Thursday, June 30, 2011

All things outdoors: 4th of July, Freedom Edition

So I am lucky enough to not have to work until Tuesday! After some appointments Friday we will be checking out some of the Kentucky sights on Saturday and Monday.

Red River Gorge is one of the 'most visited' Parks. It is within 2.5 hours from our house and would be a easy day trip away. My goal is to see a few waterfalls, such as this one and that one. Oh, and who doesn't love the name of YAHOO ARCH? They are all part of a State Park called Daniel Boone State park. It is huge! (like 1,338,214 acres big) So huge, they broke it into the 3 or 4 different parts. I'd like to stay within the Cumberland Section, which is the first or top part of the park.

We are trying to keep the spending of money to a minimum so it is going to be a challenge to spend as little as possible.

Part of the adventure is to checkout some local campgrounds and 'water holes' to see if we would like to attempt to vacation there later.

One of the campgrounds is called Twin Knobs Campground. Which is 1.5 hours away from Huntington, West Virginia.

With temps supposed to be in the high 80's this weekend, I am hoping to maybe be able to try out the swimming hole or enjoy the breeze from a waterfall.
Let's just hope for no snakes or giant water bugs! Eek.

p.s. did you know...
Timber rattlers will migrate from the denning site in the spring (mid-April through mid-May) and to their summer habitat and back to the den in the fall (mid-September through mid-October). The average home range sizes for timber rattlesnakes are 160 acres for males, 42 acres for barren females, and 9 acres for pregnant females.
Wow. That is a huge area!

Monday, June 27, 2011

One Sweet Surprise

We dropped off the older boys at a youth camp for the week on Friday and since it was just the three of us we decided to surprise Z.

We told him to get his shoes on 'cause we were going for a 'ride', but didn't tell him where. He was bummed. He was looking so forward to spending tons of time on the PS3 since he was an only child for the week.

I jokingly kept saying to him "Aren't you excited? I would be if I were you". He just mumbled how he would rather be home. To his credit, he really didn't grumble or complain, just sat quietly as I tried to get him excited.

We pulled into the local mall and found a place to park, specifically on the side of the building, as to not get him to notice WHERE we were.

As we walked up to the front door he begins negotiating with me how he DESERVES a stop at Target and a lego toy for this...

Then we open the door... and then, he says...

'What the?' (insert big smile here) As he is looking around he says "You tricked me!"

Yep. We had a date with the movie, Cars 2 and my race crew.

It was great, just like Christmas in July. Oh, and after we got in the theater, I asked him if we were square. He said "OOOOOH yeah!".

: )

P.S. My favorite time of the movie was when Mater said to the 'zen gardener' "Ya, done good the leaves are all gone!" lol. How can you not love Mater?

Thursday, June 23, 2011


How is it I can swim, bike and run for just over two hours Saturday morning and feel fine... and then I workout with a trainer for 30 minutes and feel immediate lack of control over the arms, having to wait to shower until I can shampoo??? ... cautiously driving home without excessive turning required...and the next day feeling every angry muscle, still very angry at me...

Well, listen up kids, here is how!

First. This here trainer, we will call #3, since she is my now THIRD trainer in 5 months,
says to me : Okay, lets start by doing push-ups.

I begin to look around for a mat to cushion my knees, since I ALWAYS do the modified push-ups, cause I am a girl and can get away with it. UNTIL she says: Oh and you won't need a mat (she must have read my mind) because you are not going to be doing them your knees.

Oh, GREAT! Happily I begin thinking this chic is going to let me do them against a wall!

Then she said: You are going to do the full regular push up. (whimper) You are going to go flat on the floor lift your hands in between each one, keeping your hands at your chest level, then push up again.

So, I begin. Pretty pleased with the first 5, then I patiently continue, waiting for her to tell me to stop, or feel sorry for me.

But she didn't. After a few more, I ask "how many do I have to do?'

"40" she says. Like she was ordering a latte.

Deep exhale from me. Panic creeping in. Clearly she wasn't informed of my weakness here peticularly in the ARM REGION. Heck, she didn't need a memo, there is NO definition going on in these arms! She must have sized me up and said 'Yep, she needs a good wipin'!".

I replied "What? You couldn't have said 4 sets of 10, or 2 sets of 20, maybe sugar coat it a bit?"

