I had the fortunate pleasure of traveling to West Des Moines, Iowa this past weekend to coach my youth and juniors at a series of races. Up on Saturday was Ironkids and Sunday was Flatlands Youth and Junior Elite racing. It was an exciting and non-stop weekend that culminated in many great coaching, parenting and life lessons, some of which I would like to share in no particular order.
1. First up...a 10+ hour drive with 3 kids is actually not that bad until their critical boredom factor has been reached. Prepare with movies if you are lucky enough to have in car entertainment or the necessary technology. If not, prepare for World War III.
2. Fitting a family of five into a small hotel room for four nights is challenging. Counteract this by choosing a hotel with a pool.
3. Free hotel breakfasts are only beneficial if you can actually find a quality source of protein. Luckily, they had hard boiled eggs and omelette's every morning. Even more lucky is when your kids will eat them. Back up plan should be milk or a conveniently located HyVee grocery store that is less than 1/2 mile from the hotel. We became regular customers and my new favorite product is the chocolate flavored smoothie from Bolthouse Farms. It has a blend of whey and soy protein which has been shown in recent research to provide a better time release supply of amino acids to the muscles.
4. When traveling to a state that is hotter than you can describe, it is a good idea to be prepared. I should have brought umbrellas for shade but did have a waist pack with two water bottles. Unfortunately, water gets warm quickly and the continuous sweat production on my body never went away. I never depended so much on air conditioning so much before!
5. When trying to cool off your team members prior to a race, as funny as it may be, do not ask them to shove ice in their trisuits with the assumption that they will be able to prevent the ice to go below the waist into sensitive areas. It doesn't work...but it is quite humorous to witness teenage boys dancing around and yelling!
6. If you are expecting to cool yourself off by jumping in a lake in Iowa, think again. It just doesn't work. The lakes are not the same temperature as Colorado and there is nothing refreshing about them. Better off buying bags of ice and carrying them around.
7. There is nothing refreshing about having a cooler full of ice and ice cold water dumped on your head in the middle of a hot Iowa day. It melted upon contact and only made me jealous that I could not keep it on my body somehow. Not even walking around with ice in my shirt did the trick.
8. I do believe the nicest people on the planet live in West Des Moines, Iowa. Hospitality seemed to have been bred into them from a very young age and made me so appreciative!
9. Try as you may but your daily nutrition plan will be derailed somehow during a long travel excursion. I was lucky to keep it minimized to two meals and without GI suffering. Plan ahead and find a good grocery store.
10. Never complain about the heat in the midwest, especially if you will be going back to visit in 6 weeks because your oldest son qualified for Ironkids National Championships. Bad mojo.
There you have it...a lighthearted look at my trip to Iowa!