Meet Nee-Moo

We took a trip to Colorado this summer and while we were visiting our friends in Breckenridge, we stopped into Sweet Cow ice cream shop because the sign said, “Simply Moolicious”– and it was. In addition to tasty ice cream, the decor includes these cute little “bouncy cows” on shelves in neat little rows. After our second visit to the store, we decided to purchase one and bring him home with us.


Meet Nee-Moo (you know, like “Nemo” from the Disney movie, Finding Nemo). He will accompany us on this year’s Colin’s Hope Got2Swim 10K and will need to be sure to train so that he is ready to help me keep Barrett (and the other swimmers) safe during this year’s swim. Nee-Moo will be on the kayak during our practice swims practicing his “spotting” techniques and learning how to hold the paddle when I need a break to feed Barrett.

I sense there will be many adventures in addition to his kayaking trips so we created an Instagram under SeeNeeMoo. You’ll be able to keep an eye on what he’s up to when he’s hanging out with us.

First Swim Training Session

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Second Swim Training Session

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Post Swim Coffee


Another year . . . another Colin’s Hope Swim!!!

Colin Hoist

The Colin’s Hope Got2Swim 10K will be held on the morning of Thursday, September 3rd. Swimmers will start their 10K (6.2 mile) swim from the Lake Hills Community Beach and swim towards the Pennybacker (360) bridge. Why would anyone want to swim 10K in any body of water? The only reason that matters is two words Colin Hoist.

At the age of 4, Colin, who had just successfully completed swim lessons, drowned in a shallow pool while playing with friends. In spite of the watchful eyes of family members an lifeguards, Colin slipped beneath the water surface and later was pulled from the shallow water–unconscious and not breathing. Colin’s family created Colin’s Hope to raise water safety awareness to prevent children from drowning.

Barrett and I raised money for the organization last year by participating in the swim. Yes, we raised $1500+ last year, but we also got to know Colin’s dad, Jeff, the executive director, Alissa Magrum, and the rest of the team that works tirelessly to shed light on swim safety and drowning prevention. What started out as “doing a fun event that has a good cause” has turned into a  personal interest to help prevent others from drowning.

11836880_10102185773160115_1222046885084566508_nLauryn and Tabitha IMG_3475Dylan

Lauryn, Tabitha and Dylan are personal enough reasons for us to continue swimming and raising money for Colin’s Hope to successfully continue its mission. We love our nieces and nephew (and countless other cousins) and want to make sure their parents (and others’ parents) know how to prevent drowning.

We are botimagesh training for this year’s swim. Barrett will be swimming and I will be his swim guardian. Each swimmer is required to have a swim guardian (a person in either in a kayak, canoe or on a SUP) and wear a SaferSwimmer while participating. We are both excited and looking forward to this year’s swim. Your support, whether financial or monetary, are genuinely appreciated!

Donations are accepted here and words of encouragement can be added to this post in the comments section.


It’s Not “If” But “When”

Spend any amount of time being active and you’ll learn quickly, it’s not “if” you fall, wreck, or get lost, it’s “when”. Watching the Tour de France, World Cup, or any professional sport, you’ll see that even the pros are subject to bumps, scrapes, bruises, bandages, stitches, and blood running down an appendage.

This weekend’s location of choice for for the latest reason behind the bandages on both knees and my right elbow was the Barton Creek Greenbelt East (Loop 360 Access) trail head.  I had planned to trail run for 2 to 2.5 hours, allowing me to spend good quality alone tIMG_1855ime on the greenbelt and all the surprises it has to offer. Approximately two and a half minutes into my run, before I knew what was happening– SURPRISE! I went from being upright, to being laid out flat, face down in the dirt in a matter of seconds. I tried to quickly get up to dust off and keep running, but I soon realized this fall was more than what I expected. I looked at my elbow, where all the pain was coming from and soon realized I had to big gashes near my elbow that were going to need professional attention.

I took myself to urgent care where the doctor and I pulled into the parking lot at the same time. She greeted me and soon saw the reason for my visit. I had the whole urgent care place to myself. I was checked in quickly and before I knew it, my wounds and I were in good hands. The elbow wounds required numbing shots so that the doctor could inspect the wound and the nurse could thoroughly clean the wounds. The nurse said, “Each time I irrigate the wound, more dirt comes out…”  These numbing shots reminded me of the same shots I receive when having dental procedures performed. The shots sting at first, but after about 30 seconds the only thing I feel is pressure (no pain). My knees were skinned pretty good and the right knee had a the makings of a pretty good knot. After a whirlwhind of soapy water, triple acting antibacterial creme, gauze, non-stick pads, and cloth tape, I was ready to leave urgent care, grab some breakfast, and then spend the afternoon couch with pain meds and antibiotics.