She laughed and said "You are almost half way there."

"Really?" I asked. Wow. I am impressed with myself, until I found out she lied! After 8 more she said I was half way!! I was barely a quarter of the way there!!! I know the last 10 were the most pathetic push ups ever seen. Might I also mention I was in the 'weight room'. Like the real, manly room. With real studs that can actually do 40 push ups. Probably with a single arm. Yep. Good times. Nothing like a good emotional and physical whipping to crack you into shape!

So next she decided to 'rest my arms' a bit. Lets do air squats.

I run. I bike. I have leg muscles. That was not the problem. Her version of not using arms was having my raise them as I squated. My shoulders were still pretty ticked at my four minutes of fun. Yes. It took me a WHOLE FOUR MINUTES to do 40 full on push ups. I had to stop to whine and get blood back into my arms and toes, to make sure there were still there.

So how many Air Squats? 35

Next? Pull-ups. Thankfully assisted. How many? Only 45! First 15 without a lot of counter weight, the next 15 with more counter weight and the last 15 with pity.

Then she grabs a bar. Just a white tube you would see in a home for plumbing.

She says "Okay, hold this over your arms like this and push it up, lock your arms up over your head. You want your arms to be BEHIND YOUR EARS. While you lunge across the floor and back. Make sure you touch your knee to the ground each dip."

This requires coordination. My body doesn't coordinate well. I concentrate on one part the other fails, I knew how this was going to go.

I was trying so hard to make sure I touch the ground and hold the bar up that I kept forgetting which leg I just used to lunge on. I can't tell you how many times she yelled "LOCK YOUR ARMS" or nicely say 'You didn't touch the ground.' At least she didn't make me do over!

I must say this. Since this whole personal trainer thing has started, my balance has gotten better. But that's a blog post for another day... Any who...

Next up? Sit ups! How many you ask? 25 of course. Not just plain old sit ups... NO! I had to sit down on my butt. Knees out. Bottom of feet together. As to 'completely engage the abs and take everything else out of play'. I didn't know muscles played, but now I do! Ouch. I hope they had fun 'cause I am feelin' a bit old now.

You see, she was doing a Pattern, but it got messed up since someone was on the pull up machine. It was supposed to start at 45 pull ups, then 40 push ups, 35 squats, 30 lunges and 25 sit ups.

Now you so... so get your but in gear!! There. For FREE I just gave you a personal trainer workout.
Your welcome.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Casen and Duner

Cayson and Duner by ziemendorf
Cayson and Duner, a photo by ziemendorf on Flickr.

Isn't he the cutest nephew? Oh wait.. we have 10! lol.

Rachel and Dr. Al

Rachel and Dr. Al by ziemendorf
Rachel and Dr. Al, a photo by ziemendorf on Flickr.

The guy responsible for all this craziness!

almost there! finish line!

almost there!  finish line! by ziemendorf
almost there! finish line!, a photo by ziemendorf on Flickr.

Oh, yeah... done!

rachel, post-race.

rachel, post-race. by ziemendorf
rachel, post-race., a photo by ziemendorf on Flickr.

Very. Happy. to be done! : )

Monday, June 20, 2011

2011 High Cliff Tri Race Report

First and foremost, I just want to give a shout out to all my friends and family that showed up at the finish to cheer me on! I loved it! Thank you so much for fighting the crowds and showing up to see me! (Even if we didn't meet up, sorry Julie, Wendy and Jennifer!)

It meant a lot to me that you all were there!

At the start of the day air temp was 60 degrees, according to my phone. I chose not to wear a sweatshirt, 'cause I did not want to be 'to warm'.
Notice the people in wet suits? Yep. It would have been nice to have one. But no. I didn't.

Here I am coming out of the water. All of the sprint athletes had bright green swim caps. Half Ironman, had silver. I like this pic 'cause it looks like I made an effort on the swim. Just before this pic, I was walking. I knew I had a hill to run up so I was trying to save some energy. Although, I was excited to leave the cold water!!

Transitioning to the Bike.
This was the first year ever that I 'sat' and put on my shoes. I was taking my time. I 'borrowed' a cushion from the guy next to me that just left the transition area. Thanks #591! :)
He was a very nice guy, so I am sure he didn't mind.
The guy in the pic, by me #589 kept me going for the last 7 miles of the bike. We kept passing each other. I knew I could keep up with him since he had an ankle brace on.

