Best triathlon I’ve ever done – so far

21 August, 2016            Best triathlon I’ve ever done – so far

My friend Megan took this picture and I used it without permission! I’m in the middle, my friend Andrew is wearing the dark shirt and my friend Pat (Megan’s husband) is the only one who decided to stand around in public not wearing a medal. He’s the only one of us who got a real medal – third place in his age group, and only missed second place by twenty seconds. Andrew’s and my medals are finisher’s medals; you just have to complete the course. Since I used this (and other photographs) without Megan’s permission, all proceeds from this blog post will be donated to the charity of her choice. Megan, I’ll let you know when I get the first royalty check:

Andrew, me, Pat - happy finishers. Thanks for taking the picture Megan!

Andrew, me, Pat – happy finishers. Thanks for taking the picture Megan!

I got to spend a summer Saturday morning outdoors swimming, biking and running with two of my closest friends – that’s all it takes to make a triathlon great. Plus check out the excellent bling from that race (I get the photo credit for this one): 

Just for finishing! Isn't that fantastic?

Just for finishing! Isn’t that fantastic?

The official name of the race was the “Quantico Tri“; you can click that link and read about it should you be so inclined. 

Megan also took this excellent picture of a C-17 Globemaster on final approach to land at Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico (MCAF, NYG):

C-17 landing at MCAF Quantico as the race began; photo credit to Megan - thank you! Again!

C-17 landing at MCAF Quantico as the race began; photo credit to Megan – thank you! Again!

On the Boeing fact sheet for the C-17, it says it can “Take off from a 7,740-foot (2359.15-meter) airfield.” On the MCAF fact sheet for that airfield it says the runway is “Length 4,237 ft (1,291 m).” Which means that plane will run out of runway 3,503 feet (1,068 meters) before it takes off. Hmm.

Pat and Andrew started out in the first swim wave (they’re fast swimmers) at 7:00 AM. The second wave waded out and began swimming at 7:05 AM. I was in the third wave; I was standing there in the beautiful Potomac River when that giant plane roared low, low, low over our heads just before landing. The total thrust from those four giant Pratt and Whitney turbofan engines is 161,760 pounds; it was loud. Think about all the different ways you could start a Saturday morning. I was standing chest deep in the Potomac River with dozens of enthusiastic triathletes, watching the sun come up while an enormous four-engined military jet thundered over my head. See how a triathlon can be more than just a triathlon? See the unusual, unplannable, unforeseeable things that happen that make triathlon such a singular experience? Thirty years I’ve been in this sport, there’s always something new.

Speaking of something new – I got new glasses (Ryan Vision Center) and a new bird feeder (Wild Birds Unlimited) on Monday. I put the feeder up outside my front window that evening. The next morning would have been the 80th birthday of my late father, the person who helped me become a birder. I’ve fed birds at this house since I bought it fifteen years ago and I have never seen a goldfinch on this street. I looked out of my office window at my new feeder and on Dad’s birthday saw this for the first time since I’ve lived here: 

First ever Westbury Drive goldfinch visits on what would have been my late father's 80th birthday. Superb.

First ever Westbury Drive goldfinch visits on what would have been my late father’s 80th birthday. Superb.

Goldfinches are a daily occurrence now – I am amazed and gratified every time I look up from my computer and see one (or more) outside my window.

Next week is my birthday, and Ev made a special dinner tonight and we garnished it with nasturtiums (so delicious) from our yard:

Delicious & colorful pre-birthday dinner garnish from our yard. Thanks Evie!

Delicious & colorful pre-birthday dinner garnish from our yard. Thanks Evie!

Speaking of flowers from our yard – remember, this is the middle of August – look what Ev is still coaxing from the soil of our yard; these are from our dining room table:

Beautiful roses from our yard

Beautiful roses from our yard

Still plenty of ospreys in Richmond – I’m not sure any have left. This isn’t brilliant but I took this Wednesday:

It's possible this osprey just got out of the water. A fishing trip.

It’s possible this osprey just got out of the water. A fishing trip.

I saw an animal at the river this week I don’t see very often. I think this is a Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus). If that is incorrect and any of my loyal readers want to correct me, please don’t hesitate. Comments section or call or email:

Southern Leopard Frog

Southern Leopard Frog

I’m not as hesitant on this one. Evelyn has verified it’s the Virginia Native Plant Society’s 1991 Flower of the Year, the Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis):

Cardinal flower in a swampy spot at Pony Pasture

Cardinal flower in a swampy spot at Pony Pasture

Enough for this week! I’d love to do more but I’ve packed about three regular weekends into this one normal sized weekends and I need to get some sleep! Come back next week!

All best,

Jay

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, Flowers, Fun, James River, People, Pony Pasture, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Best triathlon I’ve ever done – so far

  1. ameiller says:

    I believe it WAS the best. race. ever.
    Awesome race. Great people. AND the USMC! OOH RAH!

  2. Pingback: Infinite intangibles | NEWFAZE

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