Saturday, December 17, 2011

Playing the Tooth Fairy

There's a few things they don't cover  in Parenting School.

One of them is Tooth Fairy agility skills.

Come to think if it, they don't cover much about Tooth Fairy theory either.

We added to the web of lies affectionately called childhood this past week.

First loose tooth became first lost tooth became first visit from the Tooth Fairy.

What do I possess in terms of Tooth Fairy theory?

Tooth Fairy origin?
I have no idea.

Tooth Fairy in practice?
Put tooth under pillow.
Tooth Fairy flies in.
Swaps tooth for cash.

What does she do with the accumulated teeth?
Satisfy her enamel addiction?
Create World Record tooth towers?
Tooth dominos?

According to my kids, "she just collects them."

We decorated an envelope for the impossibly small tooth.
Tucked it under the pillow at bedtime.

We did have Moose's Loose Tooth available for bedtime reading but we skipped it.

After 2+ hours of laboring over the loose tooth, we were all pretty tired.
(we agreed that loose tooth #2 shouldn't be so difficult...)

With the kids quickly asleep I realized I needed to spring into action.

First, the payment.
The Year 2011.

Other kids at school probably wake up to iPods under their pillow.

I settle on 25 cents.
But as I'm tucking a Quarter into the little envelope, I see a Dollar Bill on my dresser, so I tuck it into the envelope, too.

On to the Exchange.

Leaving just a sliver of light emitting from the nearby bathroom, I channel the traditional ninja.
Silent, I open the door.

The kids are deep asleep.

Cautious, I cease breathing.
I crawl to the bed, avoiding dolls, ponies, lollaloopsies, and countless hair accessories.

Initially, I thought I would need to lift the pillow.

You can safely slide your arm under the pillow for removal of the tooth.
Just as easily, you can substitute the cash.
Then, crawl out the room as inaudibly as you entered!

Pat yourself on the back.
You have successfully executed the Tooth Fairy task, as had I.

And tonight, for good measure, I'll play her uncle.
Santa H. Claus

...I wrote this post on my phone over the past week using the Blogger Android app (and Swype). It worked pretty well!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Like Eli

I did it.

I'm sure many others have been there at one point or another.

I signed up for a race.
That might be a Kids race.


Let's view the registered participants.

What's that?
You don't see me?


I looked at the participants before I clicked SUBMIT.
And since I got scared that it might be a Kids race, I opted OUT of displaying my name.

This is my hometown.
A 1-mile race ahead of the annual x-mas parade.
I do not believe this 1-mile race is held annually. Might be the inaugural?

Who's registered?
Again. My hometown.

I don't know any of these people!
And there's a bunch of kids!

Full disclosure.

I do know OF one person.
Our 28 year old mayor.
Fresh off a DUI conviction. Sweet!

What to do then?

Bring one of my kids along? And not race it?

Try to knock out a 5:30 mile?
But veer into the crowd if it looks completely uncool?

Ah, decisions.

Guess we'll find out on race day!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chilly, Gusty, Uphilly

I could have used the word "windy" but I encouraged HoneyBunny to use "gust" as a rhyming word with "must" as part of her spelling homework.
We practice spelling words 4 nights/week.

But I don't think that's true in all of her classmates' households.
Thus, in addition to the spelling games I invented to make spelling practice tolerable, we also now have been assigned spelling homework at least 2 nights/week.

Where am I going with this?

Look out Japan!
The USA may have been struggling with test scores and leaving children behind, but no more!
We mean business.

Hmm, let's get back to chilly, gusty, uphilly.

It had been about 70 degrees here in PA for the past week.

For my run tonight it was 41 degrees.

And that change in temperature must be courtesy of a "front" moving in. Or out.
Bringing or leaving with wind.
20+ MPH gusts.

And my 6+ mile run tonight followed dropping off our "3rd car" for inspection.
(Yes, I'm overdoing the "quotes" tonight.)

And from the mechanic's garage, it is 6+ miles uphill to get home.

I almost bailed on this run.
It was not going to be pleasant.

Saving grace?
At some point tonight, cloud cover rolled out exposing a sliver of a moon and a handful of stars.
Just enough beauty to get me out the door.
Even if the cloud cover had returned when I went out the door.

And it was a tough run home, walking at one point on the steepest hill.
And avoiding cars on that same hill. No shoulder. Cars flying downhill. Not expecting to be driving straight at a runner.

But I feel great now that I got the run in.

I felt so great, I acknowledged a couple of emails to register for races this weekend and next.
Yes, despite "quitting" the season.

Still, I might not race them.
Neither are logistically kind to me.

But we'll see how it goes.
Has to be easier than a chilly, gusty, uphilly run.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I'm pretty sure my 2011 racing year is over.

This upcoming weekend has 3 races.
A 2-miler, 5K and 5-miler.
I signed up for all 3 last year.
I signed up for none this year.

I've done two 5K's in the past month.
Both finished about 21:30.
Which I'm happy with.

Signed up for the 20in24 again last week.
8 months away.
Again, focused on 100 miles in 24 hours.

Not sure why I keep putting myself through that.
"That" exhausting training.
It's fun I guess.
And I keep learning.

I was -this- close last year.
A few small changes are due.

Longer long runs. Need to approach 50 miles in a training run or two.
Heat acclimation. Need to overdress for my training runs.
Blood pressure. Need to make the lifestyle changes to reduce my blood pressure so I'm not stopping for medical checks.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

One good thing about this fall is weight training.
I've been lifting upperbody for almost 3 months now.
I feel stronger and along with some core strengthening I've accepted the need to work total body.

And so I've quit at the tail end of the racing season.
That will bring a splash of regret.
I could stand to improve my 2-miler PR :-)

Maybe next year.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Faking It

My day started with a boost of confidence.
No wait.
What's the opposite.

About to jump in the pool.
Two lifeguards chatting and I hear one say:
"See. Now Mike. He goes to bed at 11."

I walk up to her.
"I'm sorry, did I hear that right?"

She says, "Yeah. You go to bed at 11 o'clock. I can tell by your face!"

When I asked for the relevancy of this conversation she reminded me that some of the 5AM swimmers go to bed at 8PM.

I mean.
I can't go to bed before my kids!

In fact, I have the day off work.
So, I gave myself only about 3 minutes to throw on my swim trunks, fill a water bottle, flip my flops and run out the door.

Normally I have at least 20 minutes to prep in the morning.
Which probably makes the difference here.

When I bought my first electric razor a few years ago the instructions said:
"Wait at least 20 minutes after waking before shaving. To relieve the swelling in your face."

That's a fact.
I don't know why but my face is definitely swollen when I wake.

