Category Archives: Stories With Pictures

We All Can’t Be Perfect

img_0860.JPGFirst of all, my apologies to all of you with dial up that hate getting e-mails with pictures attached. If you, like I used to do, download the e-mail without the picture, you won’t understand what I’m talking about. I’ve walked by this Saguaro Cactus three times now (actually four if you count today’s out and back walk). The first time I saw it, I thought to myself all the captions you could put on a picture like; “Polluted? What do you mean this land is polluted?” or; “Arizona Postcard Contestant Rejected” or; “I remember everything until the 9th shot of Tequila—I don’t feel so good” and, you know me, I could go on and on. I went out and took a picture and had planned to get a few laughs about it.

Then I got to thinking. I know! Dangerous! What I thought about was that the cactus started out in a very harsh environment, trying to get enough of a foothold to grow. It struggled to find its niche in that particular spot and probably had to defeat several other plants just to survive. The struggles it endured show in the “arms” that broke off, or twisted the wrong way, or the holes that the birds pecked in its skin. And it still is there, hanging around until the land is bulldozed down for another development. It is what it is, and what we see on the outside, and make jokes about, don’t begin to praise the strength and perseverance it took to make it this far.

So now is the time I’m supposed to compare that cactus to an old broken down man (me, at the moment, with the knee thing going on) and say something about how we shouldn’t judge something by what we see. Some of us will never look like the guys on the cover of Men’s Health, so maybe we shouldn’t be ashamed of what we look like. What we think are defects and malformations may be scars from many courageous battles that were fought and won. But that would make me sound too preachy and it’s way too deep for my intellect. So let’s just say it’s a nice picture and leave it for you to interpret for yourself.

In my last e-mail, I failed to mention that Rocky took me to a New Orleans Saints game, my first regular season professional football game. They only had one loss at the time, ended up losing that game, and the next. But it was a fun game to watch and we had a good time. The only downside was the guys sitting behind us. There always seems to be someone in the stands that everyone hates, and these guys were, by far, at the head of that list. To say they were foul mouthed would be an understatement. Every swear word you could possibly think of, and some that I didn’t even know, came spewing out of their mouths non-stop. They were extremely derogatory toward women, and described them in every degrading way you could imagine. The plus side was that the game lasted so long they began to sober up (yes, drunk to the point of losing the power of speech) and the early hangovers were setting in. We had fun afterward touring the location of Rocky and Nina’s rehearsal dinner and riding around in the French Quarter chauffered by Nina’s mother.

We think we’ve decided to head for Michigan shortly after the race on the 17th. We’ll probably leave when the weather looks like we can make the three day drive without heading into storms. We plan to get back no later than the 24th so I can have a day to prepare for my board meeting on the 26th. If the travel weather looks bad, I can fly back and Jean can drive back when it clears up. At 100 miles a day, she should make it by Super Bowl Sunday…who’s having the party?

Just (Waiting Around For The Trilanders To Get Here) Jack


Vacuum Cleaner Plug

I’ve often been called the King of Understatement. Well, if I’m the King then Jean must be the Queen. When I rented out the cottage, I brought just about everything in from the lake to the condo, including the vacuum cleaner. I think Jean liked it ‘cuz we had one for the first floor and one for the walkout basement. Now that I’ve gotten the cottage back, I’ve been slowly taking things back out. I was carrying the vacuum out the door and putting it in the back of the Jeep when Jean said, “I don’t think that works very well. It doesn’t seem to suck up very much dirt.”

When I got out to the cottage and started to use it, I could see it didn’t suck up any dirt. Being the inquisitive person that I am, I put the vacuum up on the counter to see if anything was blocking the tube between the roller brushes and the vacuum bag. The tube is about six inches long (remember, I always have something with me to measure) and, sticking my finger in, I could feel some balled up rug lint. I took the screws out of the tube holder, opened up the other end and I could see a plastic bottle cap that fit through one end of the tube, but was too small to exit the other end.

