Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hard Work

Anything worth doing right is worth all the hard work that it takes to do it...

I sure like being a father.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ironman Florida and Halloween pic!

I stole some quotes below from Sonya Wieck's blog after reading her Ironman World Championship race thoughts . Some are quotes from her, some from her coach, and some from a few others. I'm sure the following quotes could apply to any Ironman distance race and they all struck a cord with me, so I thought I would share a few as Ironman Florida is this weekend. Enjoy!

"After all, the Ironman will ask you questions out there in the middle of the Queen K, and you better have the answers to them."

"The main thing to remember is that it’s a long day at Kona, and that the swim has to be fairly enjoyable and relaxing. The bike not so much. The run not at all."

"Push is supposed to come to shove."

"If being uncomfortable is inevitable and the only way out is forward…through the misery…then we must embrace it."

* The last quote wasn't on her blog, but I thought it was appropriate and it's one of my favorites.
"When going through hell...keep going."


I also had to share a pic of my 2 princess's from Halloween.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Things I will never own...

1. Boat - I don't fish. I would consider a pontoon however, but it's far down the list of wants.
2. Snowmobile - I tried it, didn't like it. Besides, it's cold out.
3. Motorcycle - No thanks. I did own a moped once though.

4. Sportscar - I haven't hit my mid-life crisis yet.
5. Hand gun  - Unless I time travel to the old west, I don't think it's necessary.

6. ATV - I have no where to ride one and no need to own one.

7. Golf cart - Mark Twain said "golf is a good walk wasted", but I like golf, so I may as well walk.

8. Plane - Cost alone is a no brainer, but I'm not a big flyer.

9. Fish house - Sitting on a frozen lake staring at a hole in the ice is not appealing. See #2 too.

10. Tractor - No plans on farming in the immediate future, but I will drive one if needed.

* I reserve the right to change my mind on any of the above items without reason or rational explanation as I'm sure there was a day in my life I said I would never wear running tights or bike shorts in public.

* I think I may have eliminated any sort of inheritance from my Father-in-law and/or Stepfather with the above list.

I am however the proud new owner of the bike pictured below. I bought it a few weeks ago and posted a pic on DailyMile. I stated on DailyMile that I have yet to name my bike, but would do so soon. Fellow blogger and all around awesome dude Bryan said that I'd get to know my bike very well over the next year due to the massive amount of training needed for Ironman. With that said, I thought I better name my bike based on two maing criteria;
1. Female - I couldn't see myself describing bike rides on my blog by saying "I took Steve out for a long hard ride today" or "I did intervals on James this morning and boy was it hard!".
2. Familiar - In the off chance a family member stumbles across this blog, I needed it to be a name others already  knew.
The name I chose met both criteria and honors a special woman in my life...my wife, Sarah. But in order to eliminate any confusion, I named her Sara (no "h").

Sara! She's fast and sexy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gettin' my Farm on!

For the last few years the family and I have gone back to East Dakota to the Grandparents house during harvest time. I've slowly been let into the process of harvest, first learning how to help dry the corn and put it into the bins. The next year, I helped by "chopping stalks" in some of the corn fields. This year, I was allowed to drive the grain cart. Now this is quite a step up and I must say I really felt like I was doing some real farming.
Moving my way up the tractor ladder
I followed the combine and when I got the "sign", I pulled up along side and the combine and it would empty its corn into the cart I was pulling. I would do this 2 times then I would empty my cart into the semi trailer.  When the semi was full, it would take the load back to the farm to be emptied (via the auger) into the holding bin, wait for its turn in the dryer, and then into the bins.
$200K and only driven 4 weeks a year...sweet.
That's it. Farming is easy as hell and the equipment is cool to drive.

Tomorrow we go back to the Twin Cities, much to the delight of my Father in Law I'm sure.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ironman - I WILL do this!

I always watch Ironman video's on Youtube and this one is one of my favorites. I run through every emotion while watching this 2 minute video. Only watching video's of my children and my wedding do I feel so much emotion. I'll need to contain this emotion over the next 50 weeks if I want to cross the finish line on 9/9/2012.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Square Lake Long Course Race report...and big news?

I'm going to make it short...sort of. My apprehension about swimming 1.2 miles was well documented in the last few posts.  As it turns out, it wasn't as bad as I thought. The weather at the start of the race was warm, but not windy which was good from a swim stand point. This is a small race and there was only about  200 entries so it wasn't crowded, which was also good.
This was a 2 loop swim course and each loop of .6 mile was approximately 20 minutes, which is good for me and better than I had anticipated considering this was my fourth swim since February.

