Time To Fly

 Life is full of amazing discoveries. Adults say "think outside the box" . I say explore beyond your play mat.

 This week my Mom shared with me her love of playgrounds. We discovered I could swing. Sing it. I can fly. I can fly. I can fly.

How does the song go? She did not know that she could not fly, so she did.

Signature playground maneuver back hip circle followed by a cherry drop. Don't forget to stick the landing.


Chicago did not disappoint. As you can see from the first picture I was a little apprehensive  upon arrival to the airport. I had never traveled by airplane before or stayed at a hotel. I didn't know what to pack, what to wear, or even which toys to bring! Then I thought of the song by Raffi "All I Really Need" . It sings like this "All I really need is a song in my heart. Food in my belly. Love in my family. Oh yeah. Love in my family. " Once again better if you actually hear the song the way Raffi sings it but you get the idea.
As you can see the night life in Chicago is spectacular.

 I did some window shopping at showed him the souvenir I thought we should take home. Wouldn't that copper tub be perfect for my bath?
Chicago is full of vibrant and wonderful flavors. Call me watcha wanna but don't call me a picky eater. Can you believe it was both my Mom's and my first time eating at an Indian restaurant? I must be very advanced. Mmmm, it was tasty. It's fun to get dressed up and go out every so often. As you see my Mom just stripped me down to my diaper and sat me on a towel to feed myself at the hotel. How undignified.
My Dad's review course lasted 11 hours a day. During that time my Mom and I were all over that city. Taxi? Who needs a taxi? The L train? Well that's great for getting into the city from the airport. Once you are in the city you really can't beat your feet for sight seeing.

BTW! Chicago is not called the windy city for no good reason. On our first day of sight seeing it was 39 degrees with a windchill off Lake Michigan that was cold. Brrr! Good thing my "Helicopter Mom/ First time parent/ Late in life mother/ Over protective Mom.com" or whatever you want to call her packed me a snow suit. Lake Shore drive has 18 miles of paved paths for biking and running. Can you say Run Mama?

During a run along the Riverwalk I had my 15 minutes of fame. Ok, it was more like 5 minutes. Probably edited to 30 seconds, but who cares about the details. My Mom and I were running along, at a fairly good pace, because it was flat, we had a tailwind and only 2 miles to go and....my Mom really wanted a tall skinny decaf latte from Starbucks, or is it a tall decaf skinny latte? Say that 5x fast. Anyway we got waved down by the Chicago 5 news crew and they interviewed us regarding what we thought about funding a project to clean up and improve the Chicago River and surrounding parks and paths. I am all for that seeing as it would probably benefit my adventures during future visits.Besides I don't pay the taxes to support it.

Our hotel and convention center was attached to the Mart Plaza and Luxe Home. This was very convenient because while my Dad studied ortho I was able to see the design show rooms of all the best in home design. I found him the perfect shirt to wear. It is a total one off seeing as it is made from tile. My mom said it would make our luggage overweight so I had to leave it behind.
Wandering Grant Park while we waited for dinner was spectacular! I love mirrors. See if you can find me? It's like where is Waldo? Except my outfit is more like Gumby's.

Seriously! Is this city great or what?
If you have not had Chicago style deep dish pizza you have missed out!

 Stuffed crust =No fuss! Pizza is serious business.

Does it suprise anybody that "More Food Please?" is the most common sign phrase in baby sign?
I'll be honest, after a dinner like that, the crust wasn't the only thing stuffed. Good thing I have plenty of room in my puffy bunting. What great fuel for my city adventures.

My Mom and I are a little like Kato Kalin and had no real responsibility. We had the best time starting the day with a run followed by some sight seeing. Later we would go for a walk. There may or may not have been some shopping on Michigan Avenue.

Chicago's Art Institute is amazing. I'm sure it has imprinted on me in some way. When I utter the phrase "but Daddy, I wanted a pony" you'll know why.
The display of miniatures has given me such inpsiration for the decoration of my doll house. I can't wait. Daddy ? Please? After all it's art , not a toy..

