Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas, 2013

Christmas, 2013

Dear friends and family,
We hope this Christmas season finds you happy and well. Finally, we are in our new home. We love it – the river rippling in the sunlight; the great horned owl hooting in the evening; even the work raking, gardening, and planting.

I’ll start with the difficult news. Barry’s father, Cecil, passed away in May. He was a gentle, funny, loving man, a great father and husband. This November, Barry’s mother, Mary Kay, joined Cecil in Heaven. Mary Kay was an amazingly patient and generous mother of five, a woman of faith and grace. We will miss them always. This picture is Christmas, 2012.

After the Ironman, Ann decided to go for a real challenge: she returned to Carmel Catholic faculty, teaching five sections of Church History. 140.6 miles seemed easier at times! Ann visited her Mom once a week and loved planning and planting the new house gardens. Ann struggled with training through winter and the May move, but hit the bike/run/swim hard in summer.

In March, Barry took an early retirement from Mondelez (name of split-off international Kraft Foods). He stayed in Florida to host the kids on Spring Break, then joined Ann up north. Barry registered for Ironman Florida, the Steelhead half-Ironman, and Augusta half-IM. In June, an unfortunate bike crash and collarbone fracture derailed his training. First 6 weeks, no training. Next 6 weeks, limited to riding his road bike on a stationary trainer in the basement. He did this with dedication, up to 3 hours at a time. In August he was cleared to run and swim, so back to Florida.

We skipped Steelhead, but went to Augusta. Along the way, we stopped at St. Augustine, St. Simon’s Island, and Savannah. In Savannah, we saw our new grandniece, Charlotte! So sweet.
Barry had a great race, a personal best by 58 minutes; Ann improved her time by 15 minutes. Both enjoyed the push of Savannah River current for fantastic swim times.

Ann returned to Chicago for a week, visiting her mom and Sherpa-ing for Chris’ Chicago Marathon. Despite his rigorous class Georgia Tech classes, Chris managed to train and broke 4 hours in his third marathon. Kayla and Amy drove up, and Barry checked in via Skype for a celebratory family dinner.

November 2, 2013 found Amy, Ann, and Baker Buddies, Lynn and Mike D’Asta cheering Barry’s Ironman start.
The swim was intimidating with agitated, 10-foot breakers. After an outstanding swim (2.4 mi), he hopped on the bike and we retired to Waffle House for some well-deserved sustenance and rest. His bike (112 miles) was long and blessedly uneventful.
We greeted his return and cheered him onto the run. Barry endured the 26.2 miles and finished an IRONMAN at 15 hours and 10 minutes. We thank all for the wonderful support and encouragement throughout that day and for our fundraising mission, the Boomer Esiason Foundation for Cystic Fibrosis research.

No Ironman for either of us in 2014!

Amy started her second year of dual-language teaching at Dawes elementary in Evanston. She loves her students and work. Amy and her boyfriend Kenny adopted a Bernese Mountain Dog – Karma – who is the same age as Kayla’s Kaner, but will be three times the size. She is a gentle, sweet, playful giant, bounding about our property with joyful abandon. Amy is a cupcake master with such intriguing samples as bacon with maple frosting, pink champagne, and eggnog with spiced rum frosting.
Amy completed her first Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons.

In May, Kayla graduated with her Master’s of Science in Athletic Training. She happily accepted a position with her undergraduate school, Albion College and was assigned football as her first sport. We watch the games on the web and cheer (circumspectly, we don’t want it to seem we like athletic injury) when she runs on the field to care for a player.
Kayla started a family after graduation – Kaner, a mix-breed Australian Shepherd-hound mix challenges and delights her. Kayla ran her first marathon at Disney in January.

In addition to marathon training and biomedical engineering studies, Christopher enjoys swimming and lifting. He plays piano for the Sunday night Mass. He is constantly on the go, and is even involved in a start-up project for a student-invented medical device.

Our best wishes, prayers, and hopes for you that this year was one of grace and mercy, and that the next be blessed with faith, love, and laughter. May the peace of Christ bring you joy and encouragement each and every day.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Looks like I will be able to participate in the Augusta 70.3, so I'm being a lot more diligent about my training.

As a consequence, everything I own hurts.

Nevertheless, once I commit, I commit. Today I had a long run scheduled. No problem - weather looking good, with a break in the heat.

Last Sunday, when I went for my long bike ride (50 miles), I discovered I only had one GU (a nutritional gel with calories and electrolytes), no Gatorade. I made-do with the GU, seven fig newtons, and an FRS energy drink.

On Monday, I placed Amazon order for GU and Glide (anti-chafe stick). We are Prime members, so the Wednesday package arrival was perfect for my long run.

Last night, lying in bed (BTW, took five minutes trying to determine if I was LAYING or LYING in bed), I realized I missed my dog's barking cacophony when the FedEx man arrives. Turning off the alarm, I searched the porch, around the porch, the sides of the steps, and out by the garage.

No package.

Checked Amazon. Somehow my package missed the truck, so would be delivered Thursday instead.

Arghhh...went to sleep wondering if I had a race gel sample or two tucked away.


Nope. No gels. Not in my backpack, not in my gym bag. Not in my race drawer, not in my work bag.

Walked the dog - 67 degrees, humid, but fine.

I have created a LOT of excuses during the past months for avoiding workouts, but today I am determined.

I decide to MacGyver some nutrition.

I need a base, some electrolytes, and some calories.

I put the FRS drink in the blender (I would like to appeal to FRS at this point not to sue me for inappropriate use and promotion of their product).

Turned on the blender.

Removed the center lid plug to add ingredients.

Added 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Turn over the honey jar, and begin to add honey.

In high school, Mr. Vermillion was the Chemistry and Physics teacher. From his classes, I remember two things:

1) It is a known scientific fact that hair is as long inside the brain as outside. More girls were now in science classes because boys tangled their brains by growing long hair, like the girls.

He was joking.

He was bald.

2) ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS check the lid on a chemical container before using or pouring. If the user before you did not tighten the lid, a chemical spill could occur.

Sorry Mr. Vermillion. I failed.

The honey lid was not tightened. As I was the last to use the honey, I have only myself to blame. The lid went in and chop, crack, cringe, crunch.

I filtered the mess with my sieve, then went back to it, this time forgetting to put the lid on before turning on the blender.

I created quite the sticky mess.

Amazingly, I ended up with about 10 ounces of mixture. It didn't taste badly.

Have you ever picked up a new gel during a race and thought, "I need a gel. It's not my brand. Many people use it. How different can it be? I'll be fine. I need a gel..."

Then the nausea begins.


I did run 10.2, my longest run of the season.

I did burp a lot during the miles, was queasy and uncomfortable. I probably drank about five ounces full strength total.

At the half way point I have water access, so I dumped most of the remaining concoction, diluted a couple ounces with water, and alternated at the point between water and diluted nutrition.

I fought through the last two miles, some cramping and fatigue.

And when I got home?

What awaited the mad scientist?


Curse you FedEx.