Monthly Archives: September 2004

Elaine Standler

Elaine was a charter member of our Trilanders Triathlon Club. In her younger years she had competed in speed skating and loved the sport. Elaine did one of her first triathlons at Lake Macatawa in 1999, which was my first triathlon race. She had a health problem on the swim and ended up in the hospital for a day or two. My wife, Jean, and Elaine were swimming together at Algonquin Lake in September of 2004 when Elaine died.

When Len asked if I would say a few words about Elaine, he knew that I had written e-mails each week to our triathlon group on my training for Ironman Wisconsin, and that Elaine loved reading them. He knew she would be proud to have me write something and I am proud to have the opportunity to pass on the thoughts of The Trilanders, our triathlon training group.

This is where I should say when Elaine was born, and I know she wouldn’t care if I did, but I’ll just say she was born some time back and leave it at that. She attended Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, and graduated 18 years after that unknown birth date. She and Len have been married quite a number of years. That takes care of the details. To steal a line from Paul Harvey, now here’s the rest of the story.

Our triathlon group was formed in the fall/winter of 2000. In a story about our beginnings, Jon Anderson was named King J.D., the king of Triland, which is how we got our name. We were given names based on our jobs, our personality traits, or our accomplishments. For example, Dr. Diane Ebaugh was named Diane the Body Parts Mechanic. Since I am an accountant, and accountants are often called bean counters, I was named Jack the Beancounter. Because of her accomplishments and interest, Elaine was named Elaine the Speed Skater. Through the years our group has changed. Some have left, others have joined in.

The group has formed a bond together. It’s more than just a group of athletes practicing for the big game. We have become like a family, and Elaine was one of the founding members. We come from all walks of life and each member brings his or her talents to the group. Some of us are good athletes and consistently win our age group at races. If you’ve seen my race results, you know that’s not me. Some of us have been athletes all our lives and excel at one or more aspects of the swim, bike or run. That’s not me either.

Elaine has been a champion speed skater for many years, but what she brought to the table was love, giving, a big heart, and acceptance of everyone for who they are. She loved, cared for and accepted everyone in the group for what they were doing, not whether they won or not. It was the same at home. Len told me that in the 47 years they were married, not one day passed that she didn’t wake up in the morning, turn to him and say, “I love you, Len”. She not only said it. She lived it; not only with Len, but with the rest of her family, with her friends, and with everyone she met.

We call ourselves a triathlon club. For those of you who don’t know what that is, you swim a certain distance, jump out of the water and onto your bike, bike a specific distance, jump off your bike, put on your running shoes and run a certain distance across the finish line. But some of us don’t swim or bike but love to run. Some of us don’t swim or run but love to bike. Some of us don’t bike or run but love to swim. Some of us love do all three but never race. Elaine loved to do all three, but was limited on the things she could do due to injuries or medical conditions. She had gotten back into speed skating and was getting in shape for the winter season. She would still come to the Sunday runs, and often would walk since that’s all she could do at the time. Sometimes she would bring Len along. Other times he would stay home, probably washing the cars.

We would often go on group bike rides and, for much of the summer, we would have time trials on the bikes. A time trial is going as fast as you can for a specified distance against the clock. We would start out at the Mormon Church on Airport Road, go out to M-37, up to Irving Road, through Irving into Middleville, back on State Road to Airport Road and back to where we started. Each rider would start a couple of minutes after the previous rider and you would try your best to catch the person in front of you. I remember one evening I started two minutes after Elaine, rode as fast as I could go, and never caught her. I got back to the church and Elaine wasn’t there. A couple more people came in after I did and they didn’t pass Elaine either. We got worried and were just about to go look for her when Elaine came riding in. Apparently someone, I won’t mention any names, gave her the wrong directions, and she went a couple of miles out of her way to McCann Road. She just laughed and said now she understood why she never passed anyone, no one passed her either and her time was worse than she thought it should be.

We usually had a brunch after the Sunday run and Len and Elaine hosted it several times. Usually there was more food than we needed, but we managed to eat it all, just to be polite. Elaine would always treat everyone in the group the same. It didn’t really matter whether someone had a good race, a bad race or didn’t race at all. Elaine would always offer congratulations for just being there.

