Monday, October 26, 2020

Nationals 2020 Austin TX


The blog this week is going to be all about our little trip to Texas to USAC Nationals.  I took a full week off from running and while I feel a little sloth like, I think my body was grateful for a full week off.  We have switched to night running and every night last week we had to be on the road getting ready for the trip.  One night we had an emergency trip to Holton to pick up a part, one night we took the car to the Thulin’s house to be loaded into their trailer, and then the next to get a tire. 

Let me start this off by saying I do not think my kiddo is or was ready for a big event like this.  The goal of the weekend was to get seat time at a different track with new kids and to have a ton of fun.  We had six families from our track coming to nationals and I had hoped there would be more. I think final car count for Jr Animal was 15 and we had two heats and an A main and B main.  Of course car counts were super low due to Covid, but I can’t imagine that track handling too many more people.  I felt like we were already pretty full up on spaces to park and to have our trailers.  Several people have questioned why I would even take a trip during Covid and to answer I would say that we felt totally safe.  When we were on the road and had to stop we had our masks on and most places were empty or pretty empty.  The hotel itself was pretty empty and when we had our pool and pizza party we had the place to ourselves.  When we were at the track, we were petty much in our family unit and were able to stay away from people.  The only time we had to be at meetings we kept our distance and or had our masks on.  That is the beauty of racing, you are outside and at your trailer most of the day. 


Thursday we drove down in wind gusts of up to 40 mph and I was VERY thankful our car went in someone else’s trailer and we weren’t pulling one.  Of course right after we left, we figured out a few things we had forgotten and prayed the vendors had when we got there.  We stopped a few times to fill up with gas and to eat a Texas staple, Whataburger.  I am hoping it was just a location issue as our food was not great and the service was horrible.  We waited 20 minutes for a milk shake that seriously took them 2 minutes to make and there was not a line or people waiting.  Who knows.   We also stopped at a gas station that had tons of picture ops in Oklahoma.  We got in late to the hotel and grabbed some microwave dinners and hit the hay.  The rooms were super nice, kind of like little suites.  We had a kitchen complete with microwave, full size fridge and freezer, and couch/living room area on top of a HUGE bathroom and bedroom. 


Friday morning we had registration and engine sealing.  We got to the track super early but our trailer was still locked and our car in it, so we just hung out till the Thulins got up and got stuff unlocked.  I actually took a trip with one of the track moms to stock up on water and snacks.  I had a feeling we would have some long days and I wanted some sources of protein for all of us.  Plus, I wanted to get some fun stuff for the kids including some Halloween themed cupcakes and some super fun doughnuts.  It was HOT and I was anticipating a long HOT day and then suddenly a storm blew up and we had high winds, rain, and a 30 degree temp drop.  Uh, Texas, when I looked at your weather and you had hot and sunny all weekend.  I had one sweatshirt and one pair of pants for me and  I had nothing long sleeved for Andrew.  Luckily I had packed several blankets and we wrapped up in them to stay warm.  

Friday during the day was practice in the morning and heats in the afternoon.  Each class got 2 minutes on the track and Andrew was to say the least a bit intimidated.  This was the best in the in country and he knew it.  As one person put it to us, normally they have a 300 car count or greater.  There are usually all levels of kids from national champs to beginners like Andrew.  This year, due to the virus, only the best of the best came. Again, our goal was just for him to have fun and get some seat time with the best.  

Before practice, Andrew was in tears.  He didn’t want to go out, he was scared.  Many people talked to him and we got him calmed down and on the track.  The track is smaller than our track with some tricky corners, especially turn 3 and 4.  While we were in line to go in, another older racer saw Andrew crying and pulled him aside and told him how to handle the corners as far as where to enter and exit.  I thought it was so sweet for an older kid to care and take the time to help a younger racer.  The announcer had announced that he was figuring the wall out of turn 4 would swallow many of the cars up and of course Andrew heard that.  Sigh.  He has to be tougher but come on, don’t say that to kids.  It was obvious during practice that Andrew was timid and was using his brakes, but he didn’t cause any wrecks and let people get passed him safely without hitting the wall.  He came out feeling a little better, but still scared.  

Tony did a quick tire change for three of his tires due to Andrew saying he was sliding.  He also found something wrong with the car that the whole crew jumped in and fixed together.  Again, track dads are amazing and so helpful and I am glad we had a good crew together. 

We had heat races next and Andrew had drawn the 6th position.  Normally that would be an ideal position because heat races are all about passing points, but we still having trouble with passing and being brave.  Plus, on this track, the outside line gets squeezed out unless you are SUPER aggressive and we are not even sort of aggressive yet (although I am sure it will come).  He ended up finishing last and getting lapped by the 1-3rd cars, but he seemed a lot more comfortable and had some good things in each lap. The track was slow thanks to the colder weather and the turns were tricky.  We had a long talk post race about trying your hardest as he was going to in a lower main due to finishing last.  Again, we didn’t expect any placements, but we did expect trying.  

