American Past Time - $15.00


American Past Time (signed paperback) $9.99

American Past Time
A novel by Len Joy

American Past Time (Ebook) $3.99

Available here:

Barnes & Noble

Monday, July 7, 2014

ITU World Triathlon - Chicago - Age Group Olympic Race - June 29, 2014

Last Sunday the ITU World Triathlon for professional triathletes held their first race in Chicago. As a special promotion for their first race in Chicago they held an age-group competition before the pro race –so us age groupers could experience what it would be like to compete on a pro-style course.

It was a great day if you were old and lucky enough to get an early wave assignment like I did.  The 60-64 age group went in the water at 6:15 a.m. and our race was done before 9 a.m.  Later in the day the sun rose and the clouds disappeared and it got HOT and HUMID.

We swam south from Buckingham Fountain towards the Shedd Aquarium and then ran across Lake Shore Drive to the transition area.  For the bike course we rode north on Columbus Drive to Wacker and then went west and south on Wacker, then turned around and rode back. We did that four times. Portions of Wacker were the underground segments which are always being used for films like Batman Returns and the Blues Brothers.  It was a flat and very fast bike course. I averaged over 21 mph and I was passed by a bunch of riders who were riding MUCH faster.

The run was also a loop course. We ran along Columbus Drive and adjacent to Lake Shore Drive for three and half loops finishing next to Buckingham Fountain. 

My coach (Heather Collins of Precision Multisport) and I had outlined a strategy for this race, which is my last race before the Nationals next month in Milwaukee.  The ITU course was flat and fast and similar in that respect to the course in Milwaukee. So this was a good preparation for my last triathlon of the season. 

The plan was to swim easy and straight (not something I always do),  not blow up on the bike (i.e. keep my heart rate at around 140) so I would have legs left for the run.  Last race in Elkhart I pushed too hard on the hilly bike course and that resulted in a run time of 55 minutes. 

This race I got off the bike with fresh legs (it helped of course not having any hills) and I ran the fastest 10K leg of my triathlon career, finishing with a time of 47:48, which is 7:42 pace. 

Finished 18th out of 40 in the age group and 624th out of 1209 overall in the Men’s division.  My overall time was 2:37:29, which included 10 minutes of transition time due to the distance between segments.  Compensating for that was a bike course that wasn’t quite 25 miles long.

My faithful photographer, Suzanne had a great location near Buckingham Fountain and I was confident she would have some great photos each time I passed by. But her camera broke so I had to buy the race photos, which are displayed below.  (I know they all sort of look the same, but I paid for them so I am going to get my money's worth.)

No heel strike

See I can ride in Aero

Finished before it got HOT

Friday, June 20, 2014

Leaving Home - The Epilogue

In September 2010 I wrote in this blog:

Leaving Home

Three weeks ago, Suzanne and I accompanied our youngest daughter, Christie, to London to help her get settled into her new school – Central St. Martins School of Art and Design. Two years ago Christie had enrolled in The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She did well her first year, but wanted a program that had more of a fashion design focus. One of her professors had suggested she apply to St. Martins and the Royal School, both in London. So last year she stayed home, got a job as a cashier at CVS and worked on her portfolio and her applications to art schools. She was accepted at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and Parsons in New York and then to her surprise at St. Martins and the Royal School. I had been secretly hoping that SAIC or Parsons would win out but she chose St. Martins.

I had really enjoyed the year she spent at home. Probably because she had been gone for a year and so I’d already had a chance to experience the empty nest (although our house is definitely not empty even when nobody is home.) She doesn’t drive so I would chauffeur her to work most days. We usually did the grocery shopping together – she’d take of the produce and cosmetics and I’d get the beer and wine. We were a good team. Her friends hung out at our house a lot (we had cable and they were all True Blood fans.)

Everyone tells me how exciting it is for Christie to have this experience – and intellectually I absolutely agree. But I will miss those silent rides to work, and the grocery shopping grand prix and all of those young people taking over my television. I will miss the casual encounters with Christie. Visits aren’t the same.

Life goes on. We don’t own our kids – we just rent them for a couple decades.
Somehow four years have passed and now Christie is a few weeks from graduation.  We are back in London to attend the exhibit of fine arts prepared by the graduating students.  Yesterday we toured the exhibits of Textile Futures, Textile Designs, Ceramics and Fashion. 

Today is Jewelry – Christie’s section. Her work was described as “unsettling.”  But not in a bad way. I think. I actually don’t have a clue, but maybe by tomorrow I’ll be more informed. I already feel a lot smarter about textiles. 


Monday, June 9, 2014

Do Not Go Gentle...

I started my blog, “Do Not Go Gentle…” five years ago.  The purpose was to chronicle my pursuit of two specific goals:

-          To finish in the top 10 of the USAT Age Group Championship and

-          To get my novel, “American Past Time” published.

Back then I was young and naïve and thought I would achieve those goals in a year or at most two years.

In the last five years I have made it to the Nationals twice. The first time I didn’t even finish and last year I finished 33rd  about 20 minutes out of tenth place.  I’ve qualified for the Nationals again this year and I’ve been training all winter with the goal of this year making it to the podium.

Meanwhile, I rewrote the novel three more times. In April it was published, but now the challenge is to find readers who aren’t family and friends. I want the book to be read by strangers.

2nd Place Medal
This weekend I had a rare convergence of the two missions. On Saturday I competed in the Elkhart Lake Triathlon. I finished 2nd in my age group, which is an improvement from last year when I finished 5th, but not good enough to be even close to a top ten finish in August. I still think I have a chance.  My coach has been working on form in all segments and I can see improvements (for the first time I finished 2nd in the swimming segment, which has my weakest leg). I need to pull it all together and continue to train smart for the next two months. It’s a longshot, but not impossible.

Famous author awaits his fans
On Sunday I got to attend the Printers Row Litfest as an alumni author of the Writers Studio of the Graham School of the University of Chicago. Me and James Patterson and a few other notables. I brought copies of the book to sell, but I didn’t have high expectations and I only brought four.  I didn’t sell out.  Okay I didn’t sell any. But I did give away a bunch of post cards with the laudatory Kirkus Review excerpted on the front.  

It was fun to attend and talk with other aspiring writers who were interested in the Writers Studio.
I have two months until the Nationals and then maybe I will need to come up with a new goal for the blog.  Or maybe a retirement party.

For the blog not me.