Saturday, July 31, 2010

Spudman 2010

I ran my first ever triathlon. We'll see if it is also my last.

After seeing my brother and my sister-in-law compete in Burley, Idaho's Spudman Triathlon in 2009, I was inspired to participate myself. I already had my bike and I was riding to work every day, so I thought the 40 km ride would be fine and it wouldn't be to big a stretch to tack on a 1.6 km swim and a 10 km run. I was right about the biking part.

As part of my training, I continued to ride to work every day, which is 15.3 km each way and takes about 30 minutes. Two weeks before the race I tried riding 40 km and found it wasn't too bad.

I bought a pair of real running shoes and ran a few times, but nothing more than 3-4 km at a time. I was supposed to do a 10 km race organized by the church in our area, but I pulled a muscle in my leg earlier that day and thought it wouldn't be good to make it worse and miss my triathlon.

I did exactly two sessions of swim training. Once was in the hotel pool in Kalispell and once was at the YMCA in Calgary. The first time I tried to just see if I could swim for 30 minutes without dying. I spent most of the time doing the back stroke, but I managed it. The next time (at the YMCA) I tried to actually work in some front crawl and go for some more speed. I found that I could only two a length or two of that before I started hyperventilating -- I'm not used to the idea of breathing only part of the time while exercising.

My sister-in-law's grandparents were kind enough to host me at their house in Burley the night before the race and I was nervously excited as I went with my brother to take our bikes to the transition area by the river. As we were walking away we heard a loud pop of an exploding tire tube coming from direction other than our bikes. Somebody would be in for an unpleasant surprise in the morning.

Despite the early hour, the morning was perfect and reasonably warm. Our age group was going to be the last heat of the day, so we actually didn't have to get up half as early as the others. However, because we elected to start in the back of the pack for the swim (and because we were painfully slow swimmers), we were some of the very last racers out of the water that day. I think I was 4th-last out of the river and my brother T was 2nd-last. He said that the safety crew in the boats followed him so closely that they even asked him his name and cheered him on as he swam.

I had arranged to borrow a wetsuit from my older brother but we missed the hand-off at the lake the previous day so I ended up borrowing one from my sister-in-law's family, who are all about 7 inches shorter than me. I managed to get the thing on, but getting it off was tough. I didn't know if it was proper etiquette or against the rules to ask a bystander to help me pull the suit off my shoulders. I was going to wait for T to come out of the water, but I finally got it off just before he arrived on the scene.

There's not much to say about riding the bike except that I enjoyed starting at the very back of the pack so that I could pass lots of people and feel like I was making up ground. I lost a lot of that ground when I got to the transition zone and couldn't find where I'd left my shoes. The scenery changes significantly when you add a few thousand bikes.

I had heard that there is a temptation to push it too hard on the bike and then have nothing left for the run. I think that must be what I did. I think my heart was up to the challenge, but my legs weren't -- especially my feet. I chewed up the first few km pretty well, but once I got into the unknown territory of 4-5 km, my legs got lost and apparently gave up. I did my best to keep a slow & steady pace but it was really tough and I dropped to walking several times. I still managed to sprint across the finish line, but my feet were so sore for the next few days that I felt like I could barely walk.

Swim - 00:30:49
T1 --- 00:03:48
Bike - 01:11:51
T2 --- 00:05:15
Run -- 01:04:08
Total- 02:55:53

You won this time, Spudman, but I think we will meet again.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Eau Claire Spray Park

It's hard to be happy at the spray park unless you are the one shooting the water cannon.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Here are some photos from one of many zoo visits (this one was actually in May).

Apparently, you are not supposed to touch the butterflies.

But what are you supposed to do when the butterflies start touching you?


Broken Tooth

Scott wiped out while running down the sidewalk at Calaway Park this week and broke a chunk off of one of his front teeth when he hit the ground. Fortunately, our good friend the dentist was able to get him in right away and fill it in. We were worried that Scott wouldn't cooperate at all, given his refusal to open his mouth when we took him to the dentist earlier in the year. However, Dr. R told him that he would put a picture of Spiderman on the back of the tooth if he could hold really still, and Scott courageously complied.

Sadly, we are unable to see the Spiderman picture, since it is on the back of his tooth. But I am confident that it is there and looks fantastic, because surely the dentist wouldn't joke around about something like that.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Throwing Rocks and Grass and Stuff at Lake Louise

As part of the big family reunion this summer for R's dad's side of the family, we drove out to Lake Louise to hike the Plain of 6 Glaciers Trail. It started out as an easy jaunt along the edge of the lake for 2km, but then it started climbing up the valley in a fairly steep and rocky trail for another 4 km or so. The kids were great troopers and the boys hiked nearly every step of the trail, thanks to Grandpa's coaching.

Our family at Lake Louise

scott on boardwalk

D, R and Katie's tongue

Grandpa and the boys - he got them to hike almost the whole way up and down!

Alli and Scott taking a break near the end of the hike

The hotel at Lake Louise


Katie Smiling her big smile

Scott getting a rock from Grandpa

Scott throwing a rock

Scott getting another rock - motivation to keep moving along the trail

Scott throwing a big rock

Scott in front of hotel with rock - the end of the trail

better picture of Scott on boardwalk

Boys pulling grass

Boys throwing grass at each other

Boys laughing

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Big Brother Connor

Scott often talks about how he will grow up to be as big as me. He points out that Katie will grow up to be like Mom, but he will be big like me. He also recognizes that his next big step is to be big like his cousin Connor.

Connor is 4 years older than Scott and that makes him pretty big in Scott's eyes. Connor knows how to do all sorts of cool things that Scott still hasn't learned to do. When we encounter an activity or challenge that is still out of Scott's league, we tell him that he needs to be a bit bigger before he can do it. Usually, this means that he needs to be as big as Connor.

For example, last summer when we went out water-skiing, Scott wanted to have a turn. We said that he would have to be a bit bigger -- like Connor. Now he loves to explain to anyone who will listen that he gets to go ski when he gets big like Connor. Then he will go in the water and he will say, "Hit it!"

Connor lives down in the United States, so Scott only sees him a few times each year. When we let Scott start playing with an old mobile phone a few months ago, he had to think of someone to pretend to call. Who was it? Yes, it was Connor.

"Hi Connor. This is Scott.
I'm using my phone.
Want to come play?
OK. Bye Connor."

This summer we went down to visit "Connor and Afton's house" for Independence Day. Scott felt so big and important when he got to help Connor get out the boxes of fireworks. However, he beat a quick retreat to the house when the explosions started. He wants to be big and brave like Connor, but he still has a few years to go.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Boy Who Cried at Parades

Why is this boy crying at this parade? What could have happened?

We drove down to Kalispell, Montana for the 4th of July weekend this summer, the first event in a jam-packed July. While there, we took in the parade.

The 4th of July is a great time to be with family -- and a great excuse to shoot off fireworks and watch for candy at parades.

This was Katie's first experience with parades and with Montana. She seemed to find both to her liking, and was generally enthusiastic while the procession went by.

Speaking of enthusiasm, I am strongly considering joining the 4-H Llama-Alpaca Club.

Scott was most enthusiastic about the big trucks that went by... especially the RED ones.

He was also excited when he heard that some people were going by handing out RED frisbees. However, they didn't give one out to everyone and Scott missed out. This was more than he could bear.

More than he could BEAR [weeping].