Monthly Archives: June 2016

This Sunday, I completed the 70.3 “Ironman” race in Coeur D’Alene.

(“Ironman” is in quotes because it’s not an actual Ironman – it’s a half ironman. But the WTC folks can sell more stuff if it says “Ironman 70.3” than if it says “Half Ironman”.)

This is a picture of me before the race, still full of confidence and vigor:

The swim went well, so to that extent the confidence was justified – I came out of the water at 43:09 by my watch, which means an open-water swim with four thousand of my best friends trying to crawl over me and push me underwater at very close to 2:00/100y pace.

I was estatic.

Here’s a picture of me coming out of the water and yelling at Ethel “43 minutes! 43 minutes!”


If you can’t see me in that picture, don’t worry. Trust me. If you magnify and enhance, you’ll see me. Or something like me….Ethel wasn’t having her best taking-pictures-of-Jim day. More on this later.

I really messed things up in transition – my helmet strap was tangled, I had several false starts, and…I forgot my bike computer. I had taken my Garmin Edge to transition with me, but just plain forgot to put it on the bike, and gave it back to Ethel in my tri backpack. So I didn’t have it.

Now, we (Coach* and I) had gone to great lengths to determine what wattage I should be pushing – both on the uphills, and as an average (“Normalized Power”) and I had set up my bike computer to give me this information in formatted screens paired with cadence and heart rate, so that I would know exactly how hard I was pushing so that I wouldn’t burn out while on the bike.

But I didn’t have my bike computer.

But wait – I had planned ahead!…I had also set up my Garmin 920xt to give me the same information, in different formats, in bike mode!…but when I realized I had not installed the bike computer, I ran back and forth, and…messed up my 920 to the point that it thought that I was already on the RUN part of the race.

So I had to do the entire 56 mile bike without any feedback except heart rate. So the bad news is that I had no idea if I was pushing too hard or not.

The good news is that, operating in ignorance, I KILLED the bike – I came in 21 minutes ahead of my estimate!!

This is Ethel, being excited about how great I did on the bike!

(Ethel seemed to have a problem with her phone – I *think* that she was trying to record a video of me coming in on the bike, but that she pushed the wrong icon on her phone – pushed the turn-around instead of the movie cam. That’s my operating theory. The possibility that she simply wanted to take a selfie at this moment has to be considered, but I’m not going to be the one to consider it)

The bad news is that, operating in ignorance, I KILLED the bike – came in 21 minutes ahead of my estimate!…which means that I had used up my legs, and that the run was going to be painful 😦

And it was. About four miles into the run, I started slowing down. Ten miles in, I really started slowing down. The cramping started at mile 12.5, but by that time I knew that I was going to be something over 6:20, and just let the pain fly while I gave it all I had.

This is Ethel, being excited about my finish time!


(I’m not sure, again, whether this was intentional or not. But at least she was excited for me).

My time – by their clock, 6:22:22; by my Garmin, 6:22:10. This is interesting because I was 50th out of 100 finishers in my age group for this race, and the average time for Half Ironman finishers in my age group is – 6:22.

So I am absolutely, flat, sho’ nuff average 🙂 — or “mediocre”, if you like more syllables.

Being average isn’t bad. Being average is, well, average. And for somebody like me, who really hit some rough patches early on, it’s nice to be able to say that I’ve clawed my way up to average.

But a different perspective is this – I’m average among people who have completed a half Ironman.

And that’s a pretty good average.


*He’s actually called “Corch”, but only college football fans who have seen Corrine Brown’s Congressional speech congratulating the Florida Gators will understand the reference.


So here’s my Training Peaks calendar for last week:


That’s a 20 hour training week. That doesn’t include lifting or stretching or core.

It doesn’t include the time between sets in the pool – only the time actually swimming.

It doesn’t include the time sitting by the side of the road taking a break during a ride – only the time actually riding. And, of course, it doesn’t include any breaks in runs – only the time that my feet are moving. Actual running, biking and swimming time.

Last night, while getting ready for my third workout of the day, I ran into a doc who is helping me with some sleep issues. He commented on my workouts and physical shape – said that I was to be “commended”.

That sort of confuses me – I think of commendation as something that happens to acknowledge a contribution, but my training helps nobody at all, and contributes nothing to the world. So it’s not actually, to my mind, commendable.

But I often hear the word “impressed”, as well. And I don’t think that I really believe it. I think it’s just something that people say when they think that they are supposed to say something.

I don’t think that anyone can be impressed by a 57 year old man spending 20 hours of a week doing stuff like this. And that ain’t humility – it’s much more my understanding of human perception.

If you’ve never done a 20 hour training week, then you don’t really know what it involves – and, therefore, you can’t really be impressed. For all you actually know, it might be a breeze. I tend to think that people do stuff that they want to do – and if they want to do it, how hard can it be?

And, if you HAVE done a 20 hour training week, then you can’t be impressed, because you’ve done it yourself, and there’s nothing to be impressed about. Heck, you’ve done it. What’s the big deal?

The idea that I’m going to do a 20 hour week – for the first time – might have an impression on me, but once I’ve done it, it now goes into the box of “things that Jim can do”. Ho-hum. Now what?

So it’s not commendable, and it’s not impressive.

But it is tiring 🙂

I’m putting these here, so that we can look at them NEXT Memorial Day.

(Yes, I know, it’s not Memorial Day. Ethel took these pics with me shirtless, and I realized that that means that I’d think I’d look good, which would cause my ego to have a problem, whilst others would laugh at the old man, which would cause my ego to have a problem. So I asked her to take more pictures, but she won’t do it).

The idea is that this way, by taking pictures with me standing beside the trees, we’d be able to see the trees grow. This is my third new-construction house, and I always wanted to be able to see how the trees were growing, but never actually did this.

(Now that I am doing it, it’s a shoo-in bet that we’ll be elsewhere by next Memorial Day 🙂

So – the Tour de Trees – first, Spruce Willis beside the big boys (I’m not going to attempt to take a picture of the big aspen. They’re about 30 feet tall already):

Spruce Willis

We named him Spruce Willis because he’s, well, a spruce, and we have an Austrian Pine out front named Arnold Treezeneggar, so, there you have it.

Spruce has since sprouted a lot of three-inch buds on his tips, but that’s NOW, not THEN – we’ll see the effect of those next Memorial Day.

The Little Aspen – these guys were much smaller than the behemoths flanking Spruce.

Small Aspen

BTW – we’ve since mulched these berms and added perennials – but, again, that’s to be seen next year.

The middle triple-trunk aspen on this berm doesn’t seem to be stable – he keeps tilting with the wind. If this keeps up, I reckon I’ll have to stake him.

Now, the side tree (we don’t know what type this is – we lost the tag from the nursery).

Side Tree

This is one of the three trees that the builder put in, so I’m not quite as attached to these. But I’m still deep-watering them; can’t play favorites.

Close to the side tree, we put in a Lilac:


Ethel has high hopes for this guy.

Next up – the Snow Crab in the corner (another builder’s tree):

Corner Snow Crab

Here’s Arnold Treezenegger, who seems to be growing at a rapid pace:Arnold Treezeneggar

And, lastly, the front tree – another builder’s tree:

Front Tree

Well, there we have them. Now we’ll see what they look like next Memorial Day – assuming that we by then live in Cabo, or on Cozumel, or in Bend, or in Revelstoke….