Saturday, June 28, 2008

Daddy Runs, Boys With Runs

There's a bug going around that hit the boys-one boy moreso than the other. It causes mild fever and diarrhea. Oh yeah. I thought they were over it, so I sent them back to summer camp on Thursday. During swim time, yes, swim time, the diarrhea hit Justin. He didn't soil the pool, but he didn't make it to the locker room either. So when dad picks them up, I have a double plastic-bagged treat of swimming trunks soaked with chlorinated water and shit. It's good to be a dad, and worth every second of shit.

Today marks 15 weeks to the Melbourne Marathon. I ran 23 miles this week with a long run of 6.5 miles. On schedule and not too much pain anywhere...yet. I also started to swim again this week. I'm slow, but I'm in the water.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Obvious Guilt Clouded My Mind

As previously posted, I was supposed to be competing at Ironman Coeur d'Arlene today, and I've thought about it off and on all day, that is, I thought, "what kind of loser registers and drops out of an Ironman event." Anyway, this kind decided to take the boys to Elitch Gardens to play in the water and theme parks today.

In the water park, I wore my Speedos that I began swimming in last year while I trained for IM CdA. After finishing the swim part of the day, we changed into theme park attire, which in my case consisted of shorts, athletic shirt, and...

Don't see it huh? Look at the shoes. One Asics, one New Balance.

Not one of my better moments, but since I'm a guy, I said, "what the _uck?" We stayed at the theme park for another 4 hours--me wearing two different shoes.

My wife-to-be and new daughters were probably glad they weren't there. Dad, no doubt, lost a little luster from his armor today.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Good Luck in CdA

Last year I thought that I was ready for an Ironman event. I registered for Ironman Coeur d'Alene with a bunch of other bloggers. Over the summer of 07, I learned that I can swim a very long way...very, very slowly. I got so frustrated that I quit. Hard to say, but true. I'm still running, but the 21 miles this week isn't the 140.6 miles I had planned to swim, bike, and run.

To all those competitors that are heading for CdA, I wish you the best. I've tried the training, and I know how hard it is to achieve iron fitness. Best of luck.

Meanwhile...Monday starts my 16 week training cycle for the Melbourne Marathon. I figured if I'm flying across the globe, I might as well plan a TRIP. As it stands now, I'm flying to Melbourne, running a marathon, flying to Adelaide, discussing technology with assorted wine tastings, flying to Sydney, looking around, flying to Papeete (Tahiti), and playing with the wife-to-be. So to speak.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father Remebered

My father died in 2006, and my mom recently moved into a new house. In the process, my mom found my dad's diary--a diary that we had never read--from June 1944. My dad was 19 and not a draftee. He joined the United States Navy at 17.

June 1, 1944 We are laying in Plymouth harbor waiting for "D" Day. We know that the invasion will come in A matter of days. Our naval forces here includes APA Bayfield, CLA Augusta, about a dozen destroyers and hundreds of LCI's and LSTs
which are coming out the river. The landing craft (all loaded with American troops) are anchored around us. This is the point where each craft is issued a barrage balloon. As soon as balloons are issued, the ships form convoys and depart. More ships keep coming out the river. all liberty has been stopped. All enlisted men going on the beach must be accompanied by an officer. I had the task of making out money orders so Mr.O'Neal accompanie me to get me past a heavy army guard posted on the pier. Had gas instruction.

June 2, 1944- Was on watch from 4-8 this morning and watched the soldiers get up and eat their chow. Some of them stand around talking, others sit and think, still others delight themselves with rough=and=tumble activities. These are the fellow that make up the first wave. A lot of the fellows that I see here this morning will be lying on the beaches of France in a few days. Some tugs shoved off this morning.

June 3, 1944- The time is near. Lousy weather.

June 4, 1044-This harbor is empty except for three tugs and the crusier Augusta.

June 5, 1944- At last- Us three tugs have orders to go to Exeter. Augusta and a couple of destroyers escorts remaine in harbor. When we left but four hours later she and seven British cruisers passed us as if we were standing still.Weather is somewhat better. We saw about 40 LCI's heading toward sea or to France. We believe it to be only a matter of hours. We are now anchored in Exete harbor. It is getting dark and planes with gliders are filling the sky. They have lights on them which are very unusual.

June 6, 1944- We were told at 1201 this morning by the captain that today is "D" Day. and that the invasion has or will start shortly. Our job is to be the towing of two barges to France. The barges are loaded with all types of ammunition, 50,000 gals of flame throwing liquid and a small amount of signal corps telephones and lines. This morning our thoughts were confirmed over the radio. Communique#1 - this morning our naval forces, supported by air forces, began landing our armies on the northern coast of France. We hav been sitting in the mess hall all morning listening to the broadcasts. Communique #1 is repeated about every fifteen minutes. Supreme headquarters is giving instructions to the people of France. General "Ike" talked as well as the King of Norway and the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands, Belgian, and Poland and DeGaule of France. The King of England also spoke. They give warnings and instructions to the towns and localities likely to be hit. The crew is rather sober and varied in its views. Some are glad that we are still in England. But most of us feel as if we have been left out of one of the greatest battles ever fought and we are mad.

