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Showing posts from June, 2013

Moving forward (or "Wetsuits, Taco Bell & gay marriage")

Seems like an appropriate title given the last week...

I was sore for a couple days in a very mild, hard workout kind of way. For as physically taxing as Sunday's triathlon was, it was the mental part that I've been slower to recover on. If you asked me coming out of the water on race day if I ever intended to do that again I'd have given you a resounding "no."

But then, the more I think about it, the more fun it was precisely because it was hard, out of my comfort zone, and a little scary. I've since read a couple stories circulating the tri world of others who were backstroking 800m last weekend and far off course (which I was not, at least) or who threw their hands up within 150 meters of starting...thought about it. Didn't do it. Struggled and finished.

So, despite the fact that I was frustrated with my race, I've found myself trying on a sleeveless wetsuit that Kelly had stashed away in her triathlon bin in the basement. It fits and is legal t…

Pleasant Prairie Triathlon race report

Ok, grab a cup of coffee first...

We had the car pretty much packed before going to bed so that all we had to do when waking up at 3am was carry the kids out to the car. And put the bike rack and my bike on the car. Since we live in an urban neighborhood with people walking through our alley at all times, it seemed like a good idea to not tempt any thieves. Pulled onto the freeway in perfect time and settled in for the hour drive. The kids were super good with Cole staying awake and--again, like the early morning trip to Madison for Ironman last year--amused that we were driving somewhere in the dark after getting him out of bed. Not much traffic on the road at that time...other than a few other cars with bike racks probably going to one of the two triathlons in southern Wisconsin yesterday.

Found a place to park easily. Plenty of signs and volunteers directing. The kids wanted to get out so it was hard to explain that Daddy was going to go race and I needed to leave them. At first, I…

The good make it look easy

I've been meditating a lot lately on perspective. Specifically, the difference between the effortless way that greatness looks casual. And the way that we often view struggling as weakness rather than character. 
It presents itself probably most-evidently in sports. The way the Blackhawks skate up the ice in the Stanley Cup Finals. The way that hitting a 100 mph fastball looks easy when a good hitter smacks it 400 ft. The way the top triathletes cut through the air on aerodynamic bikes. Yes, these people have worked hard for their achievements. But the flip side of that equation is don't let the natural talents of insanely gifted athletes convince you that difficult things aren't difficult. 
But this relates back to parenting. To relationships. To your job. Which is what has had me thinking so much.  Really, the spinning wheel incident crystallized it for me. Kelly can effortlessly turn a chunk of wool into yarn while I sat down at the wheel to try to learn--hey, it looks …


Do kids sit "Indian style" anymore?

I got to wondering this one recent visit from the speech therapist. Or is it a victim of some political correctness? We're working on trying to teach Cole to pick a square on our (conveniently) color-tiled carpet to practice being at school. When it's time for a new activity he is supposed to sit down with his legs crossed, quietly, wait patiently, and say "my turn" rather than grab or get up to cut in.

She noted that--at least around here--the teachers will be asking him to sit "criss cross applesauce." What? Pardon? Never heard it called that before.

Although I've done some research on the interwebs and found that the term for sitting on your butt with your legs crossed in front of you has a widely varying terminology including "tailor-fashion" and "Turkish style." this a regional thing? Is it like the soda/pop distribution map where if I'm in Ohio we say pop and Indian styl…

Happy Father's Day!

Ok, I'm a day late. But I was busy having a wonderful time with my family...looking at trains, playing in the yard, eating my favorite pasta takeout. (Except for the notable dad-fail of having not refilled the diaper bag and only having one diaper. Who will get changed?! Stay tuned.) I hope all the dads out there had a wonderful celebration.

We got up and drove about an hour to McHenry County where the Illinois Railway Museum is located. Same place we rode on Thomas The Tank Engine last summer for Cole's birthday. But this time we were there to see the permanent collection away from the crowds. It's the largest railroad history museum in the US with numerous engines, coaches, trolleys, historic buildings, signals, etc..

We were one of the first cars in the parking lot and ended up having about an hour to kill before any trains starting running. During which, all Cole could talk about was "I want to ride the train." Okay. This one seems easy enough. It's why w…

It's Race Week!

If you race infrequently, like I do, every race becomes your "A" race. Marathons I've usually done just 2-3 races per year trying to be mindful of budget and stress. You folks who race every weekend during the summer or have plans for travel all over the country amaze me. That's a full schedule! Considering kids or work or having a life outside of our sport.

This year, I've limited myself to this one "warmup," "test" race. I thought about running the Chicago Marathon then decided if I wasn't going to completely dedicate myself to doing my best...why run it? Instead I've chosen to enjoy this summer with my family knowing that next year I plan on doing Ironman in September. Which means a grueling summer of training next season. And probably not much else on my race calendar because of that.

So Race Week always feels a little exciting to me. A combination of nerves and getting ready...trying to decide how I feel in relation to peak. Am I …

Triathlon for Buddhists

"Success in the sport is, above all else, about enduring suffering." -- Macca (Chris McCormack) If you told me 4 years ago that I'd be standing in the middle of my bathroom trying to reach over my shoulder to grab the zipper cord while trying on a wetsuit, I'd have told you your elevator doesn't go all the way to the top. Especially if you told "past me" that I'd be doing this while my soon-to-be-3-year-old and 20 month old were napping. I'd have said you had the wrong guy on several fronts. Past me--no kids--was in the middle of training for my first marathon and barely able to put a few miles together--wondering how I was going to do 26.2.

