Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oh how the mighty have fallen

I suck at blogging. I was just looking at my blogging history:

2004: 47 Posts
2005: 115 Posts
2006: 88 Posts
2007: 89 Posts
2008: 131 Posts
2009: 74 Posts
2010: 12 Posts

I blame that stupid website facebook. Now I think I'll link this blog post on facebook.....I suck.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The best Ginger Beer out there

I've been drinking this "Bundaberg" Australian Ginger Beer. By far the best, but it's also expensive. It leaves an awesome ginger after-taste, almost a burning sensation (good burn, not bad).

My favorite part of all though is the old styled cap.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Dirty Dash

Alene and I participated in a team 10k run this past weekend called The Dirty Dash. It consisted of us, her sister April, fellow running mate Kris, and our friend Matt. The last race I had run was the Salt Lake Marathon's 5k and after that race I had stopped running due to lack of time.

Alene told me about this race and asked if I would do it. At first I wasn't sure because I had started to get out of shape, but I really wanted to do something with Alene, so I committed to it. Alene was so good about keeping me on a training schedule and at times we were able to run together in order to keep to the schedule.

The day of the race came quicker than I thought it would. Saturday was hectic as it was because I had to be back home by noon to coach a football game. We all met up at Solider Hollow in Midway about an hour or so before our start time and just took in the atmosphere.

Group portrait before we started (Note: All pictures are credited to my brother in-law, William Church)

Dirty Dash 9.25.2010

This race was not a relay, so we, as a team, were supposed to all run together and finish together. We started off going up a hill which was heavily watered, but really thick with weeds and mud. There had already been 3 heats that took off before us, so as you can imagine, it was pretty nasty by now. After that we worked our way mostly up hill into a back canyon, and then started working our way toward deer creek reservoir.

Our first major obstacle was various rows of hay bales that we had to either jump or climb over. Matt was pretty slick at being able to clear them completely with both legs tucked. I attempted a cartwheel, but it was more like a ball wheel as I wasn't really extending my legs.

After the hay bales, we hit the tough obstacles, which were 3 different sets of walls to climb over. Normally they would not be that difficult, but combined with being tired from having ran 3 miles, having a lot of people around, the wall being slick with mud, and the thick mud that existed 20' in front of the wall, it was much more difficult than it looked.

Tyler going over

Dirty Dash 9.25.2010

Volunteers making sure it was plenty muddy

Dirty Dash 9.25.2010

April going over

Dirty Dash 9.25.2010

After we made it over the last wall, I took the opportunity to give Alene a little present on her neck

Dirty Dash 9.25.2010

Kris with his game face on

Dirty Dash 9.25.2010

From here we ventured down toward Deer Creek reservoir. On the 2nd half of the race we encountered about 100 various-sized tires to high-knee our way through. Everyone expected me to be able to teach proper form since I've coached football for so many years. What they didn't know is that I've never done the tires nor coached it in my life that that those drills are dramatized for movies and TV :-). After that we had a steep hill to slide down, then on through the swampy section of Deer Creek, which was disgusting. About a good 1/4 mile of swamp and black sludge to run through.

After that we hit our last mile and worked our way back to the water slides, which was a blast. There was 5 rows, so as a team we all ran and dove on, sliding down and dumping out into a big mud pit.

Alene and I getting out of the slide

Dirty Dash 9.25.2010

April and Matt working their way up from the slide

Dirty Dash 9.25.2010

The end was by far the dirtiest and nastiest, but so much fun. They had a large mud pit with about 3' deep of water. We had to crawl through the pit (could not stand up as they placed low-lieing ropes across it) to the other side, which was about 30' long. Plenty of great pictures.

The water was really cold for April and Alene, but I think my adrenaline kicked in and I didn't even feel it. I was doing the back stroke during this picture

Dirty Dash 9.25.2010

Kris working his way through the mud

The Dirty Dash 9.25.2010

Alene and April half-way through

The Dirty Dash 9.25.2010

Alene and I toward the end

Alene and Tyler in the Pit

Coming out of the pit about to cross the finish line


Victory faces






Group shot



Muddy lovers

Alene and Tyler

The Dirty Dash

The race is a lot of fun and I'm definitely considering doing the shorter version this spring and possibly the 10k again next fall. It was fun just running along with great people, seeing all the hilarious costumes people wore, and carrying on conversation while running a race. Plus, I love getting dirty.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My trip to California

Check out my other blog, which has pictures of my trip to Nor Cal last week.

