Monday, July 30, 2007

Busy weekend!

Friday we had the prelims for the kids' Western League Championships meet. Bobby and Ally both qualified for the next days' consolation finals, so we had another full day ahead of us on Saturday. The meet was held at Bear Path Country Club - who put on an awesome meet. They really made the kids feel special - they even had a 30-minute airplane flyover with a towed banner during the warm-up that said "good luck swimmers!" Our team, GoldenValley/Medina Country Club, raced hard and came in 4th place overall. I got to participate in the Very Hotly Contested Parent Relay. We won it that last 3 years, but this year we were JUST out-touched at the very end by 4 parents from the Bear Path team. Oh well, there's time to gear up for next year ;-). It's really cute to hear all the kids yelling, "go Mom! Go Dad!"

Here's Bobby (right) with his friend Peter displaying their hardware from the medley relay.

And here's Ally after finishing in 8th place in the 25m 6-and-under butterfly.

So cute! They had a really fun season of summer-league swim team. The fact that swim team is over is a reminder that the summer is winding down and school will be starting in only 5 more weeks. :-(

Before the meet, I swam in a relay across Lake Minnetonka with IronGirlNyhus and TriNick. The total distance was 5 miles, so we each swam one leg and paddled the canoe for two legs.
Here we are at the start...

... and at the finish! It took us 2 hours and 32 minutes. (Laura, were you goggles tight enough? ;-) just wondering - looks like it's gonna leave a mark!!)

Sunday I did the Chisago Lakes Half Iron-Distance.
I got to meet Trimom! She is just as sweet in person as she is on her blog. She did awesome and finished feeling good despite the near 90 degree temperature. I got under 6 hours for the first time ever and ended up getting a plaque for third place for my age group, and Trimom got one for the Athena division, too! I didn't have my camera at Chisago, but Trimom and Nick did, so maybe I will post pics in a day or two.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Miraculous Abby

Today Bobby and Ally had the pre-lims for the Western League championship swim meet. Ally swam 3 events and Bobby swam 2. I volunteered as a timer so I was kept pretty busy starting, stopping, recording, and trying to cheer on my kids' teammates.

About halfway through the meet our coach, John Foss, made an announcement that we had a special guest in the stands. There was silence and tears and finally, shocked and euphoric applause. And more tears. Uncontrollable tears.

Let's back up about 3 weeks. Ally and Bobby are at a swim meet. After their team cheer and coach's pep talk, they come back to the area where I had their towels laid out. They both had written on their arms, "I swim for Abby". I asked what that was about...

HEre's what I was told: a little 6-year-old girl named Abby, who is on our team and swims in Ally's lane, had a horrible accident involving a pool drain a day or so earlier. Evidently the drain cover at her club pool in Minneapolis was broken. As she played near the drain, she sat on it and became stuck, long enough for her intestines to be completely sucked out. She didn't die, but she could have. No one knew what happened. She stood up, told her mother she though she pooped in her pants and was heading to the bathroom. At this time she fainted, hit the edge of the pool and chipped out a tooth. She didn't die, but she could have. An ambulance was called and she was taken to the hospital where no one could figure out what was wrong with her. She wasn't bleeding anywhere, just unable to stay conscious. But she didn't die. When her mom said something about thinking she'd pooped, the doc checked her rectum, noticing a small tear. Only when he examined further did he made the shocking discovery that there was "nothing up there". She had no colon. Rushing Abby lightening-fast up to the OR, they cut her open to discover pools of black blood and no intestine or colon.

The hospital called the Minneapolis Golf Glub and they searched the drain and found her intestines, but too much time had passed and it was way too late to try to save them. But she still was alive. This child would not die.

Her life is forever changed - she can't ever eat again. She has a tube the goes from her stomach straight outside her waist. If food goes in there, it has no where to go. She will either vomit or it will come out the little tube. She gets her nutrition from another tube that goes straight into a vein in her chest. Right now they are trying to get the nutrients just right so that her liver doesn't shut down. She's not out of the woods yet. Her nutritional needs will constantly change as she is a growing 6-year-old. This child is a miracle and she is amazing and she is on a life-long journey that no one envies.

And today she came to the meet today to cheer on her friends. When Ally was up on the block and the announcer stated her name and her club, she didn't wave at me - she waved frantically to Abby. Ally was swimming for Abby.

