Monthly Archives: August 2006

The Crud

 Last Sunday, since we hadn’t seen each other in a while, Typhoid Jean came out to the lake for the afternoon. I was weeding the beach and then watched the PGA golf tournament, neither of which excited Jean, so she left. But before she went she made sure I got infected with the same cold virus she had. We’ve both been a little “under the weather” ever since.

It’s not been bad enough to stay in bed and not do our Ironman training, but we haven’t felt good enough to “train to the max”. I know! It’s a shock but on yesterday’s long bike of 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours at heart rate 2 or 3, Jean stopped at 4 hours. I stopped at 3:22 and we both ran our 40 minute transition run and felt like crap afterward. Her cold has stayed in her sinuses and mine has gone to my chest. I got into a couple of coughing jags on the bike and a couple on today’s long run, but survived, although it was hard to catch my breath with the cold “remnants” and the high humidity. Better now than two weeks from now, eh!

As many of you know, a couple of weeks ago I volunteered to be a “guinea pig” at Pennock Hospital to test procedures surrounding the use of our new 64 slice CT scanner. It was an easy, non-invasive procedure and I was happy to help out. The practice sessions give the nurses and technicians information about how long things take, what works and what doesn’t, and how the patients are likely to react. Everyone there was very nice and thanked me for agreeing to help out. From my point of view it was a good way to get a “screening” of my heart without having chest pains to prompt the test.

This past week, Dr. Ward (radiologist) met with me to go over the tests and show me the pictures. We spent some time talking about my pictures specifically and spent more time talking about the procedures in general. Being on the hospital board, I wanted to know if the money we spent was worth it and I’m convinced first hand that it definitely was. Dr. Ward and the people in radiology were very courteous and I thanked them for taking time out of their busy schedules to talk with me. I did get a bit of bad new though. There is nothing wrong with my heart and there is no medical reason that I shouldn’t do Ironman Wisconsin. That was my last chance of a gracious way out, so I either do the race or wear the label of a quitter. I’m looking forward to the race.

We’re now in our taper for the race. As most of you know the taper period shortens the duration of training sessions but keeps up the intensity. It’s a way of keeping you sharp, but gives you more time to recover from the workouts. The only real week of doing very little both in duration and intensity is that last week before the race. It’s that week when you get a little “antsy” and want to get the show on the road.

I’m working on my race plan. No, not the one that starts out “When the gun goes off, swim as fast as you can. Then get on the bike and ride as fast as you can. Then get off the bike and run as fast as you can and it’s over”. If it only was that simple.

Just (Two Weeks Before A Long Day Of Fun) Jack

Just Another Week

 Another week has gone by and now we’re 3 weeks out from “The Big Dance”. The nerves haven’t set in yet, but they will. I’m generally not nervous at the start of races. It’s 3 or 4 days before the event that gets to me and I’m not sure why. A shrink could find out but I’m not sure I care to know.

The saga of the bike seat continues. I decided not to resurrect the Trek and train with that at the last minute. I opted to try another bike seat on the Roubaix instead. I got one from Kentwood Schwinn on Tuesday and tried it out Wednesday on a short 16.5 mile ride. All was well but (npi) you can never tell on such a short stint on the bike whether it will hurt or not on a long ride.

The Saturday bike ride was a 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hour heart rate 1 ride and after 3:23:45 my butt didn’t hurt. Hallelujah!! I could feel some pressure but it was far from the agony of last week. Again, that doesn’t mean that the new seat will be OK for 112 miles, but (npi) it seems promising. The ride on Saturday was wet as you who did the Three Rivers Triathlon know (congratulations to you all!). Larry and I didn’t start riding until 9 or so and for the first half of the first 28.45 mile loop it was raining pretty steady. The main problem was not being able to see. I was afraid I’d fail to see a pile of road kill, run right over it, lose control and go down but that didn’t happen. I also knew that if I couldn’t see, the drivers of cars and trucks probably couldn’t see either.

It’s funny how your mind wanders on a long bike ride. Around the middle of the second loop I was imagining a scene where I had won a race (not going to happen) and I was being interviewed about how it felt to beat the best in the world (also not going to happen). I was asked by Howard Cosell (by the way…he’s dead) to describe my feelings and I told him it was like the night you and your spouse “make a baby” (where did that one come from?). It was a great experience and fulfilling to help bring a new person into the world, but I really enjoyed the hundreds of times practicing before we got it right.

