Monday, April 28, 2014

Race #4 - First 10K- Hell Yeah!

My resolution was one race a month of varying distances... so.... I ran my first 10K - 6 miles - Yes!  I signed up for the Manassas Runway 10K!  Key word.... RUNWAY!  I knew if I was going to try and run that far, I wanted it to be a flat, easy course.  There's not much flatter than a runway!  Gotta admit, pretty nervous...

But I did it!  59:43.  9:58/mile!!  I felt really good about it!  Yeah for me!  6 miles, I can't believe I ran 6 freaking miles!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ptero "duck" tyl

At the Regatta yesterday, I found the most amazing thing!  We've had some storms lately and there has been lots of debris in the river.  When we got to the Point, this was waiting for me....
Is that not the most AMAZING piece of driftwood there ever was!!  It looks like a duck, obviously, but it also has a big spike on it's back kind of like a dinosaur.  I couldn't take my eyes off of it!  When it came time to leave, I just couldn't leave it there, so we threw it in my launch and it came home with me! 

Everyone needs a Ptero'Duck'tyl as lawn art.  I LOVE him!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Al Urquia Regatta

Art and Karen came down for a visit, Brenna is home to AND.... she brought her boyfriend home to meet us!!  Cameron Baumgardner!  He's very cute and very nice!  We like him a lot - big props to anyone who will come home to meet her parents AND her grandparents.  He hung in there like a trooper, even though when Karen found out he was a geology engineering major, she brought every rock she found at the regatta to him to identify! :o)
The boys raced a Light 8 again and came in 2nd (out of 3) but who's counting!   I think it's easier to just recap in pictures!
Getting his coxswain on for the row back - he is so damn handsome!

Cameron - such a good sport

Blowing the Viking Horn

The whole gang

These boys crack me up!

There's only one real coxswain in this picture and she's a good sport.  I hope all the boats make it safely!

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Brenna couldn't make it home for Easter, she's going to come home next weekend instead.  It was a very low key Easter.  We did our typical Cul-de-sac BBQ.  We always have a nice time, good wine, good food and friends.  The big kids hide eggs, at least 200, for the little kids and the grownups hid the big eggs (one each) for the big kids.  Then the hunting begins.  At least this year we could hide outside instead of hiding them all in our house again.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Smokey Jacobs Regatta

Once again, Spring Break has passed in a blur of practice and rowing and I don't even know what else.  I've only run once... I'm not sure what I'm doing with my time!  Smokey Jacobs Regatta... rowed Light 8, but in the 2nd 8 category and came in 4th by a hairsbreath!  As a matter of fact, even the boys thought they came in 3rd.  Good Showing.  Still having fun coaching although most of the time I just feel like I'm following along not really serving any purpose, but Mike and Beca don't seem to mind, so I'll just keep on keeping on!
More puppy piles with go-gurts!

Right in the mix, so amazed every time I see a close up picture like this!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Evil in a bag

Doritos have always been a dangerous snack, sort of like Lays... you can never just eat one.  Whenever I'm craving a salty, naughty snack, it's always Doritos, particularly nacho cheese Doritos, that I want.  A daily battle....
Well, then I stumbled upon Evil in a bag....
At first taste, they were just okay...but the more you ate, the more they sunk their evil taste claws into you until you were eating them like a crazed junkie trying not to lick the inside of the bag!  Needless to say, I won't be buying these ever again!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Darrell Winslow Regatta

And the regattas just keep rolling on!  It's like a never-ending hamster wheel... Work, practice, regatta, work, practice, regatta.  In between we try and live a little bit of normal life. It's mainly a blur!
Shook it up a little bit this regatta and rowed a Lightweight 8 this time. Zack still rowing the stroke seat.  They came in 4th, with their goal of staying close to TC Williams.  They were within 6 seconds.  Making strides, making strides.
Finally some nice sunny weather and good rowing!
I have never in my life seen a group of boys as comfortable with intimacy as these boys.  Every regatta they are like a big pile of puppies, snuggling under the tent all on top of each other.  There are definitely no personal space issues here.  As a matter of fact, we've been trying to determine if issues of "purple" apply to the boys. (boys are blue, girls are pink - if they mix together to closely they make purple.  No purple allowed) If they were boys and girls we wouldn't allow it, but if it's all boys or all girls, should we intervene?  Personally it doesn't bother me, I think it's kinda cute.  I'm glad they are all that comfortable with each other.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Walter Mess Regatta