40 minutes of swimming later, I pop out of the pool and ask:
"So! Do I look any better now?!?!"

I should have just kept that thought to myself.

As I remove my goggles revealing deep goggle-marks on my face.
So sad.

I look terrible in the morning.
That's something I can't fake.

But I can ALMOST fake a game of golf.

I learned yesterday at the kids' Parent-Junior golf competition.

I was paired with my son Goodles for 6 holes at the local country club.
My daughter Honeybunny paired up with her grandpa.

Parents and kids alternated shots on each hole.
It was so much fun!

I can't golf.

In fact.
It was only the 3rd time that I have swung a golf club.

And we survived!

The kids both did great.
They've been practicing for nearly 2 months now.
And they've developed some good golfing habits.
The instruction they've received is simple and repeatable.

I applied it to myself.
And it worked pretty well.

Among my difficulties, adults were only permitted to use one club.
And while it is easy enough to identify the "good club" to use, which for me was a 7-iron, it is difficult to play a full hole with that limitation.

For instance.
That's the first hit at each hole.
Off the tee.

"Drive for show. Putt for dough."

Oh, we were allowed to use a putter, too.
That was a last minute announcement. To protect the greens.

OK, so I try to Drive. Hit a golf ball, off of a tee, with a 7-iron.
I guess I teed off 4 times.
Only once did I completely flub it.

My Drives were remarkably decent.
All luck.
I was powerless.
Could not control distance, height, direction or hook.
Don't ask me how it worked out so well.

Things got better on the fairway, or short grass.
Which might be the rough. Or not.
When I hear "the rough" I think of tall, unfriendly grass.

Either way, the 7-iron blessed me with mostly good shots on the approach.
Honestly, poor Goodles had to bail us out whenever I made any bad shots.
He would hit them back onto the fairway :-)
Love that kid.

Putting was best left to Goodles, too.
I guess a real putter, not a "miniature golf or 'putt putt' putter" works alot better.
I kept overputting.

It was more popular to let Goodles sink the putts anyway.

I will tell you.
It was so much fun.

And the other adults had similar experiences, in spite of their experience.
So we were all smiles.

It was such a relief to fake those 6 holes.
Although, I think my Saucony Pro Grid 4's gave me away.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Running Regret

This really isn't a significant landmark to observe.

Today, if I had my act together, I would have completed a 50-mile solo run from my house to Hershey Park.

I'm not in good enough shape.

And while I love putting my body through hell.
My body likes to punish me in return.

I did not do the run.
Or plan the run.

Or figure out the hardest part.
Some logistics.
Like how to get back home from a point-to-point 50 mile run.
Absent, to my knowledge, any public transportation options.

But I should look into it because.
Last night, I was fortunate to sit down and watch some TV with my wife and little brother.

And I don't watch TV.

But it was a show where these people bid on storage units.
It probably has some predictable name like Storage Wars: Clash of the Junk Collectors.

And as the clock had ticked past 10 o'clock, I quipped:
"Still not sure if I should run to Hershey Park tonight or not."

That was not well received.

Possibly due to my previous, related attempt to bike to Hershey Park.
Which ended just short.
Dehydration and time factored against me.

To conclude this landmark observation, I'll put out that.
Had I run.

The weather was PERFECT.
And a nearly FULL MOON.
And the HERSHEY HALF MARATHON was today!
I would have arrived at about 10AM.
And walked up to the Race Finishers tent and enjoyed the post-race spread.

Yeah yeah, in return I would have donated to a Hershey charity.

I would have.

I still might.

I have no idea when the next PERFECT time for this run will be.
Hopefully, it is after I do logistically address my return trip home.
And train sufficiently.

Which brings me back to reality.

I did knock out about 10 miles this morning.
Beautiful fall weather.
Leaves on the ground.
Leaves changing color.
The smell of leaves enveloping my route.

I ran fast, too.
Faster than my last few 12+ min/mile race paces for certain.
And I felt great.
A fair amount of leg pain.
Like, "Mike you're pushing us a little too hard, Love, Your legs."
That type of great, well-deserved pain.

And wouldn't you know.

Nearly 2 years after the original incident.
Not 24 hours after my confrontation with public displays of yelling and anger yesterday.

With less than a quarter mile before I reached my house.
I started to walk. My cool down.

And a truck came down the road in the opposite direction.
And the gentlemen looked at me.
The weary runner.

And he waved.
A friendly wave.

Which in terms of significance.

2 Years ago I thought this same man was going to kill me.
Or make me injured.

As he had yelled at me on a nearby road.
He in his truck.
Me nearing the end of an 18 mile run.

But the following day.
And I've told this story before.

It turned out he lived in my neighborhood.
Saw me at a neighbor's house.

Pulled up, and stopped along the street.
In the same truck he drives when he yells at runners.

And he approached.
As I saw my life flash before my eyes.

He held out a hand. Apologized for yelling.
And we hugged.

So to have this man wave to me this morning.
I can say.
My run, not the epic run I had dreamed of.
My run was still sweet.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Do you have any words that immediately bring a song to mind?
I have dozens, if not hundreds.

For example: Predominantly (which I prefer to spell Predominately)

Nice word.
Immediately drops me into an Eminem lyric.

That's not exactly what happens with Confrontation.
Not the word.
The suffix.


This is a recent phenomena.

B.o.B. linked to a YouTube video for his song: Dr. Aden

Almost every line ends with an ATION suffixed word.
Justification, nation, vacation, civilization, situation, obligation...

In fact. I think he uses every word except confrontation.
Dr. Aden by the way is from a very cool B.o.B. mixtape: No Genre

So tonight I'm writing about a confrontation.
I think that's the right word for it.

In our 6 year old soccer game today, we had a confrontation situation.

I am so LUCKY to have my Dad helping me coach both kids' soccer teams this fall.
With our 6 year old team, he guides the Defense and I take care of the Offense.

Because the kids are young, in fact most of our team is 5-year-olds, we stand on the field with the players.
It helps.
Correct direction.
Help the kids find the ball.
Stop spinning in circles. Literally, I mean like they're doing a dizzy bat race.
Stop playing in mud.

The kids really need the extra assistance out there on the field.
If we want the game to resemble soccer.

Today, near our team's goal, the opponent kicked a ball that was headed out of bounds.
On its way, the ball hit my Dad's leg and continued out of play.

It was actually kinda funny.








So here we have a parent on the opposing team.
Screaming at my Dad from the sideline.

Um. Maybe it's a joke?

Guy is standing with a confrontational posture.


My Dad and I don't deal well with bad parents.
We don't deal well with criticism of volunteers.
We, selfishly I suppose, definitely don't deal well with criticism of US!


So, I respond.

"Um. Stop yelling dude"


I would have expected a different reaction.

