Anthony’s sister runs marathons and Anthony got the bug- so he signed up for the Disney marathon in January. He started training for it and realized running wasn’t challenging enough he’d rather do triathlons. So my crazy husband hasn’t even run his first marathon yet and he’s already signed up for two or three triathlons AND the ironman in St. George next May. He tortures himself around 4:30 each morning and on Saturdays (as if he’s not busy enough being an attorney, bishop and father of 2).
Anyway his first Triathlon was last Saturday, the Railsplitter in Illinois at the Lincoln’s New Salem State Park. We were already planning a trip to Chicago so we decided to make it one long trip. The park is really beautiful with lots of trees and flowers. The village is a bunch of re-created cabins with working blacksmiths and artisans. The day of the race the boys and I waited in the village and watched the runners coming through and Ethan would clap for each one and say “yay! good job!” One runner was wearing a speedo and as he ran past Ethan pointed and said “Look! It’s a Lamanite!” It was so funny. Anthony finished 2nd place for his age group, we were really proud of him. Most of the people there did he mini-tri, but he did the full one (1 mile swim, 36-mile bike ride and 7 mile run and he finished in 3 hours 46 minutes- not to mention it was probably 100 degrees and 100 percent humidity). Not bad for his first Triathlon!
Next we headed up to Illinois high point. The directions in the high point book were completely wrong. We weren’t sure if we were at the right place and there was a gate, so Anthony got on his bike and took off. He made it but went several miles out of the way because the directions were wrong. He could have driven up to the top 😉 Oh well.
Then we headed for Chicago.We stayed up in the navy lodge in North Chicago and took the boys to the beach. Ethan had been asking to go to the ocean for weeks now, so I told him we’d go to the beach in Chicago, that would have to be good enough. The water was like ice. It was colder than the ocean in NH. But they had fun burying themselves in the sand and he even splashed in the frigid waters. We went to the Shedd aquarium and the boys had fun splashing in the little pools, took the trolley tour and walked around town. We tried deep dish pizza at Gino’s East- it was definiately different, I wasn’t expecting the cornmeal crust.
The next time we came into the city we took the train, Ethan kept saying “I hear Thomas!” We spent the day at Navy Pier and let the boys play in the water fountains. Then up to Sears or I should say Willis Tower. They just built this crazy glass addition onto the sky deck so you walk out on a glass ledge and see 103 stories below. It freaked me out. Ethan ran right onto it and put his face on the ground to look down then went out on the edge and pressed his face up against the glass. I was about to have a heart attack. I’d be more brave if it were there for 20 years but since they just built it this summer I’m waiting for someone to fall through. It was pretty neat.
After our adventures in Chicago we moved on to Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. Anthony is doing the high-pointers and we figured this may be the only time we’d have a reason to be that far North, so we spent the next few days driving to hit the high points. Wisconsin’s wasn’t too bad but Michigan’s was a chore. It was out 26 miles on a mud road- it had been raining for 2 days and there were massive puddles covering the road. We got to a point where it looked like the road was flooded out so I told Anthony to get on his bike and ride the rest the way. We had been burning up the whole week and had no cold weather gear, it was freezing outside and raining. But he was a good sport. He rode for about 15 minutes and came back and hadn’t found the high point. So we braved the puddle and found the sign about a block further than he’d ridden, but it was still 2 miles from there. We came to another bad part in the road so he again got on his bike and trekked the rest the way.
We got to Minnesota’s high point around 9:30pm and he decided he would run it, since we had to be home in time for church on Sunday and were a good 15 hours away with only one day to drive home. The trail was 6 miles round trip and really rocky so it took an hour longer than he expected. The boys and I were sleeping in the car and I kept waking to check the time and around midnight I started to get worried, realizing there were probably bears and wolves out where we were. But I guess he didn’t smell like good food because he made it back in one piece. And after a long night and day of driving we finally made it home again.
The high points make a regular vacation a bit more exciting. Plus we probably wouldn’t have ever gone through those parts of the country. It sure was beautiful and the cool weather, blue sky and green trees made us miss New England.