Looking back, 2012 proved to be yet another good year. Being a chronic-worrier-trying-to-look-calm-parent, I was trying to find a physical outlet for Prem. He was average in most physical team sports like soccer, baseball etc. I felt that pushing him into running at this age might seemed like work to him and not play. So we focused on swimming. After getting Gold Fish and Big Fish badges from Happy Fish, he passed the Swim Team test with flying colors. He was unaware what he was getting into. From 30 minutes a week of swimming to 4-5 hours a week swimming.
Before his first class, we promised to celebrate this achievement at place of his choice. He wanted to go to Round Table Pizza. I took him to class 5 minutes early and when coach said that warm up for 16 laps, I knew this would be trouble. By the end of 1 hour session, when he came out, he was so tired and almost in tears. We went to Round Table Pizza, and decided to talk to coach next day. Most of the kids come little late anyway, and coach was okayed to try out 45 minutes session for first week. We continued to bring Prem 10-15 minutes late for couple of months, before he started to build his endurance, and when summer rolled in, coach asked us to bring him on time, for 90 minutes sessions.
It is amazing how body adopts to regular practice. Things which seemed impossible couple of months ago, one could do that with little improvements every day. By end of summer, Prem was able to do a Swimathon; he swam around 2 miles, to raise fund for his swim team. Thank you all for all who contributed for this. Prem took two months break from Swim Team for September/October, and then rejoined it. My observation was that his general health improved greatly when he was swimming regularly and he was able to come out of cold very quickly. It seemed he grew more tall, relatively, in summer.
As I write this blog, Prem could juggle two balls well and getting proficient in Rubik cube. He likes doing Math. Needless to say he is better than me in using Smart Phone. He figured out how to shot panoramic photos and taught me on our recent trip. Promila has been extremely busy with her PhD program. It has been very challenging and satisfying for her at the same time. She continued to receive scholarship and is a National Science Foundation GK12 Fellow.
I did my customary hike of Half Dome, with Sumit and Kumarthis year on Father’s day in June. Besides that, I did no major hikes. I ran two Marathons in March and May respectively, and then reduced my weekly mileage to 18-25 miles a week. I had no plans for running another race or Marathon for the year. Running regularly, to keep healthy has become a habit now. And on back of my mind I still had the goal of running sub 4 hour marathon. My personal record for Marathon is 4 hr 11 minutes, set this year. I was not sure if I could run sub 4, but that was the challenge for me for next year. Then through my running buddy Dave, I met Jim, 66 year old runner in October. He had 3 hour 9 minutes marathon after 60 year of age.
Jim changed my perspective about training, and gave me few ideas to try. I could stay with him for 5 K, but longer distances, I did not have the endurance to keep up with him. I started seriously taking his ideas, and with just 4 weeks of training, I ran 5 K in Turkey Trot and set up the PR at 21:25. Though some of the ideas were counter-intuitive, like run slowly, even intervals, but they seemed to be working. I have been running faster races and almost no recovery time. Keeping my fingers crossed, and hope to continue my training for another 6-10 months before thinking about Marathon. I was glad to have Prem run 0.5 mile at Turkey Trot with me this year. And it would be a big parenting challenge in 2013 to get him to run with me on some of these weekend runs on track. Promila, also is getting committed to exercise. With her PhD qualifying exam over finally this year in October, hopefully, she will get regular in training.
We took a summer trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park, Crater Lake National Park and Redwood National Park. Whole family thoroughly enjoyed this week long trip, and learned quite a few new things from Rangers program. In winter we took last minute vacation to Sacramento, Death Valley National Park, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas. Sacramento trip was educational trip for Prem to learn about birth of California due to Gold Rush, Railroads and their significance in trade for California and rest of the country, State Capitol and Sutter Fort. We enjoyed staying in RV with Kumar and Shubha family. Prem did try his hands in gold panning.
Death Valley had the lowest point in Western Hemisphere (282 ft below Sea Level). We were pleasantly surprised to see Zabriskie Point, Golden Canyon and Scotty’s Castle. Prem rolled around in sand dunes for couple of hours and we were fortunate to walk on rim of somewhat active Ubehebe volcano there. Dante’s Peak, Borax mining works and history behind Scotty’s castle added to charm of Death Valley.
After spending couple of days in Death Valley, we headed to Las Vegas. I was surprised to see innovative new slot and other machines in Casinos based on background themes of popular old and new Hollywood movies and music groups. There was no doubt about amount of money the spent in R&D. Normal person, like me, does not stand a chance to win, end up feeling good in spite of losing. Vegas trip is not complete without watching at least one show. It was difficult to find age appropriate kid friendly shows. We settled for Blue Man group show. And all three of us enjoyed it thoroughly, show was musical, witty and was very interactive with audience. Prem understood the advantage of Casino and wanted to find out if there is a University where they teach about gambling. We spent a day at Hoover Dam, and then headed back to Bay Area to spend new year eve with Som/Swapna. Photos and more Photos
All in all, great year with some real growth in areas we wanted to grow in. We feel blessed and fortunate.