Day 1/2

Day 3

Day 4/5

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book Review: Into Thin Air

In last month's Outside magazine I read an article about a 13 year old boy from Southern California who was preparing to climb Mount Everest with his dad and step mother. I thought it was a fascinating article about a very motivated kid. His parents were heavily involved with his training, but they made it very clear that they were doing it to support him. Prior to his interest in summiting large mountains (which started at age 9), he was interested in being the next Steve Irwin, so they were fully supportive of him in that regard by surrounding him with opportunities to interact with all kinds of reptiles and animals. They said if tomorrow he wanted to be an NBA basketball player, they would be at the gym that day helping him train to attain that goal as well.

I'm getting off point, but I had to kind of give an idea of what prompted me to read this book.

I was talking to Alene about the article and how the author mentioned that Everest does so much damage to both your mind and body, that he wasn't sure it was a good idea for a kid to be doing it. Alene then started talking to me about reading "Into thin air" years ago and how she thought I would like it. She ordered it for me the next day and once I got it, I could not stop reading.

To summarize the book, it's about a group of 3 summit teams that got lost and stranded on the mountain during their descent in 1996. 8 people died and a few others suffered serious injuries.

The book took me on a journey that fascinated me and pulled me in much like the book "Lone Survivor" did. I don't read as much as I would like to, so when I read a book I make sure it's going to be a good book. I loved the accounts and history of those that had attempted to summit and those that did. I also felt like I gained more of an appreciation for anyone that attempts to summit Everest. The toll it takes on your body is so harsh. I thought we lived at a decent altitude, but knowing that the closest city from their basecamp was at the same level as the highest peak in Utah, it just blew me away.

I remember hiking to the summit of Timpanogos and while I was out of shape, I also noticed feeling a bit light-headed at the top at 11,749 feet. I wasn't sure if it was from being out of shape, or from the altitude. I can't imagine being almost twice as high in the air, which is where Everest is. I do remember the small joy of being up on that mountain and feeling like I had accomplished something against myself. Then I turned around and saw two younger kids and their parents and I didn't feel as special. It was still tough and I'm anxious to do Timp this year and maybe fit in Nebo, then attempt Kings Peak the next summer.

The author was very brutally honest about most of the situations that happened and about those he climbed with. He himself was a mountaineer and had spent a lot of his life on high mountain expeditions, but nothing close to the magnitude of Everest.

The book made me want to climb something higher. I'm not sure why though. Is it the macho man in me that wants to do it? Is it for bragging rights? I think ultimately its my competitive spirit. I've always been competitive in things I do, whether its arguing a point or playing a sport, but I've never been one of those that are so competitive that I whine or get in fights about things not going my way. Lately, with the running I've been doing, I've found a more challenging aspect of competition for me is competing against myself and I've been doing that with running. How scary and nuts it would be to see what you could do on a mountain like that.

I'm confident I would never do Everest because it costs a lot of money (about $40-$60k) and because it's too dangerous and I have people that depend on me. However, this book definitely motivated me to push myself a bit more and get out and see what I can do. It also taught me about not judging people for their actions in tough times. Some of the deaths could have easily been avoided, but it's not my place to point out faults and weaknesses of others. Nobody knows how they'll respond at that altitude (they say often times that your thought process diminishes to that of a 4-5 year old) and in those deathly circumstances.

It's a great book and a fast read and I'd recommend it to anyone.

Oh, by the way, I found out 2 days ago that the 13 year old boy made it to the summit and back safely.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm not a runner

But I am a competitor (at least sometimes) and it felt good to compete in a race this past weekend. Alene has ran a few races in the past year and has really inspired me to give it a try. As I've documented here and there, I've been losing a lot more weight as of late (since November I've lost about 30 lbs). I've been able to maintain a somewhat regular work out plan and some of that included some running. So, I gave it a go and signed up for the 5k, worried that I would never be in shape enough to run a half marathon. I entered in the "clydesdale" division, which is for men over 200 lbs (my current weight fluctuates between 210 and 215 now).

