Saturday, May 30, 2020

One or Two

Everything is all mixed up right now. Penny and I are back and forth to the Hideout so much that my schedule is non-scheduled. Friday I did one or two workouts. 


Yeah, depends on how you count them. I guess it was actually one, a brick. I did my first brick of the year.

What's a brick?

A brick is a piece of triathlon jargon that refers to a combination bicycle ride and run. You take a ride and then get off the bike and run.

So what is the big deal?

It's not easy running off the bicycle. You hip flexors are tight, your legs are tired, and your legs are tired in a non-running way. The quads are pretty much blown out while everything else is OK. So when you start running, it feels odd, it feels bad, and you feel foolish.

That bad?

Usually. Depends a lot on how far and how hard you ride. You get better with the transition the more times you do it.

Well, how did it go?

For my first brick of the season, it was not too bad. I cycled out Money Road turning around at 11.4 miles. On the way back, I heard a racket and looked back to see a John Deere tractor gaining on me. I went to the big chain ring on the front, picket up some speed, and when he came around, I up shifted in the back and latched on.

Latched on?

So to speak. I got behind him and drafted him all the way to town.

Does that really make a difference?

Huge. That sped me up about three-miles per hour and the effort went way down.

Isn't that dangerous?

In my mind, it is safer than riding alone.

How do you figure?

No one in a car is going to hit me all long as they have to hit the tractor too. 

What if he stops quickly?

Have you ever seen a tractor stop quickly?


You have to pay attention. The biggest danger is something in the road. You can't see the road so you could hit a pot hole or an object lying there. But it is not a reckless activity. I don't do reckless activities.

OK. Where did you ride from?

The Hideout. My first ride from the Hideout and my first brick from the Hideout.

The run. Tell me about the run.

It was not too bad. My pace was about as slow as usual. I went 3.06 miles, my short course from over there.

What else did you do?

Move stuff. I did not swim. I did not lift, except furniture. The FBI allowed Sheila to come back by and I thought, two women and a truck, lets move stuff. So I went to Bowie, got the box truck and we went to Monroe and loaded it.

The whole truck.

Yes. Sheila is very strong. And she works hard. She sweats like a trooper and never complains. She even brought us a gift when she arrived. She is one of my favorite people in all the world.

And Simon, did Simon work?

He did, but the high-tech security fence is coming along slowly. But it is happening. I am happy as long as things are happening.

Well, congratulations.

Thank you. And thank you, Jesus.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Visitor at the Hideout

The Hideout was a bustle of activity all day Thursday. After opening up for Simon, I went to Home Front, bought, hauled, and unloaded some more of those special boards for the fence. A little after that, the cable man came, but he only did one installation. I have to call back for another appointment to get the other cables run. Who knew? 

Penny spent a good deal of the day on the phone with AT&T. Thanks to her longsuffering determination to get our WiFi working, I am typing this at the Hideout.

I was supposed to meet John at the big pool at 9:30. On a hunch I called him to see how late he was going to be. He was asleep. With so much to do, I left without a swim. I went back to the Hideout and took a short shuffle going 3.06 miles. I now have a route for that.

Next, I mowed the lawn at our Witness Protection Program place. Then I took down some of that tacky cable wire that Direct TV had put all over the outside of the house. I also did some raking in the backyard. Thanks to Simon clearing a small jungle back there to make room for the fence, we have an additional eight feet of yard.

Simon finally started putting up fencing boards on the security fence. This is a special fence that is bullet proof, fire proof, bomb proof, has a laser that will shoot down drones, and has electronic detection software installed that will prevent us from being cyber spied on.

Then we had a visitor. Of course, she had to be vetted by the FBI. They investigated her, cleared her for a visit, but still patted her down for weapons and scanned her for electronics before she could enter the house. She has to remain anonymous so I can't mention her name. Thank you for the visit, Sheila. You made our day.

After all of that, Penny and I made another haul of stuff, mostly yard stuff. Then we went to KFC for some pick up supper. I had no internet access to watch YouTube like I usually do so I had to watch regular TV.

It was a impressively productive day. Thank you, Jesus. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020


Wednesday started early with me being in True Value in Grenada at 7:00 a.m. Already I told you about the shortage of treated wood brought on by Corona. I went over there the get a load of decking boards. I was back at the Hideout and unloading by 8:00 a.m.

Penny was in and out. I took a short shuffle somewhere around 10:00 doing a mere 3.06 miles. The weather, which started out rainy and was predicted to stay that way all day, had turned clear and warm, perfect for Simon to make some progress on the fence. 

