Monday, September 28, 2009

Australia pictures part 2

So here's how this was supposed to work: go to the Apple store to purchase iLife '09, go home and immediately install new software and the all important iPhoto upgrade (which I have resisted until I saw the editing feature in action), edit all Australia photos while baking cookies and whistling, publish said fabulous, edited photos on blog within days of returning from trip.

And here's what actually happened: accidentally purchased family pack of iLife '09 that I don't need from Apple store, decide to install anyway and return the next day, pop in the disk only to find out that I need to upgrade my operating system to run new iLife '09, also discover that I need more memory to do any of this and order another memory card to install, and since I want iLife '09 and a new operating system Apple made the decision for me that I must also include iWork in the software package. Even if I don't need/want it. Follow? To sum up, I have not edited one single picture. Oh well, here are some highlights from week 2!

We left the Gold Coast on Monday morning after the race and road tripped up North. I was hoping to hit the southern edge of the Great Barrier Reef and force the kids on a boat so Michael and I could snorkel but we didn't make it that far. We can only take so much "are we there yets", "I have to go to the bathroom," "I'm hungry" in a couple of hours!! Our first stop was a cool little town called Mooloolaba and its sister Maroochydore. Great beaches, great food but we only stayed a night and then went to the Australia Zoo. This is the zoo that Steve Irwin founded and it was an awesome place! After visiting the zoo we went further up the coast and ended up in a great little town called Noosa Heads. We found a great apartment 1 block from the beach and a cafe with "free" wifi!! Of all the strange things, free wifi was scarce any where we went in Australia!!!

Isabelle before this trip held her nose every time she went under the water. Well, not anymore....she is now learning to boogie board and body surf!

Charlotte petting a baby alligator at the Australia Zoo.

Charlotte and Isabelle fed Asian elephants too!

Of course, there was a great croc show....Crikey, look at the size of that thing!

There were even pony rides!

These are wombats. Pretty cute and cuddly too but apparently you don't want to pet these guys.

Building sand castles.

Yep, I decided it was time to take a surf lesson! That's me getting yelled at by the instructor.

Wiping out....

Standing up!!!! OK, this surfing stuff is hard work, after 2 hours I was exhausted!

From the Sunshine Coast, we flew back to Sydney where we met up with my parents. They had a few days to themselves (sans kids/grandkids) to enjoy Sydney and then we came in and crashed their "quiet" party. We took a double decker bus tour of the city!

The opera house is just as amazing in person as it is in pictures and movies.

As is the Harbor Bridge...

Some random water fountain that I really liked. Sydney is a lovely and clean city!! We will return some day and run the marathon!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Australia pictures part 1

It is a cold day here in Denver and although I said I would edit my pictures before posting, that means I would actually have to go outside (in the cold) and drive to the nearest Apple store (to buy the latest version of iLife with the way improved photo editing) thus risking an accident since I am still fighting jet lag and would probably fall asleep at the wheel. Phew, what a sentence!! My jet lag seems to be getting worse rather than better and I'm 3 nights in. This is based on my astute observations of every one else in my family sleeping at 12:30am and me watching them! But really, how long can this last?

But I digress (trust me, I'm doing that a lot lately). Here are some great pictures from our trip. There will be more coming and more race photos too!

We stayed at the Q1 on the 54th floor in Surfer's Paradise. This was our view! The beach and waves were great although the water was a bit chilly.

OK, tilt your head to the left. This is the Q1, its design was based on the 2000 Sydney Olympic torch.

14 hours after leaving LA, here's my mom and Michael at the airport waiting for the next flight to the Gold Coast. (Surfer's Paradise is a town along the Gold Coast)

Yes, they are as cute and cuddly as you think! On our first full day in Australia we went to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and some of the first animals we saw were koala bears. Oh, they are cute. And the best part.....
Isabelle, Charlotte and I got to hold one! Her name was Par-lay and was 18 months old. Koalas are solid animals - she must have weighed around 30lbs, that is why the girls couldn't hold her, plus Australia has very strict koala cuddling laws!

