Tag Archives: Minnesota

2015 Recap

7 Jan

Last January, I said that I had two specific goals:

  1. Give birth.
  2. Start and finish the Northwoods Triathlon on August 8.

Check and check.

The other, less specific goals I mentioned (and an update):

  • Don’t let newborn sleep deprivation turn me into a raging b!t@h. (Trust God to provide sleep.) I have dealt with this much better!
  • Pray for and see my mom be healed. Still praying!
  • Spend more time playing with Emma instead of getting stuff done. Still struggle with this. Some days are better than others.
  • Support my husband more sacrificially and selflessly. Uff da. This is an area where I need to grow but I have had some victories this year!
  • Read more books and watch less TV. Currently sucked into Gilmore Girls, but I’ll be done with the last season soon and then I’m cutting myself off!
  • Go on bike rides in the summer. I biked during triathlon training, but that was it. We plan to get a bike trailer this summer and go on family rides!
  • Be more intentional about inviting people over, or getting together. I get together with friends for play dates on a regular basis, but we still would like to have families over for dinner more often.
  • Finish my book and either self-publish, or seek publication! Book is nowhere near finished. It is SO hard to find the time and energy!

Goals aside, this past year was challenging because of Travis’ working so much and my mom’s health situation. But it was also filled with lots of fun memories. I went through my phone and here’s a smattering of the Best of 2015.

2016-01-05_12.47.47(From top to bottom, left to right) 1) Pregnant! Due April 8. 2) Fun painting with Emma 3) It’s a girl! Annabelle was born on March 27. 4) Big sister + little sister. 5) New swingset from Nana Beth and Papa Al! 6) Spring’s in bloom! 7) Nana Sheri & Annabelle — we spent several weeks down in Rochester during the summer when Travis was traveling for work. 8) Emma at my parents’ cabin throwing rocks into the lake off the dock. 9) Kriswold family reunion at our place.

2016-01-05_12.52.271) Emma feeding a deer at Paul Bunyan Animal Land. We also went to the Safari North and Pine Grove Zoos. 2) Emma “painting” with yogurt all over the deck and sliding glass door. What a mess! 3) Annabelle’s faux hawk in full force! 4) At the beach, boy! 5) Emma holding baby on her lap. 6) We re-landscaped the planter in our driveway. 6) Lots of chalk drawing happened this summer. Other daily outdoor activities were playing outside on the dock by the river, picking wild raspberries on our property, pushing Emma down a small hill in her wagon or Little Tikes truck, and walking or riding her trike down the driveway to get the mail. 7) Sweet baby. Love this picture of her. 8) Emma taking her baby for a walk with no pants on.2016-01-05_12.56.301) Aftermath of the devastating storm in July. Picture taken just north of us a few miles. 2) I took Emma and baby to the St. Mathias corn maze by myself. One word: stressful. 3) During our trip to Evansville, we went to another corn maze / pumpkin patch. Almost lost Emma in a minion-shaped corn field. 4) Beautiful fall colors right in our yard! 5) Baby feet are the cutest. 6) Fall fun in the leaves! 7) Selfie of me and baby on our dock, enjoying the fall colors on the river. 8) One of Emma’s crazy outfits. 9) Dressed up as a fairy, 80s girl and Snow White at Pillager Fall Fest.2016-01-05_12.59.181) Annabelle sitting up in the cart for the first time! 2) Emma wearing stick-on earrings and the cutest top knot ever. 3) Sister love at Costco. 4) Family trip to Cabela’s in Rogers to buy daddy a muzzleloader. 5) Baby’s first Thanksgiving! Too bad it was followed by the stomach flu. 6) Diana’s bridal shower in Grand Rapids. 7) Snowman! 8) Annabelle’s first Christmas. 9) Travis’ and my trip to Denver for his work Christmas party.

Other things worth mentioning:

* Memorial Day was spent up at Travis’ parents’ cabin on Lake Namakan. The Fourth of July and Labor Day were both spent down at my parents’ cabin in Pine City. For the Fourth, Al, Beth, Matthew, Diana and Chris joined us too. Thanksgiving was spent up in Nevis with Trav’s family and Christmas was down in Rochester with my family.

