Friday, April 18, 2008

April - more sports events

On Monday April 14, Cole came home from school with a note that said that he was signed up for several events at the elementary track and field competition the following afternoon Tuesday April 15. Be at the track (at the community gym) right after school at 3:30pm. That was the first that we had heard about a track and field event. We had heard Cole talking about working on track and field during PE at school, but we didn't know there was an event coming up. Typical notice for Saipan though. Actually, I guess we were lucky because we were notified a day ahead of time, rather than the day of the event. We have learned to go with the flow here, and made arrangements Monday night for our carpooling of kids home from school on Tuesday.

We learned that Cole had signed up to run the 200 m, the 1,500 m, and the 4 x 100 m relay. If you are not familiar with these distances, 200 m is half-way around a 400 m track, the typical track that goes around a football field. 1,500 m is about 100 m short of a mile (about 4 times around the track). The 4 x 100 m relay is a relay of 4 people, each running 100 m, so once around the track.

Cole is 6 years old (he'll be 7 in May). I used to run track in high school, but I never ran distances like 1,500 m. So I was very skeptical about his ability to finish this race. But his teacher/coach had confidence in him, and we have done several 5k charity run/walks, so I know he can do the distance, I just didn't know if he could do it without stopping. So Maria and I were supportive and wished him well, and told him to do his best, and not to run to fast... PACE YOURSELF. I don't know if PACE YOURSELF means anything to a six year old.

Tuesday April 15 was a very hot muggy day, and all the kids were very hyped up about the track meet. Kids were sprinting all over the place, showing each other how fast they are. We tried to tell Cole to save himself for the races, but you know kids. Anyway, it took them so long to get organized, that by the time Cole's event was to start (after the long jump and the 100 m race), that it had cooled down quite a bit. The 100 m had taken a long time, because they only ran 4-5 kids in a heat (that's how many stop watches they had), and there were a lot of kids (boys and girls) in 2 different age divisions (10 & under; 8 & under). Finally the 1,500 m started at 6 pm. They ran all the entrants (boys/girls of all ages) in one heat. There were only 15 kids in this race.

When they started many of the kids started sprinting right away. Grabriella, 10, the daughter of a friend of ours was near the back of the pack but keeping a steady pace, and Cole was a little over mid-way back. That sprint only lasted a little over 100 m, then the overall pace slowed down quite a bit. As Cole passed the first 200 m I yelled to tell him not go so fast (he still had 3 more laps around the track). (The photo is Cole on his first lap - blue shirted boy to the left).

By the end of the first lap, Gabby had pulled into the lead, and was obviously going win. She lapped Cole on her last lap, as Cole was finishing his 3rd (I again yelled to remind him not to sprint now, that he still had one lap to go). On his last lap, with 100 m to go, a small girl came sprinting up from behind, and Cole took on the challenge. (The photo is the girl just getting even with Cole before they both started sprinting. They both sprinted the last 100 m. I think she edged out Cole at the finish line because he later told me he got 13th out of the 15. I think one did not finish.

I was so proud of him. I couldn't believe that he ran the whole way - 1,500 m - without stopping! My friends around me were also very impressed, and Maria said that she even heard about his achievement from teachers at the high school the next day. He didn't win, but he was probably the youngest kid in that race.

Immediately after that race, it was time for the 200 m. Coach Tyce asked Cole if he was up for more running, or if he wanted to rest a while. Cole immediately said he was up for it, and headed off to the 200 m start area. Luckily for him it was almost 30 minutes before his heat ran (they ran the girls first, then the boys starting with the older ones first).

Then after the 200 m came the 4 x 100 m relay. They practised hand-offs at the finish line for a few minutes, and explained to the kids how the relay worked. Cole ran the first leg. They're team ended up coming in last. But it was fun to watch none-the-less.
The track and field events continue next Tuesday with the 4 x 400 m relay, softball toss, and 400 m? I can't remember what Cole is signed up for, but I hope I take better photos than I did this week, and that he has as much fun as he did.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring Break 2008 Vacation

For Maria's Spring Break vacation 2008, we travelled to the islands of Pohnpei and Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia.

For photos from Pohnpei see

For photos from Kosrae see

On the way back to Saipan, we stopped on Guam for two nights to visit friends. For photos see

We had a great time on Pohnpei and Kosrae, and want to go back when Cole is old enough to Scuba dive, so we can all go together.


March - Sportsfest month on Saipan

The early part of March was all about racing for the Chambers boys. Early in March (3/2/08), Derek participated in the Saipan Ocean Swim. Even though he was last out of the water on the 1.2 km swim, he didn't finish that far behind, and felt good enough about the swim to build up confidence for the XTERRA triathalon the following weekend.

