This week Tim has been pretty busy with homework. He worked all day Monday and Tuesday to finish some assignments that were due. Wednesday he finished up the last of his work for one of his classes. He has completed the whole class and earned himself a 100%. Not bad. He has one more assignment to finish up for his second class and today is the last day of the semester. So he is almost finished. He has worked really hard on his classes this summer. The good news is that he has also really enjoyed his classes. I take this as a really good sign that he has made a wise decision in his choice of Masters degree. A few years down the road I think he’ll be able to find a job that he loves.
Monday we were able to spend some time with the Jensens, my sister Carmen’s family. I started out the morning by swimming with Spencer and then came home and jogged with Carmen. I played some pretty serious rounds of Disney Sorry with Aja and Anna. I opted to sit out of the Littlest Pet Shop and Memory games though. Later in the day, the Jensens went swimming while I ran some errands in Idaho Falls. It’s so nice to just be able to go pick something up from the store when you need it. That is something that I totally have taken for granted earlier in my life. In just a week I won’t have that luxury anymore.
For family night we went to the cemetery to visit the graves of my sisters and grandparents. My mother told stories about them while we listened. Not a bad night. Thanks Carm for the suggestion for family night.
Tuesday morning we were able to have breakfast with the Jensens before they headed back to Seattle. It was good to see them one last time before we return to Alaska.
Tuesday evening Tim and I went to see a movie in celebration of him finishing his homework for the day and because we wanted to fit in a movie before the summer was over. We went to see the Avengers. I must not have been in much of a movie mood perhaps because it was kind of late. I wasn’t too impressed. It had been talked up a lot, but I didn’t think it was anything special.
Wednesday Spencer and I went to do a practice swim for the last time this summer. I don’t consider myself a very skilled swimmer, but I have improved a lot this summer. I started out with only being able to do one length or one lap of the pool before I had to take a break. I also couldn’t do more than 1 lap of front crawl in a row. Wednesday I swam 300 yards twice and both times I did front crawl the entire time. I 'm not fast, but I can do it. Too bad I won’t see a pool again for 9 months. Spencer is going to keep practicing and be able to cream me on the swim.
I finished up some last errands on Wednesday, including mailing a box to ourselves. We try to do most of our shopping in Anchorage because the shipping within Alaska is subsidized, but occasionally we’ll pick up some things in the lower 48 that we need. Most of the time, we pack suitcases inside of empty suitcases when we leave Alaska so we can buy stuff and come back with more. I wasn’t that smart this time though, so we we had to mail a box home. In Alaska you can mail a 70-pound box for roughly $23.00. That’s not bad and it’s a good thing too when you’re mailing 9 months worth of groceries. The box I mailed from Rexburg this week weighed 37 pounds and cost $42.00 to mail.
Also on Wednesday I did a little bit of work for Alaska FSA (families supporting adoption). I agreed to help out a little with the blog posts. If you’re interested you can read the post I wrote. I wanted to talk about some of the things we can do to move forward with adoption. This post is particularly about opening your mouth: http://alaskafsa.blogspot.com/.
Thursday Spencer and I did our last training for biking. We just did a short 6.5-mile ride. Afterward I went for a run. I did 1.7 miles in less than 13 minutes. I figured that I could do the Layton Triathlon in about 1 hour and 23 minutes plus my transition times. Competing in less than 1 hour and 40 minutes was definitely going to be doable.
Thursday evening I jumped a little bit with Sarah and Kathryn Mickelson and Evan Dunn. It was fun to jump a little. I’ve realized that I’ve lost a lot of the strength in my arms though. My arms, sides, and ankles have been a little sore since then. It’s amazing that I can do a triathlon and not get sore at all, but I jump for about 20 minutes and I’m sore for 3 days. Sarah and Kathryn came over to my parent’s house afterward so we could eat some pizza together and hang out with Tim. As always, they kept me up past midnight. They never let me go to bed before midnight.
