Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lazy Sunday

With it being the first rainy day of the summer Sunday kind of turned into a really lazy day.  Ironman is only two weeks away at this point so I my training has significantly dropped off meaning I don't need to spend 3-5 hours on my bike each weekend day now.  Jen had an event she needed to go to at her friend Kathy's which meant the boys and I were free to do whatever we wanted.  My original plan had been to take the boys out to lunch and then go for a game of golf somewhere.  Well with the rain that idea was kind of shot.  Instead the boys and I went over to Dairy Queen to get some lunch and then headed home and just kind of relaxed the rest of the afternoon.  I ended up napping for most of the afternoon in my chair while the boys played with there Legos in the den.  Not a very productive Sunday but certainly a relaxing one and certainly required far less energy then my Sunday is going to require in two weeks!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mike and Michelle Visit

This morning after sleeping in for a bit I got up and did a 45 mile bike ride at a pretty easy pace.  When I left I was thinking that it was the perfect day for a ride sun was shining, not too hot and I thought there was no wind.  Well I got about 10 miles into my ride when I realized that not only was there wind but it was gusting pretty good.  For those of you out there that don't bike there are two things that make biking absolutely miserable the cold and wind.  Well today it wasn't cold but it was quite windy and being I'm not fully recovered yet from my half Ironman last weekend it was a pretty tough ride for me.  I'm sure glad today was a maintenance ride and not a real ride because I'm not sure I could have maintained a pace much faster. 
When I got home from my ride Mike and Michelle were here to visit for the day.  It had been quite a while since we've seen them last and I don't believe they ever met Harley before so it seemed like a good time for a visit.  We spent most of the day hanging out and visiting and in the process Mike managed to convince Jen that she needs an Ipad.  They left right about 6:00pm to head home since Michelle had some work she needed to finish up tomorrow.  Even though they weren't able to stay that long it was a good visit and it was great to see them. 

Training Days Winding Down

As of I'm only 15 days away from Ironman Wisconsin and my training days are coming to a close. Hard to believe I officially started training last October right before I headed to Sweden for a week and now its September and my big race is just two short weeks away. This year, while I still don't believe I train as much as I really should be, I feel like I'm probably in the best shape I've ever been in for an Ironman. My weight is down, my endurance is up and my confidence is high. Next week is going to be my official last week of training, I always take all of race week off to heal and rest up for the race. I cant wait for race day to get here because in am going to enjoy ever minute of it, expect for possibly the last 20 miles on the bike and about 10 miles of the run. ;)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First Day Of School


Today, after what seemed like the shortest summer ever, was the first day of school at North Cedar.  While Clancey went to Preschool last year this was his first day of school at the big school in Pre-K.  Pre-K is different from Preschool in that the kids get to ride the bus, go to the same building as the "big kids" and they go all day.  Let me tell you I'm not sure there was a kid more excited for school then Clancey was this morning.
Just look at that kids big grin.  In fact this morning he was up at 6am well before his brother to get his clothes on and get everyone else up so we wouldn't be late for the big day.


Marshall was not quite as exited to be headed off to school this morning.  It's not that he didn't want to go to school its just that summer was so nice and the older you get the more you enjoy your time off. 

When we got up to the school Clancey marched around like he had been to school a billion times before.  Some of the other kids looked a bit scared and didn't really look like they want to get on the school bus and leave their parents behind.  Not Clancey, in fact I couldn't believe how confidently he fell into line and marched right onto the bus.  When he was on the bus he was grinning ear to ear and was waving to all of us that had gone up to the school to see him off.  I do have mention that Jen did a lot better then I thought she would do.  I didn't see any tears shed while the bus drove off with her last baby.  Although they may have come later while she walked home with mema and papa.

When both of the boys got home they both said they had a great day at school.  Clancey told Jen that he didn't want to leave.  Tomorrow will be the first full day of school for Clancey since they got out early today so we will see how that goes.  I"m sure it will go alright but Clancey may be a bit tired when he finally does get home.  I quite happy that both the boys are so excited for school and do so well.  It sure makes it easier as a parent to send them off when they are looking forward to going.  I'm sure we will have some rough days but if they are mostly like this it will be great!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Harley Runs The House

I think we have a problem here this dog is starting to run the house.  I remember when we first got the dog we weren't going to let him on the furniture and he was going to sleep at night in his kennel.  As you can see he clearly is allowed to be on the furniture now and at night not only does Harley not sleep in his cage he sleeps in our bed under the covers with us.  Clearly I have lost control of my own home and the dog is now in charge.  I'm thinking at a minimum it may be time to get Harley to sleep on his little dog bed in the bedroom as opposed to under the covers in the bed with us!

