Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Greatest Vacation Ever (aka G.V.E)

When we left for Denver/Vail, I had a full agenda of activities planned out for the fam, but I learned one thing on our trip-agendas mean nothing to a 6 month old. :) The night before we left, MB and I began to pack for our trip. I knew that traveling would never be the same when I saw that MB had packed our largest suitcase full of Parker's clothes, toys, diapers, wipes, etc. Not only did we have a huge bag for him, but we also had to think about how to get the car seat on the plane. This is all new to us and this would be Parker's first flight and his first vacation. I couldn't think of a better spot to take him than Vail, CO. We were heading out there for our friends' (Tarah & Tristan) wedding, and we decided it would be a good opportunity to explore for a few extra days as well. The flight to Denver was text book-we checked our bags, made it through security and got to board the plane early (gotta love the early boarding for families with young children). Parker took a bottle on the way up and slept on the way down and didn't make a peep the whole flight. Mb and I walked off the plane with a little extra swagger, considering our 6 month old was such a well-behaved young lad. :) But I reminded Mary Beth that we still needed to drive two hours through the mountains and take a flight home before we get too proud. The drive went well and we arrived in Vail (elevation ~9000 ft.)on Friday afternoon. We had a plenty of time to take the free Gondola ride to the top of the mountain and get some potential "Christmas Card Pics." We ran into a nice family from Overland Park, KS and they were kind enough to take some good shots for us. (see below)

Great Family PicParker telling the Paparazzi, "No more pictures...please!"

Mom & Parker on the Gondola

Dad with Parker (looking happy) in the Baby Bjorn-Parker's main mode of transportation in Colorado

That night we went to bed early after strolling around downtown Vail for a bit. We woke up early on Saturday, had a nice continental breakfast and headed out the door. We made one of our best choices of the trip by renting a jogging stroller from one of the shops. It allowed Parker to take some naps while MB & I explored and it also gave our shoulders and backs a much needed break-the little booger is heavier than he looks. :) I thought we might be able to hike up some smoother trails with the stroller, but after a few hundred feet on Berry Picker Trail, we turned around. Parker was sleeping and the terrain just wasn't that stroller friendly. We checked out the Art Show, ate some lunch and walked around a little before going back to get dressed up for the wedding. The wedding was in the Betty Ford Alpine Garden; a sweet spot for a wedding, and the weather was perfect. The wedding & reception were both in walking distance of our hotel which made it really nice with Parker. He started acting a little fussy and couldn't seem to calm down before the wedding, so I sent MB ahead and tried to calm Parker down. I thought it would be better for me to miss the wedding if it came down to it. But he was able to pull it together and we arrived with plenty of time to spare. The reception was awesome, great food, great people, but it was late and an hour behind MO time. Parker was struggling to get to sleep with all the noise, so MB and I took turns walking the stroller around a side room and eventually outside. Little man finally went to sleep at about 9pm Co time. We were probably the first to leave the reception, but that's what happens with a 6 month old. :) The next day we had a great brunch, but Parker was showing more signs of altitude sickness and he just wouldn't take a nap. We tried about everything we could and spent the majority of the day in the hotel. It was a really tough day for Parker and for me (MB is a little more understanding). :) I was just frustrated that we couldn't calm him down and that we were sitting in Vail and couldn't leave our hotel room. Finally, MB dropped me off by the side of the road, so I could run back to the hotel. It was nice and peaceful running by the river, but when I got back, Parker was loosing it. At this point we started getting pretty worried because he had never acted like this before. We had planned to go to Breckenridge for a few days, but decided that we needed to get Parker out of the elevation. We eventually decided to drive about 2-3 hours to Boulder, where the elevation is closer to 5000 ft. Little did we know when we left that this would be a car ride for the ages. :) More details to come in the next post on how our time in CO became known as the GVE......

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Heading to Colorado......

Mary Beth, Parker & I are heading to Colorado tomorrow morning.


