Saturday, October 4, 2014

St George Marathon

THE RETURN

Well, it's taken me awhile to get my thoughts down, but what an experience!


So, back in January when I ran my first marathon (Houston Marathon), I was able to talk with my Dad about his ONE marathon experience.  I capitalize ONE because his tale is a cautionary tale, one that began, and then ended his marathon desire.

It goes like this.  It was cold, and then started to rain on top of that.  By the time they started, everyone was drenched.  On top of that, it was dark.  Which is usually a good thing.....start early, finish early, avoid some heat of the day.  Well, in my dad's case he started out at what he thought felt like a good solid pace, even though his soaking socks and shoes made it unpleasant.  Well.....once the sun came up a few miles in, and he was able to see his watch.....complete horror.  Marathons are all about pace.  Train, train, train, then go out a bit slow...build on it, and finish as you trained.  My dad had gone out too fast, WAY too fast.  As soon as he saw his pace, he knew he was toast, and he still had about another 20 miles to go.

Then as he is miserably suffering through the long middle miles, his nutrition tanks, and he is looking for anything to help.......some spectators actually had a chocolate bar, which he took, and it helped immensly.  Needless to say, he finished, but suffered from the beginning to the end, and that was his last marathon.


He now tongue and cheek makes fun of us, for all the extra "help" we get along the way.  Aid stations with Gatorade, GUs, fruit, vaseline, and hot and icey rubs.....he implies it is essentially cheating....which compared to his time, A LONG time ago, I could see that (just kidding Dad, it wasn't THAT long ago). ;)

So, where was this marathon?  St. George Utah, in 1983 (I was 5).

Thus.....the return.....


The story of how "The Return to St. George" came to be, is also a story worth telling.

I run, and bike, and swim because I love to.  It's in me now, it's part of who I am.  I don't do it for special events, medals or accomplishments......I do it because I enjoy it, and because I can.  I know someday it will not come as easy, and eventually there will be a day when I won't be able to.  A day when the body will say "no".  And I want to make sure I don't let days in which "I can" slip away.

After finishing the Houston marathon, I got a lot of calls and texts from my family, but one in particular struck a nerve.  He talked about me inspiring him, motivating him, and how he wanted to run a marathon too.......it was my older brother Brian.  He used to run track in high school, and was the fastest 400 meter runner in the family (depending on the brother you ask, and it is arguable, since is it always argued when we get together).

Since then, life has happened, as it does to us all.  I don't think he's ran since high school, and has put on a bit of weight, and health wise has not been too great.  I told him that if he started training, and started running, no matter where and when, I'd be there.  I kinda had a hard time believing him.

Then......he started texting how he was training, and what he was doing to get ready...every single day.  Then Jill, my older sister, was added to the texts right away, and now there were 3 of us lending support and encouragement, then I thought........wow, this might really happen.  Jill had never ran a marathon either, and was hesitant, but said, "if Brian runs one, I'll run one."  Well, she was now in too.  Mind you, she is a Division I All-American and in the BYU Hall of Fame, but she hadn't quite taken on the Marathon distance.  And her issues are a little different, she has blood sugar and insulin problems, which makes it hard for her to do long endurance sports, as it is unpredictable how her body will or might respond....and we're not talking about physical or mental exhaustion, we're talking serious possible medical issues.

After 10 months of texting, encouragement and training.....we really met up in St. George, which we decided to do to bring the marathon story full circle.  We even had the next generation represented, as Derek (Jill's son) joined us to run.  He had never ran a marathon either, and his school schedule really didn't allow him the best training.....and he felt it later. :)


 Of course Dad came down to relive his agony of that day 31 years ago, and he had the shirt (that still fit) to prove it!


The crew, the morning of.  So what could go wrong?  Everybody had made it to the destination, trained, had their gear, and were ready to run....oh, how about Jill forgetting her INSULIN (she found some and bought some, but paid a pretty penny for it), or what about Brian forgetting his racing bib the morning of, and having to go back and get it from the hotel!

I tell you what.  For people who were focused and ready to run, and had trained....their focus was a bit extreme, when you forget some of the essentials! LOL! ;)

Well we all made the bus, with everything we needed, and rode up to the start line together.  I love the time right before big events.  All the energy pinned up and waiting to be released.  The excitement, nervousness, uncertainty, and anticipation.........and then we were delayed 30 minutes due to bus breakdowns (which is unusual since St. George is ranked one of the most well run, and organized marathons).  By this time, we had all separated, and lined up with our respective pace times, but as soon as they announced the delay, I thought "oh man, Brian is in trouble."  He had trained, but the heat had caused him difficulties.  The delay would only make it hotter now.

