower. So did the car. Seriously, just writing about it gives me anxiety- it was so freaky! We couldn't find an exit and didn't think we'd make it to the next one (we later learned it was 20 more minutes away anyway). The car slowly came to a puttering stop and we barely made it off the road. We sat shivering and said a prayer. To make a long story short we had a long tow to the nearest town (which was behind us) and cost over $300! Then the alternator needed repair which cost ~$300. We had to sit and wait for the repair shop to open, wait for parts, wait for repairs... Oh and while we waited Matt slipped on the ice and dislocated his shoulder (again!!!) and we bummed a ride to the emergency room. Rough trip, eh?

Well, it was amazing to see our prayers answered in so many ways. On that mountain there was no phone reception, but somehow I just happened to have a bar left when we needed to call the police and tow truck (and Dad). We found the only spot where there was adequate shoulder to pull over. The repair shop said it would be 2 days but we found a nice local teen who fixed it for us that day (and ran to other towns looking for parts). The hospital had no drugs for Matt, but he was able to stand the "re-location" drug-free! What a stud! He's so awesome and tough. The towns people we amazing- offering rides, buying us breakfast, finding a mechanic. It was this hilariously classic small town where EVERYONE knew each other, and knew who we were within a couple hours. The town is called Cle Elum, Washington, and I think the following pictures sum it up.

I found them under Google images for Cle Elum. They are very Cle Elum-ish. Matt agrees.

FINALLY after a 24-hour+ journey, we were back on the road. We got to our friends' house, and went straight to the movie theater for Avatar in IMAX 3-D! It was so awesome, people. Then we went to Red Robin- Matt and Matt's favorite restaurant. Then we came home and crashed (poor Matt hadn't slept since we got up on Thursday)!

The trip was fun and therapeutic for all of us I think (once we got there!). We all love talking, and playing games. They are such good friends to us! We're leaving tomorrow morning. Needless to say I am dreading the drive home, but we decided to do it during the day this time.

During the trip I did get to go on a run! My foot is feeling better and better, and I had no pain at all! I ran around some of the neighborhoods and business areas (I may have done about 4 miles?) and had a great time. Seattle's weather is usually cloudy and misty or rainy. The air was completely saturated with mist and it was really refreshing to run through. It felt like running inside a humidifier! I loved seeing all the trees covered with moss. It was nice to have no snow. My new hat was perfect for the mist and the cool (see Suzy's post a week or so ago).

I love going running when I'm out of town! You get to check out new trails, new weather, and see the area from a runner's perspective. I also love passing fellow runners and sharing that, "We are awesome for being out here in this wet/cold weather" look.

Anyone ever run in a cool city while on vacation? We wanna hear about it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

My first ankle injury

This is Suzy again. On our run, I stepped on a rock about the size of a baseball and injured my ankle. Funny thing is that both Kristin and I kicked that very rock on the first half of our run. Too bad we didn't think to throw it off the trail. When I hit it and fell in the midst of our runners therapy session, Danna immediately said, "Oh no! God struck down the wrong person!" I think, though, He got the right one. I've been overly busy and stressed with Christmas preparations and taking the time to rest an injury has been relaxing. It has also given me some great snuggle time with my girls. I think we are all feeling happier, if not slightly sorer.

If you look closely, maybe you can see the purplish oval on my foot. Maybe not. I have learned from previous injuries to follow the RICE equation. Rest Ice Compression Elevation. Especially in the first 24 hours. I did as much as I could of RICE. My ankle is still sore but I like to think it is better than it would have been. By the way, my yaktrax worked great on the ice. Too bad they don't have rock sensors on them. Next time, I'll remember my headlamp.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Naughty List

This entry is by Suzy. I bought myself an early Christmas present. They are called Yaktrax. They are supposed to help you walk and run on the snow and ice without slipping so much. I am excited to try them out tomorrow. I know many of you are secretly hoping they don't work so that you won't feel guilty about not running on snow or ice. I don't know if I am hoping they'll work or not.

When I told my husband about the early Christmas present I got myself, my six-year old told me that I was going to be on the naughty list for using my present before Christmas. She said Santa wouldn't bring me any presents to put under the tree. She is right according to Danna. I had never thought about the naughty list in that way before.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My favorite work-out videos for cross training!

Kristin here.
(My parents have informed me they never know
who's writing until they get to the end of a post.)

As you may know, I have been cross training a lot. (Cross-training for marathoners/runners is a non-running, usually low impact work out.) The purpose of X training is usually to let your body heal from the weekly runs, or an injury, or just to lay of the joints a bit, or change things up here and there.

