Monday, August 26, 2013
I am having a hard time believing it's been a week since I last updated. Where did the time go? I had a couple of work-related events at night last week, but the rest of the time is unaccounted for. Quite honestly I think I needed a bit of time to veg out and brace for the upcoming weekend, which was a busy one.
On Friday night we went to a local outdoor movie screening at a park. The movie started at 8:45 (and it started on time, unlike last time we tried to attend a similar event and due to technical difficulties, the movie started an hour late!) But it meant the kids weren't in bed til close to 11.
The next day we hosted my family for a get together... in between trips to the soccer field. It was the Day of Champs for both Liam and Mallory. Both of them won their games and played some awesome soccer to close out the season. (Mallory scored two goals in her game, which she tried rubbing in Liam's face; to which he replied, "Yeah, but last week I scored two goals in one period." We did remind him that it took him four years to achieve that feat, lest he let it go to his head.)
This is in the St. Clair River and you can see how the cottages are situated on a sandbar - the kids can wade forever and it's clear to everyone exactly where the dropoff occurs.
The annual kids' shot - we were missing a few this year, but had a great time with the ones we did see.
We weren't in bed til midnight last night and so today was a lazy day. We took the day off work, slept in til 9, and spent some time poolside. I'm glad we're having another kick at the can with the weather this week, because it's hard to believe Labour Day is just a week away. I want to feel really good and ready to be done with summer before this time next week.
Monday, August 19, 2013
I didn't feel much better when we got to the race venue and the water was choppy like it had been the day before. I'd done two sprint races here before and I'd eaten it on the swim both times. I had been hoping for some redemption.
To make a long story short though, I had a great race, and am so glad I did it. The water conditions were tough but I put my head down and swam, something I have not had much success with in the past and I totally credit it to getting out to Erieau every week or two this summer with someone from my tri club for some open water practice. It really is such a different beast than swimming in the pool. It was not a fast swim, on account of the chop, but I finished it faster than I'd finished in the two previous years, was comfortable from start to finish, didn't mind the contact from other swimmers and in fact welcomed it - I was swimming with the pack rather than lagging behind! The bike was slower than last year, but I expected that. The run started out slow; it had been a while since I'd run right off the bike - but I put down some successively faster splits, and I think I ran my fastest 5k to date in this race. The run focus seems to be working!
At the end of the race, a friend from my club and I sprinted it out to the finish - this is probably my favourite race photo ever - I love that even though I am dying at this point, I am having a ball, and so is she. In the end, my time was awesome - I shaved 5:00 off last year's time.
And with that, the 2013 tri season has come to a close for me. I finished 3 races this year, went sub-1:30 on two of them (though that milestone eluded me on the Tomatoman course again this year - that one is still my nemesis!), stayed injury-free, and had a lot of fun belonging to a tri club for the first time. I feel very fortunate to live where I do as it relates to this sport. Being in a small town surrounded by cornfields has its drawbacks some days, but the easy access to the lakes and country roads make for some great swimming and biking opportunities.
A few more non-tri events are still on the calendar for the next couple of months, so there is no rest just yet. Taking it easy for a couple of days, and then I'm going to jump back into the running program and see what else I can make happen this year.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Today, Liam competed in his second triathlon, the same Kids of Steel event at Rondeau Provincial Park that he did last year. I didn't have to ask/encourage/persuade him to register at all. He said earlier in the summer that he was going to do it, simple as that.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Tonight, during the last regular-season game of his fourth season of play, Liam finally scored his first soccer goal.
What amazes me most is that I was there to see it. This season he and Mallory have played at the same time on pitches at opposite ends of the complex, and I have occasionally received a text from Chad indicating that Liam is playing a period and hustled my way down to watch a bit - but I have largely not seen his games this year, because someone needs to be there with Mallory. Tonight, Liam was playing a makeup game to compensate for one that was rained out earlier in the season. Mallory's league does not play makeup games and so we were all on the field to watch Liam. After a fairly dismal first half of the game, he had a breakaway, gave the ball a boot...