This past Sunday morning, Larry, Gary and I ran our Sunday run together. Since Larry and I were recovering from Ironman Wisconsin, we were to do a short recovery run. Gary told us about a four mile run from their house on Sager Road to Cook Road, up Cook to Quimby, left on Quimby to the dirt part of Tanner Lake Road, back to Cook Road and back to the house. He called it the hilliest four miles in Barry County and he was elected to babysit us so we didn’t try to run too fast or too hard. We talked much of the time but sometimes ran without saying anything. We all said at one time or another, “What a beautiful day”. We all had thoughts about Elaine and I was reminded that about two years ago, another friend of mine died. Sometimes I have difficulty saying how I feel, so I turn to writing and the words just come out. Usually I’ll finish writing, feel better about whatever is bothering me, password protect it, and save it to the computer for no one to see. I have been having some trouble dealing with the fact Elaine is gone, as many of you have, and this piece came to mind. I didn’t tell Larry and Gary the story out loud because real men don’t do those things. Just in case you were wondering, this isn’t a poem. To quote Robert Browning, “It isn’t poetry if it doesn’t rhyme”.

Some time ago I walked through a garden.
I had been there many times before.
I came to see the brilliant colors of the flowers
Contrasted with the green leaves and grass.
The garden was beautiful but, as I looked around,
I noticed that a Rose was missing.
I asked the gardener what had happened to it.
He told me that it had been picked
And placed in a vase on a table in a restaurant
And at a candlelit dinner at that table a couple fell in love.
I was glad that the Rose had ended its life on Earth
In such a noble way.
Just then a stranger walked by and said
“What a beautiful garden.
Isn’t this the most beautiful garden you have ever seen?”
And I said yes, not wanting to diminish his moment.
But I thought to myself,
“You should have been here yesterday.
Yes the garden is beautiful,
But it is less for the missing Rose”.

Some time ago I went for a run on a road
That went through a beautiful forest.
I often ran that way to watch the birds build their nests,
And teach their young to fly.
To watch the squirrels gather nuts
And chase each other up and down the trees.
As I looked around I noticed that a small Spruce Tree was missing.
I asked the owner of the land what had happened.
He told me that the small Spruce Tree had been cut down
And had been taken to a nursing home.
It was being used as a Christmas tree.
And all of the residents that were able
Were decorating the tree.
It became the center of their world
And it brought joy to all who saw it.
I was glad that the small Spruce Tree had ended its life on Earth
In such a noble way.
Just then a stranger walked by and said
“What a beautiful forest.
Isn’t this the most beautiful forest you have ever seen?”
And I said yes, not wanting to diminish his moment.
But I thought to myself,
“You should have been here yesterday.
Yes the forest is beautiful,
But it is less for the missing Spruce Tree”.

I awoke Thanksgiving Day with great anticipation.
There was much work to do.
Family was home and friends would be stopping by.
The turkey needed to be stuffed and put in the oven.
The leaves needed to be put in the table.
Extra chairs needed to be brought downstairs from my office.
As I looked around I noticed that a Friend was missing.
There was no one to ask where she had gone.
So I imagined that she was needed somewhere else
And she was there brightening their day
And she was being a Friend to them.
I was glad that the pain and suffering of her life on Earth was over
And she was in a better place
And she had faced death with courage in such a noble way.
Just then someone said
“What a beautiful Thanksgiving.
Here we are around the table with family and friends.
Isn’t this the most beautiful Thanksgiving you have ever seen?”
And I said yes, not wanting to diminish the moment.
But I thought to myself,
“You should have been here yesterday.
Yes this Thanksgiving is beautiful,
But it is less for our missing Friend”.

I thought to myself, that certainly fits Elaine, but it doesn’t sound complete. Something is different. At that very moment, Larry said, “What makes this a beautiful day is that Elaine is smiling down on us”. Then it dawned on me. That was the difference. Elaine isn’t gone at all. When that bond was formed with Len and her family, with her friends, and with the Trilanders group, who Elaine was became a part of us all and lives on with each of us. Elaine is loving and caring and taught us all to love and care. Elaine is accepting of everyone unconditionally, and taught us all to accept. Elaine is giving and taught us all to give. Elaine has a big heart for everyone and taught us to open our hearts.

So Elaine is still a part of us all. She may be gone in body, but she lives on in our hearts, our minds and our spirit. We’ll miss you, Elaine.