June7, 1944--Left Exmouth with tow. We will go up to point "z" and then head for France. Cond. 2 is set and everyone is wearing his life jacket with gas mask and helmet handy. Nothing exciting. More planes going over.

June8, 1944- Underway. Headed straight for France. The channel at this point is filled with ships going back and forth. Its a regular highway. Liberty ships are on our port, LSTs on stbd. Naval vessels in distance and a hospital ship is racing back to England.

June 9, 1944-Had an 8-12 watch on wing of bridge.Could tell
we were getting close to France as debre littered the waters surface. Timber, boxes, and about two dozen life jackets have floated by. Also saw gas cans floating. Arrived at 0930 off Omaha beach head. Thousands of ships were packed in there. There were a few sunken vessels around. The big babys were in near the beach. The Ancon, Bayfield, Augusta, Texas. Liberty ships and trawlers were farther out. Ducks and small landing craft are shuttering back and forth. The army artillary up on the hill are throwing some steel hell at the Huns. A plane flies over the batteries directing shell fires. A small tent-city has been built on the beach and is plainly marked by Red-Crosses. We have a good aireal unbrella.A plane cam over in the afternoon at about 300 feet. She tried to hit the Augusta but missed with her only bomb. All hell broke loose as every ship in the harbor opened up including us. That Jerry had enough.

JUNE 10, 1944- Saw one of the biggest sights of my life lsst night. Enemy planes were over off and on all night. Tracers and explosions lit up the sky and made it beautiful. A funny thing but all hell was raging about and I was perfectly calm. If anyone had ever told me that I wouldn't be scared, I would have told them that they were crazy. Things quiet here and we see the fireworks down the beach. They go down to pester the Limeys. The British use spotlights but we depend on radar.
And it works quite well. The show in the distance is beautiful with streams of tracers flying all over the sky and the hugh flashes of flame and smoke where the bombs are dropping. The firing is getting nearer as the planes come back over to pester us. In the darkness sudden flashes light up the beach and you know that Jerry is getting unwanted hell from our beach artillary. We didn't do so bad last night. In all, I saw five planes go down in flames. Some of them seem to just fall apart. Landing of men and equipment go on continuously. The naval vessels (big babies) stand off and pour salvo after salvo into the Hun defences. A stranger sight is to see the French cruiser, Montcalm shelling her own country. We discovered today that we are in the right church but the wrong pew. Our barges have to go to the other American beachhead, Utah. We travel about 20 miles down the coast amidst sunken ships and bombarding vessels. The cliffs and flat land above are literally plowed up from the fierce bombardment of our naval vessels. Passed the Arkansas.

JUNE 11, 1944-Arrived at Utah. Looks as if the party really got rough here. There are quite a few liberty ships here (One of them sitting on the bottom). Ships are sunk all around. Many are victims of mines. An American destroyer is broken in half and both her bow and stern stick out of the water. A tug and many mine sweeps are sitting on the bottom. The beach head is a beehive of activity with duck and jeeps running along a make-shift road on the beach. There is an American fighter plane forced down on the beach, but apparently not hurt bad. Several roads marked with signs lead from the beachhead through cleared mine fields. Landing craft and strung along the beach and the big ships are unloading onto Rihno barges which run back and forth. Ships are running around every where. This harbor is under enemy fire from the right flank. Where we have not made landings. Our warships are laying salvo after salvo trying to silence these guns. We have orders to take our tow beside an LST, which is sunken at the stern. Our hightly explosive tow was brought up alonside, a barge on either side. My biggest scare came when we were about to under take our task. Four shells landed about 50 yards of our stern and shook the ship quite a bit. If we had gotten one of those shells in our cargo, this diary would be complete. Our ship, the crew, and everthing in the vicintity would have gone up in a poof!!!! We got rid of our cargo and got out of no-mans land. In one hell of a hurry. In bidding us good-bye, Jerry planted a shell about 75 yards behind in our wake. We went way out of range and anchored. That night we saw the same air raids and bombarment as before. It seems that you never get tired of watching such a show.

JUNE 12, 1944-Headed back for England and a tow. Sort of hate to leave here. I guess I sort of like action. (I don't understand it myself.) Arrived in England and picked up mail and two navy camermen who will film our work and actions while they are aboard. Picked up another tow (floating bridge) and started for France. But weather forced us back. Discoverd that all the bridges were breaking up on the way across. Found out that E boats sunk five tugs including Partridge and Algorma's tow. ATR 13 just brought in a dead aviator which they picked up.

