Friday, June 25, 2010

Trail Tramper's Delight

Here is more detail about Chad's experience on the trail to get the Jeep and trailer after our sunset kayak on vacation.

The trail that runs across the point to the launch is called Trail Tramper's Delight. This trail was NOT a delight for Chad. After the sunset kayak trip Chad was going to run back to the Nicolet Bay boat launch for the Jeep and trailer. The kids and I waited with the boats and made small talk with a fellow kayaker. Chad came back a short while later and the first words while I was carrying things to the Jeep was, "I think I broke a couple toes." What! It was pretty dark on the Trail Tramper's Delight trail, and Chad was running in his Vibram Five Fingers. He kicked or tripped on some unknown item on the trail and experienced instant pain. The pinky toe was swollen when we returned to the condo. He iced and elevated for awhile and by the next morning there were some pretty colors appearing.

It doesn't appear that anything is broken in the toe. His foot swelled pretty good and the coloring continued to darken for another day or so after the above picture. He doesn't know what he ran into so it's hard to know what caused the bruised stripe down the little toe. Hopefully it doesn't lay him up too long.

Sunset kayak from Nicolet Bay

This trip was pushed off one day due to the storm that passed through last night. We headed out with time to get to Peninsula State Park and put in at the boat launch in Nicolet Bay. In order to catch the best view we planned to head out of the bay and around the point to the north side and in front of the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. The take out would be the kayak launch at the Tennison Bay Campground.

Kevin wanted to try out his sail again, and the wind was in the right direction to help push him into the boat launch. That is until we went around Welker's Point and the wind diminished to almost nothing.

The trip needed to come to a swift finish due to the sun setting behind a bank of clouds at the horizon. The trip timing would have been perfect if the clouds had not been there. Oh, well we still got some awesome pictures. A kind gentleman on the shore approached me after the take out and offered to email some pictures he took of us from shore. How wonderful! Here is a sampling of our pictures, some taken by Kevin!

Final Day in Door County

Being the final full day in Door County, we of course tried to fit in all the things we didn't have a chance to do yet. The plan was for breakfast out, geocaching, biking, and a sunset kayak trip. There were some changes to the plan, but everyone had a good day.

Breakfast was at another new place to us. Julie's Park Cafe, right at the entrance to Peninsula State Park. The kids decided to eat outside, and we all ordered items that we liked very well. I had the Santa Fe Eggs which had hash browns, layered with black beans, eggs, salsa, and sour cream. This layered stack was then encircled with tortilla chips. Not a traditional breakfast, but it was tasty. We will definitely return again.

We then headed into the park to do a multi-stage cache. This may not have been the first one we attempted but was the longest and with the most stages. The excitement for the kids was that there was a prize from the ranger's station at the end. We did not have a trail map, but we managed. We got a little off track sometimes. Some of the caches were tough to spot, but everyone pitched in and helped out. There was a secret password in the last cache that we used at the ranger's station and the kids got to pick out special patches from the park. The trail was not busy, not too many mosquitoes, and the temperature was cool under the trees on this hot and humid day.

Zack is still my littlest guy and sometimes (when he is not acting like a teenager) still wants to hold my hand while walking.

Kevin, on the other hand, is Mr. Independent now. He did a good job leading the way solo.

After the cache, we were going to ride across the Door on bicycle to a coffee shop and cafe. The kids resisted, and eventually seeing that Chad and I were not going to talk them into it, we went down the street to the Egg Harbor Fun Park. We usually go mini-golfing each year, and this year they added go-carts. The winner of golfing...ME! By one point over Kevin.

He's got good form, but I think he missed something.

That's better.

Go-cart racing was won by Kevin. He was first out the gate just ahead of Zack and Chad. I'm not one to excel at this sport, so I just hung back and let them battle it out in front of me. Chad never got around Kevin, and claims Kevin was all over the track not leaving him any room to get around.

The sunset kayak trip was a go, but I will leave that for the next post.

Storm over Lake Michigan

Here are the photos from Chad's phone that we took the night of the storm. We watched it come over the bay towards a county park just south of Egg Harbor. The colors were spectacular.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rain Day

Today was a rain day. The weather forecast called for scattered storms throughout the day. There were storms last night and the rain continued into the morning. The plan was to do our art creation and catch up on some shopping that we still wanted to do(OK, most of the shopping was things I wanted to do, but not all of it).

