Monday, March 30, 2009


Karen and I after the finish of Lavaman 2009

Cold water. First wet suit legal hawaii race I think but not sure, but the first wet suit legal race I've done. I had a good swim, caught the age group wave that took off 3 minutes earlier after about 300 yards. It got congested with slower swimmers from the earlier wave but made for some good slalom practice. Got good drafts and had great corners, no kicks or hits. I did get hit in the eye once near the start of the race but no problems. Best cornering I've had during a race. I worked on setting them up and being in a good position so not to get clobbered. On the first corner I took it wide but when I was ready to turn there was some guy next to me who must have decided to swim to Maui cause he kept going straight and I had swim over him.

I swam at a moderate pace (80-90 percent). By the second leg of the "M" shaped swim course I slowed my stroke down and took advantage of the good gliding conditions caused by all the swimmers in the water. The turn at the bottom of the "M" I took too wide and lost a few strokes on the other swimmers and had to work to catch back up. I cruised the third leg which is always the tough leg. The fumes from the jet ski water patrol was nauseating on this leg. The third and final turn for home was uneventful.

For some reason though sighting became extremely hard on this leg. Not sure if it was from the rising sun or what but I couldn't catch sight of the finish line buoys and when I finally did I couldn't tell if the one I spotted was the left or right one. Most of the swim I felt I was swimming really straight (other than going around the slower swimmers) but the last leg I felt I was really zig-zagging around.

Over all on the swim I got a PR by 7 minutes from last year at a swim pace I could have held all day.

The run up from the water to the transition area was about a quarter mile, maybe a little less. Transition time was just over a minute. I was pretty tired at the start of the bike from the swim and didn't really recover until several miles into the bike. The bike leg started out with very little wind, but by the time we were on our way back it was very windy -- a strong head/cross wind. It took a lot of energy to get back.

I kept a close eye out for anyone in my age group and when someone from my age group passed me(there were two) I tried to pass them back. I managed to hold one of them off. The other was too fast.

I got a PR on the bike by 1 minute over last year, which had no wind on the course. Effort on the bike was near 100 percent the whole way. No flats or close calls with other cyclists. Saw Chris McCormack zoom by on his way back just after I crested Scenic Hill on my way out. No other cyclist near him. I think he was even passing the cars on the highway. He is fast!

Very tired from the start. Never fully recovered. Strong head wind for the first half of the course. I was pretty dehydrated, not enough liquid on the bike. Still got a PR by 2 minutes though. But it was a painful run. Not physically but mentally just to keep myself going.

overall time was 2:36 a PR by 13 minutes even with a strong head/cross wind so I'm happy with that. Plus I am training for my "A" race May 30 so I wasn't quite at peak readiness for this race. I feel like my training is right on for Honu (Hawaii Half Ironman) but was behind for Lavaman. I think my swim is there and my bike is almost there. I need to work on the run and especially bricks - running off the bike. Also need to do much more core/strength training over the next two months.

I finished 9th in my age group, but I lost several positions by having a weak run.

Over all it was a great day. It was fun to see friends doing well while out on the course. It was fun as several of us yelled cheers all at once from our bikes over to Bree Wee as she sped by on her way back in and we were on our way out. And it was fun to greet all the Kona peeps as we passed each other on the run course.

And I am very proud of Karen for having such an awesome first triathlon. Thanks for all the well wishes from everyone, and the phone calls, and the cheers.

Just after sunrise athletes line up to get body marked

His and hers:. 682 for me and 627 for Karen

Getting numbered

blurry self-portrait just before sunrise in the transition area

Big stadium lights light up the transition area as athletes get their bikes ready just before sunrise.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


"Question the is that; Be to not or be to?"

Now you know I know Shakespeare forwards and backwards. Actually, I did study Ol' Will in college, although I can't remember much now.

Poor old Hamlet and his apparent madness. Questioning reality and his choices.

Hamlet's question: "To be or not to be?" -- come Sunday that will be the question on my mind. To be there or not. It'll be on my mind as 800 of us crazy athletes wade out into the warm Pacific Ocean before sunrise and wait for the start of the Lavaman Triathlon. It will be there as the butterflies build inside me and my nerves come alive, I'll be questioning my readiness, my swimming ability and my sanity.

800 people all with the same goal: To scratch, climb, claw, kick and oh yeah, swim, their way through 1,500 meters of shallow sea water teeming with fish, coral heads, sea turtles, buoys, kayaks, and an occasional shark or two, just to get to their bikes where order, camaraderie and fairness rule the day. But first, you have to survive the madness that is the swim.

They say if you have enough courage to step up to the starting line then you've already won. But you still have to survive the swim! So far this year I've gotten a black eye, kicked in the mouth, scratches on my legs and arms, bruises, been nearly drowned, and gotten a deep, bleeding cut on my neck all during the swim portion of races. But hey, that's what makes triathlon exciting, challenging and fun.

So during this week as I'm tapering down my training and beginning to question my fitness and ability, I'm going to resist the impulse to go out and run or bike for miles to prove to myself I am ready. I'll just stick with Hamlet and ask myself, "To be or not to be; that is the question?" and hopefully answer, "to be!" See you in the water.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Trying to come up with a title for this post has proven to be difficult. The title has ranged from "Just Kids," to "Remember When," after the song that is playing (if you have your volume turned up). In the end I went with what it is, "Notes on a Marriage."

I've been planning on writing something along these lines for months in honor of our 30th wedding anniversary, and it has taken me that long to try to figure out how to write it. But how do you comprise 30 years of marriage into a short blog entry? How personal do you get? Do you just focus on the funny things? The romantic moments? Or maybe just list all the embarrassing times, such as when the cop knocked on our car door window, pointed to the ground and asked, "Is that your underwear?" Well, maybe I'll leave out the embarrassing moments.