The transition was slow (but deliberate) and after going up the 68 steps from the beach to transition, I took of my wetsuit, dried off my feet, put on my socks, slipped into my bike shoes, and jumped onto my trusty steed. Without having ridden this distance (54miles) before, I took it slow and steady. I also realized it was getting hot and that if I wanted to finish in good shape, I better take it slow. I chugged up the hills, pushed little on the downhills, and tried to maintain a steady pace on the flats. Problem is that the course has false flats that tend to make a person work harder than I anticipated. I didn't let it bother me though, I was having a good time.
Drama showing her America pride!
Half way point, mile 27. Bottle exchange too.
I finished up the second loop about 5 minutes slower than the first, but I stopped at mile 40 to take a pee in the bushes. I passed 3 people and got passed by 2 people on the second loop, but I was feeling decent. I knew that it was getting really hot out and I felt that I was doing well nutritionally. I had two 20 oz bottles of Gatorade on the first loop along with 2 Gu's. The second loop bottle exchange had Heed and water. I took a bottle of each and had 2 more Gu's on the second loop and finished both bottles.
I pulled into T2, grabbed my shoes, grabbed my handheld water bottle and took off.

The run started OK and I tried to keep it slow. I ran the first 3 miles at about a 9-10min/mile pace and then I was really starting to feel the heat. I had passed a handful of runners, but soon realized that this wasn't sustainable.  At one of the aid stations they were talking about a few runners to needed medical attention due to the heat and one was even taken by ambulance. It was at this point I decided to take it easy and just focus on finishing. I did a run/walk combo and talked with runners that I caught up to or that caught up to me. I met several nice people, but one lady who I ran/walked with was like myself (married, 2 children, etc) and she is doing IMAZ in November and this was sort of a training run. It was at that point I had made up my mind about something that was on my mind for quite some time, but I'll  get to that in moment.
I finished up running (jogging) the last couple miles with my new friend (Dana). I wished her luck in November and let her hit the finish line alone (in case she wanted to get a finishers pic).  I saw my wife and youngest daughter shortly before the finish, so I picked up my daughter and headed for the finish line for the best finish pic ever!

You think I'll have a tan line all winter?

Now that the half iron was done, I had a decision to make. Ironman? IM Wisconsin was on the same day as this race and I knew that general entry opened the next day at 12pm. I had already planned on taking off half the day on 9/12, so the question lingered in my head all night.

So I soon realized that only hotel rooms fill up faster than Ironman general entry, so I booked 3 rooms by 9am that are near the finish. I then waited 3 more hours to sign up for the race and after filling out page after page of questions and securing my children's future in Community College, I got in!

On 9/9/12 I will line up with 2500+ other triathletes to find out if we have what it takes to endure 140.6 miles of swimming, biking, and running.  It's only 50 weeks away and I'm already nervous. Time to put up or shut up.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Square Lake Half Iron...well 68.4 actually

I'm actually getting sort of nervous about this race, more to the point, the swim. I just didn't make the time needed to feel confident about the swim and that bothers me. I waited to long to try and make time to swim.
I'm not going to dwell on it, I'll just do the best I can and see what happens. Outside of that, I'm excited about the rest of the race and I'm anxious to see how I do biking 54 miles and then running a half marathon.
So if nerves weren't enough,  this morning I get up to do a little ride on the bike trainer and notice that my rear wheel is flat. Great! Now I should tell you that last weekend I replaced the front tire, got a new tube to bring to tomorrows race, and some bike cleaning supplies. I shined her up real nice and felt good about my tire changing skills. So when I had the flat this morning I thought, "a least I got a tube already" and since I just changed the front, this should be a piece of cake. So I got started and got it changed. I set it up back on the trainer and noticed a "thumping". I did an inspection and realized the tube was pinched on the bead of the tire. So I took it off (again) and now the tube had a small hole in it. So now I'm in a wonderful mood and look sort of like the pics below.

I theeeen tried to patch the tube and after doing so I put it back on the trainer. Shortly after, it went flat again. I said "fuck it" and dropped it off at bike shop and got a new tire and tube installed by professionals. Lets just hope I don't get a flat on the bike tomorrow, otherwise my day is done. 

