Posts Tagged With: iowa

Well Hello There

I can’t believe time has gotten away from me so much that I haven’t posted in a month. I was on vacation in Missouri the last time I was here. With training and my kids at home and plenty of fun/work to be had, I figured the one thing that could be left off the list is my blogging. So I didn’t blog. I’ve read a lot of your blogs, not even taking the time to “Like” them, so I am sorry if I seemed to have dropped off the radar, if anyone pays attention to those things.  Instead of trying to catch up on the last month, which would only leave us all breathless and a little overwhelmed and my fingers worn down to nubs, I figured I could just recap a little of my vacation and tell you that my training has been going really well.

Ironman Florida is only 13 weeks from this coming weekend, which is a frightening thought, but my workouts have increased so that the extra load is almost unnoticeable and very doable. (Next weekend’s workouts have been posted since I started this post and I take it back.) I’m at that point in training when riding my bike for 3 hours is considered an easy, short ride. Sort of like when you’re in marathon training and 13 miles seems easy and short.  The beauty of it is, is that I am having a great time and enjoy the time I am training.

The last time I posted, we were finishing our week with my parents near Branson, Missouri. We had a great time, but the weather certainly didn’t cooperate and we spent a lot of time dodging rain and storms instead of playing on Table Rock Lake. My parents love to cook, and it’s GOOD, so we ate like kings while there. Bonus. We left one early morning and headed up to Ames, Iowa, so I could meet the now-THREE time Ironman, Kecia from Push My Limits. I wish I hadn’t been so worn out from the 8 hour drive, but I was so great to meet someone I had only known through blogging.


Kickass Kecia and Moi meeting in Ames

Kickass Kecia and Moi meeting in Ames

After that, it was crazy ironic that also in Ames were my best friend from high school (and one of the few people I frequently correspond with), and two other friends from high school. I met up with them and we laughed as we talked about old times way back in school. It made me thankful I wasn’t in high school anymore (boy, we thought we knew everything, as teenagers do), but wishing for those days when responsibilities were low and fun was to be had at any moment.

My BFF Sonia, Cory, Adrienne, and Moi

My BFF Sonia, Cory, Adrienne, and Moi

We stayed in Des Moines that night, and I was able to talk to my friend, Sonia, at El Bait Shop, a cool little bar in downtown Des Moines, a little more before fatigue from travel got the best of me.

The next morning, we headed to Field of Dreams. The weather was perfect and everyone was in a good mood. When we got there, we looked around, bought some stuff at the gift shop, and headed to the field to play catch. Of course, my son had to ask my husband, “Dad, wanna have a catch?” as Ray asks his dad at the end of the movie, inevitably causing us to break out in tears. As my husband says, “I’m a weepy old bag.” It was a grand moment, to be at THE field of dreams and play baseball with my husband and kids. I don’t know how long we were there, but it was perfect.

Field of Dreams movie set in Dyersville, Iowa

Field of Dreams movie location in Dyersville, Iowa

We packed up our gloves and headed towards my alma mater, The University of Northern Iowa. We headed to the gift store to get some UNI clothing and look for a replacement for the stuffed panther I got 22 years ago and sleep with him tucked into my arm still to this day. No success on the panther, but I did find some good deals on UNI clothes – score! We walked around the entire campus, and I showed my boys where I had classes, and answered their burning question of “Did you kiss someone at the campanile at midnight?” since I had told them that was the homecoming tradition. I also had to explain what homecoming was since it’s not a big deal where we live like it is in Iowa. We headed towards downtown Cedar Falls, which was absolutely cute and beautiful and had really come into its own since I had left back in 1996.

The campanile at UNI

The campanile at UNI

After not exercising for two days, it was time for me to get a long run in. The morning we left Cedar Falls, I went for a 10 mile run that ended up being an 11 mile run because I got turned around (lost). Thankfully, I checked my bearings with some very nice ladies at a flower shop to be sure I was going in the right direction only to find that I was not going in the right direction. They sent me down a road that wasn’t safe for runners, so I ended up going the LONG way back, but it was a beautiful, cool morning filled with the sounds of wrens and robins calling each other, something that I have missed a lot since moving away from Iowa four years ago.

When we got on the road, it was about four hours until we got to our last destination, Sioux City, before heading back home. “Operation Surprise” was in full effect as we neared. My kids spent the earliest years and pre-school days there with some of the best friends we have ever had. The parents knew we were coming, but the kids did not. Heh, heh. I love surprises. When we walked into the back yard full of kids who didn’t know of our impending arrival, the looks on their faces was priceless. What was funny is how much all the kids have changed in the years since we have seen them. Sort of sad too, since I’ve missed it and I miss them desperately, but it was just good to see them all. We drove around to see our old neighbor, house, the places we used to hang out, and some of the new things that have come to town. It was a lot of fun, but honestly, I didn’t miss it as I thought I would. In fact, I only missed the people there, and nothing about the place made me feel sad to be gone. It’s quite evident that I am totally in love with Wilmington and North Carolina.

My best friends from when we lived in Iowa.