We 3 do not much care for it. However, we have been forced to do it for our various injuries (or in Suzy's case, just to support the rest of us since her bod was made to run).

Anyway, I have become a bit of a work-out video expert over the years and I have some definite faves. Good work-out videos are hard to find. Usually they are too easy, too repetitive, and too boring OR too overly peppy. Allow me to share some major finds.

If you don't like yoga, this video may change your mind! I love it. And I didn't used to be a yogi. Shiva Rea is amazing! I want to be her apprentice. :) This video has a "yoga matrix" where you can choose from every one of the 30 small segments, which ones you would like to do to compile your practice for that day. The music is perfect too! I want the soundtrack. So great for morning yoga.

Former roommates, does this look familiar?! Ha! All my roommates over the years are well familiar with this little gem. I have tried just about every Pilates video and this is by far my favorite. I have it memorized word for word even. Jennifer Kries- can I come to your NYC studio??

Ooo! Look what I just found while searching for it on Google images! She has a new one. Mom, Dad, are you looking for a Christmas present for me??

STEP:Just found this one at the library this week! I am VERY picky with step aerobics. I like a lot of choreography. I'm a step instructor myself so I watch a lot of step videos and I really liked this one- kept my heart rate up and had fun combos.

Another great find at the library. This is so so fun. Do you love foxy Latin men teaching you the salsa and merengue?? Then this is the video for you! I have loved this video for years. I discovered it before it became so popular, but now it's the new things. Aerobics instructors are specializing in "Zumba." Of this video set I only like the intermediate video.

How many times my mom, sisters and I have grooved in the living room to this sweet old thang, I cannot tell. It will always have a special place in our heart. But seriously, I still like it and I still do it some times. Next Young Women's Activity??? Whaddyasay, girlies?

OK, readers. I wanna hear about any of your favorite videos. I am always looking for a new classic to add to my repertoire.

Stay tuned: some day I will do Cross Training Part 2.
PS: Keep in mind that if you are injured, some of these are high-impact/medium-impact. You may wanna stick with the pool, elliptical, or bike for cardio while healing. Safety before fun! That's what I always say.

Monday, December 14, 2009

NOT cute feet

If cute feet are important to you- DO NOT run a marathon. That is about the only negative I can think of. But an important consideration regardless. I am obviously missing a big toenail, and the other one is cut so short it bleeds- in an effort to not lose both.

I am trying to keep my mileage higher... Sat I ran just over 13, today 8. So my feet get uglier and uglier. It sucks. I got a pedicure today and the guy I have been going to for years (tom) said to me, "Your toes look terrible- worst I've ever seen them. Cut back on your mileage for awhile. and stop ripping off your nails because they are bugging you." Vicky was in the pedicure chair next to me and laughed and laughed. Oh sure- she walks out with the cutest feet ever- and I'm stuck with my reject toes. Adam is very grossed out by the bleeding toenails and freakishly short nail lengths. He won't even participate when I begin a conversation with- " Oh sick! Look at my toe nail today!" Adam: NO! and suddenly becomes very, very busy. (this happens daily.)

I lost 4 toe nails during TRAINING of my last marathon- I didn't know to keep them so short. Well, I got married about a week before the marathon and had open-toe shoes. So- they painted my skin to make it look like my feet were not deformed. The End.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Plantar Fasciitis

(This is Kristin)

Well, I have been asked a lot lately if I am running at all and if my foot is any better. I think I have plantar fasciitis.
My symptoms:
  • heel pain
  • tight feeling along arch
  • greater pain when it's early or when I'm just standing/walking after long sitting
What has worked?
  • As much as I am against this from a fashion standpoint- wearing my running shoes all day (gulp) even with my work clothes has made an amazing difference! I alternated days with my arch support (Superfeet) inserts in or out.
  • Everyone swears by Dansko clogs and I have never wanted to get any (They're not my style and are pricey. If I'm payin' $100+ for shoes they better be hot!). Danna and some work buddies who have had plantar fasciitis say they were the only thing that would get rid of it. After my running shoes worked so well, I think I need to do it! Our friend sells them at a store named Chandler's. If you're interested- tell them Janene sent you and help our sistah out! They're really pretty cute and versatile (and also go well with purple cabbage as shown).
  • Icing after work-outs! I'm a firm believer. I even sneakily ice while treating patients.
  • Rest! I have cross-trained and rested a ton. (My next post on Tues. will have some fun work-out video suggestions.)
  • And finally- long gentle stretches. See suggestions here.

