Saturday, November 21, 2009

Winston's 1st birthday

This is Winston. On October 31st, he turned 1 year old. Happy Birthday Winston!! Enjoy your Birthday steak. Daddy made it extra special with a candle and a bow. He also hopes you love your party hat with butterflies and flowers on it!

Dan and I welcomed little Winston into our lives as a Christmas present from his parents last year, and we really believe he is our little boy, thus, it was mandatory to have a mini-birthday party. Dan even surprised me with this little get-up!

Winston even received several birthday cards. His favorite card was from his best friend AZ (my parents' dog, see previous posts!). She sent him a card that he could chew up!

He really wanted to go to the park, but we made him wait very patiently, and he wasn't too happy about it. At least he got to wear the party hat.

Daddy had to go get his hair cut, so Mommy took him to the park. We had sooo much fun!!

What a pretty fall day!

The first part of our journey was through the forest. This is Mommy's favorite part!

Next, we went to Jersey Hill. This is fun to run!

please zoom in on this about pure joy in running!

Next we went to the Creek. This is Winston's favorite part!

Photo op! What a beautiful Vizsla!

Now it's time to head home. Sunsets in the fall are so pretty!

After 15 days of rain or so, the park was pretty muddy...and so was Winston. So now it time for a birthday bath!...he was PISSED!!!

lol winston loved dad saw this and busted out laughing...a BJ!!!

A little late, but Happy Birthday!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bridal Shower #1!

Hi my name is Laura...some of you may remember me... :)

My life is very busy! Lots of excitement since my last post...
  1. Yes, I completed Ironman Canada. 7th Ironman! 12:57. Not very happy with my performance. It was a beautiful race, it was tough, it was a great experience. Just not my time to shine.
  2. New job - I love teaching and working in the lab!
  4. WEDDING PLANNING!!!! wow, it's so close!
  5. Winston of course :)

  6. Getting fat :) Haha. No really, this is first SERIOUS break from training/triathlon/structured exercise in like 5 years. I'm getting back into a "prep" training mode now, but it's reeeeaaally pathetic. :)

But anyways, you'll hear about all these wonderful life happenings in blogs to come :)

Right now, I would like to share with you my wedding shower #1 from last weekend!

The majority of Dan's family lives around here (Bloomington-Normal), so his mom and sisters offered to host a wedding shower for me down here. Most attendees were ladies from his family, my awesome co-workers at Illinois State University!, some home crew (Mom, Kiki, Ama, Michaleen), and my bridesmaids!

Adrienne, my Maid of Honor, and Dan!

My bridesmaids - 1! Laurie had to leave early before pics were taken! Leslie (Dan's sister) is in the back, Singeli is in the pink bottom left (My cousin!) Then Adrienne and Margaret!

Such a ladies' man.

The morning started off with a great bike ride with Margo! She is an AMAZING athlete, watch out IMOO next year- she's got some MAJOR unfinished business. We rode on the FRIENDLY roads out to Danvers (unlike our last ride), no dog incidents, just some high heart rates because we get too fired about about some conversations...hahaha, gotta remember it's base-training now!! Weather was a perfect fall day - 50's, sunny, pretty leaves... :)

Dan and I getting the first glimpse of the real wedding invitations!

Since I am notorious for "comfort and efficiency" it is RARE to see me dressed up. However, my mother "forced" me to go buy some cute clothes for my shower :) Thanks Mommy! I went a
little overboard with the make-over though, i.e. dying my hair BLACK!! not intentionally. No worries though, Dan was totally into Ashlee Simpson during her punk-rock phase so he loves it :)
Tea party!

The party was so cute - Dan's mom and sisters planned a "tea party" theme, so every table had its own real tea set and lots of delicious flavored teas!
Margaret and I enjoying tea. :)

They also had some yummy sandwiches and veggie trays (my favorite!), salads, and tasty little desserts. As you can imagine, Margo and I were very happy to partake in the feast after our ride!

We played a couple games- a wedding word scramble..and my i-phone junkie mother found a word-scrambler app...YES AN APP FOR WORD she totally cheated.

