Friday, November 5, 2010

Scary Fun Halloween!

Smurfin' Hot!
This Halloween season has been one of the best!  Now that our little guys are old enough to get into the "spirit" of Halloween, we've had such a great time picking out costumes, decorating pumpkins, and eating "scary good" treats that Kevin's whipped up for us!

Matthew was Darth Vader and spent the last month saying "Look I am your Father!" (Father pronouced "Faaver")

Michael was Buzz Lightyear and when 'in costume', he would shoot everyone and everything in site, with the imaginary laser button on his arm....That is until Kevin bought him a Buzz gun that had real sound affects, and since then, everyone has been turned into a zombie!

GreenMan and Smurf - post race

On October 17th, GO St Louis hosted their annual Halloween race in Downtown STL.  This year Kevin decided to participate (at the encouragement of his good friend Albers - shown on the right).  The weather was amazing, the costumes were fantastic and for the Trapp family supporters, the morning was TONS of fun!

Had I thought about it, I would have taken an autograph book to the race, and will definitely do so next year.  The boys had stars in the eyes as they were FACE 2 FACE with Superman, Batman, Mr. Incredible and every other super hero you can think of.  They walked around the downtown area giving high-5's and yelling out hellos to all of the masked super heros as they began and finished their race.

In fact, Matthew had the opportunity to meet Spiderman, after Spidey finished the race.  He came back a little disappointed though, when I learned that Spiderman wasn't wearing his mask.  The facts that this was not the REAL Spiderman, and that running a 10K wearing a mask is NOT the most comfortable, are lost on a 4 year old! ;-)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Like sands through the hourglass....

These are the days of our lives! (queue music)

Kevin has decided to race in the St. Louis Halloween race on October 17th --, (while he's still nursing a sore foot and muscles from Ironman Wisconsin) and now it seems that our lives are nearly as hectic as before.
The love between doggie & daddy
So far in life, I have learned that there's never enough money OR time to do everything we'd like to do.  And just when we have completed 1 task, there's a dozen more waiting in the shadow's to jump out with a sense of urgency! (sigh)

Between my coordinating a lot of upcoming work travel and Oskar's emergency surgery (our 8 year old Weimarainer), we've yet to have dull moments in the house....yet.  I still have the hope to one day look around and think "hmmm...I have NOTHING to do!" (A gal can dream, right?)

I AM happy to report that we have successfully worked out a solution to send both of our little guys to school a couple of times each week....yay!  As Kevin pointed out recently, our little guy could use some help in differentiating between food and phones (but honestly, phonetically they are VERY similar).

Hello?  Hello? I need more watermelon!

I'm still so amazed at how big my little ones are getting, now 4 and 2-1/2 and how NOTHING gets past them....

I know, all of you mommies and daddies nodding your head like this is common knowledge.  And even though everyone says things like, "Kids are like sponges" or "Kids say the darndest things" can still catch you by surprise.

Just the other day...I picked the boys up from the baby-sitter's house, and I was trying to hurry Matthew into his car seat (WHICH he now buckles all by himself), saying things like "hurry up guys, let's go home and see daddy!". 

Matthew stopped what he was doing and with a straight face he asked "is daddy still sore?" When I responded with "yes, a little" he asked... "is he home cooking dinner?"  Which I was HAPPY to respond with "Yes, he IS cooking dinner, so let's go!"...ahhh....dinner waiting for me at home.  

I realize I can't get used to this, since he's already mapped out the 10K in 2 weeks, 2 1/2 Ironman competitions he's planning in 2011, and the handful of 1/2 marathons, 5K's and other various shorter races that will inevitably be scattered throughout the year.  Right now... I'm LOVING it! ;-)

The evenings when we're both able to sit down on the couch, catch up on TiVo and ice our various ailments, are times I'm enjoying immensely.

So, stay tuned to find out the costume Kevin will run in during the Go St. Louis race, just how far Michael will take his "monkey see, monkey do" routine he has recently started with his big brother, and the other dramas that unfold as we take the days of our lives, one day at a time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Articles You Will Find When You Buy

So here's how the worst 40 miles of riding goes down…
- Thanks to AT from SL for this true story. (That's me!)

