August 2009 – Jackson Hole, WY Trip and the Mesa Falls Marathon

Guys trip!  After 14 years of running together we moved past our 2 state running bubble radius and ventured out west as in the Wild West.  That’s right.  Wyoming. Idaho. MontanaBisonMoose.  Elk.  Saloons.  Shootouts.  Stagecoaches.  West.  What did we do?  I am glad you asked!  It was a flurry of activity:

Thursday: Fly out. Receive the official guided tour of Dave and Diane’s spectacular new home.  Acclimate (with a brisk walk including 500 feet of elevation gain).  Lungs burned.  Heads ached.  Pre-race fears emerged.

Friday: Wake early (3:30 MT/5:30 ET).  Watch sunrise over Sleeping Indian Mountain.  Work a little.  Relax a little.  Bike 14 miles in Grand Teton National Park. Pre-race pasta-up.  Early to bed.

Saturday: Race day!  Wake even earlier (2:30 MT/4:30 ET).  Commute to race start in Ashton, ID.  Bus to race start line.  6:30 – race start.  10:01 – race end.  Noon – awards ceremony. 12:30 – Huckleberry Shake time!  3pm arrival in Yellowstone National Park.  4:30pm Cindy/Stewart see us on the Old Faithful Webcam.  5:16 – there she blows!  8pm return to Dave’s home.  8:30pm – hot tub.  Early to bed.  Click here for a full race re-cap.  Mesa Falls Marathon website can be found here.

Sunday: Normally a day like yesterday would warrant a late wake-up call.  Maybe coffee while catching up on life?  Nope.  6:30am departure for the infamous “8-mile hike” Dave mapped out for us.  Ok.  So it turned out to be 19.3 miles.  Merely a rounding error.  The view at Solitude Lake made up for the major food bonk we (me) experienced with the 1 bar each we brought with us.  Dave’s reputation for slight understatements and his ability to get people to follow his lead both remain firmly intact.  Seriously – a must-do hike for those in the Tetons.  Starts at Jenny Lake.  Climbs 3000 feet in 9 miles.  Repeat in reverse.  Major appetizers (fantastic nachos!) and desserts at the Wort Hotel Silver Dollar Bar as reward.  An excellent reward.  Cindy sees us waving at her on Jackson Hole Town Square Webcam.  Red Sox/Yankees on NESN followed by hot tub.  Early to bed.

Monday: Relaxing day.  Breakfast at The Bunnery in Jackson Hole, WY.  Light souvenir shopping for the kids followed by some sightseeing.  Back to Saddle Butte for the “Assault on Saddle Butte” timed run (2.6 miles and 1100+ feet of elevation gain).  Jason S:  25 minutes.  Jason M:  29 minutes. Dave 31 minutes.  John:  35 minutes (Dave, we expect to see sub-20 minutes between now and our next visit).  Pizza and beer to top off the day at South Side Pizza and Pub.  Lastly, you guessed it, Sox/Sox baseball game, hot tub, bed.

A fun trip with a great group of long-time running buddies.  A big thanks to Dave for his incredible hospitality and tour guide abilities! I look forward to “riding in this rodeo” again real soon.

Click here (or on the picture at the top) to see a slideshow of the Jackson Hole Trip.

Click here to see all of our pictures a la flickr.

August 2009 – Charlie’s 1/2 Year Birthday and Summer Fun

Several updates in one here:

  • Charlie’s 1/2 Year Birthday
  • Our “Summer of Fun” Continues
  • Cindy’s Philanthropy
  • 2009 Blue Ridge Relay Update

Charlie’s already 1/2 Years Old! Crazy.  Next thing I know he’s asking me for the keys and heading off to Prom.  Key milestones at 6 months:  a) eating solid foods (for a formula family this is like getting a raise!  How is it sweet potatoes costs 49 cents while 2 scoops of formula is like 4 bucks?!?), b) able to sit up if placed in the sitting up position (this does however result in a few head bumps a day as he topples over backwards at the exact moment parents turn away), c) crawling position (sans crawling – he wants to but alas moving those arms is harder than it looks.) and d) he’s out of the unbelievably heavy car carrier and into the full-size convertible car seat.  Good for parents arms, shoulders and backs but more work in restaurants and church.

Our Summer of Fun Continues to be just that:  Fun!  This past few weeks we have embraced Geocaching (these links will get you to the 1st and 2nd caches we found in Uptown Charlotte today – sadly there was a 3rd one we could not uncover – yet.), Cindy and the kids visited Carowinds (even the water park which gives me the heebies for some reason), and I was able to sneak out with the older kids and catch the annual Charlotte Criterium Bike Race Uptown.  Good fun albeit warm fun given our latest heat wave.

Baxter Helping Hands is an organization that Cindy is looking to breathe life back into after a few years of it being quite dormant.  She kicked off this venture with a “Back to School Supply Drive” that netted 214 pencils, 25 folders, 24 notebooks, 11 3-ring binders, 11 pencil boxes, 9 reams of notebook paper, 16 glue sticks and much, much more.  The neighborhood is really amazing about giving back and Cindy is looking to leverage the charitable nature of our neighbors to help a variety of great causes in need over the year.  Look for her updates on Twitter (@BaxterHelpHands)

Know what late summer means to me and running?  Blue Ridge Relay training. Rather than the training I have normally followed in the past 3 years running this event, I am hoping my upcoming race at Mesa Falls is enough to get me through.  “Normal Training” for the relay usually means 2-3 runs a day a few times a week to simulate the effort during the race.  Likely not a smart move as I peak my miles for the Mesa run in Idaho in mid-August so I will hope experience, distance and eventually rest will get me through.  We have added 2 runners to our team this year which also doesn’t hurt – running it with 4 runners the past 2 years certainly did hurt quite a bit.  Feel free to follow us as we prepare to run on September 11th and 12th at our BRR Blog:Team 4tunate (2 have 2 more runners).

Well – that’s enough for now – I have been a bit more active posting my mostly mundane and trivial thoughts on Twitter (@jasut) as of late so feel free to take a peek if interested.  Be warned – you will find limited meaning in these updates of 140 character or less.  You might however find a photo or two of us enjoying life that you won’t find here on our blog.

One last thing before the normal links to slideshows, etc.  This is a pretty funny video of Stewart helping with dinner tonight.

Click here to see the most recent shots of Charlie.

Click here to see some random pictures from our last few weeks (July/August 2009).

Click here for Charlie’s Video Playlist

Click here to see all of our pictures a la flickr.