At first they wanted to try and get the lower mains done and have a late night and then do A mains on Saturday but then with the temp drop they changed their minds.
  We didn’t care, we hung out in our friend’s RV and had beer and great conversation.  I have a feeling we may be doing a lot of travel with the Thulins. 

Saturday was lower mains and A mains.  We were going to get done a day earlier and we were all fine with that.  Us being rookies to these events made it a little confusing to figure out the format.  First, we did all the D mains for all the classes that needed D mains, then C, then B, and then A.  First four in each main transferred up.  Passing points and wins seeded you into what main and what position.  We were in the B main due to only 15 cars, and we weren’t seeded last, but next to last on the outside.  

We had 9 cars in our field and Andrew was again a bit nervous.  We tried to explain this was a lower main so more kids like him, but that didn’t help.  All four of our kids were in the B main with Makayla being in the lead and madden and maverick being right ahead of him.  Again, give us some nice try.  Stay up in line with the pack on starts, no braking for wrecks that “might” happen, and try not to get pushed up and hung out to dry.  He was being super good staying up with the pack and then they got the green flag and a big wreck collected him and flattened his right front tire.  

I am not normally pit crew and was standing right by our pit cart when they brought him in to change his tire.  I have no clue what tire is what or what any tool is so they were yelling things at me and I had so confused.  Thank GOD for track dads as they quickly got all the things they needed and got the tire changed quickly and Andrew back out.  He ended up finishing last, but only got lapped by one car and then held his own to keep the others from passing him.  Overall, I will take it, his try was back and he wasn’t so scared and timid.  Those turns were NO joke and he figured them out and had some nice laps. 


Post racing and cheering on our friends in the other mains (we had a national champ in our camp as well as a third place finisher, and several kids in the A mains), we all had some beer and some fun.  The kids rode scooters and bikes on the track and the big kids played football.  Let’s just say Tony had a couple of spectacular touch downs as well as some amazing interceptions. 

After some football we headed back to the hotel to let the kiddos swim and have a pizza party.  Thank goodness for heated swimming pools and fire pits because it was COLD!  

We really love our track families and had so much fun with everyone and while we are probably done for the year post the pumpkin race, can't wait to see what next year will bring!

We started the long journey back on Sunday morning with the day beginning with a Texas sized waffle.

We had to stop at the famous Buc-Cees to try beaver nuggets, beef jerky, and the best brisket I have ever put in my mouth.  

And of course when in Oklahoma you HAVE to have Braums.  Peppermint ice cream with hot fudge for the win.  

We were so glad to be home after over a 10 hour drive but we can't wait to do it again next year!  Hopefully next year Covid wont' be an issue, we can have more cars and more freedom to run around, and Andrew will have a bit more grit and aggression.  Till next year Texas!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sentence per picture fall ??? style

 How about a sentence per picture since i am not feeling very inspired this week?

Still a little hot in Kansas, so shorts it is for our 5 miler on #nevermissamonday.

Time please slow down!  3rd grade class picture and he would NOT let me do anything with those curls.

#Truth, but I wouldn't change it for the world.  Also doesn't account for the multiple sleepless nights worrying about money, employees, and project finish dates.

A quick 4 miles with boom boom.  The corn and the beans are now all gone.  

She beats him every race, but she makes him a better racer.  

Group gravel ride was canceled but running wasn't.  A quick 3 for 3 runs in a row.  Who fast forwarded us to winter?  BRRRRR!

One little pumpkin is going to make it and is turning orange!!!!!!

One last windy practice before heading to Austin.  Pushed the car so hard he made it loose!

New favorite cartoon:  The Simpsons.  Not sure how to feel about this latest like.  Never was a big fan even when they were on the Tracy Ulman show.  

For me it was a krunch bar, a coke, and a pack of starbursts.  Down 7 lbs though and really enjoying my shakes still.  

Down another tooth.  Time slow down!

10 miles and feels like 33 with the wind chill.  I wish we could have fall before winter, but it is Kansas.

Have a great week y'all!!!!  

Monday, October 12, 2020

Last race weekend!


I kind of like starting out the week with a run.  May have to stay on this #nevermissamonday train.  Got out post work and was only going to do a short 4 miler, but pushed through and got 5.  Stella was pretty happy even though it was a bit warmer.  Looks like we might have warmer temps this week, but I am okay as long as the humidity stays away.  

Tuesday night we headed to the track.  We had our first really, really good practice.  I have always said Andrew needs small goals to hit versus just going out and doing circles that accomplish nothing.  This week is the last points race and we pretty much have third place locked up as long as we have a good performance this week.  Andrew loves this car, so we are going to focus on it for the reminder of the season and if we go to any national events (Spoiler alert, we decided to go to nationals in TX).

Didn't get any pictures of my run Wednesday except a giant black snake that had sustained injuries due to being run over and your welcome, I will spare you the gore.  It was SUPER hot for fall, 92 degrees I think and honestly didn't want to run period.  I couldn't take the dogs and Rockin Robin was gone.  I decided to run around town (who am I ???) and stay within earshot of people just in case being alone and dogless.  I got a pretty hilly pavement filled, sweat induced run done but only 3 miles before I lost my mind and my stomach also went south.  