You are an inspiration and we love you! Thank you for coming to the meet today. You elevated the spirits of people you don't even know. We will continue to pray for your recovery and adjustment. God Bless you, Abby!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Two New Topics - phew!


Bobby went to overnight camp last week for 5 nights. I missed him so badly that when the day came to pick him up, I was up around 5:00 a.m. I made coffee, putzed around for a while... then just got in the car and headed out. I arrived about 2 hours before we were supposed to ... I excused my early arrival with something lame like, "hmmm - guess there wasn't much traffic today!" but I was so eager to find him that I was practically weepy. How embarrassing for him!
He LOVED camp. They had archery, swimming, rock climbing, "muscle-building", sailing, hydro-biking, a GIGANTIC rope swing, body boards, volleyball, tubing and skiing... He really didn't want to leave. He wanted to know if he could stay another week. Heck, I want to go to this camp, too! I wonder if they have my age group... Anyway, he will definitely go back next year. The counselors were amazing. I could tell they were having as much fun as the kids, and the pictures from their albums were great.

Art Wall
So my Art Wall project is going to be great! This is the before picture. The color is called "Concord Ivory" but it's too yellow for me. So I'm changing it to an Art Wall - It will be covered with colorful paintings and photos that I or my friends created. Cool! I painted the pink flower to start...

Then I decided to paint the wall a super dark color, but it's not dark enough... it looks too much like the carpet in the great room... gonna go with black and hope it ties in well with the staircase. Keep in mind the wall will be COVERED in colorful artwork. The black will only be peeking out from between all this artwork.The other yellow walls will be the gray that you can see I just started on.

I've mentioned it to a couple people so far (Thanks Stronger, Curley Su, AZ07!!) ... and they have sent me files so I can purchase their photos at Kodak Gallery and get them matted and framed.
Soo..... if you'd like to see your work on my wall (and I would LOVE to have it!) please email me a full size .jpg of your favorite photo (or acrylic or watercolor!) and I will get it up here. Thanks in advance!

My email address is

Monday, July 23, 2007

To my Anonymous Commenter

My friend wrote a 5 page article for the LA Times about his lost faith, and posted it on his blog.,0,532432.story?coll=la-home-center

Twenty readers commented, including me. I talked about my own faith, which is a much more positive experience than his has been. In my several-paragraph response I included this comment:

...The Pope himself came out last week and told the world that the only way to salvation is through the Catholic Church, when actually, the words in the Bible say it's through belief in God. ...

The last-week's news story I referred to in that comment came from here:

"Faithful people from Tacoma to Tulsa to Tijuana took notice this month when the Vatican reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church as the only path to salvation. Pope Benedict XVI’s stance that other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches had the potential to divide."

Here's the link for that article.

So I was pretty accurately quoting the article. Nevertheless, Anon got really mad and mean and wrote me this:

Anonymous said...
Hi Jenny, just wanted to let you know that your comment on Tri Geek Dreams on "what the pope said last week," is just flat-out wrong. You left the Catholic Church for reasons you probably can't even define or defend -- except in ignorance. Stick to talking about exercising.
3:55 PM, July 23, 2007

So, Dear [not actually] Anonymous:
In all my posts and comments, I write my own opinions. I am not asking you or anyone else to adopt them. So cheer up! It's OK for you to have an opinion different from mine - lots of folks do... even the Pope! You didn't need to hide behind what you obviously hoped was anonymous.

Which I guess now you get to know that I have sitemeter. So you hadn't read the news story. Big deal - no need to go Anon and get mean. You didn't need to call me ignorant on my own blog.
So you can either apologize for being a weenie, or I can "out" you. ;-) ... or should I just publish the Google Map that came up with your IP address ? ... or should I take the high road? Decisions, decisions.

By the way, my children go to a lovely Catholic school, where 60% of the families are Catholic. So lots of our friends are Catholic. Regardless of what the Pope said, I still like them, and they still like me. My kids attend Catholic Mass once a week. I only stated my comment [about something other than exercising] when Kahuna invited me (and the rest of blogland) to know his soul, and comment as to how we felt. Believe it or not, pretty much all of us triathletes have thoughts outside of exercising. ;-)

Just wondering, though... did you also leave Kahuna a mean Anon comment?... I mean he had a LOT of things to say! Or did you just pick on me for some reason?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Perfect Day

Yesterday I got myself and my kids up at 3:00 a.m. to go volunteer at the Lifetime Fitness Sprint and Olympic Triathlons.