Not sure what to even say, except that Mother Nature is just a vengeful witch of a deity!  Today is was wind!  The guys got their heat taken care of... 3rd so on to finals... but then the winds came down!  Or I guess came up and they cancelled the remainder of the regatta.  Sort of unsatisfying!
But the heat was exciting!!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Regional Regatta

And the rain came down... first the fog... then the rain!  I wasn't sure we were even going to be able to find the Point in all the fog.  If the boats got too far ahead of you, you lost them in the fog, just a little bit creepy.

Once the fog cleared, then the rain came down.  I haven't been that wet in a long time.  It seems Mother Nature is just throwing everything she can think of at us.  But we won't be defeated!  Zack stroked the 2nd Eight again.  They came in 3rd in their heat and made it into their final!
Despite the rain, they kept their positive attitudes as they waited for their final to come.  The fog cleared, the rain stopped, but then....the crabs came! :o(  Poor Brock caught one of the biggest crabs I've ever seen.  
It was awful!  But they recovered and still came in 4th!  It was a crazy, day - but we all survived!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Junior Year - Brenna

Brenna is once again doing fun things at school.  Still plenty of bats, but President of the Wildlife Society as well, new boyfriend... good stuff!
Behind the scenes Zoo Trip

Baby  Bear

This girl will catch anything - No fear!

New Beau - Cameron

Monday, March 24, 2014

First Trail Run - Race #3

Race #3 in the bag.  My first Trail Run 5K.  I liked it and I didn't.  It certainly wasn't boring, there were half a dozen times I almost fell on my face, including once almost directly in front of a photographer, but I managed to stay on my feet.

I liked the trail run because it was not boring... I had to stay on my game the whole time.  But at the same time, it was challenging.  My time was 39:40.  I guess that's okay.  I do like mixing it up and doing different races and different distances.  Next month I'm going to try a 10K!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Polar Bear Regatta

We actually made it out on the water.  The kids had a grand total of about 7 days on the water, but they didn't let that stop them.  It was cold, but not unbearable (no pun intended....Polar Bear...unbearable!)  Zack stroked the 2nd Eight and they took 2nd place!  Pretty exciting!  I discovered it's a little difficult to be a coach and a fan at the same time.  I spend most of my time following Coach Cox around helping to launch and recover boats, so it's hard to be over by the tents cheering.  But I'll get it figured out.
Such freaking goofballs.  I love these boys!

So proud every time I see him row!

Game face!

The other exciting/horrific thing that happened to me... first regatta, first time driving my own launch and I had to make 2 separate rescues at sea!!  I had to rescue one of the Gar-field coaches who's launch had stalled right by painted rocks.  I tied a rope onto their launch and then had to tow it back to our docks.  Really scary!!
Here I'm smiling, because I know the folks in this launch and I'm going back to our boathouse.  So, I got them safely back to the boathouse and headed back to the regatta, but before I could get there... ANOTHER boat signaled me for help!  Seriously....???!!!

Here I'm not as smiley, because these are strangers and I have to tow them to the Coaches Dock at Sandy Run.  So, I'm towing strangers, to a dock with all sorts of VASRA muckety-mucks, coaches, refs and who knows who else!  TERRIFYING!!  But I did it with only a little bit of "holy shit, I'm going to crash" when I got to the dock.  Everyone was safe and secure and I headed on to The Point to watch the rowing!  Whew, what a day!

Monday, March 17, 2014

I rest my case…. Bitch, Bitch, Bitch!