Howard and the audience got a chuckle out of that answer (maybe I was just trying to be funny…a comedian I’m not). I went on to talk about how races were there to test how I was doing, but I really enjoyed the training. I talked about the group swims on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 5:30 to 6 A.M. at Diane’s, the group rides on Saturdays, and the group runs on Sundays. All of a sudden it occurred to me that the “group” aspect of training conjures up some weird thoughts with the conception analogy. I guess I didn’t think it through very well, but at least it made me laugh out loud on the bike. Passers-by probably thought I was nuts and maybe I am but I’m having fun in my own little world.

I ran the Sunday run alone again this week…75 to 90 minutes at heart rate 1 or 2. Jean said a few people may show up to run in town but I’m cheap and hated to spend $6 on gas to drive in from the lake when no one was running the same distance I was anyway. I did the run around the lake but ran along M-43 to the paved part of Sprague Road instead of doing the dirt part. I went 9.44 miles and walked the last half block ‘cuz my 90 minutes was up and you know how I am about that.

Afterward I went down to the local restaurant for breakfast since the cook and butler had the day off. I usually go to the “other” restaurant (there are two in town) but decided to give this one a try. Now I know why I don’t go there. The only seat was in the smoking section (yes, Michigan still has a smoking section in bars and restaurants) and I was pinned against the back wall with a table of chain smokers between me and the door.

Now I have nothing against smoking. Other than the fact that it’s a filthy, disgusting habit that pollutes the environment with smoke and cigarette butts; causes serious health problems that cost all the rest of us health insurance money to subsidize smokers; is a complete waste of money for something that does more harm than good; and causes others to suffer from breathing second hand smoke, there’s nothing wrong with it.

There were two tables of heavy smokers (both in weight and smoking volume) out of six tables in the section, and both of those tables had families with young children. Don’t they watch the TV commercials about second hand smoke? I have some friends who smoke and none of them smoke around their children (that I know of).

As if the smoking wasn’t bad enough, I never saw my waitress except when she took my order and brought it to me. No coffee refill…no ice water refill…no “How is everything?” question. And every time I took a sip of ice water which, after my run, I really needed, I could smell the bleach based disinfectant residue in the sanitary (?) plastic glass. I kick myself because I left a normal tip.

Just (Back To Cooking For Myself) Jack

4 Weeks And Counting

 We’re 4 weeks out from “The Race” and I’m feeling the effects of long training. Paul and Roch say in their MultiSports training schedule that you should feel a little overtrained at this point. I feel a lot overtrained, but part of that has to do with getting the cottage ready for an open house today from 12 until 2. Several people came and it kept Ron busy so we’ll see. It forced me to clean and dust. I try not to say sexist things in these e-mails in fear of the fallout, but the house was “man clean”. Clean enough for a man to think it looks great, but not clean enough for a woman to say the same thing.

The saga of the bike seat continues. On Wednesday of last week I noticed that the seat was sitting nose down about 1 cm from level. I thought I had it at level and 1 cm is quite a difference, so I got out the 4 foot level and reset the seat. Wednesday’s ride was only 24 miles but was comfortable. Not so yesterday. Larry and I did 3 loops from his house to Wayland and back. Each loop was 28.5 (approx.) miles and I was starting to feel it after the first loop. The second loop was uncomfortable and the third loop was downright torture. Instead of the 6 to 7 hours I was supposed to ride, I quit at 5 hours and 22 minutes.

This week I’m going to try my Trek again. I never got sore on that bike until about 85 or 90 miles, a point when everyone is ready to get off the bike. It’s different than riding the Roubaix, a road bike, but I ride it every week on the trainer for 70 to 90 minutes, so it’s not like starting all over again. The next step is to see my dentist and see if I can get enough Novocain to deaden my posterior for seven hours or so.

On yesterday’s ride I had several people honk while they were coming up behind me. I’m not sure if they’re trying to let me know they’re coming or they’re trying to let me know I should get the heck off the road. Every one of the ones that honked were young men (anyone under 59 1/2 is young to me) with big pickup trucks. Maybe it’s a testosterone thing. Remember ladies, men can blame their actions on hormones too.

On Friday’s swim Bill and I collided in the middle of the lake. He usually stays left on the way over and I try to stay in the middle. Jean usually stays right and the other swimmers go wherever. There was a pretty good breeze and enough of a ripple on the water that I couldn’t see anyone else. Bill said he saw me just before and I was on his left, then all of a sudden we hit. Just like other geeks who try to make something good from an unpleasant experience, I hope I didn’t hurt his fist with my nose. Actually it was his forearm but it was my nose. I was sneezing a lot anyway so it’s good punishment for a nose that betrayed me.

