Saturday, August 30, 2014

House Scraping

In an effort to get Mema and Papa in a newly painted house before the snow flies we headed over to their house for the long weekend to help scrap the house.  They have quite the hee-haws for neighbors so I put my headphones in, popped on some Taylor Swift and got to scraping.  Not that I'm a huge fan a scraping houses at least when you can zone out to your own music it isn't so bad.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Swimming With Clancey

Last night after school and work, Clancey and I decided that we wanted to go enjoy the pool.  When I got home it was like 91 degrees out and about 100% humidity so it was a perfect night to enjoy the pool.  We invited Marshall out but he was feeling sick so he ended up staying inside on the couch relaxing.  Actually by the end of the night he was feeling really bad and missed school today.  We ended playing for an hour or so and had a pretty good time.  With cool weather coming the next couple weeks, I'm glad we got out to enjoy the pool.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hot Weekend

This weekend was the first really hot weekend we've had in quite a while and the first really good weekend to spend in the pool.  On Saturday it rained a better portion of the day but Sunday was perfect as far as sunny and hot is concerned so we headed out to the pool after church.  Of course as I was trying to get the pool ready for a vacuum I managed to break one of the shut off valves in shut position.  That meant I had to spend the afternoon driving to Davenport to get a replacement value and fix the pump.  At least the pool was clean enough so that the kids could enjoy the pool while I was spending the afternoon running around and fixing the pump.  They had a great day which I did manage to finally get in on late in the day before I spent some time fixing the value.  Overall, while it wasn't an ideal day for me, the kids had a good time and got to enjoy the pool, which makes the purchase well worth it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Day Of School

Can't believe it, but as of this morning summer break is officially over and the kids are off to school for another year.  This morning was pretty hard for everyone to get up and get back into the swing of things but we did manage to get around.  The boys weren't entirely excited to go back but once they spend the day there I'm sure they will get back in the groove of it.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Boy Weekend

This weekend Jen took off with her friends to head to Des Moines and that left the boys and I on our own.  I would have put a post up yesterday but we literally did nothing.  We pretty much sat in our underwear all day and power streamed Netflix and played video games.  Today we figured we had better do something more then sit around the house.  We got showered up early and headed to Davenport to have some breakfast at Ihop.  It was pretty much the only way the kids were going to have a big good breakfast today ;)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Done For The Day

Here we are headed home after the State Fair and just like every year I told the boys that it is now officially Christmas time.  I guess technically Ironman Wisconsin is the official end to my summer because it seems like the day after that race it turns fall almost immediately.  As busy as I have been at work lately I was kind of toying with the idea of not going to the fair but I'm glad we decided to go.  I know the boys really enjoy it and, to be honest, I do too.  

The Big Slide

Of course you can't miss a trip down the big slide.  Clancey told me that he wanted to ride with me so I grabbed a carpet and we headed up the stairs.  It was nice to have my GoPro so I could get a couple good pictures on the way down.

Varied Industry Building

Every year you have to make a trip to the Varied industry building and every year the kids sit and ponder how the Culligan water tap works.  I remember as a kid trying to figure it out myself and finally sometime in high school actually figuring it out.  The kids asked and how it worked but I told them that they needed to figure it out on their own.

Snake's Alive

I forgot to mention this morning when we got to the fair we were standing inline to buy tickets when a woman came up to me and asked if I wanted a free ticket.  She said she had bought an extra one and didn't need it so I could have it.  I tried to give her some money but she refused.  Well later in the day while were enjoying yet another fair treat a gentleman came up to us and offered to give us tickets to see the snake's.  In the 25 odd years I've been coming to the fair I have never actually seen the snakes.  It turned out to be a surprisingly good exhibit.

Clancey's First Sno Cone

While Marshall and I were eating out hot beef sundae's Clancey announced that he has never had a sno cone and really wanted to have his first one today.  Being the state fair has every food on the face of the planet it wasn't hard to find Clancey his treat.  He really enjoyed it but he did manage to spill a whole bunch of it all over himself.  Oh well, that is just part of being a kid.