* The girls and I played at the beach well over 2 dozen times, including several evening trips with daddy or by ourselves while daddy had Bible study. Annabelle went swimming a handful of times and almost always fell asleep in her carseat at the beach after I changed her into dry clothes.

* Emma loves dancing so we had many a dance party in the basement (many of them were with daddy while mommy was at Bible study).

* Other fun things we did (not caught on camera) were go to the Mall of America, Children’s Museum, Crosby Project Play, Family Fun Center waterpark in Nisswa and Timberlake Lodge waterpark in Grand Rapids.

The more specific things for each girl are captured in their monthly or quarterly updates (coming soon!). These are just the big picture things that I want to remember later.

Even though I mentioned that I’m not making any resolutions or goals this year specifically, I still am praying for and focusing on all the things I had mentioned last year, plus one other main thing: managing my time wisely. I’m going to do a separate post about that soon.

So that’s it for 2015!

Christmas Thoughts: On Memories

22 Dec

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Some of the best memories I have from my childhood are from the Christmas season.

I went to a Lutheran school through 8th grade and each year, the school put on a Christmas program. Each class spent hours rehearsing songs and a verse to recite. Finally, the big night arrived. It was exciting to see my classmates arrive in our classroom, outside the context of class, all dressed up in their Christmas outfits and dresses. We marched into the packed gym single file and each sat in the chair we had been assigned several weeks earlier. For the first time, we saw the whole program come together with lights, acting and music — and we each did our part to make it magical.

On Christmas Eve, my parents, three brothers and I ate a special dinner, the highlight of which was almost always meat fondue. We each had our two color-coded skewers and we drank “cold duck” (sparkling juice) in the wine glasses with the gold rims and berry garland that we had accumulated with copious trips to Arby’s.

After dinner, we opened presents in the living room by the Christmas tree decorated with white lights and handmade, memory-filled ornaments. A model train encircled the bottom of the tree, whirring quietly past the dimly lit ceramic houses of Dickens Village. I don’t remember the gifts, or even what I wanted, but I remember being together.

After presents, we went to the 10 o’clock candlelight service at church. The snow and cold at such a late hour made the trek brutal, but none of us ever questioned it — because it was just what we did. The hall of the Sunday school rooms was lined with winter jackets, their arms stuffed with hats and mittens, and small puddles of melting snow as the women and kids exchanged snow boots for dress shoes, and the men removed their rubbers.

Most years, at least a few of us couldn’t help dozing off during the service because of the late hour and comforting atmosphere, but once they started lighting our individual candles, row by row, in anticipation of the last song “O Holy Night”, we shrugged off our sleepiness and sat up straight. We lifted our voices with the words of the classic hymn as the glow of hundreds of candles flickered on the red brick walls and stained glass windows.

Christmas Day, we often got together with my mom’s brother and his family who lived in our town. Sometimes we went to a movie, sometimes we just hung out with us kids playing.

After that, we drove up to my grandparents’ house in Ada, Minnesota. We always arrived at night but we still stumbled out of our conversion van half-awake to sit at the kitchen table for cookies. Grandma Dee always had cookies — Captain Crunch cereal and marshmallows covered in almond bark and peanut butter, and “macaroons” (the no-bake cookies made with cocoa) were our favorites. And in the morning, oh man, we ate slices of homemade cinnamon bread and strawberry jam. There was nothing else quite like it.

Being the only girl, I was spoiled with my own bedroom while my brothers had to fight over a single couch and the floor of the living room. My room had a single twin bed and a fiber-optic flower that slowly faded from one color to another, working its way through the rainbow.

Many years, for the Christmas celebration with my dad’s parents, I put together a short Christmas program that included readings from the gospel of Luke and a handful of my favorite Christmas hymns. Together, we focused on the true meaning of Christmas before opening presents.

The rest of our stay at Grandma Dee and Grandpa Norman’s house was spent playing video games, Rook and 3-13, pool tournaments on the table they had in their basement (until they replaced it with a ping-pong table after the flood), and hide and seek with a wheeple. My grandma also had a box of old clip-on earrings that I loved to play with.
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At some point, we’d head over to my mom’s parents’ house in Hendrum to spend the day with them. My cousins from Rochester were often there and the minute we arrived, we’d race out of the van and bolt for “The Fort,” a small closet located in the wall on the second flight of stairs from the main level to upstairs. You could lock it from the inside, so whoever got there first could control who entered, and who didn’t. And you could only fit about 3 of us kids in there at a time so it was an elite group.

