Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Countdown Begun

Yeah, I am getting nervous. I always do. Once inside the two week window, what I call the countdown phase, the nerves start rising. At this point, the fitness is either built or it is not built. The trick is not to de-train while resting and getting the mind right. Presently, my mind is not right. Yesterday I started doing some of the little things, like rigging up a new rope that will have my feeding bottle attached to it. Last year's apparatus was a little too short. I found an old strap that I thought would be perfect, so I added a float and some pink duct tape for style and visibility.

Oddly, I did not swim Monday. I think I am still traumatized from running over Pee Wee last Thursday. Monday was rainy and that always makes me lazy. Then after lunch, CC climbed up on the bed with me and took a nap. That did me in. I napped with her and then felt terribly guilty for not doing anything.

Tuesday, I did the work on the feeding rope and afterwards headed to the pond with the dogs. Pee Wee was not shy about getting out and running. He still gets in front of the truck and after running over two dogs, that makes me really nervous. Bear, however, has not been in front of the truck since our accident. He is an unusually smart dog, and I don't think you could run over him now if you tried. Pee Wee, on the other hand, is still as wild as ever and most of the time is out of sight running just ahead of the vehicle's front tires. We did make it to the pond and back without incident.

There I swam four laps plus and a little extra. On what I call the backside (the south levee), I did some pickups. On each lap I upshifted to 85% or higher for increasingly longer lengths on every trip around. I started with the first telephone pole on the backside and swam hard to the first aerator. On the second trip, once more starting at the first pole, I busted it to the second aerator. On the third trip, I burned it to the wildflowers that are just before the third aerator. The fourth time around, I just kept it easy. I finished with 3.32 miles.

Tuesday, I also contacted the Greenwood Commonwealth and WXVT about the swim. I hope they provide coverage because the Commonwealth article has always caused a spike in donations in the realm of $500 to $600. Charles Corder has not responded so I can only pray that I will receive a call from Bob Darden who usually writes the article. Woodrow Wilkins of WXVT only sent a thumbs up emoticon in response to my message. Oh well, the ball is in their court. If you pray, pray for this, pray for good weather on June 3rd, and pray for the swim's success and the crew's safety. 

Praise be to God.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Love Doth Wake

Cypress tees are sentinels
  who tell their tales to God.
Angels sit on their knees,
  clouds drift and block moon rays.
Frogs speak an unknown tongue,
  she warms with the rising sun.
The lengthening days break her sleep,
  the challenger returns to her beauty.
She gives him great favor.

Monday, May 22, 2017


lonely cat hunts bird 
that sings love for all to hear,
snow flakes lands on nose.

small mouse scampers fast,
acorn in his tiny mouth,
hides from falling snow.

cats nap without shame,
man enjoys his lazy pets,
sleet pelts house's roof.

5/15 - 5/21

It was another strange week. I have had lots of those this time around. The totals were pretty good but with only three days in the water I feel a little strange, untrained. It went like this.

Monday I got a big one in at D10 with 8.22 miles. Eight-milers are always good. Tuesday I was laid up with kidney stones. Wednesday I passed two stones and then went out for a short 3.33 afterwards. Thursday did another big one, 10.4 miles. That is my longest training swim ever and it popped me pretty hard.

I intended to swim Friday but I was tired and had things I needed to do around the house like mow the lawn and word on Plate City Gym. Believe it or not, I do like to do things other than swim, and I even need to do other of these other things. Saturday, I studied, did some work on Plate City, made some visitation for the church, and intended to go out for another short swim. But once home, I became lethargic and stayed in. Only three swims, but 35,315 meters. Strange as it may seem, I am nervous about my fitness. The scarcity of swims and the lack of running has cast a cloud of doubt into my mind. What else is new?

Chicot is less than two weeks away. 

Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Man, Boy, Child Again

child watches dad hunt,
boy wander big woods alone,
man dreams of young days.

boy wanders and hunts,
man pursues others interests,
old man remembers.

Friday, May 19, 2017


I don't even want to tell you about it. You will judge me I am sure. I took the dogs to the pond and we had a time, bad and good. Here's the story.

Pee Wee has become habituated to a barking fest with a lab that chases us as we drive by on our way to our pond. The little turd goes nuts and barks about 120 times per minute. Bear hates it, and I'm not too crazy about it myself.

