Monday, June 20, 2011

Tri If You Dare

Last year on a Friday night at the community pool in mid-June, Isaac asked the purpose of all those newly assembled fences and metal structures (bike racks) in the parking lot.  We told him about the kids' triathlon that would take place 2 days later.  He did a quick personal inventory:  
1.  I'm 5 (the youngest eligible age)
2.  I can run
3.  I can bike
4.  I can swim 
came to a typically confident conclusion:
I can WIN!

He asked to enter, and a few minutes later snagged one of the last 2 spots.  Mom and Dad invested time in packet pick-up, sprucing up the bike, and early morning bike and helmet placement in "transition" and body numbering.  Isaac had so much fun running, biking, swimming and winning (he "placed" in his division) with his peers, that this summer his lobbying to participate began much sooner.

Unlike some 6 year olds, he hadn't grown into a larger bike yet, and Grandma wondered if he would feel as happy after this triathlon, since Isaac - or his team - comes in first in all his imaginary competitions, and placing second in one's first real triathlon sets the real-life achievement pretty high to top.   

Four waves of older runners with longer distances to cover started before the 5-6 year old boys and girls.  After some warm up stretches and basic instruction in pacing themselves and bike riding/passing etiquette, they were OFF!   

Jockeying for position

Finishing up the run, headed into "T-1" (first transition), to secure helmet and hop on bike (with 16" wheels :-)

Slowing down at the end of the bike to take the sharp corner and smile at Dad and Grandma.

Drop the bike and helmet in transition (T-2) and run with all your might to overtake  

and pass the runner just ahead of you on the way to the pool.  After witnessing that effort, Grandma wonders if you have any strength left for the swim.

Just...a little...farther...gasp

A quick look back at "the competition" before exiting the pool.

OK, now to the FINISH LINE!
(What fun to see 2 small arms raised high in triumph of achievement as he reaches the end :-)

After several worried minutes of searching for his family, endorphin enriched triathlete is happy to show his medal and share his story.   

Waiting to hear the results of the races and the winner of the bike give-away.

Boy, its hot out here.  I wish the lifeguards would let me play in the splash pad.

Another "glory story" to fuel a young boy's imagination in the coming year. 

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Training for a century ride

Kyle and I have been ramping up to do the hilly hundred in October. As we do longer training rides, we begin to realize that 100 miles is no short distance. 45.3 today

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Trail Tails 2" aka "Life at Bicycle Speed"

Biking along the Pinellas trail never gets old - it seems there is always something new to see, even though most of my miles are logged on a 10-11 mile stretch between St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

One recent day I spent 15-20 minutes tracking the movement of a dolphin in the bayou, watching his sleek body rise from the surface of the water in a gentle arc and immediately submerge again. I kept trying to catch him/her on my phone camera, but unable to detect a discernible pattern in his movements, I found it impossible to guess where he would next rise from the water and I never succeeded in positioning my camera lens within a chain link diamond in time to snap the photo before the dolphin submerged.  I have a dozen photos of "empty" background to go with my memory.

A week or two later I braked to a stop at that same spot to see if the large pelican standing on the front of a small fishing boat was alive or just a whimsical "hood ornament".  As the boat pulled closer, I saw it was indeed a real live pelican, hitching a ride with a crab fisherman, hoping for a handout from one of the man's many buckets.  The fisherman directed his boat in numerous looping circles, reaching into the water to tug on crab lines while the pelican stayed at his post, adjusting his feet for balance and occasionally flapping his wings for a small circle flight around the boat before settling on the bow once again.

It reminded me of the children's story, "Come Again, Pelican" by Don Freeman, which my boys had enjoyed so much that I tracked down and purchased a worn out copy of the then out-of-print and out-of-library-circulation book to read to my grandsons.

This week I saw a man in a viking mask and shorts running toward me - he had a long red beard and a helmet that reflected the bright summer sun.  "You just never know the craziness you'll see", I thought.  When he finally got close enough, I saw that the thick red beard was real, the ends tied in a knot 4-6 inches below the chin, but the "helmet" had morphed into a incredibly reflective bald head.

Sights like these are hard to catch when you are going at car speed, and far enough away from home that I would never see them walking or running.  Perhaps that partly explains my love affair with the bike.

If anyone out there is still reading this blog since Sam has been too busy with family life to post, I would like hear what are your favorite trails, rivers, etc. and some memorable sights from your neck of the woods.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Back on the Trail Again

Kyle's comment to me yesterday, "You know....running's addictive!"

Oh, yes it is...and how thankful I am to be able to partake.  After far too many weeks /months of no running due to injuries and URI's I couldn't seem to shake, I was THRILLED to have an overcast (read cool) morning to start back.  Just run/walk intervals, but boy did it feel good.

And whether I walk or run, there is always something that catches my eye or pulls my heart to thanksgiving.  Here a double crested cormorant  drying its wings in Walsingham Park.

