Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Let me preface this post by saying that I want to compete in a triathlon.  Not one of the olympic-sized ones (I'm no crazy person), but a sprint-one.  Those of you who know me may already be chuckling, because if my friends had to come up with a list of adjectives to describe me, 'athletic' wouldn't even make the top 50.  Or 100.  I've been a bit busy for the past 8 years gestating, birthing, or parenting these children o' mine. As my mother often hears me say, "I am a mother of three."

Mark my words, I will do a triathlon in the not-so-distant future, but for now I will live vicariously like an annoying stage mother through Jackson, who participated in IronKids, his first athletic competition, this past weekend. 

At Jackson's age level, IronKids consisted of a 50m swim in Boulder Reservoir, a 2 mile bike ride, and a 500 yard run.  Apart from Sam taking him up to the Reservoir a few days prior to check it out, Jackson didn't do any training.  We wanted to keep it fun, and told him that he was only competing against himself and that simply finishing would be a huge accomplishment.  Besides, we figured there would be plenty of crazy-fit Boulder families who do like three triathlons every weekend, after scaling some fourteeners and doing some ice climbing.

The morning of the race, we pulled into the parking lot at the Reservoir and were conspicuously one of the very few cars without a bike rack and lots of other very athletic equipment-holding devices. 
I pinned Jackson's bib number on his shirt, Sam applied some sunscreen (or skwunskween, as Kenyon calls it), and we did some required Sharpie-marking of his age and bib number on his legs and arms.  Then we stood around amongst lots of sinewy, spandex and other high performance synthetic-wearing people trying to look as if we do this kind of thing, you know, all the time.  Jackson wore his swim trunks and his swim shirt, but there were tons of kids in those tri-suits. 

Jackson in his white swim shirt among the other IronKids
Jackson exiting the water in his white swim shirt

Now, I've mentioned before on this blog that I've got some weird crying disorder, and almost from the moment we arrived I had tears in my eyes as I watched the older division race.  As Jackson lined up with his group near the water's edge, I wanted to puke with nervousness and excitement.  And then he blew me a kiss, so of course I welled up with tears again.

For those of you who aren't hip to triathlon protocol, they stagger the kids' starts so there isn't a full-on stampede into the water, and each kid wears a timing chip on their ankle.  As the kid begins and ends each event, they run over a mat that records the time.  Jackson did really well in the swim, ranking 23rd out of 136 kids in his division.

After running up the path to the transition area, Jackson flung off his swim cap and goggles, threw on his sneakers and helmet, and hopped on his bike.  We couldn't see him for the vast majority of the bike race, but we cheered him on as he rounded the corner back to the transition area to start his run.  He was right in the middle of the pack for his bike portion, placing 66th out of 136 kids.  Later, he'd say that the passing a few kids during the bike race was his favorite part of the whole thing.

The run was also hard for me to get a good view of (especially while running around everywhere with Kenyon on my hip) but we caught him coming down the home stretch.  Running was the hardest portion for him, coming in 102nd out of 136 kids.

Overall, he came in 60th out of 136, which is solid, and he had an absolute blast.  He's looking forward to competing again next year, and maybe by then I'll be one of those sinewy moms with the ultra-high performance athletic gear.  Maybe...but I wouldn't bet on it.
Me with Alex, Kenyon, and Jackson with his hard-earned medal

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Plantation 2010

Summer, why hast thou forsaken us?  Somehow I blinked and I now find myself in mid-August, wondering where the hell this season has gone.  I would be remiss if I did not capture some memorable summer experiences on this little blog o' mine by at least tossing together a hodge-podge summertime post, but some things simply demand a post of their own.  Nobody puts Plantation Tree Farm in the corner, so here are some pictorial highlights of our annual trek back to my heaven on earth for a long weekend of family camp at my father-in-law's 500-acre redwood tree forest in Sonoma County, CA.
hanging out at High Trees camp...
Pete shimmied up the tree to make a swing for the kids.  He also made a few adjustments to the tree to make the giraffe Thalia imagined come into clearer view...
the giraffe!
The kids loved balancing on the slack line Casey set up...
the boys found a scorpion
Al Pal
Martina and Casey and their girls road-tripped out from Colorado!
Kenyon and Lucia
the lovely outdoor woodburning stove-heated shower
side of the shower/washing station
John and Ama (and Moe) prepping breakfast
Martina, kiddos, and I out for a hike
heading down to Ed's house

visiting the horses in the pasture
Ed's chicken coop, inspired by the Russian folktake Baba Yaga
hanging out by the koi pond in Ed's garden
free range kids
free range kids, part 2
exploring Lake Oliver
who knew goats were so adorable?
we visited Plantation Farm Camp down the road and were able to help make a human chain to herd the sheep for shearing
shearing a sheep
There is no other place I'd rather spend time with family and friends, and I'm so glad the boys will grow up with these experiences indelibly printed in their psyche.