Friday, August 31, 2012

An Experience I Won't Soon Forget...

Recently while training for the Ironman World Championship I had a great experience. I started the day leaving my house at 5am for a 112 mile ride with my good friend Derek Morris. It was pitch black when we left and I was reminded of what it was like training earlier this spring when the temps were still cold in the morning. That cold air was back in full force.

We rode for about an hour and a half before we started to see the familiar sunrise sneaking over the horizon. What a welcome sight! The ride was going well, but I found myself more hungry than normal. Luckily I had packed extra nutrition this go around because I knew the small town we were going to fill up our water bottles at may not have what I like to use. The chocolate peanut butter Powerbar I had early was a welcome sight followed by a green apple Powergel hit the spot.

We followed the Snake River for much of our ride. The wind was a non factor and the morning sun was very nice. It's nice getting to ride with someone who is a good rider. It helps keep the pace where it should be as well as makes the miles fly by.

Around 65 miles in I was feeling good, but I could feel this weeks workouts catching up to me. My long rides typically take place on a Saturday which means I had an entire weeks worth of miles under me. Derek got a second wind and pulled ahead around mile 90. Not wanting to lag behind I picked up the pace as well. We finished strong. Final stats were 112 miles biked, 132 average heart rate, 196 avg watts, 91 avg cadence, 19.9 mph avg.

Upon making it back home I went and put my running shoes on to finish up my workout. I knew I needed 5.5 miles to reach my weekly goal of 40 miles ran. I took off from my house and there was nothing left in my legs. It was a little frustrating because I had completed 2 century rides the previous 2 weeks and had great runs afterwards. I ran maybe a quarter mile and decided I needed to head back. I took a turn down a street that would have circled back to my house. At the moment when I needed to turn right to my front door step, I felt like I needed to go left and keep going. One mile I told myself, just one mile. I grinded through that mile and instead of turning back I told myself, just go to the end of the street, then we'll head for home. The end of the street came and went and I kept going. I had two more Powergels, one tangerine and one green apple and started to feel my legs coming back to me. My pace picked up and I continued on. Right about this moment the song "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me came on my IPOD. Not my normal running music, but I liked the change. I remembered back to last November when Andrea and I first found Reece's Rainbow. We actually made a video about our desire to help these children with "I can only imagine" as the theme song. You can watch that video HERE.

I felt a huge sense of gratitude come over me that I get to be out on the road at that time battling through this wall because ultimately I was getting to do it for the kids.

I looked down at my watch and saw mile 4 just turned into mile 5. What originally was "I can't even run a mile" has now turned into 5. This was not something I did on my own, it was because of the cause that I get to race for. I've learned this through experience. If I was training for Kona for my own purposes, I would have turned back long ago. Because I get to race for these kids, it allows me to take the selfish side out of it and focus on them. In the end, it makes me a better triathlete.

My pace was the fastest it had been on the entire run. My legs felt great and my confidence to toe the line in Kona was never higher. It was the kids that made this possible. It was these orphans with Down syndrome that gave me the opportunity to get to do this. I'm normally a pretty low key individual with emotions rarely on the surface. This moment was different. Tears streamed down my face thinking about just how lucky I am to get to swim, bike and run these kids to their forever families.

The week ended strong. 7,750 yards swam, 194 miles biked, 41.3 miles ran for Orphans with Down Syndrome.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

What a Week!

We spent the week in Utah.  I had to work in our Utah offices so I decided it would be great to have my family come along.  Andrea could spend time with our extended family and we could spend time together in the evenings.  It worked out great! 

One huge piece of news from the week is one of our dear little RODS Orphan Megan has a new picture.  Megan is one of the original children that Andrea and I chose to fund raise for when we first found Reece's Rainbow last November.  Megan currently has $24,055 in her adoption account and is soooo ready for a family to commit to her.  Here's the original picture of Megan when we chose her.

After a month or so of fundraising, Megan got a new profile picture.  Here it is:

Then just recently we have this one of her!  How awesome is that!

As you can see, she is getting excited to meet her new family!

Another great experience we had this week came just yesterday.  First thing Friday morning we received a call from Andrea's Grandma and Grandpa Allen.  They live in Brigham City and invited our family to attend the Brigham City Temple open house.  We didn't think we were going to be able to attend this because it actually doesn't open to the public until the 18th and we would be home by then.  Because they had been volunteering leading up to the open house, they allowed all of the volunteers families to come see the temple today.  Awesome!

Before I go into our experience, here is a 3 minute video that explains why I feel that the temple is such a special place.

There are 130 LDS temples throughout the world.  Each time that a temple is built, there are a few weeks that the temple is open to the public to tour.  This is an opportunity for anyone to visit and see what the inside of a temple looks like and learn about what takes place there.

