Hopes, Dreams, Worry, Sleep, And The Joy Of Fresh Peaches with Hoop Cheese At Three AM In New Jersey


Hi folks,

food, peaches, hoop cheese, FitOldDog, early morning tea, life after AAA,

At 3 am I awoke dreaming of my race, I forgot to do the swim, couldn’t find my bike, and was sure my calf was going to give in on the run, and I was hungry, very hungry, so I ate peaches and hoop cheese with a cup of tea (not in the dream), and went back to sleep – Lake Placid Ironman 5 days away.

Books and peaches seem to have something in common, in that sometimes they have to ripen before they are really digestible. There are three books that took a while to grow on me, and now I refer to them all the time. They are like the peaches that I bought at a farm stall three or four days ago, at which time they were as hard as bullets. I was assured by the farmer, who also made the hoop cheese I purchased, that they would ripen soon. They did ripen, completely, in my boiling hot truck during this journey north to the Lake Placid Ironman race. I’m writing this in New Jersey – I like food and New Jersey, The Garden State – the latter because it and some of the people who live here were very good to me when my remote office was in Bridgewater, NJ, and the former because Ironman training makes you hungry all the time. In New Jersey, they make the best steak subs in the world.

So, what did I have to worry about and wake up for at three in the morning? When you prepare for a race for a whole year, there is always something to worry about. One year it was a tight hip flexor, another it was an abdominal aortic stent, and this year a tight calf muscle. There’s always something, and sometimes I even dream about it, which brings me to hopes and dreams.

When you are on the road for a week, on your own, you have plenty of time to think about your life, and what you’re doing. If I am concerned about anything I reread sections of one of three books, which I store on my Nook, and here is why:

  1. Tao te Ching by Lao-tzu translated into 81 poems by Steven Mitchell – this book contains the wisdom of the ages, such as “When in family life be entirely present,” and “He who attempts to shine dims his own light.” Think about it. Deceptively simple but a life-long challenge for the human primate, with his/her crazy neocortex that is out of control.
  2. The Power of Now, A Course To Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. When your mind is out of control, and you start to think that you are your mind, this book brings you back to the present, the only place to be, where you can watch the ‘mouse hole in your brain’ for the next crazy thought, and none appear, and inner calm reigns. But you do have to do the work, that’s the deal!
  3. The 4-Hour Work Week – Escape 9-5, Live anywhere and Join the New Rich, by Tim Ferriss. My eldest son Nick, who has created a successful business, Shirts That Go, based on lessons learned from this book, said, “Dad, you’ve got to read it, it’s brilliant.” First I read halfway and put it down – too crazy, not possible. Then his business started taking off, so I read it again, and couldn’t put it down. Later I had the chance to stay in my lucrative career as a veterinary pathologist by moving to New Jersey or Paris or somewhere else, but because of this book I left that happy career of 40 years far behind, and 20 months later my new business, Old Dogs in Training LLC, is just starting to get some traction. Much more importantly, I have no regrets and I’m having a blast. It’s not easy, but it keeps me young.
FitOldDog's second breakfast

Here is FitOldDog’s second breakfast of the day, with farm fresh eggs, as a French omelet (lots of butter), on toasted whole-wheat bread with fresh salsa, and of course, peaches and hoop cheese on the side. Yum!

Time for a second (late) breakfast, after sleeping late, then one more motel this evening, and onto the Adirondack Inn, Lake Placid, where my habitual room is only 200 yards from both the swim start and the bike transition area. Hey, it’s tough enough without having to drive all over creation! When you get to my age you have to look after yourself, whether you can afford it or not, which reminds me of one of the quotes cited by Tim Ferris at the front of his book:

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination” – Oscar Wilde, Irish dramatist and novelist.

So, is there life after abdominal aortic surgery? You betcha, but you’ve got to grab it by the balls, or to put it more politely, carpe diem.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Pauline Watson says

    Classic dream! I dream that I have forgotten how to swim at all 🙂
    My pre-tri mantra is “at my age, it’s just an easy swim, followed by an easy bike, then an easy run”. That gets me to the starting line, then adrenalin takes over. Best of luck for good weather.

  2. Interesting how the dream reflects our major concern. You’re a runner so you worry about the swim. I’m no runner, so I worry about that, but the swim is not an issue, so I worry that I forgot to do it, but the run is hanging over my head. The bike is in the middle, and I can’t find my bike, which reflects my continual concern that I’ll have mechanical issues on the bike. Off to Placid today, as I’m nearly there. -k

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.