I get by with a little help from my friends

1 August, 2013    I get by with a little help from my friends

This week begins “official” training for B2B2013. B2B, a.k.a. “Beach 2 Battleship” is the 140.6 mile (“Iron Distance”) triathlon I do each autumn in Wilmington, NC. This is my sixth consecutive year racing in Wilmington, and I completed that distance each of the five years before that. Three times in Durham and twice in Maryland. Although it’s referred to as a “race,” for me it’s  more accurately described as a moving meditation. Just like my training. There is no stress or anxiety involved, only constant forward motion. For slightly over fourteen hours (my fastest year) or just under sixteen hours (my slowest year). Now that training time is here, I’m excited. I love my annual ritual. I’ve done shorter distance triathlons since 1987, but Iron Distance is by far my favorite. If you’re slow and stubborn (I’m slow and stubborn) it’s a very rewarding experience.

This year, as I do more every year, I am enlisting my friends to help with training and, most important, motivation. An early start is crucial, and my friend David helps with that. He’s an early riser and we hang out early three mornings a week.  So I can get to the pool later! My friend Ethan is an avid bike rider and he’s training for the Anthem Moonlight Ride in a few weeks. So I’m doing my first training rides with him! I have two short “runs” early in the week so I incorporate my canine friends Roux (thanks Alex!) and Lucy (thanks Lee and Kara and Hanna and Nora and Owen!) and of course Mackey and Turner to help with that. One longer (1.5 hr) solo run and I’m off to a great start – with a little help from my friends!

I have a few pictures from before the last post that I didn’t use, plus a couple of new ones. Most Richmond summers by August things are brown and dry but we’ve gotten lots of rain this year and it’s colorful and bright.

I got a nice looking picture of a pollen-covered bee in my backyard in late June:

Busy bee!

Busy bee!

And a nice gar at the river:



This was still late June; I’ve shown a few of these to friends already. There was a nice honeysuckle with a bug:

Graceful honeysuckle and a bug

Graceful honeysuckle and a bug

And a beautiful morning glory, also with a bug:

On the inside looking out

On the inside looking out

The gar and the honeysuckle (with bug) and the morning glory (with bug) were all the same morning as this, a huge raft of water striders (more bugs!):

Just standing around... on the surface of the water!

Just standing around… on the surface of the water!

In July this delicate gladiola bloomed in our dog-pummeled backyard:

So delicate it's hard to believe it can survive with my dogs.

So delicate it’s hard to believe it can survive with my dogs.

I’ve been trying to get a good picture of a Queen Anne’s Lace (a.k.a. Wild Carrot); this one (the picture, not the plant) is adequate but not superb. I’ve never eaten one but next summer I may try. I’m reading up on how to identify them. They’re all over the place. You have to get young ones early in the year for them to taste any good. This one’s okay:

Delicate looking weed

Delicate looking weed

Evie’s birthday was in July! I’m a widely recognized terrible-present-chooser so we went out to eat four days in a row. Thursday we went to Fresca on Addison, a regular stop on our dining-out-route. Because it’s close and cheap and delicious. And the people who work there are superb. And they have vegan cupcakes that are so delicious I become a desert-vegan while I’m there. How they make frosting that phenomenal without butter is beyond me but wow. The next night it was Lemon Cuisine of India, another favorite. The food is superb there, and very reasonable, and every employee is excellent. Saturday we splurged and went to Lemaire at the Jefferson; if you’re going to splurge, Lemaire is the place to do it. I’m on a strict once-every-other-decade schedule there; I’m already breathlessly anticipating my next visit around 2025, give or take. We took a shot in the dark for our final day of celebration and both went for the first time to Portico in Goochland. We had brunch and of the four meals it may have been my favorite. It could be because I’m a brunch-lover from way back, or it could have been the incredible meal, or the outstanding service, or the incomparable location – take your pick. I can hardly wait to go back. I have a picture or two from each event.

Thursday, July 18, Fresca:

Their slogan: "We're not vegetarian - we just don't eat meat." But oh my goodness you have to try that place out. It is beyond compare.

Their slogan: “We’re not vegetarian – we just don’t eat meat.” But oh my goodness you have to try that place out. It is beyond compare.

Friday (actual birthday), Lemon:

Lemon Cuisine of India - Best Indian food in Richmond - and best service!

Lemon Cuisine of India – Best Indian food in Richmond – and best service!

Saturday, Lemaire:

You can't go wrong at Lemaire

You can’t go wrong at Lemaire

And we concluded with Sunday brunch at Portico:

If I could only go back to one of the four places, I'd go to Portico - it was a treasure.

If I could only go back to one of the four places, I’d go to Portico – it was a treasure.

I slipped and missed a July blog post! I’ll do three in August. Until my next one, enjoy,


PS An addendum. Some of you may recall that Ivory and I did a lot of Animal Assisted Therapy at VCU’s MCV and a few other places. Thanks to our friend Barbara, Mackey and Turner have had an opportunity. They bring a different sensibility to the experience, but one thing transcends – the happiness of the person getting the visit. I’ve spent a lot of hours doing this, and it’s win/win/win – the person getting the visit wins, the dogs win and I win. Here’s something a person gave me years ago when we were visiting a lot:

Unconditional positive regard

Unconditional positive regard

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, Flowers, Fun, People, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!). Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to I get by with a little help from my friends

  1. Clare T says:

    Well HAPPY BIRTHDAY Evie! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate one’s aging process than by eating, eating, more eating…….and then top it off by eating some more 🙂


    • Hi Clare!
      And thanks for the note – I hope she enjoyed the ongoing celebration! I know I did. If nothing else we got to spend a lot of time together, something we’re not often able to do. Have a great day and we hope to see you at the river soon,


  2. Barbara Mann says:

    What a marvelous blog entry!!!! Loved all the news, beautiful pics and your and Evie’s Happy Birthday food adventures! And of course, your writing about the joy of us going with Turner and Mackey to visit our friend in the nursing home. What a happy and healing day for all involved!

  3. Hi Barbara!
    And thanks for the note! I’m glad you enjoyed the blog entry – it was a fun one to write. And it was great to be able to bring Turner and Mackey along to visit our friend in the nursing home! I hope he enjoyed it – I know Turner and Mackey did and I’m certain I did! We’re looking forward to seeing him again soon. Have a great day and I’ll see you soon,


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