Friday morning Tim worked on homework, trying to get as much finished before we headed to Utah. I went to the temple for one last time this summer. I decided to do initiatories because I haven’t done them for years. I was happy to have that experience. I am going to make sure to do those more often. Sometimes it seems like a given to do an endowment session every time you go to the temple, but I think it’s good not to forget the other parts as well.
Friday Tim, Spencer, Emily (Spencer’s girlfriend), and I left for Lisa’s at about 3:00 pm. When we got there she had our race packets picked up for us and dinner made. She’s a great hostess. All four of her kids, Spencer, and I were racing the next day, so the living room was full of race bags ready to go.
We left for the race on Saturday morning just after 6:30 am. Greg, Dani, Victoria, and Valerie showed up to the race to cheer us on. It was fun to see them. Spencer, Ethan, and I raced in the sprint distance (300 yard swim, 5.5 mile bike, 1.55 mile run, repeat). Leslie and Anthony raced in the mini sprint (300 yard swim, 5.5 mile bike, 1.55 mile run). Alex raced in the kids’ triathlon (100 yard swim, 1 mile bike, 0.44 mile run). Spencer finished in 1 hour and 27 minutes and took 3rd place. Ethan finished in 1 hour and 41 minutes and took first place. I don’t know Leslie’s time, but she took 2nd place. Alex finished his in 14 minutes and 35 seconds. My time was not quite what I wanted.
My swim went all right. I don’t know my time, but I think it was probably between 8 and 9 minutes, which I was expecting. When I got out of the pool I just thought, "man, I really don’t want to get back in the pool again." Usually I push myself through the swim thinking that as soon as I’m finished swimming I don’t have to do it again and I get to bike. But, on this race, we had to get back in the pool after we biked and ran.
I got on my bike and started riding away. I really wished that I had ridden the course before, because I didn’t like not knowing the route. I was a little nervous about the route not being clearly marked. (Lisa’s warnings of this race being poorly organized were worrying me.) About a mile into the ride I was feeling a bit more confident about the directions, so I kicked it up a notch. Then I came to a part where I was riding on a walking path and noticed ahead that bikers were on the road. There was no way to cross over to the road but to ride over the weeds between the two. I didn’t like the idea of riding over the weeds, but I didn't see any other options. I passed a guy that was stopped to fix his flat tire. Bummer.
Soon I came to a T in the road and there were no arrows drawn on the road. There was an orange cone in the middle of the road, but the sign was facing the other way. I looked around for other bikers in hopes I could see where to go. I saw Spencer riding toward me from the right, so quickly turned that way thinking he had reached the turn around area and was coming back. He started shouting at me that it was the wrong way, so I turned around. Spencer stopped to turn the sign around and we continued on. Spencer even shouted at the next group of volunteers we saw that the sign wasn’t staying put, but he reported on his second bike around that the sign was blown backwards again and he had to stop and fix it a second time. By this time, we were about 4 miles into the bike ride when I realized I had a flat tire. I didn’t have any supplies to fix a flat. I was totally bummed. I wasn’t going to stop though. I asked the nearest volunteer if they had anything to help me with, which they didn’t, but they leant me their phone. I called Lisa and she said that she didn’t have anything either, but told me if I made it back I could use Leslie’s bike for my second bike ride. So I decided to jog the rest of the bike route while pushing the bike. It was only another 1.5 miles. I knew that all hope of placing in the top three was gone, but I was going to make the most of it anyway.
As I was jogging along, I came across another lady with a flat. Turns out it was her first triathlon. Her husband had bought her all the supplies she needed to fix a flat, but hadn’t taught her how to change it. I stopped to help even though she protested that I would ruin my race time. I just frankly told her I wasn’t going to be much of a racer with my own flat tire, so I might as well help her. Thank goodness I watched Lisa change a flat a couple weeks earlier, because I hadn’t ever done it. My memory wasn’t perfect so it took us awhile to figure it out, probably about 20 minutes. She didn’t have a new tube, but she had some patches. We got it all patched up and she filled it with her CO2 cartridge, but didn’t get her valve closed up before all the air leaked out again. Darn. Now what? I told her she could jog the rest of the way with me, but she was wearing riding shoes. About then a man pulled over on the side of the road and asked if he could help us out, “I’m not a creep,” he said, “I work at a bike shop.” It was technically against the rules to accept help from someone outside of the race, but I figured since at this rate we were coming in last and second to last that no one would care much. He replaced the tube in the lady’s tire and then she let us have some patches to patch up the tube in mine. There were tons of thorns in my tire from the weeds I crossed over. He patched it 3 times and wasn’t confident that it was going to stay inflated, but told me I could probably make it the 1.5 miles I had left. Just then, the friend of the first lady stopped on her bike. She was on her second time around, but also had a flat. At that time the first lady and I took off while our bike shop man helped the third lady fix her flat.