I'm not sure at what point last summer I got the crazy idea that I was going to race an Ironman. Maybe it was thumbing through the bike catalogs and seeing the shiny, sleek speed machines and thinking about the people who buy them. Maybe it was watching the broadcast of the Ironman World Championships in…

Ticks & spacers & 911 buttons...oh my!

It was sort of a wacky weekend here in the Newfangled household. We drove out the Arboretum to ride bikes as a family on Friday evening and ended up doing only one loop (the wrong one, it turns out, since only one side is closed to traffic). The bike shop had taken the seat post off the road bike and put it back so that the seat was way, way too high for Kelly. To the point where she couldn't touch the ground when trying to stop. Not the best way to try and get back into cycling. And here I am without a wrench in my saddle bag. Nope, mine is entirely flat-focused with patches, CO2, levers, tubes. So we only did one (very hilly) time around before heading back to the car...where I found a tick on my wrist. What? It wasn't attached but still hard to take off...I wasn't even in grass or off the road! Then you have that creepy crawly feeling on you the rest of the day and we had to check the kids really well. It was a whole lot of gear to get ready, too, by the time you do the…

Be kind to newbies

Those of you who have read the blog for awhile know I have a special pet peeve about those who aren't nice to the new and the slow in endurance sports. Even with my own complaining about the way some races have turned into glorified parties, I still think there is room in the sport for the non-competitive, recreational athlete.

This rubs a few people in the sport the wrong way.

Don't get me wrong, it's a few. Not all. Not even really most. Not even 50-50. Most people you encounter in endurance sports are amazingly helpful if you have questions, supportive, and want to see you succeed. We'd rather have you racing with us than on the couch.

But for a select few there is definitely an elitism at work. And I'm not talking about elite athletes. More like a certain segment of the demographic who looks down at the way that marathons or Ironman has become a "bucket list" celebration of accomplishment. And less something people only compete in if they're train…

Things I wish I'd been told about parenting...

I know a bunch of friends who are currently pregnant or have new babies less than 6 months old. And as Kelly and I, more and more, put our infant days behind us, we've done a lot of private trips down memory lane lately. Each new milestone from one of the kids takes us back to when we first left the hospital with them.

We're currently winding down the Terrible Twos. Which I'm happy to report aren't so terrible. Oh, don't get me wrong, it's bad. But every age is bad. It's not like I'd trade in the head-banging, middle-of-the-walkway-at-the-zoo tantrum for getting up 3 times a night. Not to mention that the worst of the Terrible Twos for our kids has been rougly 18 months to 30 months. Leda is currently in the middle of her throwing, screaming, rolling on the floor phase while Cole is mostly preschooler with extended conversations about interesting things and fun to be around. We consider him a full "little boy" while Leda is still trying to bre…

The murky waters of Early Intervention

Kelly and I have specifically avoided sharing too much about Cole with more than a select group of people lately. Trying to wrap our brains around a few things. Trying to give our son some respect and privacy. Trying to learn.

But it's now become harder NOT to share what's going. So much of our family life the last few weeks has revolved around people moving in and out of our lives trying to help us. They deserve credit where due and the whole system needs talking about because of the holes and flaws we've noted. So I've decided to explain a few things. 1) My hope is that this is one of those situations where one day Cole will read this. 2) Other families are going through this and maybe a few have opinions, thoughts, want to connect. Some of you are familiar with Leda's birth and month in the NICU and I learned a lot in that experience about how important it is to become part of the support community.

I've been working in my head forever trying to figure out h…

Me too!

Yesterday was a mixed bag. You don't want to hear about insurance problems--at least not today--so I'll save my complaining about denying treatment to a 3 year old for another time. And they have told us we'll have to move our car for about a week while they pour cement near our building. Umm, we have two kids under 3, how is that going to work?!

But yesterday had a few bright spots. Things needing to get onto the calendar got onto the calendar. The weather was gorgeous. And we turned that gorgeous weather into a rather fun afternoon.

I'd intended to use our bike ride as a pleasant hour or so ride around the village to get my workout in for the day. I definitely hadn't planned on stopping, but 30 minutes into it the kids were getting feisty in trailer so I promised them we'd get out to stretch at a park. So we pulled into the playground we've been to before several times.

When we arrived, a group of about 8 older boys were being supervised by one mom. They&…

I love the sight of nuns in the morning

Any morning that starts with a nun in full dress getting out of a huge work van at the tollway oasis can't be all bad, right? That's the way my Saturday began.

I was up at 4:30am (alarm for 5:00 but thanks neighbor coming home across the alley for yelling so the entire block can hear you) to load my bike and gear and head to the site of my upcoming race. I was to meet two very friendly locals who offered to show me the area. We rode about 13 miles doing the western portion of the bike leg then came back to the centrally located lake where the swim will be. The run is in the park that surrounds the they showed me the beach where the swim start/exit is, where the finish line will be, where transition will be. It was all very helpful. Especially to see the minor hilly spots, where the turnaround will be, we got a chance to see what the conditions are on the gravel section of the run.

We had to ride on the shoulder of a busy trucking road for a mile or so then turned ont…