Couldn't find a good picture of this next one, but it's my favorite!
So, yes, things are getting better for me and I'm running 1-2X per week right now. I'd love to hear any of your thoughts or experiences with plantar fasciitis in comments!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winter Running 101

This is my husband Rick getting ready for his Saturday morning long run. He makes me feel important by asking my opinion on what he should wear to stay warm now that I have incredible cold weather running experience and know-how. Notice his great hat? It is made of fleece, I think, and has great ear flaps and a brim to keep the snow out of my eyes. Danna and Kristin gave it to me as an early Christmas present. Little did they know that they were giving it to Rick too, since we rarely run together due to little people running around our house. Thanks ladies!

It is currently 18 degrees. I'll find out in about an hour if my excellent advice on how many layers of clothing to wear was good or not. He does run about twice as fast as I do and doesn't have excellent layers of childbearing fat to protect him. Hope he stays warm!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cold weather calves

Here is my tip of the day. If you want fine calves, and I'm not talking about cows, run 10.35 miles on top of crunchy cold snow. This is what Danna and I ran Thursday. Kristin, unfortunately, will not have calves as fine as ours because she only ran 6 miles. Sorry Kristin. I think every little tendon, ligament, and muscle in my foot was burning (the only part of me that was due to the 7 degree weather) as I struggled to keep my balance in the snow. Danna kept saying positive things like, "This is the best workout," and "We couldn't strengthen these muscles any other way," and "This will help us not to sprain our ankles." My thoughts will not be mentioned because they weren't nearly so cheery. It is nice to run with a team because there is no way I would be getting such fine calves or exercise on my own. Ouch!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I'm trying to win an HP touchsmart. they are amazing!! You can check it out and enter too here:

We're ba-ack!

Ok, here's what we have decided:

We want to blog more often, and we decided to make our posts shorter and get a little more organized. We will be blogging about our running, work-out, and life adventures everyday. Here's the schedule:

Mondays: Danna
Tuesdays: Kristin
Wednesdays: Suzy
Thursdays: Danna
Fridays: Suzy
Saturdays: whoever feels like it!
Sundays: Kristin

We just have too many fun, inspirational, and deliciously sarcastic things to share about our little hobby-turned-obsession.

On a side note we had a great run today! It was only 7.5 degrees out there! The great thing is that we're really getting this winter running thing down to a science! If Danna emails me tonight I'll post a picture of our frozen eyelashes, frosted hats ponytails and backs, and/or the large square block of solid ice on D's bum as her water bottle leaked drip by drip. Waa haa haa. I poked it and it made a hilarious crunch.

We also need to tell you that we have new appreciation for the beauty of winter having seen it through sleepy, moon-lit fog. The pine trees were perfectly coated with thick jagged frost and the ground sparkled like diamonds. Oh! And our footfalls made that satisfying creaky sound you hear when you're snow-shoeing alone in the mountains. Awesome!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blizzard Run

Did I say I was going to shut-up about the cold? Oh- well, that was before we did a run in the blizzard. Whats that Danna? You and Suzy ran on Tues DURING the blizzard? Why yes- we did, and I'll admit it- we felt cool. (or maybe just cold. ha ha) This is what it looked like when I opened the front door to let in Suzy this morning....

And maybe even scarier- this is what Suzy looked like!

At 6 whatever in the morning, all I do is grunt, but Suzy shows up chipper- and with a comedy routine. I laughed so hard at her.

Suzy taught me a new farm-girl trick. We wrapped our feet in these plastic grocery bags and tied them around our ankles, and then put our shoes on. That Suzy- shes a smart one. Note for when we publish a running book; when running in snow well above your ankles, try to keep your feet dry. We're going to be millionaires with that book I'm telling you.
It was a cold, WET run. The trail was NOT clear at Vicky:thirty, so we just ran through it. It was such a HARD workout! My muscles were screaming! It took us an extra 12 minutes to do our regular 5 miles, just because it was such hard work. I said I felt like Rocky in that one movie where he fights the Russian. Suzy stood tall and yelled DRACO!!!! (which I guess is the Russians name). Very funny- to us anyway. K was sleepy sleeping away with that foot. I think the foot does not think we are funny or enjoyable to run with. We miss her.

This is what we looked like when we got home. The neighbors are truly convinced I am insane and have turned my friends insane too.

Adam took a picture for us. and just shook his head. We had fun, it was like kids excited to go out and play in the snow again. I secretly loved it.