After lunch, I met John at the pool. He was late. After being out for three months, you would think he could be on time. But no. I guess he wants to show he is the king and every one has to wait on him. I had swum 1,500 by the time he got there. Then kids and lifeguards showed up so we left. They are starting to teach swim lessons and despite having two pools now, we are running into snags. I only got 2,800 in before we abdicated the water.

I had hoped to ride, but when I made my way back to the Hideout, I discovered that Simon needed some more concrete mix. I went to Home Front and while there I found out that they had more decking boards in stock so I bought a load, a load being forty-five boards. I hauled them over and unloaded and stacked them in the back. That gives us 177 boards, enough to keep Simon busy for a while. It looks like he will start putting up the boards Thursday.

A lot is going on right now, and I am trying to keep training as much as possible. Like happens and it is certainly happening now. Thank you, Jesus, for all the good changes and the training that I am still getting done.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Tuesday started with me unlocking the gate at the Hideout and then heading to Homefront to get more lumber. There is currently a shortage of treated lumber. When Simon and I hauled supplies Saturday, we got all the 4 X 4s, 2 X 4s, screws, nails, and concrete mix we needed. We also hauled in 70 pieces of decking for the fence. We need 300 pieces of decking. At Homefront, I was given a lecture on the shortage. Allegedly COVID-19 is responsible for this also. People being quarantined got to looking at their fences and decks and started calling carpenters and having repairs made. Huh? Who woulda thunk that. I woulda thunk that wood yards being shut down was responsible.

I was told that there were only 20 pieces on the lot. I bought them only to find out that the real number was 17. So I got all they had and went back to the Hideout. That gives us 87 pieces of the needed 300.

After unloaded and moving trash to the road, I went for a run. I shuffled for 4.1 miles. My legs were really flat from the seven miler and the squats from the day before. Penny is off work and she was in and out all morning. After the run, I did some calling around looking for more decking boards. I found some in Grenada so I set my mind to get up Wednesday morning and make the trip there to haul back all my truck will safely carry.

After lunch I met John at the pool. What? Yeah, John is back. Of course he immediately began trying to reschedule my whole life. This might get ugly. I am too busy and under too much stress for him to try to manipulate me right now. Of course I told him about things going on at the Hideout. He instantly started telling me what I need to do. If you ever read of me being arrested for assault, this will be why. You can deal with something for weeks, months, years, consult experts, think intently, weight the options, start working a plan, and when someone in the Delta hears thirty seconds of it, they have all the answers and tell you what to do. Listen people. Shut up. Keep your advice to yourself. You might mean well, but have you ever thought of how patronizing it is to hear a few seconds of something some else is neck deep in and then think you know it all?

I swam

500 warm up 9:42
500 first 100 fast 9:01
500 second 100 fast 8:53
500 third 100 fast 8:57
500 fourth 100 fast 8:51
400 easy
total: 2,900 yards =2,650 meters

Brian and still out of pocket and I decided I had no time to ride. Instead, I went back to Plate City and lifted doing both push and pull. I decided that instead of resetting, I would try my density bench press workout again. I pressed

5 X 82
5 X 102
6 X 127
5 X 127
5 X 127
5 X 127
5 X 127
5 X 127
5 X 127
5 X 127 (I did the 127s in 6:55)
5 X 122 incline
8 X 107 incline

I did some triceps push downs, some Swim Pulls, and some seated rows.

So I did three workouts and a lot of work at the Hideout. It was a productive day. Thank you, Jesus.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Productive Day

Things are hopping at the Hideout. Simon has started on the fence. First he had to clear bushes and brush, enough refuse to fill a trailer truck. Then he laid out the lines and set the corner posts. Then to set the other posts he had to dig and chop and cut roots. But it is happening and that makes me happy. He says he will finish this week.

Penny is off work and she is hauling stuff over like a good, strong woman. I made a couple of small loads, moved some brush to the street, then went for a run. I shuffled for 7.1 miles. This week, the running will lighten each day. I'll tell you why in a later post. After the run, I worked legs at Plate City Strongman. I did squats, leg curls, and my patented drop set on the leg extension.

I went to the pool after lunch and swam

2,650 52:22
 1350 22:36
  850 medium paddles 16:06
  350 back 8:29
  650 fr/back 10:53
 total: 5,750 yards = 5,255 meters

That gave me my three workouts. I thought about riding, but I was too tired. Brian did not text. I remembered later that he is out of pocket all week so it I ride, I will have to do it on my own.

It was a productive day. Thank you, Jesus.

Monday, May 25, 2020

5/18 - 5/24

Last week was a solid block of training. It was not a 20/20 week. I missed a couple of swims because of things going on at the Hideout. I did, however, resume bicycle riding so the aerobics went through the roof.