Those of us not in The Fort amused ourselves by playing card games and spying on the people down on the main level through a hole in the upstairs bedroom floor, meant for allowing heat to travel from there up into the room.

I don’t remember opening gifts there. That’s not to say we didn’t — I’m sure some gifts were exchanged. But it was never the focus — more of an afterthought. What mattered was being together.

All of my grandparents are gone now, and have been for several years. And with me and my brothers having spouses and our own children, Christmas looks quite a bit different than it used to. But we’re still making memories together, and I hope that my girls will look back one day and have just as many wonderful memories of Christmastime as I do.

Race Recap: Brainerd Homecoming 10K

7 Oct

Last Saturday, I ran the Brainerd Homecoming 10K. I would’ve loved to run a half marathon this fall but I just wouldn’t have been properly trained in time. So a 10K it was.

My training for this race consisted of running 2-3 times a week. I ran my long runs on Saturdays, which were 4, 4.5 and 5 miles the month before the race. I had planned to run 5.5 miles a week before the race, but life happened and the run didn’t. I ran with two of my running buddies almost every Thursday morning at 6 am (in the dark!) and we did around 3 miles each time. With walking breaks, we averaged about 11:30 minute miles. I also ran with Annabelle in the stroller a few times, though I prefer waking up early to go alone.

So I felt like I was decently prepared going into this race. My 10K PR was set all the way back in 2008 when I was a young whipper-snapper. I ran the 10K as part of a marathon relay and finished in 62:36. I didn’t think I could even get close to that, so my goal going in to the race was mainly to have fun! Running 11 minute miles would be realistic. Running 10:30 miles would be great.

It was a small race so we were able to park just across the street from packet pickup and the race start. We got there around 7:45 and the race started at 8:15. At 37 degrees, it was a little chilly for spectators but nice for running. I registered on race day because I was still waffling about doing the race that morning. After I got my bib and used the indoor restroom, I ate a Gu and talked to a friend who was doing the 5k and then went to line up. There were maybe 30 people doing the 10K. I got my Garmin and iPod ready, they counted down (it was timed using gun time), and we were off!

About 50 steps in, my iPod died. Seriously?!?! I had checked it the night before and it showed 75% battery. I should’ve known to not trust it. Well, then, enjoying nature it was. I chatted with a lady for the first .5 mile or so, but then she stopped to take a walking break and I continued on. I fell into a pace that felt relaxed but slightly challenging, if that makes any sense. I could tell I was pushing myself a little, but it felt doable.

The first mile was on a bike trail. Then we were on a dirt trail for about .5 mile until we met back up with the bike trail. We made a loop so that a little before Mile 2, we ran past the park we had started at, which worked well for me because I got to see my cheering squad and hand off my useless iPod.

Mile 1: 10:38

There was an aid station right at Mile 2 and then a long, gradual hill. A doozy! I walked through the aid station to get a drink and ran a conservative pace up the hill.

Mile 2: 10:32

From that point on, we were either on city sidewalks or paved bike trails. We ran through downtown past the high school, library, city hall, and then we were in a more residential neighborhood. We made another big loop so that we hit the same aid station again right before Mile 5 — and the same long, gradual hill. We followed the same route as the first time for about .75 mile and took a left to end up on the football field.

Mile 3: 10:24

race course

In my training runs, I had hit my stride around mile 3.5. This race, I hit it more around mile 5. Even though I felt mostly strong the whole race, if I hadn’t been encouraged by seeing my average pace decrease each mile, my motivation to keep pushing myself probably would’ve started waning around mile 4.

Mile 4: 10:06

Right before we reached the aid station the second time, I ate a Gu so that I could get a cup of water to wash it down. I gulped the water and started running again. The hill definitely felt more difficult the second time through! But I kept pushing it and was actually gaining on the runner in front of me. The last mile, I passed 3 women who I had been keeping pace with for the whole race. I felt great!