I haven't been updating my blog lately and to be perfectly honest, it wasn't something I thought much about. I've logged my mileage and bike time (and the occasional swim) on Dailymile.com and have been communicating with people in that format instead of the blog. It's quicker and something I can do at work after my lunch hour. My free time in the evenings has been limited lately with our oldest starting preschool and on Monday our youngest will be changing daycare providers. Our other daycare lady retired last Friday, so we've had heavy hearts lately.

So if you want to see what I'm up to more often, check out Dailymile.com.

My next post may have some big news, but I'll just leave it at that.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Ragnar Race Report

I have to admit that I wasn't terribly excited about participating in the Ragnar Relay, but now that it's over, I'm glad I did. It was truely unique experience. I also got to run the relay with my wife, so it was nice to spend some time without the kids, even if its with 4 other adults we hardly knew and we all stink.

I won't get to detailed, but I'll say that my wife and I were in Van #1 and she was runner #3 and I was runner #5. We quickly learned that this was going to be hilly and harder than either of us expected, but our fellow vanmates were great and kept the spirits high. Overall, the three legs went like this; Leg #1 - hot and hilly, Leg#2 - dark and hilly, Leg#3 - tired and hilly. Would I do it again? You bet!

Here's some pics from our 28 hours of running...

Winona MN

Leg #1

Happy to be done with the first run!


Getting a drink from Ernie and Bert. 

That's how I felt about Leg#1.

Lake Pepin at the first Van exchange.

A quick spin

During the first Ragnar Great River, this bar handed out free beers to the runners, but there was only 30 teams that year. 

My wife finishing Leg #3.

The beginning of my third leg. 

Leg #3 got more and more hilly and I was tired. 

Excited to be done!

Finish line...28 hours later.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The "Procedure" follow up...

So the day before my first triathlon of the year, I had a follow up visit to the Urologist. I haven't decided if my Urologist is a former contestant from the Bachelorette or models part time for Ralph Lauren, but he's a damn handsome man (in a non-sexual sort of way). I'm secure enough in my man-hood to say that, however, there is always a level of weirdness when one man (handsome or not) puts on latex gloves, asks the other man to pull his pants down to his ankles, and then tries to have a normal conversation about guy stuff; football, cars,  favorite beer...you know, normal guy stuff. When all the while, all I can think about is how this makes a living centered around other men's "junk". Then I asked myself (not out loud of course), "what kind of guy decided's that he's going to do this for a living?"

Below is a close representation of myself and my Urologist...guess which one I am.

Anyway, only after I hear the "snap" of the removal of his latex gloves do I wake from my "happy place" and realize that we are finished. He does however have some homework for me. He hands me 2 boxes with a small container in each. He says they are for the "samples" he wants me to bring in sometime in September. I thought that was a little cold and impersonal considering we were just getting to know each other. So after a brief discussion about the "samples" and how they use them to make sure the "procedure" worked 100%, he explained that if the "procedure" wasn't 100% effective, he'd want more samples and I'd have to get another box. Wow, now I thought he was getting a little needy and clingy and that maybe this relationship wasn't going to work out, but I'd wait to see how the first 2 samples came out (not literally, of course) before coming to any conclusions.
So now I have 2 future dates with my boxes and I thought I need make it less cold and impersonal and might as well give them each a name. So here's a few that came to mind;

Betty and Wilma? Cartoon chicks, that's a little weird.

Cagney and Lacy? chicks with handcuffs and guns...to dangerous

Thelma and Louise? Getting better, but they are two crazy chicks.

Ginger and Mary Ann! That it! and if I need another sample, I will name her Mrs. Howell. What? Age is just a number.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

100th post and Graniteman Big Lake Tri pics!

Me and my race buddy

The morning started with a 5am wake-up at the hotel. I should explain that we stayed at a hotel in St. Cloud MN which is about 25 miles from the race site. The reason for this was that our oldest daughter (Sassy) stayed at her Aunt and Uncles the entire week before and we were going to meet in St. Cloud to pick her up as it's about half way between our place and theirs. We thought it would be fun to get a room in St. Cloud, go to the race, then go back to the hotel and meet up with Sassy and have fun playing in the pool.

The night before, we drove to Big Lake MN and drove part of the bike course and checked out the parking situation. The bike course looked good; not very hilly, wide shoulders on the highway, and favorable for a bike pace PR. Then we went to the packet pick up and ate at the pasta dinner. We headed back to the hotel, played in the pool with our youngest (Drama), and then hit the sack.

Getting ready to race

My biggest little fan
Getting set up in transition on a perfect morning!

