Monthly Archives: July 2006


 There are two different kinds of recovery. Jean seems to be recovering nicely from her broken collar bone. Maybe she’s just telling me what she wants me to hear, but she doesn’t seem to be over doing it. She runs with a towel under her left arm. I’m not sure of the science of that, but she says it helps her keep her arm tight to her side. Whatever works!

She hasn’t been water jogging lately, probably because she’s running on the roads so I know (or I think I know) she hasn’t tried swimming yet. Swimming may be the hardest discipline for her to get back into. She said she rode the bike trainer for 3 hours yesterday and just about went crazy. She plays an oldies CD with some fifties music (the 1950s…you don’t have to be in your fifties to listen to it) and I’m sure she hears it over and over and over and over and over and over and…you get the picture.

The other kind of recovery is from last week’s half ironman race at Muncie. I know I said it would just be another training weekend for me and I really didn’t push it as hard as if it were my “A race” for the season. But I’ve needed a little more recovery than I thought. I had planned to get right back into my normal training program and I noticed my “recovery swim” on Monday morning tired me out. I only did 2400 yards where I normally would do an easy 3600. The turbo trainer on Tuesday was an hour and 54 minutes followed by a 50 minute transition run. I was whipped the rest of the day.

Wednesday I did a “kicked up swim” and managed only 3000 yards before I ran out of gas. Thursday’s run was an 8.5 miler at a little faster than race pace. Friday was another 3600 yard swim that fatigued me early and then came Saturday. Larry was doing a “race rehearsal” and my schedule called for a 300 to 360 minute heart rate 1 or 2 bike followed by a 30 minute run. Larry set up a loop for us from Delton Middle School through the south end of the county, into Allegan County and back to the school. Each loop was 30.4 miles and he planned on doing it 4 times.

I knew I would probably not do the full 4th loop and I was right. I fatigued early in the third loop and cut out a 2.5 mile out and back. After 86.5 miles I was whipped and didn’t even start the 4th. I did run the 30 minute transition and felt surprisingly strong. The ride was hilly like the Ironman Wisconsin course, but I could tell early on that I hadn’t recovered enough from Muncie and I shouldn’t push myself just to say I did it 4 times. My run this morning was 11.4 miles and I was whipped after that one too. Oh I ran well and my legs were strong, but my arms were tired from waving at all the deer flies.

Since we didn’t have a running group run this morning, there was no catered food waiting for me at the end, so I went down to the local greasy spoon (literally…in Delton they give you a greasy spoon, fork, glass and plate) and had the meat lovers omelet. After working for just shy of two hours cleaning that sludge out of my veins, I put it right back. I knew I needed to get energy back into my system. Good intention…bad result.

Congratulations to all the Trilanders who did the Great Lakes Triathlon yesterday. I hope all had fun and it looks like all stayed out of the medical tent which, for our group, is a victory.

Just (Geezers Need More Recovery Time) Jack

Survivor Muncie

 Yesterday (Saturday the 15th) Diane, Bill, Larry, Martin, Paul and I did the Muncie Endurathon, a half ironman (for you non-triathletes it’s a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run). Word is that one of the swim buoys drifted from its anchor making it a longer swim than 1.2 miles and my bike odometer and Martin’s GPS measured the bike at 54.49 miles so I guess it all works out.

The water was 80 degrees and, accordingly, no wet suits were allowed so that, coupled with the longer distance, made the times higher than they would normally be. As has been the history of my races since the bike wreck, my swim was at least 10 minutes slower than I swam in the past. I have had my swim stroke reviewed by Olympic swim coaches and they all say that I have developed “swim suckitis”, a non-fatal but debilitating illness that only affects swim times. The rest of the group all came out of the water within a couple of minutes of each other.

The bike course was flat and fast. Except for the last five or six miles it was on smooth roads without much wind. The bike times were all good with me bringing up the rear as usual. Larry had a close call when he dropped a water bottle from his front carrier which went through his wheel, sheared off his stem extension and flatted his tire. As luck would have it, he was within a few yards of an aid station. One of the guys helped him take out the broken piece with a jack knife and Larry just happened to have a spare in his bag. He put it on, blew up the tire with a CO2 cartridge and away he went only losing about 5 minutes.