Mile 5: 10:18

As my watch beeped for Mile 6, I looked at my mile pace: 9:33! I was completely stoked. I cruised the last .2 miles and crossed the finish line at 63:02 – only 26 seconds off of my PR from 7.5 years (and 2 babies) ago.

Mile 6: 9:33

Last .2: 1:31 (8:28 pace)

Final Time: 1:03:02

Running a good race is such an awesome high!

Because it was such a small race, I wanted to check my results before leaving just in case I qualified for an age group award. And I did! I got 3rd in my age group (out of 3 – ha!). I was 13/18 in females and 21/27 overall. But hey, a medal is a medal. 🙂
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I really enjoyed this race. It was a nice course, well organized, affordable, they had lots of volunteers, the t-shirts were cute, and the finish line food was a nice variety (bananas, granola bars, fruit snacks, cookies and water). I would do it again!

Race Recap: Northwoods Triathlon

12 Aug

On Friday before the race, we packed and headed up to Nevis in time for packet pickup and the spaghetti dinner benefiting the Nevis football team. My parents met us there. Packet pickup wasn’t busy at all so it only took me about 5 minutes to get my bib, t-shirt and swim cap (no bike numbers at this little race!). This race is capped at 250 participants, so it’s a nice size – and it sells out FAST every year!

After dinner, we headed back to Travis’ parents’ house. Ironically, his parents were down at my parents’ house in Rochester because Al had had heart surgery that day at the Mayo Clinic. (He’s doing decently well, if you’re wondering.) I put Annabelle to bed and we watched Jim Gaffigan’s Mr. Universe standup on Netflix while Emma bounced off the walls. She was hard to get to sleep that night, and Annabelle woke up a few times because she was too hot and had to burp. Every time I got up to tend to Annabelle, Emma got wound back up. Finally, Emma crashed around 11:15 and we moved Annabelle downstairs to where it was cooler.

I slept decently well for a pre-race night. I woke up to thunderstorms sometime in the very early a.m. and was more worried that the thunder would wake Emma or Annabelle up than I was about doing a race the next morning.

PRE-RACE

Finally, it was 5 a.m. and time to get up. I nursed Annabelle a bit longer than I had planned – until 5:45 – and put her back down. I quickly showered and changed into my tri shorts. I decided to wait until right before the race to put my tri top and sports bras on, because I planned to nurse Annabelle again around 7. Nursing definitely presents a unique challenge for race day!

I ate a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, made a cup of coffee, and Travis, Annabelle and I took off for the transition area around 6:30. My parents planned to wake Emma up around 7.

We easily found a parking spot and walked the 2 blocks to transition. I set my bike up near my friend Emily’s and we chatted for a bit while I set my stuff up. I went to get body marked (they just did bib number on both right arm and right leg – no age group), which only took about 3 minutes.

By then, it was about 7 so we made our way back to the car so I could nurse Annabelle before the pre-race meeting at 7:45. She must’ve been completely full though, because she wanted nothing to do with nursing. So I just put on my Body Glide, sports bras, and tri top and we headed back to transition around 7:30.

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After the pre-race meeting, I made my way down to the beach and got used to the water. I swam around a bit and then the first wave was off. I was in the fourth wave – women 34 and under. The waves were 3 minutes apart. The leaders from the first wave started coming out of the water. Finally, the purple caps were up!

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SWIM

I was a little nervous as the director counted down our group, but once he said “Go!” and we all started swimming, I willed myself to settle down and “race my own race.” I kept my sight on the buoys, which actually didn’t seem that far away since the swim was only 400 meters, and focused on breathing deeply and evenly. There were a handful of purple caps swimming around me – several of us were doing the breaststroke. The only somewhat eventful things that happened during the swim were that I swallowed a mouthful of water once (but didn’t panic!) and I told an older gentleman who was doing the backstroke that he was going off course.

Finally the swim was over! I stood up when the water was below my waist, and walked up the beach and giant hill to transition.

OFFICIAL SWIM TIME: 10:53

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T1

There was a kiddie pool to use for rinsing your feet off, but I had brought my own wash basin to use. I rinsed my feet off and tried to towel my legs and feet off, but I was dripping water so it didn’t really help. The second sports bra I wore isn’t one that I’ve worn during a race before – I usually only wear one for triathlons, to minimize the amount of fabric getting wet. But since I’m nursing, I knew I would be a lot more comfortable on the run if I wore two. And I was, but that bra definitely held a decent amount of water! I had to wring it out on the bike, and my shoes and socks were soaked by the time I started the run. I was worried about blisters, but it didn’t seem to matter.