Butter Cow

What State Fair trip isn't complete without a visit to the butter cow.  After we waited in line for about 10 minutes I snapped this picture of the boys with the butter cow.  We also managed to snap a picture in the Gladiola's, which is a yearly picture for me, but Jen has that picture on her phone.

Having Fun at The Fair

First thing we did when we got here to the fair was find something to eat because we were all starving but then we decided we should walk up the hill to the cultural building and the antique barn.  There were playing some of Jen's bluegrass type music so she was in heaven.

On The Way To The Fair

Here we are getting ready to start our annual trip to the State Fair. Hard to believe we are already nearly through summer and looking to send the boys to school next week. We plan to have as much fun as we can today to send the summer out with a bang.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Day At Adventureland

With the summer quickly coming to a close we figured we had better head over to Adventureland for the day.  As a kid who grows up in Iowa Adventureland is a staple of summer life that you must visit at least once a year.  I did it as a kid, Jen did it as a kid so it is only right that my kids get to do it as well.  It isn't the most spectacular amusement park but it passes and makes for a fun family day.  This is probably the first time I've been to Adventureland on the weekend in a whole lot of years but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  We ended up having a really fun day and, in fact, shut the place down at 9pm which made for a late night home.  Now later this week we will head to the State Fair and summer will be complete :(
Marshall has a pretty weak stomach so he isn't able to do a whole lot of the spinning rides here at Adventureland but he does enjoy the bumper cars. Also today in an effort to one up his brother, who has a stomach of steal and can do every ride, he did the Invertor with me.  It was his first upside down ride and craziest ride he has every ridden.  

 Here is Clancey reacting to getting drenched by the waterfall on the Raging River.  Poor kids got soaked on the the Log Ride twice yesterday and the Raging River.  He is like a water magnet at amusement parks.
Here I am on the Storm Chaser the newest ride at Adventureland.  I had my GoPro with me so I figured I better get a selfie from the top of the ride.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Pool Time

With the weather being warm and the family finally back together the boys and I decided to hit the pool for awhile.  With the new deck it gives the boys plenty of new things to do in the pool like do jumps off the side.  Clancey being the Parkour fan that he is wanted to try all the moves he saw on his Youtube videos.  It was just fun to be able to hang with the boys and have some fun together.

Clancey, Mr. Guitar Player

When Jen was at her parents house last week she picked up her old guitar for Clancey.  He had been asking her to get it for him and when she was there she took the opportunity to track it down and get it.  Ever since then he has been glued to the beginners book and couch teaching himself how to play it.  All his piano lessons have payed off because I already can sight read music so really all he needs to learn to do is play the notes on the instrument.  His hands are a bit small to be able to play it effectively but Clancey is pretty determined to play it so I guessing he will figure out how to play it somehow.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014


After 12 hours of driving over the course of two days and then a 6 hour work day I made it home about 6:30 tonight.  It felt really good to be home and finally be off the road.  Hard to believe that it was two Sunday's ago that I left for DC and now like 10 days later I'm finally getting to sleep in my own bed and see the family for the first time in a long time.  Now it wasn't all that nice to walk into the house to a screaming kid, thought I was done with that, but it was good to be home.  The screaming kid was my niece Olivia who had come for a couple days to visit, not either of the boys.  I"m looking forward to this weekend and getting a little time to hang out in the pool and play with the boys.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Ironman Boulder Finisher

It me a little bit but I decided I had better get my race report put up before I forgot everything from last weekend.  The day started early for me, about 4am, when I got out of bed to get prepared for the race.  My friend Brett had come with his family and since I hadn't I had a spare bed for him to sleep in, in my room.  Not that he didn't want to be around his family but when you have a 9 month old and a 2 year old it's hard to get anything that resembles good sleep on Ironman night.