After the bike I REALLY did not want to run... just like normal. I posted FB status updates during T1 and T2, I was worried about rain, so I ran out of T2 and tossed my phone to the hubby and got my ipod on while I struggled to get a rythum on the run. I was tired. I decided early on to work the 'galloway' method that geekgirl and I did for the Flying Pig Marathon. I worked! I ran most of the hill, by the time I was 'supposed' to stop I had my breathing down and really didn't want to take my 1 minute walk break, but did anyway. #589 passed my on my 2nd walk break, shouting some words of encouragement. I passed him again once but otherwise stayed behind him the rest of the run. He finished a whole 4 seconds before me.

All done!!
Turns out, my swim improved (probably due to water temp! Brrr) and my run, but my bike seemed to be holding strong. It did improve by about 1 minute, but that is it. The run was backwards this year, from the last time I ran this race. We had more grass to run on which I hate!
I do
love to run on the shaded trails! The best part of the race was all the encouraging words the fellow Tri club people yell as we are all working toward the goal of finishing the race. It was great fun to see the ol' Fox Tri club buddies! Even got to start in the first wave with Dr. Al and the winner of the women, as Dr. Al announced just before we started the swim. (no pressure, right? but she did win!!)
Here is how it breaks down for me...

Swim 00:07:51.6 0:01:57
T-1 00:04:21.1 ?
Bike 01:13:23.2 17.9
T-2 00:02:37.0 ?
Run 00:33:41.6 0:10:52
Finish Time 02:01:54.7
2010 skipped out

skipped out

2008... website didn't have the break down for this year.(had popped cartilidge in rib cage earlier that week, then tripped on the run)
Finish Time 02:04:47.1

Split Time Pace
Swim 00:09:18.0 0:02:18
Transition 1 N/A N/A
Bike 01:14:15.8 17.7742548446627
Transition 2 N/A N/A
Run 00:35:54.4 0:11:34
Finish Time 02:04:28.0

(FIRST EVER TRIATHLON, used a mountain bike for the ride!!)
Finish Time 02:28:20.6

Friday, June 17, 2011

Twas the Night Before Race Day...

'Twas the night before Race Day, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The swimsuit was hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that race morning soon would be here;

The children were nestled all snug in their friends beds, (at a sleep over)
While visions of sugar-soda danced in their heads;
And me in my 'kerchief, had crawled in my sack,
Had just settled down for a brief summer's nap,
When from my cell phone there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the sack to see what was the matter.

Away to the kitchen I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the flesh of the newly-purchased banana (ya' I know work with me here)
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a empty bike rack , and a shiny new gear,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he could load it in a jiff.
More rapid than eagles he tossed it up like a flame,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called me by name;

"Now, Helmet! Now, swim cap! Now, Gu of all sorts!
On, Water bottle! On socks! On, goggles and shorts!
To the click of the belt! to the start of the car!
Now dash away! dash away! Don't dash away far!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the hill-top the coursers they flew,
With the cars full of toys, and Triathletes too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the hill
The prancing and pawing of each transition spot fill.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the corral we all came with a bound.
We were dressed all in Speedo, from our head to our foot,
And our clothes were tarnished with algae and soot;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
filled the air with a Buzz; and then turned with a jerk,
After the last of the 'half Triathletes' went running,
up to the start line we waited, still numbing; (brrr!)
He sprang to his Buzzer, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere we dove out of sight,

"Happy Triathlon to all, and to all a good-fight."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Invitation to Make a Difference...

After a recent concert of Jason Gray, we picked up a package from World Vision and agreed to give $35 a month to help a little girl named Silvia. Her BIG, BRIGHT eyes caught my attention. I put the photo of her on my fridge, above the Ice and Water dispenser. That way I think of her everyday. Trying to remember how lucky we are. We hope to connect with her soon, by letters and gifts.

She is from Malawi.

A doctor that I worked with had shared letter this from someone that visited the area of Malawi. After reading this, my mind is flooded with thoughts on how to make a difference for her family even more. We could learn SO MUCH from these people!