Anyway, after toweling off a bit unsuccessfully, I put on my socks, shoes, sunglasses (in case of bugs, not sun), and helmet, grabbed my bike, and away I went.

OFFICIAL T1 TIME: 2:43

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BIKE

The bike course was a loop, starting out going west from Nevis, then north, east and back south. The first half was rolling hills. I played leap frog with a few people. Whenever I passed someone going up a hill, I thought, “Either I’m in better bike shape than I thought I was, or I’m being an idiot and these people are being conservative and saving themselves for the run.”

By about mile 7, I was thinking that maybe the right answer was the latter. My legs were starting to feel tired. Lucky for me, the last 5 or so miles were mostly flat. Other than my butt hurting for the last 4-5 miles, feeling like I had to pee, and the wind picking up a bit, the bike was very enjoyable. The sky was overcast, the scenery was pretty (farmland, trees, lakes and rolling hills), and the volunteers were helpful.

We climbed one last hill coming into Nevis and then it was back in to transition!

OFFICIAL TIME: 52:24 (16.3 MPH)

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T2

I had toyed with the idea of parking my bike near the portapotties and making a quick pit stop, but by the time I got to transition, the urge had passed. So I re-racked my bike in the correct spot, took off my helmet and sunglasses, grabbed a Gu and headed out on the run.

OFFICIAL T2 TIME: 1:08

RUN

After being on the bike, it always feels like I’m running at a snail’s pace, even though I’m usually not. So my strategy for the run was to just find a comfortable pace and keep running. Maybe I was running slow, maybe I wasn’t. I wasn’t going to worry about speed.

A little after Mile 1, I started feeling a little sick to my stomach so I started eating the Espresso-flavored Gu I had grabbed. I ate about 2/3 of it by the time I reached the water stop at the turnaround. I grabbed a cup of water and walked until I drank it all. I discarded the cup and my Gu, and started running again. The sick feeling had gone away and I was feeling good.

By Mile 2, I started getting goosebumps from the pure joy and excitement of being out there and having the race go so well. I guess you can call that the triathlete’s high! The finish line was in sight, but I felt like I could’ve kept running.

I picked up speed for the last .1 mile where all the spectators were standing, and finished strong.

OFFICIAL RUN TIME: 31:58 (10:19/mile)

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OFFICIAL RACE TIME: 1:39:05

Considering my A Goal was 1:41, I have to say, Booyah!

It’s an awesome experience to have the stars align for a race. You go out and crush your goal, AND have fun doing it. Doesn’t get much better than that.

I saw my dad, mom, Travis and Emma as I was coming in to the finish line, so after I returned my chip and grabbed some food and Gatorade, I went and found them. We chatted for a while and then our friends Brenda and Jake arrived via bike with their 2 kiddos. They had tried to time it to see me finish but I was too speedy! Haha. It was fun seeing them anyway.

We tried to grab lunch in Nevis, but only 1 of the town’s 4 restaurants were open, and it was packed. So we decided to meet at Zorbaz in an hour, giving Brenda and Jake time to bike back to their car, and me time to go back to the house for a shower and nursing session.

My parents headed back to their cabin instead of coming out to lunch, so it was just us 4 adults and the 4 kiddos. Travis and I had been wanting to go out to eat with Brenda and Jake sometime, so it was fun to get to do it. Brenda is one of my awesome running buddies!

After lunch, we grabbed our stuff and the dogs from Travis’ parents’ house and headed back to Brainerd. I nursed Annabelle and unpacked only to repack for a somewhat impromptu trip to Rochester by way of St. Cloud. We stopped by Fleet Farm for Travis to buy some fishing tackle and then were on our way down to St. Cloud by about 5 pm.

