I’ll see you in my dreams

My last post was one day less than a year ago, I had no idea what the following year would hold for me. Today, I never thought I’d be reflecting on two months with out my dad. My dad dying has been the most painful thing I have ever been though. While there are 1,000 things I could say about my dad dying, the main purpose of me writing this post is to “carve in stone” or in this case carve in the internet, the eulogy I wrote and delivered at the funeral of my father. They say things put on the internet live on forever, hopefully this will be just one more way my dad can live on forever.

“Thank you for coming today to celebrate and share the life of Bill Mitchell. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Cynthia, I’m his daughter.

For me, my dad was someone who I looked up to. From an early age, I wanted to be like my father. As a child my dad let me drive the car home from the swimming pool. By drive I mean I got to sit in his lap for the three blocks home and pretend to drive. But at such a young age, you think you have hit the jackpot. There were many stories like this as I was growing up. He always made sure I was on beat, letting me dance on his feet until I grew up so much I might have broken his toes.

As a teenager my dad met my friends. Sarah, a friend I made freshman year of high school remembers my dad teaching us to play Texas hold ‘em poker. We used pennies and played at the kitchen table until the late night hours. I’m sure her parents were thrilled when she returned home with a weekend of stories from my dad’s house.  My friend Katie would always tell me when her grandparents had seen my dad on television, it made me proud to know people watched my dad.

When I got to college I had a couple of semesters where I was not sure exactly what I wanted to do. My dad gave me good and timeless advice. He said do what you love, everyday and it will never feel like work. I eventually decided to follow in his footsteps. I got my degree in journalism and went to work at a small town paper. I think that was one of his most exciting moments as a parent. Over the last week, I have been going through boxes, in some, I have found papers titled “Tips to be a good reporter” and “How to get the best interview” they all have my name written at the top in his hand writing.

My dad took his own advice to heart, he did what he loved everyday. For over four decades he traveled all over green county, Oklahoma, the United States and to other parts of the world. He has covered, the weird, the funny, the sad and the tragic. If it was news worthy and sometimes even if it didn’t seem like it was, Bill Mitchell was on the scene reporting.

I think one of the first times it really sank in that my dad has a job that was extraordinary was during the Oklahoma City Bombing, I was 8 at the time, and it is the first time I can remember knowing that something BIG was happening and my dad was there. He and the channel 8 news crew stayed in town reporting back to their viewers the tragedy that had struck. When I made the decision to go into reporting I asked my dad, how do you do something like that, cover something so sad. He told me sometimes you just have to focus on helping the people, and once you do, you will find the story. There were many to be told in Oklahoma City that April and in the years following. My dad took pride in keeping his viewers updated. The story left and lasting impression with him. He followed it to the end.

As an adult, my dad told me of the golden days, reporting from Sky Roamer, or doing a series that let him combine his love for reporting with his love for skydiving. Once I decided to join the business he let me in on the good, the bad and the ugly.  He was always asking me what I was working on, giving me advice. I think secretly he was trying to make sure I didn’t look too green when I was out in the community.

He was always concerned with making sure I was in the know, I was talking to his friend Mary earlier this week and she and I were saying that my dad probably introduced us 12 times before he remember that we had already met and talked extensively.

Many people have told me this week that I was the apple of my dad’s eye, the center of his world if you will. While I know this to be true, when he wasn’t talking about me to all of his friends. He was sharing stories with me about everyone in his life.

Laura Moss wrote to me on facebook and said that after morning shows had ended he would say love working with you guys. And it was true, he really did. I would routinely talk to him on my way to work when he was wrapping up the morning show, he would catch me up on the latest stories from the news and let me know how everyone in the newsroom was doing. He told me about peoples children and how they were doing in school or the latest thing someone had taught him on his iphone or computer.

Jeff Lea posted a picture of him and wrote that even in a bar, out of town, on vacation he still carried the reporters note pad. And let me say, they are not just for the old school, these really are handy for everything.

My dad loved to share stories, on the air or off. In the last year, you could not talk to him with out hearing the story of him reconnecting with Jill. He boasted regularly to everyone about how happy he was and how much he was looking forward to their travels.

One of his favorite stories he loved to remind me of was going to the first birthday party of James and Shannon’s daughter Taylor. He so enjoyed watching her grow up and every time he would update me on something about her life, he would say, don’t you remember her first birthday party, she is growing up so fast.

It seems like everyone I have talked to this past week has a funny, quirky or interesting story about how my dad touched his or her life. I love hearing these and as you go on living your life, taking what you have learned or the advice he has given you, I hope you know that you touched his life too. From an almost stranger recognizing him at the store to an old friend calling in to check up, everything people did made his days on earth wonderful. Now with God, on his biggest assignment yet, lets take a look back at the man who loved giving us our news for over four decades. Reporting for the last time, here is Bill Mitchell.”

