Sunday, July 28, 2013

Big Training Day

With Ironman Wisconsin only 6 weeks away at this point the training has started to turn towards building endurance for the race.  After a 3.5 hour bike ride yesterday, I followed it up today with a 2 hour bike ride followed by a 2.5 hour run.  I had it in my head I wanted to run to Lowden and back which wasn't that great of idea.  To run to Lowden you have to run down highway 30 which means you have to run on the shoulder of the road which seems like it would be that big of problem but turned out to really suck.  The problem was the tractors had created huge ruts in the shoulder and I had to spend most of my time running on them and had it only been for a couple miles not that big of deal, but for 14 miles it sucks.  By the time I got to mile 10 my feet were blistered and hurt and the last 4 miles was a slog.  I finished the run but didn't run as fast as I would have liked.  Well at least I got the training in and am on the downward spiral of my training.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lunch At Zoey's

First thing this morning Jen wanted to run into Cedar Rapids so she could get some boards for all the "Locally Grown" signs she has been selling lately.  Of course, any time we head to CR there is always a Target trip involved and this time it was to buy some things for the local dog shelter.  The high light of this trip though was the trip to Zoey's for some Chicago Style deep dish pizza.  It's a long wait for the pizza but it is well worth it, the pizza is spectacular.  We weren't sure if the boys would like it but they were huge fans of the pizza.  Probably going to have to stop at Zoey's more often now.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dinner in the Tree House

Tonight when I got home from work I was informed that Marshall and Clancey had been working in the little house all day and by mid afternoon Marshall had decided that he wanted to eat supper in the little house. Jen was planning to make pizza so the meal traveled well to the tree house.  It turned out to be a nice night, no rain, very few bugs and nice evening in the house.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Golfing With the Boys

Marshall's expression while I'm speeding down the golf course was priceless so I figured I better share the video.

Clancy Driving The Golf Cart

Today while were golfing I brought my action cam along so I could get some videos of me swinging the club.  Well while we were driving I thought I would take a video of Clancey driving the cart.  For some reason this video made Jen and I laugh out butts off so we thought we should share it.

Golfing With the Boys

Being as busy as we have been lately I haven't been able to make it over to the golf course in a couple weeks.  There for a while I was making it a couple times every weekend but between climbing, the Color Run, and Colorado trip its been a while.  Finally today we had some time and no plans, other then the party the boys have planned for this afternoon, so the boys and I headed over.  For as nice as it was, since the heat broke, there were decidedly few people on the course.  We ended up having a great time out golfing and gave Jen some quiet so she could catch up on her sign work before vacation in a couple weeks.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Onion Fest

Tonight was Onion Fest up at the local bar that just opened in Clarence so Jen and I went up with a bunch of our friends to check it out.  They had setup a stage out in the parking lot and were playing live music right in Clarence.  The band was a an 80's rock and roll cover band so while it wasn't the easiest to dance to every knew nearly every song they played.  There was a pretty good crowd that showed up even though it was in the low 60's tonight and you needed a coat to be comfortable outside.

Jen's New Bike

Last weekend we were at Walmart and saw they had their bikes on sale.  For a long time Jen has been wanting to get her own bike so we could all go on bike rides together.  They were pretty cheap so we decided to pick one up for her, well the first time she rode it she noticed her wheel was rubbing so bad she couldn't really ride it.  I told he I would take a look to see what I could do.  This afternoon I was able to adjust it enough so it didn't rub and we could all go out on a bike ride.

Raccoon Friends

This afternoon I was outside working on Jen's new bike a bit when I Harley started to have a melt down barking at the shrub tree to the south of our house.  After having a dog for a while you start to figure out what there barks mean and this one meant there was wildlife nearby.  Well I wandered over to the tree and looked up and saw 5 baby raccoon's on the branched on the trees staring down at Harley and I.  I put Harley back in the house but it didn't matter he stood in by the window peering out and freaking out about the raccoon's in the tree.  It makes you wonder what he thinks we was going to do if he got to them.  He is a wussy indoor door now and I'm sure the raccoon's would beat him up pretty good.