School Drop Off Day

Tonight was the big school drop off day in preparation for school to start on Wednesday.  Unlike when we were all kids, today kids need to bring tons of stuff to school resulting in a drop off day so the kids don't have to drag all that stuff with them on the first day.  It is also nice because it gives the kids a chance to see their classroom and for the parents to meet the teachers before school gets kicked off.  Since Marshall is with Mema and Papa in Duluth he wasn't able to be there tonight but Clancey got to go which was good.  I'm not sure it is possible for a kid to be more excited then Clancey is for the first day of school.  He has been talking about it endlessly for the past month and has even gotten up early and ready to go to school only to be disappointed to find out it wasn't the day to go yet.  Finally on Wednesday is the day and I'm certain he will be up at 6:00am, get himself ready and be begging to go by 6:30.  I'll be sure to post pictures and updates about the first day of school and possibly the tearful picture of Jen as the school bus drives away with her baby.

Great Race Yesterday

Yesterday at the Pigman I ended up having a spectacular race and got a new PR for the distance. It started out with a 49 minute swim which is slow but given the amount of training I do on the swim about all I should really expect.  I'm thinking this winter that I need to spend a lot of time working on my swim technique so I can come out of the water in a better time at Ironman next year.  Given the fact that the race started in wave and I was in the second to last wave I was nearly the last one out of the water.  I think when I exited the water there were probably less then 10 people in the water still.  I decided that I wasn't going to be that far back in the field and when I got on my bike I hammered it.  For the 2:45 that I rode, a new Half Iron Distance Bike PR, I didn't get passed by anybody and probably passed around 150 people on the bike.  My plan was to hammer it on the bike as hard as I could and see how much I had left for the run.  At the beginning of the run I fought some cramps in my lower quads for about 2 miles before they finally relaxed.  I never had to stop but they kept tightening up every time I took a step.  Once I got over the cramps the run felt good up until about 9.5 miles and then I hit the brick wall.  9.5 is right at the bottom of a big hill and by that point my legs where trashed so I had to do a walk run for the rest of the way.  I ran a 2:02 so missed my run PR by about 8 minutes but I can't complain all in all it was a great race for me and built my confidence for Ironman.  Overall my final time was 5:46 and it felt great.  I'm not going to say the race didn't hurt but I also was pushing hard the whole race and didn't really have anything left at the end.  Ironman day I'm going to certainly hold back so I know that I will be able to finish.  Some day I may have enough confidence to actually race an Ironman but right now I"m still at the point that it's about finishing. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pigman Triathlon

Here I am at pigman triathlon, my transition is set up and I'm ready to go. A little chilly right now but it should warm up by the time I'm out of the water and on my bike. Now I have to sit around and wait until 8 when I start...fun, fun.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dinner At Granite City

After grandma's party we left Marshall with mema and papa because they were going to take him to Duluth for the weekend which meant we were shy one kid. Clancey was missing Marshall so we thought we would take him out to dinner to cheer him up a bit. Clancey has been right by his brothers side from the minute he was born so it is hard on him when Marshall isn't around. As you can see he cheered up pretty quickly having mom and dad time all to himself for once.

Race Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I have to be up bright and early to head off to the Pigman Half Ironman triathlon. Doing this race was kind of a last minute decision but since I had to have another long training weekend it seemed like it would be funner to do then spend the day on the roads by myself. I haven't really tapered much this week in preparation for the race so I'm not entirely sure how it is going to go. Been over a year since I've done my last half and a couple months since I did my last triathlon so it will feel good to get out and race again. Half Ironman distance is probably my favorite distance since it is long enough you don't have to be red lined the whole time still short enough to be able to race. My goal is 5:30 which would be a PR but given where im at right now it should be achievable if i race smart. I'll have latitude on for those who want to follow my progress and I will blog before and after the race.

Grandma Eula's Birthday Party

We spent another full day on the road today trekking over to Churdan for Grandma Eula's birthday party. It was just a small family gathering held at the local community center where we could all chat and have some lunch. Its not all that often that Jen gets to see some of her cousins so it was nice for them to be able to catch up on things that happened over the last year. We weren't able to stay as long as we would have liked to since I had to get back to Cedar Rapids and pick up my race packet for my big race tomorrow but what time we did spend we enjoyed.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Leaving The Fair

After a long day of walking around the fair we are done for the day. Just like every year we didn't see everything but we saw a whole bunch of stuff. We ended having a really good time and left wanting more. Now that we have left the fair Christmas is officially around the corner.

