“Hump Week” / Too much fun

19 September, 2013 “Hump week” / Too much fun

I’m mid-way through Week 8 of my thirteen week Ironman training program. If you’ve known me at all for the last decade, you know that when I’m this deep in training my life reverts to its five step routine: eat – sleep – work – train – repeat. Fortunately week eight is a “recovery week” and I only have to do two swims, two bikes and two runs. To allow my body to repair itself (that’s the theory, anyway) for the final push to race week.

I am not a discriminating eater under any circumstances. Now that I’m training a lot, I’ve gotten even worse, if that’s imaginable. If someone asks if I like a certain type of food I nearly always agree. In my mind I say “Mmm, calories, my favorite!”

Last weekend was a special treat, since I had a four-hour ride on the calendar. I don’t think the temperature went above 75º, the humidity was almost non-existent and there was no wind to speak of. You can not make better bicycling weather than that. Pat rode with me and we did our Goochland/Louisa/Hanover short loop, which came out at around 60 miles. Later in training we’ll head out 522 and extend it to around 80 miles. Hopefully the weather will stay like this.

Saturday we were well out in Goochland and had just passed the twenty-mile mark on our ride. We were really in Maidens. We saw a sign by the side of the road that said “Honey for sale” and Pat and I both love honey so we stopped. What a treat. The owners, Donnie and Louise Ware, welcomed us into their home and gave us a brief education in honey making. They showed us several of their twenty-five hives, a lot of bees, the impossibly clean room where they spin and bottle the honey, the whole operation. It was the perfect mid-ride break. Since we were on bicycles and two-plus hours from our car, we could only carry a couple of small bottles. It’s delicious (I’ve already had a ton) and I may have to drive back out there in my car and get a bigger supply. Pat took this picture of me by their sign:

Best stop ever

Best stop ever

And this is a couple of the bottles we bought:

Mmm, fuel!

Mmm, fuel!

Anyway. It’s been quite some time since my last post and I’ve piled up a few decent pictures. I’ve liked sassafras since I was a little kid. I found a small tree out in the west end:

Delicious and beautiful sassafras

Delicious and beautiful sassafras

Evelyn and I threw a pumpkin out in our garden last fall and some of the seeds sprouted. They made these gorgeous flowers but so far no pumpkins:



Earlier this summer there were a lot of yuccas flowering and I’d hoped to get a decent picture. They’ve gone for the most part but I saw this late-blooming variety near my house a week or so ago:

Lovely contrast

Lovely contrast

My interest in sassafras (above) took root (sorry, couldn’t resist) as the cabin/camp years began, in the early to mid-1970’s. I was born in 1961, so when I was between say ten and fifteen years old. At the cabin a time or two we’d pull up little sassafras plants and scrape the roots and boil them and add sugar and make sassafras tea. Which doesn’t taste precisely like uncarbonated root beer, but the difference is not huge. I also read lots of Eric Sloane back then; I’m rediscovering him now. I’m currently reading a lot of his weather books, but I think the first thing I read was A Reverence For Wood. How is this for remarkable – Evelyn just gave me an old copy that she’d given to her father when she was younger. Anyway, in that book I’d read about ironwood, Carpinus caroliniana. There was plenty of it at the cabin and it’s easy to find at Pony Pasture as well. I was interested in it because it was so hard it made saw blades and axes dull very quickly. I’ve been told it’s the only wood that sinks. I haven’t tested all other wood, but ironwood does drop straight to the bottom of the water, and I haven’t found any other wood that does. Here’s a picture of a small one I took at Pony Pasture:

Hard, hard wood, and very handsome.

Hard, hard wood, and very handsome.

I was walking the dogs the other night and the moon was just setting; I grabbed one shot. It’s hard to get a good view to the west from my neighborhood, so I don’t get a lot of shots of the setting moon. I don’t retouch these photos at all; this is the actual color:

I'm told it's made of green cheese, but here, not so much

I’m told it’s made of green cheese, but here, not so much

While I was playing with my camera the dogs decided to lie down on the grass. We were under a street light; they have an unusual color. First Mackey:

We're two houses away from home; he'd prefer to not stop.

We’re two houses away from home; he’d prefer to not stop.

And Turner, a.k.a. T-bone:

I'm not a dog mind-reader. But I guarantee you Turner is thinking this will lead to some new and unexpected way to have fun. That's just how he rolls.

I’m no dog mind-reader. But I guarantee Turner thinks this will lead to a new and excellent way to have fun. That’s just how he rolls.

Maybe the best picture I’ve gotten recently I took, surprisingly, in the parking lot at Martin’s! Mainly because I had my camera in the car. I was getting out in the back of Martin’s and I noticed movement in the bushes. I looked more closely and saw a goldfinch! I later learned the bushes were coneflowers, and that coneflowers are irresistible to goldfinches. And they’re easy to grow, so if you like goldfinches, put a patch in your yard. But I enjoy this picture, and I enjoy even more that you can get a gorgeous shot like this in the parking lot of your neighborhood grocery store:

That's a goldfinch - isn't that just a pretty thing to see in the parking lot of a grocery store? So pleasant.

That’s a goldfinch – isn’t that just a pretty thing to see in the parking lot of a grocery store? So pleasant.

Since I dragged my feet so much I let this post get too full. So I’m going to put it up, then get another one out (I hope) within the next week. My intention is to put up at least two posts each month. And this is my first for September. So expect another one soon. Until then, all best,


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

All the pictures on this blog are taken by me. But I go to Bryan Park with my friend Ethan a lot, and I’ve gotten some good pictures there. Ethan’s been practicing photography for a long time. He used to rush too much, but he’s learning to take his time. This picture of a turtle is one of his most recent efforts – and he’s still improving – way to go Ethan!:

Great turtle image by a budding amateur photographer!

Great turtle image by a budding amateur photographer!

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.

6 Responses to “Hump Week” / Too much fun

  1. Laurie Wilner Jobson says:

    are YOU the HONEY FOR SALE??? thats really cute!! keep training – you are inspiring!! :)wilma

  2. Clare T says:

    I think what I enjoy most about reading your blogs is that you take nothing for granted……everything is for the camera, the pen, the memory and of course, the experience.

    LOVE GOLDFINCHES!!!!!! my neighbors from Dominican Republic always had goldfinches in their yard. I would watch them eat breakfast (the birds) from my driveway…..then one year, I planted sunflowers of all varieties – and FINALLY goldfinches came to my yard! Yes, it was indeed a camera moment! I will try coneflowers next year.

    On our hikes, dad used to pull up sassafras root for us kidlings – we always thot that was extremely cool.

    keep up the good work!

    • Hi Clare!
      Great to hear from you, as always. I hope to see you at the river soon! It’s as you know stunning this time of year. Hard to beat in October. I’m not seeing as many goldfinches now as earlier – maybe they’ve moved on. But coneflowers are supposed to be the big attractor, try planting a patch next spring. And I’m not seeing a ton of sassafras at PP – but I haven’t looked real close there. Have a great day and I hope to see you at the river (or at Martin’s!) soon. Have a great day,


  3. Pingback: PP Flora | NEWFAZE

  4. Pingback: Summertime, and the livin’ is easy | NEWFAZE

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s