Now, my Dad goes immediately from happy defensive coordinator to steam-coming-out-of-ears.

That's why I woke up this morning.
So I could physically restrain my Dad because some jerk is screaming at him during a youth soccer game.


I woke up this morning to take a leisurely bike ride.
Acclimate to the cooler temperature. Experience the strong winds (40+MPH) as predicted.

So, I have my Dad yelling at this guy now.

Our family has been involved with this youth athletic league for 24 years.
Since I was 7.
We take some pride in that.
And we KNOW how the games are supposed to WORK.

The kids have fun.
They learn a little bit about the sport.
Hopefully, the experience was good. And they come back next year.

This is not serious.
This is not competitive.
And if we're gonna have a parent violate those ideas.
He's gonna get corrected early.

Let me lighten the mood.

"OK sir. I'll review the Instant Replay"

He keeps yelling.
He's quite serious.

I can barely keep my Dad restrained.
I mean restrained with what he's gonna say to this guy.

I want to lead the conversation.
We've already got ONE problem.
We don't need more.

"Sir. Try to keep in mind.
These are 6 year olds.
5 year olds.

Mind you, we had switched sides of the field at half time.
So I'm doing all of this right in the middle of ALL of the other team's parents.

Not to mention.
Inevitably in front of my neighbors.
Past, current and future classmates of my kids.
Past, current and future players on teams I have coached. Am coaching. Will coach.

Completely irks me.

Guy yells one final time.
I reiterate that we'll consult the Instant Replay.


That's right. Now where were we?
They kicked it over the End Line behind our goal.
Let's set up the goal kick.

Times like this I wish I wore a heart rate monitor.
Because it is NOT easy to flip a switch back to happy little coach.
For me or my Dad.


And that's how my morning went.

And it can't end there.
That wouldn't be fun.

I read the news. Alot.
I like to know the world around me.
I know that people are popping off every day.
I do not want confrontation.
I like peace.

The game ends.
Our kids are happy.  They had a fun game.
And I hope they didn't absorb too much of the drama.

I WANT to explain.
Talk to the kids and parents.
Give THEM the perspective.

But no.
First, lets have the teams shake hands after the game.

Line up at mid-field.
Right hand out.
"Good game. Good game."

Well this is a nice development.
Not only is JERK an overly vocal PARENT.
He's also the assistant COACH.

Walking out to the field to shake hands.

"Uh. Dad.
I think it's best if you just leave now.

Grudgingly, he does.

So we high-five the other team.
I shake the head coach's hand.
She was so nice.

The assistant COACH.
The yelling PARENT.
And. Ha. The head coach's HUSBAND.

We have an extended handshake.
We talk midfield for 5 minutes.

It takes 4 minutes for him to apologize.

I'm not really interested in replaying what he had to say.
Because he had a very narrow view.
"Your team had 2 coaches on the field and your Dad was in the way."

I'm sorry.
I made a little list above.
It involved 5-year-old kids spinning in circles playing in mud.
We're gonna try to avoid that.

So among my recommendations for this COACH/PARENT/HUSBAND.
If he wants to yell at VOLUNTEER COACHES in a FIVE and SIX year old soccer league.
He needs to find a different league.

If he doesn't correct his behavior NOW.
It will get worse.

It is not fair to his child.

I ended the conversation.
A conversation that could have continued aimlessly for another 5 minutes.
I ended with this.

"And by the way. My name is Mike. And I'll probably see you out here for the next 13 years."

I hope he gets it.
Got it.

YOU know how it works.
Our kids, next season, could just as easily be teammates. Or classmates.
We could be co-coaches.

THINK about your impact.

And try to do BETTER.
It will make you a better COACH.

After the game, my kids and I walked across the parking lot to the playground.
They played with a girl on our team.
I talked with her mom.

We talked about the confrontation.
And why some parents push too far.

The best part of that conversation.
Was her recommendation.

Bill Cosby - Himself

It gives you a chance to laugh at yourself as a parent.
To laugh at your kids.

To not take all of this so seriously.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Invented Swag

No I didn't.
Jay-Z claims he did.

I love that song.
Otis from Watch the Throne.

I love it. But it is eating me alive.
I NEED to listen to it once per day.
Eventually that urge will wane.


I didn't invent swag.

But I did invent this version of Soccer Freeze Tag.

Our 6 year old team had so much fun with that game yesterday.
We may have even learned a little bit of soccer while playing it.

I had to introduce tag (there was another tag game to start practice) because kids were playing tag when we were supposed to be doing the KICKOFF in last weekend's game.

And right now, tag is my kids' favorite outdoor game.
We play it all the time.
Almost every day.

I sustained my first tag related injury on Monday.

Had the day off work.
Took the kids to the park.

Among other activities: Bikes, Golf, Soccer, Scooter.
We played tag at the playground for about 20 minutes.

I was overdoing it for entertainment value.
Swinging over their heads.
Climbing on top of the monkey bars.
Going a little too fast.

It was very fun.

Until the gym 2 days later.

My arms hurt.
My abs hurt.
I couldn't even do my crunches (3 sets of 40 on a decline bench).

I love how we can be in good shape but still have so many neglected muscle groups.
Working on my Tag Fitness.

I'm glad we all enjoy a simple game like tag right now.

As the kids get older, I am less of a pillar of entertainment.
There are many other diversions.

Friends. (See Play Date)
Video Games.

The kids no longer need Mom and Dad to fill in the blanks.
They need us to help keep the filling balanced.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Play Date

From yesterday's post about home phone telemarketers.

My wife and I did enjoy a few magical years without a landline home phone.
We took pride in our cellular independence.

Home phone number?

Oh but then I got worried.
It happens. From time to time.

Had a couple little kids bouncing around the house.
And a few influential experiences.

Started thinking about situations where we'd need to call 911.
And though the technology has improved, I still believe that a landline is THE guaranteed way for emergency services to know a call is coming from my HOME.
My landline = My location

Read about the Wireless and VoIP 911 stuff on Wikipedia to see what I mean.

Landline didn't ring once today BTW.

Play Date
I had a conversation after getting out of the pool this morning.
I did various strokes and kickboard.
But I don't think I actually talked about swimming.

It is the Year 2011.
Parenting has changed since I was a kid back in the 80's and to an extent the 90's.

We are a little cutesy.
A little over the top.
A little helicopterish.

One thing we've done is taken the following conversation from my childhood:
"Hi, this is Mike's mom.  Would your son Bobby like to come over and play?"

And we've changed it into this:
"Hi, would Bobby like to have a playdate?"

Now, this may imply some formality.
Stricter scheduling.

But that's not how I use the word.

