Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Madison River (maybe???)

Each year since Madison was born we try and take her photo at the Madison River on our summer road trip. The first photo we have is when she is 3 weeks old and we were brave enough to make a huge trek through the entire state, with the dog and an overheating car engine. Some day I will have to dig out the photos and do a blog post on that adventure!

This year I knew I had to take the photo on the way out since we are taking a different route home. We took the normal exit at Three Forks that we typically take to the Missouri Headwaters State Park. Unfortunately, there was road construction and the bridge over the interstate was out for construction. We tried to find another way around but couldn't make it work. So I get back on the inter-state with Madison in tears. A few miles down the road there is another exit so I take it and head towards the river I can see in the distance. We find a nice spot to get out and take a photo. Just one problem, there is no sign telling me what river this is. I am not confident it is the Madison but 20 years from now, we won't know the difference right?? So let's all pretend this is the Madison River and keep it quiet from Madison that it may have actually been the Jefferson!
Have to admit, this isn't the best river photo we have gotten. Between the road issues, time crunch and high flowing river it isn't quite as picturesque as I would hope for. But Madison is happy to have her yearly photo, and that was really the goal for this year. Hopefully next year we can fit in a full Madison River adventure to locate a new photo location.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Content Cousins

Day 2 of Road Trip 2010 is at an end. The cousins had a wonderful day of quality time with each other. They always enjoy each other's company and we value the time they get to spend together, limited as it is. Being that they are the only cousins each other will ever have, it is nice they are so close in age. We enjoyed time at the Farmer's Market, the carousel, Rattlesnake area park and hike, and down time at home. A few favorite photos from the day

Let the Craziness Begin

The girls and I loaded up and got on the road at 8:00 Friday morning for our annual Montana road trip. This year is the most ambitious yet with stops in Missoula, Bozeman, Billings, Hardin, Fort Benton, Helena and every rest stop in between!!

We took an early break to stop at the Wild Mustang Monument on the east side of the Columbia River. I have pondered this stop everytime we have taken the drive (which is ALOT) but it always seems too early on in the day to make a stop. But we decided to check it out. Once we got to the scenic outlook we discovered that it was actually a decent hike up a bluff to get to the statues. I asked the girls what they wanted to do and they were adament they wanted to make the trek. So up we went.
A helpful hint for others taking this journey, crocs are not a suitable shoe option! It isn't that long of a walk, but up a very steep, rocky/sandy trail. But the girls persevered and we made it to the top. To find that all 14 horse statues have graffitti on them. How disappointing. The girls were still impressed by the statues and enjoyed exploring.

Along with checking out the statues the girls enjoyed hunting for these guys. I was quite pleased that they were very speedy so Madison's attempts to catch one were unsuccessful.

If we thought the hike up was tough, going down was twice as hard! I was sure one of us was going to slip and go sliding down the hill but somehow we survived in one piece. It did feel good to get out and stretch our legs before heading on the road for another 6 hours of drive time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Lovin'


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Race Report - Take 1

Saturday, June 19 was the date for my first tri of the season, Cascades Edge Tri at Nolte State Park
I debated doing the race for weeks prior and I didn't sign up until the day before. In the beginning I had said I would only register if the weather report was looking good. A week out, and the report was sunny and dry. Each day as I checked it got worse and worse until by Friday it was rainy and cold so I was talking myself out of the event. I am a very fair weather athlete and typically only go out for rides or runs if the sun is shining. I then decided that this is NOT the attitude of a true triathlete, which is what I would eventually like to consider myself, so I must push through and prove to myself I can compete in inclement weather conditions.

