Friday, January 2, 2015

Looking Back and Moving Forward - 2015

First off, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and enjoyed the extra time with their families and friends.  I know Sarah and I had a great Christmas and even though it was hectic as hell, it was a lot of fun!  And now, It's hard to believe, which I think I say each and every year, but 2014 is officially in the books and we are already plunging into 2015.  But, here we are at the start of yet another new year.  You don't need to look far to read, see, or hear about some one's New Year's Resolutions.  They are everywhere.  Just try to scroll through your Facebook feed without reading "New Year, New You," or "This year will be different."  All too often people make goals, some are realistic, others not so much.  Most of these goals, probably in the ball park of 95% of them, fail, and fail miserably.  I'd bet that most people forget about them or just flat out give up within the first week or two.  But why?  I mean, most folks mean well with their goals.  They join their local health clubs, they sign up for memberships or classes.  They want to be successful.  I think the biggest reason so many people fail, is they fail to have a plan on how to achieve their goal, their goal is unreasonable, or they have a vague, unmeasurable goal - I mean how exactly do you measure eating better in 2015? 

While some people make goals and resolutions, others are against the whole idea of a New Year's Resolution.  The thought process here is that any day is a great day to set a goal or make a significant change in your life, why not start December 1st instead of putting it off until January 1st?  Another thought is that most people just make claims and goals because it is the "thing to do."  I mean, how many people ask "what's your New Year's Resolution?"

Personally, I believe if someone is willing to make a goal to better themselves in one way or another, who are we to discourage that, even if they are doing it for the wrong reasons?  It's a start and frankly, I would rather have someone make a goal, instead of just saying, "f*ck it - I'm going to fail anyway."  I also view the new year as a new season, a new beginning.  As an athlete, I plan each and every year beginning January 1st.  So, it's only natural to view the new year as an opportunity to make changes, goals, and resolutions.  For me, it's hard to say, today is the day I am making a change, especially drastic ones.  So, when there is a hard date, in the future, it makes it easier for me to wrap my mind around my goals.  It gives me a definite start date, no excuses, no "I'll start tomorrow," no if's, and's, or but's.  It starts the first of the year.

If you have read my last post where I took a look back at the year that was 2014, you know I have big goals and aspirations for 2015.  If not, take a look here: Looking Back and Moving Forward - 2014.   I after once again, not meeting my goal of running a sub 3 hour marathon, I am putting that goal at the forefront in 2015.  So, without further adieu, below are my goals, aspirations, and resolutions for the upcoming year.  As you read you'll notice, that not only am I laying out all my goals below, but instead of simply saying what my goal is, I am explaining exactly what my plan is to accomplish that goal.

1.  Get my body weight back down to 160-165 pounds.

I have been claiming to want to lose weight for racing efficiency reasons, but, like just about everyone else, fail.  I have found that losing weight is quite possibly the most difficult thing to do.  In order to finally get back down to the weight were I had my most successful race season, I am laying down some very strict ground rules for my diet.  Below are my ground rules.
  1. Absolutely no added sugars, sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, etc.  That's right, I am going sugar free for a full year (at least)!
  2. Minimal to no processed grains
  3. No processed, packaged foods
  4. Minimal dairy to no full fat
  5. Minimal to no legumes
  6. Only one single "cheat-day" per month with no carry-over.  This is to maintain some level of sanity.
  7. I am allowing beer as the one exception to all the rules....once again, for sanity and my love of good beer.  The one rule here is no shitty beer!  

2. Run a sub 3 hour marathon 

I have been saying for years now, that I want to run a sub 3 hour marathon more than anything.  so This year, I am going to do it....period.  In order to do it, I am going to run, run, and run some more. I am focusing all my race efforts on running this year.  I think my lack of running (yes I said, lack) has been limiting my marathon running.  Simply put, I do not think my running volume has been at necessary levels to run a sub 3 marathon.  So for this year, I will be putting cycling and swimming on the back burner to focus more time and energy on running, recovery, and strength training.  I figure, if I will be running higher volume throughout the upcoming year, I will need to focus on rest/recovery and strength training in order to stay healthy throughout the season.

