The summers up here are amazing. Save maybe a week or two of extreme heat (- where it may reach 90 degree weather), the U.P. really comes alive. We survive, like many other yoopers, without AC, so the outdoors easily becomes an enormous playground. The temperatures inside and out are often comparable.
The other day I was trying to think about why in all of the previous summers we didn’t spend as much time outside. For the past couple of months, I can’t think of a day where we didn’t go outside to play or a week where we didn’t go swimming at the lake. Then I calculated that for 2 of the 5 summers I was uncomfortably pregnant and the other 2 summers I was nursing an infant. This was my first summer where I could be out and play. The baby, Ty, is now running around and wreaking havoc so it is actually quite efficient to have the boys playing outdoors while the house gets a break and remains (somewhat) clean.
Manu and Micah have nearly completed their two weeks of swimming lessons over at Michigan Tech. Tomorrow is their last day. Manu has learned how to swim and can go quite a ways all by himself. Today, Manu jumped off the diving board in the deep end without a life jacket and was able to then swim over to Israel. Micah can also swim a few strokes on his own. He is more dense than Manu so he can only swim underwater. He can swim for as long as he can hold one breath. Israel plays a game with Micah where he pushes him gently underwater and Micah touches the bottom of the pool and comes back up. They have improved so much in such little time! They are both well on their way to becoming triathletes…which is their ultimate motivation to learn how to swim. In true yooper form, the boys (including Ty) enjoy going to the beach and swimming in the lake (Superior), even though the general population would consider it to be too cold.
The other day we headed over to Prince’s Point which is a beach area by Tech where Israel does his open water swims. Chris came with us and the both of them suited up and swam the 1.2 mi swim to the flag pole and back while I played with the boys at the beach. Chris made it back before Israel and we were watching Israel swim when we noticed that he stopped swimming for a while. At that moment, we saw a fairly large bald eagle soaring over the lake. It was so beautiful and we could clearly see the white on his head and tail. It started circling around the lake and I was thinking to myself how neat it would be if we could watch it swoop down and catch a fish. Israel by this time was kind of flailing his arms and really appeared to be struggling with something. Come to find out, he was suffering from a bad cramp in his leg. We immediately connected the two and realized that the bald eagle was actually circling Israel! We found that quite humorous until Israel started calling for help and Chris had to go back in and swim to his rescue.
My “garden”, if you can even call it that, has really been a sore matter from the very first year I planted. That first year, I had tomato plants, lettuce, green onions, Korean sesame plants (“keh-neep”), leeks (“boo-choo”), and roots (“doh-rah-gee”). It wasn’t that bad. The sesame plants took over, which is normally what happens – I equate them to weeds, but everything grew well. But that was also the year where the self-same day we had planned to pick all of the tomatoes, the deer came over while we made a trip to town and ate them ALL. You can imagine my shock when, after coming back from Walmart, I headed to the backyard with my basket to harvest all of the tomatoes and I found nothing but stubs. They even ate the tomato leaves. The year after that, I never planted anything. I just let the garden go wild. I ended up with green onions, “keh-neep”, and “boo-choo”. The following year, I transported a few wild strawberry plants and raspberry plants into my garden. The next year we were able to eat a handful of berries, mainly strawberries. But this year the raspberry plants decided it was their turn to take over the garden. They were able to withstand all of the weeds (-I had stopped weeding after the first year), and much to my surprise, they flourished! I consider it quite a miracle that my sorry garden was able to produce anything.
And finally, last but not least, we have spent many hours outdoors training for the Kuparisaari Triathlon that is coming up in less than two weeks. The boys enjoy riding their bikes and running on our long driveway for their “workouts”. Israel has been training to do the half-iron by himself and I have been doing mainly bike rides since I’m just doing the bike leg of the race. Despite putting on ample sunblock, we are getting quite dark from long rides and runs.
We also enjoyed a special visit from the Shins last weekend as they were passing through! We had such a great time catching up and training together. Tennille is doing the swim leg of our half-iron relay team and David is training for the Detroit marathon in October. On Sunday, between the four of us, we biked 56.2 miles, ran 26 miles, and swam 2.4 miles! This was the day after we stayed up until 3am talking. Tennille and I then topped that off by doing a trail run the next morning (on Monday) through Hungarian Falls. Good times! True friends never let friends miss an important training workout…even on vacation.
From all this working out, my thighs are getting ridiculously large. But then again, I knew this is what I agreed to when I accepted this challenge. So far I’ve done two 56 mile rides and I was able to do them sub-3:30 which was my race goal. I’m hoping I’ll be able to go even faster on race day. I’m not about to let my thighs get huge for nothing! Totally looking forward for our friends to come up for race weekend!!