We met up with our friends Eric and Holly at a park in Sauk Rapids. Eric and Travis went fishing in the river while Holly, her 2 girls, my 2 girls, and I played at the park. After an hour, we ladies ate dinner at Noodles and headed over to Holly’s house, where we put the babies down for the night and the older girls played way past their bedtimes. The guys didn’t get back from fishing until 10! Unfortunately, they didn’t catch a single fish. We finally got on the road to Rochester – a 3.5 hour drive – at 10:30. Oy. It would be a late night after a very long day.

The drive was kind of dicey (due to us being so tired) but we made it to Rochester a little after 1 a.m. Thankfully, Emma went right back to sleep after we brought her in, and Annabelle nursed and went right down too. I crawled into bed around 1:45.

The next morning, Annabelle woke up to nurse at 7 and Emma woke up at 8. We had coffee and breakfast and then headed over to the hospital to see Travis’ dad. The girls and I stayed until around 1:30 and then headed back to my parents’ house for naps. After tag-teaming the girls, I finally got a short nap in myself. Glorious. Emma woke up from her nap around 6, I nursed Annabelle, we ate dinner, headed back to the hospital for an hour and then called it a night.

Monday, Travis had to work in the morning so my mom and I took Emma to a park in town while Annabelle took a 2.5-hour nap at home (Travis manned the baby monitor). It was fun – and so much easier to be at the park sans baby! We ate lunch back at the house and then went to visit Al for a bit. After packing up our stuff and the dogs at the house, we ate dinner at Panera with my parents and headed back up to Brainerd, getting back to our house around 10.

Whew! We have been here, there and everywhere for the past month and a half. Poor Annabelle, you can tell she’s ready to not be in her carseat so much. I’m hoping to be a homebody for a while now. Well, maybe.

Training Update: Northwoods Triathlon

6 Aug
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From back in the day (2009)

Well, it’s finally here. The sprint triathlon I registered for back in January is this coming Saturday – only 2 days away! I posted about my training plan a while back… and haven’t mentioned anything about it since. So here’s the down-to-the-wire update:

Long story short: I didn’t train as much as I had planned or wanted to, but I feel ready enough to give it a go.

Short story long:

Swimming

I failed miserably at going to the pool to swim (I went 4 times all year). I just couldn’t often find the 1.5 hours it took to drive to the pool, swim, change and drive back. BUT being as I live in northern Minnesota and am literally surrounded by lakes, I did swim in open water 4 times. They weren’t long swims (probably 400-800 meters each) but they served their purpose: strengthening my mental poise. The swim in this triathlon is only 400 meters, so the biggest hurdle for me will be mental. My natural instinct in open water is PANIC because I can’t touch the bottom, or worse – the seaweed might touch me. One of the open water swims I did was in the lake I’ll be swimming in for the race, so that helped even more.

Biking

After discovering that the beach we usually go to is only 6 miles away and that there’s a back way with less traffic, I biked to and from the beach a couple of times, for a total of 12 miles each. Those were my longest rides. Similar to my excuses for not swimming more often, I found it hard to carve out more than an hour for a workout. Also, biking and swimming both require additional things to make them happen – a bike and water respectively. July was a crazy month for us – we were out of town or had out of town guests for all but a week. So I’m not as strong on the bike as I would like to be, but it is what it is. At least I have been biking a fair amount of hills so I’ll be ready for those!

Running

Ah, running. My favorite because it’s just so convenient. You can pack everything you need in a duffel bag and use it practically anywhere. I was definitely the most consistent with running out of the three. I went on a handful of runs with Annabelle on Emma’s daycare days, went on at least a handful of runs with friends (at the crack of dawn no less), and ran by myself a few times. I mostly ran 2-3 miles at a time, but I did run 4 once. Also, after my longer bike rides, I ran up and down our driveway just to get used to the feeling of running on bike legs. (I liken it to the feeling of trying to jump on the ground after you get off a trampoline – you feel like you can’t even jump a centimeter.)

With training behind me, it’s on to race day preparation and goals. I feel about this race like I felt about having a second child – I feel confident because I’ve done it before, but that feeling of confidence can lead me to forgetting the basics, like needing to buy diapers or bring my bike to the race. I’m mostly worried about forgetting the small things – like my race belt (that old chestnut) or tape to use for attaching shotbloks to my bike.

