Monthly Archives: November 2003

Fessing Up

 We are headed back to Michigan and will get there the Thursday or Friday before Thanksgiving. Jean told me that she felt embarrassed to face our friends and families because my e-mail stories are not untrue but a little misleading. She threatened not to spank me any more unless I straightened things out so here goes.

Hooters and the fire truck – I said the Hooters girls and the fire truck were a hallucination when I started driving again but they were real. Hooters restaurants are doing a promotion (per brother Bob) with the national “Hooters Girls” so that’s what it was about. They show up at a local Hooters restaurant and the local community brings a fire truck for the girls to pose on and local people take pictures for promotion. I have never been in a Hooters restaurant. I always thought the Hooters girls were all about sex but Bob says the restaurants have great chicken wings. I love them both (sex and chicken wings-not the Hooters girls boobs) but I’ve never had chicken wings while having sex – they just don’t seem to belong together.

Shaking – My right hand did shake severely but that has pretty well gone away. I blamed it on the scapula trauma but Dr. Diane gave me several physicals while we were in Panama City Beach cheering Jean on in the race. We came to the conclusion that something probably caused it. We are checking into the possibility that my hand doesn’t shake at all and everyone else’s eyes are twitching. On the bad side I do have to stir my coffee now. I found an old cigarette case at a garage sale (like the ones you see in the old movies or, for you younger people, ancient history) so when you stop at the convenience store I would appreciate your picking up stirring sticks that I could carry in the cigarette case for emergency.

Trilanders body marking – I said that Bill and I got no offers for using magic markers to write Tri on his butt and Landers on mine (my butt is wider so the letters should fit) while we wore our thongs. Not true that we received no offers and I made up the story about the permanent markers and stencils. In fact we received several offers to be “markers”. Even though the offers were sent by e-mail we eliminated all the men due to poor penmanship. My thong is in Michigan so we plan to have tryouts over Thanksgiving week. It will probably take three or four rounds before a contract is awarded. It will be strenuous so Bill and I will be lying on massage tables wearing our thongs. We are now looking for “erasers” to clean the slate for the next contestant and “judges” to hold up score cards.

So those are the corrections. I’m all cleared but Jean may have bent the truth a little too. I have little memory about the hospital stays and sketchy memory about the first two weeks. Jean has been telling me some of the details and I’m not sure I believe her. When she says I was an SOB the first couple of days I was home from the hospital, I flirted with my nurses, I had a 24 hour swearing day at the hospital, and on and on I think she is crying out for attention. I’m sure I was a handful to take care of but I’m a much nicer person than that. Humor her.

I started running on Wednesday (3 miles) and it felt good. I ran the same distance Friday and this morning. It feels like I’m starting all over again with sore muscles that are getting better with each outing. I swam for 25 minutes at the Y on Wednesday also. I swam easy but my shoulder muscles were sore afterwards. I have told you all (not to be confused with the hillbilly y’all that we hear down here) that I am still a little dizzy at times. When my head changes position quickly the room starts to spin like my bed after a college fraternity beer party. Each time I would turn my head in the pool to breathe the world would spin and I would lose my orientation in the lane. Each lane is 6 feet wide and I looked like a bumper car careening from side to side. I would reach for the edge of the pool when I was still 6 feet away. It must have been entertaining to watch.

Just Jack (not to be confused with the “Will and Grace” gay character “Just Jack”)

P.S.-Someone please help me!!!!! Yesterday Jean and I went to a couple of shops looking for gifts and also went out to lunch at a sports bar. Michigan State was getting tromped on the big screen…I’m back to being a Michigan fan. Sometime during the outing we tried to think of the name of the town in Alabama where we stayed the night on the way down. Neither of us could think of it and our conversation went on to other things.

Later we were back at the condo watching Florida State and North Carolina State play football (what a game-double overtime). One of the quarterbacks threw a pass and the announcer said something about the player going to Athens High School. I turned to Jean and said “Is Athens the name of the town where we stayed on the way down with Mom?” and she said “No, that’s the town we stayed at last year when we were driving home after you did Ironman Florida. Remember we almost ran into the tornadoes in Alabama and Tennessee”. And I said “Yes but didn’t we stay at the same motel both times?” and she said “Oh yeah, I guess we did. But we stayed on the other side of the building and ordered a pizza instead of going next door to Applebee’s”.