Eric Chase Fundraiser Race Report

Thank you for your generous support to the Eric Chase Fund at Woodgrove Brethren Christian Parish. I sent most of you thank you notes already, but I can’t say it too many times. As of today, together, we raised $4,677.60 for the Chase family to help with Eric’s rehabilitation needs. You should be proud of yourselves.

Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for, or at least some of you have been waiting for…the race report. Many of you have heard already that I completed the race and didn’t fall off the bike this time. So here are the details from my perspective.

I looked at the weather a week before the race and the experts at the weather channel said the high on race day would be 65. I looked a couple of days before the race and the experts predicted the high to be 70. The day before the race the high was predicted to be 74. The morning of the race at 4:30 AM the high was supposed to be 83. My son tells me that the temperature he saw consistently on the car thermometer was 87 and saw a spike of 89 for a short time. Since most of you haven’t raced with me, you probably don’t know that I am definitely not a hot weather racer.

The race started out with 2,188 swimmers, the most ever in any Ironman Triathlon. It was a zoo out there and it was difficult to find a place to swim where someone wasn’t hitting you with every stroke. About halfway down the first ½ mile someone’s hand hit my foot and their heart rate monitor watch left a one inch cut on the top of my foot. OK, I’ll stop whining about it. With the hot conditions, my body knew I would need plenty of fluids, so I drank several mouthfuls of lake water. I wouldn’t recommend it. I clenched my teeth so no critters could find their way in. My swim was nine minutes slower than last year, but I was happy enough just to get through it.

I felt comfortable on the bike after I passed the scene of “The Wreck of 2003” on McCoy Road. Most of the potholes and expansion joint separations had been fixed (where were the road crews last year?) but I was still careful driving through there. At about mile 32, on the hill leading into Mt. Horeb, I had a flat tire. That was my first flat during a race and I may have said a bad word or two. Sorry!! I spent several minutes trying to find what caused it so I wouldn’t flat the spare tube, but couldn’t see or feel a thing. I changed the tube, pumped the tire with a CO2 cartridge and it held the rest of the race. Since then I found where something gashed the side of the tire. The tire is ruined ($55 for a new one and this one only had around 200 miles on it), and why it didn’t flat again I’ll never know.

With the hot conditions, I drank as much as I could hold and still was slightly dehydrated. I was near puke sick (sorry to be so graphic) from the halfway point on the bike to the end of the race, a total of around 10 hours. At about the 90 mile mark on the bike I was climbing the second of three tough hills in a row for the second time when I saw my family and friends cheering me on. Of course I had to show off a little. Within a mile I was on the third and final tough hill when both quads cramped. I knew if I got off the bike at that point, they would freeze up and I probably couldn’t get back on, so I toughed it out (Macho Jack took over). I started the run with cramped legs, but the pain was tolerable. However, the more I ran the worse the nausea got. I ran as long as I could until I could sense a barf coming just around the corner, and then started walking. Once I started feeling slightly better, I would run again for as long as I could and repeat the process.

On the first loop of the run, in a construction area, the pavement was uneven and I folded my right ankle over. It’s happened so many times in the past it wasn’t a serious strain, but it nagged at me continuously the rest of the race. I finished the race in 16 hours, 18 minutes, and 54 seconds (53 second slower than my last race at Ironman Florida). I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not built for long distance racing. When you see world class triathletes, you generally see fairly short, slender people. I’m neither of those things. With my build, the sport I’m most adapted for is chess, and I’m not any good at that either.

So you’re probably thinking I’m disappointed with the race and I’m not. Even with all those low points, I had an absolute blast. First of all, I completed the race I couldn’t finish last year. In and of itself, that’s probably enough. But more than that, I enjoyed the entire experience. I had all of you, all my friends and family, wishing me well. I had family and friends at the race cheering me up those tough hills on the bike and at several points on the run course. I got to ride through the crowds at Verona with people cheering and shouting “Go Walker (my name was on my race number bib), you can do it”. I got to see the “devil” at Old Sauk Pass running along side each bike jabbing the air with a pitchfork (fake one made of cardboard and tin foil) encouraging each rider to make it up the hill. I thanked every law enforcement officer at every corner directing traffic for being there on the course. I high-fived it with hundreds of people, many of them children (what were they doing up at 11 P.M.?), in the last 300 yards of the race. I had great conversations with people on the race course that I didn’t know and probably will never see again. I had people who knew I was the guy that had the serious bike wreck last year, but didn’t know my name, give me hugs on the run, telling me I was going to make it this year.

