Saturday, December 20, 2008

Need a Ride?

Another Saturday morning with beautiful snow falling from the sky. Winter has been espically kind this year. If you like snow and cold. So before Janet went out to finish the last of Christmas shopping I slipped on my running warmies and headed into the falling snow for a morning run.
I would guess 2-3 inches were all ready on the ground and traffic was light over the slow rolling hills. As I got out of town I could hear a flock of geese up in the sky and slowly they came into view through the snow in the air. They circled over head and landed in a top the hill side where the horses were in pasture. What a treat!
As I ran today I pondered many things. A funny parallel occurred to me as I glided through the snow. It was about how running has become a filter to me. A time to find clarity and truth. It is so difficult to really clearly think with so many distractions in life. As the snow fell and silenced everything around me both visually and audibly I was able to more clearly able to get to the truth of the matters in my mind. Not just what I though and wanted to believe, rather what was right, moral and or right in the eyes of my Father God. I often times find that on my runs but it seems to come faster when there is snow.
Just about a mile in, up over the hill a Jeep slowed down and honked at me. He pulled along side of me and rolled down his window. "Need a ride? I would be glad to help you out," the portly man said with a look of worry on his face. I smiled at him and replied that all was well and that I was doing this for fun. He gave me a second look, with a bit of confusion on his face he asked, "REALLY?" I assured him again that I really love winter running. He said ok, rolled up his window and drove off. I don't think I'll ever forget that.
One of the reasons I love winter running besides the extra layer of peace, is because it is a bit harder. You need take even more focus off yourself and focus on what is in front of you or coming behind you. You have to slow a bit and be sure of your footing. You really have to dress well and sometimes you just have to bear it and choose to like it. Sound a lot like life doesn't it?
Endurance racing is not about race day. It is about all the days before race day. Today made most every race day I will ever have look easy. I enjoyed it because I chose to enjoy what was beautiful about it not what was obviously difficult about it. When they say the racing is 80% mental I think they are wrong, it's closer to 90%.
What do you want to do today? Do it with JOY!

Have a happy and Blessed Christmas not because it is the most beautiful time of year. Have a blessed Christmas because it marks the day that our Savior came to earth to walk among us, to fully love us and understand us and most of all to save us.
We are all so very blessed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let it Snow

It has been a very productive past couple of months around here. Life continues to remind me that the less TV and Movies I watch the happier I am. We continue to get odds and ends done around the house and are getting ready to list the house for sale. We would rather never leave our home that we built but there are much more important things than our home. Money is tight and if our house sells we can get the equity out of it and get into another mortgage much cheaper. Our hope is for Janet to be at home with the kids. It would be fun to have money left over for important things like vacations and such too. Life is only going to get more expensive as we go. Our desire is to be good stewards of our money and that is not happening.

Training is back in gear now. I am running when I can and swimming once or twice a week. It has felt so good to be back training again. Sunday was my first winter run in the rain before it got crazy cold. It was good to do it because it will make all my other runs this winter feel easy. Today is Tues and I got out before Janet and the kids got home. It was zero degrees but little wind and the snow was falling. You can dress for the cold, but not the wind, and there is nothing better than running in a light snow. It is so peaceful and quiet. Traction is actually better and soft. My soul was satisfied with today's run, what a blessing. Now my only christmas wish is a bike trainer so I can be well rounded coming into the training season. I want to be able to work on speed and endurance this year and if I am in shape coming into it I will be able to do that.

The races that I will for sure be doing are: May 16- Maple Grove half marathon. June 7-the Buffalo Olympic Tri. June 27-pacific crest Oregon half iron(tnt). July 18-lifetime Olympic (tnt).
Aug 9-Green lake sprint.

We have been so blessed as a family with so much. We look forward to a great Christmas season with family and friends. Then our little girl Bijou turns 2 new years day. What a great time of year.

God bless and have a Blessed Christmas Season.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks

Our little Turkey

The rest of the year seems to quickly disappear from here out. May be that's why we have Thanksgiving now. The rest of the year is a flash and you really don't remember it all. Outside of Janet getting a migraine our thanksgiving was wonderfully peaceful. Dinner at mom and dads and I must say everything was perfect. We even got to play some 500 after dinner.Cousin Adison and Armand

Adison and Bijou in their tent.

I have a bad habit of getting myself into big projects when I am not training. Since it is my off season I started looking at moving my utility room into the side of the garage. It took me a couple of months of thinking to figure it out and came up with a plan and dove in. Once again, way more work than I imagined but it is almost done. We are hosting our Prest Christmas party this year and we are super excited about it. This "little project" should help to make our space more comfortable. The old utility room is now a "mud room" off the garage complete with built in lockers for us and kids. Bijou has been a great help with the framing, sheet rocking, tile and paint work. Just one more weekend to get things ready.
Time for work daddy!

This last week I had my first meeting of the upcoming season for TNT. This year I have committed to being a "team captain." My role will be to support our coaches (mike and bob) in any way possible. We will be training for the local Lifetime Tri and also the Pacific Crest half Iron distance Tri in Oregon. The goal is for us to prepare and encourage everyone who joins to have the best season possible. It is an amaizing, life changing thing for everyone. Epically the families we will support that are dealing with cancer. It means something different for everyone but the important thing is that we are making a difference is the fight against cancer. I hope some of you out there would consider joining me this year for a race, I promise it will be one of the greatest experiences of your life. It is amaizing what a small group of committed people can do! Be a life changer!

Last years season was great. I look back at all the work I put in and get excited to start back into training this weekend. Finding a balance of time with the family and time training was better this year. I look forward to getting better at that every year. Bijou joins me for many runs in the running stroller and I look forward to sharing that with Armand. I always do the "horse farm" loop when I run with Bijou. She love to see all the horses as we go by. I feel very fortunate that she loves to go with me.