Dear Doctor Frank,

I wanted to share with you a recent experience I had
on a trip to Malawi, Africa. I was there on a research project and was hosted by
the people from a non-profit called Raising Malawi. They are an American
organization that is doing amazing work with the country’s poor and their more
than 1 million orphaned children.

Despite its overwhelming poverty,
Malawi is considered “the warm heart of Africa,” and to this I can attest. We
were welcomed everywhere with smiles and open arms. I have never experienced a
population with more love and appreciation for life’s simplest gifts. To many
Malawians, if the sun is shining, they have a little food in their bellies, and
a hand to hold; they consider it a good day. They are unconcerned with their
petty differences and regularly work together to help one another. They share in
each other’s difficulties and rejoice in their blessings.

I was thinking
a lot of you Frank, on one of the tougher days we had there... We visited many
of the sites around the country that are supported by Raising Malawi. One of
them was a sort of urgent care clinic that was built at the center of several
densely populated villages, about 20 kilometers from the nearest hospital.
Because many of the villagers are quite poor, they don't have cars or even
access to any kind of public transportation. So they must travel by bicycle or
simply use their own two feet if they need medical care--not a great situation
when they are sick or injured or eight months pregnant and need to get to the
hospital. This facility tends to the ongoing needs of the villagers who mostly
suffer from malaria and pneumonia and HIV-related illnesses. Patients are
expected to pay a small fee for each visit, but many of them cannot afford the
50 Kwacha (about 27 cents in American money). Still, no one is ever turned away
for lack of funds. When we arrived one steaming hot afternoon, there were about
three-dozen men and women sitting quietly and patiently in the waiting area. In
a country known for its warm smiles, these folks looked uncharacteristically
grim, yet not one of them complained about the hours-long wait. Inside we were
greeted by Lydia, the head nurse, a sharp-looking Malawian woman in her forties
whose crisp white uniform barely masked her unmistakable sense of weariness and
stress. I asked Lydia how many patients she sees each week. She said they see on
average about 150 per day, five days a week, beginning at 5am and ending about
12 hours later. I asked her how many other nurses and doctors worked there. She
looked down and her voice cracked as she spoke, “Just myself and two

Lydia gave us a tour of the rest of the facility and we
met the volunteers who work in the makeshift pharmacy. On good days, they are
able to give prescription medicine to most of their patients in need. But many
days, they simply don't have the supplies necessary and must send the patients
away with nothing. I asked Lois Silo - one of the amazing women who run Raising
Malawi and is on the front lines every day - how they maintain hope when things
often seem so overwhelmingly bleak. Her answer made us both cry. “Sometimes, if
I have the time, I will just sit with these people and hold their hands and try
to make them laugh, try to help them forget about their problems for a little
while. Sometimes that's the only medicine we have to offer them.” In a country
where the life expectancy is about 45 years, these people are grateful for
whatever care they receive.

Before we left, we visited with some of the
two-hundred or so people who had gathered on the lawn in the afternoon sun in
the hopes of getting a free mosquito net from Unicef that day. But when the
truck failed to show up, many of them left on foot. I suddenly felt embarrassed
that we were traveling in an air-conditioned car. But as we passed the villagers
on the dusty road, they all stopped, smiled and waved. Some of them shouted
"zikomo" - Chichewa for "thank you." I asked Lois why they would thank us, and
she said they probably assumed we had come to help. I wished I could have helped
each one of them that day. I remembered all your Shots of Satifaction where you
expressed to your fellow caregivers that sometimes all it takes to make a
difference is to feel the pain of another and not try to fix it or to quickly
write a prescription, but just to sit with them, cry with them and understand
them. I know many of those people didn't come to the facility that day expecting
medicine they knew was likely not there. They just came to have their hand held
and to get a smile or a hug and to know that someone truly cared. I know each of
them left with something.

I've attached a photo of Nurse Lydia and Lois,
as well as some of the people who were waiting for care that afternoon. I hope
we can remember these Healthcare Heroes in our prayers and send them some
much-needed love. I feel blessed to have had this experience and I feel so much
gratitude for all my own blessings. Throughout the journey I kept thinking of
the old maxim, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Indeed, we all have a
lot of work to do!

With so much love,
Michael Seligman

*Michael's photos can be seen via

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chicken liver + turtles = LOVE. And other un-imaginables...