The gun went off and we were off. I felt great for about 15 miles.  My hill training was lacking, I'm from Houston....the only hills we have are overpasses.  People call this a "fast" marathon course.  Maybe, if you are from that area.  People who aren't familiar with hill running, always talk about the uphills, well the DOWNHILLS are just as bad, and for me, they were even worse.

By the time I hit mile 20, my quads were gone, and beyond that the toenail on my right foot had completely come loose and was pretty painful.

But beyond the pain, the course was absolutely beautiful.  A lot of the "fun" of doing endurance events is enjoying the different locations, crowds, scenery, and surroundings......and St. George did not disappoint, it was amazing - even though it crushed me.

I finished in just under 4 hours (16 minutes slower than Houston in January).  Not what I had planned, but this marathon was more than times, paces, personal goals........it was about family, and 3 others that were trying to finish their first marathons.

After crossing the finish line, I was exhausted, but the first thing that popped in mind was, "Grab some ice cream, and get going back up the course and find Derek, Jill, and Brian."  And so I did.  And that is how I found them, in that order.

Derek was looking strong, and had a great race, especially for his first, with very little training.  If you run into him though, ask him how his knees and legs felt the days after! :)


This picture depicts exactly what I saw when I found Jill.  Completely having a good time, smiling, really enjoying that she was in the process of completing something that she thought she might or could never do.  She was all smiles, and was running behind Natalie Downs (who was also running her first) by only a few yards. It was only after the race, that I heard the story of her blood sugars dropping dangerously low, and being worried about almost missing a very important insulin injection, which her husband Eric was driving around with on the course to meet her at designated spots (team work and family)........what an accomplishment.


 And then I found Brian at about the mile 21 marker, and got to run the rest of it with him.  He was not in the best conditions.  But he was moving.....forward.  At mile 23 there was a time cut-off.  After that, you could take as long as you wanted to finish.  There was a van driving the course picking up runners that didn't think they could make it, or didn't want to continue any more........no way Brian was getting in that thing.

He made cut off by 10 seconds.  BOOM!  And what got him there? I encouraged, but it was his amazing family and kids, who had surprised him by driving in from Wyoming the night before, and cheered for him at different points throughout the race.  As I talked to him about time, and pace, and making the cutoff, and about the people who had quit behind him........he had one motivating factor propelling him forward, his family.  His wife and kids who had watched him train and prepare, and were there to watch him FINISH, not quit.  You would have had to take his legs to stop him, and I don't know if that would have done it either.

 

The final stretch.  His kids got to join in, and finish with their dad, how cool is that?  What a memorable experience for Brian.......but also for his kids.  To finish with their dad who had started something, and finished it.....and they got to be a part of it.  Family, it's all that matters.

 The four of us, post race, with our medals.  I have been able to finish a lot of different endurance races, but his one was different than them all........finishing with family, cheering family, watching family achieve what they thought was impossible.....what an incredible experience!

 

Brian, right after the picture.  He may have laid there all night had we not been so hungry.  we are pouring bags of ice on his feet.  His heal had split open, had huge blisters, and blood all over the place.....with a smile on his face.
And until you finish something you never thought you'd be able to do, you'd think "how can he be smiling?!"  But that sense of doing, accomplishing, and overcoming is so powerful it dwarfs any temporary pain....a memory that will never be taken away! :)

 

 I am sure I speak for us all with the below picture and words:

 

And while in St. George, so close to Vegas.......doing things involving family, how can you not stop and see the grandmother that has been so supportive and instrumental in our parents upbringing, and thus ours?  What a great family I have, and am able to be part of.


And I could not end any of blogs without thanking my family.  To Jamie for watching and holding down the fort while I was gone for the weekend.  It is no small task chasing 4 kids around.  Thank you. :)

PS - There are rumors and initial email chains about Honolulu in 2015 - WHO'S IN?!




Saturday, May 17, 2014

140.6


Journey Complete.


Short Version:

2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run


Long Version:

486 miles swimming, 13,770 miles biking, and 4,860 miles running


Super long, extended, detailed version:

Sometimes the path to your goals does not turn out exactly the way you had planned it, but adapting to the path you find yourself on, is part of the journey to finishing.....not just an Ironman or race, but anything.