Clancey Getting Cy Tattoo

I just isn't a fair without getting a Cy tattoo in the varied industries building. Clancey got his on his face and I got mine right on my Ironman tattoo.

Having Fun

Were slowly working our way around the fair and having a great time. Been to the barns and now we are headed for the slide.

Bus To The Fair

Were on the bus to the fair and ready for a fun day. The boys are both eagerly planning what they want to do today but first on the agenda is get something to eat.

Headed To The State Fair

We are all on the road headed for our annual trip to the start fair. This year there was some doubt if we would actually make it to the state fair because we just got back from vacation and I hate to miss this much work. I decided though that there really isn't anything pressing that needs done so we really needed to go for the kids. Nothing like walking around the fair all day and eating bad food two days before a half Ironman, its only a 6 hour race so i should be fine. ;-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

25 Days Until Ironman

As of today I'm officially 25 days away from my second Ironman of the year and I'm feeling excited and confident for the race.  I know I've said this multiple times before on my blog but my running and especially my biking have significantly improved from last years race in Louisville.  I've had multiple people comment to me that I've lost weight and I'm looking very fit.  Assuming nothing out of my control happens, crazy weather, mechanical failure, etc, this race should go very well for me.  As a bonus I'm going to have my first full cheering section this year, like almost all the other races have, so I'm pretty excited about that. 

This weekend I signed up to do the Pigman half Ironman on Sunday as my last real big training weekend before I spend the next few weeks in a slow taper.  I debated whether I should do the race or not but I decided since I haven't raced that many times this year and it will force me to actually do the running brick after the bike that it would be a good idea.  Plus as a bonus the race has aid stations so I won't have to stop halfway through at gas stations to get more fuel.  I'm planning on having my phone with my tracker on for the race this weekend for those people who wish to follow my progress.  I'll post if I can but if the race goes well I probably won't have time too.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back Home

After two days of traveling from Beaver Island we made it home about 3:30 today.  I think I always say this but while it is good to be on vacation it is also good to get back home.  The boys both talked about Harley the whole way home so they are pretty excited to be able to go get him tomorrow afternoon.  We decided to wait until then so that Jen could run to Mt. Vernon to get Marshall some new glasses and Clancey has a home visit with the Pre-K teacher tomorrow.  Now that vacation is officially over my focus now turns to Ironman Wisconsin which is exactly 4 weeks from today.  I'm feeling pretty good about my ability to have a good race.  Both my biking and running are feeling better then they ever have before and to be honest I'm feeling pretty good about my swim as well.  Only two more weeks until I start my official taper heading into the race.

Manistique, Michigan

Last night we made it to Manistique about 8pm Eastern time. Besides some old lady trying to get into a head on collision when she decided to pass me it was a far more pleasant drive then heading through Grand Rapids and the Chicago area. Yesterday when we were on the ferry only about 5 miles from shore Marshall managed to lose his glasses over the side of the boat, forever lost in lake Michigan. It wasn't entirely his fault because Clancey bummed into him and that is when they fell off so it really was a group effort. Other then that it was a pretty uneventful trip but certainly very scenic. Today we are making the rest of the trip home and officially ending our vacation. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

On The Boat

Here we are in the boat waving goodbye to Beaver Island and heading home. Tomorrow we are back to the real world. :(

Leaving Beaver Island

After a week of vacation fun we are getting ready to leave Beaver Island for the year. We were originally scheduled to be on the 5:20 ferry to Charlevoix but we went and checked with the ferry people and we were able to get moved up to the 2:20 ferry instead. We also decided to head up and through the UP on the way home to avoid all the Chicago traffic and have a more scenic trip back home. Tonight the plan is to stay in Manistique and then make the rest of the trip tomorrow. We had such a good time we are seriously considering doing two weeks next year. Its always tough to leave the island but you have to get back to your real life at some point.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Last Round Of Golf

With today being the last day I wanted to get one more round of golf in before I had to head back to the real world.  I loaded up my clubs and headed out to the golf course and as soon as I got there Jen sent me message that Clancey really wanted to come with. He came with me yesterday and had a great time so he wanted to come again. Well I told Jen that I would head back to get him so we could spend some time together. Turns out that Clancey is my good luck charm when he comes with I play my best golf so i have no issue bringing him with. Its fun for us because we get two hours to hang out and chat. He makes fun of my bad golf and I teach him what little I know it makes for a great day. 

