Veering slightly

2 February, 2014    Veering slightly

This is the best picture I’ve taken recently. There’s a lot I’d improve about it but it’s a pretty picture of a Barred Owl. It was bitter cold at Pony Pasture that morning and he (I’m pretty sure it’s a he) was soaking up the sun while watching for his unsuspecting breakfast to move through the brown tangles of honeysuckle below. The only way to tell the difference between a male and a female is the males are a little smaller. That’s the way it is with most raptors. Look at those talons. If you were a field mouse or a chipmunk and looked up and saw those coming toward you, yikes:

Barred Owl staying warm in January

Barred Owl staying warm in January

After eleven Ironmans in as many years, I’m veering slightly from my routine. My chosen multisport event for 2014 (to begin) will be the Monticelloman Olympic distance triathlon. Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 9:10 AM at Lake Monticello, Charlottesville, VA. With a 0.9 mile (1,500 meter) swim, a 24 mile (39 km) bike and a 6.2 mile (10 km) run, this is slightly less than ¼ the distance of an ironman. Training begins tomorrow with a 30 minute swim and maybe a 30 minute “run.” I’d like to squeeze in a 30 minute bike ride but given the weather forecast I think that will wait until later in the week.

Speaking of unfavorable weather for bike riding, Mackey and Turner and I were at the river last Tuesday, January 28. My car thermometer said 20º when we got there, which isn’t frigid by recent standards. But the wind was gusting above 20 mph and standing on the edge of that river I felt as cold as I’ve ever felt at that place. So when this bluebird puffed itself up on a branch at the edge of the water I took my camera out for about two seconds before I put it away. My hands were frozen solid. I like this shot though:

Puffed up to keep warm. It was so, so cold.

Puffed up to keep warm. It was bitter, bitter cold.

Later in May I’ll be doing my favorite 5k ever, the Autism Society of Central Virginia 5k Run/Walk. The race will be on Saturday May 24 at 8:00 AM at the Innsbrook Pavillion, 4951 Lake Brook Drive. I’ve done it every single year since it began in 2003. Last year they had over 1,500 people and it was outstanding. I know it’s going to be great again this year.

Yesterday Ev and I headed downtown and stopped for the first time for coffee at Black Hand Coffee Company. The coffee was out of this world and the bagels were the best I’ve ever had in Richmond. It turned out the bagels came from Cupertino’s New York Bagels right here in Richmond. Great, great find and I can hardly wait to return.

Black Hand is right at the corner of Patterson and Belmont so we walked just a few blocks to the Belmont Butchery, my first visit (unbelievable) and what a choice. We picked up a pound of Sage Breakfast Sausage and a dozen eggs. It all comes from farms in Virginia. We made breakfast from the sausage and eggs this morning. It was the best sausage I’ve ever had from a store. The eggs were local too. The perfect pre-hike breakfast.

I boiled half a dozen and marked them so we’ll know they’re cooked:

Happy Half Dozen

Happy Half Dozen

My triathlons for the last eleven years have been 2.4 mile swims, 112 mile bikes and 26.2 mile runs. A total of 140.6 miles. I have never finished faster than fourteen hours, and several times slower than fifteen hours. This year’s event will be a much abbreviated version of that. I don’t have a good feel for it yet, but I expect I’ll finish in 4½ hours, give or take some minutes. For perspective, I do bike rides longer than that when training for my normal races. Also for perspective, I’ve never finished a bike or a run – one segment – in that amount of time so far. So this will be a relief. And so will the reduced training load. The down side is, I love to train. And it’s usually around the twelfth hour of my big races that I begin to enjoy myself most. But I’m looking forward to finishing while the sun is still up.

I only have a couple of good pictures for this post. I was fortunate that my brother Shane joined me for my first Iron Distance (140.6 miles) in Durham, NC in October of 2003. I’d turned 42 a couple of months earlier. He took 28 pictures and put them together on this little web site. If you click on this link it opens up a page with 28 thumbnails. You can click on each one and get a better view. I’m about ten years younger and about ten pounds lighter. Maybe that’s why I’m so much slower… But it’s neat to see. He did an excellent job. Take a look at the pictures here: The Duke Blue Devil Iron Distance Triathlon

I also have a couple of old race reports here if you’re interested. They’re from Beach2Battleship, my favorite race, when I did it in 2011 and 2012. I did it last year too. It’s the race I’ll be missing this year 😦

Look at these two race reports and you’ll see how much fun I had and why I’ll miss it so much. They’re loaded with race pictures. Beach2Battleship Race report B2B 2011 and Beach2Battleship Race report B2B 2012 .

All for now. I’ll put up another new post before long. If you’re so inclined, I recommend participating in the 2014 Autism 5k in May. It’s very, very fun. Have a great day,


PS Here’s a ring-necked gull that was flying at Pony Pasture when Ev and I took our hike this morning:

Graceful gull

Graceful gull

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 Birds, Dogs, Endurance, Fun, Rivers. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Veering slightly

  1. Pingback: Flowers and dogs and birds, oh my | NEWFAZE

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