50 Days To Ironman

Hard to believe but today I only have 50 days to go until Ironman Wisconsin on September 8th.  When training started back in December it seemed like it was so far off but the summer is flying by here we are nearly through July already.  I was thinking that two weeks from today we will be in Beaver Island again.  I was thinking today that this is the first outdoor bike ride I've been out on since my mishap in Madison last time which was a while back.  I'm become so accustomed to riding my bike on my trainer in the basement that I'm not getting outside enough to enjoy the weather.  While training in the basement is convenient and safe the 3:30 I spent outside on my bike today just flew by and didn't even feel like that long of ride.  Maybe it will feel like that on race day in Madison if I keep up with the indoor training.  ;)

Headed Out for Bike

Ironman training Click for a Glympse of my location:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ironman Boulder

Today I officially signed up to do my 7th Ironman race August 3rd, 2014 in Boulder Colorado.  I had kind of been toying with the idea of signing up for Ironman Boulder next year but really hadn't committed until one of my friends, who is an Ironman rookie, talked me into it.  I'm not sure if I will sign up to do Wisconsin next year too but if I do I will have to do the race on somewhat of a budget.  Not only is it hard to do two Ironman within 4-5 weeks of one another but to dump $800 on hotel rooms to stay near the race site it a bit hard to stomach too.  None the less I'm pretty excited to be doing a new Ironman race next year and I will be looking forward to helping my friend succeed in finishing his first race.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Awesome Mexican Restaurant in Manchester

On the way back from climbing we were really freaking hungry since we missed lunch and didn't bring enough snacks.  We decided we should try to find something to eat in Manchester since it was the closest big city to Backbone.  Jen search her smartphone and found this Mexican Restaurant called Las Flores on Main Street.  Anymore Mexican Restaurants are a dime a dozen and for the most part most are all right but really nothing to write home about.  Well this Mexican place was an entirely different story, it is probably the greatest Mexican I have eaten since Garcia's closed in the Des Moines a number of years back.  The chips and salsa we spectacular, all the meals we got were great and the waiter was great.  I would highly recommend anyone who is in the area to stop in, it is well worth the trip.

Climbing BackBone State Park

After being in Colorado last weekend the boys got pretty excited about climbing so I told them that we had some climbing in Iowa and we could go this Sunday.  This morning around 9:00am we piled in the car to drive to Backbone State Park to make good on that promise.  Now after my 400 meter race on Friday and the Color Run yesterday I was pretty sore still but I didn't want to disappoint the boys.  When we got to the crag we were the only climbing so I set up a top rope on one of easier climbs in the park and let the boys have at it.
It has probably been 10-12 years since I last climbed but I was surprised how much I remembered.  Besides having to show Jen how to belay again we both pretty much remembered everything.  Both the boys had a great time climbing.  I mean what better way is there to spend the day, as a little boy, then to hang with the family in the woods and climbing up the side of cliffs.  We ended up climbing until about 3 in the afternoon so we had a full day at Backbone Climbing.
The boys both said they want to come back really soon and do it again.  Both Jen and I agreed that it was a great way to spend the day and will being coming back again really soon.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Color Run

After my big 400 meter victory yesterday the family and I all headed to Des Moines early this morning for the Color Run.  The original plan had been to drive down and do the race at 1:00pm this afternoon but since we were unable to figure out a way to get our packets yesterday, and the website not being entirely clear on when packet pickup closed today, we decided to be safe and be there at 7:00am this morning to pick them up.  To get to Des Moines by 7:00am you pretty much have to leave Clarence by 4:30am, which puts your wake up time at 4:00am.  Let me tell you, a 4am wake up for two little boys that are used to sleeping until 8:00 is a pretty tough wake up.  It probably took me 15 minutes to finally get the kids awake and out of bed this morning.  At least all we had to do was get clothes on them and get them into the car.  The drive was pretty uneventful and we made it to the race site right around 7:15.  They had squawked on the website about morning packet pickup being crazy busy but we walked right in and were through packet pickup in a matter of minutes.

