Schools are Settled

Kelsey and Courtney

Applying for colleges is an angst ridden process. Add in a high school application process and you have one gnarled burden. However, when it’s over with good results there is a delightful lightening sense of relief.

Courtney will be attending the amazing University of Virginia and
Kelsey will be going to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology.

Mom and dad are immensely proud.

Good going girls! We love you!

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Off the Coast down to Charleston

Kelsey with the Fairchild Kids

Either you have “road trip” in you or your don’t. This trip was the test for Kelsey and she passed with flying colors. She was a great travel partner and can I see many road trips in our future. Yeah!

Our goal was to visit Reggie and Judy and their amazing progeny but drive directly to Charleston? No way! We chose to go down as far east as we could through Virginia, North Carolina, and North Carolina which meant driving down the wonderful Outer Banks. This 200-mile series of connected islands off the coast is the site of America’s first flight (by the Wright brothers at Kill Devil Hills) and the home of many, many vacation getaways. Check out the link above for a satellite view of the island and you can see why it’s so distinct.

How much can be accomplished in 48 hours? A lot! From their home in Mount Pleasant we walked to buy fresh shrimp at the fleet docks and ice cream sodas at the Old Town Rexall Drug Store. We drove to the Exchange and Waterfront Park in Charleston. We also managed a ferry ride to another of their homes on Dewees Island where the setting was so pristine, unpopulated, and natural that I almost felt I was on a secluded island in the middle of the ocean.

Feeling immensely satisfied and thankful we drove home after a great visit.

During our 9.5 hours on the road  Kelsey grew a pair of “road trip” wings.

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Traveling for Leisure

My Cayman Clan

Seven Mile Beach isn’t actually seven miles long. Per our taxi driver, it’s just short of six miles long. Why the name then? My guess is “seven” is often a lucky number so why not name it for good fortune?

Most of the time I’m traveling with a big agenda and trying desperately to squeeze as much as possible in to every day. For me that’s fun. I get a real sense of accomplishment from planning well and executing thoroughly. The pay offs are lots of great experiences, lots of learning and lots of pictures.

When I travel with my family the rules and goals are different. My ladies like the surf, the sand, the sun and relaxation. We focus on achieving very little and spend most of our time doing very little. Relaxing in the sun on the beach makes them happy which in turn makes me happy. They’re great company and we had a good time together in Grand Cayman where we had nothing short of perfect weather.

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Prepping for Distance

Outdoor Distance Goal

What’s a swimmer’s mile? It’s not a mile. For swim competition it’s considered 1,650 yards or 1,500 meters. Go figure!

I will be competing in two long distance swim meets in coming months.

On May 25 I’m in my team’s two-mile swim on Lake Audubon. I’m really excited about the event this year because Courtney will swim it with me. Then two weeks later on June 8 I’m in a swim across the Chesapeake Bay. This swim is 4.4 miles as the crow flies but probably closer to 5.0 miles when you consider the zigzag path a swimmer takes in open water.

OK, so now you have the background for why I got in the pool at 1:55 this afternoon and swam continuously until 3:55. I must prepare now for these events since I’ll be traveling for six weeks between now and then. At my pace I covered 6,000 meters today and nothing broke. I could probably swim both events in my current condition but will I fall apart during my travels?

I hope not! We’ll see come May 25 and June 8.

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This Rock Scramble Doesn’t Get Old

Travis atop Old Rag

The climb takes 2 hours. The gradual decent takes 90 minutes. The base of Old Rag is 1:40 from my home. If leave by 7:30 AM then I’m home by 3:00 PM. Can you tell I’ve hiked this mountain a few times?

I did it again.

I hiked Old Rag Mountain.


Simple. The top third of the climb is a fun rock scramble that never seems to get old. When I saw the forecast for today I had no doubt what I’d do. I was going to hike to this rock playground-for-adults named Old Rag Mountain.

Curious about my favorite 8.8 mile circuit hike? Learn more here.

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A Steady Swim

Baltimore County Indoor Pool

Mental. I had no idea how much of performance in sports was dependent on your mind. Good thing I like living there or competing would be no fun at all!

I’ve become a moderately good swimmer, competing largely in longer distance events: 1-mile, 2-mile, 1650 yards. While I occasionally place in events, all you can really call me is a decent but actively-improving swimmer. The important thing is that I enjoy it, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life, and I like the community of friends that come with being a part of a swim team.

Today I swam in a 1650 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Pictured above is the pool and diving area. How did I do? I don’t know because I didn’t stick around for the results but I’ll update this post when the results are published. The goal was to be consistent over the course of my 66 laps and on that I did well. I also beat my best time; my new best is 24:59.

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