3. Run 2015 miles in 2015

This is just a small sub goal that, theoretically, should be pretty easy to achieve, assuming I am able to stay healthy and train throughout the year.  In order to run this distance, I would need to average 38.75 miles per week.

4. Run at least one race for each month of the year

My reason behind this goal is to encourage consistency of training throughout the year.  The race can be any distance and just needs to be an organized event.

5. Run both a 50k and 50 mile ultra marathon

I have wanted to run an ultra marathon for a couple years and with my increased focus on my running fitness, I figured this year will be the year I go beyond 26.2.

6. Strength train at least once a week, except during a taper

In order to insure I stay healthy throughout the year with an increased volume, I need to stay strong by strength training.  Adding some strength training to my weekly regimen will also make me a stronger, faster runner.

7. Do not be so quick to yell at my kids

I won't lie, I can be very quick to yell and get upset at my kids.  Let's face it, racing kids gets frustrating.  I want to raise my kids in a loving, caring atmosphere, and feel like I am often yelling at them when it may not be necessary to do so.  So, from now on, I will take some deep breaths and/or step away for a short period of time to gather my thoughts before yelling.

8. No texting and driving and to stay off my phone while driving in front of my kids.

In the past, I have always used the excuse that. "I am good at multitasking while driving."  And regardless, even if I may be just a fine driver while using my phone, it sets the wrong example for my kids.  Even though we are 10+ years before Maya even starts the think about driving, I do not want to be the parent that tells them not to use their phones while driving when they have been watching me do just about everything on my phone while I drive.  Sounds quite a bit hypocritical....  Sarah is on board with me on this one too.  We are going to lead by example for our kids and how to be a good driver.

So there you have it, like I said, most of my goals are pretty ambitious, especially going sugar free and grain free this year.  But, I just need to get into a grove and I should be just fine.  I do well with rules and plans, so I am confident I will be able to go sugar and grain free all year.  Below is my preliminary race schedule for 2015.  And with that, I want to wish everyone a safe and prosperous 2015!  I hope you are able to stick to your own personal goals and have a successful new year!

My Tentative 2015 Race Schedule

January 24th - Ice Breaker Indoor Half Marathon, Milwaukee, WI
February 7th - Seroogy's Valentine's 5k, De Pere, Wi
March 15th - St. Pat's Day 5k/15k
April 25th - Jailbreak 5k, Wautoma, WI
May 2nd - Wisconsin Marathon, Kenosha, WI
June 20th - High Cliff Sprint Triathlon, Sherwood, WI
July 11th - Dances with the Dirt 50k, Merrimac, WI
August 16th - Race the Lake, Fond du Lac, WI
September 19th - Fox Cities Marathon 5k, Appleton, WI
October 11th - Whistle Stop Marathon, Ashland, WI
November 7th - T-Bunk Challenge 50 Mile, Eagle, WI
December 5th - Race for the Light 5k, Oshkosh, WI

Monday, December 22, 2014

Looking Back and Moving Forward - 2014

After have arguably one of my best years ever in 2013, I had no idea what to expect for 2014.  It seemed as though after my post Ironman high wore off, I was left with a mild depression.  Almost a feeling of emptiness.  Now, I totally realize that this sounds absurd and over-the-top, but I have talked about this at length before.  Completing an Ironman had been at the forefront of my mind ever since I became involved in endurance sports, hell, it was the reason I got involved in the first place.  It was the reason I woke up and trained at 5am in subzero temperatures in January.  So anyone should be able to under stand there was going to be a feeling of void after crossing off your top goal.  After taking some time off, I wanted to start planning my 2014 race schedule, but honestly had no idea where to go with it.  What races should I do?  What distances should I race?  I kept telling myself that I wanted to race shorter distance races, but it took me a while to convince myself that it was OK to do sprint distance races.  Regardless of what distances I choose, I knew 2014 would be a challenging year, as we would be adding our 5th addition to our family, baby Harper.  Also, after neglecting my wife and kids for the better part of all of 2013, I really wanted to make the most of 2014 and for a lack of better words, make up for lost time.