The Shedd Aquarium was great too. A few of the residents  were a little crabby as you can see.

7 Months and proud of it!

I'm 7 months old today. Things are shaking and forward facing.
I got promoted to the front of the stroller!
 Forward facing and what a view! I was pretty excited to see where I was going but my Mom was a little sad not to see me face to face while we ran. I told her she should be used to being behind faster runners. Time to be a class act and exhibit some maturity and professionalism about trailing behind the lead runners (such as myself).  She said in training, other running partners have had the courtesy to at least look back.  Sorry Mom but I had better things to do....like kick off my shoe. Did I mention I am my Mom's coach?  I tricked her into getting in some extra miles. She'll thank me someday. I'm sure of it. Crisis was averted. Shoe was found and come race day my Mom will have done the extra mileage to get the job done.

 All the cool kids are facing front these days.The next day she rained on my parade and made me wear pants with feet on them. My partner in crime managed to loose her hat so a few extra steps were logged and my Mom thinks it is a miracle she is eating so much chocolate and fitting into her skinny jeans. We'll just let her think it is magic.
Field trip #2 is in the books. The Stein Family farm  of National City has been patronized. It was pretty cool to see a historical sight in the middle of National City. Seeing one pig, 5 chickens, and 2 geese was cool. Although my Mom says when she was my age she didn't need to go more than a block to see all those animals little loan drive on the freeway. I think she's just trying to put me in my place after I dropped her on our run.

Well I am off to Chicago now for a week of R&R. My Dad has a board review course. That is one R. The other R is for run. Yippee! Let me know what I shouldn't miss.

First Easter in Photos

Happy Easter!

Easter is a great holiday. When my Mom was a kid it was her favorite. After a long winter in the U.P. it was a sure sign spring was in the air. This meant spring break, neighborhood ball games, later sunsets, and flowers in bloom. It also meant time to get out the roller skates and put on shows! She loved the Easter Bunny. Sometimes, because the orthodontist said no jelly beans for her brothers braces, the Easter Bunny would fill their baskets with things like a new spring jacket, new tennis shoes, or stuffed animals. That is some hard hopping for that bunny. I should loan the Easter Bunny my Bob stroller to carry his cargo. Rumor has it the Easter Bunny maybe hopping by tonight.

Things are returning to normal after last weeks 1/2 Ironman. My Mom and I are enjoying some runs at a leisurely pace. We are taking time see the sights, smell the flowers, and listen to the music. Music is something my parents love to share with me despite not claiming to be musical. Turns out they love children's music but not that commercialized Barney type music. No way! There are some amazing children's folk artist. I bet they didn't even know who Raffi was a year ago. Good thing I came along to educate them. Now Raffi is a household legend. In honor of  recovery week and Easter we played Elizabeth Mitchell's Sunny Day Album via my Mom's I phone while we ran. The speakers are great on that thing. Yes, if you are at Torrey Pines and think you hear "Baby Beleuga in the Deep Blue Sea" it's just us.

 Anyway back to the Elizabeth Mitchell Sunny Day album. I wish I knew how to play it from the blog but if you click here  http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sunny-day/id387771816    you can sample the music. In honor of Easter and the Easter Bunny himself I will share with you the lyrics of a favorite song of mine. Mr. Rabbit. It's so much better to the beat though.

Mr. Rabbit lyrics

Songwriters: Ives, Burl;
From :Elizabeth Mitchell Sunny Day

Mr. Rabbit, Mr. Rabbit
Your coat is mighty gray
Yes, bless God, it's made that way

Every little soul must shine, shine, shine
Every little soul must shine, shine,shine

Mr. Rabbit, Mr. Rabbit
Your ears are mighty long
Yes, bless God, they're put on wrong

Every little soul must shine, shine, shine
Every little soul must shine, shine, shine

Mr. Rabbit, Mr. Rabbit
Your ears are mighty thin
Yes, bless God, they're splitting the wind

Every little soul must shine, shine, shine
Every little soul must shine, shine, shine

Mr. Rabbit, Mr. Rabbit
Your tail is so white
Yes, bless God , and I'm getting out of sight

Every little soul must shine, shine, shine
Every little soul must shine, shine, shine

Oceanside 70.3

Hello again world. It's me Annika Ruth. It's about time for a race report!  Oceanside 70.3, the unofficial official kickoff to the triathlon series was this past weekend. My Mom, Dad, and Grandpa better known as Pops Pops, all raced. Despite their pre race moans, groans, and gripes they are such babies! it was a spectacular event.