Even with all the pain, how much better can life get?

Before you hear this next part from someone else, I should confess my misadventures on Friday night before the race. Roch Frey and Paul Huddle are well known trainers to triathletes at all levels. Roch is married to Heather Fuhr, winner of eight Ironman Triathlon races around the world. Paul is married to Paula Newby-Frazier, winner of the Ironman Triathlon Championships in Hawaii eight times and winner of 30 other Ironman Triathlon races around the world. Roch and Paul are the race directors for the bike and run and present humorous instructional segments for the carbo loading dinner on Friday night and the required athletes’ meeting on Saturday.

I have known them since the accident and have used their on-line training program for Ironman Wisconsin at I knew they had started a tradition of an “Underpants Run” at the World Triathlon Championships in Hawaii for the past six years. It breaks the tension for athletes and raises money for some worthy causes. I sent them a note thanking them for their help throughout the year and asking them if there would be an underpants run at Madison. They sent back an e-mail saying “There never has been one, but what do you think about starting one and raising some money for your friend, Eric”? So, Friday night at 8 PM, about 30 of us stripped down to our “tighty whities” and jogged a few hundred yards down State Street and back.

There was a home football game Saturday and the streets were packed. The crowds got a big kick out of it, gave us high fives, and took plenty of pictures. We would stop at the traffic signals like all runners should, and did calisthenics until the light changed. One girl requested that we bend over and touch our toes…yes, I was the only one that did. Paula Newby-Frazier acted as treasurer (she was just shaking her head at her husband Paul and the rest of us lunatics). Underpants runners and spectators gave $427 in cash donations. At the awards banquet after the race on Monday, an individual came up to Paul and wrote a check for $100 to add to the funds.

If you have a morbid curiosity to see pictures of the underpants run, go to and click the picture that says “Ironman Wisconsin post race coverage click here”. There is a menu banner across the top and one of the choices is “photos”. Click that choice and, when the photo appears, click “previous” several times. There are lots of pictures of the race and racers, and the underpants run pictures are quite a few back. If you can pick me out, you may win a prize.

Thanks again for your generous support. You have made a difference and, to me, that’s what life is all about.


 I suppose most of you thought that last week’s race report was the last e-mail you would receive from me for a while. Not so! I wanted to send this one for a couple of reasons. One was to correct an error in the details. I had said that the photographer taking the pictures of the famed underpants run in Madison was Bill Bradley. Actually it was Larry Etter. Bill and Nancy were just getting to the motel in Madison and having their own underpants run, but let’s not go there.

Larry was too embarrassed to do the underpants run so he said he would take the pictures. The next thing I knew he had stripped down to his “tighty-whities”. That way he could feel like he was running half naked down the streets of Madison without the fear of pictures being plastered all over the walls of Delton-Kellogg Middle School or pictures showing up on the news when he runs for political office.

The second reason was to report on the “recovery swim” I did on the 19th with 600 other insane people and my sane son, Matt. It’s called The Tiburon Mile. It’s an open water swim from Angel Island to Tiburon in San Francisco Bay. Before you get too concerned, there were very few sharks sighted, and the water temperature was a balmy 62 degrees. It started out raining like cats and dogs before the race. No, Becky, I don’t know what kind of dogs…it’s just an expression. The race officials hadn’t planned on rain since this was the first in about four months. As Matt and I registered, the race officials were dry under a tent and we were standing directly under the edge of the tent in the run-off.

I had one slight pre-race setback. The night before the race I wanted to get everything set so I could just get up in the morning and go out the door. I looked everywhere at the Bed and Breakfast and I couldn’t find my swim suit (since I got home I’ve found it on the bedroom door handle at the cottage). Matt said he and all the other surfers go “commando” (naked as a Jaybird) under their wetsuits. I could have since I wouldn’t be removing the wetsuit immediately after I got out of the water, but my mind drifted back to the famed chafing incident at The Great Buckeye Challenge Half Ironman, so I wore my underwear. No, not the tighty whities again…my black designer briefs.

