Saturday, August 21, 2010

Penelope's First Climb

Today we took Penelope rock climbing for her first time! We have 'bouldered' with her a little. At a park here in Redmond they have boulders with holds on them. She likes to climb those but today was her first time with the real thing.

Yesterday I picked up a kid sized harness from work. She's been asking to go climbing for a long time (months and months she's been asking). Today we decided to do it. We drove to Smith Rock State Park, only about 20 minutes away, picked up the guide book and a year pass to Oregon State Parks and away we went.

Penelope was very excited and had to carry her harness herself. It took us a little bit of scouting around to find the area. Then we had to wind our away around and climb over boulders to finally make it.

I set up a top rope on what I think was a 5.4, harnessed her in, gave her a talk about safety, how to climb, and sent her on her way. She's a natural. She jumped right onto the rock and started climbing. When she'd hit difficult spots she feel around and try things out. The highest she ever got was maybe 15 feet off the ground but she was stoked!

Fortunately she weighed enough and there wasn't too much friction in the system that when we lowered her she actually came down (we've actually seen little kids that literally won't come down because they don't weigh enough and someone has to climb up and pull on them to get them down).

Jessi got to climb as well. She was also stoked because it's been forever since she was able to climb.

It was an awesome evening, we got to go out as a family and do the stuff we love, the surroundings couldn't be beat (watch the video below to see), we climbed, we hiked, we had fun, and we had huckleberry ice cream on the way home. Man it felt good to get out and climb, even though it was easy, and do it with my family. Climbing is one of Jessi and I's favorite past times together.


Last Saturday, August 14, I ran my first triathlon ever. I did it on a whim. Four weeks before I learned of the spring tri that the city of Redmond puts on (this was the second year) and I thought to myself "what the heck. I can swim, I bike, and I run, I might as well." Jessi has been telling me for years that I should run tris but I just never did. I have thought about it in the past but never had the motivation. With this sprint tri the distance was 500m swim, 12 mile bike ride, 5k run. I figured I could come off the couch and race that.

My training consisted of:

  • Three days in the pool (workouts were about 2000-2400 yards)

  • One long road ride, two long MTB rides, and daily bike commutes

  • Three 30 minute runs

That's it. I had no real goals other than push myself and see how fast I could do it. I didn't really do any advanced prep. I read a little bit on how to do transitions and how to set them up, but that was it. Since the swim was in a pool there was staggered start times based on your time to swim 500m. I said my time would be 9:30 or maybe it was 9:45, which ended up putting me in the third to last wave to start. I got there at 6:30 am to set up my transitions and had to wait until 9:45 to actually race.

When the swim started I started out strong, focused on swimming long, and kept a pace that I thought I could keep the whole time. As it turns out I swam the leg a lot faster than I thought. I pulled out of the water and crossed into the transition area at 7 minutes 56 seconds (I was surprised). As it turns out I had the second fastest swim time in the tri and the third fastest including the teams. No idea how that happened.

My transitions were slow. My first transition too me 1:58 or so which is fine. Very slowed compared to the people who were in and out in 30 seconds. My bike was pretty good. I'm not the strongest road rider, I don't really ride road. I passed one guy and was passed by four others. I think I kept a good past and almost chased down the last guy who passed me. I finished the bike in 34:32. The bike was only a little painful. I wanted to keep a strong pace but then trying to chase that last guy done worked me pretty good. My second transition was also okay. This time it was only 1:15, still slow but oh well.

Then onto the run and the pain. By this time I am tired. It's getting hot and I don't like running on paved surfaces. I'm a snob and I only like trails. Oh well, what do you do? I had high aspirations for the run which I quickly learned weren't going to happen. I reminded myself that my overall goal was to push myself and see how I did. I jammed a gel right at the beginning of the run and a bunch of water and in the first two minutes I wanted to heave. Of course I didn't but I wanted to.

My pace was okay. My legs felt very stiff and I didn't feel like I was flowing. The halfway point perked me up a little and I picked up the pace. By the end I felt a little less stiff and felt like the run flowed but it still wasn't that great. I finished in 25:09 which isn't that great for me. I was hoping to keep it closer to 22 but what do you do?

Overall I finished the entire tri in 1:10:52. Not too bad I thought. I gave it my all and I felt good about it. As it turns out I finished 2nd in my age group, 12th overall, and was only about 8 minutes out of first place. Completely surprising.

Overall it was a pretty good time, I liked it a fair amount, and would consider doing another tri, but only if it was swimming in a lake, mountain biking, and trail running. Not sure I want to commit to a tri training schedule though. Good times.

Jessi was very supportive and encouraging (thanks honey!) and she brought the girls to cheer me on at the transitions and at the end. That's my favorite part, seeing my girls at the end.