The run was a different story. the temperature was anywhere from 89 to 94 depending on who you asked and it made the run a suffer-o-rama. I’ve never seen so many people walking in that kind of race and I, not wanting to be left out, walked some too. Larry ran the entire run, Bill ran most of it and walked a few of the hills, and Diane went to a walk run mode where she would run at a good pace until she couldn’t any more, then walk until she felt good enough to run, then repeat. Martin is in his early training for Ironman Florida and didn’t want to overdo it, so he walked some too.

Paul ran out of gas and I caught up with him. We ran for a while and walked through the aid stations until I got nauseous around the 9th mile. By the 11th mile I felt better and we ran the last two miles at around a 9 minute mile pace and felt great. All recovered quickly and no one visited the medical tent, so we marked it down as a success.

I did the race as a training day for IM Wisconsin and learned a couple of things. 1) When I came out of the swim I knew it was a horrible swim even for me and I had a really bad attitude. I got on the bike and within the first mile I started talking to myself. I said “Jack (I know my real name is John, but I know myself as Jack), so you were 10 minutes slower than you thought you would be. It’s a 6 hour race at best so get over it. Don’t let it ruin the rest of your day. Get in the game and have fun”, so I did. 2) When you get in trouble as I was on the run with nausea, think about it and try to figure out what you did to get you there and what you can do to get yourself back. That worked too so I look at the race as a valuable experience.

I will admit that halfway through the run I was thinking about how I could get on the internet Sunday morning, cancel my entry to Ironman Wisconsin, and at least get $150.00 of my entry fee back. I have until July 31st to do that, but as of now, it’s not an option.

Short e-mail today ‘cuz the computer room is hot.

Just (Why Didn’t I Use Sun Screen Yesterday–OUCH!!) Jack

What A Difference A Day Makes

 I know some of you are not runners or bikers or swimmers, but those who are understand the title of this week’s e-mail. There are days when you go out to run, swim, or bike, you feel really good, and you feel like you could go forever. Movement is effortless and you get lost in the euphoria of your commune with nature. OK. Maybe that’s laying it on a little thick, but you get my meaning. There are other days when you go out and you feel like you have lead weights tied around your ankles and you don’t know if you can make it around the block.

All winter I was having those lead weights around the ankles days. Maybe it was because I had a season off from racing with the UC problems. Maybe it was my attitude because I had turned 59 and the “BIG SIX OH” was just around the corner. My last week’s e-mail described my Sunday run as one of those bad days.

Whatever the reason, lately my training runs, bikes and swims have been more good days than bad. It’s obvious that a good part of the reason is that I feel like I’m in nearly the best shape of my life, which at 59, tells a sad story about my conditioning through the years. My weight isn’t exactly where I feel it should be but it’s working its way there slowly and not having to carry those extra pounds up the hills has to be a factor. I’ve talked about nutrition and that seems to be coming around although I did have a slight overexposure to fermented grains on Friday night. Just kidding Mom!

I’m convinced that much of it is attitude. After taking a season off from being able to compete and, more importantly, train with friends, I knew that not training isn’t the life style I wanted. Being back into it all is where I’d rather be. I’m still not fast…never have been…never will be and that’s OK. When I was in my twenties, thirties and even forties, I never grasped the thought that someday the ability to choose to run or not to run would end. But as time goes on I realize that this won’t last forever no matter how much I try.

Before you think I’ve dropped into that old age funk and I worry that death is just around the corner, that’s not what I’m talking about. I look around and see people my age…some friends…some acquaintances…some strangers and I see a lot who don’t exercise at all and for many of them it’s because they can’t. Whether it’s knees, hips, ankles, heart or other maladies, the body wears out.

It reminds me of the old junior high joke (middle school joke to you youngsters) about the young man who was caught “pleasuring himself”. His father say’s “Don’t you know that will make you go blind?” The boys thinks for a minute and says “I guess I’ll just keep going until I need glasses”.

So I guess I’ll just keep going until I just can’t run any more, but I’ll probably still be able to bike and swim. If I fall off the bike many more times, that may end the riding career, but it’s harder to get hurt swimming. At that point I’ll team up with a biker who can’t run any more and a runner who can’t swim and do the tri circuit on a geezer relay team.

Today’s run was one of those effortless days. I felt good from the start and tried to work on a consistent pace. If I’m nothing else I am consistent. Every time I looked down at my Garmin (GPS) it said my pace was 9:04, 9:07, 9:08 and so on. I’m sure I was a little slower on the uphills and a little faster on the downhills but pretty consistent. When I was all done I had gone 8.59 miles and my average pace was 9:06. For most of you that was slow, but for me it was faster than my average pace from the last couple of years and, as I said, most importantly it was consistent.

