5.28.2009

A Kindergartner No More

Chloe spent her last day as Kindergartner today and wrapped up a fabulous first year of school.

Peggy and I are amazed at how much she was exposed to and accomplished these last 9 months... she did little research projects, spent a fair bit of time learning about Africa, has become a good reader, and developed a great group of friends. We couldn't be more pleased with how this worked out for her, and how well she performed.

And so now summer break is upon us. It's shaping up to be a pretty fun and busy summer – there's 5 week-long camps, visits from family and friends, a trip to San Diego, playdates galore, hopefully some hiking and camping, Frontier Days in Cheyenne, a glider ride for Chloe and I, and who knows what else.

5.26.2009

Movin' On Up.

That applies to both direction and elevation, as today we had movers move the rest of our stuff out of our rental and into our new home (which is both Northwest of and about 40 feet higher in elevation than our rental.)

While that in and of itself is great news, we also found out today that the agency that's been handling the search for another tenant at the rental home has indeed found one! Yippee! No 2-housing-payments for the next couple of months!

5.25.2009

Sea Level is for Sissies!

And now, another post from guest writer Peggy...

I've lived in Boulder about 10 months now and while I think I've assimilated well to my surroundings, there was one thing that I still needed to do to feel like a true native: run the Bolder Boulder. For those of you who don?t know, the Bolder Boulder is the largest 10K IN THE COUNTRY.

This year, just under 52,000 people (yes, you read that right) took part in the race/party.
You may recall that I ran my first half marathon (13.1 miles) on May 3rd, so a 10K (6.1 miles) should be a piece of cake, right? Well for most folks, the answer is yes. But my lack of consistent running since May 3rd coupled with a nasty week-long stomach bug right before the race had me wondering if I would finish. Still, I was excited to try.

So this morning, Kurt and Chloe dropped me off at the runner drop-off area and I found my "wave" (with 52,000 people running, each person was placed in a wave roughly determined by their approximate finish time / overall pace). At 7:30 AM sharp, my wave was called to the post (yep, with the trumpet, just like the Kentucky Derby) and we proceeded to be slapped on the butt and high-fived by uniformed members of the Colorado National Guard... if THAT doesn't psych you up to run your best on Memorial Day of all days, NOTHING will. The starting gun went off, and my running of the 31st Annual Bolder Boulder had begun.

To say that this was a serious race for most of the runners is a stretch... it was a PARTY through the streets of Boulder. Some highlights:
* Bands playing at roughly 1/2 mile intervals including a DEAD ON Blue Brothers duo at Mile 1... so good that the runners were clapping for THEM!
* Two troops of fully costumed belly dancers accompanied by tribal drumming.
* Being passed by three Elvises and two gorillas.
* Partaking at the "Beer, Bacon and Watermelon" station at mile 3, manned by some friendly neighbors in bath robes.

I caught up with Kurt and Chloe at mile 5 and continued on to the finish, which ended at Folsom Field, the football stadium at the University of Colorado. I saw my face on the jumbotron and sprinted to the finish! After getting my complimentary snack bag and beer, I met up with Kurt, Chloe and some friends of ours to watch the other runners enter the field. I got a lump in my throat seeing a group of National Guardsmen in fatigues and combat boots running in carrying the flag and was dumbstruck to see an additional group of soldiers run in with fully-loaded back packs. I found out later that this 6.1 mile run with 50 pound packs was a pretty easy one for them?they are used to running 12 miles with 90 pound packs.


It was a great day and I can now wear my "Sea Level is for Sissies" shirt with pride. Boulder rocks!

(Some pictures from the day can be seen here. A quick note about Chloe's headwear: it was chosen to make it easy to find her and Kurt - he was wearing one, too - in the crowd.)

5.23.2009

Seeing Sanitas

We all needed a break from moving and packing related activities, and decided to do a popular local hike that we had yet to do. So, after a leisurely morning, all 4 of us hopped in the car and drove 10 minutes to the trailhead for Mount Sanitas. (Yes, it's pretty awesome to have hikes that close!)

