Monthly Archives: May 2008


After taking Thursday off from training for the Muncie Endurathon, I spent Friday running five miles, mowing the lawn at the lake, trimming the lawn at the lake, doing three loads of laundry, driving three plus hours to Traverse City for dinner with Becky and her sister Judy, and then driving on another 45 minutes to Torch Lake. When we got to Mike’s cottage, there was no power and the caretaker mouse had died of boredom right in the middle of the living room. I told Jean his brothers were all lined up under her bed, waiting for her to go to sleep, so they could attack. She didn’t sleep well both nights. I wonder why.

After calling Mike and Diane to find out where the breaker box was, looking for matches to light one of the many candles but finding a flashlight that worked instead, we turned on the main switch and we had power. We didn’t have any water either but I found the two switches that started the pump and away it went. After hearing some splashing, which turned out to be a burst pipe, I flipped the switch back off and thought we had better wait for Mike. To make a long story short, Mike fixed the broken pipe and we had water by 8 AM.

The “gang” was going to ride long and I knew I would ride short (50 miles around the lake) so I left about five minutes after they did all by myself. It was actually a nice ride other than missing the first turn and going two miles out of my way. I didn’t feel so bad since I made all the rest of the turns, but the rest didn’t. Tom, Brian and Jean missed the second turn (and all the rest), rode directly to Elk Rapids, and then rode 15 plus miles along a very busy, windy US-31. Diane, Kim and Corrine missed the second turn, but got it back on track only to have a flat tire (Kim) which took them 45 minutes to fix. Thankfully I wasn’t there because it would have been painful to watch.

Since I finished before everyone else (Jean and the boys went 90 miles while the rest of the girls went 83), I showered first. Mike had turned on the water heater and said we had hot water. I could discern maybe five degrees difference between the hot and cold faucets, so I took the shortest shower on record while still washing and rinsing the important areas. When the boys got back I told them of the problem and one of them switched the water heater from “vacation” to heat.

After a while, Brian took his shower and couldn’t feel any heat at all. He would get wet, turn the water off, lather up, and then turn the water back on to rinse. He was visibly cold after he finished (no, not the shrinkage factor…blue lips) so then it was Tom’s turn. He said the water had not heated at all and, just before he finished, he thought he would turn the shower handle to cold. Instant hot water. The hot water handle was on the right, just the opposite of what it would normally be. The girls had very nice warm showers.

After an eight plus mile run Sunday morning (everyone else ran longer), and a great breakfast with the group, Jean and I headed for my Aunt Juanita’s cottage to put in the dock. Without going into great detail, the mosquitoes were worse than I remembered, the dock sections were heavier than I remembered, there was one way to pick up the dock supports that would pinch your fingers and I found that way immediately (sorry Aunt Neat…I may have used a bad word or two), but we got the dock in and it held my weight, so it should hold anybody. All the time we were there I was drifting down memory lane. That’s the cottage my Grandfather built when I was three and we went there every summer when I was growing up.

Today Jean suggested that we go out for “a recovery ride” and I agreed. The wind was blowing 12-15 mph and gusting, we rode 39 miles…not the 25 I expected, we added on eight miles of hills in the middle (THAT’S NOT RECOVERY), and I didn’t take nearly enough fluids. I know Jean, so why would I ever believe that her idea of recovery and my idea of recovery would be the same. While we rode the last couple of blocks she had the audacity to say “That was a pretty good training ride”, to which I responded, “It would have been, had we been doing a training ride instead of the recovery ride you said we would be doing”. Do you think what I said made any difference?

Just (Tuckered Out On The Holiday Weekend) Jack

When Will I Ever Learn?

I’ve been in this training mode for biking and triathlons about eight and a half years. In all that time I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t. I can usually quote something a triathlon guru has said about training and I thought it would be second nature for me to put that knowledge into practice. Not so!!

Over this last year, as you all know, I’ve battled a couple of injuries/illnesses that have reduced my running to three miles at a crack and made my bike riding pretty much non-existent in 2007. This year the running is starting to come around, but my progress has been slowed due to a hamstring injury and a pesky sore knee. With no riding in 2007, I’ve been working my way back with some trainer rides this past winter and some short rides (25 miles or less) this spring. Since I didn’t winter in Florida as I have in the previous five years, I have no long ride bike base to start with.

