Saturday, July 23, 2011

"There's no place like home..."

(This post is a bit delayed... but better late than never :)

Every summer since moving to Idaho five years ago, My wife and I have made a trip back at least once a year. This year being no different, we loaded up our suitcases and headed back to Ashland, Ohio for a 12 day visit to all our family and close friends. As with most trips back, we faced a big agenda of visiting loved ones, and it seems that every time we go we end up more anxious to move back than before. I'm sure this has something to do with the nostalgia of our hometown and the comfy feeling of the small town life. But in more ways than one, this trip seemed to be resonating with the sound of coming home. Not only to our hometown, but to my "home" for outdoor lifestyle that I'm passionately pursuing the best I can. There was a great race at Mohican to do, a fantastic bike ride through amish country, and of course a brief reprieve from parenthood while Michelle and I stayed at the Landoll Castle. Before we jump into the story, here's a picture I just had to share from my "heat" acclimation I had been doing before traveling back east at the beginning of the recent heat wave they have been dealing with. It was 90+ degrees the day I ran my last long run before heading back. Needless to say, the kiddy pool was as close as I could get to a dip in a mountain stream, but it was refreshing none the less.

Flying across the country with two small kids is a test of endurance all by itself. Upon arriving we were immersed into the whirlwind tour to see as many people as we could, and see the most important ones more than once... it was exhausting but good. I took a break from the tour the first Saturday morning to race the Mohican Xterra 19k. The profile for this course looks basically like a sawblade. No real flat sections, very technical, and very steep. I managed to run almost exactly 8 min/mile pace for the roughly 11 mile race, finishing 6th overall and 2nd in the under 39 age group. Not a bad race by any means. Then it was back to the tour...

About halfway through the week, my little daughter, Kara, learned to give kisses. In fact, she's basically growing like a weed and learns something new everyday, its going to be hard to go back to work in a week. In between touring families and trying to sneak in some running, My father-in-law, Mike, and brother-in-law, Stoffer, were able to take off on a bike ride through rural Ashland and Wayne County, Ohio. As would be the case, I neglected to take the camera along for the ride, which is probably just as well because if anyone saw how beautiful the area is it would become overridden with yuppies and granolas and the vibe would be lost. As it is, the only thing separating me from riding this area everyday for the rest of my life is about 2000 miles and 3 days by car to get there. Someday though...

The tour also took a break long enough for Michelle and I to head back to our honeymoon spot, Landoll's Mohican Castle, for a 1 night get-away. We stayed in one of their more toned down rooms, which wasn't exactly what I'd expect from the Castle, but nevertheless, the company was excellent and the food was good so it was a blessing to be there. Next time I am bringing trail running shoes along as well. Miles of trails surround the Castle and I intend on exploring them at somepoint.

I cannot continue to say how good it was to be "home" in Ohio. Myles loved being around his grandparents, swimming at the great-grandparents' pool, and playing outside at the Stoffer's home. He discovered bubbles and spent a few hours perfecting his bubble-stroke.
Each time we go back, its hard to leave, but then again, its good to be back to our "home" in Idaho. The humidity was suffocating, and we left at the beginning of the heat dome that settled into the area for some time. We had some great times with family and cannot wait to see them again. For now, Idaho is where we live, but our hearts are with family and friends back in Ashland, Ohio.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer Life

After all the stress and work of bringing another school year to a close, then diving right into the Sawtooth logistics, and then a visit from my mom (blessing to have her here) I think I have finally settled into the summer life. It has been pretty mild summer weather out here in Idaho; with this week being the first of several hot ones, its nice to see that summer has finally showed up. That's not so say that everything has been bliss, but it certainly is great to be home with my wife and kids all day. It has been a bit difficult to squeeze in all the miles I was expecting to, but I think I've about found my rythym and just for backup I picked up a Bob Revolution Jogger to help make some miles go by with one of the little ones moving the ducks and squirrels out of the way on the Nampa greenbelt.

(First run with the Bob. About 7 miles on some hilly roads in South Nampa. Myles is hiding under the blanket and the giant stuffed elephant... excuse me, "Mr. Elephant")

Unfortunately, due to a shopping trip to buy a clearance "jumbo" size suitcase I had to skip today's planned workout, but got a good laugh. We grabbed a sweet deal on a Samsonite so we could save baggage fee's on our upcoming trip to Ohio. At the store I asked Myles if he wanted to jump in it. I think the sales associate was a bit disturbed by that, but he loved crawling inside it and I zipped him up, then let him pop out with a big "ta-dah!" It happens to be one that has four wheels and can move upright, so it was pretty funny to see him wheeling it through the store after we picked it out as well, lots of smiling and giggling from the other customers as he peeked over the top and pushed it up to the checkout counter. By the time we got home, Michelle needed to get rest for a big push of 3 in-a-row at work (She will be working at the hospital 36 of the next 72 hours, all night shifts so zzz's are a necessity). I hate missing workouts (which gave me a bit of the grumpies this afternoon), but at least its not motivation or injury holding me back, so I know the workout will come when I have time. It is great to have someone who love's her family enough to put herself through that kind of workload so we can take trips and keep the kids out of daycare as much as possible.

The cool thing about the suitcase is that it'll let me fit my Sportie's for a trail race in Ohio and my bike shoes for a long ride with the father-in-law. It'll be nice to have a longish stay there this time around. Beyond the next trail race, its hard to say what kind of races I show up at this fall, but I know you certainly won't see me at too many 5k's unless I'm pushing the Bob. I'm in the mood for a challenge, so we'll see. Maybe adding a zero to the 5 would be more fun... I may end up at a half-marathon in October, and perhaps will jump in the Harvest Classic 8k here in Nampa just for "fun" in September. I'm just soaking in the blessing of being able to run at the moment. But still... a 50k on October 22nd on my favorite Boise foothill trails is beckoning me to run. I have learned from my predictions of the Mohican Mtb 100 that I couldn't attend to keep long range goals drawn in the sand, but October isn't too far away, and a few longer runs here and there could get me ready for a great day on the trails in Boise. Who needs the marathon? I might just pull a Dean Karnazes this fall...