This is a video put together by my dad’s friend James Puckett, it was used when he retired from KTUL at the end of 2012, we also played it at his funeral. 

Thank you for taking the time out to read this, I hope it brought back some great memories of my father, Bill Mitchell.

Trying again

Well here I am again, staring at a computer screen resolving to update my blog more often as an impending goal is upon me. Today I am hoping to spend my summer and early fall preparing for and completing a number of races, on foot and on bicycle.

The first race is closing in faster than I had assumed it would. June 9 I will be participating in the 12-hour ultra-race at Earlywine Park in Oklahoma City. This is a timed event and the person that covers the most distance in a particular time wins, that won’t be me, unless RedBull gives me so really awesome wings. This race is complete with a 6-hour and 12-hour version. Wish me luck as any amount of unprepared I am cannot be made up now.

Big event two for the summer/fall is the Hotter N’ Hell 100. This is a 100 mile bike race in Texas. Last year I got a bike and went out guns blazing to prepare for this race. That enthusiasm quickly waned. This year I’m telling myself that it will be different and I will not walk away from my goal. We will see if that is true if I’m at the start line on August 25.

Big event three will be 24 The Hard Way a 24-hour ultra. There is a 6, 12 and 24-hour option at this event, really something for everyone. I know you’re thinking it sounds amazing, get race info at 24thehardway.com.  Last year I did the 24 race, and went home around hour 18-ish? This year I’m hoping to make it the whole 24 hours and complete more distance than the previous year.

So I have a summer full of long events. Most people seem surprised by the thought of timed running. It is really all a mind game. Setting a pace and knowing that you have to make it last or adjust it and trudge on. I enjoy timed races because they allow me the opportunity to stop whenever I feel it necessary without making my finishing time slower, although stopping does keep me for completing more miles.  At both the timed races on my calendar for this summer/fall the course is about a one mile loop. This set up allows you to pass your campsite again, and again, and again and again.

Completing a timed race has proved to be mentally difficult for me. Unlike in a distance race, a runner cannot ‘pick up the pace’ and finish quicker. No matter the pace runner will trudge on for the given amount of time. The first timed event I completed was six hours, not too much longer than my marathon PR at the time. During that race I did not even complete the distance of a marathon but the sense of reward I got from completing the event left me wanting more. The next year I completed the 6-hour again, this time the weekend after a marathon. Again I did not even complete the marathon distance.

Year three was a breakthrough year for me. I calmly walked away from what my brain told me was logical and signed up for the 24 hour race at 24 The Hard Way. I read everything I could get my hands on concerning timed distance races and ultrarunning. I set a lofty goal for the event. Bought almost an entire supermarket and packed everything away in plastic bags. I ran to prepare.  I had enough food to feed the entire race and enough sports drinks to fill a small pond.

If pre-race non-running preparation could have won the race I’d have been in first or second. As the race was started I was ready. After lap one, which is just under a mile I realized I was NOT ready. And as the race went on my body deteriorated. My stomach growled, I refused to eat enough as nothing was appetizing after 6 hours. I walked, I sat, I slept, I jogged and by body screamed. Around night fall my feet began to swell. Then someone mentioned ordering food from Earl’s. Despite all the wonderful, good for your body food in the cooler the only thing that sounded good from that point was BBQ. Wish granted, it was delivered! My shoes were modified to make room for my swelling feet and I was back on the road.

Rain came, then a delay and my body stopped wanting to function completely. After the rain I ran a few laps and resolved to curling up in a chair under the finish canopy, where I would stay until I called it quits for the night. But this year I am resolving for my race to go differently, so I will prepare different and enter with a different attitude.

This quote talks about ultra-running and I like it:

“Perhaps the genius of ultrarunning is its supreme lack of utility. It makes no sense in a world of space ships and supercomputers to run vast distances on foot. There is no money in it and no fame, frequently not even the approval of peers. But as poets, apostles and philosophers have insisted from the dawn of time, there is more to life than logic and common sense. The ultra-runners know this instinctively. And they know something else that is lost on the sedentary. They understand, perhaps better than anyone, that the doors to the spirit will swing open with physical effort. In running such long and taxing distances they answer a call from the deepest realms of their being — a call that asks who they are …” – David Blaikie

So here’s to a summer of completing goals…

“Pushing your body past what you thought it was capable of is easy; the hard part is pushing yourself even further … past what your mind wants to let you.  That’s what ultrarunning is all about; introducing you to a self you’ve never known.”    – Rex Pace

Wind, Wind, Wind

I have always wondered how Chicago got the name the windy city. Growing up in Oklahoma I always thought Oklahoma deserved the name the Windy State. Sunday for my weekly run and ride day with my mom I found out just how windy Oklahoma can be.