The weekend started off well.  I was able to get up to the Woodlands early to register before the crowds, look around, and get a feel of the venue and transition areas.  I usually like doing that before the crowds show up.  That way, I get to talk more with the volunteers, and get their stories and tips, as they have more time to talk to individuals (and some of the volunteers are actually really experienced triathletes who have a lot of good pointers....just an fyi).

 (credit to Kevin)

On Thursday night there was an athlete dinner.  Usually I avoid events like this, but I am glad I went.  I was by myself, so I just sat at a table near the back.  Met two nice ladies from Chicago and a guy from Minnesota.  I told them they lucked out on the weather (low humidity and first time ever the Texas Ironman had been completely wetsuit legal).  You would have thought we had all been friends forever talking, joking around, and telling stories......but that is another reason I like triathlon as a sport, really down to earth people with unbelievable stories (ok, there are some triathletes that are complete a*% clowns, but I think every sport has those....right??).

PRE RACE

The crew.  One last time.



Jamie is a rockstar being able to entertain this crew all day while waiting on me.  And just getting them up at 5AM to come hang with me before the swim start.  Playgrounds are always good too. :)

Just a soothing, reassuring feeling before getting in the may-lay they call a swim start.  This was the real deal though - no wave starts (where age groups usually start 5 minutes after each other, until everybody has gone).  Everybody, all at once.........it was pretty awesome.



As always, some good pre-race advice from this one.  Since I've never had a coach or an official tri group that I belong too, she fits that role for me.  At least from a motivational aspect.


Swim:  1 hour 26 min

Yep, a bit slow.  Didn't get a clean start, and was a little bogged down in the masses at the beginning.  Swim went smooth though, didn't get kicked or smacked too bad, and only had to kick a couple arms off my feet.  First half mile was a little crowded, but I found my way to some relatively "open" water, and settled in.


The end of the swim is pretty unique.  For a little less than the last mile, we swam down a canal which was lined on both sides with spectators.  It was pretty cool to see and hear them so close during a lengthy portion of the swim.


I felt great at the end of the swim.  Not tired or sore.  No cramping.  Felt like I could have kept swimming for another long while.  As I climbed out of the water, I felt really comfortable with my day and the plan I had laid out.

Bike:  6 hours 40 min


And this is when everything fell apart.  No planning or training could have prepared me for what was in store the rest of the day.

I was just settling in and getting mentally comfortable with the long ride that was ahead of me.  Started to get excited about the course I had reviewed online and all the sites I was going to get to see, especially the ride through the National Forest.


Then, as I passed a slower cyclist.......things fell apart - very quickly.

First, when passing you are only supposed to be two riders wide, especially near the beginning, when the lane we are constricted to is narrower.  As I was passing, another cyclist started passing me on the left (making us 3 wide), which I was fine with - until the biker on the inside, who was going pretty slow, had no one in front of him, and had no one to pass.  He started drifting left - I had nowhere to go.  He bumped me, and that was enough.

This is what it would have looked like, with me in the middle (and the two behind not so close):



From just getting settled in and getting comfortable, to skidding across the asphalt/concrete at 22 mph.  Probably skidded about 10-15 ft.  I distinctly remember while skidding, tucking my head, and thinking to myself, "Please.  Let it be a bike and not a car that hits me."  When I stopped skidding, I was amazed that I was not hit by either a car or a bike.  As I stood up, I started to take inventory of myself.  Amazingly, nothing was broken.  Nothing felt cracked or fractured.  My whole right side was scraped up pretty good though.  Arm was pretty bloody, helmet saved my head (J got this close up the day after).


Once up, I started to look around for my bike (unbelievably no one else fell or was effected by the wreck).  An officer who was helping with the race had my bike off to the side of the road, a good ways away.  As I walked back to retrieve my bike, my thoughts turned to how my day was going to end.  All the training that I had put in for this day, to have it end so early into the bike. I was so sad, discouraged, and frustrated with how my journey was going to end.

As the officer handed me my bike, he asked if I needed medical attention, I half heard him, as I was trying to figure out what was damaged on my bike (as I was sure something was): wheels, spokes, cables, chain, pedals, gears.  As he asked me a second time, I hadn't noticed any significant damage other than the chain had come off.  I respectfully declined the medical attention, and told him I thought my bike might be "ok".  I fiddled with the chain a bit, got it back on, spun the peddles, and everything seemed good.  I told him I was going to ride it for a bit and see what happened.