Last Saturday the hubby took the two youngest to a local fishin' pond. A guy near them decided to use chicken liver as bait and he was catching fish like crazy! The boys were using red worms. The guy let my boys use some liver, they caught a turtle.
Think it is a fluke thing? The next day they bought their own liver and caught 3 turtles!!

My oldest was a bit on top of things on Sunday morning and he is more than willing to do anything around the house. He cleans the cat litter, vaccuumed my car, went willingly to church on Wednesday AND Sunday!! Of course, all of this is at a price... he is trying to sweet talk us into letting him stay home for this upcoming weekend. I am just going to milk this out a bit...

The hubby has given up soda. Completely. He is doing amazing. I never thought he would do it. 10 years ago his doctor tried to tell him the sugar was crazy, but finally the work 'physical' showed his HGBA1C was creeping up. I tried to tell him that meant his body was having a harder time dealing with the sugar that he drank every day. Something sunk in!

Child #2 got A's and B's, and actually smiles everyday. When we moved down here, heck, even before we came here he was a grumpy Gus. I feel partly to blame. I would be angry at the hubby for something he did, or said. I would keep it in, and just take it out on the people around me. I was frustrated with not being able to do anything about it. Now, I have learned to correctly direct my frustration, and be happy at my kids. And ya know what? It works. My kids don't deserve my problems, and all I was doing was pushing my problems on them.

Almost one full year later and I STILL LOVE MY JOB. This job was meant for me. I can't say enough about it. I can not imagine any other job that I would like more. The days are flying by!! Well, time to go to bed!!

3 MORE DAYS UNTIL WE HEAD TO WISCONSIN!! WOO HOO! (with the new car too!)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Randomness

  • My parents got a cell phone. Take two. Gadgets and technology are not my Mom's best friend. My Dad likes to fidget with 'em, but seeing how his memory isn't the greatest, he probably isn't the most help when it comes to 'techy' stuff. Maybe she will keep it on so we can actually get a hold of her when they are not at home.

  • First Triathlon event of the year is coming up in 8 days. I managed a 'mini' training brick last night. 10 min swim (380 yrds), 20 min spin (made up my own routine, apparently I like jumps and running on the spin bike), followed by 10 min run (.91 of a mile). I realized on lap two that if I put my head up, shoulders back and try to lead with my hips (I know it sounds weird, but trust me) I go faster with less effort! I felt like I was running like Forrest Gump but it worked! I will have to keep that in mind next Saturday.

  • Starbucks accidentally put SUGAR FREE syrup in my mocha. Bummer. : (... wait, upon further review, maybe it was too much peppermint. Color me disappointed.

  • So, these narrow KY roads have random drop offs on various curves through the countryside. I know what it sounds like to drop off one... not my fault, lets just leave that alone.

  • Note: Street cameras due work and if you are renting a car, the rental car company kindly lets you know they are charging you $15 above what the fine may be to let you know you recieved a fine. Another side note: Make sure your address is up-to-date or you may have to 1) hunt down the state the offense occured, if you are traveling thru many states or 2) get a warrent issued for arrest. I guess aim for #1. Again, not my fault. Also, going to leave that alone. (btw, does anyone know where rolling meadows is? Illinois? WI?)

  • I love plastic cars. Say, you swipe a cart return after getting too close. It bounces back! Just like a garbage can, only with small scrape marks left behind. This one is my fault, but we can leave that alone too. Just sayin' I am not perfect, I get it.

  • I wish someone would have sat me down when I was younger and asked me these questions... then again, would I have listened? I don't know... but wish everyone should make sure there kids know these, before and during dating. Worship- Who or what does he/she worship in the shrine of his heart?
    Words- Do his/her words (spoken and written) build others up or tear them down?
    Character- Who is he/she when no one else is looking?
    Personality- Who is he/she around other people?
    Interests- What kinds of things does he/she do to recharge?
    Feelings- Do you feel better about yourself when She/he’s around?
    Attraction- Is your attraction to him/her centered around something that will stay over time?

  • I just got my plates for the new car. Woo Hoo! I was able to put the 'PACKERS' license plate holder on it. Now we're stylin'. (right next to the 13.1 and 'swim, bike, run' magnets) Our letters are MCJ. Mc J, as I like to say... like Mc Juice, Mc Double, Mc Chicken... you get the picture...