This year I feel older. That is a big statement. I feel more fit that any time in my life, and I love all the experiences that life has taught me. It is just interesting that I am now at a point that even college age seems so far away. The shows I used to watch are now on the classics, and I like all the music on the "oldies" station. I am no longer in between. There are wrinkles on my face that I have never noticed before and my hair line continues to retreat into the "back forty." None of this is a compliant. I love where I am in life. It feels much more complete and full. It is so fun to share so much with the woman I love and two beautiful children. What a challenge it is to be a good parent. It is so exciting! Everything is so new every day. Today Bijou had her first "potty" on little toilet. I never thought peeing could be so exciting. What a joy to see her learn and grow. It really is going so fast. So fun to have a little boy right on her heels about to learn it all too. What a great pair they are.

So much more to share but I thought I would burn the rest of my time on the computer putting up pictures. They are much more interesting than my blabber.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

And So It Goes

Looking back on the past year is surreal. It seems so long ago. Finishing my first TNT race, doing my first Olimpic distance Tri. Going strait into two other races, a century ride and my first marathon. All things that I could not have done on my own. It is curious for me to look back and see what I am doing with my time now. I honestly don't know how I did all that last year. Honestly it was the thoughtful letters and support that all you gave, to keep me going. Granted I did get an ulcer, but is was an amaizing time. Loosing McKenna, our honored team mate for the TNT marathon was reason to keep going. Tragedy happens every day. It is so important to find ways to help in the fight. To ease one anothers pain. To love others more than yourself. I am so excited to race again for TNT next season, I wish so badly I was doing it right now.

One year ago Bijou was just starting to stand. We knew we were going to be expecting another and I was filling time in at the store to relieve pressure off dad and mom. Dad has just gotten out of the hospital due to a heart/stress scare.
Bijou is double her size and her learning ability is amaizing. Running, jumping, learning how to sing and copping everything we say. An absolute joy! Armand is an amaizing little boy. Following in his sisters steps as a happy little baby popping teeth early and talking like crazy. I have not filled in at the store yet this year but that may come yet. I hope dad is doing more to manage his stress better.?
The experience I gained last year with my TNT races gave me great confidence and results this past season. Five Triathlons, one half marathon and a few other running races. A fantastic season with fantastic friends.

So what am I doing now? I am really enjoying being a husband and a father. Your perspective really changes when you loose people you love so young. The simple things seem much more important, and life's problems seem less important. I have found that you can only do so much, and that the things that are out of your control should be left alone. Do what you do well and pray for those thing that are out of your control. Life is so precious. Every moment every day. Like it or not it is your choice. Enjoy the things that go your way and love the thing that don't. The alternative is much less appealing. Nothing good comes from negativity and that is no good for those around you. Don't get me wrong, I fail at these thing often but it is rewarding when you can find consistency in the good and bad.

I looked back to my post this time last year and found this. I wish I could say that I had something better to say but I still reflect my thoughts then.

I want so badly to pray with Dan Roelofs but he is gone. I want so badly to go back to Woodland Fellowship and be washed away by the worship and feel the genuine concern of my brothers and sisters, but that is gone. I want so badly to walk over to my brothers garage and hang out with him and the boys, but he is gone and the feeling is not the same. I want so badly for there to be honesty among adults and a desire to seek the truth, to lift one another up and grow as we have been commanded to do. To love one another as we have been loved.

I know my pain is not new, just new to me, and is nothing compared to what so many others have faced. I know that my Father hold my heart and I can feel comfort in my times of hurt. I see so many blessing in my life that He has orchestrated on my behalf, to be able to handle this chapter of my life.

Janet and I have found a church home in The Church of the Open Door in Maple Grove. We do not attend all that regularly but each time we do we are bathed by the worship and encouraged and inspired and challenged by the messages. We could not ask for more there. A great answer to prayer. I continue to be amazed how much longer projects around the house take without Adam. It's not just the time factor, it feels lonely at times too. But that is just something to get used to. I don't think I ever will. It has been so exciting when Adison is able to come over and "help out." What a sharp kid. Just a monster too. Although there continues to be realtionships that are still broken since Adams passing, I know those things are out of my controll. And even though those things make the pain of Adams loss real and personal, I cannot be kept down because of all the wonderful realtionships that we have been blessed with. My parents, alouthouth imperfect, always make an effort to be strong and supportive. We are in it together and we know we will make it together. My sister is busy in her final year of college and doing a fantastic job. It is exciting to see her on the cusp of entering the "real world." So much good ahead of her. I cannot say enough about my best friend Erek Swenson and his family. How supportive he is in every way possible. Great friendships are ones that work in and through anything, and give you confidence along the way. So many other friendships in my life bless me in the same way. So many to list, you know who your are. Thank you, I pray that I am giving back at least half of what you all give to me.

Reflecting on two year of life without my dear brother is odd. My dreams of him are so real it is wierd waking up. Life without him is just that, wierd. I have asked myself if all my crazy training and fundraising for TNT is just a cover for the pain of loosing him. For a short time last year may be.? But I can confidently say that TNT is exactly what I would and should be doing. I will continue to race (one at a time though) for a cause that gives hope and encouragement to those that are forced to deal with cancer. I really look forward to being a mentor next year for the Lifetime Fittness Tri for TNT. I will continue to live in a way that puts my wife and my children first. I pray that I will have to courage to follow God in the path that He has for us.

Life is a blessing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Off Season

Fall is my favorite time of the year. The great cool weather. The beautiful colors. So many things happen in such a short amount of time. The next thing you know it's cold out. I have been completely off from any training for two months now on a much needed break. It was good to take the "I gotta get a work out in" stress off of everything. Family time has been great. Caucht up on some house stuff. Janet had her garage sale that she has wanted to have for the past couple of years.

The thing that got me into the "off season"was a last minute offer by Erek Swenson to go camping in the BWCA. It had been years since I had done that so I skipped my last tri and headed north. What a great experience to share with Erek. It was a fantastic trip.


After that, since I had no more races planned, my wife thought it would be a good idea to ensure that she would not get pregnant again. Somehow that had more to do with me than her. So under the knife I went. That's all I want to say about that procedure. We do want to consider having more children in the future via adoption. We were so close to adopting while we were trying. So if we feel that God wants our family to grow, we will be excited to do that.