On March 8, Derek completed the Sport course of the XTERRA triathalon, and got first place in his age division (out of 2 competitors - the other guy was disqualified because he made a wrong turn and got off the course). The sport course consisted of a 700m swim in the lagoon, a 15km? mountain bike ride across the island and back, and a 5km run.

During Derek's race, Cole competed in the XTERRA kids bike race.

The following weekend, Derek was on a team (D & T In Cooperated) for the Tagaman triathalon. The Tagaman starts with a 2 km swim in the lagoon, which was done by Saipan superteen swimmer Cooper Graf. Cooper was third out of the water, ahead of most of the professional triathletes. Tyce Mister took over from there for the 60 km road bike portion. Tyce is a very good athlete, but you have to get on the bike more than once a year to compete against the pros. Still, Tyce pulled his weight. Then he handed off to Derek for the 15km (9.2 mile) run, during the heat of the morning. Derek can do the distance, just not very fast. What started out as a big lead from Cooper, quickly went to a middle of the pack finish by Derek. Our team ended up 4th out of 20 teams. Not too bad :)

Meanwhile, Cole competed in the Tagakids triathalon. He was one of two in his age group. (The other kid was Steven!). Cole and Steven tied, crossing the finish line together. What a great ending.

See photos with captions from the Sportsfest month at


Saturday, December 29, 2007

White Christmas (in Germany - not Saipan)

We travelled to Germany to visit family over the Christmas break. We flew from Saipan to Tokyo, spent the night, then had an 11 hour flight from Tokyo to Amsterdam. Casey had a rough trip and couldn't find a comfortable place to sleep. He cried so much on the flight that he eventually lost his voice. The day after we got to Germany, Cole had a stomach virus and was sick for most of a day. We think maybe Casey also had some kind of bug during the flight. Usually he is such a happy baby. He is feeling great now. It snowed a little on Christmas Day, and went for a walk in the forest and enjoyed the snow.

We are staying at Derek's sister's house in the village of Rodenbach, which is near Hanau - which is only about 20 minutes from Frankfurt. Christmas was fun. Casey dressed up. Cole got lots of toys. Aunt T and Cole have had fun playing games and building Legos.
A friend of Maria's from Saipan, Anne, is now living in Prague, and came to Rodenbach to visit for few days. We did a road trip to the walled village of Rothenberg yesterday. No plans yet for today. Maria's brother Raf and family should show up tomorrow. They are also visiting Germany for the holidays.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Chambers Boys

Casey is two and a half months old now. I thought I would post some photos of Casey, Cole and Casey, Maria and Casey, Derek and Casey, etc....

Photos are at:


Cochranes visit Saipan

This year has been the year of visitors to Saipan for us (hopefully it is not over yet Granny & Grandpa)! As Oma and Opa were packing their bags for their return trip to Seattle, the Cochrane’s arrived for a three week vacation from their work site which is located in the village of Bayanga in the country known as Central African Republic or CAR. The Cochranes lived on Saipan when we first moved here three years ago. The Cochranes’ daughter, Charlie, was Cole’s best friend for over a year when they spent many days playing on the beach, collecting crabs and shells, and working on messy art projects. The Cochranes moved to CAR about a year and a half ago, and we missed them so much that we went to visit them last summer. What an adventure that was! Tracking western lowland gorillas through the rain forest with native pygmy guides! (I’ll have to post some photos from that trip later).

We had a great time with the Cochranes during their visit on Saipan and I think they had a good time as well, since they got to see many old friends besides us. We hadn’t been to PIC that often since they used to live here. We may see them back on Saipan soon, since Erica’s contract in CAR will be finished in October, and she hasn’t renewed.

Photos from their visit are posted at:


Cole's First Day of School August 2007

Monday August 13, 2007 was Cole's first day of school for the new school year. We all woke up around our normal time - about 6 am. After Cole ate breakfast he told me that he wished it was already summer again so that he didn't have to go to school. He hadn't even been yet! I went to take my shower, and when I got out, I thought I'd do the responsible parent thing and take a photo of Cole on his first day of school. So I grabbed the camera and went in search of Cole. Little did I know that Maria had already attempted to take Cole's photo (while I was in the shower) with little success. This was the best one of the lot:

Cole did not want his photo taken. He gets that way sometimes. Since I had the camera in hand, I decided I would give it a try. Maria wished me luck as I yelled from the kitchen out to carport where I could here Cole riding his scooter. I asked "Cole, can I take a photo of you for the first day of school." He said, "O.K." Needless to say Maria was a little upset. My results:

Maybe riding the scooter put Cole in a better mood. More likely, he probably forgot that he was previously upset about having his picture taken and just agreed with me without ralizing what he was doing. I don't chalk it up to favoritism on his part. At least we got the photo taken...

~ Derek
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