We set out with our usual routine: Peggy, Chloe and I going at a nice, easy pace, and Chamberlain running up and down the trail as if he were trying to put out a fire on his tail. Thankfully for him, the sun was not to be seen as a cloudy day was upon us; otherwise, we would have had one cooked beagle after only 30 minutes. The cloudy day kept things cool for us humans, too, but it also prevented us from catching the views the hike is known to provide.

Even though the trail is just 3.3 miles in length roundtrip, the trail is rated as moderate-to-difficult, largely because of 3 steep boulder-and-rock-strewn trail sections. In the span between the trailhead and summit (6863 ft.), we hiked about 1.75 miles and gained about 1300 feet of elevation.

We reached the summit just in time as Chloe's two and Chamberlain's four legs were loosing their oomph. Despite the cloud cover, we were able to get some views of the plains immediately East and North of Boulder; but any view West into the backrange was blocked.

During the descent, we came upon a sight seldom seen in this area: a person wearing a Flyers hat. We struck up a conversation with the guy wearing it, and found out he had previously lived in Yardley, PA!

We made it back to the car about 3 hours later, with some in our party more noticeably tired than some others. But it was a good tired, and one we hope to experience again soon and more often as a family.







(Pictures, top to bottom: Chloe on the way up to Mount Sanitas, with Boulder in the background; Chloe and Chamberlain taking a rest as we approach the summit; a northeast view of Chloe and I at the summit; Wonder Woman and her sidekick preventing certain doom for unwitting hikers; a sign detailing the history of the area [click to enlarge and read]; Chamberlain surveying his domain.)

5.16.2009

Some More Banana Bee Action

This time there's photos!

The girls are definitely improving. They played the same team they played today a couple of weeks ago and it was pretty lopsided, particularly because one player on the other team has mad skills for a girl her age... dribbling around and through people, and taking hard and accurate shots from long range (well, long range for a Kindergartner.) Today, though, they were able to contain that player somewhat while at the same time get a goal or two for themselves.

As for Chloe, another great game in goal and on "defense." She made some great stops and put her boot on the ball to kick it away from the other team as they were coming down field. (Pictures: Chloe putting her hands and face in harm's way to make a stop, even outside the 6 box where such technicalities are overlooked at this level; Chloe getting ready to put the ball back in to play to one of her BB teammates.)

5.15.2009

We're All a Little Bit Excited Today

For it's not everyday one closes on a house!

This morning, while Chloe was at school, Peggy and I put a lot of ink to paper and got keys to our new home. The house is in the same neighborhood as our current rental, just about 1/2 mile northwest (had we been in the new house in January, we would have the equivalent of 3rd row seats for the wildfire!)

We'll be moving as much stuff as we can ourselves via many carloads over the next 10 days, and then have movers coming on the 26th to take the big and/or heavy stuff up.

I know such an occasion would probably warrant a bigger write-up, but I thought I would let some video clips convey how excited we are.

Here are our first steps inside our new home after closing...
video

Chloe checks out our new home after school...
video

5.12.2009

73 minutes, 21 miles...

... and 0 squirrels. But plenty of huffing and puffing.

Today was my first on-bike experience since April 7th, and in terms of the collarbone, things went well: no discomfort during or after the ride. I made a pointed effort to stay on the flats, as significant descents would have me putting more weight on the collarbone.

The most noticeable change was in the cardiovascular conditioning area... wow, did THAT take a big hit. My heart rate was nearly maxed-out on what once were medium-efforts at best. I definitely got some rebuilding work to do in this area.

Heart rate issues aside, it felt great to be back on the bike. I still have yet to decide if I'll be racing again this season, so for now I'll be concentrating on getting out and doing what I can to regain some conditioning. (Picture: a warning sign I put on my bike.)

5.09.2009

A Great Day for Ballgame... Let's Play Two!