I just use it as a 21st century substitute like so:
"Would your son Bobby like to come over for a playdate?"

There is no implied advanced scheduling. The schedule is immediate.
Other kids can be involved in the playdate.
And there's no structured activities or anything.

That's how I use the word.

But other parents and other kids THINK that playdate requires formality.
I use that assumption as a form of defense.

Call me crazy.
Call me mean.

But even though my kids are young, I've already picked a few children that they are not allowed to play with.

Various reasons:
  • The kids are mean
  • The parents are freaking nuts/alcoholic
  • The kids have no respect for the property of others
  • The kids have "seen too much"
Let me expand on that last one quickly.

I had a sheltered childhood.
I don't think intentionally.

My kids are relatively sheltered, also.
Although at times (and I'll explain this another day), I probably reveal too much about how the world really works.

"Seen too much" can mean things like a rough upbringing.
Seeing things like domestic abuse.
Like older siblings or friends that can corrupt.

Which means that I can't have them influencing my innocent little kids.
Not this early anyway.
Not if I have any control of it.
Which I at least think I do.


"Play Date" is used as a deterrent when approached by children that my kids can't play with.
If I say they have a Play Date, there's no further conversation needed.

First of all, the Play Date is probably exclusive. Can't add another kid.
Secondly, it suggests that bad-kid's parents would need to coordinate a Play Date. And since that won't happen, that's the end of the idea.


It's not very nice. But I've dealt with too many mean kids in my 31 years to NOT intervene.
And all it takes is a cutesy little "Play Date" to accomplish my goal.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Use it or lose it

The last race I wrote about was a satisfactory yet ultimately disappointing experience.
I had done as much as I could to prepare for a 100 mile run in 24 hours.
My 4th attempt.
And I failed.

That was mid-July.

I usually reduce my training in August to recover.
Until we took an Irene-shortened trip to the beach at the end of August, I ran only twice.

I ran 5 times at the beach.
We came back home. I stopped running again.

Labor Day weekend I participated in a race that I was completely unprepared for.
Not just undertrained.
I paid almost zero attention to mentally preparing.
I typed the race address into my Droid's GPS and let it guide me to the starting line on race morning.

That was the Labor Pain 12-hour Trail Race. or something like that.
I figured, despite the lack of training, that I still had endurance left over from Jan-July ultra training.

Use it or lose it.

I ran 45 miles on a 5-mile trail loop.
It was...
Words can't do it justice.

It was just what I needed.

Then I stopped running again.

Maybe a run here or there.

Annual local sprint triathlon, Marshman Triathlon, 2 weeks later on Sep 13th.
I had been swimming regularly at the gym, so I knew the Swim would be OK.
Severely neglected my bike. It just hasn't been convenient to get out.
And for a 2-mile run. I should have worked on speed. At least a little.

But the race went well.
Despite a link in my bike chain beginning to break 4 miles into the 12 mile course.

Then my chain broke on my way home. 4 miles from home.
My wife picked me up. Her truck broke down 2 miles from home.
$310 later the truck was repaired. $2 later my bike was ready to go.

Not sure how much biking I'll be doing this fall and winter.
Would love to get out on Saturday mornings.

Which brings me to now.
On Monday, I started running immediately after the kids' earlier-because-of-school bedtime.
The fall night-time weather is so inviting.

Ran 4 days this week and tomorrow I have a 50K trail race.
Blues Cruise 50K.

Like the 12-hour Labor Pain race, I go into it with minimal prep.
No goals.
No expectations.
No pressure.
No stress.

I'm once again counting on residual endurance.

Use it or lose it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

2011 20in24 Enchanted Race Report

Last weekend I participated in The 4th Annual Stroehmann Back on My Feet 20in24 Relay Challenge, Lone Ranger Ultra Marathon, Midnight Madness Run & Pajama Loop event in Philadelphia.
In case you have already stopped reading out of exhaustion, specifically I did the Lone Ranger portion.

Oh. Welcome back. Yes. We will call it the 20in24 for short.


4th time I've done this race.
4th race report.
Same 8.4 mile loop. Run it as many times as you can in 24 hours.
Same pictures of the same stuff.
Oh boy, contain your excitement.

However, this past week, my recovery week, a new friend of mine commented that compared to her life, my life is a fairy tale.
So be it.

Once upon a time...
The queen of BOMF kingdom proclaimed that the knights in the land would compete in a series of games.

This 11th year of the 2nd millennium, 200 chosen knights would face the queen's ultimate challenge, the Lone Ranger.
Named after Sir Lone Ranger, himself once a valiant knight. Along with his steed, Silver.

The knights would be arranged along the kingdom's most grueling circuit, the River Trail of Schuylkill, measuring a full 68 furlongs. There they would remain through sunrise, sunset and sunrise again.
The knights would battle along the circuit, both among themselves and among the local inhabitants, creatures and villains at every turn. He who survived would be awarded in gold. Or a check for $3,000.

A liberal kingdom, male and female knights alike were in competition, indistinguishable behind their armor.

In preparation for the arduous task, during the preceding evening, I had taken my son, young prince Goodles, to the village eatery, Chick-Fil-A. There we were entertained and erected a tent to enjoy the splendor of activities well into the evening.

Alas, our choice of venue was leveraged against me. With close proximity to the village of Whelihan, my enemies had coordinated  a pre-competition attack.
Sir PJ of Whelihan and his collar-popped trolls provoked an auditory battle well after the moon had risen. When the son arose, the effects were clear.
I had not slept. With a sunset and sunrise still ahead, the true challenge of the day had been set.

I then traveled from the village of Downingtown to prove my worthiness to my family and earn my place among the knights of the kingdom. 

In the hours before the events commenced, all knights were visited by the Doctor of Medicine. 

He would inspect the strength of our hearts, the sanity of our heads, and ensure that we were free from spells and enchantments. While his approval was necessary for competition, once the event began, any tricks we had would be at our disposal. And our enemies' disposal.

The knights gathered, outfitted in their village's finest armor.

The games were launched by the singing of the Kingdom's anthem.

Cannons were fired and the competition was underway!

As with most knightly competitions, the ferocity of battle lie far ahead.
The kingdom's other challenges would surface first.

The initial challenge would loom over us for hours.
The golden dragon, rising in the east, hovering above. Waiting.

The queen had approved provisions along the circuit.
We also performed a degree of self-sufficiency.
A pacifist knight (rare in the kingdom), I solely possessed a canteen of artificially sweetened elixir swirling with electrolytic dust.

Despite the battle at hand, local peasants frolicked along the circuit, unaware of the hell that we knights were facing.

After the first 68 furlongs, the dragon had risen to a peak in the sky.
Steam seeping from her nostrils.

We continued, unabated by the moat crossings.