Most of my training runs consisted of treadmill time. I've never been big on using the treadmill to really see how fast I can go; mostly just to burn fat by increasing the incline portion as high as it can go, then maintaining a brisk hiking pace. This typically helps burn fat. Once a week I'd give it a go and do a good 3 mile run. I had been disappointed as of late because my runs on the treadmill had resulted in HORRIBLE times and I was getting worried that I'd not be able to maintain the kind of pace I'd like to for the race.

As race day came closer, I just kind of gave it an "oh well" and didn't really worry about it too much. As the day approached, I got a little nervous, hoping I could run a better time than my earlier training times (initially when I'd run on the streets I could do 3 miles in a little over 26 minutes, but with my treadmill times slacking I kind of gave up hope on getting that). Alene had kept telling me that it won't matter come race day, you'll find something extra inside you that pushes you beyond what you think you can do. She was right.

She and I both arrived to the gateway (the finish line area) around 5:45am. I dropped her off at the trax station close by so she could get a ride up to her start line for the half marathon she was going to be doing. I hung around the gateway in the morning and just kind of took in the atmosphere and tried to psyche myself up and get my body stretched out enough to feel good about running. I have a really hard time getting my hips stretched out, so I was worried about that.

Here are a couple of pictures from the early morning start/finish line for us 5k runners.

04.17.10 SLC Marathon

04.17.10 SLC Marathon

As the race time got closer, I found my mother in-law (Merlene), brother and sister in-law (Sam and Alysha). Sam and Alysha had signed up for the race as well, so I was glad I had someone to start off with. With about 15 minutes to starting time, we decided to get in the race line. We were back about 150 yards from the starting line; there were a TON of people. Just as the race gun went off, you could see far ahead, heads bobbing as they started to take off. It was also then that I had to pee REALLY badly, and noticed a restroom hall just to my left. I told Sam and Alysha "sorry" and I ran inside to relieve myself. It must have been last-second jitters or something. I came out and just walked to the starting line because they have sensors on our bibs that don't start timing us until we hit the starting line. I pressed play on my 26 minute playlist on my ipod and started the run.

At first it was a mad-house just trying to weave in and out of people. A lot of the people were just doing a fun walk and had huge jog strollers and stuff like that. I found myself spending the first 1-1.5 miles just weaving in, out, and around other groups. It was kind of an awesome feeling knowing that I was passing up all of these people, even if they were walking/jogging (that's the competitor in me). As I got to the first mile, all of a sudden the crowd in front of me started cheering because the dude that was going to take first place was on his way back (the course was an up and back, so we were passing other runners on our way back). It was WAY impressive to see this dude on what looked almost like a sprint, heading back the other way so quickly. I couldn't help but cheer for him as well. He ended up finishing it averaging less than 5 minutes per mile!

The hardest part of the race was coming back up State Street. We ran down from south Temple to 300 south, kind of did a loop through the lower galivan center road, then back up 300 south to south temple again, so 3 blocks of up-hill running, which wasn't that bad. Again, it was liberating to be passing people going up hill and by this time we had thinned out from the walkers, to people that were mostly running. As I got to the top of State street, I knew it was all downhill from here and I really started to stride out. I had no idea how I was doing on time, but I could tell from my playlist I was doing pretty good. At this point not one person had passed me, but one dude began to kind of feel my presence and started to speed up. It kind of motivated me to speed up as well, and eventually I passed him too.

As we got closer to the gateway, I was so stoked. I rounded the corner to head up the main drive of the gateway and to the finish line. It was here that I had this burst of energy which was assisted by the following: The crescendo of the song "this too shall pass" by OK Go, the HUGE crowd of people lined up cheering you on, then off to the right I saw this sign with my name on it and I thought "hey, that's my name", then I saw my MIL, and my two nieces (Hanna and Abbey) holding a sign for me. It was an awesome feeling approaching that finish line and it was AMAZING to just feel all of your pain go away for that last 150 yard dash to the finish line. As soon as I crossed, all of a sudden all of the pain came back and I was hurting. They gave us water and sent us on our way to the racers hang-out area. Along that line they gave us stuff like bananas, chocolate milk, cookies, apples, etc.