As Andrea and I and our three children entered the temple I felt a peace come over me.  It had been a crazy day so far.  I got up early, rode 100 miles, then had to hurry and pack so we could make our way back to Boise.  Those feelings of "hurry up" left me and I began to recognize just how blessed I am.  We made our way to each room as the tour guide explained what each room was for.  This particular temple has 3 different levels or stories.  As we progressed upward, that special spirit began to grow.  Our children grew more calm and my gratitude became even more present.  The tour ended in a beautiful room that is called the Celestial Room.  We sat down for a few minutes as a family.  I looked at each one of my children and my beautiful wife.  Nash was sitting on my lap.  We kept making eye contact and smiling speaking to each other without using words.  I consider those few moments among my most cherished moments of my life. 

Andrea and I were married in the Logan Temple in June of 2002.  Another word used for "married" that Mormon's commonly use is "Sealed".  The word sealed is used to better describe our belief that when a man and woman are married in the temple, this unity does not end at death, but is carried on forever.  In other words, we believe that families are eternal and can be together forever. 

In that moment when I was there with my family, I felt in my heart that this sacred promise is indeed true.  Families can be together forever.

After leaving the temple we saw Andrea's Grandma Beth working diligently to prepare all of the refreshments for those who just left the temple tour.  I'm very thankful for their service which in turn gave us the opportunity to enjoy this experience as a family.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

1st Annual RODS Racing "Race for Maggie"

Since forming RODS Racing, we have been kicking around the idea of holding a race as a way to create awareness and funding for one of the children we are advocating for.  The task seemed daunting to say the least.  Then I had a great experience.

Early one morning at the beginning of the summer I was out running.  It was just getting light and as I was coming down Linder road.  I was surprised to see another runner coming up the road the other way.  Then I saw another.  After another few seconds more runners came.  There must have been 25 plus that morning running together.  As we passed I was inspired by this group.  You could tell they were all doing their best making their way up Linder hill and getting a good workout.  I wondered who had organized the group and what their plans were.  Then I saw my answer.  In the very back shouting words of encouragement I saw Angela Redding. 

Angela lives in my neighborhood and is infamous for "getting things done".  She has created a reputation that whenever somebody has a big project, they call on Angela for help.  I once participated in an "Amazing Race" throughout Boise with 15 other couples all organized by Angela.  Andrea and I once had an amazing evening along with a dozen other couples filled with Five Guys burgers and high speed Nascar go carts for the guys and a stretch limo, incredible hors d'oeuvres, and roses for the gals.  We all met up in the end for a live concert by Tyler Stenson all for a whopping cost of $30 a couple and all pulled off by Angela.  Remember the RODS Racing event with the Snow Shack, yep, the brainchild of Angela.  So when I saw this running group that morning I wasn't surprised to see it was organized by Angela. 

I spoke with her later that day and told her my idea about organizing a race for the RODS orphan.  She had actually organized a small race for the running group the year before that turned out amazing.  She thought about it a day or two and called me back ready to make this happen.  We've been working out the details this summer and are ready to roll! 

We're fortunate that this event will not only be a great fundraiser for Maggie, our current RODS Orphan, but it will also serve as the Eagle Scout project for two youth in our neighborhood, Matthew Hansen and Spencer Nelson.  We are lucky to have them helping us out. 

Our plan is get our feet wet this year and learn the ropes with all of the permits, etc that are required.  Our goal is to have 100-150 runners participate.  We'll be having a few different events that day, a 5k, 10k and Half Marathon as well as a 1 mile kids fun run.  We want to keep the registration fee as low as possible at $20 per person for the 5k, 10k, and Half and $5 per person for the kids fun run.  We also provide will provide race entries for the entire family for $50.  All of the 5k, 10k and Half participants will receive a RODS Racing shirt in their race packet. 

The event will be held on September 8th.  You can read more as well as register online by going to the RODS Racing website

All proceeds will be going towards the adoption costs of Maggie.  Sponsors will be huge in helping with the costs to make sure we can donate as much as possible to Maggie.  If you are interested in learning about the different levels of sponsorship available, please contact me.  You're company logo will be on the Race T as well as be given other advertising opportunities. 

Special thanks to everyone helping to make this a great first event!  We hope to see you there.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Potty Training, Ironman Training and Parent Training

First and foremost, I apologize for my tardiness in updating my blog.  My goal is to update it once a week which I will continue to shoot for.  The title of my post pretty much sums up the last few weeks.  It's been an adventure to say the least.

