Monday, June 30, 2008

Our Sharkfest Swim - Updated with Pics

The Sharkfest Course

This is the actual picture looking at Alcatrez taken from the spot we finished our event.

So, first things first -- we're done. We finished. Its all over. Humongous sigh of relief.

Now, for those of you who don't care about anything other than did we get eaten or not, this is where you can stop reading. No nips, no bites and no bumps. No sharks. Sorry.

For those of you who want all the gory details, who might possibly swim this some day or whatever, here goes:

The day started early, mostly because none of us could sleep. At 6:15am we left the hotel at Fisherman's Wharf to walk the 6 blocks to the Aquatic Park. We spent the next hour going through registration, getting everything set and ready to roll. All our stomachs were turning over and over. Half were going with the 'don't eat anything so your stomach is empty' tactic, while others were approaching the swim with the 'eat lots so you have energy' mentality. Some were just trying not to yak...

(Pre-race Lineup)

After some time, they blew the horn and all the swimmers left the grandstands and walked about 8 blocks in what they called the 'athlete's parade.' Mostly this was just something they called part of the show, when in reality the boats were down at by Pier 39 and we were clear up the street.

So there we were, at 8am, walking in a procession along the Wharf, and I have to say, it was sorta interesting -- 800 people of all sorts, shapes and sizes in speedos and wetsuits, marching down the main drag at Fisherman's Wharf.

Anyways, soon we boarded the boats and found ourselves sitting on the floor as we trawled out to the island. There were hundreds of people, littering every open spot on the ferry. Some were in the zone, some joking with buddies, and others looked pretty freaked out. I'm pretty sure we fit into the latter-most category.

Soon the boats stopped, the doors opened and the horn blasted. This signaled it was time to jump, and start swimming the 200 yards to the line of kayaks that marked the starting line. So, we did. And holy crap. It was cold and there were bodies everywhere. 51 degree water was what we heard. Let's just say, when you hit that, its like someone punching you in the stomach.

This is where we all lost track of each other.

Neither of us had made it to the starting line before the horn sounded to start the race, so right off the bat we were behind the 8-ball. Grrrr. From there, for about the first half mile of the race we both struggled quite a bit. The water was cold and choppy. It was difficult to get a rhythm.

We both stuck with it and eventually hit our strides... sorta. For both of us, this was a difficult swim. Though we'd trained, open water swimming on the open sea was challenging. One trick we had to figure out was breathing. It seemed like about every fourth breath you would roll over to get a breath and catch a swell square on, filling your mouth with tasty saltwater. We figured, by the end of the race, we'd each sucked down about a gallon of seawater. YUM!

The second challenge was we found ourselves getting turned around, swimming in zig zags, and needing to look up often to orient ourselves to our destination. Landmarks were difficult to pick out and with tides and swells, swimming a straight line proved to be very hard.

Oh, and add getting banged around by the other 798+ bodies in the water to the formula as well. That was messed up.

NOTE: The sky didn't look like this for us. This is a picture from last year. It was about 65 degrees, windy and overcast.

At about the 1.25 mile mark, we hit the rough waters guarding the narrow inlet into the aquatic park. Once we'd made it through that, we had about 500 meters left to go. It was the home stretch. There were crowds cheering, and people lining the beach.

At the :54 minute mark, Steff came out of the water, exhilarated to have finished, unassisted, her first ever open water swimming competition. She promptly ran over to her waiting brothers and gave them all high-fives and exclaimed, "We made it! We did it!" Steff totally tore it up.

A few minutes later, at the 1:02 mark, Matt zig zagged his way to shore. He'd made the swim unassisted as well, but was showing a bit more effect. Upon reaching the sandy beach, he staggered up, quite unaware of what was happening. As he walked down the corridor of people a paramedic caught up to him and walked him down the path, making sure he was OK. Later he was quoted as saying, "It felt like the worst case of light headedness I've ever had."

(Matt just finishing)

Matt sat down on the steps for a few minutes, gradually gained his senses back and went and found the family.

When we finally met back up on the beach, we were giddy. All seven family members made it. We were done.

(Post Race Lineup)

We spent the next hour or so hanging out with all the fellow swimmers. They had free hot chocolate, clam chowder and bagels. It was cold, we were wet and tired, but our spirits were super high. We'd done the big one. We'd conquered Sharkfest... and it feels good.

Oh... there was one injury to report: Steff's wetsuit gave her a few problems. Despite rubbing slippery stuff on her neck to prevent chaffing, she suffered some pretty bad friction burns.

Thanks for everyone's support.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy Birthday...Bishop??

