Sunday, April 29, 2012

Packing For Ironman

With Ironman only 6 days away and Jen and I jumping in the car Tuesday early morning I figured it was time to get all my stuff gathered up. I would hate to find out late Monday night that I'm missing a key piece of equipment for my race. As you can see Ironman requires an ass load of gear so it is very easy to forget stuff. I have a checklist that I've developed over the years of all the stuff that I need. Year to year the list never seems to shrink though. Before I finally say I'm officially packed I will have my stuff in and out of my bag no short of a dozen times because I worry about forget something important. I'm not sure what unpacking and repacking my bag really is good for beyond and opportunity to lose stuff but it makes me feel better and I guess that is enough. :)

Junk Jubilee

Today after partying all night at the Kasper wedding Jen and I jumped in the car to head to Des Moines for the Junk Jubilee. Jen has been working on growing her sign business and is down here to talk to the woman who puts the show on so she can try and get into the Christmas version of this show in the fall. Looking around her work would fit very well with style of the show and I'm sure she would make a killing over the course of a two day event. If she does get in she is going to be very busy trying to keep up with her current work plus make stock for the show but it would be great for her business. Heck soon enough maybe I can retire, we can move to Door County and run a little shop in Fish Creek. Sounds like a good plan too me.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fun Wedding

Jen and I just got home from the wedding and had a great time. Apparently my positive attitude paid off because no one got into a fight that I got blamed for. We did get to do a lot of dancing and at one point the groom and I had a dance off and started a dance circle. As you can see Jen got to dress up in a really cute dress and I got to wear my suit so it was just an all around good night. It was nice to be able to get out and have some adult fun and even better to attend a wedding that didn't include a ton of drama. :)

Kasper Wedding

Tonight Jen and I are in town for the David and Erin Kasper wedding. Been a long time since we've been to a wedding but I would like to assure everyone out there that I'm thinking positive thoughts in an effort to prevent other people from fighting. In all seriousness the wedding was one of the nicest I've been too and the bride and groom looked so happy. Were at the reception now and the groom promised to have a dance off with me sometime tonight so that should be fun.

Clancey's Soccer Pictures

Here are Clancey's soccer pictures for the year.

Marshall's Soccer Picture

Here are Marshall's official soccer pictures for the year.

One Week Until St. George

In exactly one week I'm headed out to St. George, Utah to compete in my fourth Ironman triathlon.  Given the race is 1500 miles away I'm assuming that not many people are going to make the trek out to St. George to see me race but that doesn't mean you can't cheer me on.  In years past I've used the "My Athlete" race tracker so people can see my progress but this year I'm going to try something new, I'm using Google Latitude.  If we are friends on Latitude, yes mema and papa we are, you can just click on the map on the side of my blog and it will take you too a more interactive map where you can see way better.  Since I won't be wearing it in the swim you won't see it start updating until about 8:45am when I get on to the bike.  I wasn't able to figure out how to get overlays to work on the map above but I have did post a course map so you can get some idea of where I'm at on the course.  One nice part is that I will have my phone so feel free to text me good luck messages throughout the day and I will try my best to update my blog when the opportunity presents itself.

The swim is a one lap swim at SandHallow Reservoir which I'm told is one of the most picturesque settings in all of Ironman.  The swim is going to be a cold one though.  Right now they list the water tempurate at 59 degrees and only expect it to be in the low 60's on race day.  I have a full wetsuit, thermal skull cap, ear plugs, and thermal booties to combat the bitter cold water.  I don't want to be one of the people they pull out of the water with hypothermia or for that matter one that doesn't make the cut.  The swim here is also unique in that it is held 19 miles from the finish line.  At 4:30am the athlete's load onto buses for the trip to the start line.  The spectators aren't allowed on these buses but have their own they can take at 5:30am if they want to go see the swim start.  Jen and I aren't sure what the plan is for race morning but it's possible, given the layout of the course, that Jen won't see me for the first time until I get off the bike mid afternoon in St. George.

The bike course, just like Wisconsin, is a two loop course and is one of the toughest bike courses on the Ironman circuit.  Each loop includes a 25 mile steady uphill climb capped off by a climb up the "Veyo Wall".  This is a 12% grade one mile long climb into the city of Veyo and looks to be the toughest climb I'll have ever done on my bike.  I guess the nice part is after climbing up hill for 25 miles you do get a 17 mile down hill but the word is there is almost always a headwind on the downhill portion so it's not as easy as you would think.  While it may be one of the toughest bikes courses in Ironman apparently it is also the most scenic as well.  Given I'll probably really be suffering on my second lap I better take in all the scenery on the first lap.  I'm gathering that about mile 70-80 I'm going to start to really suffer on the bike and it will take all my drive to finish those last 30-40 miles to the bike/run transition.