Fortune provided us with well-timed drawbridge placements.

We focused on our task. Ignoring false idols.

Escaping the gravitation of the pyramid's steps as they swept peasants skyward.

The dragon was the first to attack, sweeping her fire along both sides of the moat.

Our protection was thin but effective enough to counter the UVA and UVB attack.

Twice 'round the circuit and I had survived.

Vikings also plagued the circuit. Unprovoked, they set out in the moat.

For the tiring knight, he would need to avoid the vikings as they moved their ships.

The 3rd round, my elixir however must have been prematurely removed from the fire. My stomach reacted in vain.
With each step, the weight of the armor grew until I was reduced to a stumble. 68 Long furlongs.

The dragon's attack continued, though as it waned, the other village creatures began to stir.

The 4th round I found hope.
Some knights were stymied. Felled by the dragon. Taken to the infirmary. Or worse. Back to their village.
Other knights forged ahead unabated. Angels floating in the sky.

I remained on the circuit. My progress often delayed by mandatory visits to the Doctor of Medicine. He had to measure the fire in my ear. And the pressure of my blood. Each round, he permitted me to continue.

On the 5th round, like the cry of a damsel in distress, I was struck by a deafening sound.
My mind. It was failing.
Despite my strength, I had fallen victim to an enchantment. It had the telltale signs of Sir PJ of Whelihan. While I continued the march through the circuit, my eyes grew heavy.
I looked at my hand. There pulsating in the moonlight, a fresh branding on my forehand: RvW.

This could mean only one thing.
I stopped. I shouted (in a cellular manner) to my fair maiden at home in the village, minding our princess.
She confirmed. The curse of Rip van Winkle. With only one cure.

I returned to the grounds of the castle, the Hall of Lloyd.

Greeted by a pack of rabbits, I was welcomed to their burrow.
They were rapidly traversing the circuit as well. One at a time.
Relaying their message, "Sure Victory! Sure Victory!"
But for whom?

I promptly entered a deep sleep.
Ages passed. My hair and beard grew long. My feet, they blistered. My legs, swelled.

I was awakened by a communication from my maiden. A message of text.
"12 hours in. Be safe. Fight on!"

I sprung to my feet. Guzzled my elixir. Affixed a candle to my forehead.
340 furlongs behind me (you may know that as 42 of your miles), I reentered the competition.

Nighttime along the circuit, all sorts of treachery abounded. 
A knight was attacked by an ogre.

The queen ordered additional protection. Members of the royal guard spread out on the course.
Their carriages branded. PPD.

Ye there was also joviality.
Hundreds of illuminated peasants, proceeding opposite our course along the circuit.
Crying chants of encouragement.
Local peasants exploding mortars, with brilliant streaks of light in the sky.

Through 6 rounds.

My spirit was still strong.

The 7th round, I encountered a ladybug fairy. She was swept along by a tornado.
I planted myself in their midst and rode the tornado along the circuit, pausing to acknowledge a fallen Warrior along Mile 54. "Warriorman" Rick.

The 8th round, my luck had once again been challenged.
Walking the east side of the moat, through the enchanted forest.

I was quietly approached by a witch.
She walked alongside me and started to converse.

She attempted to disguise her evil. Her aura however was charcoal. Black. Decay.
Her attention consumed within gazes at her mirror, I escaped.

I would however need assistance.
Assistance appeared in the form of a fleet footed elf just ahead on the circuit.
We discussed the witch and her weapon. Deception. We pushed ahead.

Entering the 9th round, I maintained course with the elf. He personally enduring his 13th round. Our advancement was undeterred. 

The sun began to rise again. A new day born. 
The end within sight. Victory uncertain. But victory unnecessary.
Survival in the end. That was the queen's true test.

While a knight would be crowned the victor, he was but one small story of success in battle.

The 10th round. More enchantments. The witch had uttered an incantation.
34 furlongs into this 10th and final round of the circuit, my left knee was damaged within my armor. No visible marks, my leg grew stiff.

The elf and I parted ways and I limped back to the castle once again under the eye of the golden dragon. My progress slow. Furlong after agonizing furlong.
Tears filled my helmet. However, the Viking land was within view.

With but 13 minutes remaining in the competition, 84 miles later, I was welcomed back to the Hall of Lloyd.

My left leg now immobile, I gathered my gear and as before communicated with my fair maiden. She arrived to bring me back to the village.

We returned to our home, prince and princess in tow.
I climbed into the well and let the cold water heal my legs.
I climbed into bed and let sleep, unenchanted sleep, heal my mind.

And when I awoke, the tale of the prior sunrises.
It was not a dream.

For All of the knights. Who had competed. Who had celebrated. Not to seek the award of gold, but to return it to the most vulnerable peasants. We had grown and We will live Happily Ever After.

The End

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Good Karma Run Day

Oh. This will be quick.

I need some time to sit down and type up and insert images into a 20in24 race report.
I have 2 posts that will be, well, posted if life cooperates.

What's that? You want the abridged version?

I ran 42 miles. Took a nap. Ran 42 miles.
Go on with your lives.

Karma Out
My neighbor has been running for 30+ years.

He had not be able to squeeze in a run for the past few months because of a busy life.

I know what you're thinking. But it's true. Sometimes, you're making so many other sacrifices, that the additional sacrifice (time, mostly) needed for the run, just isn't fair.

I saw him at the neighborhood pool yesterday.
This is after I've bugged him 30 times already this summer about whether he's gotten out for a run (he's going crazy from runner's withdrawal).

Neighbor: "I might go out for a run tomorrow."
Me: "Cool"
Us: "OK BYE"

He's out walking his dogs about 15 minutes later.
I run up to him.

Me: "What time?"
Neighbor: "4:30AM"
Me: "I'll meet you at the end of your street."
Neighbor: "Thanks Mike. Thank You."

Got him out the door.
You don't want to stand up a running date!

And there ya go.
Months off of running, solved with a little push. 3 miles to start the day.

His next planned run? In 2 days.

Karma In
Look what I got in the mail today.


It was sent to me by a fellow Lone Ranger ultramarathoner from the 20in24.

We crossed paths about 19 hours into the race.
He took advantage of my fresh legs (only about 65 miles deep) to help pace him for the remainder of the race.
Towards his finish at 118 miles!

In our delirium, he suggested he'd send me that book.
He told me I'd love it.
And I'd NEED to watch the movie, too.

And today, 3 days after the race, it was in my mailbox.
How cool is that?

Now go spread some running karma!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2011 20in24 Prep - Heat, Sleep, Eat, Eep

Early bedtime tonight! Last good sleep before the race.
20in24 - Saturday @ 10AM until Sunday at 10AM

Here's what you should know.