When I’m running into the wind it is hard, during the 2009 Oklahoma City Marathon the wind coming off the lake was so brutal I thought I would never make it to the end of the race. Growing up in Oklahoma as a runner I have experienced some intense winds that made me think I was running in place.

Cycling into the wind was a whole new experience. My shoes are clip ins so I am essentially attached to my bike. If it falls I fall and if I fall the bike falls, being new to cycling this is a unique experience. Sunday my mom and I headed out to Lake Hefner with the hopes of making a few laps around the lake. Upon our arrival white caps covered the lake and we saw a couple off their bikes walking them around the lake. Immediately the thoughts of this is going to be horrible ensue. We start riding the lake on the dam side and make it about two miles before I stop and wait for my mom to tell her of my decision to turn around.

The decision was not an easy one to make but on the two miles I did complete I was shaky and kept thinking the wind was going to sweep me and my bike down the plain. The two miles back were just as wobbly. There was about half a mile into the wind which was fine, I don’t mind fighting the wind in my face but having it at my side was a new experience.

We then went to Mitch Park in Edmond where it was much less windy to finish the ride. The ride at Mitch Park was much more hilly and much less windy with all the tree lines.

As Spring and the wind come in Oklahoma I am looking forward to gaining the strength to fight the Oklahoma wind form any direction.


Motivation and Mom

Today, I had none. Motivation that is.

Two weeks from yesterday (Sunday) I will be running in my first marathon of 2011. I have set some lofty goals for myself this year, in terms of the number of events I have decided to complete. My goals, which can be read in my last post, were set when my motivation was high.

Today I lagged. Got off work, immediately ate dinner and then sat down on the couch to end my night doing nothing but watching television. Then I thought man I need to go to the gym. I quickly gave the sleeping dog on the couch a pat on the head and decided to follow her lead for the night. Not to long after that, I posted on facebook that I needed the motivation to go to the gym. Quickly responses came. And so did a phone call from my mom. By the end of our conversation I was dressed for the gym and in the car.

My motivation for running usually comes from within. People who study behavior and people call it intrinsic motivation. I more times than not run because I enjoy it. The feeling I get when I slide on my shoes and tie the laces in knots is unexplainable.

Today, my motivation was extrinsic, it was my mom. She is my running buddy and the only person I ever want to beat in a race. And today she was all I needed to get off the couch and to the gym.

If you keep up with my blog you know my mom is one of my best friends and an amazing inspiration. Not only in life but also as an athlete. She is a wonderful person with a huge heart, she’s a great mom, a successful career woman, a great athlete and today the exact motivation I needed.

So here’s to you mom, for getting my lazy butt off the couch. Thank you!

Goals for 2011

This year, 2011, is bring many new athletic challenges my way. I am going to take up cycling with my mom and mark. Mark has already been cycling for about 8 months, so my mom and I have some catching up to do. I am also going to push my running game harder, taking on new racing challenges.

Recently Mark started a blog, http://www.markwcunningham.wordpress.com, in one of his first posts he talked about his goals for 2011. I thought it was a good idea, and then this morning I got a text message from him, and he asked me to write down some of my goal. So here they are.

I am going to write my goals down for each event that I plan on doing in 2011.

Feb. 6 – Little Rock Marathon – goal: finish in under five hours.

April 9 – Red Bud 50 mile cycle event – goal: finish

April 10 – Red Bud 5k running event – Goal: beat mom, my mom is a better athlete then me in many distances but I usually take the win in a 5k and I don’t want that to change this year

May 1 – Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon – This will be my third running of the OKC Memorial Marathon Goal: set a PR for my marathon time. This will take some doing, but I believe that cycling will help bring down my marathon time and this goal is achievable.

August 27 – Hotter N Hell Hundred, Wichita Falls, Texas – Goal: Finish. Just seven months after taking up cycling I will attempt my first century ride. My step dad did this last year with less time to train so I am hoping that with the right training this is something I can do.

October 22-23 – 24 the hard way, 24-hour run – This event is put on by a friend of my parents, it is an amazing event where participants can choose to run 6, 12 or 24 hours. I am doing the road version but there is also a trail version. There is a lap course and the participant who has completed the most laps, therefore the most miles, wins. Goal: my goal at this event is not to win. My goal is 80 miles. If you break it down it ends up being a little more than three miles an hour for 24 hours. I have never competed continuously for more than six hours at a time so this will be a big event for me physically and emotionally. I am hoping to do 50 miles in the first 12 hours and leave the final 30 for the last 12 hours.

