Thursday, September 23, 2010


Our next door neighbors have a massive apple tree in their yard which, strangely enough, has grown/been pruned so that the majority of the apples fall into our yard. We've picked what we can reach, and last weekend we gathered up a bunch of the dropped apples to make into applesauce.

Last year I got an apple peeler/corer combo to deal with the plethora of apples. Devil, in particular, is quite taken with it, and we managed to peel about 30 apples inside of half an hour.

I did try to get Boo in on the peeling action, but she was more interested in the cut lemons on the counter.

What kind of odd child likes to suck on lemons? Bizarre...anyway, a pile of peeled/sliced apples, some lemon juice, a stick of cinnamon and about an hour over low heat on the stove made for some lovely applesauce. Most of which got stuck in the freezer, but some was devoured immediately. Hooray for fall.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The rest of the summer

Autumn is hard upon us, with cool mornings and conkers littering the sidewalks. And I haven't finished posting about the summer, but I'm not sure I can bring myself to be coherent and witty about it. Instead, you'll just have to be satisfied with pictures.

It was a good summer.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Training plan

Now that RAB is a mere nine months away, and the kids have gone back to school, it's time to actually start doing some training. Thankfully, I have a live-in coach, who has given me some ideas about what I need to be doing.

The plan for the fall is to simply get into a routine. My "training" over the last, oh let's say 5.5 years has been a bit erratic. To say the least! So the goal for September-December is as follows: ride three times a week (two of those will be commuting to/from work), run four times a week, swim twice and get in some lifting around the edges. Thankfully, I get to work at least half an hour before anyone else, whether I ride or take the train, so I get a chance to stretch and shower before I have to share space with other people.

The running (in theory) will happen in the afternoons when Devil has after-school activities (three days a week) and on the weekends. I can also run to work one day. I can swim once at the pool at work, and I've signed up for a triathlon swim coaching program starting at the end of the month.

But the big thing will be riding. Lots and lots of riding. I think I've figured out a route that will get me 20 miles on the days I ride to work. There's a big push by the Mayor of London to promote bicycle commuting, and they've recently opened a cycling superhighway that runs through Clapham. I've figured out a relatively low traffic way to get over to it, and it goes more or less right up to my office. I've done it twice now, and the second run was much more successful then this first, since I managed to avoid getting a flat tire and getting to the school extremely late for Boo's pickup.

So we'll see how this goes. I'm excited to have a plan, even in vague form - it makes it so much easier for me to have a general outline of what training I need to do every week - and I'm looking forward to it, it some bizarre sicko way. And posting about it makes me a bit more accountable, if only to myself (you wrote it down and put it out in public - you have to do it now!).

I also got roped into this lovely event in a couple of weeks, with two friends. We've decided that a good way to prepare for it is an 8k run in the mud this Saturday. And reading back over this entry, I think I must be totally insane. But it's going to be fun, right?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summer Holidays redux

Now that the girls are back in school, I finally have a few minutes to sit down and hear myself think. And I guess that means that I should wade through the backlog of blog posts floating around inside my brain. Unfortunately they are somewhat fragmented (to say the least) and quite incoherent. Let's see if I can sort out something intelligible out of the madness.

One obvious event is our trip to Germany and Austria. Ironman has spent the last ten months training for IM #3, Ironman Regensburg, which occurred on 1 August. We left for Germany at 6:15 am the Thursday before the race.

Just an aside: if you ever want to experience trans-Atlantic jet leg on a budget, I highly recommend the early morning Easy Jet flights to the Continent. Getting up at 3:00 am after going to bed at 11:00 and spending the next six hours in various modes of transportation did a fantastic job of beating the crap out of the two of us. The girls were less traumatized by the whole event, but us parents are united in our cries of Never Again!

After landing in Munich, we picked up a car and headed north. A short time later, we were in our hotel and Himself had picked up his race stuff. Regensburg is a gorgeous city, full of cobblestone streets and old buildings.

Waiting for Daddy to get all his race stuff...

It turned out that another SW-London competitor (who was known to Himself before we got there) was staying at our hotel. He and IM left at sparrow's fart on Sunday morning to get to the swim start, while the girls and I slept in and then braved the road closures to get out to the bike course. And then we waited.

And waited.

And waited some more - finally the fast people came by.

And eventually we saw Daddy. He was smiling and looking pretty good at that stage (halfway through the second of two laps on the bike course). Then we headed in to town, braved the parking (!) and trooped out to the run course. Thankfully it wound through the town, taking in lots of sights.

Go Daddy!

And it passed a playground. So the girls and I walked out along the course, cheering for the runners, until we reached said playground.

The girls did a stellar job of being entertained for hours on end at this place. Which was needed, because we spent quite a while waiting for Himself to appear again. And again. And again. Four 10K loops must be excruciatingly mind numbing to run. But he persevered - the final result was not what he was hoping for, but come on...140.6 miles under your own power? An amazing accomplishment no matter how long it takes. Even if things did get a wee bit nutty in the late hours of the evening...

After Regensburg, we spent a couple of days waiting for Daddy's synapses to start firing efficiently again. And then it was off to Austria. We hit Salzburg first, and had an amazing time eating everything in sight (justified or not), playing at the Magic Flute Playground, climbing up to the fort overlooking the town, and generally playing tourist.

Massive slide with Devil for scale

We spent the better part of three days in and around Salzburg, and it was absolutely wonderful. Even if they are a bit het up about this guy...

Then we headed off to Innsbruck which, tragically, was socked in with clouds the entire time we were there. It didn't deter the experts in European Playground Inspection, but we didn't get to see the mountains in all there glory. But there was more swinging and sliding and general mayhem, including an event that had the parents in the group almost wetting themselves with laughter. We'd gone to the playground near our hotel one morning to get out some extra energy. Sadly, it was a grey and drizzly day, so we put on the girls' waterproof pants and off we went. The slides were metal, and I almost ruptured something when Boo slid down the smaller slide, and ended up going so fast that she shot off the end of the slide and landed a couple of feet away, leaving a lovely skid mark in the mud. She left tracks. Unfortunately, we weren't on the spot with the cameras, so we had to settle for a video reconstruction which was, to be fair, also pretty funny.

A couple days in Innsbruck and it was time to head back to Munich to catch the plane. Our plan was to drive back via The Disney Castle, but for whatever reason, the traffic going through the mountains was unbelievable. So we had to bail on that and head back to catch our plane. The flight home was much less jarring then the trip over, and we came back to run 42 loads of laundry in the four days before we had to pack up again and head west for the real jet lag. An upcoming post...