By the time the race was ready to start it was crazy busy, as you can see from the picture above, but it's a pretty well organized race so it went smoothly.  While people gathered for the race we sat on the side and people watched which was very entertaining in and of itself.
From the time we joined the big crowd to the time we crossed the line to start it was about 50 minutes. They do their best to keep it entertaining while you wait but it is pretty tough on kids to stand in a huge crowd and wait.  Both the kids did good but got somewhat impatient towards the end of the long wait.  But finally we were off and ready to go get dirty.
The Color Run would be more appropriately called the Color Walk, because it is a mass of people, in all shapes and sizes stampeding down the road.  It was about a half mile to the first color station before we started to get covered.  The way it works is a bunch of volunteers stand on either side of the road and used restaurant ketchup bottle squirters  to get the colored powder on you.  Clancey, being the shortest of the bunch, was a prime target for squirters.  After the first station we stopped to take the picture above.
By the time we were done we were pretty covered but we had a great time.  Poor Clancey was a bit tired but was a trooper and made it the whole way.  Once we were done we posed for this picture and told Mema and Papa, who had come down to watch, that we would meet at Hickory park for some lunch.

Friday, July 12, 2013

400 meter showdown

Today Jerry Belton and I had our 400 meter showdown to settle who was the faster Rockwell engineer.  For those who don't know the back story here goes.  A couple years back when Jerry was on his recruiting trip to Rockwell we were at the social event at the end of the event.  This is the time that the recruits get a chance to talk to the hiring managers and ask questions about the company and just get to know one another.  Well Jerry and I got to talking about running track in college, he ran 200 meters at Rose-Hullman and I ran 800 meters at Iowa State.  It was long talking back and forth be Jerry and I were out in the parking lot of the hotel racing a 60 meter sprint.  Jerry just smoked me.  At the time I was probably 33 or 34 and as it turns out when you get to that age that top speed you have just isn't there anymore.  I went to kick it into overdrive that I remember having back in high school and college and it just wasn't there.  Since that day I have stewed on that loss and wanted a rematch.  About 9 months ago Jerry and I were talking and I challenged him again but said we needed to choose a distance that was more fair for older guys like me.  I figured since he ran 200 meters and I ran 800 meters the fair catch distance was 400 meters.  Jerry agreed I threw an invite on the calendar for July 12 and it was set.

Turns out that when you schedule something that far in advance you forget about it.  As I was scoping my calendar this week I looked and noticed that Jerry and I had our race.  I went over to feel him out to see if he was still up for it and he was so it was officially on.  Now while I've been training for Ironman I have not done anything that resembles speed work since college, needless to say I was a bit worried.  I felt like I had a chance but knew for sure that Jerry had more footspeed then me so the strategy had to be outlast him.  In the last week leading up to the race nobody, and I mean nobody, gave me a chance of beating him.  They told me I was too old, too slow and Jerry was going to dust me.  Apparently these people have never witnessed me run.

So here's how the race went down.  We warmed up a bit and agreed that we would just run shoulder to shoulder in the same lane as opposed to running in lanes the whole way.  I went into the race knowing that he was faster then me and would certainly beat me off the line and at least to the 200 meter mark.  What I had to do was hang with him at least and force him to run those first 200 meters faster then he wanted to run them.  The idea would be to tire him out so he didn't have a kick at the end and to also let my endurance advantage kick in.  As I saw it, that was really the only shot I had.  If I tried to reserve anything for the first 200 meters I would get smoked at the end.