Park at a grocery store parking lot and start getting ready for my 100 mile ride. Oops, forgot the rubber band that holds my aero bottle in place. Aha, got electrical tape. Crisis averted. Hmmm, need to pee. No problem - got an empty bottle and an empty front seat. See how adaptable to a situation I can be. // Read the entire story when you buy
Articles You Will Find When You Buy

If you're interested in purchasing full story and receiving 1/2 off the cover price, simply click on the link at top left of Fitness Digest Blog just under text for 50% off.  Type in team name atrapp

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Been There, Done That, Made the T-shirt!

Disclaimer and note: The following post has excessive use of "!", so be forewarned.  I've yet to find another way to finish some of the following statements without its use.  So, if you're sensitive to this, please prepare yourself accordingly.  :-)

In case anyone missed the updates this weekend...Kevin's official finishing time -13:10:38

Breath-taking start to Ironman Wisconsin
Well, the family is back from Madison, and we're now trying to get into our Post-IM routine....  It's going to be kind of weird, and unfamiliar having him around so much on weeknights!    The past 5 days have been a whorl-wind of activities!  And it feels like we've been gone for weeks, not days.

Kevin was telling me on the drive home, that it's not uncommon for Ironman Triathletes to become depressed after their race.  The reason being, that they have spent the better part of the last year working toward that goal, and now some may feel a little lost!

I imagine that this is one of the reasons that the number of participants increase so much from year to year and why the available slots for the Madison race, at least, are known to fill up in a matter of days, if not hours! 

Between the triathletes completing their awesome achievement and the experience, as a supporter, in following the emotions of the day; I'm not surprised that so many people want to try to become an Ironman Finisher, again and again! 

Small but mighty Team Trapp supporters!

The planning and logistics behind the event is awe-inspiring!  I'm sure my numbers aren't exact, but there were approximately 2,800 athletes this year and the number of volunteers were in excess of 8,000!  That's a great ratio, in my opinion!

It truly is an event that caters to the triathletes, as it should be, and Kevin remarked the next day (Monday) that it was almost a spa experience....(note to self:  sign Kevin up for a day at the spa). 

The point he was getting at, was that the Ironman planners and volunteers do EVERYTHING for the athletes - they have it down to a science.  From efficiently stripping off wet-suits and equipping the athletes with their packed gear for the next leg, to getting motivational messages to them at the perfect time on the course.  And as Kevin pointed out "Don't forget my two lovely ladies that caught me at the finish line and literally held me up and walked me over to get my medal, then my picture, then food, then the med tent.  Best volunteers on the entire course."

There wasn't a single area on the entire 140.6 mile course that wasn't packed with volunteers to support, inspire, assist and prepare the triathletes! 

Boys on bike leg, cheering on riders and waiting to see daddy!
There are stories shared of the amazing journey of these athletes: their motivations, experience, attitudes and life-changing results.  And I'm very proud of the achievement my hubby has accomplished.  The outpouring of support from family and friends has been fantastic! 

Our boys were there every step of the way and Matthew was so excited to see his daddy cross the finish line!  (Michael stuck with it as long as he could, but fell asleep mere minutes before Kevin turned the final corner.)  Just last night Matthew told his brother, Michael,  that "when he grew up, he was going to be an Iron Man, just like daddy, and Michael could turn into the Incredible Hulk".  Michael, incidentally, was happy to acquiesce to this suggestion, as he LOVES the hulk!

Resting after incredible finish! 13:10:38
So even the boys understand that being an Ironman finisher is no easy task.  Only the super motivated, and super determined individual can achieve this super hero status! 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Are you ready to get Smoked?!

Today is the day that Matthew has looked forward to all week.  The day where HE got to race.  This morning the city of Madison, along with some other local sponsors, hosted an Ironman Fit Kids run.  The run consisted of a 1K course that circled the Capital Building (approximately 3/5 of a mile).   There were raffles, t-shirts, finisher medals, lots and lots of kids and nutritious snacks at the end. 