I just wanted to take a minute to wish Matt a Happy Birthday today. I don't know if it was the most relaxing birthday he has ever had but it was probably one of the most eventful. We completed our Sharkfest swim (post below) yesterday. We spent the rest of that day/evening celebrating in San Fran with the family. We woke up early this morning and made it over to the airport only to find our fight delayed several times. We finally made into the SLC airport and drove as fast as we could to pick up our kids at my sister-in-law's house. Then we sped home and got ourselves and the kids ready and ran up to the church for a two ward meeting about a ward split to make three wards. We will be part of the new ward (pieces from each of the original wards) and Matt was put in as the new Bishop. Sooooo, it may not have been the birthday he expected (or I allowed to say that?), but it will be one he will probably never forget. We are both feeling a LITTLE tired now and will be hitting the hay shortly. We will be officially celebrating Matt's birthday tomorrow and hopefully it will be a little more relaxing. Happy Birthday hon! We love you!

(Hopefully this post makes some sort of sense. My brain is all over the place tonight. Sorry.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Our 5 Hour Evening at the ER....

It all started so innocently.

We'd just finished our evening swim and were headed home from the gym for dinner. Matt had bought some trail mix earlier in the evening and we were sharing it with the kids on the way home. About the time we hit Springville, Steff looked back and saw Charlie sniffing and sneezing. Upon further inspection, we realized he'd stuffed a half a peanut up his schnoz.

Yep. Full on, peanut up his nose.

So we pulled off the freeway and initiated our contingency plans:

Plan A - Our first thought was to grab some tweezers and fish it out. Well, 5 minutes later, with the peanut climbing up higher and higher, we abandoned Plan A. Plan A - FAILURE.

Plan B - Check the clock. It's 7:45pm. We've got 15 minutes until the walk-in clinic closes.... drive very fast. We arrive as they're shutting down their systems, so Matt gets Charlie checked in while Steff takes Charlie back for the Doc to start digging. When Matt and Winston finally get back to Charlie's room, they find Charlie being held down by 3 nurses and 1 Steff... and the doctor is giving up. He's managed to push the peanut up further and make Charlie's nose bleed. (Not his fault... Charlie is being very uncooperative) Plan B - FAILURE.

Plan C - Emergency Room. Boy... I don't even know how to explain this one. First thing: don't go to the ER after 8pm if you can help it. Seriously shady characters there. We had two visits from police men and some weird folks we got to hang out with. Anyways, at around 11:30pm we were finally admitted. The Doc struggled around, trying to get an eye on the peanut. I was frustrated, since not 30 minutes before I'd seen the stupid thing up there, without the use of any fancy equipment. He couldn't see it and advised we started with the 'old fashion way.' Plug the free nostril, put my mouth over his mouth creating a seal, and blow hard. I guess the object is to try to shoot the thing out like a cannonball. Didn't work. So we went with our next option and they sedated the poor little guy. He was basically like a zombie. His eyes were open but he was not there. While sedated, they routed around, looking for the bane of our ER existence, to no avail. The Doc found jack squat. Plan C - FAILURE.

After hanging out to make sure he came out of the sedation OK, we got out of there around 1:15am. We were tired, and as you can expect, the kids were beat. Winston did pretty good, considering all things, but it was a long night. We were all pretty excited for yesterday to end.

End result: 5 wasted hours, unknown costs, and no idea where the freakin' peanut is.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tick Tock... Tick Tock...

5 days and counting...

oh good grief.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Our Saturday Swim

Let me just preface this post by saying 'Holy Crap.'

Earlier last week Steff and I had a great idea. In the interest of training in as close to a real life environment as we could get, we decided to escape up to a nearby reservoir for a quick swim.

So, Saturday afternoon we loaded up the kiddies, took them to play at my sister's house, and we headed up to Tibble Fork Reservoir, at the top of American Fork Canyon.

It was a beautiful day. The lake was surrounded by fishermen, families hiking, horseback riders, and other recreators. We arrived, surveyed the surroundings, and decided our best point of attack would be on the high side, where the river feeds into the lake. We threw on our wetsuits, scurried down the hill, and walked to the bank where we would wade in. And this is where the pain began....

As Steff and I made our way out to the point where it was deep enough to start swimming, really there was only one phrase that was rolling over and over in my mind: "What the crap, what the crap, what the crap."

I decided to be tough and take the plunge. Oh good grief. It was so cold, it felt like I'd just set my face in a pot of boiling water... that was freezing. I mean, I'm talking pain, severe pain. I got out about 100 yards and I was dying. I can't really speak for Steff, but I was having thoughts of my body locking up and sinking like a rock to the bottom of No-nibble-tibble.

In case you're wondering how cold it was, here's a picture of Tibble Fork, as we experienced it on Saturday (it didn't look like this, but it felt like this looks):

So for the next 40 minutes, we slowly made our way from the river to the opposite side of the lake, and then back. After about 15 minutes, everything not under the neoprene, was numb - dead to the world. We completed a lap (about 1/2 mile) and decided we'd had enough. We'd accomplished what we'd set out to do.

As we were driving away, we started looking around and realized there was snow, really close to the lake. I can't imagine that the snow had been gone for too long up there... and that quaint little river bubbling into the lake was most definitely direct glacier runoff.