Here is Adam patching up (fingers crossed here) the last drywall hole in our remodel/gutting of the house tonight! The kitchen color is the top right green. Whaddayathink?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's cold out there

Well life here certainly came to a screeching halt after the marathon didn't it! I kinda miss the little blog friend and all of you, so I will do better now- I almost promise. Winter running is a whole new ball of wax people. For one thing... wait for the profoundness.... It's cold out there! We did our first run in the teens this week. I know I keep saying this- but it was cold! It takes every ounce of will power in my body to get up at ridiculous:thirty and put on layer after layer of clothing- and then GO OUTSIDE IN THE DARK AND RUN! I have spent obscene amounts of money on winter gear. I needed a nice warm "jersey" to layer over other thinner running shirts. I bought a "last year model" brooks top with silver in it- it is supposed to regulate your body temp better. It was on sale half off from $98. Seriously. It's just a shirt. But I'll tell you running in it is a dream. it is too fabulous. I next invested in a barrier jacket- for wind and water protection. $100. Needed a warm hat to cover my ears and keep the snow off of my face- $25. Am I beginning to sound like a master-card add? I keep thinking the totaling bills will begin to stop, but as it gets colder and colder, I need more and more layers. Suzy, K and I still do one longer run per week usually on Thursdays to keep our conditioning up. K is having major foot problems since the marathon. She really hasn't been able to do too much running. So Thurs we set off, ran 2 miles, turned around dropped off K and then continued. We did about 9.5 miles. By the time I arrive at work after all that, I feel like it should be about 5 o'clock- time to wind down for the day. I did not wear the right, seemingly impossible to figure out each day, amount of layers on Thursday. I was cold the WHOLE run. By the time we got home after about 2 hours of running, I was TOO cold. There is a story there, but believe me, you don't want to hear it, and I don't want to tell it. Hence another stop at Wasatch Running. One of the only girls who works there- Heather- is a sweet angel. I was mortified to tell her the story- but I needed some advice. She was the angel they pay her to be, and told me how to add another layer without bulking up. Suzy, is the opposite of me. I head to the running store for more, she just digs deeper in her I'm-a-farm-girl-and-I'm-sure-I-have-something-in-this-winter-clothes-box-that-will-work kind of girl. I try to be like her but it's hard. Suzy has this huge blue wind breaker that she wears with the hood up as her barrier layer. You have to talk really loud in the beginning of the run so she can hear you over the loud crackling sounds it makes. I'm sure the neighbors LOVE us. We miss K and we keep praying that her foot will heal. Therapy, I mean running is not the same with out her.

My mom is training for a marathon. She won't admit that- and even denies it, but you should see her. We run together on Saturdays and Mondays. A few weeks ago I suggested she try running a couple of minutes, then walk one. Last Saturday we ran- she was running at least 3 minutes and then walking a strictly held one minute. I told we we could eventually work up to running 4, then 5 etc. Eventually we would try to run half a mile, then walk one minute- for at least five miles a day. So today- I went out to run with her- we ran almost 7 miles and she already was walking only every half mile. IN ONE WEEK! She is AMAZING. My mom looks at obstacles, and then climbs right over them.

After our run we went to Cafe Rio- hey we just ran almost 7 miles ok? Right after us in line were 4 soldiers in fatigues, there for lunch. We smiled at them, but we looked seriously scary in sweaty clothes and hair. A man in from of us discreetly leaned over to the first soldier and slipped him $40. I heard him tell him, "Can you do me a favor? Buy all of your lunches with this- and thank you for your service." The soldier showed the others the money- and each insisted and shaking the mans hand. We watched each one thank the man and smile. I felt so proud of my fellow Americans and I felt so proud of the regal soldiers. I felt that special Christmas spirit touch my heart. My mom and I both were teary. It was a sweet moment to witness, and I feel grateful to be a part of a community that notices others. My cousin Sarabeth just had a baby this week- while her husband is in Afghanistan. He is in such a remote area it took awhile to even get word to him that he was a dad to a new baby girl. They haven't still been able to even talk. She is a brave example of sacrifice for others. She is also the wife of an American hero. I have spent a Christmas missing my husband. I have spent days hoping that somewhere in Iraq, someone would make sure he got a good meal. I have felt the fear of watching bombs fall on TV and hoping he wasn't near. To all those who have ever thanked a soldier-- thank you. That is what America truly stands for- each other. I think I'll shut up about the cold and enjoy the warmth that I have.