I could tell this was going to take some specialized equipment to remove the plug so you can see, in the attached picture, the expensive tools I used. The bottle cap is there along with way more rug lint than you would think could possibly fit in six inches of plastic tubing. Once I got it all out and replaced all the screws I had taken out (if you don’t have any parts left over, that’s a good thing), I placed it on the floor and turned it on. A pile of sand, a nail, and a handful of unpopped popcorn kernels scattered all over the kitchen floor. The vacuum was so hungry for dirt, I had to shut it off before it sucked up two dish towels and a large bag of potato chips.

At our “every-Saturday-morning-coffee-group” this morning, Bob Dickinson, owner of State Grounds, said he wanted to move the “Laura’s Hope” 5-K run from Ypsilanti to Hastings and would the Trilanders be interested in helping him do that? We said of course and talked for a few minutes about who to contact and where we could have it. After that, the conversation deteriorated quickly. It all started when Diane started talking about a “nude” triathlon calendar. Now, Diane is not a prude…she’s probably seen more naked men than Sher (get your mind out of the gutter…she’s a doctor), but this is the first she’s brought up naked anything. After that, people started bringing up real events that included naked runs and a naked bike race. It’s going to take weeks of therapy to get the images out of my head. Nightmares here we come.

I looked outside yesterday and figured it was too crappy to run on the streets so I decided, for the first time this winter, to run on the treadmill. I got all my clothes around and went to the fitness center. There weren’t all that many people in there so I got my choice of treadmills. I kept it at a slow pace (10 minute miles) and had a difficult time keeping my heart rate down. As you know, I’ve just started back running after a good while off, so it’s been a struggle to regain any sort of fitness level. I decided to run a mile, then walk a couple of minutes, then run another mile, and so on. I only planned to run for 30  minutes, so I was about two minutes into my last 10 minute rep when the fire alarm went off.

With the mental health offices above us and the old codgers (like me) in the fitness center inadvertently leaning against the fire alarms when they’re talking, fire alarms going off are a pretty common occurrence. Everyone continued to do what they had been doing until the staff came through and told us all to get out. We all walked out the back door and stood there for 10 or 15 minutes. I was in shorts and a sweat soaked t-shirt. It felt good at first, but that good feeling passed in about 2 minutes. I started getting colder, then the wind picked up. I looked around and there were several older people, yes older than me if you can believe it, and they were not comfortable at all. Some had come from the pool and some had been in taking a shower. I was elated when I noticed the people in the shower had stopped to put on some clothes and their jackets. The nightmares from this morning’s debacle are going to be bad enough.

Just (Working My Way Back To Fit) Jack

Unrelated Drivel

Bell’s Warehouse

For most of you, a run of six or seven miles in fourteen degree (F) weather would be torture. But today’s run, according to everyone I talked to, was great. The majority felt that it was because we’ve been running in such poor weather with snow and ice on the roads all winter. Today there was very little wind and the streets were DRY…at least for the most part. Most of us stayed on the main roads and, other than a little ice where it melted yesterday and then refroze overnight, it was excellent footing. With all the weeks of running on ice joggers, or YakTrax, or on the treadmill, it was a refreshing change of pace. The group training for Ironman Lake Placid had a recovery week so their run was 50 to 70 minutes at heart rate one. Of course, Jean went longer than 70 minutes…no surprise there…but everyone else did what the training schedule said to do. At least she did stay in heart rate one according to my spies.