As we woke in the hotel room, at 5:45am this morning, I recognized the steady sounds of raindrops hitting the window, and the sounds of 2 little guys ready to start their day and get out of the hotel room.  So after we dressed in the warmest clothes we had packed (naturally, we didn't pack NEARLY the clothes we should have for our trip), we headed down to fuel up at the complimentary continental breakfast.   

Luckily by the time we ate, loaded into the car, drove downtown and parked, the rain has mostly stopped.  The weather at this point (7:15am) was simply windy, chilly and "misty"...but at least the rain had slowed down substantially. 

The question of the morning was "Hey Daddy, are you ready to get "smoked"?"  Because as Matthew told him every few minutes.... "I'm gonna "SMOKE" you!".

With most things in our lives now-a-days, it's a philosophy of divide and conquer (the children that is), so since Matthew wanted to "smoke his daddy", I had the privilege of running with the little guy.  Everyone lined up at the starting gate, and the announcer counted down and started the race.  What seemed like a hundred kids and their parents all started their race, in the inside lane around the Capital Building. 

The street was lined with spectators, supporters and local vendors (as there is a local farmer's market in the square on Saturday's).  So with everyone there, we were rallied on by cheers and claps. 

Matthew is happy to say that he ran until "he got a little tired", but then he finished strong, running across the finish line and receiving his finisher's medal.  Michael, on the other hand, started really strong, until he lost site of the local college mascot, Eddie the Eagle.  At which point he decided he'd prefer to be carried the rest of the way.  So, for what I'm guessing was all but 100 ft. of the race, Michael was carried on the hip of his momma, me ;-)

As Michael and I sprinted (OK more like slowly jogged) across the finish line, we were cheered on by Matthew's voice shouting "Suck it up Buttercup!".  And as we made our way back to the games and snacks prepared for the finishers, the boys wore their medals with pride...which made us so happy that they truly enjoyed their first race experience. 

As Matthew retold the story to his grandparents, who were there to cheer us on, he walked with pride and stated...."I smoked daddy!".

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Gettin' the party started

It's been an exciting week!  This past Saturday, Team Trapp held a little soiree to help motivate our future Ironman triathlete.
A Lexington BBQ pork and vinegar recipe from the pages of a Steve Raichlen cookbook, several pitchers of Mojitos, yada, yada, yada...boy were we tired Sunday morning! 

I know Kevin had a great time and hopefully everyone in attendance can say the same. It was so much fun having friends and family there, and amazing to see the number of children that are now part of the "group"!  I'm sure there are a number of his fraternity brothers (and their wives) who would have NEVER guessed that Trapper would be training for an Ironman!

As I was putting his "love me wall" as he likes to call it -- or wall of fame -- together, it was hard to not reminisce about how far he's come over the past 5 years.  As part of the party decor, I had pasted up all of the bibs, medals and ribbons that I could find; and the framed collages I had put together early in his racing career, so that everyone could have an idea of his journey.  (I have tried to be somewhat organized with the race collateral**). 

His very first race was in St. Charles, MO.  It was a 5K, in conjunction with a small fall festival.  His sister decided to drive down for the weekend, from Chicago, to spend time with us and run the race in support of her big bro....  I remember it was pretty cold out and they had no coffee (lesson learned there....bring own coffee, just to be safe!)

He ended up coming in 1st in his age group!  I was so proud of him and knew at that moment, as he waited in line for his name to be called, that he wasn't going to stop at a local 5K.  So, 5 years and about 30-40 pounds (depending on his training) later, here we are... 4 days away from Ironman Wisconsin.

Look for some more frequent updates on our family TriSupporter blog as we plan, travel and prepare for Ironman Wisconsin.  And for those of you with speakers, here's one of the songs on Kev's playlist, enjoy!

**Incidentally, the shadow boxes and framed images of his races were quick to end. I still take pictures and have good intentions, but the organizing, framing and hanging has unfortunately dropped lower on my wifely duties (sorry, Hun, I promise to do MUCH better).  And maybe one of my readers will have a suggestion on a great scrapbooker who's looking for a little "project" ;-)

Monday, August 30, 2010

A rose by any other name...