Nov. 5 – GCF Half-Marathon in Washington D.C. This event is happening two weeks after my 24-hour race. Goal: Finish. I am not worried about time at this event. I am doing it to honor my mom who is a cancer survivor. If you followed the link to Mark’s blog you will have seen that he is also planning on doing this race.

I would like to try to pick up another marathon in June or July but I am just not sure how that will fit in with my training for Hotter N Hell so I will just have to wait and see.

Duke City Marathon

For me this was marathon number four. And, it was a big deal in many ways. First off this was the fist marathon that I would be traveling to and competing in alone. Usually, I run marathons with my mom.

But for this one I was at it alone. I left Saturday afternoon and flew into Albuquerque. From there I went to the convention center which was conveniently connected to the hotel I was staying in, the Double Tree. I picked up my packet and grabbed some GU at their small expo and then headed back to my room.

I then put out out my running clothes for Sunday morning and pinned by bib to my shirt. After that I looked around for somewhere to eat and headed over to the Hyatt to have dinner at their restaurant.

At dinner I sat alone but about 30 minutes after I had been sat another man was sat close to me also alone. He struck up a conversation with me about what I was eating and we discussed about how we were both doing the marathon. I eventually joined him at his table. His name was Chris and he had done every Duke City marathon since they started having them, 27 years ago. I got some good tips from him and he really inspired me to want to keep running!

Sunday morning I woke up early, around 4:30 a.m to eat some breakfast bars from a local bakery in Seminole, Piece of Cake. The breakfast bars were good and I washed them down with a bottle of water. Around 6 a.m. I headed downstairs to line up for the race and when I got outside there was hardly anyone there that wasn’t a marathon worker. So I headed back up to my room for a few minutes and tried again at like 6:20 a.m., this time there were more people.

I met a man a the start line that had done the Duke City Marathon before and he said this year there were less than 500 participants in the marathon, up from around 250+ last year. The small race explained why there was not any people out at 6 a.m., there was no need to line up early, because there was not that may people.

At my other marathons you had to line up early and then there was a sort of wave start and after the gun went off it could be 7-15 minutes before I would cross the starting line. At this race it was not even two minutes.

The temperature was great around 50 at the start then it dropped a little as the sun was rising and the day had about 75 as a high. I did not even start to notice the heat until about mile 20 which was about 4 hours into the race for me.

I finished in 5 hours and 17 minutes. Not my best marathon time, but I had fun and enjoyed the experience of being on my own running in a town I had never been to.

Sunday night I ate in my hotel and then on Monday I got up to fly home. The trip home seemed long and my legs were sore but I made it.

I returned to work on Tuesday and am now getting ready to participate in a six-hour race on Saturday. The Oklahoma Utlramarathon Championship hosts a 24-hour, 12-hour and 6-hour race. I am going to do the 6-hour race and my mom is doing the 12-hour. I am excited that I will get to be there for my mom’s last six hours as I run my race.

The website on the race is here: 24thehardway.com. This race is different from you typical race. Here you have a set amount of time to run and the person who runs the farthest wins, instead of at a typical race you have a set distance and the person who runs the fastest wins.

That is all for now, four marathons down. I am thinking I want to complete a marathon in each state. In which case I am three states down now, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. Only 47 to go…

Only in Utah

Only in Utah…well I am sure most of you have heard by now that a Utah inventor has come up with a new time-saving food. It is a sandwich in a can, rightfully named Candwich. Currently there are three flavors available, peanut butter and strawberry jam, peanut butter and grape jam and BBQ Chicken. From the reports I have read they are currently being offered in vending machines in Utah. YUM!

I have found that each Candwich contains 300 calories and has a long long shelf life, great for people who don’t clean out their fridge cabinet often. That brings up something else, they don’t have to be refrigerated, ever! Man this is making me hungry. Hey Sarah, I’ll send you some money for a Candwich, and you send me the goods, I’m craving peanut butter and grape jelly please. I’ve heard the Candwich is being marked to busy people, “soccer moms” and college students. Personally as an adult, who used to be a college student with a healthy appetite if I ate a sandwich that could fit in a can it would prob not fill me up, so to the makers of Candwich I am requesting a king sized version or at least some side items in a can to go along with my Candwich.

Right now my sense of curiosity is wanting to try one just to see…

Any who, google the Candwich and check it out.