My camping trip with Erek got me excited about camping. So I called up Covenant Pines to see if we could set up camp there and enjoy a weekend. We wanted "Team Swenson" to join us but Erek's wife needed to be sold on the idea. So our neighbors Lou and Ellen were kind enough to lend us their pop up camper for the weekend. So we had all the comforts of home. But it could still be considered camping. We did have a tent and cooked our meals over the fire and on the grill. I have to say that camping with Janet and the kids together was special. That really felt like family to me. Enjoying the elements together, "roughing it." It really dose develop a bond like nothing else. Very special, and so fun to share it with "Team Swenson."




Yesterday was my first day back to training. Man did I miss it. It honestly felt like I was missing something about myself. You know you really like something when you come back to it and you can say, you truly missed it. So, I am excited to be back in the swing of things. I am racing in the Elm Creek fun run next sat morning with Sean Pease and John Kinghorn. It is a fun time in the park reserve with lots of family fall things going on.

As life progresses, and man do it seem to never stop, I feel more and more blessed by the friends and family that surround us. The things in life that are important to us now seem to be so simple but so much more fulfilling. I know that all of these blessings are rooted in our faith. Life has been so precious to me in all stages of it. Young, school, work, play, single, married, responsibilities, loss, children, family. Be encouraged no matter where you are! Know that God knows your heart and open up to His grace and mercy. He is consistent, desire that calm consistency in your life and he will give it to you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Memories For Sale


I knew that some day it would happen. Life changes and we must all decide what to keep and what to sell. When the memory of someone is attached to something, it makes letting go all that much harder. Dad and I were sitting last weekend trying to remember just what year he bought our beloved boat. Neither of us could remember. I chuckled later when I was still trying to come up with it because I know that Adam would have remembered the year the day and probably what we had for dinner that night. Adam always had the gift of remembering details.
So the summer of 91(plus or minus a year) . Dad surprised Adam and I with a boat. It was shiny and FAST. There is nothing we didn't ski behind that boat. From skis to canoe paddles, chairs, our bear feet we did it all! So many summer days at Grandpa and grandmas cabin in Aitkin. Lake of the Woods. Camp. We had more fun behind that boat than anything. But the thing we enjoyed the most was teaching people how to ski for the first time. Adam epically. He would try to get you up until you gave up, or the sun went down.
The boat was Adams baby. No body put more time into the care of that boat than Adam. In 02 when he had his own garage. He decided to restore the floor and seats. That project lasted over the winter because he decided to have the transit redone and all the fiberglass in the belly under the floor. He rebuilt the entire boat! For good reason. We have driven a lot of boats in our day and I can honestly say that the "playmate" is the best handling boat we ever drove. They just don't make boats like that anymore.
I can't remember who was driving but one summer night at the cabin we were taking it out for one last cruise of the day with mom and we decided to take a full speed turn. Mom was sitting shot gun. Now with most boats when you turn, you loose momentum and slow down and corner pretty slow. Not the "playmate"! Back then, with three people, it would do about 50mph + and you didn't need to slow down for even the hardest turns. It could pull it and be right back up to full speed in no time flat. We forgot to tell mom to hold on for the turn, because she slid right off her seat in came to rest in the back corner of the boat. No harm done just great memories. One of the few times we ever heard dear mother use a descriptive four letter words to thank us :)
I could type pages of stories about this boat. It is a shame that we don't use it like we used to but life has a tendency of changing. There comes a time when it is best to let go and let more memories be made by someone new. It would be a shame for us to let it sit and rot and not let it get used. Adam put far too much work into it for us to let it sit.

It was tough taking it out of the water for the last time. Washing it was almost a sacred experience this time. I didn't wash it many times alone. My mind raced the past three nights as I prepped it for sale. Oh, the times we had. Oh, the care Adam gave to that boat. I pour over my emotions and as I graze over the many memories, I smile. Because as I reflect on memories had, I see the lives that are here. The future that God has blessed me with. Two beautiful children and my beautiful wife. The memories that we have all ready made and ones yet to be.
The page turns in the book of life and all we have left is the memories we hold dear. I choose to do it with joy. We were blessed! We are blessed!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Early Off Season!

This picture is from the Waupaca WI sprint tri Aug 16th.

Since then I have decided to go into a early off season.


That's my boy! Armand Andrew! He's a little smilin' talkin' machine.
He is sleeping great, just one feeding a night.

This is what daddy dose now that his tri training is done for the year. Before too long we will be starting marathon training up again.
Nothing beats time with the Family!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Summer Events

I think we just squeezed in a full summer of events into the month of August. What fun, what sheer exhaustion.

The Green Lake tri was on the 9th in Spicer MN. Small town Tri's are my favorite. The towns embrace them. The excitement of many people doing one for the first time, and those that are more seasoned racers are there to have fun and enjoy other peoples company. Erek Swenson and a bunch of his family do this race every year so it was fun to be a part of it with them. Erek, Justin (erek's bro-in-law) and I did the Olympic course (about 75 people) and the other 500 people were doing the sprint course. The swim (.8mi) was a great challenge because it was strait into big waves. That is a tough swim into constant chop. The Bike (24mi) was twice around Green Lake and was a small hill rolling course. The run (10k) was the same rolling hills. I gave it my best and turned out my best bike and run thus far. It was good enough for 5th place overall and third in my age group. The greatest thrill was being honored by the announcer when I received my medal. He noticed that I had my TNT jersey on and thanked me for making a difference by racing and raising vital funds in the fight against cancer. That applause really meant something! That is why I race!
The next week was getting things ready for Janet's sister Jen and her family to come down from Canada for a visit. We have been so excited for them to come but I foolishly decided to race the two weekends before they came. So we did what we could before the next weekend and loaded up for the 4 hour drive to Waupaca WI. for the Waupaca sprint Tri.