I know, I know... already you are wondering why I titled this post "The Perfect Day"....

Well, it was perfect because:

1. Bobby told me he wanted to start getting up this early all the time because you get to watch the stars disappear, the sky turn colors, and then the sun arrive.

2. I got to cheer on about 50 of my friends from my own tri club and from clubs on the south and east sides of town. Some of these friends were with me when I ran my first marathon, and now we are all doing tri's together, too.

3. I got to wear my "Not Racing For a Reason... Leukemia and Lymphoma Society" pin and have people ask me about it.

4. I got to hold hands with my friends and pray (freely in public) in thanks for the beautiful day, the strong bodies we were given, the lives and lifestyles and opportunities (we often take for granted) that we have, that enable us to pursue fun hobbies like triathlon.

5. I got to volunteer with my lovely girlfriend Rachel, who took this picture of Ally and me. Those of you who know Ally's story will see volumes of deep meaning in this moment that Rachel captured.

6. I got to see my friend David get out of the water almost 3 minutes behind the leaders and then come in from the bike ahead of them all, starting his run with a 25 second lead.

7. I got to take a nap in the afternoon after I got home.

8. I got to take my children to the pool after my nap. And in the 75-degrees-sunny-and-gently-breezy twilight, we ate dinner together, and there was no fighting.

9. I got a call from a dear friend who is having some life-changing personal struggles. He called upon me, of all people, and asked to know more about Jesus.

10. And lastly, I got to share what I know to be True. And there is no greater honor to me, than to realize that His light in indeed shining through me.

And that is why I had The Perfect Day.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Couer d'Alene; coffee with the Bloggers, This weekend's Not Racing at Lifetime

Couer d'Alene
I'm in!! I'm in!!

I will officially be spectating/sherpa-ing the 2008 Couer d'Alene Ironman next summer. Mrs. Bigun and I will be in charge of (not only) more cow-bell, but for presenting our finest enthusiasm and encouragement for all you athletes pouring your hearts out on the course.

Woo-hoo! You go, Ironman!!!! (clank, clank, clank)

See? I'm in training already. How'm I doin'?

My first big training day of the season will be at Wisconsin. I'll be experimenting with my nutrition (that gets listed first from now on), gear, outfits, sunscreen application, etc... any advice, encouragement, instruction is welcome - tell me what you need! A ride to a training swim? spare goggles? Immodium tablets? (that also gets listed first from now on, too) Salt? Aquaphor? Fresh heart-rate batteries? Spare tire parts? pre-race shoulder massage? Ride to a bike shop in case you arrive and realize you've forgotten you wheels? (not that anyone I know ever did that...) ;-)

So I just had coffee with Trimama, TacBoy, and Greyhound! You gotta love technology - they are in Colorado and I am in MN, yet we can still have coffee together.

Not Racing ... for a Reason
This weekend we are hosting another fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Triathletes are trading in their racing garb for volunteer garb at the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon, being held on Saturday. We will be collecting donations, working the transition area, and boldly wearing our buttons that declare, "Not Racing for a Reason: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Minnesota". I'll post a group pic after the race.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Back in the saddle again...

It's nice being home. Training is slowly starting to become a part of my life again. Yesterday I ran 8 in the sweltering heat, having to walk about a third of it. And today we rode appx. 40 miles, again in the heat - sweat was just dripping off my face - ew! And I was drinking an obscene amount of water.

Supposedly it's going to rain tonight or tomorrow and cool us off. Here are Andy, Greg, Eric, Laura and me eating at the gas station.

Tomorrow the community slots open for CdA -- I'm going to try to grab one - Kahuna - jump back in the IM saddle with me! Bigun, you're in, right?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Ironman Zurich Race Report

Where do I start? Switzerland was lovely. I had never been there before.

We arrived and got settled into our hotel, explored the bike course and then the next day I FINALLY got to meet TriJack. Here are the bloggers: TriNick, IrongirlNyhus, me, and TriJack. He is just so darn nice you can't help but like him.