Matt and I had a blast with his partner Tonya and dog Drew as support crew. We talked with a couple on the ferry on the way to Angel Island and talked with a few people on the beach before the swim started. As I looked around, it reminded me of a triathlon start. Most of the people were extremely fit. There were a few that looked like me, but most were members of college swim teams, high school swim teams and masters swim groups. There were world class open water swimmers and some Olympic medal winners. The winner received a prize of $25,000 and, no, it wasn’t me.

The race is to benefit the Special Olympics and this year over $200,000 was raised. While we stood on the beach at Angel Island, the crowd of swimmers split with an aisleway down the middle. Several Special Olympians with pink swim caps were introduced, walked down the steps to the beach and through the crowd receiving high-fives all the way. One young man stood at the top of the stairs with his hands raised and bowed to the crowd, walked to the bottom of the stairs and bowed again. It was very touching.

After I finished and was waiting on the docks for Matt, I overheard a couple of guys in their mid-thirties talking as they walked by. One guy said something about looking to the side in the water and seeing one of the pink hats so he speeded up since he didn’t want to get beat by “one of them”. I thought to myself, I probably would have slowed down a little. The race was only important to me to be swimming with my son. The finish time meant nothing to me and may have meant everything to the mentally challenged athlete.

As I rode back on the plane yesterday, my thoughts drifted back to that comment. Before I dropped into that smug “holier than thou” attitude about how I would have handled the situation, I looked back at the number of times I have helped/befriended/talked with anyone who is mentally challenged. My current batting average is .000 for life. Thank God for those who do.

As in triathlon, I was I the middle range of my age group. It was a nautical mile and my time was 34:39. So, what’s a nautical mile you ask (well, maybe one of you…the rest don’t care)? A nautical mile is a distance on the earth’s surface of 6,080 feet, which is equal to one minute of latitude at the earth’s equator. That’s 1.1515 land miles in case you need it for a Jeopardy Quiz.  Matt came in a couple of minutes after me and was complaining of being beat by a 57 year old geezer. Actually, he was happy with his swim and knew that I had trained for 24 weeks for twice the distance. Besides, kids don’t call their own parents geezers, do they?

As in the Walker tradition, Matt and I spent the day before the race finalizing our training by brewing a batch of beer. Also in the Walker tradition, since we didn’t drink alcohol before the race…it has a tendency to dehydrate…we followed up the event with a trip to a brew pub for some post-race recovery drink. That followed by a short nap and a trip to Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant for margaritas and dinner, and we were properly recovered.

As a final note, yes, I was at the San Francisco Giants game last Friday night when Barry Bonds hit his 700th home run and, no, I didn’t catch the ball.

So this is the last of the e-mails for a while. I get lots of notes saying that you have enjoyed the weekly updates and I have enjoyed writing them even more. I know my sense of humor is “out there” sometimes, they are full of “inside’ stories that only those involved understand, and my presentation skills are awkward, but now most of you know me better than I know myself. Besides, I never intend to be published, and I don’t have to turn these papers in to an English teacher (although I’m sure Mrs. Youngs is spinning in her grave…there I go again with an “inside” reference that only Hastings townies understand).

Thank you again for your support and encouragement during my recovery from “The Wreck of ’03”. It surely helped keep that demon at bay.

Just (Now What Do I Do After The Sunday Long Run?) Jack

P.S. Keep Elaine in your prayers!

Race Report

Underpants Run 2

Underpants Run 1

So the “Big Race” is history and many of you know I MADE IT! For the second time, I AM AN IRONMAN. Many of you also may have heard that I didn’t have the best of races, but that depends on what your understanding of “the best of races” would be. Here’s my take on the ordeal.

A week before the race the weather channel predicted cool temperatures with a high of 65. That would have been ideal for me. Two days before the race, the high temp had been raised to 70. The day before the race, the high temp had been raised to 74. On race morning, the high temp had been raised to 83. My son Matt tells me that the temperature reading on the car thermometer hit 89 at one time but was consistently around 87.

The only way the day could have been worse for me was wind. It had been in the 10-20 mph range Thursday through Saturday, calmed down to 5-10 on race day, and went back up to 10-20 on Monday.

