You’re only as good as your last gig…

3 May, 2015              You’re only as good as your last gig 

Or so I’m told. I have had (by my standards) a lot of “gigs” this week, e.g. I’ve been doing lots of stuff besides my usual day-to-day. My last gig finished (for me) a few minutes after 11:00 this morning at Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania, VA. I finished the High Cloud PeasantMan Triathlon after (I think) around two hours of swimming and bicycling and running. Too much talk – here’s a few of pictures to begin – 

Me, Travis, Andrew, Sarah - post race, with Lake Anna in the background.

Me, Travis, Andrew, Sarah – post race, with Lake Anna in the background.

Same crowd, better light: 

Sarah, me, Travis, Andrew

Sarah, me, Travis, Andrew

Slightly modified crowd, pre-race: 

Andrew, then me, then Jeff - pre-race

Andrew, then me, then Jeff – pre-race

For people who did that race (or not) and are considering going long distance, I did a blog post about a long triathlon I did two years ago. The pictures aren’t terrific but it’s a fun post. I race a lot but I don’t take it seriously. The race I wrote about was a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. It took me 15 hours and 58 minutes! Take a look at the blog post here: Owl pajamas, candy corn, a beautiful day – Beach2Battleship 2013

The race I did this morning – by way of comparison – was a ½ mile swim, an 11 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run. There was also one held concurrently that was all of that, twice. That’s what most of my friends did.

Earlier “gigs” this week included a great engagement party for my friend Pat’s son Daniel. I’m not a great party photographer so I left my camera in the car. But Daniel is a flight instructor and I’ve gone flying with him twice. As a passenger, not as a student. The first time was in August of last year; you can see that blog post here: I went flying yesterday!

We went again a week before Christmas: Unforeseen circumstances

Another “gig” this week – Evelyn and I went to the Ralph White River Hero Awards Celebration Thursday evening. It was at the VCU Rice Rivers Center in Charles City County. I didn’t get any pictures! But Rich Young took this picture of Evie and me talking with Phil Dawson, fellow triathlete, pediatrician and president of the Friends of the James River Park:

Phil, Evie, me - VCU Rice Rivers Center

Phil, Evie, me – VCU Rice Rivers Center – photo by Rich Young

Last (sort of) but not least (definitely) of my “gigs” this week was the experience I had presenting at a conference in Alexandria on Wednesday. The conference was good but it was about research and somewhat dry. I had a great (to me) surprise when I got there. I took Amtrak from Richmond to Alexandria. When I was growing up in the 1960’s and early 1970’s in that area my grandparents would take us to that station to watch trains. And there was a pedestrian tunnel under the train tracks to go from one set of tracks to the other. My grandfather used to walk down there with us when we were kids and a train was going over. It would make this huge, terrifying rumble and we would scream, but it was fun-screaming, the kind little kids do when they’re scared but know they’re really safe. I said no way that junky tunnel and useless tunnel is there all these decades later. I couldn’t even find it on google, and I am an obsessive googler. So I stepped off the train and I see this sign:

This was a promising sign, believe it or not

This was a promising sign, believe it or not

And I walk down the steps and there it is – unchanged in every way – same peeling paint, puddle on the floor, fluorescent lights, everything. I walked through it before going to the Alexandria Hilton to present at this conference. Nothing stays the same for forty years. But this tunnel is identical. It was so unchanged it was peculiar. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for that whole presentation. I’ve always been peculiar that way; this is nothing new: 

Scene of delightful childhood terror, four decades ago. What a flashback.

Scene of delightful childhood terror, unrecalled for most of my life. What a flashback.

Anyway, crazy.

I put these blog posts up on Sunday evening, and on Monday morning I start a draft for the following week on Google docs. Then I change it all week. This post was originally called “Walking distance.” Earlier this week I walked to the end of my street and went across and took a picture of a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). This is the opening sentence of the first draft: “Tierra del Fuego is in walking distance – it would just take a really long time.” Here’s the hawk: 

Red-tailed hawk. In view from the end of my street - I was and am amazed.

Red-tailed hawk. In view from the end of my street – I was and am amazed.

While the hawk sat there, a mockingbird swooped in to harass it. Everything is preying on everything else this time of year – they’re all trying to feed their babies. To pass on their DNA. Obeying their evolutionary mandate. This isn’t a perfect picture but it’s kind of cool: 

Songbird attacking a raptor. It's just amazing.

Songbird attacking a raptor. It’s just amazing.

Standing in the same place five minutes later I heard a bird song I don’t normally hear. I looked up and saw a  Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis): 



They’re not at all uncommon – I just don’t see them. And as much time as I spend at Pony Pasture, I hardly ever walk near my house. Look what I’m missing!

Have a great week,



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

1 Response to You’re only as good as your last gig…

  1. Pingback: Double the fun!! | NEWFAZE

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