I got up at 5am, showered, got dressed, brushed the teeth, and got my bag and water bottles ready.  Then  my wife and Drama got ready. I ate a banana and a powerbar and we jumped in the truck and made our way to Big Lake. It was warm, but not hot and there was little overcast. The weather was good and the wind was calm.

I got my stuff set up in transition, body marked, and hung out for a while with my wife and Drama. Drama was having a good time watching all the people and all the attention she was getting. 

I'm the one behind the guy who's bent over...that didn't come out right.

Swim start

I'm out there somewhere

Exiting T1 with my little buddy cheering me on!
I got through the swim in 13:00 and was satisfied. My T1 time sucked, but since I didn't practice removing my wetsuit, I couldn't be mad. Besides, I was having a good time and I got to see my little buddy in T1 cheering my on.  The bike went really good, I was looking to finish in 45 minutes (15 mile course). The course followed the lakeshore on the west and north side and then after a few turns, we headed north out of town.  At about the half way point of the bike is the "lollipop" portion of the course. You basically took 3 left turns and then a right turn back towards town. At about mile 8 my time was 23 minutes. I was pushing a little on the way back, but not too hard, I didn't want to blow up on the run. I came back on the west side of the lake and knew I was under my 45 minute time goal. I unstrapped my shoes and glided into T2.  *15 miles in 43:43,  20.6 MPH avg. PR! *
T2 was pretty quick, but I started heading back out of the "Bike Out" exit when a volunteer corrected me  before I got run over. I was on a "high" from the bike and wanted to push the run. I used a short/quick leg turnover for the first few minutes as we left the park and ran along the west side of the lake. The other bikers were coming in and there was a lot of action to watch. I passed a few people in my age group and watched as the elites were coming back. I got to the turn around (11 minutes) and grabbed 2 cups of water; one I drank as I walked and the other I dumped on my head and back. I then tried to hammer it home. I passed a few more in my age group and finished the run in 22:05 (sprint tri PR!).

By the time I finished, it looked like it may rain, so I got my stuff from transition and we headed back to the hotel. Our oldest daughter, her 2 cousins, and her Aunt and Uncle met us at the hotel and we played in the pool and had a good time hanging out.

Overall, it was great weekend and I maybe I'll do this race next year...we'll see, I may have other plans.

Wondering what time the pool opens at the hotel.

Completely gassed! but thrilled about my finish time. 

I look high... must have been all the endorphins.

As you can see, it was a formal event.

Sassy jumping into the pool!

Friday, August 5, 2011

First Tri of 2011!

This is the inaugural race for Big Lake and is a new addition to a series of races that include another triathlon that took place in July and a half marathon in September. The name Graniteman comes from the area in which all the races take place, central Minnesota. The largest town in this area is St. Cloud, MN (about 30 miles from Big Lake) and is home to large deposits of granite. Quarries have operated in this area since the 1880's and thusly the city of St. Cloud is nicknamed the "Granite City". 

Well its the first of 2 triathlons this year, but the next one is the Square Lake Long Course in September and that'll be a bit more challenging. So this race is one part training for Septembers race and one part fun...mostly fun I hope.

The location of the race seems like it should be favorable for a fast race, but of course a lot of other variables come into play...weather mostly. It could be windy, rainy, hotter than the surface of the sun, or all of the above. In any case, it should be a fun course. Here's my course description for each leg;

Swim: The swim course takes place at the local beach (Lakeside park beach) which is on the southwest corner of  Big Lake...not terribly original when it comes to naming lakes, beaches, and roads (I'll get to this later) in this area I'd have to say. I guess Wet Lake and Sandy Beach were taken. Anyway, It's a triangular course which will have us starting on the right side of the beach and angling out to the left and making one turn and coming back towards the left side of the beach.
The swim distance is .33 mile, 531 meters, or 580 yards, depends on which one you prefer. In any case, I'm just hoping to kick and flail my way through without incident.

Bike: After I entered the bike course route into Map My Ride, it appears that its very flat and should be fast. Other than that, I have nothing to go on until tonight when I drive the course. I'm actually feeling pretty good about the bike this year as I've already spent more time in the saddle than I did last year in prep for my Olympic tri. If conditions are decent, I think I can surpass my overall bike pace PR.

Run: The run course is a 5K and is also flat and fast and takes place on Lakeshore Ave (Again...not a very original name, but at least I won't forget where I'm at). I've done a few brick workouts and all have gone very well and the last two I've done have been sans socks.  I haven't done a tri since last September, but I feel my fitness level is in a good place and I plan on pushing as hard as I can at this point.

