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Name: John Fieldhouse

Birthday: November 19, 1966

Occupation: High School Music Teacher


The Challenge:

13 mile run

56 mile bike

1.2 mile swim

3.4 beers

3.4 cocktails

3.4 Cuca's burrito's

34 days to train


Half Ironman: Birthday Challenge Style

bikealone1.JPG (33085 bytes) On December 30, 2000, John Feildhouse of Redlands, CA, ended the millenium by completing his birthday challenge.

On his real birthday in November, John found himself too busy and not near fit enough to have a realistic chance at his goal so he re-defined his challenge by giving himself 34 days to train.

What follows are reports on the day from all it's participants: John, Reed Bartlett, Todd Mei, Steve Edwards, and John's fiancée, Jen Hirsch.




above: Apres Challenge, Chez Fieldhouse: John, Jen, Cali
below: John, Jen and Steve before the swim
other shots: John doing stuff

The Swim


John wisely planned his Challenge accordingly: it played to his strengths, was harder than anything he had done before, and that he couldn’t do without training for the event. He spent 34 days training for his challenge, minus two weeks when he was laid up with the flu. Then the big day was upon him. His main support came from his fiancée Jen Hirsch, who was going to count laps on the swim, drive shuttle on the cycling leg and take part in some of the run. Steve was planning on helping with the ride, Todd was going to do the run with him and I was planning no trying to do the whole thing. I didn’t believe that I had much of a chance, but I decided to try to do it anyway.


After a late night of drinking; Reed and I were moving slowly and arrived at John and Jen's a few minutes late. John was pacing in front of the house and immediately I could tell that he was taking this a little more serious than we were. For me, this was the first birthday challenge that I was not trying to do most or all of so my attitude was very casual. It was obvious that John's was not. He was nervous, for sure, but in that aggressive, "I can't wait to get started" sort of way.


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When we got to the pool there were no open lanes. Finally John got a lane to swim in, but there was no lane for me to use, and I didn’t mind one bit. John started swimming and looked strong.

Eventually some more lanes opened up and I decided that I should at least do a little swimming. I decided upon .3 miles, or one quarter of John’s challenge. I never swim, so it wasn’t easy. I swam crawl for about two laps before I had to start mixing in the breaststroke. Steve and Jen said that although I was moving my arms faster than John, he was swimming faster. I guess knowing what you are doing helps. My shoulders were pretty tired by the time I finished my little bit of swimming, but John looked totally strong as he finished up his swim.


The Challenge began with the swim (naturally).The pool was full, and when a lane finally opened up, I had to fend off an ornery octogenarian. Once in the pool, all went smoothly: swim time approx. 37 min.

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While John was swimming, Jen and I got a chance to talk about his challenge. We decided that he needed some drinking and eating challenges and in true Birthday Challenge style we added 3.4 beers and 3.4 cocktails and 3.4 Cuca’s burritos.

He got out of the pool and we told him that we had increased his challenge. He was pretty game, but he wasn’t sure about the burritos. He quickly changed and then got ready to do some cycling.

left: I have to do WHAT?!!

The Bike