This race was a lot like St. George in that you had to take buses from the finish line area to the swim area at a reservoir about 5 miles outside of Boulder.  When we got there we dropped our special needs bags off and then got in the line for the buses it was a couple blocks long at the time.  I thought for sure we would be in the line forever before we got on a bus but in less then 10 minutes we were on the bus and whisked away  to the starting line.  We weren't about half way there when my stomach decided to start acting crazy.  For a bit I wasn't sure I was going to make it to the reservoir without "having an accident" but I managed to hold it together until I got in the line for the port-o-potty.  Now it turned out that it had run out of toilet paper which meant I lost a sock but I didn't care, I was just happy to have that taken care of so I could focus on the race.

The swim was a "time trial" type start where we all lined up based on our time and walked into the water one group at a time.  I lined up with the 1:30-1:45 group, which is faster than I had ever swam, but with my commitment to swimming this year I thought for sure I could do.  The first age groupers went in the water at 6:30am and it was 15 minutes later at 6:45 that I entered the water and was on my way to finishing my 6th Ironman.  I had been told that you really felt the altitude on the swim so I really made sure I took it easy for the first part of the swim.  I didn't want to get myself anaerobic right way and then gasping for breathe the entire swim.  For about the first mile I swam really easy and had no ill effects from the altitude so at that point I sped up and bit and got more into the pace I swim in the pool.  When I rounded the last corner, still feeling good and feeling confident that I was going to PR I got after and swam it on in to the finish.  That was by far the best Ironman swim I have ever had ended up with a 1:29 which was 15 minutes faster then all my other Ironman swims and I felt like I could have gone faster if I wasn't so worried about the altitude.  The only bad part was my wetsuit rubbed a huge sore on the right side of my neck that a week later I'm still dealing with.

After the swim I ran into transition with more people then I had ever been around and got ready for what I thought was going to be the toughest part of the the day the bike.

For the first 70 miles of the bike it was mostly down hill.  The first 12 miles were up hill with a pretty tough climb right at the end of the climbing but given it was so early in the bike it wasn't really all that hard.  I kept telling myself the whole ride to "Protect Your Legs" because it will get tough for a good 30 miles of the bike, right when you are the most tired.  I got to the special needs at mile 56 and was feeling really good.  I was following my nutrition plan really well, had peed 3 times and was feeling really good overall.  I knew though that I shouldn't count my chicken before they hatch though because the tough part was coming.  It was starting to get hot, there was a slight head wind and it was uphill.

At mile 70 I got to the uphill section and buckled down to start suffering.  Through the first 10 miles I felt really good and was thinking to myself that this course wasn't that hard.  Well at mile 80 it all turned on and the suffering really started.  Mile 80 turned back towards Boulder and towards the mountains and there is where I experienced 20 miles of the not only "False Flats" but "False Downhills".  Which probably wouldn't have been so bad but when you are that point of the bike you are tired, your butt hurts and the heat is getting to you.  For about 20 miles of the ride I was going about 13-15 mph looking like I was going downhill which is just tough on the mind.  Also, from mile 56 to mile 112 I didn't pee one time and, to be honest, couldn't really bring myself to follow my nutrition plan.  Finally I reached mile 100 which had the climb know as the "3 Sisters" which was a very steep half mile climb with 3 false tops.  At the top of that it was 12 miles mostly downhill into Boulder and then onto the run.

I would say the bike went about like I expected it to go.  I suffered a bit more that I thought I would but I rode the time that I figured I would ride and wasn't entirely unhappy with my performance.  I cramped up a bit at the end but felt like it wasn't anything I hadn't felt in the past and thought I would be ale to run through it on the marathon.  Anyways, I got off the bike, got through transition, peed and then was off on the marathon.