After he arrived, we went on another ride to view the Heartbreak Hill portion. This hill was not as long as The fabled Beast, but it was steep. I loved it actually because on race day there were hundreds of fans lining the hill with noisemakers and flags, just spilliing onto the road - this surely must be what Le Tour must feel like. Below are Laura, DV, Nick, Andy, Dave, Greg, and me at the summit.

Below we had dinner and enjoyed some pre-race carbs. Me, Jill, Kris, Laura, DV.

At the Expo, we got our group picture taken. There are a few missing - 17 of our group raced, but there were a lot more including the Cheering Team.

Below is the Swiss version of the Boys Room. Very clever. Keeps the regular portalets open for the girls!

The Race:

I got a little lost on the swim, so my time was slow, but the water was calm and clear and refreshing. Of course the mass start was choppy, but I finished with my goggles still intact and feeling strong. So I headed off onto the bike course, leaving my sandwich on my transition towel. That would come back to haunt me.

The bike course was BEAUTIFUL. All around lake Zurich, then up (and down) The Beast, back around Lake Zurich and up (and down) Heartbreak Hill. I took it nice and easy on the hills (6 or 7 mph), but felt like I was flying on the flats. The downhills were a bit scary for me so my max speed for the day was only 35 mph, and that was only once. Ask TriJack if he took it easy enough on the downhills! ;-)

I flew through transition (fastest T2 in my age group) and started the run. I felt great and started looking for my Run Special Needs bag right away - I had my food, imodium, pepto, salt tabs, etc in there. You've all heard me say, "Ironman is a thinking man's game. it's about pacing and it's about nutrition." I still know that. Well, everything is in German and I never found my bag. But I was nibbling on stuff at the aid stations and still sorta felt great. Until mile 16. I started asking our cheerleaders how much further; where's the Special Needs area; is it really hot out here... stuff like that. By mile 18 I was deep into a bonk which involved ...uh... digestive indignities. There were not enough portalets so I had to go where I had to go, fortunately still having the foresight to pick up some discarded sponges to... you know. It was ugly and embarrassing. My heartrate was below 100 - even on the parts I was still "running" (AKA shuffling). With only a couple miles to go I was laying down on parkbenches, crying, shi**ing, and trying to do the math conversion of kilometers to miles to figure out how many miles I had left. I was toast.

I finished in my personal slowest time of 13:04. I found TriJack, Kris, and a few others at the finish, but I knew I needed to stumble to the medical tent (my first time ever) for some assistance. My blood pressure was 90/50, so I was in pretty bad shape. I didn't recover until much later; not fully for at least a day.

Interestingly, I am more proud of this Ironman than any of the others because I really had to dig deep to get my arse to that finish line. I genuinely thought I was dying out there and the fact that I was able to drag myself in, is something I will forever be changed by.

I want to thank Speedy Pete for encouraging me out there all day... in my happy moments and my bawling moments. (Pete is our friend from MN who is biking across Europe for the summer. He altered his itinerary and rode over to Zurich from Iceland just to watch us race. After covering 2000 kilometers, he seemed tired but in pretty good shape! (BTW, Pete - I have your extra gear that you were sick of lugging - and it didn't make my baggage "overweight", either). I also want to thank Kris and Jill for taking care of me afterward - getting me food, retrieving my bike from transition, getting me to the van to go to the hotel. You guys are just so nice. Thank you.

Anyway, that's the report. My only regret is not seeing all my friends cross the finish line.

This is TriNick with TriJack and Richard, one of out guides, having a post-race beverage in the hotel bar. The next day we went touring to Baden.

This is Barb, Brian, Andy, Sue and TriJack soaking their hands in the thermal spring water in Baden. That was a gorgeous town, but it was drizzling and the springs we were headed to were closed. So we hiked over to the fortress and climbed the 440-ish steps to the top for a view of old Baden. It was worth every step. (Hey, DV - what's on your elbow??)

Baden from the fortress summit.

We said goodbye to TriJack and packed up our bikes and took the train to Grindewald and Interlacken, and First. (that's the name of the town). I have more pictures to load, but here are a few.

Jeff and Laura tossing a snowball as we got up closer to the glacier in Grindewald.

This is me hiking.

...with Nick.

Here the cloud's partially covering the glacier, but it was really scenic up there.

This is the train station in Grindewald. We stayed in a lovely spa hotel - so relaxing!

All in all, it was a great trip. But I must admit, when the US customs agent checked my passport and said , "welcome home"... I got a bit teary.