Last Saturday evening, Jean, Becky and I went to the Methodist Church to see “Live Under The Dome…A Ticket To Nashville“. It was a musical revue presented by a group of community singers and musicians benefitting the Mary Youngs Scholarship Fund. It was a couple of years ago that Mary was at that show, went home afterwards, and never woke up. Most of the people were friends of ours, so it made it very enjoyable. About halfway through I got to thinking that this kind of thing was playing out in communities all around the world by people with lots of talent…not for money but for the good of others. You all know by now that sometimes when I start thinking, my mind can go off on tangents. I couldn’t help but think about the fact that we, as consumers, are paying good money that benefits singers, actors, actresses and athletes who make millions of dollars. Half of them are either going into rehab, coming out of rehab, wearing just enough clothes to be legal in most states, or are at home abusing their spouses. And we still keep supporting their habits. Thank God for the community volunteers.

With nothing better to do during this long northern winter, I looked up local beer brewing clubs to see if there was one I could visit and, possibly, join. The closest one is in Kalamazoo and is the Kalamazoo Libation Organization of Brewers or KLOB for short. It seems like they could have come up with a better name that had a more catchy acronym, but they didn’t. Anyway, they meet the third Monday of the month which was this past week. They meet on the northeast side of Kalamazoo in a “clubhouse” behind a residence. The weather wasn’t very good with some snow and a thirty mile an hour wind that was drifting the roads, so I got on the website to make sure the meeting wasn’t canceled. I’m glad I did because there was a notice that the meeting wouldn’t be held at the usual place. Everyone was to meet at Bell’s Brewery, the new location in Comstock, and there would be a tour of the brewery led by the founder, Larry Bell. Attached is a picture of the supply of Oberon for the Trilanders this summer.

I had my doctor’s appointment this past Friday for a weight and blood pressure check. My BP is in the OK range and I’m down another  six pounds from my last visit. That makes fourteen pounds so far. It sounds like a lot, but it’s just a drop in the bucket. I’m still eight pounds over my last Ironman Wisconsin weight and nine pounds over the break between obese and slightly overweight on the BMI index scale. I know I’ll never get to the “ideal weight” category but being close will be better than where I’m at right now. It’s still “calories in…calories out” and every once in a while I have a “blowout day”, but I’m getting there.

Just (Sticking With It So Far) Jack

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Judy Anderson

A quickie…not that kind…get your mind out of the gutter. You all know that some things catch my attention and my mind, such as it is, takes over and runs rampant. This time it isn’t necessary…there’s no wild imagination working that creates a situation that could have happened but didn’t.

Friday evening I made some chili and Judy and Becky came over to watch a movie. If you don’t know Judy, she’s also known as the “Happy Snapper” (no off-color comments, please). She takes most of the pictures at our Sunday runs and many of our races and helps put them into some sort of order for our annual Trilander dinner. That evening I had to step in and take the pictures since Judy was the photographee (is that a word?).

Judy is the one, on our early spring and late fall runs when the temperature is in the mid forties, that runs in a tank top and shorts with her jacket tied around her waist when the rest of us have on long pants and jackets. We keep the condo at 67 degrees…just right for me and way too warm for Jean, but I pay the heat bill, so there. Judy came in and sat down in the chair next to the fireplace. As you can see, she has on her winter coat, a hooded sweatshirt and Jean gave her a wool blanket for her legs. Jean was already way too warm with the fireplace on and took her socks off. I was warm and was beginning to perspire. I had a knit long-sleeved shirt and flannel pajama bottoms on (the fly was sewn shut) and was about ready to peel down to my briefs and a t-shirt. And there was Judy feeling just about right.

Just so you don’t think she has gone the other direction and can’t stand the cold any more…this morning was 5 degrees above with a wind chill of 18 below zero and Judy went for a two and a half mile walk after the weather people had warned everyone to stay inside.

Just (My Logical Mind Can’t Decipher This One) Jack

Blow Off Tube

Blow Off Tube

I always have a theme in mind when I’m inspired to bore you all with my ramblings. Lately I’ve had to change the words in the subject line in order to get them all to send. Judy has said that she missed getting a particular one and was left off the list, but when I went back and looked she was there. I looked at the subject and it had a word in it that could have more than one meaning and the spam/porn blockers look for those words and block the message. I suppose blow is one of those words, so if you don’t get this, let me know and I’ll change the subject line.