So, yesterday, the wind was blowing at a steady 15-20 miles an hour with gusts of around 35, and I decided to ride with Brian, Diane and Bill. Apparently I thought it would be too easy with tight fitting clothes, so I wore my Trilander wind breaker which turned out to be a wind “catcher”. I missed the light at the M-37/M-43 intersection so I was behind from the start. I would start to catch up and the wind would start blowing. My jacket ballooned behind me and it was like a jet (or a Piper Cub) putting on air brakes. By the time we turned back to the east and had a healthy following wind, my legs were spent and I had hit the wall.

I kept up (sort of) until midway between Middleville and Hastings when my quads gave out and it was all I could do to finish the ride. I’ve told dozens of people dozens of times to increase your mileage, whether it’s biking or running, in small increments or you’ll run into trouble. Do you think I would do that myself? NO!! I went from a long bike of 25 miles to a long bike of 46.3 miles after not riding at all for 10 days. What’s wrong with me? That’s a rhetorical question, so please don’t send me your list.

After my leg burn-out on the bike, I ran this morning, expecting to go eight plus miles. I thought I would do the “around-the-block” seven plus miles and then cap it off with a run around the downtown. With all those hills on Cook, Quimby and Broadway, I thought better of that idea and did a 5.4 mile flat run around town. My legs weren’t sore, but they were completely fatigued. I wonder why that happened. With the Muncie Endurathon Half Ironman eight weeks away, I’m wondering if I’ll be anywhere close to ready. With the weather in Michigan this spring, the water is still too cold to swim in and, with my reaction to chlorine, I haven’t swam since early last fall.

Maybe I’m more athletically suited for chess or backgammon.

Just (Way Out Of Race Condition) Jack

Lost Summer

When I look back at this past winter and the weather that has followed, I’m struck by the fact that averages don’t really mean a thing. You would think that the temperatures would usually be at those averages with a few days slightly above and a few days slightly below. The same way with snowfall. Some years you would have a little more snow than average and some years a little less. But that’s not he way it works.

This past winter we had one of the highest snowfall totals on record. Why couldn’t it have been one of the lowest snowfalls on record? Can we expect next year to be one of those way below average years to make up for this one? Is there cause and effect? Was this the worst winter in recent memory because I chose to stay in Michigan for the first time since I retired? You know that I’m a typical accountant that expects everything to be in its place. Every day we should have the average high temperature in the afternoon and the average low temperature at night. We should expect the average number of rain days per year and we should expect the average number of inches of rain too. How can we function not knowing? I have had to change my life plan book (luckily I wrote it in pencil) several times just in the last few weeks. I’ll bet all of you have too.

I went to the U.P. this last weekend for a memorial service for one of our friends. Jean thought she would give me a gift before I left, so she passed on the upper respiratory infection she had been carrying around for a week or two. I told her I didn’t really need anything and gifts were not necessary, but she insisted. She knew it had been at least a month since my last cold and I was running out of things to whine about. I had thought of returning the favor by leaving things I had hacked up lying around in Kleenex all over the house, but then I thought that might send germ warfare to the next level. I’ll keep them to myself for now.

I saw my friend Ernie at the fitness center this morning. He also went to the memorial service and I sat next to him and Barb. At one point in the service, while Jack’s oldest daughter was speaking, she asked us to join hands. Ernie said he expected me to write an e-mail about the hand holding when I got back on Sunday. I hadn’t really thought about it. I wonder why he wanted everyone to know he held hands with a younger man. Was it his way of slowly coming out of the closet? If you know Ernie, it had to be a pretty big closet. And why wait until now? He’s around 70 years old and isn’t that the “who cares any more” age anyway?

After spending time at Jack’s service and time at Tom Strumberger’s father’s visitation, I should be able to come up with something really profound that makes everyone feel better. But that’s not happening. Having lost a father and older brother myself, you can hear all the platitudes of comfort and it still hurts. You can say things like “…he lived a full, rich life…” or “…it must have been his time…” but that doesn’t bring them back and you still miss them. So you “get along OK” by remembering the good times and the bad and how they affected your life. Your story…no one else’s…and you never forget how they made you, maybe a big part and maybe only a small part of you, what you are today…good, bad or otherwise. The only good thing is that you really find out who your friends are, that they’re hurting for you and would do anything to make your pain go away.

Just (Wanting The Weather To Fit The Training Schedule) Jack