So the other night while I was waiting for Emma to fall asleep, I mentally rehearsed the race and my transitions. Back when I first started doing triathlons pre-kids, I actually practiced my transitions. Now, I’ll have to settle for my imagination. It definitely helps anyway though! I remembered that I want to bring 2 big towels – for putting my stuff on in the transition area and to wrap up in until my wave starts – and 1 little – for drying off my legs after the swim (I hate having water drip down into my socks). Oh and a wash basin to rinse my feet. Races usually provide those, but your feet still get stuff on them between the tub and your bike.

I also realized that oh yeah, there will probably be packet pickup the day before the race (they do have it race morning too though). Oh and I’ll have to get body marked. What if my sunscreen causes the body markings to smudge like that one time? Are they going to have swim waves because the website doesn’t say anything about that. But I can’t imagine them having 250 swimmers start all at once. Though that is how Ironman does it, right?

You see that I have some race day jitters. Never mind that I’ve done 5 sprints and 1 Oly, or that I worked for a triathlon company for a year and have worked over 20 triathlons. Race day is both exciting and nerve-racking… and that’s what I love about it!

So my goals. I swore up and down that I just wanted to finish and who cares about my time. But I can’t help it. Nevertheless, I am leaving my watch and bike odometer at home so that I can’t worry about speed or time while out on the course. Out there, I am just going to focus on keeping an even pace, enjoying myself and cheering others on.

But after the race, I can dissect my times. 🙂 This race is a 400m swim, 14 mile bike and 5k run. I’m hoping to do the swim in 12-15 minutes, the bike in 50-60 minutes, and the run in 35-40 minutes. Add in 3 minutes for T1 (there’s a GIANT hill between the beach and transition area) and 1:30 for T2 and that puts me at 1:41:30 and 1:59:30. I realize that’s a big range but I really have no idea how the race is going to go. Even my previous times (from back in 2009 or 2010!) don’t really help because I was in WAY better shape back then. So we’ll just have to wait and see!

I do know, though, that for me, being obsessed with my speed or time for an entire race takes all the fun out of it. So similar to when I ran my full marathon and did my Oly tri, my main goal is HAVE FUN and remember why I love endurance sports in the first place.

Wish me luck! I’ll be back in a few days with a race recap!

A Weekend Sans Emma

4 Aug

It occurred to me earlier this summer that we haven’t been taking full advantage of having grandparents so close by. So we scheduled a weekend of Emma staying at Travis’ parents’ house, while we enjoyed more than a few minutes of being able to “get stuff done.”

We were already up in Nevis after the storm so Friday night, we headed home and after getting food put back in our refrigerator and freezer, the car unloaded, some laundry started, and Annabelle to bed, we vegged a bit and headed to bed ourselves.

Saturday morning, we headed out garage sale-ing. Both Travis and I love going to garage sales but Emma, being the toddler tornado that she is, makes it challenging (though we did take her along the other 2 times we went out this summer). We found some good stuff – I bought a handful of picture frames for the photo collage I want to hang up someday in our living room. I also found some fall/winter clothes for Emma, some craft supplies, a running vest for $1 (CW-X brand!), a scarf and some flip flops. Travis’ purchase of the day was a small table saw for $30, with an extension cord and long-handled window squeegee thrown in for free.

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After our shopping spree, we ate lunch and then Travis did stuff in the garage and yard while I nursed Annabelle and got our house back in order after hosting the reunion and being gone for a week.

That night, we went out for dinner at Jake’s across from Gull Lake.

wpid-img_20150718_202421.jpgWe sat out on the patio and it was a little chilly, but our food was amazing. I had lobster and shrimp tacos and they were the best ones I’ve had since first eating them in San Diego. Mmmm… Travis ate half of a small chicken, which he said was delicious.

Sunday morning, we got up bright and early to go for a hike in Crow Wing State Park before church. Well, rookie mistake – we both forgot to bring bug spray. We lasted about one minute before deciding to bag it for the morning. Instead, we went to church, ate lunch and then headed back to the state park. The trail was actually mostly in the shade and there was a light breeze, so the hike wasn’t as hot as we had feared. There were still bugs but we didn’t get bit after putting bug spray on. We learned a lot about the history of the town Crow Wing and the dogs enjoyed getting out. Annabelle slept through the whole thing.