Finally once I finish the bike I'll move on to the run which is a 3 loop 26.2 mile endevour through downtown St. George.  They did change the run course for this year to make it a bit easier then it was in past years.  It used to be an out and back course that was up hill for half and down hill for half.  The new course is very flat and spectator friendly.  So hopefully Jen will get a lot of opportunities to see me while I run around downtown St. George.  Just as in years past I have full confidence that the run will be a sufferfest.  Every year I've done Ironman about mile 13 I start to fight cramps and blisters and fight them for the next few hours while I walk/run the last 13 miles of the run.

For those who do track me online keep in mind that St. George is one hour behind central time so the race will start at 7:00am Mountain Time and 8:00am Central Time.  Also Jen will be updating my blog and Facebook throughout the day with my progress.  I am also planning to make blog and Facebook updates from time to time so be sure to keep an eye on my blog throughout the day.

7:00 am -----------Race Start:
8:40-8:50 am ------Swim Completion/T1
8:50-9:00 am ------Bike Start/Start of tracking
12:15-12:45 pm ---Halfway Bike/Blog Update
4:00-4:30 pm ------Bike Completion/T2
4:30-4:45 pm ------Run Start
7:00-7:30 pm ------Halfway Run/Blog Update
9:30-10:00 pm------Race Finish

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Marshall's Last Soccer Game

Tonight, here in Clarence, Marshall played his last soccer game against a Mechanicsville team. It was nice to not have to drive all the way to Tipton for our soccer game tonight and only have to drive 2 minutes to the park. Marshall played a great game tonight he got right in their and made a lot of good plays. Tonight after we got home both the kids begged to watch the Disney vacation planning video and of course begged for us to plan a Disney vacation. I'm thinking next summer we will make a plan to take a trip to Florida for the trip every family has to take a least once.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Soccer Night

Tonight is soccer for the boys and we have a double header down in Tipton. Right now we are watching Clancey and team play until 6:30 and then we will be on to Marshall's game until 7:45. When we have these double headers it makes for a long night but they sure seem to be having fun. As a side note all the kids have decided that falling on the ground is pretty fun so most times down the field half the kids find a reason to fall down.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Boys Playing In the Pool

Clancey wanted to show papa how he could jump in the pool like a big boy.  The first jump he went all the way under the water but after that I think he lost his nerve a little bit.  That's alright though he did it the first time and that's what I'm proud of. Marshall on the other hand is becoming quite the little fish.  Jumping and swimming like and old pro.  Hopefully this summer he passes his first year of swim lessons and can move on to the next level.

Pool Day

After a couple week lay off we finally made it back to the pool. Keeping with the ways things have been going for me this weekend I managed to forget my swim suit so I am relegated to sitting and watching. I went to all the work of packing a swim suit had then left it sitting on the dining room table in my bag. Well if nothing else it gave me a chance to blog about the fun that Jen and the boys are having. When poor Jen got in the pool I thought she was going to turn blue because she said the water was so cold but she seems to be getting used to it now. The boys on the other hand would probably swim in a dirty pond with ice in it if it meant they got to go swim. I am thinking that after all this swimming in the winter we've been doing swim lessons should go really good this summer.

Cracked My Bumper

Yesterday on my trip the boys we were leaving Best Buy and Clancey was kind of acting up in the backseat. I turned around to see what the problem was but neglected to actually stop the car in the process. All of the sudden the car bangs into something and I come to an abrupt stop. I look in my rear view mirror and realize that I ran into a pole. Of course there was somebody in the parking lot that saw the whole thing happen and I suspect was having quite a good chuckle to themselves. I got out of the car went around to check the damage and realized it wasn't too bad, I put a small crack in my bumper but that was about it. Next time I decide to stop paying attention while I'm in the car I'm going to make sure I stop the car. Between the hail damage in this crack in my bumper my car is becoming quite the beater at this point.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


We ended having to go to two different bowling alleys but we did finally manage to find one that was open. The boys both had a good time up until the very end when Clancey started to act up but that's nothing new. Both the boys managed to get a couple spares and Marshall even bowled a strike, I'm pretty sure it was his first one ever. Now were headed home and I think I'm going to jump on my bike for a 50 mile ride while I watch The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Lunch At Panchero's

The boys and I decided to run into Cedar Rapids today when Jen got home to get some lunch at Panchero's. The boys also want to go over to the bowling alley to play a few games once we are done with lunch. Its been a long time since we've been bowling so it should be a good time. It makes it nice these days since they have gutter guards which means the boys will hit pins every time. In fact I kind of have to worry that they don't beat me.