My best friends from when we lived in Iowa, the ones who taught me about adult friendship.

Over the next three days, we caught up on each other’s lives, let the kids reconnect, which took all but twenty seconds, and had the best time hanging out. We played cards, we sat in the driveway around a fire, we drank too much beer, we ate too much food, and we watched as the kids ran and ran around just being kids. During this time, I tried to get some exercise in, but I decided my friends were too important to cut our nights short so I could get to bed at a decent hour so I could get up before the scorching hot sun came out in the morning. I got in a few runs, but they were not good. Oh well, I knew I was going to hit training hard when I got home and I knew I wouldn’t regret letting it slide while visiting our friends.

The kids ran around and had so much fun the three days we visited.

The kids ran around and had so much fun the three days we visited.

When it was time to go, I was ready to head home. We had one more stop though, dinner with my cousin who lived near the airport we were departing from in Kansas City. It was so good to see her and her family, to reconnect and see her kids, and talk about our grandmother, who we used to visit together for a week during the summer as kids.

Two weeks after we left Wilmington, we came back home to Wilmington after a very EPIC trip. We flew 1800 miles and drove 1800 miles in our rental car, we swam, we talked, we ate, we drank, we saw so many places and people, some for the last time, and we thoroughly enjoyed our two week trip in the summer of 2015. It was tiring and expensive, but it was so worth it.

Have you ever had a huge, epic summer trip as an adult or kid?





Categories: being epic, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, running, swimming, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sunken Logs and Legal Fireworks

Did everyone have a good 4th of July weekend? I certainly did! As I mentioned at the end of my last post, my family and I headed to the Branson area of southern Missouri last week to visit my parents. We’ve been parked there since last Tuesday but will be moving on to the fields of Iowa this week.

**This was to have been posted on Tuesday, but because my parents live in the sticks and it was raining, we had no wifi. Gasp! So here it is, two days late.

I had some major swim/bike/run plans in my head for when we were here. Nothing was going to get in the way of my Ironman training. Until we got here and started to relax.

The first day we were here, we slept in. It was glorious, especially considering we had gotten up at 4 am the day before. But the road was calling and I wanted to get some hill running in. When I say hills, I mean HILLZ.  Steep friggin hillZ.  We took off and within one mile, I was heaving up a big hill, ready to throw in the towel and give up. It was almost as humid as in Wilmington, which I certainly wasn’t expecting. Seven point three of some of the most miserable miles later, I was done. I had wanted to go ten miles, but I didn’t have enough liquid left in my body to be able to sweat it out. I figured some of the fatigue was due to the 100 mile bike ride and heavy training week the week before that, but I was really pissed off slightly irritated about not having a good run.

The towel was SOAKED when I got done.

The towel was SOAKED when I got done.

The next day, I went to the local gym and hopped on a bike. Five minutes later, I was drenched in sweat, dreading the remaining hour.  Here’s a suggestion to every gym everywhere: USE FANS. No one wants to work out in a pool of their own sweat. It was so gross. After that suffer fest, I hopped on the treadmill for a mile or two. Funny, there were fans on the treadmills so I cranked those babies up and the run ended up being relatively comfortable, and I ended up going 3.1 miles. Not too shabby.  I’d planned to swim whenever I could, but with the weird weather and pop up storms, we ended up at the pool that day. No swimming for me.

The next day, we all headed out on the lake. Table Rock Lake is absolutely gorgeous. It’s less clear than last year, due to all the rain they’ve been having, but it’s still very clear, especially compared to what I normally swim in. I had my cap and goggles, and when we got anchored in a nice little cove, I took off to swim.  Evidently the plethora of shark attacks off MY coast has gotten to my head, because I kept seeing big huge sea monsters on the bottom coming up to get me.  I was freaked out, to say the least. Then I saw a pretty big log sticking up from the bottom and in my mind, it literally was a sea monster coming up to get me, and I actually freaked out. I did the exact same thing as when I saw all those jelly fish (stop, dog paddle like mad, and gasp for breath), but this time, it was worse. I tried three times to get myself started and saw sea monsters logs on the bottom, and three times, I totally freaked out. I swam back to the boat, shaking. WTF was this all about? I’m a tough girl who doesn’t freak out about things like this, especially dead logs that have been there for eons, but I was scared. I decided to just stop, and try again another day.

On July 4th, my husband and I were signed up to run the Firecracker 5000. Well, I was; he was signed up for the 10k. We got up super early (compared to the late mornings we’d had so far), got ready, and headed to the race. We laughed at the timer chips that were to be secured on our shoes with “bread bag” twisty ties.

Must be the new "thing" in timing chips.

Must be the new “thing” in timing chips. But it held strong!

There were probably 600 total runners, the shirts were very nice, and packet pickup was easy since we got there early. We warmed up about half a mile, found the can, and lined up.

The race started a few minutes late, but we took off in the middle of Branson Landing, a cute little shopping area. The bad thing is that they didn’t even play the national anthem before the race, something they should have made sure to do on that important day.

