Monthly Archives: May 2004

Week 9 Recovery

Sweets 2

Sweets 1 

This one is long and boring, so if you’re having trouble sleeping, save reading for just before bedtime.

Bill, Larry and I had a good bike ride on Saturday. We all took turns holding each other back so we didn’t turn it into a race. After all, it was a 2-3 hour heart rate 1 ride (easy) for me. The strangest thing happened. We rode out M-179 like we often do on our way to do the Wayland loop. After we passed the Shell station, there is a small stream that runs under the road between Gun Lake and Payne Lake. An animal had been hit and was lying about six feet off the road. I could have sworn it was a beaver (O.K. Junior High boys, knock it off! Not that kind of beaver). It was large and I thought I saw a flat tail. Shortly after that Larry rode up beside me and commented that he had never seen a beaver that had been hit by a car, so he thinks it was one too. I went back there later in the car to take a picture and it was gone! Eerie!!

It reminded me of two things. My bunk mate in Air Force basic training was from Norfolk, Virginia. He thought everyone from Michigan either worked in an automobile plant or trapped beavers for a living. The other story has to do with a hunting cabin in the Upper Peninsula near Mass City. It was as far from the Mackinac Bridge as we are (250 miles), so it was way west.

Steve Youngs and I had taken our sons for freshman orientation at Michigan Tech in Houghton. It lasted three days, and the boys were busy all the time, so one of the days I took Steve 30 miles down to the cabin to show him where we hunted. The cabin was an old log cabin with the logs squared off. The outside had been covered with “Inselbrick”. It’s that tacky fake brick that’s really tarpaper that you see on half the places in the U.P. It was one large room with a loft and, being a man’s hunting cabin, had Playboy centerfolds all over the walls. There was one poster with a large man with a scowl on his face with his hands out holding a pile of feces. The caption read “Tired of the same old shit? Try Bouncers Bar”.

If you know Steve, you know he is not a hunter and doesn’t believe anyone should own a gun. When we got to the two-track leading back to the cabin, we talked to a guy named Dean who lived there and kept an eye on who was going back on what he called a road. Yes, his house was covered with Inselbrick, and he had the requisite old car with no tires up on blocks in the front yard. He was mowing the lawn (the grass had to be a foot high) and, when we parked the car, stopped mowing, walked over to the junk car and pretended to fix another mower that just happened to be sitting on the hood (that mower had no handle). 

We walked over and he recognized me right away. I introduced him to Steve and we talked about the hunting trips and the guys that came up year after year. Earlier, a beaver had built a dam over the road and flooded a pretty large area. I had arranged to have the dam taken out by one of the locals but the beaver was still around trying to rebuild. Dean had been nicknamed “The Runt” by the guys I hunted with, not because he was small, but because he always talked about the bucks “runting”. He meant the bucks were in the rut, or breeding season, but always mispronounced it and it drove us crazy. He would always show up at the cabin during the day while we were out hunting, eat all of our food, and drink all of our beer. He would stay around at night until we told him it was time to go home.

Dean had tried to trap the beaver out so he wouldn’t build another dam. He had trapped three of his feet off before he finally got, in his own words, “That one-legged bastard”. I thought Steve would have a stroke. Not only did he not believe in trapping at all, but trapping the legs off any animal was cruel and disgusting. I didn’t disagree, but steered him away from making Dean mad. After all, “the Runt” was sort of the caretaker.

All the way back to the cabin (it was half a mile and we walked) Steve went on and on about trapping in general, then on to anti-hunting, then on to anti-gun laws, then on to the Michigan Militia. I argued with him on all points except the Michigan Militia, but there was no convincing him otherwise, and I was having fun needling him.

On the way back to Hastings we stopped with the boys for dinner at a great Italian restaurant in Indian River named Vivio’s. As we walked in Steve was telling me how he couldn’t wait to have their Veal Parmagian. It was the best he had ever eaten anywhere. I said that, after our conversations about hunting and trapping and animal cruelty, I couldn’t believe he would eat the flesh of a calf that was put in a pen so small it couldn’t move so the meat would stay tender and then was killed weeks after it was born. Sheepishly, he ordered the fish and chips. 

I went to the doctor Thursday for a post bike wreck check-up. It was one of those “good-news/bad-news” things. He said, for the good news, I’m below the therapeutic threshold on Dilantin, so I’m “weaning off” well. He said it wouldn’t be any problem to have a beer or two or a glass of wine if I wanted. I take that as doctor’s orders, and patients always obey their doctor, right Diane?  For the bad news, in six weeks it’s time for my annual (no pun intended) prostate exam. Just when I thought things were looking up, they head the other direction.