I don't know what the hell Mother Nature is doing, but she certainly has it in for Woodbridge Crew.. March FREAKING 17th and we have 8 inches of snow and another DAMN snow day!   Our kids have had a grand total of 4 days of on the water practice and now we're off today and it doesn't look hopeful for tomorrow.  First regatta is on Saturday… if we're lucky they'll get 3 more days and then have to race.  It should be interesting.  Not only that, we'll probably be going to school until July to make up for all the days we've missed.  I'm so fricking tired of winter, but even more tired of the yo-yo.  Friday we were on the water and it was almost 70 degrees.  Today 8 inches of snow and 24 degrees.  Get a grip Mother Nature.  Make up your mind!  I can't believe I'm going to have to put my snow pants on and go out and shovel on MARCH 17th!    What is this Michigan?
Happy Snow St. Patricks Day!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mother Nature is a Bitch!

We've been inside for the last two days because Mother Nature is just a flat out bitch, or she hates Woodbridge Crew.  The temps have been in the low 30's with wind so we've been back at school and on the Ergs.  Theoretically,  I know it sucks and we need to be out on the water, but practically I am thankful for a little breathing space and a little stress relief.  At the school, I feel much more in my element.  We split the boys in half, Mike does Erg workouts with his half and I take my half upstairs and we do the "Sticks of Sorrow."

I came up with these a couple years ago for the neighborhood moms to use to workout any time they wanted.  They have all sorts of different exercises on them.  The kids take turns pulling the sticks and we do whatever is on the sticks for 1 min and then we move on to the next stick.  We usually do them for 45min - 1 hour and then we switch and the next bunch comes up and we do the same thing.  I love it, I feel much more in my element and I do the workout with them.  So, it's a great workout for me as well.  
At first I worried that the boys would think they were too easy, but by about 15 mins in they are sweating and breathing as hard as I am.  For the last 2 days, this is what we've done.  I was afraid I was going to be so sore I couldn't get out of bed, but I'm very happy to report that I'm a little stiff, but that's it!  Speaking of being a little fitter than I expected, got on a scale today at practice (we all did for fun) that supposedly registers body fat % as well… I weighed 117 and the scale said 6%… now I don't really think that can be right, but I'm reveling in it for right now! :o)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I'm not sure it's getting any easier

We've had 2 more days on the water.  The last two days I went out with Coach Cox which was a little more stressful and a little less stressful at the same time.  I did drive Monday for him and it was only a little less stressful than driving with Tim, but today I mainly just rode in the launch and listened and tried to frantically absorb as much as I could.  Geez, there is just soooooo much I don't know and I just hate feeling stupid and clueless.  I don't like not being good at something.  What was really nice and less stressful is Mike took the Novice boat out for the last 2 days and that was really beneficial for me.  Mike is taking it really slowly, obviously, with them and that really helps me.  They move at a much slower pace, and each part of the process is broken down and exaggerated, which really helps me understand what they should be doing.  I just don't think there is anyway I'm ever going to learn enough to be a coach, but I'm not going to quit or give up - mainly because I don't want to leave them in a bind, but also because I always tell the kids they need to "stick with it, it will get better."  So, I guess I need to put my money where my mouth is!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Today is my sweet Baby Girl's 21st birthday.  I know I seem to say this every year, but I CANNOT BELIEVE that my girl is legal!  I feel pretty guilty because we aren't getting to spend it together and make a big deal of it.  She's back in the Virgin Islands doing a study tour, so I guess that's a pretty good gift.  It's the same trip she did her freshman year, but she's doing 2 different research projects for her advisor and hopefully getting published!  I do have gifts for her including a new iPad Air from John - so she has special gifts coming, but I just always feel bad when we're not together on her birthday.  You'd think I'd be use to it, since college seems to have ended the family celebrations, but the last couple of years she's come home for a weekend after trips and we've had a delayed celebration.  This year she can't do that.  :o(   John is going to go down for a weekend and visit her when she gets home (Zack and I have a regatta).  He'll take her gifts and we'll FaceTime with her when she opens them, but it's just not the same.

She's very excited about going out and getting a beer with her Dad - legally.  He'll make sure it's a fun celebration.  I guess I don't have to worry about what's in those red Solo cups anymore!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I survived, actually everyone survived!