Last Day Of Vacation

Today was our last full day of vacation and it was a bit cool and windy. The morning was kind of a lazy morning and we just hung around the house until after lunch. After we had lunch Clancey asked if we could ride our bikes up to Daddy Frank's for some ice cream. When we got done there the boys both agreed that they wanted to go over to the school to play on the equipment and play some tetherball. We probably played for 45 minutes before we took a short bike ride out to the camp ground and then we headed home. Kind of a slow day but we still had a good time. 

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Lazy Afternoon

After the attack of the Demon Bug we figured it was best to just relax this afternoon and let Marshall recover. I ran up to the store to get him some Benadryl to help reduce the swelling and then we relaxed with a family game of Beaver Islandopoly. Turns out that I am still the king of Monopoly even with Marshall and Jen actively working together to beat me. When we got done with the game I took Clancey out to the golf course with me to play 9 holes. Clancey is a good luck charm because I played the best golf of my entire life. My first 6 holes were 5 bogeys and one par which for me is absolutely spectacular. I may have to bring Clancey with more often.

Demon Bug

When we got out to where we decided to stop and turn around, about 1.5 miles out, we stopped to have some snacks for a bit. While we were stopped Marshall was standing there telling Jen and I that he wished we could go further when this Demon Bug flew right up to his face stung him on the lip and then when he went to knock it away it stung his hand. The poor kid immediately started to cry and freak out a bit because it was quite startling to have a bug sting you out of the blue. Once we got him calmed down he toughed it out and hiked the 1.5 miles back to the car. We never did figure out what kind of bug it was hence why we have named it the "Demon Bug".

Afternoon Hike

Today we decided to go out to Protor's tomb and go on a long hike. Last year when we were at the tomb Jen noticed a hiking trail and she wanted to see where it went this year so we went to check it out. The trail was way longer then we expected we ended up hiking 1.5 miles before we decided to turn around and never did find the end of the trail. Both of the boys had a great time. We found all kinds of things to check out a lake, a sand hill, and even a tunnel. It was just fun to hang out as a family and have fun together.

Dinner With Friends

Yesterday we got invited to go spend the afternoon on the beach and have dinner with one of Jen's high school friends who she hasn't seen in nearly 20 years. It turns out that they come to Beaver Island every year for 2 weeks at exactly the same time of year that we do every year. In fact last year when we were getting on the boat to head home Jen saw a Facebook post from her and realized she was on the island the same time we were. This year they decided it made sense to get together especially since they have boys that are almost the same age as our boys. When we got there we chatted for a bit and then we all went down to the beach so the kids could swim and ride in the paddle boat. Once we got done on the beach we headed up to the house for dinner and it just so turns out that her husband Scott is an absolutely awesome cook. They had bought some local smoked trout and mixed it in with some pasta and roasted peppers it was an amazing meal. When we got done the boys all started playing Harry Potter, hence the broom picture. We ended leaving around 9:30 after a great night and had a good time, we will have to get together next year again so we can visit and the boys can play.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Beaver Islandopoly

Jen and Marshall have taken to playing a game of Beaver Islandopoly everyday. They generally start in the morning while they are waiting for me to get back from golf and then being monopoly it takes hours for the game to get done. So far I think they are one for one in games played and this may be the tie breaker. I'm going to have to get in on a game soon so I can kick there butts! ;)

Morning Bike Ride

This morning after I got back from my game of golf we all headed out for a family bike ride. Marshall really wanted to head out for a long bike ride so we strapped our helmets on and headed out. Before I left I started up my GPS watch so i could see how far we went but it just so happened to have a digital map on it so we wouldn't get lost. About 5 miles in I was really happy I turned my watch on because without it we would have been hopelessly lost on the back roads of Beaver Island. The roads are so windy that it is really easy to get turned around and lost. As we have been riding around the island we've decided that Clancey is likely going to be the next Ironman in the family because that little kid rides his bike so fast we have a hard time keeping up. Although he was the first person to get tired and want to go home, granted the poor kid has to go about 110 rpm to ride the speed he does on such a small bike. 