Oceanside 70.3 is considered to be a "classic" half ironman by my family. It was the first big goal my Mom and Dad set in triathlon. That was not only BA (before Annika ). It was before they even met.  Oceanside was a favorite race of Pop Pops as he would visit my now deceased Great Grandparents in Carlsbad and do the race every year.

 Since my parents and I are moving to this summer this most likely will be the last time they call Oceanside (aka Ralph's) their home town race. Speaking of classic, huge thank you to Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach for letting me use these classic photos.

This was a special day for my Mom. It was her first triathlon since fall of 2010. It was pretty amazing seeing everyone in transition before the race started. Some of her former co workers were volunteering in the med tent too so it was like a big reunion. My Dad commented to my Mom the only person who knew more people was Annika. What can I say? I am one of the most celebrated individuals in the multi sport community. When it was time to start the swim my Mom was more excited than nervous. She felt really good on the swim but she noticed she was fighting the current not to float away from the buoy line. She also did some veering around others from the many waves of swimmers before her.When my Mom exited the swim she looked at her watch and thought "Say it ain't so. A 40 minute swim wasn't really what she was hoping for. She shrugged and with a little sarcasm she thought "well this is no place I haven't been before" and enjoyed the ample space in T1 as many of the other bikes were already gone.

Of course I inspired all of her theme songs. For the swim she channeled , Baby Beluga by Raffi. If you don't know it you really should learn it.It's a great theme song.

After donning the most awesome arm warmers ever ($3 Target tall socks with the feet cut off) She rolled out onto her bike and had a second thought. She realized she actaully was in a place she had never been before after the swim. That placed was feeling rested. In past she struggled to catch her breath and felt totally spent after the swim portion. Maybe swim fitness is different than swim speed.

On the bike she didn't have big goals. Numero uno was to ride safe. The roads were wet. Let's face it,  it would be a hard job to take care of me if you were casted or bandaged up. My Mom chose to not use her disk and to make "Mom turns" (coming out of the aero bars and going slower than usual around corners). My Mom pretty much rides three weekends a month and holidays. That's it. For what ever reason ok because it is fun  she chose to do most of her riding on her mountain bike. Actually, her single speed mountain bike because it is really, really darn fun. It's so much fun it is practically against the law. Up until January my Mom had this sick, anemic feeling in her quads when she climbed, then it just magically went away after several single speed smash fests that is. Anyway, after considering prior years bike splits she thought she would be happy with a bike split of 3 hours or less. Whatever her bike split was she figured barring mechanical failure, it would be the split she deserved and she would not trade anything to ride faster on race day.

Despite being a bit blustery and wet she really enjoyed the bike ride and felt awesome. In fact she felt rested. On the bike she took it all of her calories via diluted liquid. It worked great minus the 2 minutes  spent peeing in T2. With respect to the little time she spent riding the time trail bike over the past year my Mom was afraid to reach in her Bento box for gels or to play with her bike computer. She left it on max speed and current speed the entire ride. She was pretty delighted to note according to the time on her wrist watch by mile 40 she was holding a 20 mph pace.Later she learned that she biked a 2:47. 2  minutes faster than the last time she raced this course.

Her theme song was of course chosen by me "Keep on the sunny side" It's such a great song. Although when my Dad came flying by she thought of the line in "The Wheels on The Bus" where the song sings "The driver of the bus says move on back" because he was flying. He had to 2 leeches stuck to his rear wheel who really should have moved on back. All in all though the drafting wasn't atrocious because the course has a few rollers and a couple of climbs to keep things decent.