I went back to find my family and ran into my mom, Caiden, and Bailey. I was happy to hear that they were able to see me finish as well (I didn't think they would be able to). It was at this point I had no idea where I had finished. They told me to just wait until the evening to find out on-line. I figured there were so many people out there, that I probably did good, but not good enough to place anywhere.

We waited around until it was time to watch for Alene. It was so cool to see her make that last dash down the main drag across the finish line as well. She was so focused and she SMASHED her previous time by about 10 minutes. So amazing and impressive to see that. She finished around 1:49.

Here is Alene and Bailey after her race. Bailey was not interested in wearing mommy's medal.

04.17.10 SLC Marathon

Here's Alene and I after our race

04.17.10 SLC Marathon

I was not able to hang around to see Alene's sister April finish the marathon because Caiden had a basketball game. April had overcome some serious obstacles in order to run this race and still did amazing (she did some serious damage to her leg about a month before the race after training for a LONG time).

Here are my total results:

5k (3.2 miles)
24:39 (7:56 average for my mile)
2/37 for my entrance division (clydesdale; men over 200 lbs); I was 4 seconds away from first
15/97 for men my age group (30-34 years old)
83/597 among all male runners
103/1836 among all runners

I still don't consider myself a runner though. I think I'd like to do a half marathon, but I doubt I'd ever attempt a full marathon. The most satisfaction I get is knowing that I can push my body to do things that I thought were impossible and that I feel healthy as I do things.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Where I'm at.....

Been a while since I've blogged. Since starting the diet back in early December, I'm feeling good. I've still got random flab here and there, but I'm feeling so much stronger and leaner. All of my pants don't fit, but I'm still not ready to go clothes shopping. It's kind of frustrating having to cinch the pants and kind of fold them over in order to put my belt on, but it's better than the alternative (getting fatter).

I'm down to about 220 now (I was as much as 245 at one point). I've still got another 20 lbs to go, then hoping to drop maybe even 10 more lbs after that. I've been able to consistently go to the gym, except for the past week.

I started getting this REALLY bad pain in my upper back/neck area. I've had it at times before, but then it would go away. This time it stayed. It's limited my ability to turn my head, to sit, stand, etc. It hurts so bad. I saw a chiropractor for a consultation on Friday of last week, but since he couldn't get the x-rays instantly developed (like most modern places can) he would have to wait until Monday to diagnose. He used an electrical stimulator on my back for about 10 minutes, which felt GREAT, but after about 5 minutes of being off it, the pain came back. I tried to tough out the pain, but I couldn't make it. On Saturday, at the last minute, I schedule a 1 hr massage and that too felt great as soon as I was done, but about 5 minutes later the pain came back again. I spent all day Sunday with an ice pack on my back and Monday I went into the Chiropractor to find I have a couple of pinched nerves in my neck.

I'm getting treatment with adjustments here and there. Some people say Chiropractors are more like witch doctors. I really don't know what to believe. I know they go to school for what they do and they seem to understand the body well. I really like to believe in the power of having strong mental focus on healing (or at least it being a part of your healing process). Chiropractors stress a lot of healthy living as a part of taking care of your back. I've had 3 adjustments so far and little by little it's feeling better, but I'm not 100% again. He said about 7 or so adjustments should help get rid of the pain.

This is the first time I've gone a week without working out. He said I can go back to working out, just stay away from high-impact stuff and any upper-body workouts. I can't wait to get back to the gym.

One thing that's kind of saved me more than my gym-going is my diet. I remember for the 4+ years we were married, seeing Alene track what she ate every day. I didn't think it was stupid, I just thought it was a pointless waste of time. Now I'm more maticulous than she is about it. My biggest gripe with it was the time it took to track everything. With the help of modern technology, it's really made it easier. My phone synchs with the web site I use, so I don't have to remember everything. I've tried to stay within a 2000 calorie diet and I think that is exactly what has helped me lose weight the most. When I think back, I used to consume at least 3000 calories a day, which is why I gained so much weight. The simple adage that if you eat less calories than you burn, you'll lose weight. I've been able to do it without starving myself, just watching more what I eat. Sodas are now Diet (but every now and then I'll have a regular one). I still eat ice cream in the evening (which I shouldn't either way), so I'm not 100% following the rules, but I'm still losing weight, which is good.