We stepped up to the line I took the inside land he took the outside line.  One of his friends called the commands and we were off.  It started exactly like I expected it too, Jerry immediately took the lead by a few feet and settled into a pace that was clearly not his top speed.  Through the first 100 meters he was in the lead but I managed to keep a small 5-10 foot gap between him and me.  Right at about 100 meters I saw that his pace had slowed a bit and I took advantage.  I kicked it in a bit and by 150 meters I had closed the gap and was up beside him on the right.  Jerry saw me on his side and kicked it in to take the lead again but he clearly was running faster then he really wanted to be running.  For the next 100 meters we kept up this faster pace with me staying right on his tail.  At 250 meters he slowed again and again I attacked on the outside.  This time Jerry went to kick it in but there was nothing left.  I made the pass midway through the final turn and Jerry quickly fell back.  When I saw this I thought one of two scenario's was  playing out either a) my strategy paid off, I tired him out and he couldn't go with me or b) he was laying back a bit to save a bit of energy to out kick me at the end.  Worrying that he may be using strategy b) I didn't let up and kept my pace up.  Right at 300 meters my legs felt like I had concrete ankle weights on and I was clearly out of gas but being in the lead I didn't want to give him any chance, so I kept after it the best I could.  My pace slowed some but I just hoped I had enough to hold him off if he kicked.  With 50 meters to go it was clear that he had died in the middle of the last corner and the victory was mine.  The looks on everyone's face was priceless, No one gave me a chance and as I crossed the finish line their astonished looks were awesome.  I crossed the finish line in 57.5 and Jerry was somewhere north of 60.

When we got done Jerry and I congratulated each other and I started to celebrate.  I was completely wiped out but riding high.  A 37 year old man just beat a 25 year old man in a 400 meter race, it felt good.  I called the wife and she didn't believe me until she talked to the spectators to assure her that I had actually won the race.  Jerry's friends immediately started to give him crap, like all good friends should do. I can't wait until Monday at work to walk around a bask in the glory of the win!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Google Latitude Shutting Down

I got an email from Google this morning that Google Latitude, the little position thing in the corner of my blog, is officially shutting down.  In fact I got the new Maps app today and they took it out already.  I know there are some of you out there that like to keep and eye on where I'm at well I guess you are just going to have to rely on the old fashioned way, texting me and asking.  ;)

Monday, July 08, 2013

Long Drive Home

We just pulled in the drive after a long, long drive home from Denver, Colorado.  The GPS said it should take right on the order of 12 hours and since we left this morning about 8:30am central time I figured with stops we would be home no later then 10:30pm tonight, boy was I wrong.  The 12 hour drive turned into a 16 hour power drive when the interstate started to back up halfway through Nebraska.  To go 6 miles outside of Kearney it took us just about an hour, hell I could have ran faster then that.  We then decided to take the back roads back to Clarence, which while not all that crowded or backed up just takes long because of stops, slower speeds, etc.  Well we ended up making it tonight/this morning at 1:30 and now I have to go to work in the morning.  Going to be a tiring week.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Avett Brothers Concert

Here we are at Red Rocks for the Avett Brothers concert and I have to say it's a pretty neat venue. Marshall and I ended up leaving the concert early because he was pretty tired but he did really good sitting there for over four hours watching the concert and not complaining. Jen is a huge fan of Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show so she is really enjoying the concert and she has her dancing partner Clancey so she will still have fun without Marshall and I.

Relaxing Before The Concert

We got checked into the hotel and are relaxing a bit before the concert tonight, the whole reason we came to Colorado in the first place. We thought about heading out to a dinosaur museum but it was pouring rain and we thought that doing another thing might tire us out too much. Depending on how late we get back tonight the plan is to get up early and power drive home tomorrow.

Panoramic Photo's Of The Boys

Garden Of the Gods With the family

The Garden Of The Gods

Today before we headed up to Denver to check into the hotel for the concert tonight we promised the boys we would go over to the Garden of The Gods again.  Clancey and Marshall really wanted to do some climbing again.  After last night we were a bit worried about Marshall getting altitude sickness again but he was fine today and really wanted to go back.  We got there before it got crazy busy and were able to really see a lot of new things.  Here is a neat picture I took of Jen and the boys. 

More Scenery Pictures

Here are some more scenery pictures I took on my run this morning.  While stopping to take pictures wasn't exactly conducive to a great run time it's not that often you run in an area with this kind of view.

Sunrise Run

Being only a mile from The Garden of The Gods this morning I had to take the opportunity to get a run in through the park.  I ended up getting up right about 5:15am and was out the door at 5:30am for my run.  It was spectacular out in the park at that time of day.  The sun hadn't come up yet when I left and it rose while I was in the park.  Also with almost no one in the park at that time of day all the wildlife had made their way to the road side to chew on the bushes.  There were a number of deer that I ran by that didn't even move when I came within feet of them.  It's too bad we have to leave today.