Let me just start off by saying the marathon was a sufferfest and was probably the toughest Ironman marathon I have ever done.  Normally it takes me a mile or two to get my legs back but I'm generally able to run at least the first 13 miles of the marathon.  This marathon was not like that at all.  I started out and in the first mile I felt the effects of the altitude right away.  As I was running I started to get dizzy and even felt the initial effects of passing out start.  If you have never felt it, it's a "closing in" feeling starting at the edge of your vision and works its way to the middle until you go down.  Not wanting to pass out and get pulled off the course I did the only thing I could I started to walk.  I didn't realize at the time it was the altitude causing this so for the first 4 miles I kept trying to run and kept feeling like I would pass out. Finally I realized that running was just not going to happen on this marathon and I was just going to have to be happy walking a 6 hour plus marathon.

About mile 10 my feet started hurt from blisters like they always do, and then the run that sucked because of a severe lack of oxygen, started to suck because I was physically hurting too.  I was having trouble eating anything at the aid stations so for about 3 hours I was pretty much only drinking.  I made sure to keep taking salt so I didn't go hyponatremic during the run.  At mile 22 I saw Alicia my friend Brett's wife.  Brett was struggling just like I was on the run the only difference was he was two and a half hours behind me and projected by the Ironman website to not make the cutoff.  She walked with me until we caught up with Brett about a half mile down the path and then she went with him.  He ended up getting pulled at mile 16 of the run, but given his first Ironman and being as tough as it was, I think he did good.

Finally after 15:03 I made it to the finish line and was happy to be done.  Besides St. George this was probably the toughest Ironman I've certainly ever finished.  It was a hard fought finish that I felt like I earned every minute of.  Those last few miles thinking about the fact that I have to do this again in just a matter of 5 weeks was tough to swallow but I just had to take it a mile at a time.  Overall I'm happy with my race and happy to have punched my Ironman finish card for the year.  My Ironman coming up in Wisconsin is really just gravy on the season and I'm going to try to enjoy it as much as you can enjoy these things.  It's too bad that no one could come out to be with me and see me do the race but circumstances just didn't allow for it.  I am certainly happy to have the craziest week of my life over with and having successfully completed everything I needed too!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Race Morning

Here I am at race morning once again and the conditions look perfect for a great race day.  The last time I took a bus to the start and swam in a reservoir the didn't go well for me.  Today lets hope the water stays calm and I'm able to get a decent swim in.  After all the swim training this year I'm expecting a PR in the water.  The rest of the race I'm just not sure.  The bike is very tough on the back half and depending on how hard I bike ride the run could go good or bad.  I guess we'll have to see what happens today.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Gear In Transition

After a whole bunch of long lines and no parking we got our gear checked into transition.  Going to spend the rest of the day relaxing and hydrating for tomorrow.  Hopefully there is a bunch of good movies on TV today so I have something to watch while sit around a get ready for tomorrow.

Gear Gathered

I have my gear gathered and I'm getting ready to head out to the transitions to get my gear bags and bike dropped off.  There is a process to the gathering of the gear.  First you go through your checklist get all your gear put on your transition bags.  Then you walk away, come back later worry you forgot something and do the process again.  You do this process at least two or three times before you decide it's all gathered.  Finally when you decide to put it in the bag itself you once again get the checklist out and do it for one last time.  You have to love the obsessiveness that goes into competing in an Ironman ;)

Friday, August 01, 2014

Checked Into the Race

After a pretty darn good night of sleep I got up and headed down to the race site to get checked into the race.  When I got there I was surprised how many tents were set up at the expo, I guess when this is supposed to be the biggest Ironman event ever it makes sense a whole lot of vendors would want in on the action.  The expo is on a grass lot on the Boulder High School grounds and since they had a whole lot of rain here early in the week it was a sloppy muddy mess.  I did go down to check out the transition area which was on the high school football field, it seemed alright and won't be a muddy mess on race day.  After that I headed out with my friend Brett who is doing the race with me to drive the course.  Just as I was told it is a brutal, uphill grind of a course with a really tough climb right at the very end.  The key on race day is going to not blow my legs on the first half on the bike so I have enough for the brutal back half.  The run like always is going to be a torturous slog, but that is just how Ironman runs are.  One foot in front of the other and I should finish.