Race Report

 I called some of you race day and night and some of you have already heard. Some have talked with Jean already and I’m sure some have talked to Diane, Becky and Bill who were also there. Since I’m writing this I’m sure my version is the correct one.

Jean finished the race in 12:58:54 and was third in her age group (a very competitive group of women). She is not only an Ironman but a WINNER as well (force her to show you her medal, t-shirt and trophy).

Here’s the race from my perspective.

The day was beautiful and the Gulf of Mexico (Jean called it the ocean) was fairly calm. There was a chop from a pretty good wind. The swim course was laid out in a rectangle. Everyone had to swim one loop (1.2 miles), go through a counter (chip mat), angle over to a buoy and do the loop again. I felt the angle was poorly marked and the swim course was not well staffed by volunteers. I would estimate that we saw at least 300 racers not going toward the buoy but swimming up the center of the course cutting plenty of distance. Jean found herself past the buoy so she swam back and went around it so she wouldn’t get a penalty but it cost her time. None of the other 299 did and none of them were penalized.

The bike course was fairly flat and Jean tore it up. She beat the others in her age group and passed over 500 other racers. The ladies that ended up 1 and 2 were very competitive, had been to Kona before, and knew where everyone was. They were afraid of Jean and when they met on the out and back run they said hi and “AWESOME BIKE” and it was.

The run was a 2 loop out and back and Jean kept a steady pace. She had blisters on each foot and one toe that was a mess with an ugly blood blister. She was smiling and happy every time we saw her and was thrilled to finish in such good condition.

She had a revelation on the bike that she was done swimming in salt water and wanted to enter bike races (and probably will). Diane has some digital pictures and Bill has some film pictures so see them for a look. I will send some out to people not from Hastings. Some are from the awards banquet with Jean on stage in front of 1500 people.

As for my recovery I’m feeling good. This will be the last report unless you talk to me and ask. I feel I’m no worse now than Diane’s achilles, Martin’s foot/ankle, Becky’s ankle, and on and on. So I’m “Just Jack” now, not “Poor Jack”. I intend to start swimming again today or tomorrow and will jog tomorrow morning. The bike will be after the doctor’s OK. I started driving on the way to Panama City Beach and I’m driving all the time now (Thank God I don’t have to ride with Jean driving anymore). Jean had driven to Lake City (2 and 1/2 hours) and we had lunch at Bennigans. I took the wheel there and drove the rest of the way to Panama City Beach (4 more hours) and felt good.

When I first started driving I saw hallucinations but they went away. I backed out of the parking spot, put it in gear and saw a fire truck right in front of us being backed into the driveway. There was a bevy of large chested Hooters girls wearing very skimpy outfits (they looked nearly naked to me) climbing all over the fire truck with a group of men ogling and taking their pictures (fire truck-naked women-is there a Freudian dream analyst out there?). I drove right through the mess and the hallucination went away.

We found a motel to stay in and went to dinner at an Outback Steakhouse. When we came back I asked Jean to help me find the right driveway to turn into because it had gotten dark and it was my first real day of driving. I started to turn into the Best Western drive and she said I was in the wrong one and I should turn in the Hampton Inn driveway (we had checked into the Best Western a couple of hours earlier so she must have been testing my memory).

My brain accident difficulties must be contagious. We all went out to breakfast Sunday morning after the race at an American Grill. They had a fair breakfast buffet so we all got that. Jean came back with a huge helping of butter. I jokingly asked her how her pudding tasted and she said “Is something wrong with it?” as she tasted it with her fork. Apparently she didn’t see the 4″ x 8″ sign right above it that said BUTTER and said she thought it was vanilla pudding.

I still have some outbursts. A teenage kid was playing with the elevators and, as he got off he  punched the buttons on every floor-15 floors-so the elevator had to stop on each floor and took forever. As he walked by I said “Nice job asshole”, followed after him and called him an asshole again. I never do anything like that. My mother washed my mouth out with soap so maybe I won’t do it again.