No filters on this picture, just a beautiful sunset.  The corn is still being harvested and now the soybeans are coming out and lots of dust in the air makes some amazing sunsets.  Again, I was not feeling like getting out in the heat and wind, but Robin and I rallied and got on our bikes and enjoyed ourselves.  We had a nice flat ride out on the wamego countryside and enjoyed the company.  

Saturday = long run, but I didn't want to get out early thanks to the cool weather we have been having in the mornings.  Rockin Robin had to head out early to go visit family and we got 5 miles together before she headed out.    I was able to get 5 miles on each dog separately, making them to very happy and tired aussies.   This honestly was the first long run that I felt like I could keep going and not die.  Yeah for fall weather but boo for 92% humidity.  I was seriously glad I was not out racing the ultra in  Cassoday Ks that I briefly thought about switching to when my race got canceled.   

After running we all cleaned up and headed out to a skating birthday party.  Andrew's buddy Madden was celebrating and we had the place to ourselves and had so much fun.  I am happy to say that I didn't fall even though their flooring was much different than what I had ever skated on.  Most of the kids were track kiddos and they played games and ate cake and talked and talked and talked.  We then made a quick stop to the Toy Store in Topeka for some more books and then a lunch outdoors at Chipotle.

Practice was really good and we were super excited to see how he would handle Sunday.  Last point's race of the year and we needed to end on a good note.  

Unfortunately, Andrew likes to remind us now and again he is 8 and a very young 8 at that, and for whatever reason he did not come to race that day.  His cars were slow and whether it was our fault for not setting them up correctly or he just wasn't driving as hard as he has been is still debatable.  He was back to his Cautious Coleman self with a very full class of 9 in Junior Honda and a very light class in Junior Animal.  He did have the chance to really shine this week in his Animal car and for whatever reason did not.  A third in the feature and a last place in the Heat did not leave anyone very excited.  I did convey to him that all we want is for him to try hard, even if he gets last trying hard.  I was disappointed in his try and wished we had ended the season on a better note.  I won't even talk about Junior Honda because it was a big ole mess with several times of him stomping on his brakes.  Sigh.  We still have two, maybe three more races in which he can redeem himself and show us he really wants to continue racing.  Based on overall how the whole season has gone and how he has developed as a driver makes me feel that he wants to continue, so stay tuned.  

Have a great week y'all!

Monday, October 5, 2020

It's really fall y'all!

I love this time of year!  FINALLY the humidity has let go a bit and we can run post work and not die of heat stroke.  Plus, I love the sunsets, no filter needed at all.  Five miles post work Monday and some serious talk therapy for both of us.  I value my time with all of my running friends so much because so much can be said and discussed while staring at your feet and the road in front of you.  

We had our testing for ADD/ADHD whatever it's called now on Monday as well.  He has been meeting with Dr. Rachel for a few months now and I look forward to her evaluations.  We won't get any results for a few weeks, and I am eager to hear her opinion.  Thus far this year his grades have been really good, but I have been hearing his attention is off the charts horrible. I am not sure how he is so distracted, yet gets such good grades.  I love this kid so much and just want what is best for him to be successful and happy in school and in life.  

We did an in town pavement run to avoid the dust and traffic from harvest.  Most of the corn is out now and the soybeans won't be too far behind.  I miss the cover that the crops give us, especially when I need to make an emergency ditch dive!  

I finally got some new flavors in for my shakes including some pumpkin spice. Y'all, pumpkin spice peanut butter cheesecake is my new most favorite. I am getting so much better at making the shakes and making them yummy!

Our gravel ride was a bit chilly and we had a newbie with us so we didn't go quite as far or fast but it was still a lovely ride.  I am hoping Lori can join us on more adventures!  

A quick 5 miles with boom boom and Stella post work.  So much dust and farm implements on my running route, but love watching them work.  

We decided to try out Tuttle Creek even though there were lots of campers camping thanks to a home football game for the Wildcats.  Not many dogs, most people were still in bed I think thanks to the cold morning.  Got our 10 done and even got a shake at Little Apple Nutrition.  

Sunday was race day!  Two races left for points and close in points in two classes.  Again, the biggest thing is try.  We saw a TON of try in his Junior Animal car.  Great starts, wouldn't pass his good buddy madden but he at least hung with him.  Two third places finishes for him and a great season for the Junior Animal car.  

Junior Honda was not great this weekend, big sigh.  He has just given up on this car and even when we have it dialed in, he still won't push it.  The new car is ordered and will replace this one, but who knows when it will be in and ready.  

One of the mom's really hit the nail on the head.  He is a late bloomer so be careful with him and his confidence.  Don't fuss too much because he is on the edge of greatness but he could fall either way.  We are choosing to celebrate the good stuff and for now, let the bad stuff go to the wayside.  Hopefully he will draw a good position this weekend in Junior Honda and brave Andrew will show up ready to battle.  

It felt so good to have a four runs a week week finally!  Have a great week y'all!