Morning of the race and the weather is in the low 50's and raining. I am feeling okay that I can do this. Then the race announcer starts talking and lets just say he didn't instill a feeling of confidence in me at all. The first announcement was that the water temp was a chilly 52 degrees and due to the "possible hypothermic conditions" the swim portion would be shortened to 1/4 mile. Now this sent all different thoughts into me. I had some disappointment with the shortened race. Swim is what I have been working on the hardest these past 4 months and is definitely my strongest event so making that shorter isn't going to benefit me. BUT 52 degrees is COLD. I have done a few swims in Lake Meridian which has been low to mid 60's and I have thought that was too cold. So I was a bit concerned about staying warm. THEN the announcer begins to talk about the bike course and how they are "treacherous conditions" with the wet, slick roads. I am a bit embarrased to even admit this but I have never even gone for a training ride in the full rain so I am feeling more nervous about this section and possible crashes in my future.FINALLY the announcer stops talking and it is time to get started. I choose to start out in the lead pack and avoid the pile-up of legs and arms in the middle. Adrenaline must have kicked in because the water didn't feel as bad as I expected. It was a bit shocking to the face and took me a bit to even out my stroke but overall the swim felt good and strong. I wish we could have swam the whole 1/2 mile.
I exited the water at 8:30. My goal for the 1/2 mile swim was a sub 16 minute so this was a bit slow for that pace but I was happy. I came out in seventh place for all women which I was very pleased about. Unfortunately, I let any advantage that gave me slip away in the transition area. I was extremely worried about being cold on the bike ride so took my time prepping for the ride.
You can see from this picture the racers behind me in their short sleeves, probably no socks, looking like true athletes. I was a total dork and had full gloves, socks, beanie under the helmet and a long sleeve jersey. I even had toe warmers in my shoes! I can say that I am very glad I went to these steps. I was definitely not too warm the entire race and felt comfortable. I hate being cold so I know this was a smart move for me but not too wise for my time perspective. My transition time was an embarrasing 5:21.
Overall the ride went very well. I was fairly cautious at the beginning worried about slippery roads but started feeling good and pushing a bit harder. I was eyeing some competitors ahead to use as motivation. Typically, I could catch them going up hills more than on the flats. Bike time was 43:50 which is 5 minutes faster than the same course in September. I probably could have shaved more time off of that with better conditions/confidence. But I am pretty pleased with the time.
On to the run. The transition for this leg was much better but still a bit slow in comparison to others. My feet were feeling quite numb by this time so there was an element of pain involved there but not as bad as my September race. The run is definitely my nemisis and the area I need to put more focus on. 4 runs in the past month probably doesn't qualify as training. I know if I can convince myself to up my training in this area I can see drastic improvement (and possible enjoyment??) in this section. I started the run at exactly 1 hour into the race so set a goal of hitting the finish line by 1:30. This really wasn't a very tough goal to hit but seemed a good one for me. And I crossed the finish line at 1:29:43 so hit the goal. Now if that would have been a full sprint triathlon I would be pretty pleased with the time. But due to the shortened swim it probably only shaved 4-5 minutes off last year's time at the Black Diamond Tri (same course in September).

A big thanks to my personal cheering section! I insisted they didn't need to come stand out in the rain for 2 hours to watch me pass by a handful of times but have to admit it was wonderful to round a corner and have them cheering me on and giving high 5's. It helps give me an energy boost and keep me moving forward. Tom says I need to be smiling more so I guess I will set that as one goal for the next race.
It was also great to have a large group of Raise the Bar teammates present at the race. It feels good to see familiar faces and jerseys along the race course and hear a "Good Job RTB". I have appreciated the workouts I have been able to join this year and have realized how much I have missed being on a team and having a "coach" to help you train. It definitely keeps the motivation level up and the people are all so inspiring and supportive.

Goals moving forward: Along with smiling more during the race I have the following goals set. My next race is set for the middle of July and then another in August that I am hoping to hit my top goals for the season. Overall I am very pleased with my swimming and need to focus on the bike and running portions for the next 2 months. So that means upping those workouts and getting more miles under my belt. I also need to really push my transitions in the next races. I know I can easily shave off 3-4 total minutes in the race by streamlining my transitions. I would love to see a sub 1:30 time for a full sprint tri in August. I am considering upping my distance and doing an Olympic distance in August but I think I really want to focus on the sprint this year and getting faster and put the Olympic distance goal for next year.

A Complete Day

Start the day by jumping into a 52 degree lake (full race report coming shortly)
Ending the day celebrating 15 years of marriage with a fabulous dinner at Jak's grill
And wonderful house concert with Vicki Martinez on the water

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Almost there....

Second to last day of school today. YEAH!! Madison came home with backpack and arms loaded with folders, yearbook, pencil box, gluesticks, even a really cool piggybank they got for a money/budgeting unit they did. BUT the best thing I found? When I opened her pencil box I found the note I taped to the top on the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. 180 classroom days and it is in pristine condition, looking just like it did the first day. I forgot I even did this for her and certainly didn't anticipate it lasting a week, let alone a whole year. Hoping I remember to make an even better one for next year!! The crafting ideas are starting to swirl!
(Is there any question what her favorite color may be? How many girls pick out the dark green backpack, lunchbox and pencil box???)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mad Scientists


Yesterday we had Madison's Mad Scientist birthday party. The amount of squealing and screaming was a bit overwhelming, but I took that as a sign of a successful event. We had lots of slime, goo, glow in the dark and the grand finale Diet Coke Geyser!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Turning EIGHT

Breakfast In Bed
Starting the Day
Only Mrs. B. can make singing Happy Birthday so much fun!
Class Treats
FINALLY present time!
The Aftermath
A very sad excuse for a birthday cake.
Saving my energy for the party cake that I am attempting on Sunday.

Sweet Dreams wearing her birthday watch that she loves!

I am just hoping she didn't set the alarm for 1:00 a.m. with all the buttons she was pushing:-)

On a side note, Tom had to add a hole to the watch strap at the very end and there is still space. It is a kids' watch and is way too big still!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

International Camping

We crossed the border Saturday morning to go camping with our good friends The Brown Family to celebrate D's big 4-0!!! It has been way too long since our last get together and now that we have our passports in hand, we have no excuses. Highlights from our quick get-away.

Campfire Stories


Unexpected Sunny Weather


Photo by Madison, Locke's Little Buddy, Horsey Rides on a tree