And then it was on to FEED the kangaroos! The 'roos were everywhere and more than eager to approach you to see if you had food! The girls loved feeding and petting these guys. What a cool experience!

This 'roo really "liked" Michael and got a bit aggressive with him. No worries mate, the wildlife helpers immediately stepped in!

I think the sign says it all....

Naturally, PIC Sonja and I found a rather large croc and we wrestled it to save the children:)

Feeding the lorikeets

It is tough vacation-ing with a wife who is tapering and about to compete and not enjoying a beer or 2. But Michael is a trooper and seemed to handle it OK!

Some of Team USA before a group run

Packet pick-up with Anthony, Sonja, Beth and me. This is the near the start beach. It's true - it was a beautiful venue.

Registration.....guess who's in the picture?

Anthony and Steve at the opening ceremonies

Kind of a strange picture, and yes, editing would help. But remember the thing about the Apple store and driving etc.....Anywho, this is Team Australia leading the parade of nations into the opening ceremonies. They had around 1000 athletes!!

Ummm, OK. We were getting bored waiting to march in the parade!

All I can say is, Oh Tahiti!!!

Me and my Dad.

Dad and Mom at our post-race celebration. It was wonderful having them with us for the race and everything els!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oh My

Well, we have made it back from Australia! I have so many photos and fun tidbits to share....but not right now. Jet lag is messin' with my world. And just try to explain jet lag to a kid. The family is getting its bearings and I am downloading and editing photos. So, check back soon! Fun stuff to follow!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Race Report

I have snuck away from the family to my favorite $2 internet cafe for a bit of blogging and emailing!

This week has been an amazing experience and the race will be forever sketched in my head. In short, I am very pleased with the race. I really had no idea what to expect but had a feeling that it would be the most aggressive competition I have ever been against. And I was up for the challenge. I will post a more complete race report but here's the quick and dirty.

We lined up for the swim on the beach....that's right it was a run/dive start into the water. Gulp!! There was elbowing on the line before the horn even went off. Once it did, I was right in the front pack of girls trying to get to the front and the clear water. If Tuscaloosa was the toughest swim I have ever had, then this one was by far the most aggressive swim. From the get-go I was getting kicked, punched, swam over and even had my goggles almost knocked off. It was unbelievable. I thought that maybe at the first turn buoy it would settle down but it never did. Girls in my face trying to push me off the feet I had in front of me. Tapping the feet I had in front of me and almost getting my teeth knocked out. Wow. I did manage to throw a punch or 2 but believe me it was purely self defense. I was glad to be done with the swim and out of the water. If you look at the results, you can see that I was with about 8-10 women in my age group fighting it out to the end of the swim.

I think I was pretty slow in T1 but really I was just trying to get my crap together after the brutal swim. But I got on my bike and was happy about it. The crowds and cheering were awesome. People just cheering for USA USA and it was me they were cheering for! My legs were tired though and I thought that the bike wasn't going to be good. I was all alone for awhile and then was passed by a group of girls in my age group. One of them being Steph P (amazing and fast athlete). I decided to go with them and see if I could keep up. Unfortunately this pack was all drafting off of Steph. I was watching the action unfold in front of me while trying to stay at the back of the pack and in a safe legal position. Several of my USA teammates and Taggart from Australia were drafting like there was no tomorrow. I couldn't believe it.....CHEATERS!!! I stayed in back for the most part but then at the start of the second loop tried to get around everyone and be in the front. That didn't last long and was at the back again. I was terrified of getting a yellow card (ITU penalty) and eventually the group disappeared. Kudos to Steph for staying in front and out of the draft-fest.

Off the bike and onto the run. The run was tough but amazing. Once again, these random voices yelling go USA and Go Ford!!! I can't even describe the feeling. My legs felt flat and I just had a hard time getting going. But I relaxed my shoulders and just did what I could to get through it. The best part of the day was hearing my family cheering for me, and Helen and Eric, and Steve, Michele and Sarah. Loved it!!