I brewed beer on Saturday, as many of you already know. This is the first time I’ve brewed at the condo and, not going into the boring details, there are a few logistics that I’ll have to rethink. At any rate, it’s a “BIG BEER” (An Imperial Stout) that’s very dark, very heavy (Jean said it looked like molasses), and will probably be high in alcohol. This is my 14th brew session and I haven’t had this happen yet, but when some beers ferment, they create a huge amount of foam and literally blow-off the airlock and spew crud all over the place. The way you fix the problem is to sanitize and insert a 1 1/4 inch O.D. plastic tube into the fermenter with the other end in a pail of water. If it foams over, it goes into the tube and into the water. No problem. It’s like a new baby; I’ve been checking it constantly since Saturday evening. The foam was about an inch thick on the top of the wort (it will be beer once it ferments) until this morning. By 11AM the foam was within an inch of the airlock so I inserted the blow-off tube. (With all the “blow-offs” and “inserted” in the story so far, maybe none of you will get this and I’ll be on the Channel 8 news as an internet predator).

Bill helped me dump the mash grains in the little wooded area behind the condo Saturday. I expected to see the deer over there going crazy (no…not drunk…there’s no alcohol in the mash) but they haven’t seemed too interested. It’s covered with snow so maybe they can’t smell it, but I’d rather think it has so much black, toasted, malted barley that they don’t like it. Oh well…some of the critters will eat it.

My “watching what I eat” since December 10 (except for the week and a half that included Christmas and New Year) has been working. I had a doctor’s appointment last Friday (January 10th…one month later) and I was down 8 pounds. It’s a good start and I have to stay with it. I’ll be in Florida for a week and it will be difficult, but Mom said she has lots of oranges and grapefruit from Aunt Sharon and Uncle Fred, so as long as I don’t eat too many each day, I’ll be fine. Besides, I can’t go there without a trip to Inn On The Gulf for their deep fried Grouper Nuggets and Manhattan Clam Chowder.

With the holidays being over and not much going on here, Fred Jacobs will have trouble selling papers, so I expect him to stir people up with another editorial about how dumb the hospital board is for wanting to build a new hospital way out in the country (less than a mile from the city limits and less than three miles from downtown Hastings). That’s a good thing. Every time I start to get too cocky and smug about my decisions, I need a kick in the pants to bring me back to reality.

Just (Ready For Warm Weather For A Change) Jack

El Rancho de Coleman

SignEl Rancho de Coleman 

We have some friends in Hastings, Maggie and Dave Coleman, who we have known for many years. We can’t say that we know absolutely everything about them, but they both grew up in Hastings, and you can’t break wind in Hastings without everyone knowing about it, and letting you know they know.

So we were surprised when we were out on our bike ride this morning to run across their winter get-away. If I had to guess, knowing the party animals that Dave and Maggie can be, I would have said their winter home would have been in Daytona Beach or Clearwater Beach, not in Pasco County. I’ve attached pictures of the house and their welcome sign. As you can see, it was a little foggy, but the place looks nice and neat.

You can see from the sign that they named their little spread “El Rancho de Coleman”. I wouldn’t have guessed they would have used a Spanish theme, but who am I to judge? I was a little “taken aback” by the sign itself. I know Dave and Maggie to be, as I am, racially open minded and sensitive to ethnic perceptions. So when I saw the color of the horseman on the sign, I wondered what that was about.

Some may say that it sends the same message as those little statues of black doormen that lined the driveways of wealthy landowners in the racially divided South in the fifties. But knowing how kind hearted Dave and Maggie are, I would guess that they had the picture commissioned by a local artist and didn’t have the heart to tell him or her to change the color of the rider to white. What kind of message would that have sent to the art community?