Four years ago Waupaca was my first race. My good buddy Clark (who was in Chicago at the time) called me up and talked me into meeting him there to race four years ago on a whim. We have done it together every year since. Every year we have bettered our times. Every year we talk more people into doing it for the first time. This year Sean Pease came out with us for his first tri race ever. John Kinghorn made the trip for the second year in a row too. It was great. We all had great times. We all had personal best times. It was my first short course or "sprint" of the year an so I was curious if I could ramp up my speed for the short course. All of my training this year has been more focused on the half iron course. The weather was perfect for the entire race. I was able to do better then I expected. Looking at my race times from this year I though I could come in about 12th overall. Waupaca raced 575 this year and I was able to come in 9th overall, second in my age group. My swim (.5mi) was good. My bike (20mi) is my weak point, but I did not give up too much time on it. My run (3.1mi) was better than I expected, running under 6:20 min miles. Waupaca is a great race in a great town, on a perfect setting. Right after the race it's pack up and drive home and start to get ready for our Canadian visitors in two days.

Jayson, Jen and their kids Renee and Nolan drove the 16 hour drive down Tues the 19th. They made it as far as Alexandria and their van's transmission decided to give up. So I left home for Alex at 10:30pm to help. Got to Alex at midnight and we decided to pull them home slowly on Hwy 55. Four hours later we arrived home. Our Canadian visitors had arrived. It was so exciting for us to have them down. We had a such a good time, it was a pleasure to spend time with them in and around our home. The van's problems were covered under warranty.
Their first day Wed. we did a noon Twins game then Jay and I golfed 9 holes with John Kinghorn at Daytona.
Thurs morning they went shopping into the afternoon and then Jay and I went golfing again 9 holes at Fox Hallow with the Dayton gang, a group of guys that golf every Thurs. during the season. It was my first time golfing with them this year and it was fun to introduce Jay to everyone.
Fri was more shopping for them at Cabalas and after that we had a fantastic dinner at Buena Siera with my folks and Pa pa Dom. Gret food and great company.
Sat more running around to get ready for a good ole' dayton party at our house that night. Lawn games snacks and refreshments. Great weather and great company.
Sunday a long drive around town and the lakes then a great afternoon at mom and dad's on the river.
Monday was the big State Fair day. They picked this week to come for the fair and we had perfect weather for that.
Tues the girls did their thing and Jay, I and the Swenson brothers golfed 18 at Edinburgh. I left a lot of balls there!
Wed. was the end of a great week with a great dinner at the Swensons. What a wonderful time! What a wonderful week! They were off for home Thurs.

What a great month! Two exciting races with great friends and great weather. Having Jen and her family down for the first time was exciting beyond words. We got to do a lot in that week. Since then I have been mostly grinding through the days. I was getting sick during their stay. The change of sleep, diet and training (none) really hit me. When I stopped after work Thurs my body started to crash and has not yet recovered. Today is Sat and I fought a sinus infection/migraine all day. It was all worth it! I hope tomorrow is my bounce back day. I will try to get out for a run or bike or both tomorrow. I must be realistic about next Sunday and the Square Lake Tri. I wanted that to be my pinnacle race of the year. I'm not sure that I will race now though. I am happy with the races I have had this year and I have not really trained since Waupaca on the 17th. Square Lk is a half Iron and I do not want to risk injury. I know I could do it but I don't trust myself to do it easy. I know I would push and I don't know that my body would handle that well after all this fun and then being sick for the past five days.
I also need to think about Boston next April. I don't want to exhaust my self now and be flat coming into training for that race.
Our family has been so blessed in this busy month. Bijou is getting so big and smart. She was a nut for the rides at the fair and had a blast with her Canadian cousins. Armond is doing great. What a great baby. The smiles melt your heart. He is going to look just like mom. I dare say he has is grandpa Victors smile.
So blessed!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Summer Break

What a journey since the half-iron race in Racine. The following week I got in a short recovery run and bike in. I have been pretty consistent in Wednesday night swims on the river. Outside of that this Sunday the 3rd was the first real training I have done in two weeks. I know my body probably is better off for it, but I have really missed the routine.

Angel, John Kinghorn and I , did something new on Sat the 26. We swam in the 22nd annual Minnetonka Swim Challenge. It is a 5 mile swim from Excelsior Bay to Wayzata Bay. John did the first 1.7 mile leg. Angel did the second 2.2 mile leg and I repeated the same as Angel. I was very curious as to how I was going to handle a 2 mile swim. I loved it. We all did our best to remain calm, get the most out of each stroke and not think about anything else. It was great. I have put alot of extra effort into the swim this year and I really am beginning to love it.

The other thing that has gotten us to put training on hold is rebuilding mom and dad's deck at their house. Remodel projects always take twice as long as you think they are going to go. This one is just a bit worse than that. I have really enjoyed the work but the project is really getting long. It will be beautiful after it is done.

So all last week was, finish work go strait to the deck. Janet would bring the kids and work till 9pm or so. So today I got up early with Erek Swenson to start training again. 30 mile bike and 4mile run. I loved it. Great to be in the saddle again. But man am I tired now.

Janet I and the kids had some fun with the Swenson's at the local Dayton church fund raiser festival Sat. night and Sunday afternoon. Janet and I finally got to church Sunday morning too. It is her first day back to work Monday :( She has done such a great job with the kids and our exciting schedule. Now we try to balance her 30 hours a week into it.

Next Sat another Tri. Green Lake by Spicer MN. with the Swenson clan. The following weekend Waupaca.
Fun fun fun.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ready set Racine!

New weekend, new race. I had signed up for the Racine half ironman last Dec. Long before any thought of doing Lifetime with TNT. Angel Colon-Perez from last years Disney race signed up for it and I thought it would be fun to try it with him.

Janet and I were nervously excited for the six hour ride with the kids in our new, used Honda Pilot. We left Friday afternoon for the Sunday race. Angel and I wanted Saturday to relax and prepare for our first Half Iron.
Saturday started off calm but as the day went on things got testy. Thankfully Angel and I kept calm as problem after problem arose. Everything from 55 degree water temps for the swim to forgetting things to car trouble. It was a great mental test to stay calm before race day.
Half Iron's are a 1.2 mile swim, this one in Lake Michigan. 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run. Race day came and our start time was delayed an hour because of fog. Visibility from bouy to bouy was poor at best but they started the race anyways. Getting through the swim was the hardest thing I have done racing or training thus far. Interestingly enough it was a positive key for the rest of the mental portion of the race. Once I got out of the water everything else seemed easy compared to that cold water.