After breakfast we headed out to Hands On Art. We have gone for years, and our house and yard are filled with wonderful artwork we have created from pasta bowls to fused glass garden stakes. The kids wanted to do ceramic projects so Chad and I started out supervising. Then Chad suggested that I glaze some switch plate covers for my bathroom makeover project. Zack's project was a tiger figurine, and Kevin glazed a triple bowl for snacks in the basement. After the projects were done we wandered the grounds and looked at other ideas for next year.
After some shopping, we went into Fish Creek Market for sandwiches. This is another favorite meal stop for us. They have a great store with lots of upscale grocery products like sauces, oils and dips. In the back is a deli that offers custom made sandwiches with fresh sliced meats. Choices are available for all the sandwich components like, bread, meat, veggies, and cheese. We usually get the sandwiches and head to the nearby park by the Fish Creek Marina. Along with my sandwich I got a drink I had never seen before. Metromint, a chocolate mint water. Sound weird? The boys thought so, they laughed. But it was really good. It is water with mint and cocoa essence. No sweeteners, and the ingredient list is purified water, mint, and cocoa essence. That's it! It was refreshing, and reminded me of a grasshopper. I would definitely get it again, if I ever find it locally.

The sun had come out for the afternoon and we began to wonder if there was more rain coming. We went swimming and then Chad and I walked to the nearby Door County Outpost for some wine tasting. We sampled many great wines and came back with six bottles for home including a chocolate red wine. Not just hints of chocolate either, it looks like chocolate milk and tastes similar to Bailey's Irish Cream.

The plan for the evening was to do a sunset kayak off the shores of Peninsula State Park. Of course then the clouds rolled in, dark clouds. Checking the radar we saw a huge storm front coming in. Instead we headed slightly south to catch a geocache and watch the storm roll in from a county park. The sky was impressive but we forgot the camera. Chad took some photos with his phone but we have no way to get them off the mini SD card until we get home. I'll post those pictures later if they turned out. We ran straight into the storm on the drive back with pouring rain and tree branches blowing down. The brunt of the storm went to the north over Peninsula State Park and I felt lucky that I had a solid roof over my head for this storm. Hope all the campers out there are fairing well this week, it sure has been a wet one.

Door County Vacation Continues

Yesterday we headed to Washington Island to spend some time biking. In my opinion biking is the best way to travel the island. You get right on the ferry with little time waiting in lines and costs a lot less than a car as well. For the price of one bike we can take the tandem with the trail-a-bike attached. Pretty good for transportation for three people.

The day was going to be hot and humid so going to the island with the cool lake breezes was ideal. We headed to see some new sights and geocaching led us to some. We checked out a bluff overview from a little used public access, and found a geocache in the woods. Mosquitoes are pretty non-existent so far this trip (fingers crossed).
After this stop we headed to Schoolhouse Beach with the rocks so rare there is a $250 fine for those caught pocketing them. The boys practiced skipping rocks and cooling off in the water.
Zack commandeered a pile of rocks and called it his territory which he guarded until it was time to move on.
The next stop was the food cart at Jackson Harbor which was a repeat visit from last year. The place was packed today, with the nearby picnic tables all full. There were also several painters setting up to create masterpieces of the water views across to Rock Island. The crowd also made it difficult to log a nearby cache, but we took care of that right as we were leaving.
We spent pretty much the whole day on the island and enjoyed the breezy ferry ride back to the mainland that helped to cool us off from our 23 mile ride.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Vacation in Door County begins

We are up in Door County for our yearly escape to our timeshare unit. The weather has been all right so far, last year was so hot!

Sunday we stopped for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. We have been going for years to the Summer Kitchen after getting a recommendation from a local working at a book store. The menu has changed over the years, but we keep going back for the soup bar. Each day they have five soups self-serve with bread and butter. You can get one cup, two cups, or a taster's cup allowing you to enjoy even more. All the plates and bowls are Fiestaware in assorted colors. Check out the stack of plates at the soup bar. Chad and I also order an Arnold Palmer to drink. This shows up more on menus now, but when Chad first had a glass years ago it was a rarity. The Arnold Palmer is half iced tea, half lemonade (the pink variety here). When they serve it at the Summer Kitchen it retains the cool layers. To eat, I usually get the two cups and that is enough to fill me up. A cup also comes along with most adult meals. My "old standby" is the Spicy Tomato Dill. I have purchased their cook book and will make this one at home occasionally. Chad and the boys had the Spicy Tomato this year and I helped myself to leftovers. I used my two cups for Creamy Mushroom with Rice. And this soup is thick and creamy! I bet it's made with heavy cream, and there are big chunks of mushrooms. Sorry mushroom haters, but I love it!