To sum up: cold. Cold cold cold. Don't swim in mountain lakes early in the season. They are cold. I don't care what anyone says - cold.

Happy Father's Day to the best Dad ever!

This is a day late but I just wanted to write a little something about one of the greatest Dad's I know. That would be my lovely husband, Matt.

I don't know what we would do without his endless patience, his wonderful sense of humor and all the love, time and attention he gives to us. No matter how busy things get, he always makes sure there is time for me and the kids. When he walks in the door, the kids faces light up and they go running to give him a big hug. They absolutely adore him. He takes time to play catch with Charlie and to teach Winston how to kick his soccer ball. He always has lots of hugs, kisses and snuggles for the boys when they are having a rough day. I'm so thankful they can grow up with him as an example and to have his love and support throughout their lives. I'm also thankful Matt had such wonderful parents that raised him to be such and incredible person. They did an amazing job and I hope I can raise my children half as well as them.

Not only is Matt the best Dad, he is also an amazing husband. We have a pretty dang good marriage and I credit that mostly to him. He puts up with a lot (me) and NEVER complains He's always supportive and helpful and always willing to help with the kids and housework. When I have a bad day, he's a master at calming me down or making me laugh. I can't believe I got lucky enough to find someone like Matt. Before I met him, I wasn't too excited about getting married and figured I was just going to have to do it and make the best of it. When I met Matt, I couldn't believe there was someone I actually wanted and looked forward to spending forever with.

You are the BEST Matt and I hope you had a wonderful Father's Day. Love you!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Brian Regan Update....

For all who are disappointed and didn't get tickets, here you go.

New Date added for Brian Regan: Saturday, August 16th
Tickets On Sale Saturday, June 14th at 10:00am

Good luck one and all.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Our Garden... so far.

The season is upon us and our garden has just started giving back. Last year, you may remember, was our first time with the garden. We had a good time and best of all, we learned a few tricks. This year we scaled back the peppers, threw in some peas, cut out the pumpkins, moved the melons, nixed the cabbage and spread out the tomatoes.

So, at the end of the day, here's a list of what we're looking forward to eating out of our garden this year:

Corn (Peaches and Cream Sweet Corn)
Tomatoes - Big Boy, Early Girl, Cherry, Roma
Snow Peas
Walla Walla Onions
Yellow Onions
Lemon Thyme
Sweet Basil
Spaghetti Squash
Bell Peppers
Jalapeno Peppers

Each of these plants has its own timing, but right now we're raking in the strawberries and we're just starting to get the peas. I've thrown in a few pics to show off what we've got. You'll note in some of them the chicken wire fence around the garden, a new element this year. After watching Charlie play 'Godzilla Takes On Tokyo' through our garden for a few weeks, we decided this was the only way we were going to get it to produce anything... eyesore? Yes. But everything isn't being demolished all the time now so whatever.

Our pea patch

From left to right, Lemon Thyme, Chives & Cilantro (2 plants)

Onions, Basil, Oregano, Bell Peppers & Jalepeno Peppers

Steff picking strawberries

Our first peas

Don't be mad at me!

I just posted the sale date I read directly off the Brian Regan website for tickets to his show. It said June 28. I know this because Matt mentioned we would be in San Fran swimming Sharkfest. We DID happen to find out they went on presale June 6 and public sale June 7, but we couldn't get the word around fast enough before they sold out. I know some people are blaming us for the misinformation but you should really blame Come on now, can't we all just get along? We also heard there is a CHANCE that he might do another show August 16. Keep your fingers crossed! :) Can we still be friends?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sharkfest... Matt's take.

So, as Steff mentioned, we're 23 days until the big swim. Oh good grief.

We just got back from swimming. I finally swam my first mile. Tonight was my first time hitting that milestone. Impressed? Well, 3 months ago you could've been. 23 days before the swim? I'm probably in trouble.

The event organizers suggest that to be prepared for the event, you should be swimming a mile comfortably in under 40 minutes. My mile was a 48 minute mile. Once again, I'm probably in trouble.

Also, I haven't ever swam in open water. I'm told there's a pretty significant difference between the pool and open water. I guess 50 degree rolling seas, salt water splashing in your mouth for 90 minutes, a cross current methodically pulling you away from your destination, not being able to see past your elbow, and being in the middle of an ocean where you can't stand up and adjust your goggles may be a bit different than the training grounds. I should probably go practice that.

So, wish me luck.

23 Days and Counting...

until Matt and I swim Sharkfest with my 5 bros and sisters. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's the 1.5 mile swim in the icy cold waters from Alcatrez to the shore in San Fran. Am I ready? I would like to say yes. Unfortunately, we've been having some problems with childcare and Charlie and I haven't been able to get in as much workout time as I hoped. At this point, I am just going to get out there and do my best and hope I don't drown or get eaten by a shark. :) If I do drown, tell my Mom I love her, man!