Coming off of the Lifetime race I was planning on only giving what I had left for this race. Lifetime and Square Lake in Stillwater Sep. 7 are the races that I really want to focus on. As I settled in for the bike I reminded myself to keep it comfortable. As the miles piled on my legs felt stronger and stronger. The guys I was around were great and the course conditions were perfect. I was very happy with the outcome of the bike portion, but was worried that I had spent too much energy during the bike.

The run was a double loop, part of it was along the lake where the swim was. As I ran along and looked out at the swim buoys I was just thankful to be out of the water and was encourage to know that running today was much easier. I got through the first loop all right and felt confident that I could keep the same pace for the second. The sun had just come out for the run and it was really heating up! People were really starting to overheat and run out of energy. I stuck to my nutrition plan and cooled off at the water stops to keep from overheating. The last four miles were a challenge but when I got to the last three I picked it up . My thoughts were to get done so I could see my family at the end. Each race gives me different but strong thought to focus on at different points of each race. The points that stood out on this race were Adam, my TNT teammates and races and all the generosity that has kept me racing for such a great cause. McKenna, our honored teammate for my marathon last Jan. She lost her battle with cancer at the age of 10. And at the end of the run this time was thankfulness for my family. What a blessing , it is beyond words to explain how blessed I feel.

Race results are posted here. Scroll down to 158 th
http://www.hfpracing.com/results.php?eventid=40&raceid=100

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Race of a Lifetime


Four months of training complete and race day has now come and gone. The Lifetime Tri was an amaizing spectacle to witness. It all took place around Lake Nicomas with over 3000 racers. My motivation for racing was to honor Adam on his birthday by raising funds for the Leukemia, Lymphoma Society. This was my fourth race with TNT. Training and fund raising as a group has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. This season was espically special with the race on such a special day, Adams B-day.
Our team was about 120 racers strong. Together we raised over $300,000 to help in the fight against cancer.
The weather was perfect for the race, with the wind holding off until most of the field was finished. It was a long day, arriving at the transition area at 4:30am to set up and get ready. My wave did not get off into the water till closer to 8:30 or later. Two hours and twenty minuets later I was in after having a smooth confident race. The swim was very comfortable. The bike felt strong, and the run was the mental challenge.
I was honored to share my story about Adam to the team before the race. It was such a blessing to communicate to the team my love for him, and my experience of life, death and what has transpired since then to the group. There were many tears, but my point of my talk was to inspire! To CHOOSE to race for bigger reasons, to be inspired by things bigger than yourself. Reminding myself of that and getting all that emotion out really helped me to keep it together during and after the race. I know Adam was proud of what happened. Not because of how I finished but rather how I trained and fund raised. It is the example that you lead with and the lives you touch along the way that matter. Race day is such a small part of bigger picture. I know that Adam sees that perspective completely in the presence of God. I want to honor him by doing my best to share hope in the midst of struggle. To share the bigger picture.
Results are posted here http://www.peaktiming.com/2008LTF/searchreturn.asp

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Schedual of Events

Since March, I recall looking forward to July, week after week, trying to imagine what it was going to be like having a new baby in our lives. The due date is June 27, the races are July 12 and 20. What was it going to be like? I have dedicated a lot of time over the past four months to being ready mentally, having things ready around the house, and physically for the races. But when the baby comes what would happen? Would birth be smooth? Would we pay for the easy baby that we had with Bijou and get a new one with an attitude? Would I be able to sleep? Keep up with the house projects? Get another swim, bike or run in? I really prepared for it. If that's what you get, then that is the challenge you are blessed with, what ever that is. Well I can now answer that question after a week of experience.

Armand (Arm-nd) Andrew Prest was born last Sunday the 22nd at 10:13am after 11 hours of labor. Mommy was amaizing. She handled things well even when thing didn't go exactly as expected. I am so proud of her for being so brave and confident. Eight pounds, seven ounces, twenty-one inches, all boy. It is different the second time. You know what to expect more so there is a bit more comfort but knowing more made me more emotional. I was so taken by the process of everything this time. So proud of Janet for enduring so much over the past 38 weeks and for finishing so strong. When you hear that first gasp of air and the cry that follows it changes you forever. From that moment to now things are different. We are a "family" now. Not just Janet, Andrew and Bijou. It just feels like so much more to me. I didn't expect it. It just feels great.
Wanting to get home as soon as possible for Bijou, we spent just one night in the hospital. Night one was naturally nervous and not completely smooth. We had to learn what he liked and how he would eat and all that good stuff. Night two was better. Night three through tonight has been better than could ever be expected. He eats two to three times over night, and just gives a half cry-grunt when he is ready to eat. Keep the dipper clean and he is one content baby.
Bijou has been super. We have been letting her take her time warming up to him. She has been very excited to point out "baby" from the start. Every day she helps out more and more. Bringing his blanket or pacifier or helping to "genitally" burp new brother. Occasionally giving a hug or kiss. She has been handling the shift of attention very well thus far.
So all the questions that I had about things around the house and training and such have been great so far. I have no problem dropping any of those things if need be. My joy comes from the blessing that God has given me. The biggest ones in my life are my wife and my children. If I need to give them all my attention then they have it, no question. Being able to get a decent nights rest and having wonderful help from grandma and grandpa and our close friends bringing meals and such, I have been able to get in about seventy percent of my workouts this past week. Much more than I could have expected. I even got to clean the garage for the first time this summer today, with Bijou's help of course. What a helper!
Tonight was Armand's first pontoon ride on the river with the family. What a blessing that everything has been going so well. One day at a time, we do what we can.
What an adventure! How amaizing it is to be on this side of the calender. For the longest time it looked so far away and now we are her. What a blessing.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New Day