Everybody received some Mardi Gras beads with our wedding colors (black red gold) and got to steal beads from others if they caught anyone saying "Laura, Dan, Bride, Groom, Wedding". Yikes. I had some very pretty white loooong beads that were stolen by my co-worker Karen's daughter Cassie b/c I couldn't resist saying the love-of-my-life's name!!

There were also two poster boards with pictures of Dan and I from when were very little- through teenagers, and everybody had to guess our ages in the pictures. I did terrible! I guessed 3 of my own correctly, and 2 of Dan's. Oops. Again, Cassie WON this one!! Maybe the youngens are better at identifying people their own age?
Dan...super cute.

I really did feel special - all these people came to this shower to help celebrate our upcoming marriage - they took time out of their day to not only come celebrate, but to get a card and a gift for us too!

Holy cow, we received so many wonderful gifts!! Lots of dishes and fun things for our kitchen, and LOTS of wine and cheese accessories! NICE!! We are so excited to put all of our new things into our new house...Karen and Betty said that after 10 years of marriage you should be able to throw yourself another shower, because you need all new stuff!!

Only 2 months left of the year, but wow it's going to be exciting!

Monday, June 29, 2009


Best weekend of training EVER!!

I can't find my camera charger, so no pics from the weekend...sorry! But you can check out pics at the EVO TRI site or at Simply-Stu's! (links below)

**Sorry, I can't get the links to work right...

WIBA, or the Wisconsin Ironman Brick Adventure, is an AWESOME organized training weekend put on by Team EVOTRI, which consists of some fantastic bloggers and athletes in the triathlete community, including IronWil, RobbyB, Simply Stu, Rural Girl, B-town's Chris Sweet, and several others!!!

This training weekend is held in Madison on the Ironman Wisconsin course, and the organizers do a fabulous job of creating a fun, motivating training atmosphere!

I was lucky enough to have Tom W. (also doing IM Canada) and Damon D. (awesome IMer, but no Ironman this year) come up with me for the weekend (THANK YOU!!!) and we rolled into town and to the Coliseum Bar/Restaurant where the Friday night dinner took place. There were 50-80 people or so that came out for this event! Delicious catering for us, only $20. Robby B and Chris talked about the IMOO bike course, with detailed descriptions of the course and effective racing and nutrition strategies. They also answered LOTS of questions from first time IM'ers coming out for the weekend. It was also awesome to see that the comeback queen Cara Sweet came up for the weekend to have some fun training on the course sans baby...she is an inspiration! She goes and qualifies for Boston and PR's in like every race within a year and half AFTER having a baby!

Saturday was the BIG started off with a swim in the lake. We coudn't swim in the actual IM portion of lake (waterski practice) so we ended up at Olin St. Beach...water was REALLY warm, like 80 degrees. It was nice swimming in open water, but we had to swim through a sea of algae out to clear water, then on the way back. Ick. But it was good mile swim. I need to swim more. I will never get better if I only swim like, twice a month!

After that, Tom and I rode out to Fireman's Park (13 miles) where the whole group was meeting to start the ride (distances varied -1 or 2 loops, etc.). Damon drove out so he could just do 1 loop and skip the pain of the 2nd loop (no Ironman this year for him! Next year we will make you suffer!!) Weather was fantastic - hot, breezy, and overcast. 1st loop went well - pretty challenging pace for me. After my ice cream treat last night I jokingly said I would ride Sauk hill 4x...didn't do that the 1st loop! 2nd loop was rough- wind picked up a bit, fatigue set in. Luckily, Tom was patient enough to slow down and pull me through the whole loop!! The only condition was that we did Sauk 2x the 2nd loop! Annnnd we did...ouch! I like that hill though - it's long and you can grind up it, it's the NEXT hill that's killer steep! Oh, and that twisty downhill part of the loop (well before Sauk hill...)- I'm feeling a lot better about handling descents - less braking, more confidence. There's no way I will be taking those things in full tuck 40 mph Natasha Badmann style, but maybe I won't wear out my brake pads so quickly...

PS toughest hill of the day...the sneaky bitch on the way back home!! It doesn't even look that bad, but my legs were so smoked by then, I was inching forward in my tiniest gear while Tom was 200m ahead of me haha!