bandandage elbowBandanded Knees

I don’t fall often and there haven’t been many times that I’ve had to seek medical attention. I can say that how I react to scenarios such as this has dramatically changed. The “independent and tough” version of me 10 years ago would not have stepped foot into an emergency care facility. I would have either tried to keep running or gone home and suffered silently while cleaning my wounds. I have learned that it is okay to seek help whether it be professional or that of friends or a loving spouse. The doctor did tell me that my wounds on my elbow are pretty deep and since there wasn’t any skin to stitch, it’s very important to keep the wound clean, bandaged, and medicated. Would I have been able to see that on my own by starring at my elbow from either a reflection in the mirror or from an award angel while bending my arm looking past my wrist and forearm to see my wounds? Who knows? I do have peace of mind knowing that someone else was able to check me out and take good care of me.

As soon as I am healed, I’ll be back on the greenbelt to pick up where I left off on the Saturday morning when my run turned into forced rest and recovery.



Gotta’ Eat and Swim

B colin's hope van 360 bridge

Richelle: What’s the plan for tomorrow? How far are we going?
Barrett: 2 maybe 3 . . .
Richelle: And then this weekend? How far are we going?
Barrett: Shooting for 5.

When talking about Colin’s Hope swim training, the above conversation is the norm. I know that 2, 3, or 5 translates to 2 miles, 3 miles, or 5 miles of swimming. The distance dictates what is loaded onto the kayak for the swim. Water and electrolyte mix have sufficed since training swims have been 4 miles or shorter, but this weekend, the training swim is going to be 5 miles. Out of curiosity, I searched for a “calories burned while swimming” calculator. I entered Barrett’s info, clicked the “calculate” button, and voila! Barrett will burn approximately 2560 calories during the 11K Colin’s Hope Got2Swim event.

That is the equivalent of 49 doughnut holes and Barrett loves doughnut holes!! I don’t know how feasible it would be to stockpile doughnut holes on the kayak and I am pretty sure those tasty little doughnut holes would disintegrate in Lake Austin. Instead, we’ll be testing a combination of water, electrolytes, and some form of calories. There are many options thanks to the booming energy bar and gel industry. We can also keep it simple and just pack some snickers bars or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Figuring out nutrition is an important part of training and if done right it can also be fun!

Colin’s Hope is hosting a practice swim, Sunday morning at 9 AM at Pure Austin Quarry Lake. Barrett is going to swim 5 miles for practice. He’ll be in the water for about 2.5 hours. The kayak will be packed with a myriad of calories so we know what works and what doesn’t work. The swim guardian will be burning calories too, just not at the same speed as the swimmer. Stay tuned for a follow-up on the swim!!!

Thank you to all those who have donated to Colin’s Hope Charity. Barrett is over halfway to reaching his goal of raising $1000 for Colin’s Hope. Please visit Barrett’s fundraising page if you would like to donate.

Just keep swimming . . .


Fat Salmon

fatsalmon_logo_250x133There are 35 days until the Colin’s Hope Got2Swim 11K. Barrett’s training has been consistent with swims weekly in Lake Austin, with T3, and at Pure Austin Quarry Lake. Barrett’s longest practice swim to date was a 4 mile swim in Pure Austin Quarry Lake during a Colin’s Hope training swim at the beginning of July. This past weekend, Barrett participated in the Fat Salmon swim in Seattle’s Lake Washington for the second year. The Fat Salmon Open Water Swim is a 3.2 mile swim that is limited to 350 swimmers.

Fat Salmon Start_kayaksFat Salmon proved to be a great practice swim for Barrett. The overcast and breezy morning provided a swim course with choppy water. The locals were even caught off-guard by the morning’s water conditions. The waters seemed to calm down as the race started. The swimmers enjoyed smooth waters for about a mile and a half. The last mile and half or so the waters felt more like a washing machine than a lake swim.

Despite the bumpy second hal2014FatSamonFinishf of the swim, Barrett finished the swim in 1 hour and 25 minutes, which was 6 minutes faster than last year’s swim. This race was a good benchmark for us to see where he was in his training. Considering Barrett did the swim in a wetsuit last year (which can help swimmers swim more efficient and faster), he opted not to swim in one this year and still finished faster, I would say we are right on track for the August 28th Colin’s Hope Got2Swim 11K.