Since the Buffalo Tri it has been fun keeping up on all the "summer" things going on. So far mostly projects. This year we built a new dock for mom and dads place to keep better tabs on the pontoon. Of course it took much longer than I expected. It's in now and the boat and the pontoon got in just in time to enjoy for fathers day.
Bijou continues to make life joyful. She is getting fast and smart. It is amaizing to see her grow. It's hard to see her as a toddler now but she is. Nothing terrible about it yet though. She is challenging us in some ways but she is receptive when we calmly talk to her. What a joy parenting is!
Janet is on the home stretch now with our son. She thinks it is going to be this week sometime. The doctor agrees that it could be any day. Her pregnancy has been great. She is so amaizing, what a joy it is to be by her side through such an amaizing experience. The leading name we have so far is Armand. Armand is Janet's dads middle name given to him from his grandfather who was the first settler into Canada from France. Armand Fendelet We looked it up and it means "war", it is where we get the word Army from. We are not nuts about that part but it is certainly a strong name. I never thought I would have the "creative" kid names but we surly do. Bijou is so fitting for her and Armand sounds pretty good with Bijou. We pray for a smooth experience bringing him into the world but pray for courage to handle what every situation we experience.
Training has been a bit secondary to getting everything else done. I will excuse it as a good for a change of pace and muscle recovery. From here out I am going to do my best not to skip many workouts. Lifetime is just a month away and Racine (half Iron) is just 5 weeks. I am not quite ready for the half Iron but if I get in the majority of my long workouts I will do just fine.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Beautiful Buffalo

There is nothing like a race day. They come in all varieties. This one just happened to be the picture perfect weather day. Buffalo has a great park setting on a hill over looking the lake. It dose not make for an easy race but it is great to hang out in after the race.

It was great to see so many familiar faces from TNT. Both past and current team mates. It is a bond like no other at a race. What a feeling to know that those people are there supporting you and cheering you on. Wes and Erek did fantastic in their first race. Erek cruised through like a seasoned athlete, wondering if he could have pushed harder. Wes found out that nerves play a huge part on race day. He, like me in my first race, hit the water and his heart rate jumped. As the champ he is, he knew he just had to keep moving forward, how ever he could. Of course after he got out of the water he burned up the bike and the run.
I was able to talk the race director into bumping me into the longer Olympic course last second. For some reason the mile swim looked shorter to me than it did at Disney. That is a great place to be in mentally going in. As my group went into the water I got in front and for the first time stayed in front. This was my first race with a wet suit and I felt really comfortable in it. My focus was to stay relaxed and consistent. No push, just relaxed and consistent long strokes. Before I knew it I was on the beach on my way to the bike. Not dizzy like all the other races coming out of the water. It was a proud moment for me to stay in my swim stroke from start to finish. 22 minuets in the water 9 minuets faster than Disney!
The bike was good. I did not feel strong in it, but I was happy with it. The competition was crazy good. This was my best bike ever, averaging 21.5 mph on a hilly course. That was good enough for 109th out of 357 competitors. I was happy but man the field was fast!
The run felt good too. I wanted to push harder because my heart rate was calmer than I usually see in a race but I know I could not push my legs any more than I was. That is a good sign for future training. It was difficult to let people pass but I knew it was wiser to let it go and enjoy my pace in this race. All that said it was my fastest 10k race pace yet. I finished 51st overall in the run with a 6:48 min mile pace.
In total my final finish time of 2:18:18 for the Olympic course was very satisfying. 58th of 357 finishers. I can't thank my coaches, Mike and Bob for the focus and technique that they have given me this year. They sacrifice so much to coach for TNT, we are lucky to be part of their team.
My focus during the race was a mix of specific POSITIVE things. In the water it was great memories of Adam and I. On the bike it was all the people that have supported my races and been so generous. I will always be inspired by all that support. When the bike got tough, I thought about Janet and our coming son. I though of how I want to be a father that my son can look up to even when I'm in my later years. In the run I always think about McKenna who was our honored team mate for the Phoenix marathon for TNT. McKenna lost her fight with cancer before the race and I will always do my best to honor her in my runs. All of those thoughts cross my mind through the entire race but my focus usually is stronger in those areas. When the going gets tough, I focus on the pain that Adam and so many others have to endure with cancer. The pain in these little races is nothing compared to that. I want to honor them and their courageous spirit when I train and when I race.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Buffalo Race Prep

Nothing like a race prep night. Wes, Erek, Angel, and I signed up for the Buffalo Tri Sunday June 1

I am excited for the first tri of the season. It will be a "warm up" race for me. I want to focus on the details. I am well aware that I do not have much of a half throttle in competition so I am committing to going into each event slowly and then building as I go. I want to pay attention to technique and most of all avoid injury!
Erek, Wes and I have swam the frigged open waters Fri night and Sat afternoon. It is a different feel epically when the water temp is just above 55. These were my first swims with a Tri wet suit. It gives a completely different feel. Better but different. The big issue will be the transition having to change out of it. I want to get very smooth at this because I will be using my suit in most if not all of my tri's this season.
I will do my best to up date as soon as I can.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Alaska Training