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After our hike, I nursed Annabelle while Travis went out and worked on the car. When I was done nursing, I brought Annabelle and her bouncy seat out to the garage and she watched Travis change the oil while I went on a bike ride. When I got back, Emma was back from her weekend with Grandma and Grandpa. We talked with Travis’ mom for a bit and then she headed out. I can’t remember what we did that night, but I’m sure it was some variation on eating dinner, playing outside in the driveway or on the swingset, and then the bedtime routine antics. Travis and I had a great weekend, and it was a good mix between fun and productivity. Can’t wait to do it again!

An Impromptu Week in Nevis

3 Aug

Since the bad storm in the Brainerd area caused us to lose power for several days, we hightailed it up to Nevis to stay with Travis’ parents until our power came back on, which it did on Wednesday afternoon (after being out since Sunday night). Regardless, we decided to just stay put until Friday night. Travis’ parents’ were watching Emma for us that following weekend so instead of driving down to our house just to drive back up, we stayed put.

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Travis, of course, had to work while we were up there. But Emma, Annabelle, and I – we just hang out all day, every day. 🙂 I do like those perks of being a stay-at-home mom. On Tuesday (the day after we got up to Nevis), we headed into Park Rapids to buy a few things at Walmart, but otherwise, we just hung out at the house.

Wednesday was my birthday, so to celebrate, I carted the girls and three armfuls of stuff to the beach. Seriously, going to the beach is an ordeal. But hey, I went to the beach last year on my birthday, I went this year – I think it’s going to be my new birthday tradition. I like going to the beach, even if it does take forever and a day to get packed up. There wasn’t anyone else there when we arrived and we had forgotten to bring our beach toys from Brainerd, so Emma was a little bored. Baby and I went in the water too but there’s only so much you can do at the beach… after what seemed like 3 hours but was only 45 minutes, Emma wanted to go swing on the swings at the beach playground. Ok. So I schlepped all our stuff up there. Bless her heart, Annabelle went to sleep in her carseat while I pushed Emma on the swing. It’s just so easy to love that baby.

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Wednesday night, we went out to dinner at the Iron House in Nevis with Travis’ parents. The restaurant had changed owners since any of us had eaten there and the food was delicious – though the service was a little slow. Emma, poor girl, had a fever and when we got home, we discovered it was 104! We thought about taking her in, but we gave her some Tylenol and her fever went down. By the morning, it was gone. So strange. I’m thinking teething again?

Thursday, Emma was still off so the girls and I just hung out at the house. Emma and I actually watched the majority of Finding Nemo before she got bored and wandered off. (This has proven to no longer just be something she does when she’s sick! She enjoys watching shows now, though her attention span is still about 20 minutes). After dinner, Travis, the girls and I headed back to the Nevis beach so that I could do an open water swim (same beach of the triathlon I’m doing). I feel more confident knowing that the water gets deep enough, fast enough that the seaweed doesn’t touch me! Seriously, that’s the worst part about swimming in open water for me – I have an irrational phobia of seaweed.

That night, Emma took forever to go to sleep. She asked for anything and everything (milk, water, juice, yogurt, strawberries) to get out of going to bed. And silly me, I believed that she might actually want something to eat or drink. She did end up drinking a few juice boxes and eating some strawberries in bed – after over an hour of trips downstairs to the kitchen for food and drink. By the time we went to bed for good, I had had it. That’s when it’s nice to have reinforcements in the form of a spouse.

Friday, the girls and I headed up to Bemidji to go to the zoo (Paul Bunyan Animal Land) and have lunch with Travis’ sister, Carolyn. It was really fun – we fed deer and kangaroos from our hands, gave the monkeys bananas through holes in their cages, and saw a lion, pot-bellied pigs, camels, rabbits and tortoises.

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Afterward, we ate lunch with Carolyn at Green Mill. Emma took a nap on the drive up and drive back, so when we got back to the house, she was wide awake.

After work, Travis packed up his stuff and headed back down to Brainerd to make sure everything was good with the house. Meanwhile, I packed up Annabelle’s and my stuff. Once I got the all-clear from Travis, Annabelle and I sneaked out while Emma stayed with Grandma and Grandpa.

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While leads me to the weekend that Travis and I had without Emma… coming soon in another blog post.