And then it was over. 2 hours and 20 minutes later, I finished 19th in my age group (my goal was top 20!!). I ran my way in on the blue carpet and was finished. It was awesome. I seriously get goose-bumps and tears in my eyes thinking about it.

A huge thank you for all the support from means so much to me to have that kind of support. Hugs and kisses to all!!

So, I must be off.....ROAD TRIP up the coast. I have no idea where we will end up!!!

And, a huge congrats to my Practical Coaching teamies: Bethie was the rock star of the day with an 11th place finish in her age group!! Sonja had a fabulous day with a 31st place finis! Lori D rocked her age group at 9th! Anthony also had a great day!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Race Info

G'day from Australia!! Good news for those of you wanting to watch the race from North America.... will be showing live coverage of the race tomorrow. So, for those of you in Denver, the race begins at 3:00pm Friday afternoon. I start at 3:29 so start looking for me to finish (and all the other USA athletes) around 5:40ish??!!

Now it's time for sleep zzzzzzzzz!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gday part 2

Quick update from the Gold Coast!! Phew, it has been a whirlwind of a couple of days and here we are, less than 24 hours from race time! I am excited and only a wee-bit nervous. Last night we had the opening ceremonies with all the athletes from each country lining up and walking into the event lawn surrounded by friends and family. It was pretty surreal and so great to see all the different countries. Australia, as host nation, has almost 1000 athletes here. YIKES!!! Somoa has 1! Anyway, I am ready to race. I am ready to go. I really think this will be FUN....a flat and fast course. No wetsuits but a relatively cold temp of around 71 in the water. I'm pretty sure this will not be an uphill swim like Alabama.

Now I'm off for a quick massage and then brunch with Team USA. Bike check-in this afternoon, dinner with the family (they are at Sea World today), and a sleep-over with PIC Sonja at her hotel. My start time is 7:29am. I'll try to get another quickie post in sometime after the race.

Oh, and one thing I have forgotten to mention is that I LOVE Australia!! The people are wonderful and nice and I am really looking forward to exploring up the coast next week!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


G'day from Australia!! My mom and I found a $2 high speed internet cafe on our way to the grocery store so we splurged and I get to post a quick update!

We made it here without too much trouble although the Sydney Airport has an extra carseat in its baggage somewhere. The kiddos held up better than I could have hoped on the LONG flight over and we finally made it to the Gold Coast some 20+ hours after leaving Denver. We never experienced Sunday. Jet lag was at its finest on Monday night though and we managed to stay awake until 8.....morning has come early for me at around 4:45!!! At least I am not too used to sleeping in.

Sonja and I rode our bikes on Monday afternoon and the most important thing to remember here in Australia.....when in doubt STAY LEFT!!! It has been interestng to get used to being buzzed by cars on the right side. It is now Wednesday and we haven't gotten ourselves killed yet so that in my opinion is success.

This place is teeming with triathletes! Teams of very fit-looking people are riding there bikes, running along the ocean and this morning at the pool, swimming....we are trying to not gawk at all the fast looking people but it is truly impressive.

Yesterday we had a bit of fun....the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary with the family and Sonja's family. Iz, Char, and I got to cuddle a koala!! It was unbelieveable. At that point I thought I wanted another baby and quickly realized that no, what I really want is a KOALA baby!! SOooo cute! Great pictures will be posted in a couple of weeks. After the koalas, we visited the kangaroos and fed them. Saw many mamas with their joeys in pouches and I was even accosted by a "friendly" teenage boy 'roo who thought I had more food for him. Priceless.

Today we will have more quality beach time and then I go into athlete-mode tomorrow. Team USA run in the morning, a tour of the bike course, Team USA picture and then the opening ceremonies where we will march in our uniform in the athlete parade!!

That's it for now. Will post again next time I grocery shop:)