I am not a hot weather racer as many of you well know. My body just doesn’t fit that pattern. I have a high sweat rate (OK-that’s enough of the “you don’t sweat much for a fat guy” jokes) and my digestive tract doesn’t absorb the fluids fast enough.

So after setting the conditions, here’s the way the day went from my perspective.

The race started with almost 2,200 swimmers, the most in any Ironman Triathlon ever. It was a madhouse the first half mile and was still crowded the rest of the way. I was constantly being hit by other swimmers. One had a watch on that scraped along the top of my right foot and left a one inch cut. One guy hit me in the butt so many times I feel like we’re engaged. I knew my swim time would be worse than last year and it was by 9 minutes. Apparently my body knew it needed fluids so I drank several mouthfuls of water from Lake Monona.

I made a smooth enough transition to the bike and I was off. When I got to “the spot” on McCoy Road I was strangely calm. Most of the bad spots had been fixed and I was careful to watch where I was going. All the way out to Verona I felt like I had won the race and, to me, the demon was history. On the long hill going into Mt. Horeb I had a flat. First of all, it was my first flat in any race. And second of all, why was it on an uphill? Luckily it was the front and was easier to change. I wasted quite a bit of time trying to find what caused it so I wouldn’t flat the spare tube when I put it in. I couldn’t find anything so I inflated the spare with the CO2 cartridge and it held. I just checked the tire and it has around 20 pounds of air, so maybe I just got lucky it didn’t go flat all the way again.

The hills on the bike course are relentless, but there are three in the latter part of the loop that are killer. One is called Old Sauk Pass and it is a long tough climb. Not long compared to Lake Placid, but long when you consider all the other hills you’ve already done. The second one is shorter but steeper. The third one is long and steep. I rode them all but both quads cramped on the second loop on the third of those three hills. Part of it was just the hills and part of it was dehydration/salt intake. I had been drinking Gatorade, carbo pro and taking 1 salt capsule per hour. I increased to two salt capsules every 30-45 minutes about an hour before when the signs of cramping started and it helped me finish the race, although it still wasn’t enough. In addition to the two carbo pro bottles, I consumed several oranges, bananas, some Hammer Gel, several Ritz Bits (peanut butter flavor), two 50 ounce camelbacks of Gatorade and four bottles of water.

I was nauseous after the first 35 miles of the bike and stayed that way until the end of the race. So the run went from a run to a run/walk. I could run about a mile at a time and then would be so sick feeling I would have to walk. At each aid station I would either drink defizzed coke, Gatorade, or chicken broth (Swanson’s…cold…poured right from the can). I sucked the salt off pretzels and spit out the rest into garbage cans. Not to be any more crass than usual, from 7AM race morning until around 2AM the next morning I peed once. I estimate I ran 1/4 of the 26 miles and walked the other 3/4.

So I saw Larry on the run who was also in some distress but at least an hour ahead of me. He asked me how I was doing. I said (I’m doing my best to quote myself) “I feel like s***. I had a flat at Mt. Horeb, I’ve been nauseous since noon, I got leg cramps just past Old Sauk Pass and I’m having a blast” and I meant it.

I know it sounds strange, but time didn’t matter to me (except that I was going to finish before the midnight cutoff no matter what). Maybe I just rationalized my misery, but I couldn’t help thinking about the past year. I wrote about the demon that lives out on McCoy Road, but we all know the “demon” is inside us all. It’s the little guy (or girl) dressed in a devil suit with a pitchfork that sits on our shoulder and tells us to eat that Hershey Bar…you can work it off later, or tells the alcoholic to take another drink, or the drug addict to get high just one more time.

In my case it could have been:

1) You should sue the City of Madison. those craters in the road shouldn’t have been there. You can make millions.

2) You should sue the helmet manufacturer. That helmet shouldn’t have broken into three pieces. You can make millions.

3) It’s Ok to blame yourself for the bike wreck. Just have a couple more drinks and you’ll feel better about it.

4) Those Doctors in Madison never should have released you that early. They have plenty of money. You can make millions.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. I listened to the “goody-two-shoes” guy that sits on the other shoulder and says “It was just an accident. Nobody did anything on purpose. Just try to make the best of a tough situation”.