Knowing that I wanted to spend more time with my family than I did in 2013, all while continuing to race competitively, I was struggling to come up with a race schedule.  I didn't want to just do 1 or 2 races, but at the same time I didn't want to do too many races.  I tried coming up with some goals for the upcoming season.  First, the goal that will remain in the forefront until I can cross it off, will be running a sub 3:00 marathon.  Now, I just needed to find a goal race for my triathlon season.  I saw post of Facebook about the 2013 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, which were held in Milwaukee, that they were voted the best race of 2013.  The post also mentioned that they race would be returning to Milwaukee for 2014.  I immediately had my goal race for 2014.  

After doing a little research I learned that the Age Group National Championships is the qualifying race for the 2015 World Triathlon Championships.  I looked into how realistic it would be for me to qualify for Team USA for 2015 by looking at the 2013 results.  During a normal year, Team USA takes 15-18 athletes per age group, but during a year when the World Championships are held in the United States, Team USA is allowed a few extra athletes as the host country.  The 2015 World Championships are scheduled to be held in Chicago.  This will be the first time the race will be held in the US in several years, let alone the fact that the race will be held within driving distance from my home.  Based on times from last year, I figured that if I were to finish the race in under 1:08:00 I would be sitting in a great position to qualify for Team USA.  And just like that, I had a goal for 2014 - I would focus my training towards qualifying for Team USA for the opportunity to represent The USA at the 2015 World Triathlon Championships.

So, to start 2014 off, Sarah and I planned a final get-away trip to Chicago in January.  This was our last trip as a family of four.  We stayed right in downtown Chicago and planned on just having a relaxing weekend.  We went to Shedd Aquarium, Ed Debevic's, and to Millennium Park to see the "jelly bean," and even did a little ice skating in the park.  It was a great weekend away and something different for the kids.  Both Maya and Delaney still talk about our trip to Chicago.

Before we knew it Harper was born.  As I write this she is just 9 months old.  It's kind of odd, but a part of me feels like she was just born yesterday, while on the other hand it feels like she's been a part of our family for much longer.  I will say this though, a third kid is much more taxing then I imagined.  I had no clue what to expect going from 2 kids to 3, but my free time has dwindled to just about none and our lives seem to be just that much more stressful.  It has been such a change to our family.  Suddenly, simple errands have become larger undertakings, getting ready for bedtime has become a project, and just about everything takes considerably longer.  It's funny because when it came out that Sarah and I would be having our third child, people would joke saying that we would need to switch to zone defense.  Since Harper's birth, life is just not as simple as one parent dealing with one kid, it is now a full team effort.  It is truthfully a zone parenting scheme.

It was shortly after Harper's birth that I realized that my training and racing would take a hit.  I knew it was going to take extra planning in order to get in my longer workouts.  Either way, I was still determined to train just as hard as I did in previous years.  I jumped right into training in January with hopes of finally nailing my sub 3:00 marathon at the Green Bay Marathon in May.  Unfortunately, my training took a huge hit in February when my calves started to give me issues.  I had no idea specifically what the issue was.  I even saw a sports medicine doctor thinking it was a possible stress fracture in my right calf.  After my appointment he assured me that it probably was not a stress fracture.  I took a couple weeks off from running and started back up easing my mileage back to where I wanted it.  After my break I was able to ease back into training and ran in the Oshkosh Half Marathon in April, finishing 12th overall and 2nd in my age group with a time of 1:24:31.  It was the day after the Jailbreak 5k (one week following the half marathon) I suddenly had a new issue in my left calf.  It was right in the belly of the muscle and felt like a giant knot, almost like a painful cramp.  This occurred during an attempted long run the day after the Jailbreak 5k in April, just a few weeks before the Green Bay Marathon.  The good news is I, once again won the Bloodhound Challenge as the fastest Cop in the race, for now the 3rd year in a row.