Ok, so maybe this isn’t a Shakespearean play, but Kevin received his official bib number last week (#739) and that is another step closer to the upcoming race! Ford Wisconsin Ironman in Madison, WI on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010!!

This past weekend I was talking to a new found friend, @lisaontheloose (via email). She and I were writing about several topics, but the parallels of endurance training and success in corporate America came up. Mostly how committing yourself to such an undertaking and doing all of the activities required to ensure success is something to be proud of and really shows some moxie (for lack of a better word). And how that could easily translate to your professional career.

Hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her, but here’s what she wrote: “I think his triathlete training will be a huge asset. Shows he has a lot of energy, drive and commitment. He's not scared to take on a challenge.”

And after she wrote that, I was nodding my head and felt a little swell of pride in my chest (because we should all have realized by now that I’m living vicariously through Kevin). I agreed, and I hope that anyone out there who has publicly announced a dream that makes you a little sick to your stomach, can also relate.

So I started thinking of his training in terms of a job and how that might translate:

Goal setting
  • Setting the overall Goal and all those milestones necessary along the way.
Research and alignment of goals with company mission
  • It’s important to have a full understanding of the impact a project/job will have on the overall organization.
  • Does it fulfill the corporate MVV (mission, vision and values).
Planning/Organizational skills
  • Create task list and associated milestones to reach goal.
  • Regular and consistent checking to ensure that project is moving forward at the correct pace.
Creating and managing of a budget
  • Making sure your project doesn't break the bank, so to speak, and that your goals are met within the resource limits set.
  • Ensuring that the milestones are met and making any necessary tweaks along the way to ensure overall success.
Supervision and managerial tasks
  • Including those in adjacent or supportive departments within your company (Even though the primary person being managed/supervised is YOURSELF, you also need to look at those indirectly involved who can get in the way of meeting goals (family ;-))
When I think about all of the things that have gone into his training, over the many years; and especially this year, I recognize his desire to follow his personal dream. His commitment to see it through and his determination to be the best he can be….basically that he has found a passion! (Well, a second passion as I’LL always be his first passion, right?!).

Regardless of whether or not a goal is personal or professional, if there's no passion behind it, then the journey becomes all that more arduous. 

Kevin has decided to become his own "champion" and thereby has become our "family champ"!  Which I'm not sure where that leaves me....hmm....because another "Trappism" passed down generation after generation is "You're either house champ or house chump"...  (I'm learning there is no "gray" when it comes to competition in his family! ha!)

Monday, August 16, 2010

It Takes a Village to Support a TriAthlete

With only 4 weeks left until Ironman Wisconsin, the task of getting all of our ducks in a row is upon us.  Some of the items include:

1 - Buying brightly colored t-shirts for the event (and then actually MAKING them, to read "Suck it up Buttercup", naturally... :-))
2 - Creating a packing list for the weekend, to include snacks and activities for my little guys. (It appears that I may be gone the few days leading up to the trip, for business.  So I'll have to do this EXTRA early to ensure I can drive home from the airport, jump into the passenger seat and be prepared for our 7 hour drive to WI!)
3 - Course information - maps, anticipated timeline, activity suggestions for Team Trapp members, etc. so that we can support Kevin at various times throughout his 14+ hour event.
4 - And I'm sure there are TONS more that I've not even thought of, but will keep me awake as we approach the event. 

image from
Incidentally, there is a trishirt that reads "TriSherpa", which I have a feeling is going to be VERY accurate!

Luckily, Kevin is utilizing an online beginner triathlon community, which seems to be a GREAT RESOURCE! 

And as I took a quick look-see at the site, to get a feel for what all it offered, I was impressed!  The name is somewhat misleading though, as it appears that there are mostly veteran members who are a wealth of information!  So, I think really what the name means, is "Hey, YOU, Newbie, come chat and learn from our experienced member community!" - Which is fantastic, IMHO ;-)

It made me think of the old saying that "It takes a village to raise a baby", well, I think the same adage can hold true about many things, including a triathlete....