Golfing

This morning I got up early around 6:30 so i could get out and play 9 holes before everyone was up and around. Just like yesterday I have apparently lost the ability to hit anything but a drive that goes directly sideways which meant I had to scramble a lot to at least end up with nothing worse then double bogie. On hole 6 I was hit from the rough on approach when I noticed that I had a gallery of deer watching me play. The deer were pretty tame so i was able to walk up to the green and take a picture with the deer over my shoulder. Im sure they got a good laugh when they saw my drive off 7 splash into the water hazard about 140 yards out. I was an absolute perfect morning to get out and golf this morning and im happy I got up and went out.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Iron Ore Beach

This afternoon after we got some take out lunch from the Dalwhinnie we piled in the car and headed to Iron Ore Bay to hang at the beach for a few hours. While we were down there I managed to get a 2000 meter open water swim in that felt great. I could have easily went another 2000 meters without issue. The boys had a great time playing in the sand, building sand castles and playing in the stream that is right there. The kids played so hard that on the way home they both fell asleep. Now its time for some supper and an early bed.

Bike Ride

This morning after I got back from golf while Jen and Marshall were finishing up a game of Beaver Islandopoly Clancey and I decided to head out on a bike ride. Biking around Beaver Island is the way to get around because there are so many back roads that aren't easily accessible via a car. This morning Clancey and I found the tennis court and a neat restaurant on the edge of the water. Now I'm thinking we will head to the Dalwhinnie for lunch and then either another bike ride or some fun at the south beach. Decisions, decisions.

Vacation Pictures Google+

Just to let everyone know that I've been using Google+ to post all of my pictures from the vacation so far. I know not ever one uses it but it is so much easier to post pictures from my phone. Just log into you Google account on the web, go to the Google+ tab, follow me and you will have access.

Early Golf

This morning I got up before everyone to head over to the golf course to get 9 holes in first thing in the morning. I hit the driving range to hit a small basket of balls before I headed over to the course. I was hitting my irons great and I was playing like crap with my driver and hybrids. Once I got to the course the first hole went great, I played my slice off the tee and ended up with a bogey after a missed 9 foot putt. On the second it started to go kind of poorly. I think I pretty much played from the rough off the tee on every hole from that point on. Once you get frustrated then you can't even hit your good clubs well. Oh well, I think I expect way too much from my golf game so soon. I think I just need to accept that if I play one or two good holes and then hit couple other good shots I should be happy. Although any day you spend some time on the golf course is a good day.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Jen's Bike

As we were walking back to our car after dropping mema and papa off at the boat dock Jen saw this bike at local bike store. We decided to stop and take some pictures of it but while we were taking pictures one of the people came outside to tell us the bike had been sold. They did say we could order one and it would be here Wednesday but it seems weird to have a bike shipped to Beaver Island just to take it back to the mainland on Saturday. I'm thinking we may order it off Amazon when we get back home and then I'll try my hand at being a bike mechanic.

Headed Home

After a fun day on the island mema and papa had to jump back in the boat about 5pm and head back to the mainland. Now you may be wondering why I posted a picture of Marshall drinking out of a fountain. Well papa took a drink out of it and said it was the coldest water he has ever had out of a fountain and Marshall didn't believe him. Before we were able to let Marshall get a drink the boarded the boat and Marshall didn't get a chance to try. As you can see after they left Marshall got a chance to give it a try and you were right papa it is the coldest water he has ever had!

Afternoon On The Island



Once we were done at the toy store we all piled in the car for a tour of the island. First thing we did was take the, to the southern most beach on the island so papa could see the lighthouse and the boys could show them where we do paper boats. When we were down there we kind of wondered up and down the beach while the boys decided to roll down the sand hills for a bit.  After we were done on the beach and we got all the sand off of the two boys we headed out to try and find Protor's Tomb.  Before we left of course we didn't really look where it actually was so it was certain we would never find it.  We did get within a quarter mile of it but didn't know and drove the wrong way.  Well once we got back to town we headed over to Daddy Frank's for some of Beaver Island's famous ice cream.  Marshall ended up eating all of his ice cream and then half of Clancey's, he must be growning.  Finally it was time to head down to the docks and send mema and papa back to the mainland.  

Toy Store

After mema and papa got off the boat and we had some lunch back at the house the boys immediately wanted to take them to the toy store. The boys knew that they could convince mema to let them each pick out more toys them mommy and daddy would ever let them pick out. Well it turned out that they were right because both the boys got a new stuffed snake and a couple boxes of snap pops each. I would say that the boys scored pretty good.

Mema and Papa Arrived

First thing this morning we all headed down to the docks to await mema and papa's arrival on the Emerald Isle. It is the first time we've ever gotten to go down to the docks and greet our own visitors which was kind of cool. Mema and papa said the ride over was pretty smooth but it does get a bit lengthy at times.