Towards the end of the bike my Mom could see Pop Pops ahead. He had a yellow jacket and was easy to spot. She caught up and they entered T2 together. My Mom tried to make quick work of T2 but her shoes stuck to her wet feet and she finally sat down to put them on. Then she bolted....straight to the porta potty. All liquid nutrition talking, but hey a porta potty stop vs a crash at 25 mph while opening a Cliff bar in the rain. Pick your poison. So after the loooooongest pee break imaginable she dashed onto the run course to catch up to Pop Pops.

The run course was great, but a little confusing. There were a few turn arounds simply to get the miles and get from street to pier level and my Mom found it a bit disorienting and was a little bit nervous she would miss a turn and end up running extra miles. Then all the post partum Mom's would say..."I think doing a 1/2 Ironman 6 months post partum is a bad idea, look what happened to Jen" Perspectives Mom's might be dissuaded thinking that it caused her brain to go to mush. Crisis averted. Good thing. 

On the run course my Mom saw her friends Julie and  Amy who were injured and couldn't race. She felt really lucky to be in good health and be racing.  My Mom looked at her Garmin watch and saw she was running a low 7 min/mile 1/2 mile into the course. She felt great minus strange calf/ankle cramping but wisely dialed back and focused on running sub 8. She saw Pop Pops on an out and back and realized to her surprise that she had beat him out of T2. Apparently she didn't have the longest pit stop. She was hoping they could run together becuase Pop Pos is good at intervals....and good at chasing people down.

 3.52 miles in to the run she saw a little girl not much older than me jumping in a jumparoo. It made her miss me and she quickened her pace so she could see me sooner. She thought about our 5k's we raced together. At that point she knew the wheels would not fall off the bus because that is not how the song goes. She saw my Dad. He yelled that he was dying and said she was catching up. Some might look at his splits and say he paid for his bike on the run. However, that is not true. He just didn't train for the run :)
She smiled and yelled "I'm not. I feel great " We all know she was thinking INSERT EVIL LAUGH "I'm coming to get you"   She started to do some math.

The mind of a racer works in interesting ways but at mile 8 she thought. 8 min/mile x10 miles = 80 minutes. Plus 8min/miles x 3 =24 minutes. Don't forget the 0.1 miles at the end for a total of a 1h45min ish . Hmm, I like that. Then she looked at her watch and realized if she maintained this pace it would be an all time 1/2 Ironman PR. I really like that. However with 5K to go she started to have to work to keep the pace. 2.5 miles out the pace fell to 8:20's. She tried to find somebody to pace off. It seemed despite all the people none were picking up the pace to the finish line. She had to really fight to keep the pace up. Darn, she was hoping to get fancy with 5 K to go. 

It wasn't until the final 1/4 of a mile my Mom felt she was headed to the finish and certain she didn't miss a turn. Finally she entered the finish chute. She saw a lady in front of her and noted the calf said 34. Wait a minute. It said 36. Another one of her many goals was to finish in the top 10 AG at an "Ironman" event face it Ironman event have a deeper field than non IM events. In a  final kick to the finish she passed the competitor. Guess what? It sealed the deal.  The official results and photo finish say my Mom finished in the top 10. Athlete Tracker listed my Mom as 11 th place because the two athletes had the same finishing time. In that event the rank by alpha numeric but the official results are correct.

Hands down this was a good day for my Mom. Make no excuses. This wasn't a good day for being 6 months post partum. It was a good day period.That run was the fastest my Mom has ever run split my Mom has ever in a 1/2 ironman. She had an 8 minute course improvement and was only 1 minute off her all time PR which was at Vineman and has way less running in transitions.   Go ahead! Blame the baby! I'll take the credit for sure.

After that we celebrated in a big, big way. Grandma and I had our own adventures that morning. We worked up an appetite and had ready for lunch.  Fish tacos and French fries for all. I do mean all. I was the real victor, downing French fries for the first time.