Dr. Weatherhead and I talked a bit about lingering memory problems, forgetting people’s names, and losing common words from the bike dive head injuries. I know that they are things that happen to everyone, and I really don’t let it bother me except last Friday, but let’s not go there. As I left the exam room, and was out at the counter scheduling my prostate exam “date” (again, no pun intended, but it is my turn to bring the wine and candles), he poked his head around the corner and said “Drambui” which was his lost word of the day when we were talking about what a mutual friend, another doctor, liked to drink. So that raised a question in my mind. Did he do that on purpose to show me that it does happen to everyone and to make me feel better? Or, since Jim is my age, did he really forget the word and all of us 57 year old geezers are in the same boat? (No voting on this question, please).

My running partner, Bill Bradley, stopped by Tuesday thinking that he would see a blimp by the sound of the last e-mail. Not really so. I’m 2.5 pounds heavier than the lightest I’ve weighed since this whole “healthy eating” thing started. I showed him the temptations I have to overcome and have attached pictures of what I’m up against. I’ve often said that if I was a recovering alcoholic, Jean would have shots of whiskey scattered around the house. I’m guessing that these items in the pictures aren’t on the weight watchers list (1 sweet roll = 3 days worth of all food exchanges).

Since I have no self control, I sent a check for $80 for my 40th St. Joe High School class reunion. You all know I’m “thrifty” (my deceased friend, Dave Kruko, used to say, “If you found a cough drop, you’d go sit in a draft just so it wouldn’t go to waste”), and I wouldn’t want to skip my reunion just because I didn’t weigh what I weighed in high school and lose the $80, so that should push temptation aside. We’ll see.

Just (on the way to svelte) Jack

P.S. Bill wanted to check my breath to see if I was the one who ate the roll and left the package open on the counter. I had just finished a glass of Interphase Whey Protein and milk after my bike trainer workout, so he was really sorry!

Week 8 My Lucky Number

 To explain the title - I always thought my lucky number was 7. Not because I gamble or “play the numbers” but everybody seems to think that the number 7 has some kind of magical vibe. Last September my bike wreck was on the seventh. I think the vibe I felt wasn’t luck after all. At any rate, I finally woke up for good on the eighth so that’s my new adopted lucky number. Let’s see how long this one lasts.

Last Wednesday, while riding the bike (out on Coats Grove Road for you locals), I met a new friend; a Pit Bull named Buddy. Well, I guess he actually wasn’t a friend and definitely not my Buddy, but I did meet him in the middle of the road. Sometimes when you see dogs coming from a yard, you kick it up a notch (a la Emeril Lagasse) and you can outrun them. One of the reasons I started riding alone is when you are slower than the bike up ahead, the first rider stirs up the dogs, and the rest of the riders have to stop because the dog is in the road licking its chops.

I could see Buddy and his master (you can’t really call him a “master” when Buddy’s calling the shots) coming up the other side of the road. Buddy had a leash on but it was dragging on the ground (I halfway expected to see a hand gripping the leash with a bloody stump where the elbow and the rest of the body used to be) so I knew I had no chance of out sprinting him. As soon as he saw me he made a beeline directly down the center of the road barking and snarling (Becky would call it “vocalizing his friendship” but it was snarling to me). I stopped and pulled out my pepper spray (I felt like Wyatt Earp at the O.K. Corral) and Buddy stopped about 10 feet from me.

His “master” came up, grabbed his leash, apologized, and pulled Buddy away to the steps of the house about 40 feet from the side of the road. I could see Buddy really wanted to make friends as he was up on two legs, was lunging my direction, choking on the leash, with saliva spewing from his mouth and was barking constantly. I started up again and rode away all the while looking at Buddy. I imagined that, to a Pit Bull, I looked like a huge Milk Bone Dog Biscuit being delivered to him on a meal cart.

I was coerced into running on Saturday instead of Sunday this week for the “Spring Thaw Marathon Relay”. Micky (or is it Mikki, Mickie, Miki, or Mickey?) Hansen was going to run with Jean and Becky, and then canceled since she was going on a trip with her friend, so I was drafted. Within a couple of days I was booted back out because the trip was off and Micky was back in. She canceled on Thursday again since she had a cough so she was out and I was back in. Jean and Becky trained on Friday night for the race with Taylor’s Chablis and I was drinking Diet Vernors so I was elected to run first.

It was a shame the event had to be canceled due to the threat of nasty weather (common in Michigan these days). Since I was up anyway and in my running garb, I ran around Algonquin Lake alone to get my long run time in. The bad weather held off for a while so it was a nice run but there was a ton of traffic. By the way, today I saw four large snapping turtles crossing four different roads. This must be “egg laying day” or they were all just moving to higher ground. I love turtle soup but just can’t bring myself to kill a defenseless creature, no matter how ugly, so I settle for fake turtle soup. It’s probably chicken (is it chicken tastes like everything? or everything tastes like chicken?) with fake turtle flavoring (which makes me ask, where in the world would you find “fake turtle” flavoring?).