  • Child #2 has an ingrown toe nail and is on an antibiatic for it. He is supposed to be soaking his toe 3 times a day... Those arbonne buckets are coming in useful after all!

  • I broke out the cutter and gave the hubby and child #1 and #3 buzz summer cuts. #2 has long hair so he has to go to a 'special' place for it. : )

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Bricks, I got em.

Bricks: training on two disciplines during the same
workout, one after the other with minimal or no interruption in between

They are key to triathlon training. My worst is getting off the bike and heading out on the run. Legs just feel like logs after the bike. They move but the nerves somewhere around the buttocks are hurting and don't recover too quickly. No matter HOW MUCH cushion you think you have, it doesn't help. Maybe more muscle does...I wouldn't know.

I have normally been my own trainer. My typical brick is swim to bike, swim to run, or bike to run. Something I have been reading recently suggested doing a brick of swim,bike,swim,bike,swim,bike. Basically swim 500 yrds, bike 5 miles and repeat x2.

I was hoping to get a 10 minute swim, 20 min bike, 10 min run in tonight. I am still hoping to get it in, maybe on Sunday I can try that swim, bike, thing or maybe a bike, run thing~ Hopefully it is not to hot out. Sunday the weather is supposed reach high 70's.

On a side note, being <10 days out of the High Cliff Triathlon, I am glad for the steamy weather recently... I hope it heated up Lake Winnebago enough for me to not go into shock for the swim!!
Looks like the 'high' for Saturday in Wisconsin is only going to be 70. This should be interesting!

P.S. I can not rave enough about how nice it is to pricey goggles. I actually paid more than $10 for them and they work GREAT~ no steaming up or water getting in 'em!! Worth every penny!!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Garden 101: Hits and Misses

So far, one week with our garden, we have learned...

1. Hot and sticky weather loves...
As they seem to have grown by leaps and bounds!

2. On the other hand.... Hot and sticky weather hates...
All, of the tomato plants we had started in the cool dry house that did REALLY well, fried quick and are now invisible. Well, So much for Salsa and sauces.

3. Turkeys love...
sweet corn seeds
Since I have only one stalk growing. Really well too. I think I will be trying again soon. I just saw on the news local farmers just got some of their crops in.

4. Some animal enjoys...
As they are nibbled on almost down to the stem.

5. Local birds enjoy...
The water puddles created by our sprinkler. We had an oriole, Cardinal and blue bird taking turns in the garden. Flying into and out of the puddles.

Da BIG race!

We woke up about 4:30 am and met Ang and Jess in the hotel Lobby. He was geared up and ready with his bike. On the way to the car we began see lots of people riding to the transition area. One guy asked if he could hitch a ride, but we had no extra room. We wished him luck and sent him on his way. He had to catch a ride to a ferry that dropped them in the water, um, I mean had them jump into the water.

Escape from Alcatraz is a 1.5 mile swim, 18 mile bike (very hilly) and an 8 mile run.

He did awesome, but before we get to that.... We walked from our hotel to the transition area to cheer him on. On the way, we heard the paddle boat sound and they were OFF! From the shore all you could see was white caps from the swimmers on the calm bay. They were too far out for us to actually see Jesse. (You can barely see the ruffed up water in the picture I took here.) There were 2000 people in this race and they empty the ferry in 6 minutes. Jesse had later told us how his goggles broke apart in that time and he had to hurry up and get them fixed before hopping into the water.

From the beach the athletes had to run 1/2 mile (!!) before getting to the transition area, so many had bags on shore to stuff their wet suits and grab some shoes for the pavement. I am pretty sure we missed the leader in transtition since it only took Andy Potts 22 minutes to swim that. (CRAZY) We managed to find Jesse and stalk him as he transtitioned to the bike. His swim was 38 minutes, and thanks to the long run to transtition area and getting the wet suit off, his T1 time was a little over 12 minutes. Still... pretty darn good!

Jesse rented a bike for the 18 miles but found out the shifting wasn't the greatest and met the pavement on one of the hills. He usually averages over 20 mph but thanks to bad shifting and hills his average speed was 15 mph. He finished the bike in 1hour and 12 minutes. T2 (second transition) time was 3:32. It sounded like a heard of horses when the athletes mounted the bikes on the pavement with their special shoes for clipless pedals. Kinda funny.