So I started jotting down notes and this is what flowed out. Of course it doesn't tell the whole story, but like the title says, it's notes on our lives together.


Our Wedding, 30 years ago.

On April 8, Karen and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Thirty years. Wow! How we have changed. How we have grown up.

We were just kids when we met. Just kids when we ran off to Reno to get married. We were just kids when we had to come back home (unmarried, because we weren’t old enough to get married) to face her dad.

We were just kids when we finally did get married. Just kids when we had baby Number 1 ... and baby Number 2. We were just kids when we lost baby Number 3. And still just kids when we had baby Number 4.

Shortly after Rebecca was born, Baby Number 1

We were just kids when we took baby Number 1 to Shriners Hospital where she would spend much of her first few years. We did a lot of growing up in those years. But we were still just kids all the while Karen stood next to the hospital bed and nursed baby Number 1 while she was in traction for weeks. We were just kids learning to be parents while baby Number 1 had more than 40 surgeries, including a leg amputated, her spine fused and had to spend a week in ICU, intubated, scared and confused. We were just scared kids then. All of this drew us closer together, but matured us beyond our years.

We were just kids when we adopted our two youngest babies to complete our family. We were just kids with kids until we weren’t. Somewhere along the way we grew up -- emotionally and physically. I’m not sure when, but looking back we went from carefree youths to worry-some parents overnight.

We were teens when we were married. Teens when we had babies. All the odds said we wouldn’t last and, a few times, we almost didn’t. We were told before (and after) we were married that most teen marriages don’t last more than five years, so we made it our goal to last at least five years. It was rough at times, but five years came and went. Babies raising babies. Karen learned to cook and do the shopping, and I learned to go to work everyday.

The early years were hard. But without them we wouldn't be who we are today.

Year 7 was a hard year, as was year 9. The odd years always were harder for some reason. The years flew by. We lived and loved. We fought with each other, and for each other. We grew close and we grew apart. But mostly we grew up.

Then year 19 happened.

I think every marriage has a life-or-death test that it must face at some point, and for a few weeks one April we had our test. Things were so bad during this time that a marriage counselor told us we had done everything wrong our entire marriage and we probably shouldn't be married. That we were better suited to be "just friends." Now that's hopelessness.

When everything said we were ending, I guess God stepped in and fought for us. Through all the pain, anger and loneliness we went through during those weeks, we began to talk. Really talk. It hurt, but we said what was on our hearts. And we listened to each other. Somehow a new love began to blossom. Out of that trial by fire, Karen and I grew closer than we ever were or could have been if we hadn't gone through it.

Before that April we took each other for granted. Since that April I think we appreciate each other more every day. We still fight. Still argue and say things we shouldn't. We still have to work at our marriage every day. But everyday we are beating the odds of teen marriage and growing more in love. Making that marriage counselor and all those who told us we would never last, eat their words.

Oh, we did take some of the marriage counselor's advice though, we became best friends. Or as they say nowadays, we became "friends with benefits!"

The years since that April of year 19 have also flown by. Our kids have grown up (probably faster than us -- and are a lot more responsible), We've lived in a lot of places, including a farm, a desert, and a motorhome in the city with five kids, two dogs and a cat. We tried to go home again once, but learned you can't. And now, year 30 finds us in Hawaii, with one daughter still at home, another daughter who is married and living on Oahu. A son living in Portland, Oregon. Another son who is engaged, and our youngest son who just got engaged and is a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marines and is being deployed to Afghanistan in the fall.

But truth be told, Karen and I are still those two kids from 30 years ago. We run, ride bikes and play in the water every chance we get. Just like kids should.

It's been a wild and crazy ride so far. I can't wait to see what the next 30 years bring.

A few months before Karen and I were married.

Look at those guns! BOOM! BOOM! lol

After many operations, Rebecca in a full body cast for a family portrait.

Dad and the kids walking to Disneyland.

The family a little more grown up.

Remember When - Alan Jackson
More at

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Here are some photos of the run course for the Lavaman Triathlon that will be held March 29. The triathlon is a 1500 meter swim (.9 mile), 40K bike (24 miles) and 10K run (6.2 miles) held at Anaehoomalu Bay (A-Bay) at Waikoloa Beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Near the beginning of the run course just after entering onto the main road.
The top photo is of A-Bay where the swim is and where the run finishes.

Some of the scenery along the beginning of the run course.

It can be windy in the area so get in some wind training.

Narrow sidewalks and spectators can make for some cramped quarters during the run.

This is about the only hill on the course. There are some little rollers later on and a long drag just before getting to this point but otherwise this is it.

The lava fields with Mauna Kea in the background. This is around the halfway oint of the run.

Near mile 4 you take a turn into the Hilton resort area.

The bay that the run course follows while within the Hilton resort.

Just a taste of what is to come. This is a narrow path within the Hilton resort that you run on for a short distance.

Some of the scenery within the resort includes dolphins.

A portion of the cart path that the run follows.

The path is bordered by the ocean on the right (above) and the HIlton's lagoon and pool on the left (below).

The start of the real fun. The lava rock and coral trail which can have objects as large as softballs.

Running on coral.

A-Bay coming into sight.

The end of the rock trail and the beginning of the beach run to the finish.

The palm trees lead into the chute and to the finish line come race day.

Yes, it can be a dangerous course so be careful.

There are more photos on my Facebook page.


What do you do when you don't have time to go out on location to do urban sketching? My time is very limited and I often don't have ...