My plan in races is to not go out on the run at a fast pace, burn out early, and walk half the run. I don’t care if everyone is passing me…I want to run the last mile at the same pace as the first mile and not be “on the edge of puke” at the finish line. The hard part is finding that “best pace” so you don’t leave anything out on the course and kick yourself later for not being the best you could be.

Jean’s healing is progressing nicely. I’ve learned to stay away from her when she’s at the lake aqua-jogging while we’re swimming. She’s bored enough that when you go by her, she starts talking. The other day I tried to ignore her and did as I swam toward the store but felt guilty and stopped a listened to her on the way back. At least she’s doing what she can and not overdoing what she shouldn’t…so far!!

Just (Feeling Better Than I Look) Jack

Changed Plans

 We had planned to spend this weekend in the U.P. with friends celebrating Jack and Mariam Sorby’s 50th Anniversary. They live in Iron River in the Western U.P. and we had reservations at Ski Brule, a (duh) ski resort. The area around the resort is hilly which would have made for an excellent bike training ride. The run I like to do when we’re up there on the “guys golf and casino” trip is through state forest land that is beautiful and peaceful. Sorbys have a cottage at Hagerman Lake so we would have had access to a nice fresh water open swim. Between a great training venue and a vacation with friends in a beautiful part of Michigan we were both looking forward to the time away.

As many of you already know our plans changed when Jean, at the Mountaineer Half Ironman last Sunday, “pulled a Jack” and dumped her bike on the second loop. The roads were very hilly and she was having a good race when she got in a bad position with a couple of trucks and a couple of other riders while going across some railroad tracks. There was a pothole she couldn’t avoid and down she went. Unlike Jack, she was able to duck her head but landed on her left shoulder and fractured her clavicle (collarbone). It didn’t break clear through but splintered (not correct medical terminology) on the top of the bone near the shoulder end. The splinter sticks up at an angle and the injury is quite painful but she’ll live.

For the time being she is unable to swim, bike or run. She is able to ride the bike trainer without using her left arm and will start this week to do what she can to maintain fitness. She’s already made arrangements with Jon Anderson (sore butt muscle…also not correct medical terminology) for both of them to do the elliptical trainer tomorrow. Both of them like/need to talk and are unable to work out alone so they will now be known to the Trilanders as “Team Cripple”. She plans to run in the pool or lake using an “Aquajogger” belt that keeps her vertical in the water. Jean was very good about talking me into taking plenty of time and not trying to come back too fast from my many bike wrecks, so we’ll see how she does directing her own recovery.

This week was pretty boring from a workout standpoint so not much to report. Bill, Diane, Paul, Brian and I rode to Saugatuck (51 miles) yesterday and Jean, Nancy, Marge and Brian’s family drove the cars over and met us for lunch and a “really swell time” at an art festival. I was given a choice of walking through the booths at the art festival or being poked in the eye with a sharp stick and I chose the stick, but I couldn’t find anyone willing to do it. The weatherman had talked about a chance of rain and 15 to 25 m.p.h. winds. Luckily there wasn’t much rain but the winds were brutal for the last 10 miles or so.

Today’s long run started out at 7 A.M. for Bill, Paul and me. Even that early the temperature was between 75 and 80 and the humidity was high. We ran 7 miles on the first loop, stopped at Bill’s house for refills on drinks (sports drinks…not gin and tonics) and then did 6 miles on the second loop. Since I must whine sometime in each e-mail, this is the point where I’ll say again that I’m just not a good hot, humid weather runner. At about 11 miles I started to get nauseous and could have stopped anytime to walk but I didn’t, the nausea went away within 5 minutes and I continued running the rest of the way. It took me at least 20 minutes and several glasses of Gatorade and water before I felt like eating.

It’s 10 weeks until Ironman Wisconsin so the real training starts now. Not that the training hasn’t been grueling so far, but in the Multi-Sports program the last nine weeks before the taper week are Ironman specific. The rides and runs get longer but not much more intense. The plan is to start out with a good triathlon base and spend the last little while working on endurance. The rides include a couple more six hour and one seven hour and the transition runs get a little longer too. The long runs go a little longer and the longest one (180 minutes) is divided into 140 minutes in the morning at heart rate 2 pace followed in the afternoon with an easy 40 minute run. You runners know how stiff you get after a long run even when you stretch so you can understand how that afternoon run hurts for the first few minutes.

Just (Why Do I Punish Myself Like This?) Jack