Friday, July 05, 2013

I Want to Climb That

On our way back to the car Clancey said "I can't wait to be a grownup so I can get a permit to climb that".  A little background for you.  As we were walking around there were signs that said until you are a technical climber, with gear and a permit stay on the trail.  In fact as we were walking around we saw a couple climbers scoping routes and even saw some climbers up on wall.  Clancey being the daredevil he is wanted to know if we could come back and climb them someday when he is bigger.  I told him we could so I better start lifting and getting my climbing muscles back in shape so I can keep up with Clancey.

Rock Formations

Here are some pictures I took of the rock formations here in the garden. 


The boys and I couldn't pass up and opportunity to do some climbing, otherwise known as bouldering, on some of the big boulders we passed.  Turns out that Clancey is a pretty good little climber.  If he would have had better shoes on I bet he could have really made it up some tough boulders. 

Garden Of The Gods

After the brief torrential down pour we all piled in the car and headed over to the Garden Of The Gods.  It's surprising how much different the rock formations looked compared to the rocks on Pikes Peak earlier today.  It reminded me of Utah more then what you would expect to see in Colorado.  We ended up parking a ways out from the rock formations and had to walk but it gave us a chance to take in all the beauty the area had to offer.

Pouring Rain

After we woke up from our short naps, which were shorter then we wanted because we were all startled awake by Marshall falling out of bed for the second time this trip.  We had decided we wanted to head over the "Garden of The Gods" to check it out but shortly after we woke up it started pouring rain.  Kind of put a damper on our plans but did make for a nice relaxing sit outside under our awning. 

Lunch At Amanda's Fonda

We found this nice little mexican restaurant to have lunch at.  Poor Marshall has a horrible headache and is really suffering but he is hungry just like the rest of us so we figured we should grab something to eat.  The restaurant was pretty good except for the horribly slow service it's worth the trip.  After this I think we are going to head back to the hotel and relax for a bit before we go find out next thing to to.

Spectacular View

Here is an awesome panoramic picture I took from the top of the peak.  It was an amazing view from up here.

At The Top

We made it to the top and sure enough it's as cold as they said it was going to be.  Also I'm surprised but I'm feeling pretty lightheaded from the altitude.  Poor Marshall has come down with altitude sickness, he has a headache and is lightheaded himself.  Good thing we are only up here for about 20 minutes so he doesn't have to suffer for long.

On Our Way Up The Mountain

We are on the train on our way up the mountain.  Looks like its going to be a slow trip to the top but so far the view are spectacular.  They keep talking about the altitude effecting you and you should drink a ton of water.  Given they don't have a bathroom on the train and it's an hour and a half to the top I'm not convinced drinking a ton of water is the best plan.

Waiting For The Train

We got our tickets, found a nice bench and are waiting to get on the train.  After we got a our tickets we saw a sign that said it was 36 degrees on top of the mountain.  My dumb self forgot to pack a sweatshirt, thank gosh my wonderful wife packed two.

First Mountain Picture

This morning we all got up pretty early had a breakfast and headed up to the train depot to get on the train.  Since we got there somewhat early we had time to take some pictures and, of course, we needed a picture of the boys in from of the mountains.  Everyone is pretty excited to get to the top of the mountain and see the view.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

We just got to the Cog railway and are sitting at the depot waiting for our train. The mountains look beautiful and the kids are really enjoying checking everything out. Apparently it is 36 degrees on the peak so shorts may have been a bad idea, hopefully there isn't any snow!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Manitou Springs, Colorado

Finally about 8:00pm we pulled into Manitou Springs after a very long day of driving again.  We are staying in the Rainbow Lodge which, while somewhat old, is a very nice place.  We decided to walk down the road to see what we could find to eat.  We ended up at this little place called Mo's Diner, it reminds me a lot of Perry's Cherry Diner up in Sturgeon Bay.  Not much to look at from the outside but it had really good food and was worth the walk.  Didn't get done eating until after 9:00pm Mountain Time so the boys are beat, as are Jen and I.  Time for bed and an early wake up for the Pike's Peak Train tomorrow morning.