I've put myself through every brutal hot day so far this year. Running, biking, walking.
And the race is now supposed to enjoy mild weather in the mid-80's with low humidity.
The means temperatures at night will be in the 60's.

While I'm glad I pushed the heat acclimation, I learned something:
My body is not made for heat.

It is made for cold.
But, I give props to anyone who can thrive in the heat.
I sweat too much, drink too much (water), and slow down too much.
I welcome this well-timed break in the heat!

I've gotten more sleep in these past few weeks than any other time this year.
Most of that is thanks to my guardian angel pushing the sleep topic.
But, I also read that increased sleep 2 weeks before an ultramarathon leads to better results.
Works for me.

What I did:
If I got to bed after 10PM, I forbid myself from visiting the gym at 5AM the next day.
Yes, that meant less gym. But I think it also meant a softer taper.

On race day, I'm planning to drink Ensure after every 8.5 mile loop until I exhaust my supply (9 cans).
I like that Ensure contains a large amount of wide spectrum electrolytes.
With as much as I sweat, I need them.

The race aid stations also supply ample food and drink.
I'll be sticking with whatever sugar-free electrolyte replacement drink they offer.
See. My teeth don't have much enamel left.
And while I've never had a cavity, they are extremely sensitive to sugar.
Gotta be sugar-free.

Oh boy am I nervous!

I'm worried about the pre-race health check.
They're gonna complain about my blood pressure.
I even tried 15 minutes of meditation today (a little late I know).
When you're tired, it's not meditation, it is head nodding, head whipping back, head nodding, head whipping back...

I am worried about surviving the next 36 hours without injuring myself.
When I play Dad, I am always at risk.

And the last Eep.
Putting together my race supply checklist today, my nervous stomach was doing somersaults.

So here it is.
I give you my stomach tumbling checklist (completely fulfilled just a few minutes ago).

Check List

  • Ensure, old and new, refrigerated 
  • Medium Size cooler 
  • Source of ICE, Wawa 
  • 6 PowerAdes 
  • Gum 
  • Vitamin D 
  • Baby Aspirin 
  • Toilet paper 
  • Antibacterial Spray 
  • Antibacterial Gel 
  • Vaseline 
  • Baby Powder 
  • Toiletry Bag  
  • Chapstick 
  • Deodorant 
  • Tooth Brush 
  • Toothpaste 
  • Mouth rinse 
First Aid/Blisters
  • Moleskin 
  • Athletic Tape 
  • Tough Strips 
  • Blister Pads 
  • Rubbing Alcohol 
  • Nail Cips 
  • Little Scissors 
  • Headlamp with fresh batteries 
  • Extra batteries 
  • Reflective bracelets 
  • Reflective hat 
  • Reflective VEST 
Race Clothing
  • Sunglasses 
  • Handheld bottle (x2) and holder 
  • Homemade legionnaires cap 
  • Regular running cap 
  • Saucony singlet 
  • 4 technical t-shirts 
  • Tri Shorts 
  • Compression Shorts 
  • All running shorts 
  • Race belt 
  • Little race belt bag 
  • Wrist bags 
  • All running socks 
  • 2 pairs of running shoes – New and ProGrid 3’s 
  • Orthotics – Old and New 
Street Clothes
  • Pre/Post-race – boxers, normal shorts, t-shirt and Nike Cap 
  • Non-running shoes 
  • Kodak Camcorder 
  • Cell Phone 
Extra Stuff
  • Chair 
  • Car keys 
  • Wallet/ID 
  • Home-made Gaiters 
  • This is Gonna Hurt - book
  • Towels (soap?) 
  • Safety pins 
That's it! Did I forget anything?
No? Then, just insert RUN.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Good Neighbor Day Run for Life 15K Race Report

Ever hit up a yard sale in the middle of a race?

The GND Run for Life race was last Monday, the 4th of July.
I've participated in this race, in some capacity, for about 12 years.
Most of those years, I was not yet a runner. Just a citizen that could run. At times.

This year, I once again elected to push the kids in the jogging stroller for the 15K route.
The race course is a 5K loop.
As you probably guessed, the 15K runs 3 loops.

The kids were not excited to hop in the stroller.
I was not ecstatic about pushing them. This would be only the 2nd time this year.
But they get an up-close look at Downingtown from a unique angle.
I guess that's what sold them.

They climbed in the jogging stroller with minimal diversions like toys and stuff.
They were mostly interested in one of my bottles of PowerAde Zero.
I had stocked 3 PowerAde bottles and 1 bottle of water in the stroller. Call that an advantage.

In years past, for the 5K and 10K, we would line up in the middle of the pack.
For the 15K we line up in the very back, figuring it doesn't really matter.

They chip time you, too, so you get an accurate time-after-hitting-the-starting-line. Fine.

The gun goes off, we walk to the starting line.
A few people participating in the walk, which commenced 4 minutes later, stopped in front of me to chat about donuts. After a few moments, they observed my intended forward momentum and parted to let us through.

Loop 1 was busy. Crowded.
We stuck to the outside of the crowd and climbed through them.

Loop 2 was much nicer.
But it was getting hot. Felt like a very humid 80's.
I only stopped at one water stop on Loop 2 and that was for Goodles.
He gargled the water, didn't even drink it.

On both Loops 1 and 2, at the start of the final mile, a guy on the sidelines soaked the kids with a water gun. So funny.
The end of Loop 2 introduced restlessness. I knew that might happen.
We were headed toward bagging Loop 3:
Either I would run without the stroller (depositing the kids with my wife and her parents) or we would just finish at the 10K mark.

Except. Yard Sale moment.
On the final mile we pass a house with a card table set up out front.
With little toys on it. Think "Happy Meal" toys.
A 10 year old girl emerges from the house, hanging up a sign just as we pass.

The kids and I agree. We're doing that final loop and they can each choose 2 toys.
Talk about motivation.

But the stroller was heavy. And we were getting restlesser.
Loop 3, at the .5 mile mark, HoneyBunny hops out and dashes 100 yards. Then hops back in.
Goodles scores another cup of water at an aid station.

And the course is deserted.
Hot, disgusting conditions. Few takers for the 15K?

We muddled along.
My Loop 2 split was 1:30 slower than Loop 1.
Loop 3 was an additional minute slower. Really not that bad.

Approaching the final mile we have to pull over on a sidewalk and stop to let a fire truck or ambulance go by.
I couldn't continue on the sidewalk because there were people sitting in chairs, cheering.
But not yielding to wide-load running families like us.

Water gun guy must have gotten hot. He wasn't along the course this Loop.
The kids had planned to point at me. New soaking victim.

Then, Heaven. Nirvana. Valhalla. What have you.

