Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lazy day of summer

I vow to myself every summer not to waste any days during this, my favorite season. But sometimes, you just need to have a lazy day.

The last couple weeks have been quite busy, compounded by the fact we only had one car. Now that we're back to two cars, and there was no overriding reason for the boys and me to get out of the house today ... we didn't get out of house. We weren't completely lazy: I filled up the kiddie pool for us, and after dinner we took a drive in our new 2002 Outback up Little Cottonwood Canyon. But mostly, that was it. We won't be as non-active tomorrow, but for today, taking it easy was fine -- the boys were still tired out by the end of the day, as evidenced by Eldest falling asleep on our drive at 7:15 p.m.

After the boys went to bed, I settled down to watch a movie, saw what time it was, saw the setting sun, and knew getting out for a walk would do me good. Not a long walk, not a run, but just a short walk to see the summer sunset, of which there is a finite amount. Perhaps there is a fine line between being a little lazy and wasting a summer day. I'd like to think my late walk put my day on the right side of that line.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

In the swim

We finally made it to the pool today. Granted, we've been to a pool a few times this summer, but for the first time, we got to swim outside at the JCC pool. It only took a month, thanks to a combination of bad weather, kids' wishes to go someplace with a water slide and a rescheduled swim meet (which forced us into the JCC's indoor pool last week.

We had a lot of fun ... eventually. After arriving, we swam for about a half-hour until safety break (10 minutes in which all the kids must stay out of the pool). I wandered over to the deep end and tried to summon the courage/memory that I can do it to jump off the diving board when I witnessed a painful accident. These guys, probably no older than 20, were doing goofy dives when one of them did what I could only describe as a spinning bounce off the end of the board. But his foot slipped as he faced toward the back of the board, and he went into the water first with his shin, which bounced the board up just as his chin came into contact with it. He took a few seconds to surface as his friends swam over to help him and the lifeguard looked concerned.

The guards put him on a backboard just in case, and the paramedics were called. In the meantime, no one was allowed in the pool for a long time -- maybe 40 minutes -- during which we were getting cranky in the heat. Littlest was getting fidgety and tried wandering every place he could; Eldest was hungry beyond the snacks we brought. But once the pool reopened and we got back in the water, our irritation cooled. Littlest had so much fun -- he's becoming a brave little swimmer and for the first time was jumping off the side into water over his head. Eldest jumped off the diving board eight times and is getting better at swimming back to the side on his own (he just needs to remember to use his arms). By the time we left, we were tired but much happier. We picked up dinner at Noodles and came home.

Littlest's mood didn't last, especially after the late night last night, but he fell asleep earlier than normal despite his protests. There's nothing like swimming to tire the boys out. Or the parents.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Best Fourth ever

We had a great Fourth of July today. We didn't do anything spectacular, travel anywhere or blow anything up, but instead simply had a fun day.

The day started this morning with our neighborhood's Fourth of July parade. Eldest rode his bike the whole way, while Littlest was content to sit in the wagon. We had lunch at the potluck after and talked with some neighbors while the boys played.

Some clouds rolled in, and rather than risk going to the pool and having it rain on us, we hung out at home; then I eventually took Eldest to see the new Ice Age movie. We both enjoyed it, and after, we drove home and I started the grill.

Our dilemma was whether to keep the boys awake to watch fireworks at a nearby park. The show wouldn't start until 10, which is far past their bedtime. But we gave it a shot, and it worked out well. We loaded the running stroller and walked down, finding a good spot on the lawn at the high school right next to the park. This is Salt Lake City's main fireworks, and this large park is full of people, so we felt fortunate to find as good a spot as we did.

The boys stayed awake until the show, helped by a few glow sticks we bought off a roving vendor. And then, the fireworks started, and they loved it, especially Littlest, who laughed with delight for the first five minutes. The look on his face was so worth it; I'm glad we kept him awake (he fell asleep on the walk home, wearing two of those pliable glow sticks bent into necklaces).

While we were waiting for the show, I asked Wife what her favorite Fourth of July was, and I tried to remember mine (sadly, the first one that came to mind was the year my Dad brought home a bag of M-80s). But the four of us watching fireworks together for the first time, capping a fun day, cemented the fact that 2009 became my favorite.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ragnar report

OK, I know that the Wasatch Back was two weeks ago, but I have wanted to blog about the experience of my first Ragnar. So two weeks later, here's the short version:

I ran the 12th, 24th and 36th legs of the race. Surprisingly, I had more energy for the 24th and 36th legs than I thought I would, especially after little sleep. I ran all three legs under my projected time, though on 12 and 36, just by about a minute. Still, I was ecstatic that I not only ran, but felt that I ran well.

My first leg was tough, and was the only one I wasn't completely happy with. The route was 3.1 miles uphill -- really uphill. The first mile was flat, and I ran it relatively quickly, as planned before I got the the elevation gains. I walked more of the last two miles than I wanted to -- I didn't think it was going to be as nasty as it was. Still, I made it under my projected time and was ready for dinner when I finished.

Our van had about six hours until we were running again, and we worked our way to the state park where the next exchange would be. I ate, then tried to sleep for a few hours. I normally can nap rather easily, but this evening, I couldn't. Maybe I was full of adrenaline, or maybe I got too much sleep the night before, but whatever I tried, I couldn't sleep. I dozed for about a half-hour during the night before my second leg.

I was worried about that second leg because of the lack of sleep and because my knees were sore from the uphill leg. But, I was surprised how well I did. I came about three minutes under my projected time and got a major second wind about midway through the leg. The sky was getting lighter just as "Light of Day" came up on my Shuffle (alas, Joan Jett's version instead of Bruce Springsteen's). All the training was worth it for this one leg.

I managed about 90 minutes sleep after my run and ate breakfast before our van was up again. My final leg ended the race for our team, and I got to see Wife (she was volunteering) at the exchange before I departed. This leg was mostly downhill, and it felt like I was flying. However, right near the end, it went back uphill and slowed me down more than I would have liked. But when it flattened out near the finish, I saw my teammates and we ran in together. Actually, I ran in ahead of them -- I saw our overall team time and wanted to break 31 hours and 30 minutes. I thought we made it, then saw the official time handed to us -- I missed by one second (the clock at the finish line I was seeing was off). We didn't hang around long because it was raining, but I didn't mind. I had finished my first Ragnar, and got to finish my first Ragnar. I can't wait to run it again next year.