With hopes of still toeing the line at the Green Bay Marathon, I was desperate for just about any quick fix to help my calf heal.  I made an appointment to receive some Dry Needling treatments at a local physical therapy office.  It definitely helped, but I think the damage was done just a little too late.  I was able to at least try finishing the race, but fell just short and pulled out around mile 17.  This was my first ever DNF (Did Not Finish).  It was hard, but I think know it was the right decision, regardless of how much it sucked walking off a marathon course.  My choice to walk off proved to be the right decision, because after just a few days of rest and recovery from the marathon, I slowly eased back into running with sprint triathlon specific training.  Even though I was unable to finish the marathon, I still think the Dry Needle treatments helped immensely.  You can read more about my experience with Dry Needle treatments here.   

Once I started my triathlon specific training I was getting used to being a father of three.  Sarah and I were starting to figure things out.  Basically, for the two of us, I would generally take care of the older two girls, while she focused on caring for Harper.  It seemed to be working.  As for my training, it didn't take me long to realize that just because I was training for a much shorter race, the training didn't necessarily become any easier.  Yes, the training was shorter, much shorter, but it in no way was it any easier.  I feel in love with this style of training.  Majority of my weekday workouts were between 45-90 minutes and pretty much always included some intensity.  My weekend workouts were anywhere between 1-2 hours.  It was perfect.  I enjoyed the balance of intensity and duration.  My weekend workouts fulfilled my love of going long while the weekday workouts were challenging enough that I was glad they were shorter than my usual workouts.

My first multisport race of 2014 came in June, with the High Cliff Sprint Triathlon.  I was a bit hesitant going into this race since it was just a few weeks after I pulled out of the Green Bay Marathon.  I was worried that the intensity of the 5k run would bring back the issues in my calf.  I was especially concerned because the first half mile of the run was straight up a steep hill.  The race went great and I had no issues with either calf.  I finished the race in 1:22:14 and placed 10th overall, 1st in my age group.  The best part of this race was my age group award of a screen printed pint glass!  This race was held over Father's Day weekend and to take advantage of the opportunity, we camped right at High Cliff State Park for the weekend.


The very next week I scheduled a race in Pleasant Prairie, WI.  It was going to be my longest triathlon of the year.  I raced in the Olympic Distance race and would be my first time racing this distance since 2008, when I was first getting started in triathlon.  I was excited to race this distance as it is very indicative of your ability as this is the most competitive race distance out there, IMO.  The race ended up being postponed about an hour or so due to dense fog.  Once the race started, I gave it everything I had with hopes of placing in my age group.  I ended up falling short placing 5th in my age group but 14th overall.  It was a competitive race at the top, but I was extremely pleased with my race.  I finished in 2:04:39, but the bike course was cut a mile or two short due to road construction.  Here is my race report.

My third race was my last race before Age Group Nationals and was going to be final tune up race.  The race I scheduled was the Ripon Medical Center Sprint Triathlon.  The race was 2 weeks before Nationals.  My hope was to literally go 110% throughout the entire race with hopes of having no energy left at the end.  I wanted to use this as a practice race to see how hard I can go and how it will feel having the throttle wide open for an entire race.  My biggest concern was how hard the run would be after mashing on the bike.  Turns out, the race went WAY better than I ever imagined.  I ended up placing 1st overall and it honestly wasn't even close.  I won by over 6 minutes!  At no point in this race did I ever take it easy.  This was my first ever overall win in a triathlon.  I was stoked!  You can read my race report here.

Coming off my first ever overall win, I was feeling fast and confident.  The week before the USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee, we had a family vacation in Rhinelander with the Nissen's.  I went into the race feeling fresh and fast.  On race morning I was the most nervous I think I had ever been for any race.  No, it wasn't going to be a long grueling race, but there was so much at stake.  This was my first race were there was no real joy in simply finishing.  I had a very specific time goal in mind and even if I achieve my time goal there was no guarantee that I would qualify for Team USA.  My strategy for the race was to do the same as I did in Ripon and give 110% the entire race and never let up.  The race went well, it was one of my favorite events I've done to date.  I stuck to my plan and felt pretty good all day.  I ended up finishing with a time of 1:07:08, nearly a full minute faster than my optimistic goal of 1:08.  I was most impressed with my effort on the final home stretch of the run, where I had an average pace of 4:52/mile throughout the final tenth of a mile.  My race report can be found here.