I was awakened at 3 this morning, as most of the last few mornings, by lightning and thunder. I slept poorly after that worrying about how I would get my 2-3 hour HR#3 ride in today. The weather looked threatening enough all morning that I decided to ride the trainer. I could only keep it at HR#3 for 1 1/2 hours steady. With a 10 minute warm-up and a 10 minute cool down I got to 1:50. Jean tells me that one hour on the trainer equals two hours on the road. But, then again, she told me my run after bike was HR#3 a couple of weeks ago and it was really HR#1 to 3 depending on how hard the bike was, so who can I believe?

As I sit here writing this I’m whipped, so I guess whatever I did was all I could do anyway. The rest of today I have to fight imaginary hunger driving me to the kitchen. I was just fine in Florida where there were no temptations. But here, there are candies, cookies, cakes, pies, chocolate, and everything else that is fat inducing. Two weeks to the closing on the cottage and I can control what snacks are around and maybe can get this last few pounds off for good (wishful thinking-the story of my life).

Signing off for another week.

Just (Can’t Control My Eating) Jack

On To Wisconsin

 Training continues and, even though I know it’s redundant, I’m spending the spring and summer in Michigan and I’m cold!!

Yesterday’s bike was 4:07:56 and I was cold every minute. I kept thinking it would warm up so I waited until a little after 10 to go out. Martin, Jon and Jim (there may have been others) met at 7 at the fitness center to ride and it was 47 degrees. That was way too cold for me (Jean too) so she went out a little after 9 when it was also 47 degrees and, as I said, I went out a little after 10 when it was a balmy 47 degrees.

I rode out past Hopkins again (yes, Jean, I went 5 miles past the “stone house”). When I turned around to come back, nature called. I was so cold I went while standing astride my bike on the shoulder of the road. If I had thought quicker I would have gone on my feet to warm them up.

Interestingly enough (to me, at least) I came across a couple of strange things. There was the usual array of dead animals (what the kids would call road pizza) but the oddest thing was a fork. No, not a fork in the road, which reminds me of that old Yogi-ism “If you come to a fork in the road, take it”, but a dinner fork and, no, I didn’t take it. I thought to myself “What would that be doing there?” But then I got my battered brain into a road kill dining scenario that was weird, even to me, so I erased that whole picture out of my mind.

The other strange thing, although it’s not the first time I’ve ever seen this, was a pair of purple panties. Some years ago I would have said women’s panties but I know times have changed. I walked into a conversation at the post-run brunch this morning at Larry’s where Pat Purgeil was talking about how women’s shorts fit him better than men’s so that’s why he bought them. I backed right out of that conversation but a few minutes later Pat talked about selling his house in town and moving out to the cottage at Crooked Lake (closing on 6/4/2004) with me. HELP!!!!

The run started out today at 42 degrees but warmed up quickly. I had worn a yellow jacket (so someone could see me lying in the ditch just in case), winter hat, and gloves. The gloves came off first and I wadded them up and put them in my jacket pockets. A few minutes later I looked down and had quite a shock. I had looked on Web-MD to see what the possible side effects of my anti-seizure medication “Dilantin” were and one was “enlargement of breasts”. I thought mine had swollen (I had forgotten about the gloves) and, although I wasn’t embarrassed about that, they were sagging quite a bit which I was embarrassed about. Suddenly I remembered the gloves so I knew it was a false alarm (not to be confused with the Junior High boy’s “falsie alarm” signal).

So teachers, how many days ’til the end of school?

Just (covered with Goosebumps) Jack

Mother’s Day Trip

 The weekly note is late due to a hasty trip to Florida for Mother’s Day. Many of the Trilanders group were doing the Old Kent (excuse me, Fifth Third) Riverbank Run on Saturday and I wasn’t so I thought it would be an excellent time to visit Mom in Florida for Mother’s Day. Mom had the treat of driving 45 miles to pick me up at the airport and drive me all around the Hudson area changing driver’s license address, voter’s registration address, auto registration address and getting a license plate for my Michigan boat, then driving me 45 miles back to the airport. What better Mother’s Day present could I give?

Brother Bob let me use his “comfort” bike to do my Saturday ride. His model has the JDBBS (John Deere Big Butt Seat) and was comfortable riding but wasn’t exactly like my Trek so some chafing did occur. He told me he rode it often, but the tires had around 30 pounds of air in them (45-60 max) and he had no helmet even though he is quite familiar with my bike dive.

