Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

The cottage is open again! We had a full weekend with plenty of work to do. Besides the docks and boats, we also put together (dad and Marv) some shelves and Jason and I became responsible for raft upkeep. We made some minor raft repairs and plan to do a full rebuild next year.
Evie either really likes kids that are about 8 years old, or thinks she is that old herself. She doesn't pay much attention to teenagers or kids her age, but loved Molly. They were great buddies all weekend.
Evie was nervous at first for all of her boat rides, but enjoyed them by the end. We took the speed boat and putt putt out for a spin and went on 2 short paddle boat rides. Evie liked dragging her feet in the water alongside the paddle boat.
Evie was the center of attention once again. In the morning and at night before bedtime everyone just sat and watched. She is a very good entertainer.
Cheers to the start of another summer!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Pop Up Era Begins

Last week we inherited a beautiful 1983 seventeen foot pop up camper from the Veldhofs. Erin grew up camping in it as the Veldhofs took many family trips around Michigan/Indiana and a couple across the country. I've had very limited camping experiences, but am really looking forward to trips in our new camper.

Our first family camping trip was to Cold Brook Campground near Kalamazoo. We met Eric, Amy, Kaylee, Rob, and Amy for what turned out to be a very cold May weekend. The most exciting moment of the weekend was when we saw a baby squirrel in the middle of the path. We thought it was hurt or too young to walk, until it climbed right up Eric.

We spent much of Saturday afternoon casually hiking around camp. Evie and Kaylee enjoyed the playground, especially the slide.

Cold Brook is on a pretty big lake with a couple miles of nice hiking.

Back at the campsite Evie and Kaylee explored the area and thankfully stayed away from the fire.
The new sleeping situation was a little scary for poor Evie. She wouldn't nap and was really sad when we left her at bed time.
On Sunday we packed up camp and spent the afternoon with the Veldhofs celebrating mother's day a week late. We hiked the trails of Rosy Mound Park near Grand Haven.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

2009 Riverbank Run

One of my stated goals at the beginning of the year was to run a sub 2 hour Riverbank in 2009. I started my training early in January and was diligent and aggressive. For hours of lonely and cold miles I looked forward to completing my Riverbank goal. So naturally I am a little disappointed with the result of this years race. After an up and down 4 months of training I started Saturday's race knowing that sub 2 hours was a stretch but still possible. The race did not go as I hoped, but I still finished with a respectable 2:05:49 - my 2nd best Riverbank time in 5 years.
Saturday was a cool and cloudy morning, with temperatures in the low 50s. As we lined up in the starting corral it started raining. For 5 minutes before we started it rained quite hard and the rain continued for the first 30 minutes of the race. I started aggressively hoping my body would feel really good...but well aware that I really should be running a little slower.

Mile 1 - 7:53
Mile 2 - 7:40
Mile 3 - 8:07 (long uphill)
Mile 4 - 7:56
Mile 5 - 7:28 (long downhill)
Mile 6 - 8:00
Mile 7 - 7:52
Mile 8 - 8:01
Mile 9 - 8:06
Mile 10 - 8:01
Mile 11 - 9:07 (unfortunate, but very necessary bio break)
Mile 12 - 7:48
Mile 13 - 8:12
Mile 14 - 8:28
Mile 15 - 8:49

This year the Grand River flooded and the first half of the course was adjusted. Unfortunately, the new route added some significant hills that probably doubled the overall difficulty of the course. The new hills were miles 2-4 and impacted the rest of the run for everyone. Around mile 8 my legs were growing very weary and I felt the growing urge to go to the bathroom. I nervously watched for a porta john as the urge grew and finally found one during mile 11. It was occupied when I arrived and the stop cost me 1:30.

At mile 12 my legs hit their limit. The last 3 miles were misery as I willed myself to keep running. My main motivation was the fear that Derek would pass and beat me. I haven't finished a Riverbank with so little left in my legs, and I hardly even mustered a final kick for the last 100 yards. All in all, I can't complain about my overall time. It is a tough race and I averaged 8:07 minutes/mile, which I am proud of. For comparison, my Riverbank career:
2005 - 2:16:56
2006 - 2:06:46
2007 - 2:01:16
2008 - 2:12:47
2009 - 2:05:49

So 2 hours eludes me again. With each passing year I learn something. This is what prevented my success this year in order of importance:
  • Knee Injury - In mid February I stopped running altogether for nearly 4 weeks because of pain in my right knee. This cut out 4 weeks of crucial training that I could never recover. I still don't know whether the injury was from a bad pair of running shoes or overuse. Lesson: don't start too fast or hard in January, check shoes as soon as pain begins.
  • My inability to drop 10 lbs of body weight - This was the first time since 2005 that I raced as a Clydesdale B (flattering name, right?), which is men that weigh 200+. Lesson: watch weight over winter so weight loss isn't necessary during training.
  • Poor taper - I ran too much and too hard in the final 2 weeks. I was on my feet far too much on Thursday and Friday. I played my first softball game 4 days before the race, and was still sore on Saturday. Lesson: don't play softball the week before the race, cut mileage way down for 2 weeks prior, minimize everything for 2 days prior.
  • Hilly course
  • Too much Gu - While Gu is very helpful during the run for an energy boost, I think I used too much (or wasn't used to it) and that is what prompted my bio break. Lesson: experiment more with Gu during training runs, don't overdo it during the race.
These aren't meant to be excuses. They are to remind me what to do next year because I've now made a few of these mistakes more than once.

I enjoyed sharing the race with a lot of friends and family. Unfortunately it was too cold to hang around afterward and chat. Paul had an amazing race and easily eclipsed 2 hours. Derek trained much harder this year and almost caught me at the end, finishing 3 minutes back. Jason and Darren didn't have good showings and were shown up by Steve and Marv.
Final times were:

Paul - 1:54:51
Randy - 2:05:49
Derek - 2:08:36
Lisa - 2:15:26
Jenny - 2:25:15
Jason - 2:31:01
Steve - 2:31:02
Marv - 2:34:54
Darren - 2:42:07
Laura - 3:06:58

Carissa ran her first 5k and finished with a very good 28:28.

I love the Riverbank!

Labels: , , ,

Monday, May 04, 2009


Evie's personality comes out more and more every day. We can't help but smile at the little person she is.

2 months ago we all went through a flu bug. Evie got at last and probably the worst. It was so sad to see such a poor baby. The only bonus was the great cuddling time.

One of our favorite moments of every day is seeing what sleeping position Evie is in when we go to bed. Lately they have been really good. Her head is often against the side. Once she had her stuffed dog balanced on her stomach and sometimes she's on her knees with her butt in the air.

Evie thought her cousin Samantha would sleep better with her pacifier.
Evie's high energy days often leave her exhausted. We know she's tired when she relaxes to watch some TV.
Evie isn't around other kids very often. This past weekend she spent an evening with another girl almost exactly her age. Evie is a bully! She was on her home turf so she was protecting her toys. Every time her friend tried to play with one of Evie's toys, Evie would march over to her and forcefully take it away. We are going to have to work on that.

Erin loves the sunshine and outdoors. As soon as the weather warmed up enough to venture outside, Erin and Evie have been spending as much time as possible in the yard. Evie really enjoys it and usually cries when we make her go back inside. She loves her beach chair and gets in and out of it repeatedly.

Labels: ,