Yesterday was our first day of on the water practice.  I have to be honest I spent most of the day feeling like I was going to throw up!  I rode in the launch with one of our new Coaches - Coach Tim.  Very nice guy, he's Brenna's age, rows at George Mason and use to coach with Mike at Forest Park.  It started out just fine…but then…Tim wanted me to drive so that he could coach better.  It ended up being just fine, but  Oh Sweet Jesus the driving.  What I didn't realize was how FREAKING CLOSE they like to get to the boats.  I didn't drive fast enough or get close enough to the boat for Tim.  He was very nice and encouraging, but the stress I felt.  Couple of times got all turned around and did a little bit of panicking.  The good news is, I didn't crash into anything, I didn't dump anyone in the water, I didn't damage the boat, but I also didn't do anything except stress and concentrate on driving.  We went out with the 1st and 2nd 8's.  That was cool to see them rowing, but I really wasn't able to pay attention or absorb much of anything because I was too busy trying not to crash into anything.  Still everyone was very encouraging and I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.  But there is just so much I don't know!

I guess it's really official - although I still feel sort of like a poser.  All I can say, is I am doing my best and working hard has hell.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Step number eleventy-twelve…on my way

Slowly but surely I'm filling all the steps I need to take to become an official Coach, or "Coach in Training" as I'm calling myself.  I've done the Sandy Run Coaches safety meeting, the Oxford House Safety meeting, First Aid, CPR and AED certified, I went to a day long Va State Boat Safety certification and finally this weekend I learned to drive a launch boat.

John has the patience of a saint and is actually a very good teacher.  It wasn't as hard as I thought, but at the same time it was quite overwhelming.  While it's a little bit like driving a car, it's the drifting and wind blowing that freaks me out a little bit.  When you put a car in neutral it stays where you put it, not so with a boat.  It drifts and moves and spins and wiggles.  That's going to take some getting use to.  The first day, we just did the basics - forward, backward, starting, stopping etc…  Then Day 2 we got a little more fancy.  We drove all the way up the race course to the dam.  Ever since my Sandy Run Safety meeting, all I can envision is taking a shell up the course and sending them over the dam! :o)  Fortunately it appears that I would have to make a concentrated effort to do that - it doesn't look like it's something that might "accidentally" happen.  I practiced docking and pretending to switch out rowers into the shell with the launch.  By the end of the session, I felt reasonably competent, but I'm still VERY nervous about this whole thing.  I'm sure I'm not going to be doing anything fancy or tricky in my first couple of weeks, but still it's stressing me out. There is SOOOOO much that I DON'T know and I still can't help thinking that Mike C and John M are just a tad bit CRAZY going with this plan. But at the same time, there's not much choice.  The weather has been so freaking cold that I don't think well get out on the water this week, so I hope I'll get a couple more days to practice before I'm put to the test.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Coolest gift ever!

John has always been a pretty good gift giver. IF you overlook the belly shirt that said BEER WENCH on it and the other t-shirt that said Funkin Ronuts, which he thought would be appropriate for me to wear to Crew functions.  If you ignore those two heinous outliers, then he's pretty darn good.  He got me the best present ever TiVo - when they were still new and no one really even knew what they were.  It was the best and the worst gift, because it allowed me to easily record and watch whatever shows I wanted, which in turn caused me to watch WAY more TV than I should. See best and worst.  Before that I use have to make sure I had the VCR's programmed right and the VHS tapes in the right machines, and hope they didn't tape over anything and you couldn't tape when you were watching…blah, blah, blah.  But I digress….  Coolest gift ever… or at least recently…. For our anniversary, he found this thing/company/service called Stridebox.  It's like a gift box of the month for RUNNERS!!!  I got my first one yesterday.  This one had… protein bars, and fuel chews, and lip balm and a water supplement and a really cool blinking light for night running.  It was fun to go through it and see stuff that #1 - I'd never really heard of and #2 - I'd never buy for myself.  What a cool little treat!  Sometimes he just SCORES!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thrilled, terrified, hesitant, happy, honored, worried, excited, did I mention terrified… really just pick any adjective….