Monday I ran 6.05 miles, stroked 5,000 yards in a straight swim, and lifted weights. Tuesday is when the cycling started. I shuffled 3.03 miles, swam 3,100 yards, and rode after Brian Waldrup texted me and asked me if I wanted a spin. O'Ryan Patterson, a cycling newbie, rode with us. I understand that he is a product of MDCC and a chef at Giardinia's. We went 17.03 miles, and when I got home, I hit Plate City for my second weight session of the week.

Wednesday I ran from the Hideout, then did my leg session of five sets of squats and some extensions there. Later I swam 5,600 yards, and Brian and I rode again this time, however, we only went ten miles. We were both tired from Tuesday.

Thursday, we were back at it, cycling 20.54 miles. First, however, I shuffled a super short 1.51 miles and swam 4,600 yards. When I got home from the biking, it was too late to lift. I could have, but I take West Nile more seriously than I take Corona. I don't go outside at night and let mosquitoes bite me.

Friday I kept things simple. I ran. I told Brian Thursday that I was out. I wanted, needed a long run. Friday is normally when I do that. I shuffled 11.1 miles. It was terribly slow. Really, some of my miles were slower than my walking pace. I could have literally started walking and sped up. But I did it and it should be good for my running endurance. That effort left little time or energy for anything else.

Saturday I neither swam nor lifted. I did, however, ride with Brian. When we got ready to go, I noticed the wind was howling out of the south. I texted him that information and he decided we should go one way, north, and have his wife, Tonya, pick us up at the end of Money Road. That's what we did and if felt great to go really fast on the bicycle. I know what you are thinking. You think that wasn't worth much because we got help from the wind. Actually, you will ride much harder with a tail wind. It's like motor pacing, riding behind a car. You will work much harder because the speed gooses you up into an effort you just won't give at slower speeds.

For the week, I

swam only 16,722 meters,
ran 24.71 miles, 
lifted weights four times, and 
cycled 66.04 miles.

That's good training right there. I don't care who you are. Thank you, Jesus, for a week of life and a week of strong training.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

My Third Favorite Memory of Mom

For Mother's Day, I recently wrote a piece about my second favorite memory of my mother. Something happened recently that got me thinking along this line again, and I did not want to wait until Mother's Day of 2021 to share it. I saw a picture. I was going through an envelope my sister had given me, one filled with pictures of me. She had gathered these when we cleaned out Mom's house. In that batch of pictures, I found this.

From left to right: My younger sister, Carol,
my older sister, Helen, and the real
cowboy, Zane. Quinton was not
even a twinkle in my mom's
eye at this point.
This image warmed my heart, flooded me with memories, and an overloaded my feelings. Maybe you can tell that I was a cowboy. At that time TV programming was dominated by cowboy shows, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Palatin, The Rifleman, Bonanza, The Big Valley, Rawhide, and others, many others. All the kids on Harding Street played cowboys and Indians constantly.

Notice the jeans. Momma had to buy those. Notice the boots (well you can't see them but I had them on). Momma had to buy those. Notice the six gun on the hip. Momma had to buy that. Notice the rope. Mom had to give me that. Notice the jacket. Momma had to buy that. Notice the bandanna around the neck. Momma had to buy that. Notice the hat. Momma had to buy that.

Somewhere around this time, I had a birthday. I might have turned five, I guess. I remember Mom asking me what I wanted as a gift. I told her I wanted a gun that went like this, and I moved my right hand up and down. I didn't know how to verbalize my desire, and she didn't know how to interpret my attempt. What I wanted was a lever action rifle because that is what the cowboys on TV used.

She took me on a trip to try to find what I wanted. That's a momma. Although it has been almost sixty years, I am sure we went to Carrollton Avenue, a block or two west of the Crystal Grill. We went inside a store that had plate glass windows as big as the sky. The store was huge and if you cleared it out, you could have played a football game in there. The ceiling must have been eighty feet high. On the west side of the store-- I am sure of that-- we found one. We found a lever action rife, a cap gun. That was what I wanted, and Mom made it happen. 

Only a few years ago, I asked Mom if she remembered that birthday/shopping trip. I wanted to check my memory, if it was really on Carrollton Avenue and the rifle was on the west wall. What was the name of the store? If any of you readers remember the store, please leave a comment below.

She did not remember. I wasn't surprised. It was just another day in her life, but for me it was huge. Momma took my gibberish, tried to interpret, and when she couldn't she went the extra mile to make sure her little cowboy was properly outfitted. Thank you, Mom. Thank you, Jesus, for letting me be born to Jo Ann Hodge.