There may be a few people out there who were born with an innate sense of how to properly train, eat and recover from their workouts.  But honestly, I think those are rare.  I imagine that most athletes, especially when training for endurance events (e.g., 1/2 marathon, marathon, and/or any multi-sport events), do some reading up on the subject, to learn tips, techniques, etc. - to help them gain an overall sense of what they should expect. 

Kevin is very methodical, and is what I would consider a process driven kinda guy - he IS an engineer, after all.  A few years back when Kevin first caught the "running bug", we started receiving magazines in the mail, and then I would notice that books would start appearing around the house.  Not to mention the online web sites that he'd find with helpful tips and training schedules.  And then, of course, the "actual, real-life" people, like his brother, Gregg and others in his master swim class, who continue to help him on his journey.

I remember having a conversation with him, "back in the day", when I was trying to come up with my reasons for not joining in on his runs.  I would say things like, "I don't have the right outfits to run" (because let's face it girls, we all want to look cute whenever possible), or "I'm too out of shape, people will laugh at me".  He told me that people who run are supportive of others, and that everyone "started out" once and can appreciate what you are going through.  Although I scoffed at this notion, at first, I have found that at least in the running world, that is ABSOLUTELY true!  (We're still new to the tri world, but so far people seem really great there too!) 

Whether it's nutrition, recipes, appropriate clothing and gear, or activities for young kids during his events, he has always turned to others - his "village" for help, guidance and support.  So I think it's only proper that some of the village join him, you know... like the village princess (me), and the other "village people" (not to be confused with the musical group)!

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's all a matter of perspective!

I'm always amazed at how quickly my boys are growing up.  The fact that they are (almost) 4yo and 2-1/2yo means that every day they are going to say something that makes me laugh and probably cry (and most likely it's out of both love AND frustration!). 

Both little ones have grown up with Kevin's training and racing, so it's completely normal for Daddy to come home and pitch in with the night-time routine:  dinner, bath, brush teeth, read 2 books and then bed and THEN head out for his evening run or swim (or both). 

In fact my 2-1/2yo usually assumes that when Daddy is not in the same room that "Daddy running?"; which lately has resulted in my 4 yo's reply of "No... swim first, then bike, THEN run, right mommy?".

I love their enthusiasm and natural support.  Even though there are times when they see their Daddy come downstairs ready to head out, and tears start to flow (which I have to imagine make him feel a little guilty),  they are quick to accept that it's just part of his day.

Just this morning...I had the morning news on and the anchors were outside in front of the crowd.  My 4yo was so excited and said "Hey, Mom, it's like Daddy's race!".  At first I wasn't sure what he was talking about and then I realized that he was referring to the cheering throng of people behind the fence holding signs and banners, and I had to laugh.  And the fact that all morning they have been telling each other to "suck it up, buttercup!", has kept me in a great mood!

And despite the fact that I can become frustrated (only occassionally, of course) that I don't get to spend a lot of time with my hubby, or that house hold projects get put off... indefinetly, I have to say that I am SO happy that my boys are growing up in an active and healthy household!

In fact, my 4yo has expressed an interest in racing with his Daddy and we're going to participate as a FAMILY in an upcoming local race, St. Stephens Fun Run!  Perhaps in a few years Team Trapp will have a new member to support!

Oh, for those of you who are interested in what we decided for the Team Trapp t-shirts:  As of right now we think the kids are going to have "Suck it up buttercup" on theirs (since they have really embraced it!).  And the jury is still out for the adults...except for maybe my mother-in-law who may be wearing a shirt with ".....You'll live!" since that was her tag line when Kevin and his siblings were growing up! :-)

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Monday, August 2, 2010

What to wear, what to wear....

Ironman Wisconsin is 6 weeks away - Yikes!!!  Where has the time gone?!  It feels like just yesterday that I became an "Ironman widow".  Is it possible that it's actually been more like 7 months?