I fought some traffic as we started, but soon, it thinned out and I was on my way. I wasn’t sure what pace I wanted to keep, and soon, I figured I needed to just GO and not worry about what pace I was going. We ran along the Taneycomo Lake, which is a very cold lake, which made for some very nice cool air as we ran along, probably ten degrees cooler than even twenty feet away from it. Crazy. We wound around a campground and neighborhood, and I felt my pace was holding pretty good at 7:20ish. I ALWAYS slow down during the second mile, but felt I was doing well and would have a good finish. We backtracked towards the landing again, ran past it, and wound around the parking lot, which was annoying, but heard the course had to be made up that morning due to flooding on other parts of the course. Oh well, I knew the end was near!

I crossed the finish line at 22:01. Whew, I was happy with that, even though I think the course was a teeny bit short. I walked with my water to catch my breath, hid it by White House Black Market, and jogged backwards along the course to find my husband and get some more miles in, of course near the lake where it was nice and cool. I found my hubs and he was going along at a good pace, so I cut through and waited for him at the finish line. He finished in 50:36, which is a new PR for him since he hasn’t run a 10k in forever.  Whohoo!

We cooled down as much as we could and waited for the awards. In the meantime, tons of door prizes were awarded, some of them being big packs of fireworks, the kind that are as tall as I am. How cool is that?! Tons of kids were called to get some mini packs, big packs, and plenty of big kids won them, too. I was happy to win first place in my age group and got a cool gold medal to bring home.  We changed into dryer clothes and walked around, finding some little trinkets to bring home.


First place in the "thirty-something and above" age group (40-44)

First place in the “thirty-something and above” age group (40-44)

When we got back, we got headed to the lake, unbeknownst to us this would be our only nice lake day. It was great! We relaxed, drank, cannonballed, floated, and hung out. Perfect. Then it was back to the house for food, back to the lake for fireworks, then back to the house again for our own firework show.

Boats piling up to watch the firework show.

Boats piling up to watch the firework show.

There were so many going off all over and echoing in the hills, it was like what I imagine Beirut is like except we were having fun. I love those little novelty fireworks, like tanks, fire trucks, the parachute ones, and fountains. The boys loved everything else. We had a blast (pun totally intended).

My dad and the kids with our show stoppers.

My dad and the kids with our show stoppers.

The next day, we slept in til about 9:00, which is so unusual for us, but with the dark and quiet room, soooo nice! We couldn’t really do much outside due to the strange storms, but we hung out and relaxed.

On Monday, I ended up running 6 miles of hillz again, and then we all headed to the shooting range for a gun safety class and some guns!  I have to admit, I’m not a gun person. I have never really been around them, but I’m definitely not against them. My dad has been collecting interesting sorts of guns for several years, and wanted to teach my boys about guns in a safe way. They loved it! I loved it! We all loved it! Feeling the power of a gun going off in my hand was, oh, let’s say it was scary in a good way. If that makes any sense. After over two hours of shooting various rifles and a 9 mm, we headed to lunch and then the boat.

9 mm Diamondback

9 mm Diamondback

Wait, crappy weather again so the pool. Wait, storm popped up so once again, we were trapped in the house for the evening. We played some games on the deck as we listened to more thunder and rain. My husband and I ended up going to have a few drinks at a total dive biker bar and picked up some fried green beans on the way home. I love those things.

Every time we went out, it was like this.

Every time we went out, it was like this.

I was planning to get a swim in on Tuesday. Since I was a little freaked out, I needed to face my fears anyway, so figured I could go to the campground swim area that’s right around the corner from here. Nope, torrential rain with no sign of ending. So I went back to the house of sweat (the gym) and thankfully, this time it was a little “less hot”. I went an hour and 20 minutes hard on the bike and then did some strength on the machines. My husband was desperately trying to get internet connection, but was finding the equivalent of 12k dial up, so I didn’t get any treadmill running in this time. We headed back to my parent’s house. My mom and I took the kids for a walk around the campground during a rain lull, and of course, it started raining again before we were done. Damn. Everything was starting to flood and the lake level was rising, which is crazy since the lake is ginormous.

This was the norm for the entire week we were there.

This was the norm for the entire week we were there.

On Wednesday, we will be heading north to Des Moines, Iowa, and I’m planning to meet up with Kickass Kecia from Push My Limits sometime on Wednesday afternoon, assuming our travels go as planned. We are then going to Field of Dreams so my kids can say, “Dad, wanna have a catch?”. Then we’re headed to our old stomping ground in Sioux City to visit friends until we head back to Kansas City for our flight home on Tuesday. Whew. I’m tired even typing that.  Meanwhile, at home, my yard is dying because there’s no rain and it’s still hotter ‘n a whore in church, my cats are dying from the lack of attention, and it still as hot as the gates of hell.  I guess that’s what we’re going to get when we arrive back home. I’m hoping we get just a tiny bit of dryer air in Iowa. Just a little less humidity would be just what the doctor ordered. I can only hope.

How do you manage training when on vacation?

Categories: iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, open water swimming, running, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at