We rode 35+ miles this morning and the hills around San Antonio don’t get any easier. We started the ride after most of the people had left from the parking lot, but a couple guys hooked up with us and we rode together for seven or eight miles. They rode behind me talking to Jean for quite a while and then one of them rode next to me for a time.

I’m still a little nervous about riding in groups after the bike fiasco of 2003. The guy next to me rode with his handle bars about six inches from mine and I didn’t have a lot of room between my tires and the shoulder. A car came from behind so he cut in front of me missing my tire by what I thought was an inch and was probably more like a foot, but still too close for my comfort.

As he rode in front of me, I couldn’t help but notice that his bike shorts were about as old and as worn as my oldest pair and you could see right through them. I started laughing out loud thinking about what Larry and Bill would have said. “Hey Bill! How much caulk do you think it would take to fill that crack? Ha, ha, ha, ha.” I’ve heard that one so many times I finally got new bike shorts.

When we hit the hills on the North end of Culbreath and then across the whole length of Powell, they pulled away from me. Jean lagged back for a minute and then took off after them. She made another lame excuse about wanting to see if she could stay with them, but I think she may have liked the view a little too much. Anyway, she got her fill (no pun intended) and slowed down so I could catch up. She probably thought we were coming to a turn and she wouldn’t know which way to go.

We made it back and most of the cars had left the parking lot. I noticed that most of the license plates were Florida (duh!), any many were from Polk (Lakeland) and Pinellas (St. Petersburg) counties. It’s great riding and one of the few places in Florida where there are hills so I can see why people are willing to drive to get there. It’s about 45 minutes from Hudson so we add an hour and a half coming and going to the excursion. We’re a little spoiled about living in Hastings where you begin the bike ride in your own driveway, and within ten minutes you are out in the country on some great roads. If it wasn’t so cold there in the winter there wouldn’t be any reason to leave.

Just (The Weather Has To Get Cold Sometime) Jack

Happy New Year

The Crack 

 Jean at Chassahowitzka

I had forgotten how beautiful some of the Florida back-country can be. We went on a canoe trip with Bruce and Ruth Gee and Bruce’s father. The place is Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge which is about 20 miles North of here.

We rented a canoe from a canoe livery at the boat ramp and went exploring. We first went upstream in the Chassahowitzka River to some springs, then went downstream and into another little backwater where there were more springs. We went farther downstream and stopped at an opening where Baird Creek dumps into the main river and had lunch.

We then went up Baird Creek about 25 minutes to where the stream started. Springs flow out of a big crack in the limestone into a pool about 50 feet in diameter. On the left side of one of the pictures you can see the crack. No, not the one of Jean. Get your minds out of the gutter.

When they asked us to go on a canoe ride, Jean was more than a little apprehensive. She swam 2.4 miles in the Pacific Ocean, which is full of sharks; swam 2.4 miles in the Gulf of Mexico, which is also full of sharks and stinging jellyfish; rode 26 miles through the backwoods of Northern Michigan in November, twice. And yet she didn’t know if she wanted to take a canoe ride in a River that wasn’t any more than 4 feet deep. I don’t pretend to understand.

Jean thought the highlight of the whole trip was watching three guys in a boat fishing for Mullet with a bow and arrow. They didn’t get one while we watched them, but we could hear them giving their tribal yell after we had gone about 200 yards downstream. If you’ve ever eaten Mullet you would know that the “yell” was a primitive man thing ‘cuz they aren’t that good to eat.

Our last ride of the year this morning was out at San Antonio, not far from where the Christmas Day tornado struck. You wouldn’t know it from where we rode because it didn’t look damaged at all. The parking lot where the Sunday rides start out had about fifty cars when we got there and all but a tandem had left already. We only rode 30 miles but it had enough hills to make it a good workout. I had forgotten how peaceful the countryside is around there.

Jean held back and stayed with Larry and me for almost the whole ride. Yes. I don’t need to tell you that the only reason she did was because she couldn’t remember where the turns were. Once we got to a spot where she knew how to get to the car she was off like a shot.