I checked my luggage and found both of my lock box keys in with my toothpaste. The lock box is in Michigan and everyone at the bank knows me so no one could have gotten in even with the keys. Apparently I locked the file cabinet in my computer room, taped the key to a piece of paper and brought it to Florida in my shaving bag (there’s nothing really important in the file cabinet). I also have a file pocket folder with a bunch of useless papers (I must have thought they were important) in with my laptop computer. Coupling that with Jean telling me that I tried to tip a nurse $10.00 at Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids because she was doing such a good job, I think I still need a babysitter.

We will be in Michigan for Thanksgiving and then who knows where for Christmas.

Happy Veteran’s Day, veterans.

Just Jack

Final Training

 It’s the last week before Ironman Florida and Jean is well into her taper. This next week will be short workouts in each discipline (unlike Jean’s normal workout schedule-if the schedule calls for a 1 hour bike then a 2 hour bike will be twice as good). We both have massages scheduled for Tuesday and will leave Wednesday noon for Panama City Beach. We will probably stay near Tallahassee Wednesday night and go on into Panama City Beach Thursday morning (it’s a 7 or 8 hour drive to Panama City Beach from here).

I’m still not driving so Jean has to take me places. My outings (I feel like Grandpa in an outing from the rest home) are to Wal-Mart or the grocery store. Jean is morphing into a Florida driver so I’m hoping to be able to drive soon.

Jean is a shopper and I’m a buyer. When I go to stores I know exactly what I want, make a beeline to it, and check out quickly. When Jean gets into the store her body goes into slow motion. She goes down every aisle looking at everything. It drives me crazy (or crazier depending on your perspective).

My condition changes slowly and will over the next few weeks. I’m sleeping longer, feeling better after exercise, having fewer headaches and fewer body aches. I’m still having some memory problems but I hope they will improve with time (I still don’t want to remember the wreck or the hospital details so don’t tell me what you know). On the plus side, the reruns on TV aren’t reruns to me! I have a slight shake in my right hand but again, on the plus side, when I add cream and sugar to my coffee I don’t have to stir.

One thing bothered me this past week. This summer I spent a couple of hours teaching Kim Evans how to change a tire and how to remove and put on the back wheel (by the way-nice scoop-necked top Kim). Bill Bradley came by and watched for a while. We did it several times (get your mind out of the gutter-I mean put on and took off the rear wheel-besides Bill was watching) and I showed her some of the tricks to put it on quickly in one fluid motion.

Thursday I helped Jean put on her racing wheels and I couldn’t remember how to put on the back wheel. I had the 11 gear on the cassette under and wrapped onto the bottom part of the chain. It was a disaster and I couldn’t figure out how to fix the mess. Jean had to show me how to do it. Jean was patronizing and said it was probably because I hadn’t done it in 8 weeks (again I mean putting on the back wheel) and just forgot. That was kind but I reminded her that I never forgot how to put on the back wheel over a 6 month Michigan winter. And I’m not going to give back the thank you gift from Kim of Bell’s Pale Ale.

I will end on a serious note. Jean has been training hard and does an awesome bike (both true) so everyone expects her to win. That puts a lot of pressure on her. There are 10 women in her age group and a couple of them are back from last year. They are good so it will be a tough race. Some people will look at the Womens 55-59 age group and see one winner and nine losers.

I see things differently. Winners are people like Larry who did the entire Great Floridian with a smile on his face. Winners are like Diane beating Karen Standley for the first time. Winners are like Becky who swam her first Half Ironman swim under the time cutoff. Winners are like Bill who completed the Muncie Endurathon twenty years after he first set it as his goal. Winners are like Gary who told everyone he saw from the team on the run part of the Muncie Endurathon they were “looking good”. Winners are like an un-named racer who finished The Escape From Alcatraz on Fathers Day with his kids all watching and his Dad’s cremation medallion sewn into his back pocket and didn’t care whether he was first or last in his age group. And winners are like Jean who _________ (fill in the blank).

I will send a race report after next weekend.