Better cut this one off early. This morning’s run was 120 minutes (over 12 miles) and this afternoon we have to do an additional 30 minutes. On the plus side, it feels better to run than sit on a bike seat.

Just (Anxious For The Race To Start) Jack

Dumb, Dumb, Dumb

 I never said I was very smart and I’ve proven it over the last few years by doing triathlons, especially long course triathlons. This couple of weeks are the hardest in the Multi-Sports training program for Ironman Wisconsin. The Saturday ride was 4 to 5 hours (so we all know that sissies go 4 hours and studs go 5, right?…of course Jean went 6) at heart rate 2 followed by a 50 to 60 minute heart rate 2-3 run.

Larry and I decided to do the loop we did a couple of weeks ago which simulates the hills at Madison. It was a great day to ride and I follow Paul and Roch’s guidance by experimenting with what works nutritionally for me on long rides. I had been mixing Carbo Pro with Gatorade and carrying it in bottles that I carried in bottle cages on the bike. I would wash it down with Gatorade in my Camel Back (a plastic 50 ounce bladder filled with mold and mildew from previous rides). On the last long ride I would have to get a new bottle of the mixture for each loop and would fill the Camel Back every other loop.

I would mix the Carbo Pro in two bottles to provide enough calories for a 3.5 hour ride so it was “syrupy”. By the time I finished the rides in the past I would gag at the sight of Gatorade or anything else sweet. This time I decided to fill the Camel Back with enough Gatorade and Carbo Pro for a 5 hour ride and I washed it down with water, hence not overdoing the sweets. Each loop was a little over 30 miles and each time I would stop back at the car and get two more bottles of water. At 5 hours I had consumed all of the Gatorade (48 ounces…300 calories), the Carbo Pro (12 measuring spoons…1,344 calories) and 6 bottles (20 ounces each) of water.

When it got time for the run I could tell I was not in great shape and only ran 33 minutes. I was weak and nauseous and starting to feel light headed. It took me a few minutes to figure out that I had consumed plenty of calories and plenty of fluids but very few electrolytes. This is the time that Mr. Wizard (most of you are too young to know who that is) would come on the screen and tell you why you need electrolytes.

Without getting into the science of it all, I’m a fairly heavy sweater (not a cardigan type…a water pouring out of every pore type) and I lose a lot of salt, potassium, calcium, etc. that must be replaced. If you don’t replace them your muscles stop “firing” and you hit the wall. I know all that so why would I replace all the Gatorade (a good source of electrolytes) with water (almost no electrolytes) and not make it up with electrolyte supplements (Succeed Capsules or Endurolytes that I have in my cupboard)? Dumb!

I’ve been whining about a sore butt from my bike seat for so long everyone’s eyes just roll back in their heads and they start daydreaming about anything else while I repeat the same old story. So here we are 5 weeks from the race and I need to do something about that bike seat. I haven’t felt this uncomfortable since the diaper rash epidemic of ’46/’47. I asked Jean last night if her collarbone was healed enough so she could hold the chair cushion down while I took a rope and tied it to my “Terry Liberator” seat from hell (sorry Mom, seat from heck) for comfort. She just laughed at me.

So everyone who has ever done a Triathlon will tell you “NEVER CHANGE ANYTHING RIGHT BEFORE A RACE”. But at this point I could put a rose bush where the seat should be and it couldn’t feel much worse so I plan to try a new seat this week. If I can’t find one right away, I’ll suffer with the old one but I think I should be able to get comfortable with a new seat in 5 weeks. Dumb!

So today’s long run was 180 minutes split between 140 minutes this morning and 40 minutes late this afternoon. Roch and Paul say the thought behind the split is to get the mileage in while allowing time for some recovery to minimize injury. I got out at 7 this morning so I had finished by 9:25 (5 minutes to change out my Gatorade bottle at the cottage at the halfway point). It was more humid than I had thought and, being the whiner that I am, I was sore from nipple rub. Men shouldn’t have those things anyway…they serve no useful purpose and I usually don’t have a problem except on humid days when I sweat a lot.