Training has brought us to Alaska this past weekend. It was life training at it's finest. Bijou did a fantastic job on the 5 hour flight. It is always handy to have grandpa, grandma and Auntie along. We made the 2 hour car ride from Anchorage to Soldotna in about 3 hours, lots of stopping. Alaska is amaizing. It is seemingly never ending beauty. I hope to get some pictures up but no time tonight.
Our tour of the school was great. So many great things are happening up there. The ministry that they are doing up there is very creative and needed. Janet and I are prayerfully considering jumping into it someday. God is doing amaizing things in the lives of the native people there.
Training has become a vital part of life for me. It has given me a positive place to process all thing in life that need thought. Naturally training up there was a necessity. There is such a connection made when you get up early to spend time in out in the raw elements. The Alaskan terrain was just that much more amaizing. We arrived Thursday and I was able to swim early Friday in the Keni High School pool. What friendly people and a great pool I might add. It was a misty rainy morning but it let up just enough after the swim for me to get a 30 min run in when I got back to the Hill's house, where we were staying. I wanted to run at an easy pace but the surrounding were so exciting I found it hard to keep it slow. A long hill was at the half way point and I couldn't resist pushing to the top. I found out first hand just how important nutrition is. I did not bring any of my protein, vitamin / recovery stuff. Much sustained soreness followed after my workouts, not typical. So important! Saturday morning we packed up our rental van and headed to Seward, a little harbor town on Resurrection Bay. We had been there in 01 and had to visit it again. What a treat. Sunday morning Bijou woke up at 5 am and Janet decided to stay up and give her a bath before breakfast so I took off for a hour run up the bay to the end of the road. Imagine starting the run on the docks with fishing boats, a big cruise ship and tour boats galore. Past the boat docks you jump on a walking path that takes you along the water past the town to a dirt road that follows right on the water. Water directly in the left and sheer mountain's climbing to 8-10,000 foot peaks to the right. As you run along waterfalls stream off the mountains and the sun reflects off the snow high on the tops. As I got further from the town I see a small object cruising along the shoreline. It's not every day you run along side a sea lion. I'm sure it wasn't every day he swam along side a runner. He followed me for about 20 yards or so and kept to the area he was in. Later down the road I happened upon a pair of sea otters. More curious than the sea lion, they really cruised along the shore line to check me out. Just beautiful, graceful creatures. What a treat! Down to the end of the road at Lowell Point where some beautiful ocean cabins were built on stilts along the shoreline. Turning around into the sunrise was a treat. Along the road back the pair of otters were gone but my sea lion was still cruising the shoreline. He was less interested in me this time but it was still a treat to run by. My legs were pretty tired buy the time I got near the hotel. I have never run that early before and without breakfast first, I was past empty. A one hour run for the history books! A quick breakfast and on the road back to Anchorage. Another 2 hr car ride of breath taking views.
A quick 5 hr flight back to Minnesota and that wrapped up a quick Alaska trip.

What a treat!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

North to Alaska...

The rush is on. Thanks to Sun County's great last minute specials Janet, Bijou, Mom, Dad, Jayna and I are heading to Alaska to visit Mark Hill in Soldotna Alaska. It's Janet's last week to travel before the baby. Adam drove up with Mark (an old collage buddy) the summer of 06. When he got back he said that someday we would have to see it. That some day is this weekend for us. Janet and I were in this area in 01 and really look forward to seeing the school that Mark is running up there. If you are interested in checking out the school go to http://aecak.org

Training over the past week has been tiring. After the half marathon I felt pretty good. The day after I went on a long bike ride with and old team mate (Angel Colon-Perez) from the Disney tri last year. This year he is doing the Madison Ironman. Big time crazy! Sunday was his light bike day so I decided to join him. Three hours and 48 miles later we were done. Probably a bit much after a half marathon race. None the less, I was careful training this week not to over due it. luckily my half-iron training schedule is on a "recovery week" where you ramp down from a four week ramp up period. GOOD TIMING!

Tonight we had a team swim. It was a big night for most of us. The workout was a few short warm ups, then a half hour continuous swim. My longest continuous (staying in the freestyle the whole time) swim by double. It was a great mental challenge to get through the mental/physical fatigue that comes and goes. Holding your stroke and focusing on long efficient technique is a great challenge. I was right around 2000 meters in the long set. A mile is 1750, what a confidence booster! I'm sure it gets easier the more you do "long swims" like that. It is such a great feeling to know I can do it. I have been working on my swim the hardest over the past two months and it's really paying off. Erek and Wes have thankfully taken to the swim much faster that I did. I am very proud of their progress. They have accelerated at an amaizing pace and the race is still over a month and a half away.

One of the reasons the swim was a great success is because our coaches challenged us before we started the long set to focus on why we are training. We went around and each of us named the person/s we are training in honor/memory of. It is not an option for me to quit or complain when you are focused on those who are fighting cancer or have passed on because of it.

PERSPECTIVE! we all need it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Maple Grove Half

I had the great fun of racing the first ever Maple Grove Half Marathon today. Erek and Laura Swenson signed up first and then myself, Sean Pease and Wes Aldinger. It was a blast running with so many friends again. Everyone did fantastic! The weather was perfect 60's with a light wind. The course was unexpectedly hilly but we all had biked it in preperation for the race. 656 people finished. Mr Wes Aldinger got the number three for his race number and in his first half he took 3rd in his age group to take home a medal. What a work horse. Erek and Sean finished super close together 85th and 87th overall. Laura raced her first race in quite some time and did great finishing 325 in the female division.
I personally had a good race. I was fortunate enough to run with a great guy. We enjoyed a similar pace and chatted through the edtire race. His name was Ben and I was thankful for him because I worked through side cramps through half the race. I learned an important lesson on something I preach all the time. Never change anything on race day. I chose to run with a sports drink that I only had bike trained with. Not good for running. My conversation with Ben kept my mind off the discomfort and crossed the line with nothing left at the finish. Along the entire race I could hear someone not far behind us. I expected that person to pass me in the final stretch because I had nothing left to push at the finish. After I got across the finish I turned around too see my good friend Wes! In his first race he finishes right on my tail. So in the 30 something category he took 3rd and I took second. That is in part due to the first and second 30 something finishers took 2nd and third overall in the race and so are not eligible for the age group medals. 11th overall at 1:29:25.

As fun as the race was Janet and Bijou waiting for me at the finish. Playing with Bijou and cheering everyone else in was a fantastic delight.
Next race June 1 Buffalo MN. Wes and I are doing the sprint tri!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Spring Flowers

There are so many things poppin' up around here it's like the trees and flowers popping outside. If you are here to see the BABY POOL calender click on the post in the archive titled BABY POOL!.

I had a busy weekend of training and family fun. Saturday morning was the TNT group bike ride in Afton. 24 miles of hills, hills and more hills. Mix in two flat tires for me and that makes for a personally challenging day mentally and physically trying to catch the pack. Good times. Sunday was eventful. Fantastic church service with Janet and Mom. After the service I got a hour swim in and then went to the store to relieve mom from working on mother's day. She was not scheduled but someone called in sick and dad needed help. Eventually we got to enjoy a great home cooked meal with Erin and Adison at mom and dads.

Bijou is growing as fast as the grass outside. Taking care of her babies. Cuddling them with her blankie and feeding them, putting them in our baby swing that is back out now. Kitties and babies are her thing. What a joy to see her little personality blooming.