It will be Parker's first flight and his first time in the mountains. I hope he does okay and we are all able to enjoy our time away. I will take plenty of pictures and give a trip recap in a week or so. Until then, we will be living the HIGH (altitude) LIFE. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ironman 70.3 Kansas

Yesterday was the big race. 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.
I woke up around 3:15am (didn't even need an alarm-Parker made sure that I didn't sleep in) and headed out with Ryan (a friend of mine from work with whom I have been training) around 4:15 for Lawrence. We arrived at Clinton Lake around 5:15, along with the rest of the 1900+ competitors. My blood was pumping and my heart was thumping as we started setting up our transitions. It was a little nerve wrecking when they announced that we only had 3 more minutes in the transition area and I hadn't even started pumping up my bike tires, but I was able to get my bike ready and still had plenty of time to calm the nerves before the swim start.
Ryan and I were in the largest start wave because they combined the 20-24 males and the 25-29 males, so it was basically chaos for the first 400 meters. I was getting hammered by other guys, but I also did some hammering myself. :) My swim was slower than I expected-coming in around 39 min, but I think it could've been due to the fact that I just couldn't find my rhythm in the midst of all the "traffic." Happy to be finished with the swim, I hustled to my bike and tried to down some chocolate covered espresso beans while I put on my helmet and shoes. My transition was mediocre, but not terrible, so I started the bike feeling pretty strong. Going in, I was most worried about the bike section because the furthest I had ridden in training was 40 miles. Now I had to go 56, so I was expecting a tough 3 hours. I was pleasantly surprised when my legs felt like they were getting stronger as I went on, but I thought surely I would fade at some point. I don't know if I just had too much adrenaline or if the 4 GUs, 2 Nuuns, 3 Gatorades and the Clif Bocks were kicking in, but I never faded. I ended up averaging just under 20 mph for the bike (much faster than I expected).
As I came in to the run transition, I dismounted the bike and my legs felt like jelly, so I thought-uh oh, I probably pushed it too hard on the bike and won't have anything left for the run. The first mile was really tough, but when I looked down at my Garmin, I noticed that I had run a 7:48 mile-not bad, but I knew that wasn't sustainable and decided to slow it down to around an 8 to 8:15 pace. I passed quite a few people on the first half of the run, but the quads started getting tight around mile 6. Not long after I started hurting I saw MB, Parker and MB's Mom cheering for "Daddy" and my quads suddenly became an afterthought. :) Seeing my family cheering for me was all that I needed to push through the second half of the run. I continued at the ~8 min mile pace for rest of the run and finished the half-marathon in 1 hr 47 min, with a total time of 5 hr 23 min. (7 minutes below my goal time of 5:30) I feel like all the hard work in training really paid off and I am definitely stoked to have had an almost picture perfect race. Below is a shot of me coming down the homestretch to the finish. I have to thank everyone who supported me at the race-MB, Mom, Dad, Marilyn and Little-P. I especially want to thank MB & Parker for allowing me to take those 2 hour training rides and hour long runs on Saturday mornings over the past few months. I had a great time training with Ryan and getting to know him better-so thanks Ryan-having a training partner really helped keep me on track. All in all-it was a great experience even though I am really sore today. It was worth it.
I am continually amazed at what the human body is capable of accomplishing, and I thank God that I have the ability to get out there and compete. I was really amazed with some of the other athletes-I saw one man who lost a leg in Iraq and he was out there "pounding the pavement" with his prosthetic leg. I saw another man who was blind and he completed the course with minimal assistance from an escort. I even saw a 77 year old woman, who was still running at a pretty good clip midway through the run. I think my race pales in comparison to these people. They are the ones who really inspire me to want to go harder the next time. I am not sure when I will do another, but I know I can't stay away for long. I am already setting my sites on a sub-5 hr race next time. We'll see about that....Thanks for reading.
For results, check out http://www.ironmankansas.com/ and click on the results link. Bib# 1177

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A little bit a "Chicken Fried"

I have been listening to the radio waiting for this song to come on, so I just decided to search the web for it. Check it out. (song doesn't start until about 1 minute into the video) Songs with the blugrassy-country style always get this "Missouri Boy" fired up!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Daily Shoe-In Winner!