He had seen the whole thing, and was as shocked as I was that I wasn't seriously hurt and my bike wasn't damaged.  It was an uncomfortably long ride.  My right side was pretty beat up, but it was the pain behind my right knee that bothered me the most.  Must have landed on it awkwardly at some point during the wreck........but I was on my bike and riding - I had gotten a second chance.  At that point, I was thankful to still be a participant, and all my meticulously laid out and calculated plans had changed from specific times and goals for certain miles on the bike and run to..........just finish.


 I love biking.  I was excited for the 112 mile bike ride.  The bike course was absolutely stunning and beautiful.  But on this day, I was really thankful to be off the bike (as in dismounting and racking, not as I had earlier found my way off the bike).

Run:  5 hours 42 min


Humbling.

I had run a marathon back in January to get a feel for the distance, and had done alright for a first timer (3 hr 43 min).  But there was nothing kind or comfortable about this marathon.  I take that back.  The course and fan support (mainly along the river walk, which was a good portion of the race) were amazing.  The best I have ever seen.

You know it's never a good sign when you hit mile 3 and know your body isn't fully functioning properly.  At that point I was determined to do whatever it took to finish AND fully enjoy every moment of the final hours of my journey.  So on the first two laps, I made sure to stop and talk and hug and chat with my support crew for a minute or so.  I think the kids really enjoyed that.  And it gave me a little relief from my right knee. ;)



Big shout out to J and the kids, and Jamie's Dad and Mom and Deesh coming to cheer me on!  Much appreciated and needed.  After I passed the crew on lap two, they headed to the finish line, and I had about 10 lonely miles to figure out how I was going to get there.  Pace and cadence came in key.


(the expression explains a lot)

The back of my right knee that had bothered me biking, became noticeably more uncomfortable each mile of the marathon, until about mile 17 when it was just a tad on the painful side.  Miles 17-26, took me places I didn't know existed. Part of the allure of Ironman, to me, is to test your limits.  What can you really do?  What is your body actually capable of? The marathon I ran in January gave me a glimpse of what it was like to have your body tinkering on completely shutting down physically, these last 9 miles gave me a glimpse of what was mentally possible.

Mile 17 to 18 consisted of me arguing with myself to "just finish.  You could walk the rest of the way and easily make the time limit." and my other voice saying, "This is it. Leave everything you have out here.  You already missed your goals, your body is beat up from the bike wreck, but don't just do enough to finish.  Give it a good honest final effort.  Find your limit."

Miles 18-26 were about 12:30 min pace, which is all I had.  It was almost like after making the decision to sell my body out, my mind completely shut off.  I couldn't feel anything, not the pain in my knee, not the sore legs, nothing.  It was almost like me, watching me.


Incredible.


The crowd, the excitement, the noise, the atmosphere, and the finish were all more than I had even imagined.

video

And all of this for one last medal.  A medal that will forever hold a story, a journey, and experiences I would have never imagined.  While the medal may be tangible, it is the intangible stories and experiences of triumph, trial, discouragement, improvement, support, and accomplishment that will always be the true value of the medal.  What a journey.
 

Thanks for all the love and support.


Special thanks to Jamie for bringing the kids each time to my races and corralling them during the races, just to see me for a brief moment and a high-five here and there.  To Jamie's family for coming and helping her with the kids and cheering me on in the warm weather.  To Ryan and Chad for riding with me super early on Saturday mornings - you two would have loved the bike course. And to my family who followed my every moment online and by texts with Jamie.......must have been close to 100 texts I read through eating dinner after the race.


Deesh and the kids eating pizza, where's mine?  That would have tasted good around mile 20! ;)

p.s.  While my journey is complete, I'll still be keeping in shape for marathons or half Ironmans, so if anyone gets the urge - give me a call and I'll be there with you. :)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Oceanside 70.3 Triathlon


After my LONG (as in distance - Houston marathon) detour from my journey, I returned to the plan......and found myself in Oceanside, CA


My journey was never intended to be such a long road, but the more I dabbled in the sport, the more it got its hooks in me, and the more I found myself taking just one more step on my journey.........next stop May 17th, Woodlands of Texas (my first full 140.3 ironman) - and suddenly you find yourself doing things you thought were completely impossible.


