Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wilderness: Life is Good

Canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area

We went into the wilderness and it was good. Having friends meet Dan and myself and share their island with us made it very comfortable and reassuring, though less adventuresome.

Jon and Julie own a 3-acre island in Saganaga Lake, which is between two wilderness areas, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in NE Minnesota and Canada's Quetico Provincial Park. The Boundary Waters is 1.3 million acres of wilderness with thousands of lakes; it doesn't get any darker at night or quieter at day anywhere in the USA.

Friends Jon and Julie with us on an island overlooking the wilderness area.

The blues were, water, and berries.

This grasshopper landed on my hand as I was paddling close to an island shoreline.

Jon and Julie put us up in a cabin. In effect, we we were not roughing it, even without electricity and flush toilet. The naked swims were better than any shower too! Yes, Life is Good!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tri Training

Too much time has passed since I posted last and I haven't just been training for next Sunday's Sylvania Triathlon. I have been taking care of water gardens and vacationing too. That doesn't mean that this annual event hasn't been on my mind.

In the photo above you can see us get ready for our last practice swim at Olander Park in Sylvania, Ohio. Team Toledo Triathlon Club does a great job of helping athletes prepare for races. Take a look at their website to see local training opportunities for swimming, running, and biking. Imagine the help and inspiration available if you are thinking about setting up a triathlon as a personal fitness goal. You might do one event each year or several events and help gain points for the team. Team Toledo just won the Mid-East Region Championship for the second year in a row. Yeah Toledo!

The Sylvania Triathlon started in 1985 with Jim and Joyce Donaldson's enthusiastic support of this growing sport. Their Woman's Only Triathlon on July 27th closed out with a field limit of 400. Visit their web site at:

7:30 AM is the start time for the Sylvania Triathlon this Sunday, August 10th at Olander Lake. The sandy beach is rainbowed with 750 colorful swim caps donning the heads of chilled, but fired-up, nearly-nude swimmers. Rays of the rising sun stretch westward over the lake, sparking the drive within each participant. Their's and several hundred spectator's voices swirl together, lapping the early morning stillness with the National Athem. Applause sets the trigger and the gun is fired. The lake volcanizes into an eruption of flying arms, flashing legs, and spurting white water. The energy settles in the corn fields of the northwest Ohio bike route and is nearly extinguished on the paved streets of the Sylvania run course. The athletes finish after 2 to 4 hours in a steamy sweat.

Come witness the surge of athletes this Sunday. They will be doing their best, whether they have chosen the olympic, sprint, relay or duathlon. Launch them on and imagine yourself on the course a year from now. That is enough time to steer your fitness plan into a reality. Tri it!

Post Script, Post-Race, August 10, 2008, 3pm:
It's done, and I'm sitting up to tell you about it. A second place finish in the women's 55-59 age group brought home a trophy (hey, there were only 2 of us; what happened to the other 3 women in this age group who signed up?)
The first place finish went to a friend of mine, Pam Oatis, and boy did she improve since I last saw her in competition- 2:48:07 . Congratulations Pam!
(see all results at
My time was on the slower end for me 3:10:07. I'm not making excuses here, but the gears on my bike failed after 2 miles so I did the remaining 23 miles in a single gear. There is always something to deal with.
A funny thing happened too. I poured 2 cups of gatoraid over my head at the 4 mile stop on the run. I thought it was water. My face became caramelized while running into the sun. I had a garden hose shower at the 5 mile water-stop.
The best part is completing the event and feeling good for the next 364 days! As a bonus, I'm leaving tomorrow for a wilderness canoe trip in the Boundary Waters. Talk to you when I get back!