Life itself is moving along. I've now been at my current job for one year. I still feel like I have a ton to learn, but for the most part I have enough knowledge to get by. I rely on my boss for information on a weekly, if not daily basis at times. I'd like to get more independant enough so he can fully trust I can do my job. Work is funny because sometimes It's busy where it looks like a tornado hit my desk, then it's SLOW, but there is always something to be done, even when it's slow.

The family is doing well. Caiden has started seeing a counselor. We thought it would be good for him to have someone to talk to outside of the family, who could allow him to vent or talk about something without worrying about getting in trouble. We've also reluctantly started him on medication for ADHD treatment. I really don't like the idea of him being on medication and I've held out or plainly ignored the warning signs for years, but we felt it should be something we should try. So far he's showing pretty good improvement with being able to stay on task and for the most part is getting his work done in class, which is nice. I love my son so dearly and want so much for him to be happy and have a sense of where he belongs in this world and within our family.

Bailey is so sweet. I love her to DEATH. I've had the good fortune of having some days off (Federal holidays for bank employees) while Alene has worked and just spending time with her is a joy. She's really starting to become a little girl, with a preference for wearing her beaded necklaces. She used to just rip them off, but now she wears them a lot. Alene is still her number one person, as when she wakes up the first thing you hear is "MAMA!" She loves her mom so much. Alene does such a good job raising her and teaching her. There is no doubt in my mind that the wonderful little girl that Bailey is, is a direct result in the wonderful mothering Alene provides. Bailey also loves Caiden so much. The other day when we dropped him off at his mother's, she cried so badly because we left him there. She's really starting to notice and identify our family and that we belong together.

Alene and I are both ready for the spring to come. I wasn't too happy about ground hog day, but for now it appears that the prediction was just for the east-coasters. I'm dieing to get out and hike with Alene, especially now that I'm feeling in shape and know I can keep up with her. If we ever do something hard-core, she always kicks my trash and I feel bad that I have to ask her to slow down at times. I just wish we were able to work out more time together, as I'm sure most couples do. We are settled into a routine, which I know Alene hates, and I really don't mind, so it's hard to try to figure that out between the two of us. I still love Alene with all of my heart and I hope every day she knows it. I'm still not the best at showing it though. Something I need to keep working on. At times I day dream about quitting my job, moving somewhere far away and remote and being happy with her, then my phone rings and reminds me to get back to work. I've got to keep dreaming though.

Monday, January 25, 2010

We got a new keyboard for our laptop

Bailey had a habit of busting it out, then busting out the keys on the keyboard. About 10% of them were un-usable, so we ordered a new one. I was surprised at how easy it was to change out a laptop keyboard.

Anyway, I gave the old one to Bailey, and she finally was able to complete her masterpiece. I'm sure she had this intended all along.

bailey's laptop keyboard

I've been fortunate to be able to spend a bit more time with Bailey with Alene working the Sundance film festival. I love her so much. She is such a joy to be around, even when she gets moody or sassy. Last Friday I met Alene at the Children's Discovery center (at the Gateway, downtown SLC) and I was able to play with Bailey for a while. We had a great time.

Bailey in the fire truck at the Gateway

Bailey in the helicopter at the Gateway

Daddy and Bailey at the Gateway

Daddy and Bailey at the Gateway

She has all kinds of great expressions too, like this:


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bailey is a climber!

My little 17 month old Bailey is so adventurous. I had the good fortune to spend half the day with her by myself while Alene worked (I work for a bank, so we had MLK day off). I had a lot of fun just playing with her for the day. We were downstairs and I left her in her room to play for a bit while I picked up some things in the family room. When I came back into her room, I found she had crawled into her crib! She was laughing and jumping up and down. She was so happy to be in there. I was blown away that this tiny little girl (she is a little small for her age) somehow figured out a way to get into her crib. She has a book shelf next to her crib, so she must have climbed up that, then on top of it, then into her crib.