106 miles down, 3 miles of running to go! Damon joined us for this (his 2nd run of the day!) We smoked it at sub-8 minute miles. Rockin'!

We finished the day off back at Fireman's park, where Steve in a Speedo was grillin up burgers and brats of all sorts!! After a long day of sugary gatorade, gels, and bloks, a salty, mustardy boca burger and chips hit the spot! PS...beef jerky on a hot ride is my favorite- 900mg of sodium in one serving, and the protein fills you up when gels and gatorade don't cut it!

To top it off...Tom, Damon, and I met up with Chris and Cara and some of Chris's teammates at Culvers for some ice cream! A well-deserved turtle cheesecake waffle cone hit the spot!

Sunday morning came quickly, and after some biscuits and gravy (thanks Tom aka Iron-GUT for the healthy inspiration) Tom and I started our morning jogging to Terrace to get some pre-group run miles in. We were planning on getting around 16 miles in for the day. We met Damon and the rest of the WIBA crew at Monona Terrace, and again, the EvoTri crew gave us some tips and advice for the IMOO run. Some people were running the full loop (13 miles) while some were running the loop to State street then heading back (about 7-8 miles). Again, great weather. It was cooler, around 65-70). AWESOME run. Tom and I stuck together, and ended up running Sub-9 miles the whole time. Felt strong on the Observatory hills, and it was a good moderate effort the whole time - not too easy, not too hard. On the way back we weren't with a group and got lost (found some more hills, geez!) we ended up with 20 miles for the day!

YAY! Great training weekend in the books! On the way home, we stopped at Endurance House in Middleton, where Evo Tri organized some running seminars and discounted shopping. Fun Fun! Chatted with Simply Stu, Robby B, and Rural Girl- found out their BIG TEAM RACE next year is the REV3 IRON-DISTANCE at CEDAR POINT in 2010...CHECK IT OUT!

Over the course of the weekend I was also able to chat a bit about TRAKKERS (website isn't quite up yet-still in development! Perfection takes time!), and how awesome this device is going to be once it's on the market- imagine being able to trak your athlete on an Ironman race course so you don't stand in one spot for 3 hours waiting/wondering how fast they are going, if you misssed them, etc....or if your athlete is on a 100 mile training ride and you can see exactly where they are at, how fast they are going, etc...or if YOU are on the ride and you start to get pelted with hail and you can hit the "panic" button to get help ASAP! Can't wait for my next chance to test it out!

Train on! 'Tis the season!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Horribly Hilly Hundreds!...OUCH!!!

Today I went up to Blue Mound, WI to experience the "rolling countryside" that Wisconsin has to riding the Horribly Hilly Hundreds! Check out this excerpt from the course description...
"The course is hilly — horribly hilly — and manages to find every famous climb in the area, including Barlow Road, Pinnacle Road, and the last 3.5 miles and 900 feet up tortuous Mounds Park Road, into the park and all the way to the top of the mound (just to mention three of the more than 40 significant climbs)."

I chose to do the 100 kilometer course (0ver the 200 kilometer course!) due to:
  1. Being a wimp- not confident in my training, fitness, or 27 cassette! (They suggest you bring your 29 or MTB gears!!)
  2. My wonderful mother chose to ride up with me (left at 3:30AM from Roselle this morning for 7AM start in WI...bless her heart!). I didn't want her to wait like 8 hours for me to finish!

Beautiful, hothothot day! The course is NO JOKE. There were ALL kinds of hills- long, short, steep, gradual, windy, pot-holley, hard, and HARDER!!!

With every "up", there was a rewarding "down" though! I am normally the biggest WIMP with descents - I sit up and make myself a human parachute, grab my breaks for dear life, and end up going slower on the descent than I did on the climb! Well, not really, but I am usually freaked out going 30 mph+. Triple T and REV3 helped me out with my bike handling and descent confidence and handling ability, and I think it's been paying off - I was actually having FUN on some of these descents!! Had to watch out for potholes though!!

