Saturday, August 2, 2008

Good for the Soul: Disappear for the Week with Family

I'm back!

Back from a week in northern Wisconsin; a week of abusing the body, digestive system and a fair number of fish.

Back from the entire family hanging out together.

Back from doing "tempo" runs in the woods with "kids" in their 20s. It will either help me for Chicago or put me out of the race. I'm not sure yet which one.

Back from mountain biking on real trails and climbs with poor equipment. I love my bike! I love my bike!

The Body
Well...time marches on. This year I have not been able to prepare my body to race or even train at what I am used to. Older bodies and fat don't mix on an active vacation. This weakness translated into extremely sore muscles from swimming, trail running, water skiing, muskie fishing and tubing with cousins who are all 10+ years younger (and Boston Marathon qualifiers). I went to see Dan McKenzie today at Advanced Muscle Therapy in Villa Park, IL (Dan is the Chicago Wolves massage therapist and PT) and it wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. Maybe I'm OK for the Chicago Triathlon...then again...maybe I shouldn't be in it because I am not fit to perform. My hamstrings are so sore from skiing. Thank you Dan for digging the elbow into them and loosening them up.

I was able to ski better than last year when it was my first time skiing in over 25 years. I was able to sit on my skis, jump the wake and slalom across the wake. Water skiing revealed that my body is weak from not being able to train like I should. This will be addressed in the off "triathlon" season. (Is there really one? Or does it really just move indoors?)

Tubing was pretty great. My cousin Christine and I made it around the lake with my uncle Tom doing everything humanly possible to dump us. Chrissy did have her feet come out from under her and my elbow was getting a water massage being dragged along but we made it - laughing all the way. My cousin Vince and I made it around the lake once and almost a full second time when g forces launched me off the back when my left hand slipped off the cracked foam hand protector. I road the water on my back for a good 30 feet (at 40 mph) with a rooster tail off my ass and both legs in the air. I thought Vince was going to buy it first and was trying to keep him on the tube when I bought it. The video, I'm told, is quite spectacular...and will be on in a few weeks. If you are going to biff...biff big!

The Schedule
Daily the schedule was up at 4:45 am 1) coffee - a lot 2) eat 1/2 a doughnut (I have some discipline) 3) go fishing and watch the twin baby bald eagles catch a few more fish than me 4) eat a proper breakfast 5) trail run 6) water ski/swim - lake was cool - 70 but it felt good after the initial "shock" 7) eat lunch 8) go tubing - my abs were sore from laughing 9) fish again 10) eat dinner 11) fish again 12) play various games with cousins until ~midnight; hit the sack at 1:30.

I have slept most of the day Saturday.

The Digestive System
On vacation...anything goes. For the record...I had three salads. Not bad in 6 days, eh? If I never see a bratwurst (until next year), hamburger/cheese burger, fillet, fudge, fritter, or Bear will be too soon. I need a colon cleanse stat! If I am gonna die on vacation...eating homemade garlic/onion cream soup and garlic stuffed tenderloin (grilled to perfection) with Cognac mustard sauce followed up by peanut butter/chocolate pie...what a way to go.

Hold on...I think I'm gonna puke. Please pass the cleanse and bifudus regularis yogurt.

The Fishing
Oh my...not the best of years but what a ride! The first trip out in the boat with my brother I am fishing with a small Rapala on an ultra light pole. The ultra light makes the smallest of fish seem big and bigger fish a whole new ball game. On my second cast I see something following my lure; a muskie. She comes parallel to the boat and is approximately 2/3rds the length of our small boat (somewhere between 55 and 60 inches long and her back was about 5 to 6 inches across - think Jaws - "we're gonna need a bigger boat".) She was so large it looked like a telephone pole coming out of the deep. That or we were about to get torpedoed in the first attack on a fishing boat by fish. She jerked her head to the side and was gone - the lure flying out of the water. My brother and I picked up our muskie specific poles (with 120 lbs. line) and started casting in all directions. Nothing...the DNR ranger told us that we had just seen "Bertha" who was last measured in the spring (when they shock the lake and measure/count game fish). She measured 59" in the spring and weighed in at 63 lbs. - that is a lot of fish. I had hooked her on 4 lbs. test line. I've pulled up 80 lbs. of log on 4 lbs. test I had a chance. Once you get a muskie in the boat the fight isn't over. Their heads have a bit of armor and don't let them bite you because they have teeth as big as nails.

We caught our share of largemouth bass, northern pike, black crappie (big ones), smallmouth bass and one missed muskie. All fish are swimming safely in the lake today; assuming Bertha hasn't found them since we left. (She eats her weight in fish daily. DAILY!)

The last two times in the lake I hooked something big - twice - and it broke my line. It was an exciting fight but I never saw so much as a fin so no fish story on those.

Lastly, several cousins are next year we will have litter of small children up there. No, we are not expecting but the topic was discussed ad nausium thank you very much. It is very clear now we need to produce a grandson.

I'm going back to sleep.


  1. I was wondering where you were, Bob! Welcome back and your vacation sounded great - well, without all the bear claws and brats, ick! :) ha! Jen H.

    PS LITH swim on Wed - last organized one with free subs, come out!

  2. I think water skiing should be in workout programs everywhere. My legs are smoked. Running with younger cousins on hilly trails didn't help either.

    I hope I can make it Wednesday. Now that I'm working in Deerfield and with the role of Director...I am working 11 to 14 hours a day.

  3. Sounds like a GREAT time with family! I love northern Wisconsin - oh so fun. Glad that you left those fish, happy in the lake - wonder what the big one was... :) Reminds me of catfish something-or-another from Grumpy Old Men... :)

    Have fun at the OW swim!

  4. The big one was some kind of Muskie. No question. It felt like someone dropped a 30 lbs dumbbell on the line and when the line was cut very cleanly which means BIG TEETH. Most likely a large Northern Pike (rare in those waters) or a large Muskie...NOT rare in those waters.