Sunday night we went to the outdoor theater, The Skyway Drive-In. We have contemplated going for years, but the double feature this time was good for all, so we headed there for the 9:00ish p.m. start time. The first movie was Toy Story 3, followed by Prince of Persia starting around 11:00 p.m. The adult admission was $7.00 so for two movies and the experience it was well worth it. We parked at a good distance to see out the windshield but it was still tough to see from the backseat. We didn't have the necessary gear for sitting outside. We used the FM radio for the sound, and there was surround sound going on. It was a late night though, and Kevin even wanted to give up before the end of the second movie. We told him to drink some Mountain Dew and keep going, as we were annoyed by other drivers leaving in the middle of the movie. Turns out we may not have been able to leave anyways as our Jeep battery was not charged enough to start when we left. Not sure if anything else was running but the radio, but next time we will be more careful or use the outdoor speakers. Thanks to the kindness of strangers we got a jump for our Jeep. There were handfuls of people in the same situation as us, and the couple that helped us out wanted nothing in return. They were doing the same as someone else who helped them out in the past.

Monday was started out with kayaking, after everyone was finally out of bed. Since this was the first time out this year, we started with something close by and easy. From the beach outside Egg Harbor we launched and cruised around the bay. The internet description has said there is a cave to kayak through on the south end of the bay, but we found nothing except for a bridge that was created over the breaker rock. Kevin did get a good chance to try out his kayak sail that was a school project last year. It was until this trip, untested. It worked great. It didn't bend over or fall apart, and it caught a bunch of air that Kevin said was propelling him forward. He didn't have to paddle much, just steer to keep on course. This sail will work well for Kevin, and Chad was jealous that he didn't have one. While Chad and I put gear away, the kids played around on the beach which was not packed like the one in Peninsula State Park usually gets this time of day.
The rest of the day was spent relaxing mixed with some geocaching by Jeep. Bike rides will wait for Tuesday as the sky is looking dark for our bike for gelato ride to Egg Harbor.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wet Weekend

Not a lot to write about, bad weather and prepping for Kevin to head to camp filled our weekend.

The rain started Saturday continuing on and off through Tuesday night, hope the the kids and the cabin at camp stayed dry. Saturday we went shopping twice once for last minute things Kevin needed and a second time after finding he had outgrown his sandals and raincoat. Not to be left out on the shopping Zack hit me up for yet another water bottle. This is why when our dividend check from REI shows up it is big enough to buy some nice gear.

Sunday Jenny and I got in a couple of miles in our VFFs before we had to take Kevin to camp. Google said the drive was about 2 hours and I loaded it into my iPod Touch since I have neither a GPS or smartphone. We had lunch in Boscobel,WI the A&W won the vote of the backseat, clean and fast. Fast that is once we figured out how to order for the phone at the table, only take out orders are taken at the counter. Then we were back on the road for another hour to find camp.

Camp drop off was interesting the Jeep was swarmed by very eager to meet us camp counselors who took Kevin's gear and pointed us towards registration. Oh how I wish we could have skipped the medicine drop off line, it took forever only to be told they had headache stuff on hand anyway. After putting money in an account Kevin can spend at the camp store we walked outside where Kevin meet his counselor and said bye to us. Huh that's it just bye no hug, good I guess I was worried he might be upset. The rest of us took a tour of the grounds on a horse drawn wagon where of course it started to rain again.

The week has been different for me since I can't go run or bike without Zack. This morning after work I ran 5 miles in the dark, not bad sure beat getting cooked in the sun. Sleep is over rate least to a point.

Hope to have more to write about next week.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Are You Crazy ?

My sanity gets questioned frequently by my coworkers when they hear about my cycling or running. This past Monday I had a meeting to attend at the union hall on the east side of Madison so why not go by bike and make it clear that yeah I might be.