It's so amazing to see our children grow up and develop their own personalities and take on traits from us. Bailey's sense of adventure is no doubt a direct trait from her mommy. I'm so excited every day to see Bailey and see the progress she makes as she grows. I love her so much.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Desperation as a parent

Last week I received a phone call on my cell phone that was coming from "Blocked". I answered it and there was a voice I did not recognize on the other end, but I knew who it was. He was the father of a kid I used to coach a few years ago. I didn't recognize his voice because I had never heard him speak before. I had never heard him speak before because he doesn't speak english very well.

He and his family, which consist of a wife, 3 boys and a girl, are immigrants from Croatia. They moved here about 14 years ago to get away from all the war that had ravished their country. When I coached his son (who, by the way was a STUD athlete and a lot of fun to coach), he told me that his father doesn't have a job, or can't keep a job because he doesn't speak english. He seemed kind of upset about his father not working and I too have passed judgement on him, thinking if he's lived here for over 10 years, why hasn't he taken the opportunity to improve himself by learning english so he can get a job? His parents rarely came to games because they didn't have a car. Alene once picked them up and gave them a ride to our championship game, which I'm sure they appreciated.

It's been about 3 years since I'd seen his parents. He started off with small talk of some sort (in broken english) but eventually I realized he was calling me asking for money. At first I had no idea what he was asking because his english was so broken. I remember his son saying that his dad was embarrassed to talk because of how bad his english is. I can't imagine how hard it was for his dad to call me to ask for money. He kept saying, "Tax refund you paying back, tell wife". I eventually realized he was saying he would pay me back with his tax refund and he wanted me to ask my wife if we could loan him money. I told him I'd call him back in a bit and hung up.

I got off the phone and talked with Alene about it. At first I was a bit put off, thinking it was kind of weird, and worrying about if we loaned him money, would he pay us back? The amount wasn't astounding, but it was still be considered "a lot" of money for us. We don't have a ton of liquid savings (anything I really save is either in a retirement account, or Caiden and Bailey's education savings), but we had enough to cover what he was needing.

Alene and I thought about it a bit and the more we thought about it, the more it seemed like a good idea to give it to him. In fact, we eventually came to the conclusion that if he didn't pay us back, we weren't going to worry about it. Eventually I started to think even more about telling him to NOT pay us back. I've been so blessed over the past year with a good job, my families health, my own health, and so many other things that there is no way I shouldn't pass up on an opportunity to show my appreciation for the blessings in my life. During a time when people are losing their jobs and lives are falling apart financially, mine is not and I should be thankful. I was determined to give him the money and tell him to not pay us back. I even pulled out an extra $20 to give to him.

I met him at my work the next day. He walked in and gave me a big hug and had a huge smile on his face. I put the cash in a sealed envelope with his name on it and gave it to him. I told him "don't pay us back" and repeated it in an many ways I could in order to get my point across to him. I told him to take care of his family and tell them hello for me. He smiled and nodded and said thank you. I still don't know if he understood what I was telling him, but I felt good about it and if he tries to pay us back, we won't accept it.

I have no idea what he needed the money for, but I kept thinking about how desperate he must have been. I remember him mentioning something about Christmas when he called me and I can only imagine that he was telling me they didn't have one. I've learned and realized that as a father you may not be a perfect one, but a real father would do anything he can for his family, including stepping out of his comfort zone. I look at it as paying him for teaching me a lesson about taking care of my family no matter how hard it is to step out of my comfort zone.

Thanks honey, for being willing to assist someone in need with me.

Caiden's football collage from 2009

One our team parents, Mindy Tuikolovatu, is a photographer specializing in portraits. The past two years she has done these AMAZING collages of our kids at no charge (she even prints it up on a huge poster-sized photo for each kid). If anyone is looking for a person to do a great portraits, please visit her web site at: http://www.photographybymindyt.com/

(Click HERE for large version)

2009 Caiden Football

(Click HERE for large version)

2009 Kearns Gremlins