Counting down…

25 October, 2011        Counting Down

Some of you may have seen a blog post on August 1 titled “Have A Good Time!” Since then, except for the loss of my beloved Max, I have been mostly having a good time. On August 23 I had my fiftieth birthday – and my very own earthquake! Followed shortly by Hurricane Irene, then the adoption of our remarkable new friend Turner. He spent his first night here on August 29; except for being asleep, I don’t think his tail has stopped wagging since. His happiness knows no bounds. And he has no off switch.

But regarding “having a good time,” I’ve been training non-stop for Beach2Battleship 2011 since August 1 and the race begins Saturday morning at 7:00 in Wilmington, NC! I’ve put in a lot of meters in the pool, a lot of miles on the bike, a lot of miles running. We’ll see if my preparations pay off on Saturday. The name of the race organizer is Set Up Events and this year’s race will have “live results” for the first time. I.e. you can follow my progress online! This will be my ninth Iron Distance race (swim 2.4 miles, bike 112, run 26.2) but my first as a fifty year old. In a gesture as unexpected as it is thoughtful, Set Up has graciously honored me by choosing my birth year for my race number – I’m number 61!  If you’d care to follow my progress, click on the “Live Results” link and put in my race number. I think – I don’t know this for a fact – but I think it will give my swim time after I’m out of the water and cross the timing mat. Then I change clothes and get on my bike and it probably records my time again when I start out on my bike. After that nothing will happen for many hours – my best 112 mile bike time ever is over six hours. They might show the time at the half way mark or something – I don’t know how it will work. They’ll show it again when I get off the bike, again when I start the run, perhaps a time or two on the run, and at the finish. When I finish it will be quite late at night and you may have to see my time on Sunday morning. I know I kid around a lot, but that’s true – it will probably be around 10:00 Saturday night when I cross the finish line.

Anyway, I haven’t just been having a good time since August 1 – I’ve been having a great time. And I’m looking forward to race day. Here are a few pictures since my last post.

Evelyn and the dogs and I went to Pony Pasture two Sundays ago – on the 16th – when the river was still a little high. This lovely pair of mallards stopped on a rock for a few minutes to enjoy the sun. The female was a little bashful but the male looks very proud of her and of himself:

Observing the river

As training winds down I’m doing shorter rides. My bike has a few bugs on it (mostly mosquitoes and gnats) but it’s riding great. I took this picture while it was on top of my car after I rode last week. My bike is a “seven”. Ben and Andrew and Jesse at 3Sports built it for me a few years back and I adore it. All slow speeds on triathlons are entirely the fault of the rider; those guys build and maintain fantastic bicycles. A few shots of my bike:


This is where it goes fastest

As the weeks roll on, sunrise gets later and later. We still get to the river at the same time Thursday mornings but now it’s really, really dark. We get there just before the sun clears the horizon. Look at the hues as the sky lights up:

The colors are astonishing

On Thursdays it’s just the dogs and me and we go very early. On Sundays we pick up Evelyn and go at a much more civilized hour. It’s much lighter!:

A rock in the riffles

We saw this heron Sunday as well:

A wise eye

The Beach2Battleship web site has gorgeous photography. The race starts on the “Beach” and finishes at the “Battleship” – the USS North Carolina. Look at this gorgeous image from the race web site:

USS North Carolina

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Endurance, Fun, Rivers. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Counting down…

  1. Evelyn says:

    You are Awesome in myriad ways! (That capital A inserted itself, I swear.)

  2. Thanks – you are Also! It was a fun post. Have a great day,


  3. Ed Boyle says:

    Jay: Thanks for letting me inside this part of your life. Its cool to get to know you as a person, an athlete and a counselor. I look forward to hearing more about your training and will try to follow you digitally while you race. Good luck buddy, and God bless you richly. Remember to have fun! –

    • Thanks Ed – great to hear from you! I’m really looking forward to this year’s experience in NC. This will be my fourth time on that course and it’s wonderful every year. Wilmington’s a great town and SetUp puts on an excellent race. Thanks again for the note and have a great day,


  4. Jay, I will be cheering you on from cyberspace!! You are amazing and I know you’ll do great! Enjoy! Patti

  5. Hi Patti!
    And thanks for the note! I’m looking forward to this year’s race. My little vacation in Wilmington. You and Christine and I will have to get lunch again before the holidays get here! Have a great day and I’ll talk with you soon,


  6. Andrew Meiller says:

    You motivate me so much, Jay! Thanks! Have a GREAT time.

    • Thanks Andrew – I can hardly wait! Waiting to start is the hard part. It gets a lot easier once I’m moving forward. I just finished my last swim, I’ll do a short ride and a jog tomorrow, head for NC Friday morning. To have a GREAT time! Thanks again and take it easy,


  7. Grace says:

    Great photos as always. I really like the bike shots. You have a great sense of perspective in art and in life. Good thoughts going your way for the B2B! Enjoy every minute!

  8. Hi Grace,
    And thanks for the note. My bike looked pretty up there shining in the sun. It would look prettier if it was cleaner but it’s ready to go. Thanks for the good thoughts for B2B! I need all the positive energy I can get! Thanks again and take it easy,


  9. Clare says:

    Hey Jay-

    Glad to hear Ironman training is going well! And your pictures are lovely. Everything’s going smooth hear- except for the puppy’s coming on Saturday! Didn’t know if you’d heard. 🙂

    Love you!

    • Hi Clare! Great to hear from you! I’m glad you enjoy my pictures. I have a ton of fun taking them! I had heard the puppy will arrive Saturday – right while I’m racing! That’s very exciting! Have you guys figured out a name yet? I’m looking forward to meeting him! I have a friend with gorgeous Anatolian named Shelby, and Isaac is also an excellent boy. I’m excited to meet the new addition. Congratulations in advance! Have a great day and I’ll talk with you soon,



  10. jody says:

    You are impressive in so many ways.Just prmise you won’t make any bubbles during the swim; it’s hardly fair to the other participants.

  11. I have to use every available advantage! Even if it means blowing my wetsuit up so I look like a black Michelin Man! Or Pillsbury Dough Boy!

  12. Justin Smith says:

    What do you do when you finish a race? Eat a few dozen sandwiches? Fall into a vegetative state for a few hours and hope that there’s a bed, or at least a soft surface, underneath you?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s