I told the first lady I just decided to switch to the mini-sprint. I knew that most sprinters would be finished soon and I didn’t want to make hundreds of people wait while I did my second round. It was a good thing too, because my tire was flat again before I made it the entire 1.5 miles back and Leslie’s tire on her bike was also flat. I passed at least 4 other people that had flat tires before it was all said and done. (In case you ever sponsor a race, do not create a route that goes over weeds with thorns!) I put my bike up and went out to do the 1.55-mile run. Of course, the path wasn’t marked well and pretty soon I was running completely in the wrong place, but I had no idea where the right place was, so I just kept running, thinking that maybe I could make my own loop back. Truth is, I really had no idea where I was. I passed some residences where the kids were playing outside. They cheered me on and the dad asked if I was winning, which I replied, definitely not. I crossed an intersection where we had biked and asked the officer stopping traffic if I was going the right way and he said he had no idea. I ran on for a few more minutes and then I yelled to a biker asking if I was going the right way. They stopped to give me directions. (Which was very kind of them). I turned around and jogged back the way I came, past the officer who said no other runners had come by him, past the kids that said no other runners had come by him, until I made it back to a spot where I had missed the turn and finally saw other runners. I finished the run in about 23 minutes, which tells me that I ran about twice as far as I was supposed to. I crossed the finish line instead of doing a second round and just told the people taking care of scoring that I had switched races. I came in 6th in my age division. I haven’t seen the official results yet, but I have a suspicion that there were only 6 racers in my age category. Needless to say, I’m very happy that I raced in the Stansbury Triathlon last week and that this was not my only race this summer. I tried hard to stay upbeat about the whole thing, but I won’t be doing the Layton Triathlon again next year. I will definitely look for a different race and invest in the equipment to change my own tire.
Check out pictures from the race: Layton Triathlon 2012
After the race we kept with Black tradition and we went to eat at Burger King. They were having some sort of party there. Ice cream cones for $0.25 and free face painting. I think they meant the face painting to be for the kids, but all us adults did it too. They even had a wheel you could spin to get a prize. Valerie won some cool bling: huge plastic gold chain and a burger king medallion. Now, all I needed to do was win that bling and I would have a medal like Leslie, Ethan, Spencer, Anthony, and Alex. I spun the well and got the square that said . . . “Loser”. Well, uh, thanks for rubbing it in. At least I got a butterfly painted on my face.
We got to hang out with Greg’s family and Valerie a little longer at the Black house before they had to take off. Soon after dinner, Spencer, Emily, Tim, and I left for Logan to see our friends the Mickelsons. I helped coach/mentor the jump rope team in Logan for a couple of years when I was in college. The Mickelsons had four kids that were on the team at the time and they always let me spend the night at their house when I went down. I spent a couple of nights a month with them for 2 years. We were sad that their daughters weren’t there (they had to grow up and go to college and, in Emily Mickelson’s case, get married). It was really fun to see JoAnn and Mick and the boys though. I figured since Sarah wasn’t there I could go to bed early, (her goal was to keep me up past midnight every night I was there even though we had early morning practice) but Mick made sure to keep me up until midnight since Sarah wasn’t there to do it herself. (Way to make me fell at home Mick.) This morning JoAnn made us scrabbled eggs and pancakes. I felt spoiled. We left by 9:00 am so we could make it back in time for church. Now we're at my parent's house trying to soak up the last few minutes of family time with the Harts. Next week we'll be writing from Togiak.