First things first.  Can you go to So. Cal. and NOT stop at an ocean-side pier for some fish and chips?  The answer is no (also had to get me a couple pounds of smoked salmon after the race, that is another must do).

 

So. Cal. has it figured out though.......playgrounds literally right n the beach.  We went down to check out the race venue, and ended up staying all day as the kids played on the playground and beach and in the ocean all day.......what a set-up!  Well done Oceanside, well done.

 

 Seriously, could I actually type anything to describe their joy better than the picture depicts up above?  They loved every minute of that playground/beach set-up.


Sam did awesome in her big race too.  Sometimes Ironman races have an Ironkids race the day before, and Sam loves racing in those......really, she likes the medal at the end, but who doesn't? :)

 

 She did great.  Alayna was going to join her, but after all the fun on the playground/beach, Alayna had already crashed for the night in the stroller......and we do not wake sleeping toddlers. :)


There is something that just seems so right about this picture.  Pre-race T1 bike rack.  Just seems to catch the moment of every tri morning before the cannons go off, and all that anxiety and anticipation starts to slowly become realized.


My support crew is the best. Sam giving me some pre-race advice and strategy tips, while trying to figure out how much money was spent on "all those bikes." :)

About those bikes.  Big shout out to Endurance House in Oceanside, CA.  I shipped my bike from TX to CA for the race, and didn't bring any bike equipment except a spare tire kit.  Picked my bike up and my gears were all messed up, and my left crankarm was loose and about to fall off.  I know it happened during transport because I had literally rode my bike to the shop to drop it off the day of transport, and it was running smooth.

Endurance House took time to look at my bike the afternoon the day before the race, and got me all worked out and in tip top shape for race day.  The bike ran smooth.  Great shop, great people, great service...even to an out of towner they may never see again (although if I am ever in the area, I'll go buy something there everytime). 


Pre-race family pic ops.  Jamie is awesome.  Getting up early, and bringing all the kids.  It's good to see them, and get to a good quiet motivational mind set, before all hell breaks lose during the open water swim.



Luckily the swim start also had a play ground area right on the beach, which helped Jamie entertain so early in the morning.


The transfer of gear has occurred.  The mornings are always a little bit cooler, and Sam likes stealing all my pre-race clothes and putting them on as I take them off.


Swim: 40:21

You know, my swim time is not really improving.  But that is mainly do to me trying to get ready for the full IM in May.  All my swimming sessions are for endurance and yardage, and not really time.

The swim went fairly well.  I positioned at the front outer edge again, to stay away from the free for all at the start.....which worked well.  The problem with that strategy is that if you are not careful, you could end up swimming a lot further than everyone else as you are out on the edge on all the turns (kinda like a race track.  Starting in lane 8 is not horribly bad, if it is just for a straight away, and then you cut to lane 1 at the first turn, not ideal, but not all that bad.  The problem is if you stay out in lane 8 for the whole race, then that's bad.).


I was doing great until I ran into the notorious zig-zag swimmer.  Guy couldn't sight worth......well, he had difficulty let's leave it at that.  Hard to get around those guys as you usually get bumped or smacked by them a couple times before getting by and clear of them.  Seriously, the buoys are huge florescent colors.......gigantic.


T1 6:41 went slow.

Remember in my past posts about how much I like the wet suit rippers?  Every race I've done, they've been there, and I didn't even think twice this time.......but alas, no rippers.  Well, although it didn't go terribly bad....my appreciation for them has only grown more fond.  They are awesome. :)


Bike 2:50

Bike was awesome.  Love biking.  The first part of the bike was pretty flat, and slightly down hill, with the coastline and ocean off our left-hand side for probably about 20-25 miles.  The views were amazing.  The whole ride was in and out of Camp Pendleton (a marine military base), which was pretty cool to see, and probably not a sight most people ever get to see, since it is usually closed to the public (but they open it for the 70.3 race each year).  Some of the marines were out cheering and lending their support......what I do (racing and just my general work) is so incredibly not important compared to what they do for us.  I appreciated their support that day, but more so their life of service for me, for us.


I knew there were some hills on the back half of this race course, and had been forewarned in my research.....and knew where they were mileage wise.  After coming up a shorter hill (not one of the main talked about hills), there was a guy at the top, talking to a Marine volunteer about how he had trained for "that" hill.  I started to laugh a little inside, knowing "that" was not the hill.  As I rode by, I heard the Marine say, "You are in trouble if you think that was "a" hill!"  Might of laughed out loud a little.