Boys Playing Together

This morning Jen got up early to head down to Kathy's, which left me in the boys to fend for ourselves. I decided to use the time to relax in bed and surf the web on my tablet but the boys want to get up and play. Normally what that means for me is about 10 minutes of relaxation before I have to get up to referee a fight, this morning though, the boys have been playing good together and just having fun. It works out well, Jen gets to go visit her friends to get refreshed a little bit, while I get to do some relaxing and the boys play, all in all I would call it a good morning. At some point today I have to ride my bike for a couple hours but I may take the boys on a on a trip to Cedar Rapids before I do that for some quesadillas and ice cream. That way Jen can get a little more time to herself to get caught up on sign painting and the boys and I can spend a little time together.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Harley and I

After I took off from work early today I had to head to the office to do a little more work. As I was sitting at my desk Harley decided to jump up and sit on my lap. Well that seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a picture of me and him together. While I was not a big fan of getting a dog first he has grown on me and, I have to say, I've become quite fond of him. Just don't let the word get out because I have an reputation to uphold. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Truck Going Away

If you are a regular follower of my blog you are aware that a few weeks ago we had a really bad hail storm come through Clarence and do major damage to all of our vehicles, except for my Camaro.  As a result of this the insurance company came back with a bunch of quotes to fix all of our vehicles.  Since the truck was so old and had so many miles on it they decided that they would just total it.  We had the option to buy it back but decided that we have had so many issues with it over the past few years and since they were offering more then we could ever hope to get out of it we decided to go ahead and just let them take it.  It's been sitting here all week but tomorrow they are finally coming to get it and the first new vehicle I ever bought is going to go away.  While I won't be sad to not have to deal with all of it's issues anymore I will be sad because of all the fond memories I have in the truck.  I got the truck the summer Jen and I started dating so it has been a staple of our lives for our whole relationship.  Although there is one interesting side note to this story, once the truck goes away Jen and I will only own manual transmission cars.  I'm sure we a probably one of the few American families that can say that.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Papa's New Car

So today mema and papa came over to Marshall's soccer game and without telling anyone they pulled up in their new Challenger. Papa has been pining for one of these for a long time and today he finally pulled the trigger and bought one. Now he wasn't able to get the manual transmission one, since mema isn't a stick driver, but the one he got is pretty awesome. I guess retirement does have its privileges.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lunch At Fazoli's

After we dropped the car off we headed in to Cedar Rapids to run some errands and have some lunch. Its been years since we've been to Fazoli's and I'm not sure the kids have ever been here so we decided to stop in. Its as good as I remember from my ready mix days.

Car At The Body Shop

This morning after we got up and around we headed over to Fairfax to drop Jen's car off to get fixed from the big hail storm a couple weeks ago. We were kind of concerned that we were going to get a repeat performance last night because some pretty severe storms came through Iowa. We did luck out this time because all the storms broke up before they got to Clarence which is good because we already got our crappy weather once. Apparently this place that we took the car is one of the best, I guess we will see in a couple days. At some point this week they are going to come get the truck because we totalled it which will be kind of sad. I'll be sure to take a picture and blog when it leaves.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Papa's Birthday Party

Today we all hopped in the car and headed over to Ames to take papa out for his birthday. Since yesterday Clancey has been excited to get to see papa so he was pretty stoked when we got here. We thought about going over to the spring football game after by decided to head home so I could get my rehearsal swim in today. Makes for a fun afternoon to stare at the black line on the bottom of the pool for 2 hours.


With only three weeks to go until Ironman St. George they released the athletes guide and assigned bib numbers,  as you can see from my blog entry title I'm #830.  It is when they finally assign the race numbers that you start to realize this thing is real and the nerves start to kick in in high gear.  I'm sure most nights are going to be plagued with Ironman nightmares for the next three weeks worrying about various things from bike break downs to not making it to the start line on time.  I've been doing some research online and found that this race has 7 rated climbs on the bike course, five Cat 5 climbs and two Cat 4 climbs.  Compare that to the two rated climbs on the Ironman Wisconsin course and you have one damn hard race.  I'm thinking that all the time on the bike is going to pay off now, it will be tough but I feel like I've put the work in to be able to push through.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Fun Afternoon