On the run, there is a part called the 'sandladder', which is basically what it sounds like. The entire run follows along the bay, sometimes litterally running on the beach. While we were waiting for Jesse to come back on the bike, the announcer gave us updates on Andy Potts, the race leader. He said that while he was running on the beach he dropped (or passed) a person riding a bike! Crazy! We watched the leader finish the run, the whole time, workin' the crowd. He has won this race many times. Apparently he won $8000 for winning on Sunday!

While we had sometime to kill, I was playing with the timer feature on the is one fun pic from that...

Jess finished the run in 1 hr and 26 minutes. Overall, 3:32:38. Pretty darn good!

After a quick shower and packing up we grabbed some pizza and ate a kitchen sink worth of ice cream at San Francisco Creamery. 8 scoops, 8 toppings and optional whipped cream, nuts, banana's and cherries. I whimped out, my stomach could only handle one of my 2 scoops. They had pic's of people that conquered the sink. The fastest time was something like 7 minutes!! Talk about a brain freeze!!!

So now, we are at the airport in Cleveland waiting for our connecting flight to Louisvillle... It was a fun trip and I miss 'em already, but I am looking forward to seeing the kiddo's and sleeping in my bed when I get home!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

San Fran Day Two and Three

Limited time today, we are heading out soon to the big race!! So, Here are some brief pics of our adventures... Friday we hiked over the Golden Gate bridge and back.

We then headed to Salsalito for a burger and a root beer. It was a cute town with lots of shops and riverfront restaurants.

This is a chart at Alcatraz that shows how many different languages you can get your audio tour in. Lots. It was fun guessing where people where from or what language they were speaking. Some are completely obvious, others not so much.

This was a part of Alcatraz we had never seen before. They only have it open on the night tours. It was the hospital part of the prison. The 'bird man' Robert Stroud spent 11 of 17 years here. They even had his room labeled.

Saturday it was on and off rain, so we grabbed our umbrella's and headed to Muir Woods, after stopping by the packet pick up and race store. That was CRAZY BUSY.

If I look a bit dishevled, it is 'cause I had to run to get in the picture in time. lol.

We headed to The Stinking Rose, an italian place that says they 'season their garlic with food'. They were not kidding. We walked there from our hotel and found out that we were in little Italy. Loved all the italian places and language in that area.

Then we headed down to Pier 39 to shop a bit and enjoy the view.

After the Woods we came upon this. Not a great way to end up. Locals told us everyone was ok.
Ok, time to go.
Gotta pack and shower! Next up, Race pics! Woo Hoo!!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

San Fran Day One

Yep. We made 'er. After a 5 hour delay in Milwaukee we made it to San Fran. We grabbed our rental car, which makes me feel a bit like a hamster everytime I hop in. See why?
After settling in to our room at 7am, we grabbed breakfast at the hotel restaurant. We were tired but hungry. We sat next to a couple from England and another couple from Germany. We kinda feel like the minority here. There are so many different languages spoken everywhere you go.

We found a place to park, other than the hotel at the bargin price of $25 per day. (yes, that is a STEAL, hotel wanted $40)... at least the rental was cheap! Then we unpacked and napped until 11 am local time.
We decided to check out the Napa Valley/ Sonoma Areas. We have been to San Fran a hand full of times but never to that area, or even over the Golden Gate Bridge. That was the plan for the day.

We stopped by the visitors center as we arrived in the Napa area and when the guy uddered the words "free cheese tasting' my ears perked up. Blame my dairyland roots but I loves me some CHEESE! Wine? Not so much. It puts me to sleep. Honestly, sometimes I'd rather suck on a lemon. But it was neat to see all the plants and learn some things about the trade.
Before we found the winery we were looking for stumbled upon the Sonoma Cheese Store. Like any good Cheese store, they had a huge assortment of FUDGE.

The winery we toured had a guy that carved signs for them for 19 years. This was the wine makers calendar... showing what they did each month of the year.

They also had one of two of the biggest barrels in the world. There is only one other like it... in Germany.

The tour guide showed us how the vines grow, and described why they have roses, thyme and other plants nearby. They are to show when bugs are getting close to the vines to protect them.

We took a stroll along Fisherman's Wharf... amid the pigeon's and tourists...