I went out for my afternoon run at around 4:30 and had a nice easy run at 9:29 pace. The problem was that the nipple rub started just when I got far enough away from the cottage to not turn back. It had only been 7 hours since the last fiasco and I have plenty of Body Glide or Vaseline to rub on them and stop the abrasion. So am I going brain dead or what? Dumb!

I better get my head in the game or Ironman Wisconsin will be another near drowning, followed by a near bike wreck followed by a 26.2 mile walk. Not the way I’d like to do it.

Just (Killed Too Many Brain Cells By Partying) Jack


 This week’s e-mail is late getting out due to the Trilanders Triathlon Camp at Mike Dimond’s mother’s place at Torch Lake. We had a great time and got in some good swims, bikes and runs in between relaxing on the deck and testing the temperature of Bell’s Oberon from the cooler. Thanks to Mike and Diane for putting up with us all weekend.

Jean and I went up a little early and had a nice visit with my Aunt and Uncle at Bass Lake where I took a quick trip down memory lane. I told Jean the same stories I always tell her when we stop by the cottage and she pretended to have heard them for the first time. We met Bill, Nancy, Larry and Becky at the brew pub in Traverse City for dinner.

It was difficult for me to follow the conversations since, as many of you know, I don’t hear very well with a lot of background noise. Anyway, we talked about the recent testosterone scandal at the Tour de France and Bill was telling a story about Tyler Hamilton and his wife being interviewed about his controlled substance ban from cycling for a period of time. Bill said Tyler’s wife answered most of the questions and said things like “we’ll be starting training soon” and “we plan to do quite a few more races”, but she doesn’t ride and Tyler will be doing all those things himself.

Just then Becky looked directly at Bill and said “That’s like saying WE’RE PREGNANT”. I don’t know why she looked at Bill when she said that and it’s none of my business what they do on their own time, so I won’t ask. All weekend we made comments about Becky “eating for two” and “she should be careful riding in her condition”. She protested early on that she wasn’t really pregnant, but what’s said is said and I’ll leave it at that.

So if that isn’t enough of a surprise I had a horrible experience at the fitness center the day before we left. I had run a “stepped up pace” six miler that morning, was hot and sweaty when I got home, and I couldn’t get the sweat machine stopped. I took a cool shower, dried off, and was soaked by the time I got my clothes on. I went to the fitness center and my clothes looked like I walked there in a downpour.

There was a guy about 70 in the locker room and I heard one of the toilets flush before another guy about the same age came in from the bathroom section. He asked me how the water was so I guess he thought I had been swimming. He sat down on the bench and changed into workout clothes or so I thought. When he stripped down to nothing but a smile I noticed something dark on his “backside”. I learned at an early age not to look down in a men’s locker room, but sometimes you just can’t help it.

Here comes the gross part so women and children should leave the room. When he got up I noticed that, apparently he had forgotten to use toilet paper and he left a “smeared calling card” on the wood bench. I’m not very proud of my reaction because I didn’t say a thing. I should have confronted him but I was flabbergasted (is that a word?) and I didn’t want to embarrass him so I didn’t. I went out to the front desk, asked to talk to the director, and explained what had happened. She immediately called maintenance to get someone there to clean and disinfect.

That’s exactly the way it should happen. What I’m not proud of is that about half an hour later (I’m a slow learner) it dawned on me that when he asked me how the water was, he was probably going to the pool. By then it was too late to do anything about it and I kick myself for not catching on a little quicker. In my own defense I have lived almost 60 years and I’ve never run into anyone who “forgot to wipe” that wasn’t under two years old or over 59 years, 8 months and 2 days old and in a medical care facility. I know I complain about not being able to swim in a pool, but thank God for chlorine.

Jean’s progress…she rode her bike on the roads for the first time this past weekend and everything went well. After a 45 miler ride around Torch Lake Saturday, Jean, Bill and I went out for a short ride on Sunday afternoon just to loosen the legs. Bill dropped off at 25 minutes since we had talked about only going for an hour. I led to the next stop sign and Jean and I turned around at 45 minutes. I told Jean to lead back and she took off. It was all I could do to keep up with her and she was holding herself back. She has been running without the towel under her arm and she actually swam Wednesday morning so she’s “almost back”. With her persistence on the bike trainer and aqua-jogging, I don’t think she’s lost much and will still “kick my behind” in five and half weeks at IM Wisconsin.

I went to two funerals this week and both people were way too young…one was 65 and the other 63.

Just (Shoot Me When I Forget To Wipe) Jack