After our awesome Easter dinner it was time for a nap on the couch. I didn't really mean for it to turn into a nap, I just meant to relax but it didn't take long before I was fast asleep. About an hour and a half into my nap harley decided to jump on me and start licking my face that is when I decided it was time to get up. The plan for the afternoon was for us all to head out to the park so Marshall and I could train for our upcoming events. Marshall ended up running right around 2 miles and I got in a good 7 mile run. Once we were done at the park we headed home relaxed on the porch for a bit before we decided to walk down to the ice cream shop to get some treats. As you can see clancy got an ice cream cone that was nearly as big as he is. I do have to say that he got darn close to eating whole thing to, and that was after he ate nearly a whole chocolate bunny! I'm thinking the plan for the rest of the night is to just lay on the couch and rest, maybe watch a movie or two.

Easter Dinner

Today after having an Easter Egg hunt an church in the morning we had a great dinner. Jen picked up a ham at Target the other day and cooked it up for the family. Its been a while since we had a big family dinner at our house so it tasted darn good. On a side note it sure was nice to have an Easter Day without some kind of drama. For the past few years our Easter plans have fallen apart because of family fighting. This is the first year in a long time that we just got to have fun and enjoy our holiday.

Easter Morning

After a hard day of training yesterday I kind of had it in my head that I was going to sleep in a little this morning but, alas, it is a holiday morning so no dice.  Any chance I had of the kids sleeping in was totally ruined at 6:30 when the church across the street decided to start ringing their bells to alert us to the fact it's Easter Morning.  I'm not sure that kids were still asleep anyways so I guess it wasn't that big of deal.  First thing when I got down the stairs I was greeted by the big baskets that the Easter Bunny had left for the boys right inside the door.
By the time I managed to track down the boys the hunt was already on and they were both nearly done.  It's amazing how much work the Easter Bunny goes to in filling all the eggs and hiding them and how little time it takes the kids to find them all.  With a new dog the Easter Bunny was smart and put the eggs up high so we didn't have a dog that was all chocolate filled by morning.
The Easter Bunny left some pretty awesome stuff for the boys.  Each of them got a new set of goggles and some new pajama's along with about a pound of candy each.
I think this picture just captures the morning at it's best.  What better day to a kid then one where you get presents and a pile of candy.  While it may not rank up there with Christmas Day in kid world it still ranks right up there simply because of all the candy.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Lunch At Wildwood

With Jen having another fund raising event we got kicked out of the house for this afternoon. Well what better place to go have lunch then at Wildwood smokehouse, the ultimate man place. I brought Jen there one time and she noticed that they didn't serve any lettuce products on the whole menu except coleslaw so she wasn't the biggest fan. That means that we have to save it for when its boys only which today was. Just like last time the meal was awesome and very meat filled. Now the rest of the afternoon can be spent laying on the couch.

4 Weeks Until Ironman St. George

This just 4 weeks or 28 shorts days at this time I will be about an hour into the 4 Ironman race.  I know I've said this before but this is known as the hardest Ironman distance race in North America and certainly one of the toughest in the world.  My training has been going pretty well and I feel like I ready and especially for the biking. The course opens with a 2.4 mile swim in 55-60 degree water which is some of the coldest water I have ever swam in.  Once you get done there you move onto the bike course where it is know for being windy and very hilly.  In fact there are two stretches that you have to bike up hill for more then 25 miles.  Finally you do get some reprieve on the run course as they have changed it this year and it is mostly flat in town run.  Last year I feel like I may have looked past Ironman Louisville a little bit and didn't have the focus on the race like I should.  Well IMSG is not a race you can do that with and I'm certainly taking the race seriously this year.  Speaking of that I better get my biking stuff on and head down to the pain cave for 4 hours of fun on the bike.

Clancey's Preschool Picture

Here is Clancey's first school picture, in preschool they don't take individual pictures just a group picture.  As you can see Clancey is the most handsome kid in the class, one wonders how two trolls like Jen and I can have such a good looking kid ;), and if you ask him the girl in the picture is one of the six girlfriends he claims to have.  If you recall Clancey is in both the 3 and 4 year old classes and this picture is with the 4 year old class since is spends more days with them.  All of these kids will be headed off to kindergarten next year and Clancey has one more year of preschool left.

Marshall Spring School Picture

When we look at this picture it's hard to believe how old Marshall is getting and how fast he is growing up.  Heck I was telling Jen just the other day that we only have 10 more years until we send him off to college and that is assuming he doesn't skip any grades.