She got that from Jon Anderson I think. Jon would ride with the group on the Saturday rides until we turned and started back to town. He would make some lame excuse about having to get back and feed the dog (they don’t have a dog) and away he would go. The fast riders would go with him and the slow riders (ME) would trudge along and make sure no one had any bike trouble. If I had bike trouble, TOO BAD!

I hope you all have a Happy New Year. Try not to drink too much tonight and don’t drive if you do. Jean and I usually stay up and watch the new year come in, but we’re usually in bed by 12:05 and asleep by 12:06.

Just (Happy To Have Survived One More Year) Jack

The Morning After


Jack and kids 

Surprisingly I felt good this morning after my 60th birthday party. For those of you who didn’t know about it (out of towners) and those of you who couldn’t make it, it was a blast. For those of you who weren’t there, it started at around 7PM and the “show” began at 9.

First, Miss Kandy Kane came out and danced around me, in the guest of honor torture chair, to the song “Hey Big Spender”. I knew right away who it was and I promised not to tell, but her initials are Jan Cohoon They assured me that they weren’t saying I was a big spender but I think they were insinuating I was exactly the opposite. Hey…I’m not cheap, I’m thrifty. Anyway if you ever get to see the home movie, you’ll understand why I say “I may never wash my right arm again”. People wonder what she was whispering in my ear and so do I. Hey, I’m 60…you have to shout.

After that, Jon Anderson explained about the picture of me in the corner of the invitation. It was a picture of me in my underpants at the “underpants run” at Ironman Hawaii. With that, several of my friends in the triathlon group came running out in their underpants with HAPPY B-DAY JUST JACK 60TH written across their rear ends. Several people commented about the two guys who had the Ys…the bottom of the Y fit perfectly in their butt crack.

I was completely surprised and haven’t laughed that hard in a long, long time. The other guests wondered how that many well respected people (until last night) would run around like that in front of perfect (some not so perfect) strangers. Anna said afterward that “When Larry ran by…how do I put this?…his equipment looked like it was trying to escape”.

After that part of the show quite a few people left. Some were going home to take some extra medication and others were trying to figure out how they could go to sleep without having nightmares. It was a fun night and thanks to all who put it together. Remember Jean, you will also turn 60 in a short while and “paybacks are heck (OK Mom?)”.

They tell me the food was great but I didn’t get much of a chance to eat. Jean and I got home at around 12:30 so we sat down and had a piece of cake. I woke up around 8:15 so I slept through the Sunday morning run. I was a good boy so I felt good but a little tired. The kids came in at 5 AM so I’m guessing they were out long enough to catch the early church service

I plan to leave for Florida on Tuesday morning and get down there on Wednesday. I’ve enjoyed being home but I’ve missed the warm weather and there’s lots of snow and ice around here making it difficult to bike or run outside. The lakes are a tad bit cold for swimming so all I’ve been able to do is work out. I know I’ll be back in January for some meetings and again in February for a couple more. Being a “jet setter” isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Just (I Still Feel Forty Five) Jack

I Hate Airports

Martin & Jim


You young people probably have only heard of outdoor toilets, but I can remember having to use them at my great grandparent’s place and at the cottage at Traverse City. Most had one spot to go but some were what they used to call two holers. I understand that “bathrooming” is natural and everyone does it, but I believe that’s one place where you should have privacy. I’ve mentioned that in earlier e-mails so you know where I stand on this issue.

Jean, Becky and I stayed in the same condo we’ve always stayed in at Panama City Beach. I’ve attached a picture of their idea of “a bath and a half”. No, it’s not a reflection in a mirror. The two toilets are about a foot apart and are separated by a pocket door. Becky suggested that, when two of us were in there, we could slide the pocket door open and read the newspaper together. I declined because I read faster than some others and I didn’t really want to look at all the sale ads.