Unfortunately I did not qualify for Team USA.  I finished 28th in my age group and missed qualifying by about 30 seconds.  Evidently my estimate of finishing with a time of 1:08 would leave me sitting pretty fell a bit short.  But after thinking about it after the fact, I think this year saw a much more competitive race for several reasons.  First, I think the success of last years race lead more people to racing it in 2014.  Secondly, the 2015 World Championships are held in the USA for the first time in several years, bringing out a ton more athletes.  And finally, I truly think the proximity of the 2015 World Championship (Chicago) to the National Championships (Milwaukee) brought out more people too.  This is due to the belief that if you're able to race in Milwaukee, you should be able to race in Chicago the following year.   Comparing the two years, 2013 had a total of 55 finishers in the M30-34 age group while 2014 had 114, over double!  So in short, I am not at all bummed with my finish.  I am actually pretty proud of myself.  I know that I did the best I could and gave it my all.  I finished just outside of qualifying for Team USA and was the first guy from Wisconsin to finish in my age group....for what that's worth.  

Initially, my race season was going to end after the Age Group National Championships.  But, as I mentioned, I pulled out of the Green Bay Marathon, therefore obviously, not achieving my goal of finishing a sub 3:00 marathon.  So, immediately getting home from the Green Bay Marathon, Sarah jumped online to find a redemption race for me to complete sometime down the road.  She found a race in Ashland, WI in October.  Conveniently, her parents have a cabin in a small town about 20 miles south of Ashland and I was already off the weekend of the race.  She gave me the almighty blessing to register for the race that day, literally just hours after walking off the Green Bay Marathon course.


Coming off the National Championships, I took a few days off to just kick back and relax at my family's cottage and then jumped into my marathon training plan.  My training plan was very run heavy (imagine that!).  My training better than expected.  More than ever, I felt like this was going to be the time I would run a sub 3 hour marathon.  I was hitting all my predetermined marks in training and feeling great throughout.  We had made arrangements to spend an extended weekend at my in-laws cabin the weekend of the Whistle Stop Marathon.  The race was on Saturday, so we would then celebrate my daughter's birthday that weekend with our families on Saturday night.  It was a great plan and everything was all shaping up to be a perfect opportunity to meet my #1 goal.


Once again, unfortunately I did not achieve my goal.  For one reason or another, I once again blew up in the later miles of the race after sustaining an appropriate pace for more than half the race.  I finished in 3:16:28 and placed 4th in my age group.  I was left with a feeling of confusion.  I honestly do not know what I need to do, or what I need to not do.  I do know that I want, more than just about anything, to run a sub 3:00 marathon.  The race itself was a great race and was extremely scenic, especially during that time of year with the fall colors at their peak.  

2014 was a much better year than I had expected coming off the year I had in 2013.  I was able to experience some great new races and found new ways to challenge myself without sacrificing a bunch of hours away from my family.  I have become even better with my time management skills.  Our family took some great trips both short and long.  So, with no doubt, I would say 2014 was a great year, even when I thought it would be impossible to even come close to the year I had 2013.  