Friday, April 06, 2012

On My Way Home

Here I am at a rest area just south of Owattana, Minnesota on my way back to Clarence. It's going to be a long trip I still have 4 hours to go. I guess it will give me plenty of time to listen to podcasts and belt out some taylor swift while I drive down the road. I'm thinking I will stop to get some supper in about 2 more hours.

Gear West

Well after spending the whole day driving I finally made it to Gear West to get my new wetsuit. I had never tried on a full wetsuit before so I didn't know how damn hard they were to get on. In fact by the time I was done getting it on I managed to sweat all over the whole wetsuit. I thought maybe it may be too tight but the guy assured me that it was fine and that is how they fit. This is a freaking awesome store and I wish we had one near us. I could see myself spending a lot of money at a place like this. Well now that I have this taken care of I'm ready for my race in St George. I have a few more things I need but I can get those in Cedar Rapids and most of it can wait until my next Ironman in Wisconsin. Now its time to jump back in the car a make the 5.5 hour trip back home. Going to be a late night for me.

On My Way To Gear West

Here I am on my way up the interstate headed to Gear West to get my new for Ironman St George coming up in 29 days. On the way I'm stopping to meet up with my sister did lunch which should be fun. Street that it's on to the cities and a visit to the greatest triathlon store in the Midwest to hang with some of the other masters of the universe.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Mema and Papa's House

For a while I've needed to get a full sleeve wetsuit for my race in Utah coming up in a mere 30 days. While I do have a wetsuit, it is sleeveless and in 56 degree water I would risk going hypothermic in the 1:45 that I expect to swim. I told Jen that I was going to take the day off tomorrow and drive up to Gear West in Minneapolis to go try wetsuits on and get one bought. Since the boys have the day off Jen mentioned that I should take the kids with so she can catch up on painting. Well I thought about it and compromised with her and said I would take the kids to mema and papa's house and they could bring them back home on Saturday when they come over for Easter Dinner. So tonight after work I loaded the kids in the car and we headed out across the state. Clancey slept the whole way which made for a pretty easy and uneventful trip to Thor. As you can see the second we got here Clancey jumped right into papa's arms and was happy as a clam.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Clancey's Soccer Debut

Tonight was Clancey's big soccer debut as you can see from the picture above he was pretty excited to finally get to play in a game.  While Marshall has participated in a lot of sports we are thinking Clancey will probably be more of the athlete in the family or at least the one who plays team sports.  I think Marshall's destiny is to be a great distance runner, like his dad.  
Clancey did pretty good playing in the game.  He's not as aggressive as I thought he would be but this is his first game and he is just getting the hang of it.  As you can see though he did see plenty of action in the the game.  It was pretty fun to watch him play and we are excited to see how much better he gets as the season plays out.

Marshall also had his first soccer game of the year tonight as well.  I don't have any pictures of his game because the field they played on was way bigger and by the time the game got going there wasn't as much light as for Clancey's.  From what we can tell this year the game is getting a bit more serious.  While they don't keep score yet they have actual referee's that call the game and the other teams seem to understand the game.  There were some pretty good players on the other team and they kick the heck out of the ball.  In fact Marshall told me tonight that he's not sure he is going to sign up for any sports next year because they are starting to get really rough.  We'll see how it plays out.  We aren't going to force him to do sports he doesn't want to do but we are going to make sure he participates in some kind of sport every year.  If that means he runs 5k or track that is fine but just something to get him out of his comfort zone and competing.  

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Sunday Update

Today we really didn't do anything that really was worthy of a blog entry but I thought I better put one up for mema and papa.  Being we didn't get done with the trivia night until really late last night and then the hail storm kept us up even later we decided to let the boys sleep in, instead of making them go to Sunday school.  In fact pretty much the whole family decided to sleep in and I don't think we crawled out of bed until after 8am this morning.  Last night we did have a break through night in that Harley slept on his bed all night and didn't attempt to crawl into bed with Jen and I.

This morning it was light enough for us to assess the damage to our vehicles and they were pretty bad.  My poor car has huge dents all over it so it will be headed to the body shop shortly after our insurance assessor comes to let us know how much they will give us.  Jen's car wasn't as bad as mine but it still had quite a bit of damage on it too so it will be the same story for her as well.  While the truck did get damaged we probably aren't going to file a claim against it.  There seems to be no reason to make our insurance go up even more for a truck with over 160,000 miles on it.

This afternoon we did our Sunday ritual and headed down to the pool for some fun.  This time there were no severe toe injuries to report just an hour of swimming followed by ice cream at the ice cream shop down the block.  After a long weekend it was early baths and bed for the boys so Jen and I could get a little time to decompress before the week starts a new tomorrow.