JUNE 13, 1944- Nothing doing till 1800 when we got message to go to aid of destroyer Nelson (623) which was sinking. Half our crew was ashore so we got underway with half crew. I was helping on the fantail to get the pumps and diving gear ready. Destroyers stern was blown off which left it with the looks of a loaded cigar after it had blown up. E boats was the cause but the Nelson made them pay two out of three. 24 men were killed; 5 injured. The after turret was blown into the water with its gun crew inside. The depth charges flew into the air and it was raining oil all over the deck. Lucky for them the depth charges didn't explode. There was a hospital pick up ship there picking up the injured. All the fellows in #2 turret (aft) received broken arms and legs. Of the dead, only seven were recoverd. Several were picked up in pieces and finger printed and put in sea bags. Two still remained in the twisted metal. Clearly visible was the ws the foot and leg, hand and head of one dead man still pinned in the wreckage. Cameramen got some good pictures which may come out in newsreels.

JUNE 14, 1944- Shoved off for Dungeness to get a tow. Arrived and anchored. Dutch tug was sunk here night before last. All hands lost. E boats are really raising hell.

JUNE 15, 1944- Nothing new.

JUNE 16, 1944-Nothing new. Why are we left out of the war? Damn this sitting around.

JUNE 17, 1944-We experienced a real exclusive thrill last night. Pilotless planes (we call them zippos) came over England for the first time. We saw the first one coming but we thought that it was one of our own planes as it has a light on it. As it passed over a few guns opened up but it stayed on its course. A very funny thing. The second one came over and this time a terrific barrage met it but it stayed right on its course. We noticed that the light was unsteady so thought it to be a ricket plane (jet propulsion). A third came directly over the ship so I got a pretty good idea what it was. It had a loud motor (or propulsion mechanism) and had a flaming exhaust. It stays weirdly on its course. Shells will not scare it. Nothing less than a direct hit will sway it from its course. We saw a few shot down and some exploded in the sky. The explosion is terrific.

JUNE 27, 1944- It is now 1500 and we are approaching the coast of France. Cherbouro fell this morning so it is possible that we might go up there. Delivered our unit to mulberry (B). Sunken ships about and hundred of ballons in the air. Country side looks peaceful. Hitler said we couldn't win without a harbor. He didn't know that we were going to build our own.

JULY 4, 1944- Today--several years ago we won our independence from would be aggressors. Today-1944- we are fighting to preserve that same freedom which America is respected for by other nations

I think about my dad often, and more than anything, I think he's the kind of American that I hope I am and want my boys to be.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Like Father, Like Son(s)

I assured the summer camp leader that the boys could not swim. She said don't worry, we watch them closely...

As I arrived to take the boys home, Nate asked, "have the boys been around water much?"

"No, why do you ask?"

"Well Jarrod assured us that he could swim, and he went straight to the bottom," replied Nate.

Now I have to convince the boys that it's OK to get back into the big pool. After last years attempt at swimming, I need to convince Dad too.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Next Marathon

I'm going down under to race. I'm scheduled to speak at a technical meeting being held in the Barossa Valley of Australia, so I thought, "hey, why not run a marathon on another continent?" Silly, silly geeky big man.

Anyway, since I wasn't a lottery pick to run the 2008 St. George marathon, I'm running the Melbourne Marathon on October 12, 2008. I'll be wearing number 443. I wonder if they will have mile markers or only those kilometer things? 42.195 km just sounds much longer than 26.2 miles.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Why Americans Don't Trust Their Government

One chart illustrating legislation before the Senate explains it all.

Now I understand why my dad wrote that Congress should stay on vacation 9 to 10 months a year.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tony Stewart Moment

The boys have electric John Deere Gators that they drive around the driveway, and I thought that I could get in a run along a carefully planned route with them driving in their Gators. Bicycles would be better, but I don't know if they could ride 6 miles without constant support. On the other hand, they can drive till the batteries die.

So on Friday, off we go. I run ahead, loop back, run ahead, loop back, etc. After about 4.5 miles Jarrod wants to pass Justin, but Justin keeps his Gator "wide." Being the NASCAR dad that I am, I told Jarrod that he has to stick his nose under Justin and keep his foot in the throttle, which he did.

Jarrod made the pass as Justin was spun into the grass. I'm jumping up and down while praising Jarrod for his driving, and I look back at Justin, who has crawled out of his Gator, kicking the tires, screaming, and whining about that other "blank" car.

It was like watching a NASCAR short-track race...and I felt proud.