Again, I’m not prudish and my stomach can take a lot, but sitting next to someone on the “crapper” with all the extraneous sounds and odors that go along with it is not my “cup of tea”.

The airport thing started on Thursday. Jean and I said we would pick up Becky at the Panama City Beach airport. She said she wouldn’t have a checked bag since we brought hers down in the car along with Martin’s bike and wetsuit. Well, Becky thought you could take bottles in your bag with 4 ounces of fluid when the rule is 3 ounces, so she had to check her carryon.

Becky and Jim started out on the same flight, but Jim had to be there early to register for the race so he was on an earlier last leg. They both ran to catch his flight with Becky thinking she could maybe get on Jim’s flight on standby. Things worked out and she was halfway down the jetway when she told them that she had a checked bag. With the rules the way they are, you must fly with your bags, so she couldn’t get on the plane.

That was OK and we would still pick her up at the same time. Her flight was delayed, so instead of picking her up at 4:15, it would be closer to 5:00. That was OK too. She called at 4:15 and they were taxiing out to the runway, I knew they wouldn’t take off until at least 4:30 and it was an hour flight, so Jean and I went to the grocery store. We left WalMart at 5:15 and headed for the airport.

Of course it was rush hour and all the workers from the island were going home. The bridge leaving the island was a parking lot and we, naturally got in the wrong lane. It was our first time going back and we didn’t realize that the three lanes went to two, picked up another stream of traffic, and went to two again. We were in the center lane and both lanes on either side of us were moving while we stayed parked behind a semi.

We finally made it to the airport and Becky called while we were still five minutes out. That was perfect because she would get her bag, we would drive right up, and away we would go. Not so fast! She waited and waited and we drove around the airport three times before that last bag came down the chute and it wasn’t hers. She said she was going to the counter to get the bag delivered when it did come in so we went to a business right outside the gate to the airport and parked in their parking lot. Becky called to find out the address where we were staying and we didn’t know it.

She called about five minutes later and said that another plane had just landed and she would go down to baggage to see if her bag was there. It wasn’t Becky’s fault and we knew she was about “fit to be tied”, and so were we. Jean and I were frustrated and almost broke into the bottle of wine we got at the store and let Becky drive us back. Her bag finally came fifteen minutes later and away we went.

But that’s not the end of the story. Jean had a ticket on Allegiant Air to fly back yesterday from Orlando. The airport is about two hours away, so we took off at 1 so we could be there by 3 and her flight was at 4:10. We took a wrong turn and went “the long way” through Orlando, but still pulled into the airport at 3. Orlando has two terminals and we looked at the signs for each one, but Allegiant wasn’t listed. We went to the blue side and one of the baggage guys said Allegiant must be on the other side, so we went to the orange side. We still couldn’t find the sign, so Jean went in and I drove around the airport.

Inside, one of the baggage guys said Allegiant flew out of Sanford/.Orlando, not Orlando International. He said it was about fifteen miles away and he gave her directions how to get there. So I picked her up again and we headed for that airport. It wasn’t fifteen miles but was closer to 32 miles so we knew the only chance was if the flight was delayed. It wasn’t and we got there at 3:55 when they had just closed the doors to the plane. They don’t fly every day so the earliest Jean could get back is Thursday.

Sanford/Orlando is on the Northeast side of town and we come in from the West, so we didn’t know how to get back. One of the exits from the tollway was Highway 50, and that’s the one we bring from Hudson, so we took that exit. 50 goes right through downtown Orlando and it was rush hour so it took us over an hour to get to the other side of town and we still had an hour and a half to drive.

After seven dollars of tolls and six and a half hours of driving, we get to do the same thing all over again on Thursday. I hate airports!!!