And now, for some good things that have come out of Utah…the world’s first department store, the electric traffic light, television, video games and the artificial heart created by Robert K. Jarvis (first transplant done at the University of Utah). And if I’m not mistaken, Jamba Juice and Franklin Covey (the best planner store ever) although those could have both been not been created in Utah, I just don’t know.

Newbie in the Kitchen

So I have been trying to cook at home more and more. Sometimes I fail but this week I set out determined to do well. Last night I went grocery shopping and came home to make Crescent Chicken Squares. I got the recipe from Tasty Kitchen. Here is a link: http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/main-courses/crescent-chicken-squares

Let me tell you these were delicious. I followed the recipe almost exactly, I used a half rotisserie chicken instead of cooking my own. Next time I think I will add some vegetables.

I discovered Tasty Kitchen after visiting The Pioneer Woman’s website and Tasty Kitchen has a slew of recipes, usually I find recipes to try by searing the easy/simple tab on the right but they have all sorts of recipes from people all over the country and world. So, this is my shout out to The Pioneer Woman and her spin-off of Tasty Kitchen, I love reading your blog and getting recipes from Tasty Kitchen. And, if you are reading this you should check them both out!

Tonight, I am using the other half of the Chicken to make Chicken Salad. The Chicken Salad recipe is from my mom, she made me some last week and gave me some. This week she is traveling so I am on my own, we shall see. Update to come on Chicken Salad.

Another Note on things to come, while my friend Sarah was visiting Oklahoma last week she let me have free rein on her recipe box. I copied about 30 recipes, updates on those cooking adventures are to come also.

Black Dog Syndrome

It is no secret to most that I am an avid animal lover and dogs top the list, with cats making a close second. In May 2009, I got MY first dog. Her name is Trek and she is a black lab/german shepherd mix. She is all black, her coat shines in the sunlight and she weighs a whopping 90 pounds. She is spoiled beyond measure and I love having her around.

The other night when I was reading about shelter dogs, I came across something called Black Dog Syndrome. There is a whole website devoted to the syndrome. Basically it is the concept that black dogs are less likely to be adopted from shelters and that they are euthanized more often than dogs that are not black.

When I read this I was shocked, I think that Trek is the most beautiful dog. She has hazel eyes that are even more beautiful because of  her all black coat and when she is clean and brushed her coat shines bright and when she is not clean it helps hide the dirt…

The website Blackpearldogs.com states that there are many reasons why black dogs are chosen less than dogs of a different color, here they are:

1) Harmful Superstitions
2) Negative Labels
3) Fear
4) Just too ordinary
5) Over heat quicker in outdoor sport competitions

And the following are the top 10 reason to adopt a big black dog

10) We cannot clash with your furniture or clothing (and some of you actually worry about that).
9) We cannot clash with any collar  you might choose either!  Ditto for the bandannas.
Accessorize us!
8) Ease of vacuuming!  You can quickly spot the areas of most urgent need.
7)We hide the dirt well (doesn’t mean we don’t need that bath after a messy play but your                     guests won’t be able to see it so quickly).
6) We make an excellent “backdrop” for a second lighter colored dog (if you choose to have one).
5) Availability!!!  We are available now at every shelter or rescue you can imagine, in every age                             bracket with no long waiting lists or difficult search.
4) No annoying queries of “exactly what kind of dog is that anyhow?”  People are content with “big black dog” and don’t ask anymore questions.
3) EXCELLENT night walk protection.  The “bad guy” won’t see us till it’s too late!
2) Status symbol potential.  Black pearls are the most costly you know……

So now that you are educated on black dogs. Feel free to adopt one, and take it from me, they are the best.

Three Jewells

Cynthia Jewell, Dempsey Jewell and Auntie Jewell

So one of the biggest honors ever bestowed upon me was something that happened before I can even remember. I was named after my Auntie Jewell.

When I was a child I did not understand what a big deal this was but as I have grown up and got to know my Auntie Jewell I have realised what a big deal it is. My Auntie Jewell is one of the best people I know. Going to her house at the farm is one of the most consistent things in my life. No matter what goes on I can expect at least one summer trip to the farm. And I can rest assured that it will smell, look and feel the same every time I visit. And each time I arrive at the farm I can count on a huge hug from Auntie Jewell.

Auntie Jewell always has a smile on her face and love in her heart for everyone she meets. She is not only Auntie Jewell to my family but she is Auntie Jewell to everyone, her fellow church goers, people in town and even her doctors know her as Auntie Jewell. She is some what of an institution in her small town in Kansas.

Recently,  my cousin Joe and his wife Danica had a daughter, Dempsey Jewell, she was granted the same honor to be named after such a wonderful woman.