There were hills.  Over the summer I was lucky enough to have a chance to be able to ride over the Teton Pass, Pine Creek Pass, and the Alpine Pass.....all substantially bigger than any of the hills I was sure I'd see.  And they were, all bigger, and steeper.  But that mind set did not give enough respect for the hills California rolled out during this 70.3 course.

I recently got a new Garmin bike computer, and have been using it on my local rides around Houston, Texas.  I set my Garmin to auto shut off, if I dropped below 10mph.  If I'm not going 10mph, I must be stopped at a light, slowing for stop signs, or just starting or finishing.  Well, I didn't even think about the auto shut off until I was about half way up the first big hill.  Everyone was crawling, some were even walking their bikes up.  I was making small talk with some of the riders about how Houston only had little man-made hills........just then my Garmin beeped.  It had auto shut off.  My computer thought I had stopped! LOL!  I told everyone, "Ah man, I'm going so slow, my computer thinks I quit."  Everyone got a pretty good chuckle, which we all needed, as the hill ate us up.

All in all, the bike went well.  Pretty happy with that time for that course.


T2 3:36

Pretty slow......that's because I couldn't find my number to rack my bike.  I was lost.  Luckily Jamie and the kids had come with me the day before to drop my run stuff off, and they were yelling at me as to where my bike should be racked,  Pretty comical.


Run 2:04

Some days you just know it's not going to happen the way you planned.  Felt great off the bike.  Fueled like I wanted to, and was set to have a good run.  For the first mile I felt great, right where I wanted to be.  LOL! (for 1 lousy mile)

Not that I completely fell apart, but I could feel my legs twitching...quads and hams, but nothing serious, but way too early to get that feeling.  That stuff usually happens later in the run.  So from that point it was maxing what I could do, without aggravating anything that could completely shut me down.  Held to 8:30min/mi for awhile (wanted to be closer to 8:00), then slowly got ate up by the sun, slow rolling hills, and the steep ramps they had on the course.  I finished with a 9:30min/mi pace, which is not were I wanted to be, but was shocked it wasn't closer to 11:00min/mi.....because that is what they felt like at the end.


Did I mention Jamie brought reinforcements this time?

My support crew was second to none.  Dad and Janice were in town, Nate and Brittany and their son Noah (even baby Eli came) live there, Gail and Andy and their two daughters Summer and Dawna were there, and Jill and Eric and their son Ryan and daughter Erika were there too.  It was pretty fun having them around and seeing them throughout the run.

Ok.  In all honesty, we were all there for Nate and Brittany's new baby Eli's baby blessing on Sunday the day after my race......but hey, they still made time to come cheer me on during the run too.  Jill is working on putting together the distances for a half ironman (olympic is her next distance, but I keep trying to put the bug in her ear for a half), and when she gets there, I'll be there. :)

 


Some of the crew post race.  Jamie appreciated the help, and I appreciated the familiar faces throughout those 2 hours.


Is any race complete without a medal?  Hey.  Sammy got one, so I had to go get one too.  The feeling of finishing is awesome, the feeling of finishing with so much family around is unforgettable......more people to share the moment with.



Now, I'm only missing one medal from my collection, before it's complete.



What do you do at a California post race?  Beach of course.  San Clemente beach to be exact.  Hung out there a couple hours just taking in the scene, and enjoying the beach and company.  Cousins are awesome.


Come on.  Is this not a classic pic of Summer.  She owns babies.  Putty in her hands.  Even our crazy, full of energy kids.


A walk with Grandpa and Grandma Janice.  On San Clemente beach, where all the older kids grew up playing and hanging out.  Crazy how things seem to always come full circle......over and over and over again.


The real reason everyone was in town.  Eli's baby blessing.  What a great Sunday it was with family all around.  Nate did a great job.  Nate and Brittany did an awesome job hosting everyone. And if you can't tell......Alayna was super excited - the whole time.



What is a trip to So. Cal. and not taking in Disneyland?  We don't know, and we don't want to find out.  Sam and Alayna loved it, and danced and messed around all day in both parks.....witness picture two, they just fed off each other....bunch of posers.  Peyton slept through most of it.

It was really nice and relaxing, non stressful, get off our legs type of activity Jamie and I needed after the race weekend...........well.......Sam and A loved it, so mission accomplished.
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