First off, Ironman training.  I started out the year going strong knowing that St. George was only a short 4 months away.  St. George came and went and then our big adventure with Kona Inspired came about.  I didn't slow down in my training and have kept at it 6 days a week since January.  I don't remember the last day that I didn't at least swim, bike or run except for Sundays.  Most days I do at least 2 disciplines and some days it's all 3.  This training has been rigorous to say the least.  Last week alone I trained 19 hours with my totals being: swimming 7800 yards, biking 184 miles and running 43 miles.  I've got my routine down pretty well now.  Bedtime is 9:30pm, I wake up at 4:30 and am out the door by 5:00.  It's getting lighter much later now so every morning I get to watch a complete sunrise which is a highlight.  Usually when I get on my bike that early my legs are tired from the previous days workout.  I'm kinda sleepy and wouldn't call myself "chipper" by any means.  I ride for 45 minutes or so with my headlamp then that ever faithful sun creeps over the mountain.  By the time I'm an hour plus into it I'm feeling good.  The endorphins kick in and my pace picks up.  That thought of "what in the heck am I doing this early in the morning" is replaced by "I'm glad I'm doing this, it feels great!"  I like to jump off my bike and go for a little jog.  The air is still crisp and the smell of fall is just around the corner.  My running route takes me through the edge of golden wheat fields and tall corn stalks.  This is soooo much better than running on a treadmill in the winter when theres snow on the ground.  I've grown to love the feeling of pushing myself.  Once my training for the morning is done, I'm meticulous about stretching and using the foam roller to roll out the aches and pains.  I've learned the hard way that you have to take the time to do this every single workout or I will get injured. 

All of this fun in the wee morning hours is something I do alone most of the time.  Not necessarily by choice, but I don't mind getting to go at it alone.  Last Saturday I did get to ride with my good friend Doug.  We left at 4:30am and rode 104 miles.  As I write that I shake my head because I realize how stupid that would have seemed to me a few years ago, but believe it or not, it was a lot of fun.

As I ride and run, I often times think of the kids we are racing for.  I've had Maggie on my mind a lot lately.  We don't know a lot about her except that she's been transferred to an institution.  We don't know how bad her circumstances are or what her health is like right now.  That goal of $15,000 can't come soon enough.  We're nearing $11,000 but still have some work to do.

Now onto the entertaining part, potty training.  We decided to potty train Nash and Ridge this week.  Day 1 started Monday with 30 pairs of "big boy undies".  By the time I got home from work at 5:30 we were down to 5.  I took over for 30 minutes while Andrea ran some errands.  There were 2 accidents.  I don't know how Andrea has the patience to endure this all day.  A full Ironman has nothing on the mental fortitude that she must face each day trying to get these boys to do their business in the potty.

The pinnacle came Tuesday night.  I had to run over to a families house in our neighborhood for a few minutes.  I left at 8:31pm and was back at 9:03.  In the span of 32 minutes all heck broke loose.  Nash had an accident (number 1) right after I left in the kitchen while he was eating some cereal.  He decided he would try and hide it by moving the kitchen stool over the mess.  In doing so he slipped in the wet mess and hit his head on the edge of the kitchen stool cutting open his eye.  Andrea comes in to find a bloody and wet mess of Nash laying on the floor.  It gets better.  Ridge heard the commotion and came running in to investigate.  Andrea had Nash over the sink trying to stop the bleeding so Ridge pulled the kitchen stool over to the sink and was standing on it checking out his bleeding brother.  Andrea looked over at Ridge and saw that he was peeing all over while watching Nash.  Andrea in a surprised voice told him he was peeing.  It surprises Ridge and he jumps off the stool and slips on his own pee, smacking his head on the ground.  So now she has two crying kids and two messes to clean up. 

Hold on, it gets better.  Andrea cleans the boys up and takes them up stairs to watch a show while she cleans up the mess downstairs.  While she's downstairs cleaning the mess she hears Nash say, "Oh no!"  She looks up the stairs to see Nash holding what we later find out is Ridge's pooh in his hand trying to help clean up his brothers recent mess.  I thought that was really cute even if it was kinda gross.  Andrea goes up stairs only to find Ridge did his number 2 business on the carpet in front of the TV and had it all over him.  Nash had it all over him from trying to help his brother out.  She then puts both of them in the tub and gets them all cleaned up.

Right about this time Brynlee and I came strolling through the door happy as clams after our little visit with the neighbors.  I go up stairs only to see the mess at the top of the stairs.  Then I see Nash's eye.  Then, in what seemed like the slow motion you see in the movies when someone doesn't dare turn to look at his sure death, I slowly turned to look at Andrea.  I was sure that she would have a look that would turn me to stone or cause me to go into convulsions or something horrible like that.  We made eye contact and she smiled.  The kind of smile that says, "you are never going to believe what just happened".  Hats off to her.  I honestly don't know how she is so patient.  Had this happened to me I would have called 911 and then crawled into the fetal position hoping the authorities arrived soon. 

So that brings me to my last training I'm experiencing and that is parent training.  The only bad thing about this training is it seems to be a "teach yourself as you go" type of training.  I've learned that there's not a manual because every kid would require their own 12 volume set because they are all different.  The crazy thing is what might work for one is the complete opposite for the other.  Don't let me fool you though, I love it.  I wouldn't trade being a parent to these 3 rug rats for anything and I know Andrea shares the same sentiments. 

We're having a great time watching the Olympics the last few days and we can't wait for the fair coming up.  Brynlee can't wait to see if Harley the Hog has gotten even fatter than last year.  I may need to take a break from counting calories the day we go though.  I'm not sure my "caloric intake" would approve of the 4 corn dogs and bag of cotton candy I'm going to have!