FINALLY! Chloe and her Banana Bee mates caught a break from Mother Nature and had some absolutely gorgeous weather today to play some soccer. And thanks to some freakish snow last month, there were two games on today's slate.

The first game kicked off at 10:00a and not only yielded the first goal of the season for the BBs, it yielded the first multi-goal game for them as well! It was, by far, their best game of the season. Not just because of the goals, but because they were running up to the other team and trying to kick the ball away from them (vs. just running along side and watching the other team shoot on goal.) There's no official score, but it was the first game in which the girls were competitive.

The second game was to take place at 2:00p. But thanks to a meeting of the minds earlier this week between the coaches, a new start time of 12:15p was agreed to. So, after the 1st game ended, the BBs and their groupies hung around and had a picnic of sorts to bide time. There was no way the "groupies" (i.e. parents) were able to get their girls to sit still for an hour, so they ran around quite a bit. At around 12 noon, the other coach came over to see if we'd be OK with some revised rules; namely shorter halves, as his kids had just finished playing. There was no objection from us, for we've been sitting in the sun for 2+ hours.

Much like the first, the two teams were pretty evenly matched. The goal-scoring was much lower than earlier, which was partly due to both teams being a bit tired, and the grass being pretty high... it was tough to move the ball up or down the field, and any hard kick on goal was slowed quite a bit before it reached the goalie.

Chloe played great in both games. She definitely has a knack for playing goalie, and is definitely one of the faster girls on the field. Today she used some of that speed to both track down players on the other team, and break away on offense.

So, if the weather was so great, why no pictures? Yours truly had coaching duties today as head coach Brad was involved in a 12-hour single speed mountain bike race in SW Colorado. Perhaps next week I'll be able to take my camera.

5.07.2009

On Your Mark... Get Set... Blow!

That was one of the phrases I heard today at Chloe's Spring Fun Day event at school. Think of it as a bunch of outdoor activities, some rather creative, put together buy the PE teacher; the above phrase was used in the "sailboat race" in which the participants provided the wind.

Some of the more creative activities Chloe and her friends participated in were:
- the wagon pull race: take a red Radio Flyer Wagon, attach a long rope to the handle, attach a pulley to a fence, and feed the rope through the pulley. Position the wagon 15 yards away from the pulley and pull on the rope as fast as you can.
- the caterpillar race: take a pretty large cardboard box and cut it, fashion it, and duct tape the living heck out of it so that one forms an approximately 12 foot circumference circle. Place the cardboard circle "on edge" and have two participants get inside and have them crawl as fast as they can (it kind of looks like a bulldozer track moving.)
- the penguin race: take an elasticy band (approx. 2 feet in diameter) and put your feet through the center. Position the band around your ankles. Angle your feet and toes out. Now run.

I had a great time watching Chloe. And based on the nearly constant smile on her face, I'll go out on a limb and say Chloe had a great time, too. Click here to view some pictures from the event.

5.03.2009

Yeah…That’s Right…I’m Fierce!

It’s Peggy here…your guest blogger for this entry.

Many of you are aware that I have spent the last 10 weeks training for my first half-marathon. I started running when we moved to Boulder last August in an effort to lose weight and get in shape. Plus, I AM in Boulder…the fitness capital of the country…it’s tough to lay on the couch eating Cheetos and drinking Iron City and not feel guilty as you see countless runners and bikers go whizzing by outside. So I laced up the sneakers and off I went!

After running recreationally and losing nearly 20 pounds, my neighbor, Sue Dettling, talked me into doing a half-marathon. I believe that some wine was involved, as I would never have agreed to this otherwise. Once I realized what I agreed to, I a) vowed never to drink wine with Sue again b) panicked, and c) found a training plan tout de suite! The plan consisted of 3-4 average runs each week (4-5 miles each) and then a long slow run once each week, starting at 8 miles and building up to 12. I am proud to say that even with an unpredictable travel schedule and an injury, I was able to complete the plan. The Sunday morning runs were the toughest…I was usually out by 6:30 AM, just as the sun was coming up. At first, I ran in silence. No good. Then I started meditating and talking to God. Better. Finally, I ended up bringing the MP3 player and cranking the tunes. I am happy to say that a good mix of Kid Rock, Metallica and Seether saw me through.