As Kevin is training harder than ever, some of the responsibility of Team Trapp is now on my shoulders and 2 items that have topped the list are:

1 - A proper send-off party - If anyone has any great activities to incorporate into the day, please send them my way.  So far I've thought about a "sign making" area, where people who are unable to attend the race can make up signs that we can take with us to lift his spirits along the course.  And I thought I would buy a matte that everyone can sign and then we can include a pic from the event, for posterity (similar to our wedding pic :-)).  AND of course, I recently purchased an Ironman cookie-cutter at the Racine Half Ironman, so depending on how many kids will be there, I was thinking of having MDOT shaped treats for the kids to decorate! 

2 - What should our t-shirts say for the race day!!  They need to be bright, so he can pick us out of the crowd and they also need to lift his spirits and get him re-energized for the miles ahead!

And he and I have searched online, we've come across some great options... some hysterical, yet would NOT be appropriate for my 2 little guys and I to wear ;-) and others would "do" but are not screaming "Amy" - which is one of the prerequisites I look for when buying shoes or any fun accessories! 

For those of you who are interested in checking some out for curiosities sake, OR are also in the market for some race day shirts, here are a few places that might be helpful!

Cafepress - triathlon supporter - funny forum comments - just one of their examples

After we searched online, we started throwing out mottos and saying that we could relate to with the thought that I could make the shirts. Not only would that save some money, but we could make some for ALL of our family who are coming out to support him!  Go "Team Trapp"!!!

I'm hoping everyone "out there" can give us your thoughts and vote for what you feel would be the best. 

Now, keep in mind that although I do consider myself fun and certainly can appreciate off-color humor (T-shirt Hell is a place my husband has spent considerable time and shares often), that I tend to refrain from wearing such "sayings" on my clothing. 

Here are what we've come up with, let us know what you think!

1.  "Suck it up Buttercup" (front)
     "Team Trapp" (back)

2. "Pass the weak
      Hurdle the dead" (front)
     "Team Trapp" (back)

3.  For kids
     "Future Triathlete" with pic of trike (front)
     "Team Trapp" (back)

4.  For Kids
    "Eat my daddy's dust" with pic of running shoes (front)
    "Team Trapp" (back)

5.  "It's just a hill, get over it" (front)
     "Team Trapp" (back)

Even though the time I get to spend with my hubby for the next 4 weeks will be small moments between laps on his bike or the thirty minutes in between his evening swim class and his falling into bed, exhausted, at 9pm;  The boys and I are so excited about his upcoming race and can't wait to support him as he prepares to become an Ironman Finisher!

Friday, July 23, 2010

If you're not an athlete....

Start of race - water temp approximately 65 degrees!

My husband's family has several great sayings, including: "you're either an athlete or an athletic supporter". And although I certainly considered myself an athlete "back in the day", I am proud to report that for the past 6 years, I have been my husband’s "athletic supporter" ;-)

At first it started out with a few short runs - 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, etc. Since it was just the two of us at that point (no children in tow), races were mostly selected based on geographic location first (we are great travel buddies) and then on course review, etc.

He and I had settled into a nice little race day routine - typically consisting of:

- His waking up at around 4:30am, getting ready both mentally and physically (the physical preparation is a whole posting to itself - maybe 2),
- Followed by my rolling out of bed around 6am to head down to the starting area (assuming we were in a hotel near the start)
- Can't forget my sending him off to start the race with a big kiss
- And then lastly, my search for the "race day bagel and coffee" as I make my way to the first spot where I can cheer him on.

Since that time, we have grown our family to include 2 wonderful little guys, who have the makings to be wonderful little additions to "Team Trapp". (Note: they are both under 4 at this point, so we often tease that it's possibly easier to RACE than support - at least for now :-)).

But the changes haven't stopped there, his ambitions have continued growing over the years to triathlons of varying distances and his sites are NOW set on joining his brother in the ranks as an IronMan!

         For those who are unfamiliar with an IronMan race -
                       it's a 140.6 mile triathlon consisting of:
                    2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run
                   No easy feat and certainly not for the weak in spirit!

So now, the prerequisites for race selection also need to keep in mind our kids!