Let me preface by saying, I still haven't received anything and I am hopeful that this isn't a hoax. I entered the Daily Shoe-In contest on Facebook by becoming a fan of the Montrail Facebook page. They are giving away a free pair of Montrail trail running shoes every day. I received an email today that I had won and just needed to respond in order to collect my free pair of shoes. I have been wanting some trail shoes for a while, but haven't wanted to pony up the cash to buy them. One of the pairs that I have been interested in trying is the Montrail Masochist, which won the Outside Magazine-Best Trail Shoe Award this year. They are very light, but also very stable for the uneven terrain, and they have received rave reviews on almost every website I have visited. I am so stoked to get a free pair of shoes, and not just any free pair, but one that I actually like. Check out the shoes below.
I am going to put these babies to the test when we head out to Colorado at the end of June for Tristan & Tarah's wedding. I am already planning Parker's first 14er-most likely Mt. Bross or Mt. Democrat-I'll keep you posted and surely take some sweet pics. (Don't worry Mom, we'll go with the easiest 14er we can find and we'll remember to put plenty of sunscreen on Parker. :)) If you have a Facebook account you should join the Montrail fan page and you could win a pair for yourself. Take it easy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Race Goals

I have been running, riding and swimming quite a bit lately. I have really developed a passion for these outdoor endurance sports. These activities allow me to experience nature, stay fit and challenge myself mentally and physically. I tend to do these things for fun and don't plan on taking myself too seriously in the future either, however, I have decided to develop a list of goal times for the races I plan to complete in the next year or so. Some of the goals are more attainable than others, but I am going to see how I do and I will keep you posted on my progress. My first big test is less an a month away at the Kansas Half Ironman. Well folks, here they are:

1 mile: Sub-5 min. (Track 09')
5k: Sub-18 min. (Parkville Turkey Trot 09')
4 mile: Sub-24 min. (Trolley Run 10')
10k: Sub-40 min. (Groundhog Run/Liberty 10')
half-marathon: Sub 1:30 (?)
marathon: Sub 3 hr. 10 min.-Boston Qualifier (Kansas City 09')
half-ironman: Sub 5 hr. 30 min. (Kansas 70.3)

Feel free to come out to any of the races to compete or spectate. The atmosphere at these events is always exciting and motivating. Trust me, if you come try one, then you'll want to do another. It is a vicious cycle each year because you want to run a little bit faster, so you train harder and come back stronger. Where does it end?????? I don't know if I'll ever find out, but it's not about racing other people, it's about racing against your previous personal best. Ultimately, that means you are racing against the clock. Well.... I guess I am sticking my neck out by posting these; because now I have nowhere to hide. But hopefully, I can accomplish some, if not all of my goals and set some even tougher ones next year. After all, these sports are all about finding out how far you can push yourself. We will find out very soon. :)

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

We all figure it out some time around college or just after graduation that our Mother's deserve so much more credit than they ever receive for putting up with us for all those years, when we had all that attitude, didn't clean up after ourselves, missed curfew knowing they were lying awake waiting for us, and didn't seem to care about anyone but ourselves. Well, I am speaking for almost any 20 something when I say that once you are on the other side of the coin, you respect all that love, support, effort and care more than ever before. So I just want to say thanks to my Mom for everything she has done and continues to do for me. My goal is to someday figure out a way to repay you. Happy Mother's Day!Not only am I appreciative of my Mother on this special day, but for my wife, Mary Beth, who experienced her first Mother's Day as a Mother today. (try and say that 3-times fast, talk about a tongue twister) Anyway, or anyhoo as MB might say-I have to say that I don't know how she does it all. She works a full-time job, takes care of our new little man Parker, and probably the most daunting task of all-takes care of me. And she does all these things extremely well. (Did I mention that she is knocking off those baby lbs. faster than I can blink.) :) I don't know how I became so lucky to have such an wonderful Mom and now such an awesome Wife and Mother to my son. Needless to say, I have been blessed with some amazing women in my life and I am truly thankful. I know that it shouldn't take a made-up holiday like this for me to realize how much they mean to me, but most males, including me, tend to take things for granted and a made up holiday is just what we need to help us see the light. :) So on this Mother's Day I salute the ladies in my life and I hope that the rest of you out there will do the same. They deserve it. Here are some pics of Mother's Day brunch with the fam. Until next time......I promise I won't wait a month for my next post.....it has been a busy month.