So, today is Race Day and Sue picked me up at 4 AM for our one-hour trek to Fort Collins, CO, the site of the Colorado Half Marathon and Marathon. It was wicked early but the race started near the top of a pretty remote canyon, necessitating that all participants ride buses to the starting line. We arrived at the starting point via bus at 6 AM and spent the next hour huddling with ~1,200 other runners in an effort to keep warm…wow was it COLD! After hitting the port-o-potty three times (I was nervous and couldn’t stop peeing!) and taking off all of the warm clothes, we made our way to the starting line. I was really, really nervous…Would I finish? Would my injured leg hold up? Would I beat the walkers? Would I be dead last? WOULD I THROW UP ON MY SHOES IN FRONT OF ALL THESE PEOPLE?

The starting gun went off and off we all went. I have been told that many racers make the mistake of going out too early and bonking by mid-race. I was sure to start super slow, concentrating on my breathing and enjoying the beautiful mountains around me. Yeah, I was being passed by a lot of people, but I kept my pace. Mile 1….Mile 2….Mile 3….Mile 4…. I felt really good and was beginning to see a lot of those early fast runners were dropping back or even walking, yet I kept my slow and steady pace. I was out of the canyon at Mile 5 and heading for Bagel Hill, the toughest part of the course. I kept the steady pace and made it to the top, flexing my bicep and giggling to a group of folks clapping and urging me on. At Mile8, I saw the most motivating site of the day…Kurt and Chloe cheering me on and taking pictures. Chloe ran with me for a short while and I gave Kurt my long-sleeved shirt before heading on. The course turned onto an uneventful bike path and I took a quick potty break at Mile 10. I came running out the port-o-potty to find Kurt and Chloe snapping pictures and laughing at me, sprinting back to the race course. At about Mile 10.5 my leg injury started flaring up, but there was NO WAY I was stopping…NO SIR-EEE…CUT IT OFF, SLAP ON A BAND-AID, AND LET ME KEEP GOING! I have to admit the last 3 miles were tough…my legs were heavy, my left knee was throbbing and I was going really, really slow. However, when I turned the corner and saw that Finish Line, I dug deep and found energy that I didn’t think I had…enough to sprint the last ¼ mile or so to the Finish.

What a great moment…crowds clapping and cheering as I ran through the Finish chute, the announcer calling my name and best of all, Kurt and Chloe once again, cheering, clapping, yelling and even shedding a tear or two of pride…FOR ME! I will never, ever forget that moment as long as I live. Wow.

So I did it. I had a plan, I stuck to it and I saw it through. I owe a lot to Sue for talking me into it, to ibuprofen and ice packs for making the pain manageable, and most of all to Kurt and Chloe, for all of their support and love. They are the best cheering section imaginable.

What next? Well, I’ve already done a half-marathon…how much tougher can a full marathon be? (Pictures, top to bottom: Getting a boost and running partner ; is a caption really necessary?; charging towards the finish line; the little piggy that stayed home grew some kidneys during the race.)

5.02.2009

It's Saturday, So That Means...

... cold, rain, and another game for the Banana Bees.

Unfortunately, the weather hasn't been the only commonality: Despite a valiant effort by the little girls, a sound drubbing from the opposing team seems to accompany the games, too. No one is keeping score, for it is only Kindergarten soccer, but I do get the feeling the parents of the BB would like to see the girls experience a goal (in their favor). That aside, I, like the rest of the parents, take great comfort in that the girls aren't fazed one bit by the outcome... they come off the field just as happy as they went on.

Chloe has another solid game as goalie, but because of the weather, the camera stayed in the car and was unable to capture any images. Hopefully next week will present some changes.