The choice to ride was easy but which bike? I wasn't sure if I wanted to ride the rail trail into Madison or tackle more hills by taking the roads. The weather forecast mentioned a possibility of fog which helped me choose my Specialized Tricross for the rail trail. The fog wouldn't be an issue on the trail plus no cars except when crossing roads.

It turned out there was no fog and was rather cool when I dropped the boys at school. Once home it was a quick change into a jersey, arm warmers and shorts. Bike prep took a few minutes and I felt late when I hit the road. I really had no idea if I was late since I had not bothered to see just how far my ride was going to be. The rail trail was uneventful except for the flooded underpass, only 6 inches or so deep, I coasted and pumped the pedals to keep my feet dry. Once in Madison I headed downtown on a city path crossing by UW Madison and looping around to a new to me trail section. I think it was a portion of the Cap City Trail, very industrial area gave way to homes and local businesses. In my rush to be on time I missed seeing a lot but caught more on the way back later. I missed a path access at an intersection and just took the roads for the last few miles arriving 5 minutes late. 30 minutes of meeting and I was headed back home, found the trail section I had missed earlier. The trail from Fair Oaks Avenue to the Yahara river will need to be visited again. Lots to see and of course I had no good camera and my phone was tucked in a baggie in my jersey pocket. I got off track on a road section of the trail and suddenly was on Mifflin street headed to the Capital square.

View Larger Map
One minor sign miss lead to a short block of riding the wrong way on a one way street. Crossing one side of the square got me on State street, no cars allowed and lots of food choices. Well since I carry no lock for the bike I kept riding back through campus and onto the SW commuter bike path. My growing need of food had me off the trail to find coffee and a snack. Coffee shop found with bike rack and outdoor seating perfect.

View Larger Map
Well caffeinated I headed home via the most direct route of busy roads which means boring so that's all for this trip.

My inbound route from Google bicycle directions and the outbound route more or less. My bike was a Specialized Tricross Singlecross running a 42x16 gear and I used m y Garmin 305 to record the trip instead of a standalone bike computer.

Schools out after today so I hope to have some trips with the boys to write about soon.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Madison Marathon 2010

Photo by Kevin, modified on his Nintendo DSi

5:12:09 chip time... what? All my training runs had me aimed at a 4 to 4:15 marathon, what did me in was the weather.

Before I could run I had to pick my race packet up at the marathon expo. The expo was held Friday and Saturday at the Dane County fairgrounds. Once I had all my stuff we looked around and found two things worth mention. First was that the cool tech shirts that had a route map all said "half marathon" on the front, no sale. Second Jenny was able to try on a pair of Vibram five fingers Bikilas, sold.

I woke up at 4:45am unable to sleep. A quick breakfast of oatmeal and coffee while I checked the weather forecast one more time and it was time to get dressed and wake Jenny. The car was packed and ready with my gear plus Jenny's Cannondale mountain bike running slick tires. We hit the road around 5:45 and were parked by 6:15 a block from the starting line.

We got our gear sorted out and I hit the restroom line on the way to the square. After standing around for a bit I returned to the restroom line again then got lined up near the 4:20 pace group. Two times in the restroom might seem excessive but it kept me from being one of many guys headed for cover within the first few miles. The worst guy I saw ran off the street in the first mile to the hedge of an apartment complex, come on plan ahead or hold it!

I moved up to the 4:10 pace group deciding that would be fast enough and only slightly faster than my long training run pace. I was still in denial that the heat would do me in so on I ran. The first clue the heat and humidity was getting bad was my Headsweats hat started dripping on my neck after only 5 miles. Jenny was waiting along Breeze Terrace in the shade to take pictures and cheer me on. It was nice to finally find her, I knew what mile she planned to be in but not exactly where. She popped up again on campus at the corner on Charter St. and University Ave. I was two for two spotting her unlike when I missed her during the Lake Monona 20k.

The heat became more noticeable on the way out of downtown. I had taken a couple salt tablets followed by Tums long before I reached the route split at Tenny Park. Jenny and I almost missed each other as I ran by still with the 4:10 group. I'm not sure what happened but by mile 15 I was feeling terrible and questioning if I could finish. The aid stations and some spectators had ice and that kept me going in a ice, run, overheat, walk cycle back to Jenny at mile 20.