I crack the back windows about six inches so the little beast can stick his head out and let the world know he owns the truck we travel in. Well, the lab met us early (did he know we were coming) and Pee Wee weaseled out the window and hit the pavement at I don't know what speed. The way I knew he was out was I heard him hit the asphalt. He rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled and came out of his last roll into a dead run. Amazing. He went straight for the lab who just froze. I've seen the little turd fight before. He can be aggressive. 

He did a quick stare down at the frightened bigger dog then bolted back into a wide open run. Me yelling his name at the top of my lungs didn't slow him a step. So I jumped back in and tore out to catch him. We were still miles from the pond and it was much too hot for him to run all the way. He was running all over the road, but to his credit, when a vehicle approached, he always moved to the shoulder on our side of the road.

I could see him getting hot so I pulled up onto a pond levee and he hit the water. Pee Wee can't stop. Usually he runs out into the water and gulps once or twice without ever stopping. This time he was really hot and dry but he can't stop. That's just the way he rolls. What does he do? He swims out into the pond and drinks while swimming in circles. That dog.

Back on the pavement we made another mile or two, and I once more became concerned for him so I hit another levee. This time the water level was low and there was a steep drop to the surface. Pee Wee can't stop so he kept running to the edge and peering over and then moving on and peering over. I suppose he wanted to see if there was water on the other side of the levee. That's when it happened. He ran in front of the truck. I was only going about five miles per hour but somehow I felt that bump bump and heard that sickening yelping. Yeah. I did it again. I have now run over both of my dogs.

He had blood in his mouth and that almost freaked me totally insane. I picked him up and put him in the back seat. What to do? The vet is closed. How bad is he injured? When we got to the pond, the blood was gone. I let him out, and he just limped off. He went all the way to the other side of the pond and waded in and stood there. That looks odd, I thought so I went over there but he didn't let me get close. I tried and tried but he wouldn't let me near him. I went back to the truck and cried.

I was as low as a tad pole's toe nail when I waded into the water and began to swim. I have several friends with problems. I hear bad new on social media. I ran over my dog. He won't let me touch him. I prayed and prayed and swam and swam. Finally, Pee Wee showed up on the south levee and followed along like he always does. But he only made one length and disappeared. 

I took a break after 3.75 miles. Pee Wee was nowhere in sight. Then I looked under the truck. He was there. At least I knew he hadn't run away. I swam some more and pushed the total up to 6.26. When I got out for a break, this time Pee Wee came out and spoke to me. He let me pet him, and he licked my hand. I sat in the cab of the truck and cried.

I swam again and again. The last mile, I stopped several times to adjust my goggles, check my Garmin, and ponder if I wanted to continue. When the watched buzzed ten miles at the upper end of the pond, I turned and swam back to the truck. I felt like I had been steamrolled and Pee Wee had been. Every muscle in my upper body was shot. Remember, I swam 8.22 Monday, passed two kidney stones Tuesday, and swam 3.33 Wednesday. I was done. Pee Wee loaded into the cab with no problem. He only barked a lot on the drive to Greenwood. I carried him in my arms like a little baby to the back yard when we got home. That dog.

Thank you Jesus creating this dog and saving him in this accident. Thank you for a good day of training; thank you for a good week of training.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hodge Appeals

Hodge Appeals
By Jay Unver

(Lehrton, Mississippi) Attorneys representing Zane Hodge appeared before Dr. Timothy Nomann this morning at the Association's Training Center in downtown Lehrton, MS. The special called conference was part of an expected appeal of the star swimmer's suspension. In a surprise move, however, lead lawyer Tom Flanagan reiterated his and his client's acceptance of the Association's banishment. What he did ask for was not a repeal of the suspension, but a temporary dispensation allowing the Chicot Challenge VI to be an official swim carrying "full recognition by Big ASS Endurance." 

"After all," Flanagan argued, "this is a charity swim benefiting children and adults in Mississippi. To reduce the swim to unofficial status could result in lower levels of giving, and that could never be the Association's intent."

Furthermore, Flanagan noted that his client had already missed the Viking Half Marathon as well as the Natchez Trace Festival 5K. "We propose a one day exception to the suspension with the banishment resuming as soon as Chicot VI is completed. Hodge still pays a tremendous price, but his transgressions are not passed on to innocent children."

Dr. Nomann listened without comment. Lawyers representing the Association offered no counter argument. Nomann then promised a ruling within one week.