Congratulations to Martin, Jim and Jim Dyke on finishing Ironman Florida. The race started out chilly and there was a fairly strong wind the first half of the bike but, by evening, the weather was perfect for the run. We watched as all three passed in front of the condo four times. They can tell you about their impressions of the race, but we were glad that they all finished in good shape and were safe.

Just (My Butt And Back Are Sore From Driving) Jack

Beer In The Fridge

Beer At Crooked Lake 

I asked Jean if she minded if I put a beer in the fridge and she said “of course not”. I took her reply to mean “of course she didn’t mind”, so the picture is attached. Had she known it was a really big beer, she probably would say she meant “of course you can’t”, but now it’s too late. It’s a Kölsch and it has to cold condition for three weeks or so. I unscrewed the bulb so the light wouldn’t alter the flavor. The recipe is my son, Matt’s, so we’ll see if he has any chance of being a “Brewmeister”.

Saturday was long bike day, the first of our 6 hour rides on the training schedule. Larry and I went out at 7 AM and did 2:20 or so while the rest of the group fed their caffeine habits. We met up with them at 9:20, and did the rest (6:13:25 total but who’s counting). After following the ride with a 30 minute run and the last of our graduation open houses, the couch cushions called my name and it would have been rude of me to ignore them.

Our group has discussed all aspects of training several times, sometimes on our long runs, sometimes at Saturday morning coffee. Everyone has their own program that works for them and I’ve used Multi Sports for the past few years (Roch Frey, Paul Huddle, Paula Newby-Frasier, Heather Fuhr among other superstars). I signed up for their on-line training program when I did my “Return To the Scene Of The Bike Wreck” training for Ironman Wisconsin 2004 and they (Paul) babysat me through the practice ride. Of course I printed off all the information back then and, since I’m too cheap to sign up again, I use the same program (yes, I did go back and change the dates to 2006 on every sheet).

It’s a great program and helps with all aspects of training including nutrition. I know what should be done and our discussions have all agreed on the importance, but I’ve gotten into race conditions and my brain seems to take a siesta. I finish the bike without drinking enough and without eating enough calories to refuel the muscles, and I wonder why I bonk at 85 miles on the bike and I’m dehydrated to the point of leg cramping.

On Saturday’s ride I figured out how many calories I needed based on my body weight and how much fluid I needed to keep myself hydrated and actually did what I planned to do. I finished the bike feeling great except for a really sore butt (there was a good chance they would have to surgically remove the seat from “the Great Divide” but that didn’t happen) and felt good on the transition run. My hopes are that this isn’t just a flash in the pan, and I’ll go back to my old ways of FTF (failure to focus). I asked for a volunteer to look and see if my butt was bruised, but no takers.

Ironman Coeur d’Alene is today and we wish our Grand Rapids friends (Libby Jennings, Ruth Bareman, George Pravda, Bruce Babcock, Tom Henson, Don Litzsey,  and others I don’t know) a good race. To some of us “good race” means winning…to others of us a good race is doing your best given the conditions that day…to still others of us it means just having fun. Whatever the motivation we hope our friends enjoy the experience.

The Half Ironman race at Morgantown, West Virginia is also today and Jean, Gary Ivinskas and John Hopkins are doing that one. I talked to Jean last night and she gave me a rundown of the course. It sounds hilly and difficult but we wish them the same “good race”. I’m kind of glad I’m not there because watching Jean in a race drives me crazy. First of all, I feel like I should be out there too and that makes me a little depressed. The biggest thing is that I feel powerless and can’t help her do anything. I always worry about bike wrecks and injuries until she crosses the line, so I’m better off here in Michigan.

Today’s run was an 80 to 100 minute heart rate 1 or 2 run and I ran it with Bill and Paul. We chit-chatted all the way around. I did 10 miles and they did 10.5 or so. I felt surprisingly good after the century ride yesterday. We’ll see if we can keep it going ’til September 10th at Madison.

Sayonara. Nap time.

Just (Looking For Grandpa Walker’s Sore Butt Cushion) Jack