In the next week or two, I will be writing Part 2 of my Looking Back and Moving Forward.  My next post I will look ahead to my plans, goals, and resolutions for 2015.  I have huge plans for 2015 that I have been working out the details for.  I want to really work on not only becoming a better athlete next year, but more importantly a better father, husband, and person.  So, until then, I hope you all have a great holiday season!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Race for the Light - Race Report

I really had no intentions of doing any more races in 2014.  I thought I was done racing at least until 2015.  To be honest, I really haven't been doing much since the Whistle Stop Marathon back on October 11th.  Well, I take that back, I should say that I really haven't been doing much swimming/biking/running.  Because honestly, I have been doing a lot of stuffing my face with treats, candy, and beer - not that I am even remotely proud to admit it.  But, none-the-less, I have been in full-fledged off-season mode.  A couple weeks ago, I received an email at work about a local 5k in Oshkosh, WI, and our Sheriff's Office was looking for some people to run in it as part of a team.  I jumped at the opportunity as a way to get out the door for a race since it has been nearly two months since my last race.  The race is called Race for the Light and is run through the Oshkosh Celebration of Lights in Menominee Park.  The race was run in the evening, starting at 4:30pm.  That way, you get the opportunity to run through the park when it is fully illuminated with Christmas lights.  We have made it a family tradition over the past 3 years to bring the family and our parents to Celebration of Lights and then go out to dinner afterward.  We decided to use this race as a way to combine the lights with some good old fashion exercise.  I also wanted to try out something completely new during this race.  One of my impending Christmas gifts this year is going to be a Contour Roam2 action video camera.  Basically, it is the cheaper comparable version of a GoPro.  I ordered it from Amazon during Black Friday and wanted to try it out to see how it works during a race.  You can see the resulting video below.

Training for This Race

As I explained above, I have done more training similar to that of a lazy sack of potatoes.  Since the Whistle Stop Marathon (60 days), I have run a total of 146 miles.  In comparison, I ran 199 miles in the month of September alone (just 30 days).  So, to say that I actually "trained" for this race is just a lie.  I guess I did a couple runs to help prepare for running a hard 5k.  On the 27th, I did a 5 mile interval run consisting of 4x800m and then on the Wednesday before the race I did a shorter interval run with 4x400m sprints.  

Prerace

First off, the race started at 4:30pm...yup I said PM.  I hate afternoon races.  Well, actually, I don't mind racing in the evening, but I hate the preparations of racing in the evening.  It is something completely different.  Something I am not used to.  I work out in the mornings.  I train and race every morning.  So, when I'm asked to race in the evening, my entire "race day routine" is thrown out the window.  I was originally scheduled to work both Friday and Saturday, but after Sarah and I agreed to do the 5k, see the lights, we decided to make a full holiday weekend of it, so I took off Friday and Saturday.  We finished our Christmas Shopping and went to the Mall so our girls can see Santa.  It was a nice weekend.  On Saturday, I tried my best to avoid all cruddy foods, but still had a turkey sandwich on wheat bread for lunch and had a bowl of Cheerio's for breakfast.  I at least finished eating any meal by 1:00pm, about 3-3.5 hours before the start of the race.  We picked up my dad and were at the race start by 3:30 and picked up our race packets.  I was really pleased with the race shirt, which was a nice long sleeve t-shirt with a nice design.  An added bonus was the pair of running socks with the race logo on them!

Nutrition Plan

My nutrition plan was simply to stick with what works and try not to destroy my race with piss-poor nutrition throughout the day leading up to the start of the race.  I feel like I (kind of) stuck with my goal of eating decent before the race.  Then, an hour before the start of the race, I took, Hammer Anti-Fatigue Caps, Race Caps Supreme, and Mito Caps.