...turned to get visual confirmation that we had indeed witnessed history being made... and then returned to his usual stoic face as the teams set up again at midfield. The strong, silent type. But he couldn't contain his happiness. He kept breaking out into silly grins at random moments:
And then I guess he decided it was such fun that he did it again! This time there was more luck involved; Liam kicked the ball and it bounced off a purple player into the net. Liam got credit for the goal. Here's the ref taking down his info.
It was a pretty darn exciting night for the little guy. More random smiles.
Four seasons of toting my camera to the field have finally paid off; I got a shot sequence of the all-important first goal. So happy for Liam that this day came.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
This week, the kids are having another sleepover with Gramma and Grampa, and as usual Chad and I are giddy at the prospect of some alone time. Sorry kiddos, we miss you lots, but let's face it - ten years from now you will be largely removed from our lives, and this man and I will still have to wake up in the morning to face each other and hopefully still have something to talk about. We'd better keep things humming along in the meantime. We decided that we were going to go for a nice long bike ride (have I mentioned that we have a ride coming up next month that's 127 km long, and the farthest I had gone this summer was not even 40 km? Yikes) and get some dinner on the way.
The plan was to ride out to Erieau, which has become my favourite destination this summer, and have dinner at the Bayside Brewpub before returning home. We figured it would be about 35 km each way and shouldn't take much more than an hour in either direction.
Unfortunately, I got stuck at work late, and then we loitered a little at home before we set out. And once we set out, we realized that the wind was blowing strongly out of south. And our course was pretty much due south. The first hour, we made gruelingly slow progress. We finally got to Erie Beach and from there the wind subsided or was sheltered a little; but it still took us much longer to get to Bayside than we expected.
Then dinner took longer than you'd have thought; we had to get the bikes situated, get seated, and every trip we made back and forth to the table or the bathroom or wherever was painfully slow, because we were skidding about on slippery hard floors in our cleats. Then our pizzas were held up because of a backlog in the oven. You get the idea.
To make a long story short, it was 8:30 when we headed for home, despite having inhaled that pizza faster than I've ever eaten anything in my life. I have a paranoia about cycling in the dark, but at this point we were just starting the ride home when it was darker than I would normally consider even finishing a ride. Oh well - nothing to do but go for it. We both had our blinky lights on us, thank goodness, and we shaved a couple of kms off the return trip by choosing a busier road. This actually turned out to be a wise decision, because by that hour it was not terribly busy, and yet the approaching headlights really helped to illuminate potholes and other obstacles on the route. Normally the drivers in our neck of the woods are pretty rude to cyclists, but props to everyone on Charing Cross Road last night who gave us a super wide berth and made me feel as safe as possible for someone cycling on a country road in the pitch dark.
We did make it home in one piece, rolling into our driveway a little after 9:30. Despite my worries, the ride home turned out to be quite lovely. The wind we'd hoped would be at our back had pretty much died away, but at least it wasn't blowing in our faces. The crickets were chirping and it was peaceful. And it was a good sense of accomplishment to pedal almost 70 km total, though my back was killing me by the end - something I need to remedy before we tackle the long ride in September.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
But something did change in that time - our kids' interests and abilities, and they changed for the better. When we visited with a 3 year old and a 5 year old we had a good time, and when we visited with a 6 year old and an 8 year old, we had a great time. It helped that the weather was beautiful and there was plenty of food and that we didn't have bad campsite neighbours, terrible bugs, or another run-in with a hungry bear. But what really helped was that our kids were interested and active and could actually do so many of the things that you do when you go up north: paddle a boat, swim to an island, hike and bike and fish, and they could do it all with the enthusiasm that comes from being a kid and doing these things for the first (or nearly first) time.
I don't think any of us expected fishing to be the highlight of the week, least of all me, and yet that's exactly what happened. On his first day out, Liam caught 4 fish and a snapping turtle. I rolled up right as he was pulling the turtle out of the water and I don't think I will ever forget the look on his face when he realized what he had caught.
After hearing so much about Liam's success, Mallory decided she wanted to fish, too. She fished and fished and fished, as Liam reeled in a few more catches here and there, and she didn't catch a thing. Poor Mallory, we said, how we hoped she would catch SOMETHING before our week was up.
And we fell into bed each night when the sky was dark and the campfire burned out, and we slept like the dead until morning, when we woke up and did it all over again.