So if I had my choice of whether to do the race in 14:00:00 or to come back and try the race again to prove to myself I could do it; write to family and friends through 24 weeks of training (I enjoy writing these e-mails as much as many of you enjoy reading them); have family and friends supporting me every step of the way with good thoughts, prayers and encouragement; have people that heard about last year’s bike wreck give me hugs during the run telling me I can do it; have family and friends at the race screaming, yelling, and giving me more encouragement; have the satisfaction of helping a young man and his family when they need help (of course that’s a two edged sword…they don’t owe me anything…they just need to pass the kindness on to someone else later); adapt to tough race conditions and do the best I could under the circumstances, but do the race in 16:18:54, I would choose the latter.

But then again, having it both ways wouldn’t have been too much to ask, would it?

For those of you interested, the underpants run down State Street on Friday evening raised $427 for Eric’s Fund. I am attaching a couple of pictures Bill Bradley took with my camera. I gave the female participants physicals to make sure they were in good enough shape for the run. I’m not a doctor, but I did stay at the Holiday Inn Express. Several of the men were stopped and searched by food police…it appeared they were trying to smuggle bratwurst from other states into Wisconsin. None were arrested, but many were given stiff warnings.

Just (What Isn’t Numb Is Sore) Jack

Down To The Wire

 Here it is down to the last 7 days before the big race (well, it’s big to me anyway), and I’m not nervous yet. As I’ve said before, I’m looking forward to the fun part. I missed it last year and feel like the race owes me a good time.

I did my last long run today (it really wasn’t long, only 6 miles…short compared to the 18 mile Sunday a few weeks back) and a 2-3 hour HR#2 bike ride yesterday followed by a 2 mile run. Bill and I decided to ride together and Larry was going to go too, but got waylaid with school activities.

It didn’t seem to be Bill’s day. First, we were going to meet at KCC, park in the parking lot, and do the Wayland loop. When we got there, they were sealcoating the lot, so we drove to our house on Green Street. Bill had pumped his tires before the ride and had a flat on the back. He tried to pump it with his tire pump, blew a seal on that, so he started out with a repair job in the driveway using Jean’s pump.

We got on the road late and Bill had taped his mouth shut with duct tape so he wouldn’t say something dumb and make the Sunday e-mail column for the umpteenth time. We got to the spot on M-179 where Bill, Larry and I had seen the beaver that got hit by a car some weeks back. Bill was riding behind me, so I turned my head and innocently said “Watch out for beavers”. Bill had taken the tape off by then so he could breathe, and said “You’re not baiting me into saying anything!”. I really hadn’t intended to, but I saw the reasoning behind his reaction and got a little chuckle out of his comment.

It wasn’t five minutes later, when we were riding up the short hill just past Patterson, and Bill said, “There’s a hot chick behind us, but I’ll bet she’s married”. Jean had taken off about 25 minutes before we did, so Bill assumed he saw her in his rear view mirror. I turned and saw a rider quite a distance back, so we slowed and waited for the rider to catch up.

I caught the approach out of the corner of my eye so I turned and smiled at who I thought was going to be Jean. It turned out to be a pretty good sized guy that looked something like Randall Bertrand who said “Where are you guys headed?”. I told him we were doing a loop through Wayland and stifled a laugh. When Bill heard his voice, I could see his head drop and hear him say “Damn!!”.

Now Bill tells me he made a mistake thinking it was Jean, but I think he was trying to bait me into saying something cute like, “Hey, you want to _ _ _ _ ?”. You’ve heard the true stories about Bill before. You be the judge.

This is the last e-mail I plan to send out until after the race. I know you will all be thinking of me on race day. So next Sunday, at around 8:45 CDT, say a little prayer so I make it past that demon on McCoy Road. I plan to be extra careful which may slow me down some, but hopefully will help me make it through in one piece. Jean will have my cell phone, and may be relaying race reports. You can also follow the race on and see how John, Larry and I are doing. Remember, this race isn’t just about me. John Hopkins and Larry Etter are in the best shape I’ve ever seen them in and have worked as hard or harder than me. I expect they will be at the finish line sipping Margaritas long before I get done.

I will be thinking of all of you (with +- 7 hours on the bike, you have lots of time to fill). When I don’t feel like I can take one more step on the run, I’ll expect you to will me the strength to not give up.

Just (Don’t Fall Off The Bike) Jack