If you haven't done it all ready. Get in the BABY POOL! The dates will fill up quick the closer we get. Click on the Archive BABY POOL and see what's available. E-mail me the date you want, or just comment on the bottom. Make your donation, and your in! Help us get the Leukemia Lymphoma Society to their goal this year of raising one billion dollars in their 20th year of making a difference in the fight against cancer.

* * * * BABY POOL ! * ! * ! *

Prest Baby Pool (Black and White = $10 / Red = $20)

JUNE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15

Mark Hill

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

16

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

17

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

18

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

19

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

20

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

Suzanne G

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21

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

Mark Hill

___________

22

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

23

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

24

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

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25

Tammy B

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B: 6am-12pm

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C: 12pm-6pm

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D: 6pm-12am

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26

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

27

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

28

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

Misty W

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D: 6pm-12am

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29

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

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30

A: 12am-6am

___________

Molly Sells

___________

Clark Sells

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________







JULY



1

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

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C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

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2

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

3

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

4

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

5

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

6

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

7

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

8

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

9

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

10

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

11

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

12

A: 12am-6am

___________

B: 6am-12pm

___________

C: 12pm-6pm

___________

D: 6pm-12am

___________

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

God Blessed

I survived "the great Bijou move." The initial shock was a bit strong. Bijou decided to wake up from her peaceful sleep just before Janet walked in the door. I told Janet that I had a surprise for her when she got home. I was so excited, Bijou was in peaceful slumber and then she woke up, not happy. So Janet walks in and hears her baby crying. It took about 30 seconds and the look on my face to realize where the crying was coming from. Not good. It did end up great though. We took our little one out to spend some time with mommy and after a while brought her back to her crib and she went back down like always. It's been roses ever since. She loves her room. Mommy loves that she is up there and the transition ended up great. The power of prayer works!

It is so exciting to have summer bearing down on us. Full of so many fun things, great weather, great traditions, busy with fun. I all most want time to slow down or stop. We have been enjoying so much of life, our precious little girl, Janet and the amaizing glow of pregnancy. So many fantastic friends to support us. I am so overwhelmed with all God has blessed us with.

Training is solid. I have had to skimp out on some suggested longer training stuff this week but we don't sweat the small stuff. We do what we can and enjoy what I can get in. Sometimes I can make it up.

Mommy left for a business trip today (wed) to Fri afternoon. It's only two nights but I must admit, I miss my sugar pie tons. I am getting so excited to experience the challenges of having two little ones! What a blessing it will be!

I meet with and old friend/mentor for lunch today and it gave me the opportunity to reflect on the major points of life since we had last really communicated. About thirteen years gone buy. Before our lunch I had some time to fill so I sat and charted out the major chapters of my life since then and how they have made me who I am today. What a great thing to do. I found myself writing "God's consistency" in every chapter. Good or bad. All learning experiences. All consistently moving me into the person I am today. So undeserving, so blessed!

Friday, May 2, 2008

May I See Good Weather?

It's the end of another week. I did a lot of swimming this week. The program I am following for my first half Ironman (July 20) has me focusing on each of the events specifically at different times. I wish I could say that I found my swimming stride this week, but I did get a lot of conditioning.

The team TNT schedule has shifted it's Saturday morning training's to the bike instead of the run. You know, to take advantage of the good weather and all.....except there is no good weather to be found. So tomorrow morning I will be bundled up expecting rain and snow flurries at 8am down at Lake Calhoun. Seriously 37 degrees, yuck. I don't know how many times I have gone into bad weather training thinking that this one will be the last week of bad weather. My first Tri this season is the Buffalo sprint June 1! The ice came off last week! I did purchase a wet suit on clearance this winter, but I have a feeling were going to need a bit more than that.

Patience, and perspective, those are the key. This will make the good weather that much better.

A big day today in the house. Bijou moved into her room tonight. Mom and dad have been enjoying the convince of having her in our massive walk in closet. Before you think "crazy" it's bigger than the room I grew up in and it has two windows. It is the perfect situation for a baby. Number two is just about eight weeks out and we do not want Bijou to see the new baby coming in and signal a big change for her. So, we played all night moving all her books, stuffed animals and toys. She did a little whining for about 5-10 minuets at bed time (like normal) and as I have been typing she went out. It was a good transition for Bijou. Now the real test....mommy comes home soon and she didn't know that dad was doing this tonight. Now before you think I'm being insensitive I must say that Janet knew that we had to do it. Weeks ago for that matter. She just didn't ever want to do it. So, pray for me, that I make it though the night.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Geared Up

I cant tell you how great it was today to bike and run in 70 degrees. Training has been great. I have been slowly ramping up my daily training schedule. I can easily say that I am in better all around tri shape now, than I was all of last year. Experience is a great teacher. Our TNT coaches for the big Lifetime Tri are fantastic. They have both done the grandaddy of Tri's the "Ironman." As great of a personal feat that is, I must say that their teaching strengths lie in bring those along who are learning how to swim, bike and run for the first time in their lives. It is such an honor to be part of a group that is focused on the groups success, rather than individual triumphs. It honestly inspires me to push harder on my own. So I have.

Last year I could not continuously freestyle swim without taking a break, for more than 300-400 meters. Yesterday I did 1000m continuous for the first time. It was a huge accomplishment for me. I believe 1750m is a mile, so I have a bit more to go, but I know I can get there. It is by far my weakest link. Biking is just starting to get going. I am happy where I am at. The bike is usually where the most time is gained or lost, so staying strong here is my goal. I am doing a 100 mile fun tour this Sunday called the MN Ironman Bike ride. I am doing it with some other TNT alumni so it should be a great day. The run has become my strong-point. I have been following a solid half-ironman training schedule for my July 20 race in Racine Wisconsin, and it has really excelled my running pace with little effort. In light training I am running one minute faster per mile than last year at my peak of marathon training last year. I have my first real test coming up in four weeks. The Maple Grove half marathon is going to be a fun test to see where we are at. A lot of good friends are doing this race and I am really looking forward to it.

Training is about 10 hours total during the week, so needless to say were pretty busy around here!