The kids jump out and scout the free toys.
It's like letting them pick something out of the candy aisle. Takes a while.

Me. Supportive, encouraging Dad. "Cool kids. Pick something fun!"
Me. Waning runner. "Uh, kids, let's grab something. I didn't want those 2 guys to beat me."

Those 2 guys glide past us. Probably didn't even know I was in the race.

Our booty secured, we take off to enjoy the final mile.
Those toys have since disappeared BTW.

I paced a few 15K finishers that needed a push.
We finish about 5 minutes slower than last year.

Probably the heat.
Definitely from not running with the kids.

I was satisfied with the results.

We went on to enjoy the remaining festivities.
Kids Fun Run.
Big Wheel races.
Carnival. Games, rides, ice cream.

Home to chill.
I was wiped.

Back to enjoy the fireworks at dark.
What a great day.

Turned out I placed 2nd in my age group. Got a nice little medal.
Which really identifies a Poor Showing, poor representation in my age group . C'mon guys!

Looking at the results, I noticed one other obscure ditty.
In 4th or 5th place in my AG was a kid I played football with in high school.
To protect his identity, I'll call him Bimmy Jitmer.

I haven't seen him since high school. No biggie.

But, he had been part of my life.

Our guinea pig died a few days ago. Poor little guy.
When he was a thriving little guinea pig, I'd always great him with a little whistling tune.

Just a few weeks ago, I took a moment to think about the origins of that tune.
Lo and behold, I was whistling "Bimmy Bimmy Jitmer. Bimmy Jitmer!"
Yeah, the taunt levied at poor Bimmy in the locker room.

That's the kind of cool stuff that happens when you run your local 5/10/15K for a decade!

And that's also the race report. No kids will be with me next year. I probably won't even show in my AG.
In fact, HoneyBunny and I will probably run the 5K together.

Upcoming? Oh just the most important race of my year.
20in24 on Saturday.
I'm ready.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Juneathon Day 30 - Liberty Sandwich with a Side of Juneathon

It's over.

Let's be honest.

Juneathon cannot compare with Janathon.
Sure, you might have a warm day here or there.
You might be tired.
Unwilling to sacrifice precious daylight for precocious blogging.
But, that's it.

No freezing temps.
Ice storms.
Snow storms.

That said, Juneathon was still a good test.
Logged 105 miles this month which is about half of what I should have done.
But that's because I had to focus on biking and swimming as well.

So to wrap up quickly.

Within the past week, I have now consumed a Liberty Sandwich.

Liberty Island swim.
My first visit to the Liberty Bell.
And today, another encounter with Lady Liberty.

What's up with that?
Um, not my fault.

Last week, I had a race in New York Harbor and another in Philly.
This week, we entertain out-of-state relatives with their anticipated visits to, oh, uh, New York Harbor and Philly.
Thank you, sweet Irony.

Today was my first sightseeing trip to NYC.
I fell in love.
Need to go back.
Need to run 26.2 miles there.
Need to get a real personal picture with this guy.

He was a little too busy today.

Meanwhile in Juneathon land, I ran twice.
1 mile at home to start the day.
Another mile at Liberty State Park (Jersey City, NJ) to retrieve our extra camera battery and memory card before the ferry departed.

Juneathon was fun.
I did not participate in the blogging as much as preferred.
Still, props to Erin and Hennie.
Committed Juneathoners, and great storytellers. A fun blog post every day. And inspiring runs in the face of adversity.

And while my carpal tunnel would advise me to never blog again, I have a few races throughout the summer, so I'll pop back up.

Thanks to all of the fellow Juneathoners for putting in the time and effort.
And thanks to You. For reading and some of you for persisting in a personal Commentathon.
You know it helps.

And finally.
The kids had a sleepover tonight, so no bedtime.
But had we a bedtime, here was the intended post-NYC lullaby.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Juneathon Day 29 - Liberty Island Swim Race Report

The Liberty Island Swim was held at about 6PM on Friday, June 24th, 2011.

The timing of the event, I thought might have to do with the tide, but more importantly, the island is closed.
All of those Statue of Liberty tourists head on to their next patriotic adventure.

This Race Report will cover how I got to and through this race.

I was researching the English Channel swim, because, ya know, some day.
And I found this Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. 28.5 mile swim in NYC.
Part of the NYC Swim series.
They organize swims in the waters of New York to promote awareness that the water is safe.

I saw the Liberty Island Swim on their website and immediately fell in love.
For the distance, .7 miles, it looked kinda expensive at about $100.
No matter. How cool would that swim be?

You needed to qualify with fairly strict requirements last year.
My attempt, a Did-Not-Start for their Great Hudson River swim, left me swimming with disappointment.

But, they relaxed the qualification standard this year and as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I easily qualified with an indoor pool 1-mile time trial.
It was all set.

To the Island
I live about 2 hours from the Statue of Liberty.
My little brother, my kiddos and I left at about 8:30AM on Friday.
Arrived on the New Jersey side, Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey at about 11AM.

I had pre-purchased tickets for the Statue Ferry.

The tickets can also include a walk up the Statue's Pedestal which is the big, stone base.
If you're really special, and you book far in advance, you can also get tickets to walk up to her crown.

When I was a kid, that's what you did.
You went and you walked all the way up.

But, at a minimum, 9/11 terrorist threats and I'm sure other reasons have limited the lucky people that can take that trek.
In our case, we could not enter the actual statue. I only had ferry tickets.
That was OK. Sometimes, upon arriving at the island, you have to wait in line for over an hour to go into the statue. Would rather avoid that. Kids get restless.

If you were participating in the swim and leaving from the New Jersey side, you needed to take the official Statue Ferry.
From the New York side, you could take that same type of ferry, or a private charter boat hired by the NYC Swim group. Many people did just that.

Once on the Ferry, we first visited Ellis Island.
Along the way we saw a pirate ship.

I'll note that on both Ellis Island and Liberty Island, a small pizza and fries can feed 3 people and costs less than $10. We brought our own drinks, but they do have water fountains, also.

Ellis Island could be your entire day.

You can research relatives that arrived on a boat.
The Immigration Station, a really big building, on Ellis Island is a wealth of information within its exhibits.

We had to cruise through it because the kids don't like to stand around and read stuff.
Like stuff about the first immigrant to pass through, 14 year old Annie Moore of Ireland.

There's also an open field on Ellis Island, so we brought and played frisbee.
The wind onto the island kills a frisbee game.

We watched a 20 minute movie about immigrants.
You should watch it.

People so desperate for freedom.
Left their home with $5 and the clothes on their back.
Minimal possessions.
Traveled great distances just to get to a port.
Then to board a steamboat.
Packed on the boat like cattle.
The trip across the Atlantic took 1 week to 1 month.
With little food and drink. And sanitation.