Gear/Equipment

My brand new Contour Roam2

Miles 0-3.1

My Splits
1 - 5:36
2 - 5:57
3 - 6:04
 
I truly had no clue what to expect with this race.  Obviously, my goal was hang with the leaders and contest for the win.  I had no clue if that was too ambitious or not.  As I mentioned above, I was participating in this race as part of the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office Team and part of that obligation was taking a team photo before the start of the race.  I didn't want to be a turd at the start of the race, but I really wanted to get in a decent warm up before the start of the race.  We ended up taking a team photo about 5-10 minutes before the start of the race...NOT conducive to a thorough warm up.  Immediately after our team photo, I darted out the door to get in a quick warm up.  I ended up getting in a 3-5 minute warm up, not great, but it was going to have to do.  I nearly missed the start of the race, but just made it to the start line in time.  I ended up way too far back for my liking at the start and was forced to duck and dodge between all the other racers in front of me.  I took off as fast as I could knowing I was starting behind the 8-ball.  After the first 400 meters or so, I knew I was in the top 6-8, but really couldn't tell.  By mile 1 I felt as though I was in the top 3 or 4, but knew I was running at a pace I couldn't sustain.  I did my best to hang on though.  By mile two I was breathing way too hard and because of that I knew I was going too hard.  I ended up losing 2 places, putting me in 5th or 6th in my mind.  My goal was to just hang on to where I was at this point.  I was able to hang onto my place and finished with a surprising 18:03 (5:49/mile) which was good enough for 6th place overall and 2nd in my age group of M30-39.  My video from the Contour Roam2 turned out pretty good.  Obviously, I sped it up about 8x faster, just to speed up the video from 18:00 to 3:00.  I think I just need to work on the positioning of the camera to focus more parallel to the horizon, because as you probably noticed, the video is angled up a bit too far. 

Post Race

After the race, my dad and I jogged the course backwards until we met up with Sarah and the girls.  Maya had been walking the entire distance to this point.  I started walking with Sarah and the girls and talked Maya into running the final 0.5-1 mile of the race.  She agreed to do it, and did pretty darn well for a 5 year old.  She finished under and hour, and I was thoroughly impressed.  After everyone had finished, we piled back into our car and then drove through the Celebration of Lights and stopped at The Elf's Workshop and to see Santa's Reindeer.  After checking out the light display, we stopped at a local Mexican restaurant for dinner and to watch the last half of the (terrible) Badger-Ohio State football game.  It was a great ending to a great day.

The Day in Music

For my second installment of my "Day in Music," I chose Run Run Rudolf by Brad Paisley & Steven Tyler.  Again, the goal of this section is to summarize the race in a single song, just for shits and giggles.  

What's on Tap

I'm going to leave this pretty open.  All I will say is that I have high aspirations for 2015 and will delve into my goals, resolutions, and hopes for a future post!  I will just say that my initial rough draft of my 2015 race schedule has me nearly as excited as I was going into my big Ironman year!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Harper's 6 Month Photo Shoot

Sure, Harper may be 8 months old tomorrow (13th) but we just got our photos back from Jennifer Lee Photography from her 6th month old session.  During this session we included the other two devils girls.  Here are some of my favorites from Jennifer.  Here is a link to Jennifer's website: Jennifer Lee Photography
















Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween Havoc


Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays.  Not exactly sure why, but it just has.  It might be the whole concept of getting dressed up in whatever you want and getting together with friends and family and having a good time.  Now, as my life changes I have grown to like Halloween even more.  Over the past month Sarah has been going to as many Halloween festivities as she can fit into her tight schedule.  This year we participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project and painted a pumpkin teal and placed it out in front of the house for Trick-or-Treaters to see.  THE TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT website. The Teal Pumpkin Project is there to raise awareness of children who suffer from food allergies.  Simply put, if you participate, just paint a pumpkin teal and have non-food treats to offer kids as necessary.  This was the first year of the Teal Pumpkin Project and was definitely in the infancy stages, but I felt as though it raised a lot of awareness in our neighborhood alone.  The week before Halloween we took a family trip with all of our college roommates to The Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells to use their indoor waterpark.  We didn't plan that weekend until about a month before, so it still amazes me that we were able to get all 4 families to the Dells for a weekend full of Halloween fun and swimming.  The day after Halloween, Sarah and I had the opportunity to send all three of our kids to her parents house for the entire day AND night!  We took full advantage of this for a full day of activities.  But, now with Halloween behind us, sadly, it's time to start planning for Christmas.

Do they come any cuter?




Zoo-Boo, N.E.W. Zoo, Green Bay, WI






Pumpkin Patch Fest, Door County, WI



The Great Wolf Lodge, Wisconsin Dells, WI

8 Adults....8 Kids, all in one large condo














Halloween










Date Night




My first ever Moscow Mule....Love It!!