As far as the climbs...seriously tough!! I secretly like hills though -I love that pain!! There were very few sections on this course that were flat and enabled you to get a was mostly up, up, UP, UUP,DOOOOOOOOOWN. The long, gradual hills I could do all day (rpm 50-70), but there were about 4 hills that were so STEEP that if I let up just a LITTLE BIT I would have fallen off my bike!!! We're talking rpm <>

As far as bike gear, I don't know what I have on the front, but I have a 27 cassette, and that was BARE bones quads are still jello. I was POUNDING on my pedals in my smallest gear going 5mph (3mph at an all-time low) while some fat old ladies spinned on by me with their triple chainrings.

I ended up taking a wrong turn and re-doing a loop, adding about 15 miles to my route, I ended up with 80 miles for the day, averaging 15mph...sounds slow, and it is, but I am damn proud!

The last few miles were KILLER!! Miles of climbing getter steeper and steeper (and me getting more and more worried about falling off my bike) until there was finally a brief break, a turn to the final ascent to the finish line, and I saw my mom! That gave me a big push...which I needed, since the LAST climb was probably the STEEPEST! 1/2 mile later I was DONE! Just beyond the finish line I was greeted byt the Culvers tent, who provided a delicious chocolate frozen custard cone for me!!

I'm so happy that I never fell off my bike or had to walk it up any hills...I would say that I saw 20+ people doing that! Also, the volunteers and food at this event were great - the aid stations along the course had a great spread of food, suntan lotion, icy rags, and bike mechanics!

Great training for IM Canada! Looking forward to riding this course again (either this year for Insane Terrain or HHH next year!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Told You So...

Yesterday was a LONG DAY. It started at my parents' house in Schaumburg at 5AM when we got up, then we drove back down to Bloomington to get Dan to Horton by 8AM to teach his golf class. The day ended up being sunny and HOT (88-91!) and I was pumped to go biking after work in this summertime heat! However...when I was getting my bike ready, Dan told me that the weather radar he look at online said that storms were going to come through soon...yeeeeeeah right. Dan also looked at the radar and it said that it was going to storm this morning. It did NOT. Besides, the hour-by-hour forecast looked great until 10PM. So at 5:45PM I headed out.

As I biked east, I noticed I had quite the tailwind...I was going 27 mph with very little effort...that's going to be tough coming back! Hmmm, the forecast didn't say it was going to be THAT windy!

When I turned, I noticed that it was no longer sunny, it was actually quite overcast. Huh. I didn't pay too much attention to it though, since I was able to handle my bike so well in the nasty crosswind thanks to Chris Sweet and my new bike fit he did for me 2 weeks ago!

I did another windy stretch, and coming back from that was AWESOME - 30+mph, 100rpm, listening to PitBull-Krazy and Rihanna-Disturbia was fun!

When I got back to the home stretch, I had about 15mins until I reached my car. I immediately knew I was in trouble - the sky was black, and the headwind I had now was quite treacherous...then it started raining (no big deal)...then raining HARD with even TOUGHER wind (still, I'm tough...) then it started HAILING. Uh-oh. I'm in the middle of the country, no shelter nearby or anything! So...I call Dan to pick me up, and he was already on his way, since he was taking a nap and was woken up to sound of hail pounding our duplex!!

So I had about 10 minutes til he got there, I was so thankful but this still SUCKED, since the hail was big and PAINFUL! I stood at the side of the road facing east while all the hail coming from the west pounded my backside. Then a REALLY NICE GIRL pulled over and offered to drive me anywhere; I told her Dan was coming, but I would definitely appreciate the shield her van provided from the hail!!! So I stood outside and talked her to her while waiting for Dan. Everyone, her name is Amy... and she sells Partylite!!! Visit her website or come to the Partylite party I will be having soon!!! THANKS AMY!!!!!!!!!

Then my knight in shining armour arrived in his silver Mitsubishi Mirage and rescued me!! Haha. It was still storming crazily when he got there...however, just as I was about to take the wheels off my bike so it would fit it in the trunk, it stopped hailing and raining...we were able to take it apart and squeeze it into the trunk without Dan getting soaked!

What an adventure! ;) We finished off the night with some Italian Blend Pasta, whole wheat bread, Sesame Thai Dipping Oil, oven-dried tomatoes, and Italian-Seasoned chicken while watching the last episode of Harper's Island online.