I had sent Jenny a text message that I was off pace and wanted to swap my Amphipod belt for my handheld bottle. She had responded but I had tucked phone away so didn't know where she was waiting. A quick gear swap and a few words and I continued on. The ice, run, walk cycle continued but the walks were getting longer and when I heard the clocks were stopped and was told to walk I was done running. Walking the last 4 miles took forever it seemed and when I went to run the last two blocks my legs were really against it. My parents along with Jenny and the boys were waiting just up the street. The boys jogged along on the sidewalk to the finish where I got my medal. A few pictures and we headed to the cars.

I was fried and glad to be done. The whole clock stopping thing turned out to be false which stinks because I would have pushed for a sub 5 hour had I known. Oh well there is always next time and I may have that race picked out already.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jenny's Marathon recap

No, I didn't run the Marathon this last weekend. But I did attend to support Chad, so I have a version to talk about.

Chad was pretty nervous before the marathon. It was supposed to be hot out the day of the Madison Marathon, and since his taper began there were no long distances run in the heat. He wasn't going to smile for any pictures on the square in downtown Madison before the run, so I've got nothing to show you. It was a beautiful morning, still cool out and the sun was shining. I was riding my bike to various race points to catch glimpses of Chad and help support him along the route. I could not easily cross the course by the square since there were many barricades, so I headed away from the area before the start gun went off. I heard the announcer calling out runner pace groups as they left the square and headed onto West Washington, so I stopped to take a picture there.
My first stop was going to be between 7 and 8 miles in, but on my ride over to that area I thought I may be able to catch the group just before 2 miles so I diverted there. I just missed the group Chad was running in, but I still had plenty of time to make it over to Camp Randall Stadium where I was going to hang out and wait. The half marathon group started 20 minutes after the marathon group and came running on the same portion of route where I was waiting. I think they were only a couple miles in to their run. I was playing with my camera while waiting for Chad and took some "art shots", I like to call them.
Chad and the boys weren't impressed with them but I think they are cool. I like the blurred effect of the legs, which was better on the first sets of runners since the legs in the later pictures were not going as fast.

After spotting Chad, still smiling, at this spot I booked it over to mile 10 coming down from Observatory Drive on campus. I tried out a Gu from the sampler pack, the Jet Blackberry. The first taste was a little strange, very fake fruit tasting. I guess I was just used to the chocolate and coffee flavored gels, or maybe I was expecting something that tasted more like jam. I don't know, but it did get better after that initial taste and I finished it off. I had also been drinking that morning to stay hydrated and it was at this point that I realized I didn't have a lock with me for my sweet ride. I really could have used a restroom, but didn't want to chance having the bike taken from me, so a poor decision was made and I stopped drinking water for the day. I was pretty dehydrated by the time I returned my bike to the car before the end of the marathon.

I headed on to mile 12 by Tenney Park where I was going to station myself until mile 20 looped back to the same area. I almost missed Chad here, as I had just put the bike against a tree and looked for a pace group and there he was running past. I yelled so he knew I was there, but didn't get any pictures. I did have to walk my bike some on the sidewalk to get to the park since the streets were closed and there were people on the sidewalk, so that must have slowed me down enough to be late. I also had to avoid hoses stretched across the sidewalks providing water mists for the runners as well as the Free Beer and Bloody Mary stand providing nourishment(?) for passing runners.

I walked around the corner and found a spot in the shade to wait until Chad's return. Luckily there were no bugs that I noticed in the park, so I had an enjoyable wait. The runners crossed this bridge out and back on the loop. This was a tough part of the course for Chad and many of the runners. They didn't look so happy coming off this loop. It was by now pretty hot out and I think that loop was in the sun. After seeing Chad here and swapping his water belt for the handheld bottle, I took off to the parking ramp to put my bike away.

I met up with the in-laws and the boys up on the square for the finish. The 4:10 pace group was just crossing the finish line when I got there, but Chad had fallen off this pace and I didn't figure I missed him. I couldn't fathom that he had sped back up in the heat. I then learned that the race had been red flagged and the announcer said the clock was stopped, all further results were unofficial and the runners were being encouraged to stop racing and return to the finish. I didn't know what Chad's plans were or how far back he was so we just waited. He had told me the day before that there was no way he was not finishing no matter if they closed the course. By the way, closing the course is not a common occurrence. They did it once before in 2006, but it is not usually this hot in Madison at the end of May. I heard from Chad at mile 25 and he was walking. He finished strong and was smiling at the end.