I went to K-Mart and bought him a helmet that I would wear on my ride and he would use on all his rides (maybe). I had a difficult time finding an adult helmet in the bike department at K-Mart which is probably one reason Florida had such a problem counting votes in the last Presidential election. Looking at the kids helmets with pink polka dots or green butterflies reminded me of a friend I met in the Air Force in the Big War. He was a 1st Lieutenant in charge of the cost accounting office I was in. He had a degree in Mid-Eastern History (probably valuable in the current war/re-election bid).

His name was Pete Halvonic and he was 6′ 8″ tall. He was our OIC (Officer In Charge) because he played basketball for the Military Airlift Command team (graduate of the Air Force Academy) and we were a MAC base. When Pete came to California he rode a Honda 90 motorcycle. For those of you old enough to remember, he looked like Arte Johnson on the Laugh-In tricycle because he was so big and the motorcycle was so small.

In California you weren’t required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle but on the Air Force base you were. Pete was a little miffed about that and, since he had a straight arrow side and a devilish side (wonder why we were friends), he went to the base exchange and bought a Johnnie Space plastic helmet in the toy department which he put on each time he entered the base.

I thought of the same practical joke to play on Bob, but Mom was with me and wouldn’t let me; the little kid’s helmet wasn’t safe for an adult you know. No matter how old you get, you’re still a kid to someone.

The training continues. I swam last evening instead of this morning since today was a travel day. After I make up for the weight lifting tomorrow I missed Sunday, I’ll be back on schedule. Nothing skipped but things weren’t done on the days they were scheduled and, of course, you can’t do them out of sequence and get the full benefit can you? It’s workout chaos and it just isn’t right.

Ta Ta as always,

Just (Trying to be “Son of the Year”) Jack

Wet And Cold

 Five weeks down in training and 19 weeks until the big race. I’m really looking forward to the race even though I make comments like “What the hell (sorry, Mom, what the heck) did I sign up for this race anyway?

Tuesday night was the bike “AT Test” and without going into a great amount of detail, it’s where you test yourself (with Diane actually doing the testing-I was just putting my body through pain) to determine your heart rate training zones with HR1 being the easiest and HR4 being a very hard anaerobic zone. Wednesday morning was the swim “AT Test” for the same reasons, but it determines your swim HR training zones which are translated into speed (minutes and seconds) and perceived exertion for 100 yards or meters.

Enough technical talk. Now to implementation. Yesterday was a 3 to 4 hour HR2-3 bike ride. The schedule doesn’t take into account temperature or rain and yesterday, as many of you know, was wet and cold. My ride was the same distance as last week but I took 10 minutes off last week’s time because it was a higher intensity ride.

So is it Murphy’s Law that says “On a crappy weather day, it will start to rain when you are at the farthest point away from home” because that’s what happened. Two miles North of the farthest point away from Hastings (corner of Lacey Road and North Avenue for you locals) it started to sprinkle. I thought it would stop soon and it just got worse. Several times I thought about stopping, calling friends on my cell phone until I found someone home, and asking to be picked up and brought in. I didn’t for one simple reason. I figured If I got someone, it would be half an hour before they could pick me up as I stood there in the cold and rain and got colder and wetter so I might as well ride and maybe it would end. It quit raining when I pulled my bike up on the porch (it was still raining outside, but I was inside) and I was miserable.

So then I made mistake number 2 (or more). I had my contacts on for distance so I asked Jean to read my schedule to see how long and at what intensity my transition run should be. She told me 30-40 minutes at HR3. I ran 37 minutes and pushed as hard as I could, but because I was so tired from pushing the ride, I could only muster HR2. After my shower and removal of my contacts I saw the T-run was supposed to be HR1-3 meaning no harder than 3, but if 1 or 2 was all I could do, that would be OK. We discussed the possibility of getting different contacts for her elderly eyes.

So here’s the science question of the week. Last week I stopped at the corner of Brown Road and Martin Road and put the bag of figs (not Fig Newtons) in my jacket pocket. Sometime before Woodland Road the wind sucked the bag out of my pocket (yes, I littered and I’m not proud of it) and I didn’t know it until I reached for another fig and they were gone. This week I had learned my lesson (I thought) and took the figs out of the bag and put them in that same pocket.

I counted and knew I had eight figs. By the time I got to Center Road I had eaten 7 of them and started to reach for number 8. Something caught my eye and it was fig number 8 dropping out of my pocket and passing me on the bike. So for the Science 101 midterm essay “Why does it pass you by when you are pedaling to keep yourself going and the fig isn’t pedaling anything”? Send your answers to .

For those of you who haven’t seen figs and want to know what they look like, and without getting too crass, if a Boy Scout found one out in the woods he would wonder 1) What kind of animal left it there? and 2) What did that animal have to eat the day before it was deposited?


Just (Wet, cold and can’t warm up) Jack