With just over a month until the swim, Barrett has a couple more long swims on his training schedule. Since he will most likely be in the water for 3+ hours, we’ll be working on details such as nutrition, sun protection, and keeping Barrett entertained. I am fully prepared to use my paddle as a prod to keep him swimming forward. We are definitely enjoying the time together during the training swims! Barrett keeps saying, “11k! 6.8 miles! That’s a long way!” I always respond, “You’ll be find, just keep training.”

Thank you to all those who have donated to Colin’s Hope Charity. Barrett has reached the halfway point of his $1000 fundraising goal. Please visit Barrett’s fundraising page if you would like to participate.


Fat Salmon Pre-Start



Have you ever asked yourself, “What are those orange floaty things in the pictures posted of Barrett swimming?” Do not worry, he and the other swimmers are not being stalked by the mysterious Lake Austin Orange Floaty creature. These orange floaty things are called SaferSwimmers. SaferSwimmers

Participants training for the 2014 Colin’s Hope Got2Swim Lake Austin 11k are spending many hours training in the pool and in open water. One way to safely open water swim is to wear a brightly colored swim cap in order to be seen by on-coming swimmeSaferSwimmer Floatation Devicers and boaters. In addition to wearing a swim cap, swimmers also wear the SaferSwimmer.

The SaferSwimmer is a floaty that attaches to the swimmer and floats behind the swimmer while swimming. Not only does the SaferSwimmer provide better visibility for the swimmer while on the lake, but it can also be used as a floatation device in case the swimmer experiences cramps, dizziness, injury, or even to help another swimmer in distress. The SaferSwimmer also provides a waterproof pocket to hold personal items.

Barrett and many of the other individuals he swims with in the lake have many years of open water swimming and racing under their belts, but each of them have taken to the SaferSwimmer quite nicely. At first they thought having a floaty attached would be annoying, but each of them have said they barely even notice it while swimming. Since most of their swims in Lake Austin are out and back swims, the SaferSwimmer provides a way to stop and comfortably wait for the rest of the group at the turn-around.  IMG_1641

Each swimmer that participates in the 2014 Colin’s Hope Got2Swim Lake Austin 11k will be wearing a SaferSwimmer, swim cap, and have their swim guardian along side them in a kayak or SUP.  While participants were given the option to purchase a SaferSwimmer when registering, SaferSwimmers are also available for purchase but others. If you’d like a Colin’s Hope Logo’d SaferSwimmer, contact the organization directly. You can also find the SaferSwimmer on websites such as or SaferSwimmer.

Next time you drive over the Pennybacker Bridge or happen to be at the Pure Austin Quarry Lake, take a quick peek and see if you see a SaferSwimmer. Mostly likely, the swimmer attached to the SaferSwimmer is getting ready for the Colin’s Hope Got2Swim Lake Austin even on August 28th.

Barrett and I are getting closer to our fundraising goal of $1000. Every dollar counts! Visit Barrett’s fundraising page to donate.  Thank you to those who have already donated!

Barrett SaferSwimmer



Swim Barrett Swim

Athlete Ambassador - Colin's Hope

Last month, my husband signed up to participate in a charity swim to help raise money and awareness for an organization called Colin’s Hope. Colin’s Hope raises water safety awareness to prevent children from drowning. The organization is named after Colin Hoist, a four-year old boy, who despite having participated in swimming lesson each year,  At the young age of 4,  drown in a neighborhood pool.  He was with his family, and under the close watch of adults, but in the blink of an eye something went wrong.


Drowning is the number one cause of death for children under the age of 4! Fueled by their desire to prevent such a tragedy from happening time and time again to other children,  Colin’s family founded Colin’s Hope to promote water safety in their community and to educate children, parents, and lifeguards on drowning prevention.  Believing that a few simple tips and rules might make a difference in the life of another child keeps them passionate about their new purpose.

Each swimmer who participates in the charity swim must have a swim guardian accompany them. I will join Barrett on his swim as his swim guardian by paddling a kayak next to him, carrying nutrition and other items he may need along the way. We have both participated in many open water swims and understand the importance of water safety. This is our way to help a wonderful cause and also challenge ourselves. 11K is a long way to swim. 11K is also a long way to paddled. That’s a lot of husband/wife time too!

My swimmer!
My swimmer!

The Got2Swim Lake Austin 11K is scheduled for Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 7:30 AM. We are busy training and raising awareness along the way. Your help is appreciated in helping us raise $1000. Check out Barrett’s Fundraising Page. Tell a friend about Colin’s Hope too! The Colin’s Hope website is a great swim safety resource for adults and children.

In the meantime, we’ll be on the water!

Early morning swim - Lake Austin
Early morning swim – Lake Austin