Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lumberjack...I mean Lumberalex

Today Alex and I rented a chainsaw. Although the funding for the venture was joint, the ensuing effort was entirely one-sided. Alex spent about 4 hours cutting trees down into fireplace sized logs. In case you're wondering why we had to cut the trees down, they were growing right where the new fence is being put in. Alas, the fence takes precedence.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


If you're pregnant, and want to feel self conscious about your growing belly and butt, I recommend going to a running event of some type. That's where you'll find the finest women's figures in the world. Here I am struggling to get my running shorts over my ass without tearing them every time I pee and standing next to me at every exchange are these women:

Great Lakes Relay--Day 1

Wow. What a race. I can't believe how much fun it was! The course was a total of about 270 miles from the eastern side of Michigan to the Lake Michigan shore. The course is far from a straight shot between the two coasts and actually winds around quite a bit. For example, Day 1 mostly consisted of running south rather than west. The logistics of a race like this are insanely complicated. There were 76 teams total, each with 10 people and 2 or 3 support vehicles. That means that at every exchange there had to be room for 76 cars to line up and wait! There were restricted exchanges where only the car with the appropriate runner could park so you had to be sure that the right runners were in the right cars. Thanks to Randy, our fearless team leader, I didn't have to think much about the logistics except enough to be glad I didn't have to think much. This is a map of the first day's route:

On the first day we ran about 95.5 miles. Our team was 10 runners strong, with 9 people running two legs each day and one person running one leg each day. The race starts at 6 am every day and teams are expected to finish by 7 pm. If you don't think your team can finish by 7 pm, you have to do what is called concurrent running where the last few runners run their legs simultaneously. By adding the split times of each runner, you can calculate what time you would have come in had you continued to relay. We were very proud to finish the first day at 6:53 pm without concurrent running!

Meredith started the race on Friday morning in a deep fog which evolved into a light rain until about 10 am. By the time I ran my first leg it was 100% humidity and maybe 80 degrees. My favorite running weather... HA! My first leg was 4.6 miles on nice sandy roads. The rain had packed the sand down enough that it really was an ideal surface. When I finished the leg, I had sweat out about 20 gallons of water, but besides that it went really well. As the day progressed it got hotter and hotter. When I ran my second leg, 4.3 miles, it was probably 90 degrees and still humid. The description of my second leg said "A nice trail through the woods, some sand and gravel" HA! I'm pretty sure they had dump trucks hauling sand in to the woods there just for the runners. The sand was insane, and to make it worse, all the sand was concentrated in the first half of the trail which was entirely uphill. Awesome. I made it through the leg, but it was mighty painful. I was somewhat jubilated by the fact that I passed three people on the way. Apparently one of the girls that finished just in front of me was saying that her GPS told her she was doing 15 minute miles in there. I managed under 9 minute miles, but that's a full minute slower than my first leg pace! I was really glad to be done by then. The day finished on the bridge over the Au Sable river--a really gorgeous river that felt wonderful to swim in after a long, hot, humid day. Heather especially enjoyed it since she got to jump in directly after her last running leg.

Here are some photos of my fabulous team members from the first day. There are a lot of them, but I just love running photos--you don't have to look at them all : )

Alan hands off to Ken

Nico, Heather, and Andrea watch for Ken

Ken hands off to Nico

Heather, Meredith, Randy, Lauri, Ken, Alan, Nico, Me

Lauri Pirouettes before handing off

Meredith cruises in to the exchange

Lauri comes in

Nicole hands off to Randy

Andrea hands off to Heather

Andrea takes off and Lauri slows down

Ken hands off to Nico (again)

The girls (Andrea, Heather, Me, Meredith, Nicole)

Andrea comes in

Heather finishes Day 1

The whole team after a nice long swim

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Holy Cow!

I've been thinking that a lot lately. I thought it first on June 25th at 3 in the morning (I was up early because of jet lag, having just returned from Italy the evening before) when I took a pregnancy test and it was positive.

Holy Cow.

And then another that was also positive.

Holy Cow!

Alex took the news much more calmly than I. He's more of a That's Great! kind of guy.

So I made a doctor appointment for a couple of weeks later. The appointment was yesterday morning. The doctor (who, by the way, worked with E.O. Wilson on the mangrove island experiments) took this Doppler thing and held it to my tummy and said "There's the heartbeat--you're about 12-13 weeks along I'd say."

Holy Cow! HOLY COW!

Yep, I've been pregnant for nigh on three months and didn't figure it out until less than a month ago. I always thought those stories about women not knowing they were pregnant were so ridiculous--what kind of idiot wouldn't know they were pregnant? Well, now I know what kind, and you all do too.

So, there you have it, there's a mini Mettlinger on the way. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that this baby will be one tough bugger--I mean, it's already trained for a marathon and gone tramping through Italy, and next weekend it's running 28 miles during the 3-day Great Lakes Relay. Plus, the due date was estimated, out of the clear blue sky, at January 17th. The only other person I know that was born on January 17th, my dad, was pretty damn amazing...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Matt and Erin's Wedding

It's been a while since we (by which I mean I) posted anything. But after the Dolomites, everything else just seems so lame. Actually, there has been one notable event in our lives. The day after I got home from Italy the two of us and the dogs piled into the car and drove 12 hours to go to the wedding of one of Alex's close grade school friends. Matt and Erin live in Colorado but came home to Minnesota (or close to it) to get married. Their wedding was officially in Wisconsin, but it was only 20 miles over the border. They had the greatest wedding venue--a bison farm!

Not only was the setting beautiful, but the bison were awesome. The owner of the farm ran short-bus tours out into the herd for guests all night long. He was an amazing man--he must have been 70 but he sang range tunes like "Home on the Range" and "Cattle Call" as he drove us around in the short bus like a 20 year old. The coolest thing was seeing the calves that had been born just that morning.

I was one of two "photographers" for the wedding. Talk about nerve wracking. I though I was going to be an auxiliary to a professional, but instead I was one of two amateurs (or at least the other guy claimed to be an amateur--he could have been lying). I took more than 500 photos. At least a few turned out well I think. This is the happy couple:

While I was busy snapping photos, Alex did a great job having fun as one of the groomsmen. But really, when does Alex NOT do a great job having fun?

Aside from the wedding, the whole weekend was great, even with jet lag. Whenever the whole Mettler gang gets together, you know you're in for a ride. Beth brought along her boyfriend Dan (smashed between Matt and Beth below) who was a great addition to the gang. He's a lot of fun to talk to. He was busily studying for the bar exam all weekend (or trying anyway--for anyone who has ever spent time in the Mettler house with all of them present, you know how difficult it would be to study). At one point late in the wedding Dan and I found ourselves sitting at a table watching Beth and Alex independently work their magic on the dance floor. We immediately came to the conclusion that their dancing style is genetic. Really, you should watch the two of them sometime!