I don't think I've made it any secret, how much I love Crew, our team and the sport in general.  I've been going to Winter Conditioning everyday and helping out wherever I can.  Coach Cox has been gracious enough to include me and let me help wherever they need me.  This is the first year we have not been allowed to pay our winter coaches so some of our younger coaches haven't been able to come and help out.  Which has been good for me, because I've gotten to fill in the empty spots and I've learned so much.  I just love being with the kids and helping them.  Thank goodness Zack seems to be okay with the whole thing, plus I try to stay as far away form him as I can, unless he engages first.

I've been imagining in my dream life some way for me to become an official coach, instead of just "Zack's mom, who hangs around all the time!" Something like a land coach, or a conditioning coach anything along those lines. I'm already one of the only people who will run with Mike and the kids or Erg with them.  None of the other coaches do that.  I get so invested with the kids and how they are doing, that I can't imagine not seeing them everyday and watching their progress.  I have even considered going through Personal Fitness Trainer certification to make myself more marketable.

It's been challenging to find coaches for the team this year.  As you can imagine there aren't many people, especially the younger coaches, who have jobs that will allow them to be at practice everyday from 4-6pm.  Which leads me to the thrilling, terrifying, exciting, craaaazzy adventure that is ahead of me.  Last week Coach Cox called me… he and Coach Meehan have asked me to come on and join the coaching staff!!!!  I'm sooo excited, and terrified.  I know, I know… the one small catch… I don't know how to row! :o)  What they need most immediately is another person to drive a safety launch along side them so that in cold weather they can take more boats out.  Each coach is allowed to take out 2 boats, at a certain temp, but if I'm there - they can take out 3.  So, I will drive along, learn and start making the jump to coaching.  They have promised they won't put me in a position that would make me or anyone else uncomfortable.  This year I will be a "coach in training."  I've repeatedly given Mike the opportunity to change his mind, but he doesn't seem to want to do that.  Apparently this is a pretty common practice among teams.  When coaching needs get critical, they find a parent or other person who is willing and able to help out and then train them.  There is even a US Rowing Level 1 Coaching Course for people with little or no rowing experience, like parents, teachers or personal trainers. If they have an actual course for that, then it must happen pretty regularly.  I'm waiting for the schedule to come out, so that I can go to that.  I've also done the Occoquan Coaches Safety meeting, CPR and First aid certification, Boat Safety certification and I still have a couple more boxes to check off.  I also plan to try rowing with the adult program this summer and fall, so that I will at least have some idea of what I'm doing.  Whatever I can do, I will do.  The most important thing I need to do right now is learn how to drive a launch boat.  Fortunately, this will be John's responsibility since he is the Boat Driver Trainer!  If anyone can teach me to drive a launch boat, it's John!  I just need the freaking weather to warm up so the ice melts and we can get the boat out on the water!!
This is something I've very excited about and I want to make sure that I do the best job that I possible can.  I don't want to let anyone down, not Mike and John who are putting their trust in me, not the kids and certainly not the team or the program.

Unfortunately, not everyone was as supportive as I had hoped when Mike made the announcement,  but I'm not going to let that get me down or derail me.  The people whose opinions I truly value, Mike and John, my John, the other coaches, close friends all seem very supportive.  The rest I'm going to just try and ignore and prove wrong but doing a great job!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Mover and a Shaker

John has been getting to do some cool things at work lately.  He and the President of his company have been going up to Washington and meeting with Senators and Representatives and other big muckety, mucks.  I don't exactly understand what all they are doing, but it has to do with the future of military medicine, changing language and the defense appropriation bill or some such thing.  Frankly, once he goes on long enough my eyes start to glaze over and I lose concentration.  Isn't that terrible.  I'm the worst wife ever.  I'm happy that he's doing exciting things, but when it comes to politics and law making - I only have enough interest and attention span for the School House Rock "I'm just a Bill" skit.  If it gets much more complicated than that, then I'm gone…:o)