I'd like to know what tasty morsel this armadillo was after.  It never did pull its head out of the hole and scurry for coverage even though I stood just a few feet from it with my phone camera clicking away.  Also Walsingham Park.  I use the treadmill and elliptical when time, joint and training constraints dictate, but it just doesn't come close to the JOY of walking and running outside.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Triathlon for Kate Clark

August 2, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

On May 29th 2009 I received some sad news from my family. My cousin Kate had been involved in a freak accident resulting in a severe spinal cord injury. That Friday Kate was volunteering at her son’s school supervising kids during recess. As she passed under the slide a boy jumped off the slide and landed on Kate’s head. After arriving at the hospital the doctors diagnosed a severe spinal cord injury at C4, the very same injury of Christopher Reeves. Kate was paralyzed. That same night Kate endured 5 hours of surgery. Immediately following her surgery doctors could not fully determine Kate’s prognosis. Only time would tell how much mobility and function Kate would regain.

Kate’s story is unfolding as a miracle. I myself am in awe of God’s faithfulness in this situation. The very next day after surgery Kate experienced a “heavy sensation” in all four of her limbs. She was also able to sit and stand twice with assistance from her physical therapists. Kate was progressing so well that she was moved to a rehab hospital one week after the accident (a week sooner than expected). Through the power of prayer, determination on Kate’s part and wonderful therapy, Kate is now able to walk unassisted after only 1 month! Kate still has many small and gross motor skills she is working diligently to regain. Her spirit and faith is strong.

I write asking for you to become a part of Kate’s story. Kate is married with 2 young children. Due to Kate’s injury her family does not have her income to help with family expenses. On July 14th Kate was discharged from the rehab hospital because insurance would no longer cover her stay. Kate’s doctors and therapist have said she will require about one more year of outpatient therapy. Her insurance does not cover outpatient therapy or the medicine she needs to keep the nerve pain under control.

Since Kate’s accident I have offered each time I run, bike and swim as an intercessory for Kate; praying that she too will one day again enjoy those same activities with her family. Now I would like to take one more step in helping Kate. I will be competing in my second triathlon on August 22nd to raise money on Kate’s behalf . I hope that you will be a part of Kate’s journey toward healing by sponsoring me. If you would like to sponsor me please send checks to Kate’s church. Her church has set up a foundation for Kate to receive tax-deductible donations to help cover her medical costs.

Please send checks with “Triathlon for Kate Clark” in the memo portion to:

Church of the Servant

3835 Burton SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546

In Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness,
Michelle Cullum

Saturday, January 31, 2009

New & Improved ?

I was somewhat surprised by how much my focus and determination for achieving my 2008 health and fitness goals increased when I posted them online for others to see. I thought of them numerous times throughout the year, spurred myself on by the thoughts of the end of year public "report card" and mentally checked off each item that was a single accomplishment as I did it.

  1. more water.....Grade: B I do great as long as I'm training
  2. regular flossing....Grade: B+ huge improvement - buying a metal dental pick helps
  3. regular vitamins.....Grade: C some improvement but still missing too many days
  4. more raw veggies.....Grade: B, more veggies (cooked & raw) .....Grade: A
  5. learning to use bike shoes/clipless pedals.....Grade: C I learned just in the nick of time - I had only 2 days of practice in December before I pulled/tore a muscle which has kept me off the bike for over a month, but those 2 days were enough to fall in a laughing heap on the road when I lost my balance trying to get my foot out of the pedal.
  6. swimming......Grade: A - not for speed, but for consistency of training until the pool closed for the season
  7. triathlon.....Grade: A - for training, completing and enjoying 2 sprints

Strange that even though posting the goals publicly was such a good thing for me last year, I haven't settled on any fitness goals for this year, other than to continue to improve in each of the above, and if my schedule and body cooperate, to complete an Olympic distance triathlon.

I would like to hear what health and fitness goals some of the rest of you are setting into motion for yourself for this year/season of your life....mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness count also, so young'uns and not so young'uns, please sign on to post or comment.

Monday, December 01, 2008

2008 Turkey Trot Notes

This second year of The Cullum Family participating in the St. Petersburg Times Turkey Trot in Clearwater saw a few changes, all of them good:
  • The commemorative race shirts were made out of dri-fit material, so we can actually use them for running this coming year! They are BRIGHT blue with a cartoon turkey so loud you can easily spot us if we should get lost in the wilderness. Perhaps Michelle will add a photo of the kids in their shirts.
  • Amber, now a Cullum, was visiting with Sam for the week, and also ran - hooray!
  • Michelle and Prema did the 5k rather than the 1 mile they ran last year. Michelle, of course, ran a 5k as part of her sprint triathlon in October, but this was the first time Prema had completed 3.2 miles!
  • David probably had the hardest workout, walking the 5k while pushing Eli in the double stroller and carrying Isaac (who wasn't feeling well) on his shoulders for most of the trot.
  • Sandy bettered her 2007 time by almost 5 minutes - yaay!
  • There were even more bands/instrumental ensembles of all varieties along the race route than last year - definitely a fun part of the race.
  • We all headed to Kyle & Michelle's after the run for a great post-race breakfast of pancakes and omelets.

This was the 30th year of our local turkey trot. I ran the 10k once when the boys were pre-schoolers and puked at the finish line. These past two years have definitely been more fun :-) and worth scheduling into our family celebrations of giving thanks.