So there you have it, my Graniteman Big Lake Triathlon preview. Next post will be my race report.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Finally...A Parade!

The end of June and beginning of July has been kind of a tough month for our household.  Here's a bullet point rundown;
  • June 24 - The "procedure" kept me outta commission for about a week. 
  • July 2nd - Oldest daughter gets sick while 90 miles from home and throws up.  To make it worse, she threw up all over me and I didn't have any spare clothes.  Yuck. * missed parade #1 *
  • She gets a temp of 105 Sunday morning and goes to Urgent Care. 
  • She doesn't lose the temp until Thursday July 7th and doesn't go back to daycare until the next day. 
  • Friday July 8th, my youngest gets a temp and we repeat the same s**t for another 5 days. * missed parade #2 * 
  • Both kids test negative for strep throat and we're told its viral and it has to run its course...great. 
  •  During the 10 days of continuous illness, my wife and I work half days at work so one of can be home with the sick one. During this time, no runs or workouts for either of us. 
  • As of July 22nd, the illness's have seemed to go away (although the youngest seems to be teething, so she's a little crabby). OH BUT WAIT! my wife and I get a call at work and the oldest had a temp. 
  • She spikes a temp of 104 again on friday night and she throws up twice. We give her a cool bath, some medicine, and the wife and I are on Def Con 5 again all night.  
  • Saturday July 23rd, the oldest takes a 6 hour nap and sweats out the fever. 2:30pm, she is fever free!
  • Sunday July 24th, we go to a PARADE! 

Anyway, after a long few weeks of little sleep and no training, Half Iron training has resumed. A few weeks off hasn't been bad and in reality, it was probably needed. 
Next weekend I have my first tri of the year, a sprint in Big Lake, MN. 

Graniteman Big Lake Triathlon -  August 6, 2011 - Big Lake, MN

It's a 1/3 mile swim, 15 mile bike, and a 5K Run. It should be fun and I'm going into it with zero expectations. This is the first year of this event, so there are no finish times or race reports to rely on to gauge the course. The race director posted the course maps just last week, so there may be a few hiccups with the overall event, but it should still fun.
My wife and I decided to make a weekend out of the whole thing. We took off work on Friday and will be staying at a hotel and then the race will be Saturday morning. Then we'll go back to the hotel, relax, and let the kids play in the pool. Since we haven't been able to camp since Memorial Day, this may be our "vacation" this summer. Oh well, at least the kids are feeling better and we get to have a fun weekend.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Run like hell...literally.

Maybe I'm a wimp, maybe its age, or maybe it's just that damn hot, but I haven't been able to bring myself to run outside this week. In fact, the last "training" related activity that's been outdoor was a 15 mile bike ride last Saturday and I was sweating like a whore in church!

We did however have a fun family day at the lake last Sunday morning. The lake is spring fed so the water is almost always cool, which was much needed as the temp was in the high 90's, but felt like it was 100+! We ate lunch and jumped back in the water for another 30 minutes and then headed home to nap and get out of the oppressive heat.

So I've been trying to get into a "training" rhythm as my next couple of races quickly approaches. I've been consistently inconsistent lately with regards to swimming, biking, and running and it's got me feeling a little lost. I got into such a groove "training' for Grandma's Marathon that I knew weeks in advance what my training was going to be and when I was going to do it, but triathlons are different and require more planning. You'd think by now that I'd have this tri training down, but with two spirited children and a wife who's also "training" for the Ragnar Relay it get tough to fit it all in. I plan on sitting down and hammering out a tentative training schedule from now until my half iron on 9/11/11. I've said before that the rest of this years races are just for fun, but they still require a certain amount of training so you don't kill yourself. So it's a fine line between adequately training so you can still have fun and not training adequately and having a long painful day.
Anyway, I plan on getting some time on the bike trainer a few mornings during the week and mixed with a few bricks as the half iron gets closer. Then I'll do either a tempo run, speedwork, or weights/core workout during my lunch hour. Swimming gets a little trickier. I can swim at the local school on Satuday mornings from 8am-9am, but the rest of the week is hit and miss. I'll try and sneak to the same said school for lap swimming either Monday or Wednesday night from 8pm-9pm, but with kids that can be hard. I could also go to a local lake (we have 10,000 of them after all), but without a "swim buddy" that's not the smartest thing in the world.

Anyway, I'll get it all figured out eventually and if not, I'll have fun trying.