A big factor being "What do I, personally, do with the kids between the starting gun (or canon in the case of IronMan) and the finish!"...that could be anywhere between 1-1/2 hours to what I've recently learned will be nearly 15 HOURS for his upcoming IronMan! And HOW do I support hubby while entertaining 2 very active little guys? 

My experience has shown me that race organizers largely do not provide resources for families...I struggle with this, chiefly because if anyone has participated in a race (as a runner) you were most likely energized by the cheering and side-line support.  And if you've participated in a race where the course winded into rural areas where there were no supporters, you may have noticed a drop in spirit resulting in some "tough miles". 

This past weekend was a small taste of what's to come, as we headed to Racine, WI for the 1/2 IronMan!

(1/2 IronMan consists of 70.3 miles of swim, bike, run  - for those who don't want to do the math)

Here's my 2 cents on the race, from the "supporter point of view" and comments from my hubby:

The Good:
1. Beautiful view of Lake Michigan (which I realize is not directly controlled by organizers :-))
2. Morning concessions - There were 1 or 2 tents from local organizations that sold coffee and danish. They charged a LOT and then asked for an additional donation, but it went to a seemingly good cause. HOWEVER, there were no concessions for the remainder of the day. (FYI - Start was at around 7am for Pros and my husband's wave started at 8:10a and the race cutoff was around 4pm) - More on this below.
3. The safety and security of participants seemed to be a high priority - the cone and signage placement seemed to be great.
4.  Great little play area for kids - Kids Cove.  (We learned about this ahead of time, along with other family friendly activities from past participants).  There were NO links that I'm aware of from the race website itself.
5. The IronMan website offered Athlete Tracker - which was great! Since I can't really navigate through the full course, especially with my little guys, I was able to use my phone to check in on his progress. GREAT ADDITION! One item worth noting is that I was able to find a few supporters on twitter (1 person actually posted the athlete tracker, which is how I learned of the helpful little tool), however, there wasn't an overall consensus on the #tag, so some of us were using #racineironman and others I believe were using #ironmanracine. I see a lot of potential for incorporating some social media into future events. (Hey, race coordinators, I'd love to work with you on ways to incorporate some additional value to your race!)

The Bad:
1.  Only 1 Racine run concession stand was open for food - Northbeach Oasis.  A lot of races are held on Sundays, which I can see why, especially when it's being held in a town or city of any size (traffic control, etc.); but there were no open restaurants near the race!  Parking, as you might imagine was a premium so you certainly didn't want to lose your spot and try to navigate through the closed streets on the quest for food. 
    THOUGHT/SUGGESTION:  Promote and attract concession sponsors/vendors for SUPPORTERS, in addition to the racers. Could be a great opportunity for local organizations to make a little money, while representing their cause AND city!  But, keep in mind that charging $2 for an 8oz cup of coffee and THEN asking for an additional donation will not be a sustainable business model for the supporters and families year after year. 

The Ugly:
1.  Only 1 SUNSCREEN station!  It was located at the beginning of transition area immediately following the swim, but nowhere else on course!  Really?  It's a triathlon, which entails getting wet, then stripping off a wetsuit and getting on a bike, and THEN running (in this case a 1/2 marathon - 13.1miles).  Even with Aloe Gator sunscreen, (which my husband swears by), I find it hard to believe that it could stick with someone through all of that.  And unfortunately he chose to use the port-a-potty instead of visiting the sunscreen station.  Needless to say, when he finished his race, he had a number of tan lines in various shades of red. (Item of note: some racers, including my husband, use cooking spray to help them get into their wetsuit…so literally he was cooking while he was biking and running – reminds me of a Seinfeld episode!)
Sunburn after Racine 70.3 Triathlon

All in all it was a fun and exhausting day. I'm nervous AND excited about Madison in September (for the full IronMan), but luckily we'll have family there to support him as he swims, bikes and runs his way into the IronMan annals.

Resting at the finish of Racine 70.3 1/2 IronMan
Do you have a favorite race, either from the runner OR supporter perspective?  Please share your feedback and suggestions!