We were lucky to take another trip back to Utah to see the fam. This one was a little different since we split up for the week.
**Here's your warning, like many of my other posts this is long, detailed, and filled with many pictures/videos that you may find boring or excessive. Too bad, it's my scrapbook/journal. Feel free to speed through it. My feelings will not be hurt. You've been warned** :) Anyway, here goes...
Tuesday: Mighty early wake up call of 3am to get to the airport in time but made it to Salt Lake safe and sound. We started out by walking my niece Mckayla to school with her brother Talmage and sister Katie. Had a great walk until Uncle Ryan moved a bit too fast for Talmage who ended up with a goose egg to the noggin :( He recovered nicely though. Next we headed up to the cemetary to pay my Grandma Lois a visit.
Then came Katie's birthday party. She turned 2 that day and her parents put together a cute little party for her. This is the cute outfit we brought her including the bow that I thought I was being so unique with...until I saw them being sold EVERYWHERE in Utah! Oh well, nice try :)
Getting a little help blowing out the candles
Before we knew it, it was time for bed and you know Ryan's little buddies were waiting for him like always :) (he's actually a pretty good sport about it)
Wednesday: Headed down to Provo to check on the West gang. After a quick stop to see Nancy and Vanessa we stopped to see my Grandpa Ron. He wasn't feeling up to going out so we brought lunch to him. It was such a great visit and his conversation was really touching. I recorded a special clip while he wasn't looking. How tender is this? (he's talking about what he thinks Heaven is like)
We also made a stop by my Grandma Ann's grave where her headstone had just been placed. I am SO impressed with it, my Grandpa did a great job designing it (he should I guess since it's going to be his too!)
This little bird sat a few headstones away from us and watched us the whole time. I'd like to think maybe it was my Grandma looking in on us :)
Next was our nephew Cannon's school play. It was the cutest thing. About a firefly who doesn't know what his role is and his bug friends who help him learn. Cannon did a great job and it was nice to see all the family there to support him.
Thursday: This is where our trip split. I spent the remainder of the trip with my family and Ryan with his since we had 2 important events going on. I headed back up to Salt Lake and met up with my family then set out for the drive to St George. My sister competed in the St George Ironman so my mom rented a sweet house down there where we spent the weekend. Our view from the front porch backyard
Never ending basement
Friday: I spent much of the day with my sister preparing for the race. I drove her up to Sand Hollow Reservoir where she would swim the next day and she rode her bike back. I love watching her and couldn't help but drive behind her for awhile to snap pictures. Amazing scenery or what?!
Later that day we went to the expo to get her bike tuned up while her coworkers from PowerTri gave her crap about her anxiety (I'm afraid I suffer from the same) :) and get her race number (125) and age inked on
Then we dropped off her race bags
and took one last ride before she had to hand her baby over for the night.
Next we headed to the finish line for the kids run.
They are just like their mom and love suiting up and being active. Of course we had to have some post race fountain play :)
Saturday: IRONMAN!!! My sister left early and the rest of us got up and left the house before 6am. Half our group drove right up to the resevoir thanks to a handicap pass but Jeremy (my sister's husband), the kids and I had to stop at a shuttle lot and take a bus up. Once we finally got there just in the knick of time we got a spot and watched the swim start.
This blurry pic is everyone lined up to get in the water.
Now the 50 pro's get a 10 minute head start but the other 2000+ competitors all start at the same time. Imagine all those people in the water at the same time. My sister says it's called "the washing machine." And here's the "washing machine" effect live
We obviously had no idea where she was in the group but soon headed over to where they get out to watch for her. This is where they got out of the water
After an hour, her husband spotted her and the cheering began. It was SO awesome to see her even if it was just for a second as she ran by to get her wetsuit off and grab her bike. She swam 2.4 miles in 60 degree water in 1 hour and 5 minutes.
After a quick transition she was on her bike and off to start the 112 mile bike course.
We couldn't leave the swim area for another hour since the road was closed for the race so we basically stood around :) My brother Tyler and Jeremy tracked my sister online through the Ironman website.