All of that to escape the injustices in your home country.
To go to the new world.
To find fortune.
To find freedom.

If the entire state of Arizona today could just understand what America means to people throughout the world, maybe they wouldn't be such pricks to immigrants.
It's not like we "chose" to be born here.
It just kinda worked out that way.
And most of us Like the USA. Like it enough. (Note: I love the USA, best country on Earth.)

Something like 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island.
But as you may know, Just Arriving on the island didn't mean you would stay.
They could send you back. Or quarantine you.
Because you were sick. Because you were disabled. Because you were crazy.
Even back at Ellis Island, they really only wanted people that could make America better.
Probably not fair. Probably heart breaking. But still worth the risk.

Wow, enough of that.

2 hours later, we caught the ferry to Liberty Island.

You approach the island and everyone is in awe.
To see the Statue.

For the first 10 years. That statue was just glowing copper.
No green oxidation.
Imagine seeing that as you arrived in America.
Gives me chills.

Our arrival was slightly less symbolic.

First I checked in for the swim at the NYC Swim tables right in the main square.

They even had a big container of Vaseline sitting next to the sign-in sheets.
For those annoying, chafing armpits.

Then, we played catch.
Played tag.
Tried to look at Manhattan through those big binoculars that cost a quarter.

Took a ton of pictures of the Statue.

Her name by the way, as I told some swimmers as we waded for the start:
"Liberty Enlightening the World"

So what do you know about the statue?
She was made in France.
A symbol of the freedom that France desired. A political expression.

Her right arm and torch were the first parts to touch American soil.
Sent to Philadelphia for the Centennial Exhibition.
To drum up interest.
To drum up funding.

The Statue was originally raised in France.
But she was headed to America once we got money together to build that Pedestal.

So then she was dismantled, boxed up, and shipped over to America.
Reassembled and there she stands.

There's much more to that story, read about it some time.

About 1 hour before the swim, I changed into my tri shorts.
I still cannot believe they fit me again. Well, fit OK.

Of course every other guy swimmer on the island had the same idea.
And wanted to use the same bathroom stall. Just outside the gift shop. The handicap stall.
Took a while.

Normal visitors were leaving the island by about 5PM as the swimmers went to a pre-race meeting.
Goodles observed that the guy swimmers were wearing "little bathing suits." 

That was funny.
I could not hear a word said during the meeting but it probably had something to do with swimming.

Then, they herded us over to the dock.
There was the private ferry in the dock.

We lined up single-file by number. Do you believe we successfully did that?
I think there were 275 registered swimmers and maybe 250 showed up.

In line, we were issued timing chips, then we gradually filled the boat.
That was unexpected. I figured we would jump right into the water.
Being on the boat was nice as it had started to rain.
The sky looked worse than it really was, but the word "lightning" was spoken many times in fear.

Somebody gave the all clear and we started jumping/being-pushed off the boat into the water.

That took a while.
We treaded water for a bit.

I don't remember a countdown or gun, but we were off.

I got knocked in the face by legs. By arms. By waves.
It was great.

I managed 2 strokes per breath.
I was swallowing alot of water due to the waves.

I got hit in the left eye by a body or a wave.
My goggle flooded.
The water, unlike the pool or ocean, did not burn.
I quickly emptied the left goggle on the fly and pushed ahead.

My goggles flooded again so I pushed them on extra tight. Like suction cups.

Now as you expect.
I'm gonna recommend you do this race. It is heaven.
But be warned.
Every breath.
Every breath tasted like fuel. Like boat fuel and exhaust. Diesel.
I'm blaming all of the idling safety boats around the island.

That taste.
That was gross.
You could not escape it.
And there were 2 flavors. 1 flavor on the first half. A different flavor on the second half. Yuck.
You got used to it.

We swam counter clockwise.
First half of the race keep the buoys to your left.
Second half of the race keep the buoys to your right.

While swimming, you had a decent amount of space to yourself.
I was not being passed by many people. I was drafting and passing.
I try to be careful not to thwap other swimmers as I pass.

Cornering each buoy did get crowded.
I stayed near the buoy.

There was alot of support in the water.
This swim felt very safe.

This swim was difficult.
I was doing alot of work because of the tide.
1/4 of the way, my right foot cramped up. Thanks.
Not sure what that was about.

After each buoy, I'd pause and look up at the Statue. What a sight.
Next time I promise to swim with my camera.

At the halfway point you have to swim around a dock that extends far into the water.

I was way too close to the dock for my comfort because I stayed inside.
It worked out.

Ah, the second half of the swim.
Keep the buoys to your right.
Which meant, keep the island to your left.

I swam close to the island.
It was very well spread out now
At times, I had trouble finding other swimmers to make sure I was on course.
Well. You couldn't exactly get lost, but I do like to follow the pack.

Around the final turn.
This is nice.
My left arm, the inside arm, my hand keeps hitting seaweed.

Why am I hitting sea weed?

I hit the island.
The sea wall must extend out a little bit.
Too funny.
Just a little scratch.

So this is the final turn. The finish is ahead.
You are going to exit up a small staircase onto the dock.

I notice.
I notice my wedding ring slipping off my finger.
What a story that would have been. 
And my obituary.
Slipped the ring back over my knuckle. Whew.

My entire right leg cramps up.
It is now a club.
Thanks again.
I drag it toward the finish and give one final push.
It gets crowded again.

Out of the water.

Up the stairs.


We get a beautiful finisher's medal.

I find my kiddos.
We watch the remaining swimmers on the backside of the island.
HoneyBunny sprays me off with a hose.
Half of it goes in my mouth.

There is a BBQ on the island, but at $25/ticket, we pass.
Wait for the private ferry off the island.
First stop, New York.
We look out the window.

On to New Jersey.
The kids shred up the boat's dance floor. Nice touch.

New Jersey, we are back.

To the car.
Stop for dinner.
Home before midnight.
Long Day.

I'll be back next year.
My little brother won't. He hated the whole trip.
The kids will.
So many people asking HoneyBunny if she'll be swimming the island one day.
She just might. She's got a great backstroke at the moment. It is magical to watch her swim.

My arms, around my shoulders, they hurt the following day.
They had cramped up after the race. Very unusual.
I blame it on the effort to overcome the tide.

So this was a race report.
I was more than pleased with my time.

Finished in the top 50%. And I'm a triathlete. I don't kick. One day I would love to kick.

But for me this was not a race.

This Liberty Island Swim, not a race, was a dream fulfilled.
I am so thankful to have had the opportunity.

I'm also thankful to have Juneathoned today.
1 mile in the dark.

1 day left. Let's go.