Notice the matching shirts? My sister, her husband, neighbor,and I designed them so her cheering section would match and the colors not only helped her see us, they match her race outfit (of course)
Here's a close up of the shirt designs
Once we finally got back on the bus to get our car we sat in the parking lot for what seemed like an eternity but was probably 30-45 minutes. We hurried back to the house with the kids to grab lunch then Jeremy, the kids and I were back in the car to try to catch my sister on the bike. It was tricky with so many roads closed but Jer drove like a bat out of hell and we found a spot to watch for her. The great news is that she was ahead of her predicted time which is how we estimated what time to get to viewing spots...the bad news is we missed her by just a few minutes because of this. I feel SO bad now because she rode 112 miles and we had one shot to see her :(
Once we realized we missed her we drove back to the city center, parked the car, put the kids in the bike trailer and biked over to the bike to run transition. Thanksfully after about an hour we saw her come in on her bike
and after a quick minute she ran back out for the 24 mile run.
Once again, it's thrilling to finally see her and cheer like mad! She completed the 112 mile bike (with less than one mile of flat terrain the entire course) in 6 hours, 40 minutes.
Then we were off again to catch her. We rode/pushed the bikes and trailer up this enormous hill to the top of the mountain to get to the next viewing spot. We started down by the cars and ended on top of that Dixie mountain.
Our view from the top
It was well worth the brief work out :)
We saw her 3 or 4 times here and once again, cheered like there was no tomorrow.
1st run by
Jer and the kids taking a break and actually it's a good thing they were up there cuz that's where he spotted her on the second run by.
Another run by.
From there we rode down that enormous hill(enjoyable but terrifying) back to main street to get a few more sightings of her.
After awhile we met up with the rest of the family at the finish line and waited for her. After 24 miles and 4 hours, 13 minutes of running she crossed the finish line with a total time of 12 hours, 9 minutes!! Is that amazing or what?! Leslie Howlett, you ARE an IRONMAN! (a pretty damn good one at that!)
(it's hard to see her in this video cuz the dumb guy in front slows down but she is behind him with her arms in the air)
After she finished she was interviewed by the Salt Lake Tribune, turned in her timing chip, and grabbed her post race dinner (pizza and vegis).
She finally emerged from the athlete only areas and we got to congratulate her.
I really was so amazed by her and her ability. She has been competing since she was 17 but this was her first full Ironman and has required SO much training. After having 3 kids, breaking her foot last fall and injuring her calf 2 weeks prior to the race she ended up coming in 6th in her age catagory, the 40th woman out of around 1000, and 296th overall out of 2300+ competitors! I don't even know what to say, I'm just SO proud of her! We may be twins but this talent is all her's!
The other big event on Saturday and reason for our separate trips was our nephew Cannon's baptism! I would have loved to be there cuz he is such a special kid but thankfully his big Uncle Ry was there to congratulate him.
Funny story though...let me share. So I knew I would be taking the camera so I left our old one with Ryan with careful instructions to take blog worthy pictures of his time with the family. So when I finally saw him Sunday I of course was excited to see the pictures he had taken. I turned the camera on and went to review the pictures only to find one of Norris...that was most obviously not taken while on this trip. So a big thank you to Kelli who took great pictures and shared them with me!
Sunday: We had a yummy family breakfast then packed up and drove the 40 mile loop that the bike course was on before hitting the road back to Salt Lake. It was crazy to drive that yet to think that my sister BIKED the whole thing...TWICE!!
I stopped back in Provo to hang out with the West's for awhile. It was good to see everyone together and visit.
Our cute niece and nephews (who loved their exclusive Uncle Ryan time)
Sweet Grandpa and Bonnie
Gaggle of trouble makers
Do those West's have some heighth or what?!
Late that evening we headed back to my parents where we got a few hours of sleep and the next morning were on a plane home. We had another great trip and it's always special to see and spend time with our families. We'll be counting the days till the next one!
P.S. It's always hard to leave "the kids" so we're forever grateful to our friends the Jones who took good care of our babies while we were away!
P.P.S. I'm SO glad to be done with this post...it took seriously like 5 hours!