Friday, February 24, 2017


It's Friday morning and I will give you three guesses as to what I am doing. OK, you only needed one. Yes, I am drinking coffee and hanging out with Jeff and the cats. Not only that, but I am pondering what to do with the day after sleeping in 'till about 7:30 this morning. Earlier in the week, I had thought it a sure deal I would go back to DSU today. Now I am rethinking that. 

The weather has been so mild, I almost feel an obligation to God to swim the pond. It hasn't been like this for the past six years, and last night at DSU I hit 20,000 meters for a week of swimming the earliest in the year I ever have. Speaking of DSU, last night I swam

950 (thank you, Tabatha, for a longer warm up)
100 (all on a :45 per 25 base)
300 (all three times through) I found this to be a pretty challenging set. The 25 - 100 was all fast and the 300 was a recovery swim. Cagri likes that kind of stuff, alternating the fast and the slow. I suppose it works all the energy systems, thus it should build endurance and as well as speed. After Masters, I stayed and swam

4 X 700 easy, three at 12:05 and one at 12:18.
total: 5,400 yards = 4,935 meters.

That was a pretty good practice. In addition, I did something different Thursday. I went home after work and lifted weight since I was afraid I might be out of pocked Saturday, and I didn't want to miss an entire week of lifting. I was a little apprehensive about how I would feel in the water after pumping iron. I went straight to the pool from Plate City once and it was a dreadful experience. This time, however, I had about two hours and some nutrition between the two sessions. It wasn't bad but when I arrived home last night, my muscles knew they had been in a scrap. This might be a new technique of mine, to combine the lifting and swimming. How I feel in the water today will in part determine if I repeat this next week.

Speaking of the pond, I think I will go back there today. The dogs have such a good time. I love seeing children and animals playing and having fun. I like that almost as much as having fun myself.

The weather is beautiful, God is good, and the cats are sweet. Praise God.

On Ponds and My Return

I just found out that one of my student's dad is a fish farmer. Actually I knew already but forgot. He wrote about it in his initial in-class essay. Today we are doing our warm up writing about catfish ponds. He lit up like a Christmas tree at that topic so I began to query him about the size of his ponds. He said he has some twenty acre ponds. Cha ching!! I asked him if I could swim and he said, "Yes." Cha ching, cha ching, cha ching!!! I really have lots of ponds already, but it is always nice to have some backups. Most likely his are too far away because I think he lives around Belzoni. But who knows, I may drive down sometimes just for a change of pace.

I really like the pond I am swimming now because it is large and well off the beaten path. Since I am now taking the dogs with me, being secluded is a good thing in part because Pee Wee chases automobiles. I never had this problem before so I don't know how to cure it, but it's dangerous for him and I would be devastated if anything bad happened to the little fellow.

Recently, my current pond was restocked with fish and a lot of them. As small as they are now, mostly that is not a problem. I did, however, run into them one day last week. They were all piled up in one corner and I was literally pulling myself through a pile of fish. Yes, I got finned but not too badly. When I told David about it, he said that's how the hybrids are. 


Hybrids are a cross between the channel cat and the blue cat. The farmers are going that way because hybrids are tougher, more disease resistant, feed more aggressively, and grow faster. That's good for them but bad for me. That means these fish are going to grow quickly and food like crazy and if I am in the pond when the feed trick  comes by, I will get torpedoed mercilessly by fish. It's happened before and is a bit unsettling at best. It also means it won't be long before the fish and I are competing for space. In short, In will need a new pond soon. 

Actually, David has already suggested a pond for me, D 10. I drove over there once and mistakenly swam D 11. Since D 10 is currently fish free and recently repaired (that means clean), it will be a good choice. The problem is all the D ponds are low right now. When I asked David about the low water, he said they have electrical lines to run to the paddle wheels and when they finish that all those ponds will be pumped up. Now to hurry up and wait.

Speaking of ponds, Wednesday I was presented with a dilemma. I had a choice to make because Wednesday is often one of my major weightlifting days. But with the weather so nice and the pond temps so high, the temptation to go swim was strong. I turned it this way and that way in my mind. Since Penny's dad was having heart surgery that day, I knew most likely we would be in Jackson Saturday thus knocking out my other main day to lift. I think the lifting is important, but given a choice swimming should win every time. I just did not want to lose an entire week of lifting.

But . . .

I went to the pond.

The dogs had a blast as usual. So did I. The pond had risen to 68, that perfect temp for me and wetsuit swimming. That is really warm enough to swim skins but at that temp I often still freeze out. So probably I will let the water hit 70 before I ditch the suit for the year. 

I made four full laps which is three miles plus, but my watch lost satellite reception once so it only showed 2.58 miles. Pee Wee, unlike Bear, made every lap with me. Seeing him up on the shore rolling and sniffing and smiling, sometime drinking really makes the swim more enjoyable. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

One More Pool Haiku

green water, dead leaves
cold foot enters dying pool
he swims for a cause

birds chirp inside cage,
glass door shows cold patio,
man sits in warm chair

darkness steals the day
lone bird lands on swaying branch
snowflakes pelt cold beak

Typical Tuesday

It was a typical Tuesday which meant I taught at the Moorhead campus then made my way to the kids house after work. The pond was a real temptation for me since I had so much fun there Monday. But I felt almost like I would be cheating on the dogs if I went without them. How did that happen?

Sorry about the quality here.

I guess one way it happened involves how things turned out last year during my Chicot training. Randy Beets moved to North Carolina a few years ago and forever changed how I train. Then John, my pool partner, was out of pocket the whole spring being occupied with taking his wife to the doctor during a bad spell in her health. In short, I, an introvert and loner, became lonesome, something which rarely happens to me. Now when I go to the pond, I have someone there, two someones in fact, Bear and Pee Wee. They run and romp and have the best time ever. They even follow me around the pond as I swim laps. Bear goes around once, but Pee Wee will stay for as many laps as I have swum thus far. Bear is as lazy as he is smart. He figures the game out and after one loop waits on me at the truck. In the shade, of course.

They not only provide me company, but Pee Wee makes me cry every time I watch him run. He reminds me of my dad's bird dogs that I grew up hunting with. He ranges like a pointer, and he hits the brush like one. He hunts. It's in him, placed there by God. I wish Dad could watch this little fellow go. He would be impressed I am sure and I can't watch the happy canine without thinking of Dad. This dog is not only full of energy and hunting instincts, but he is happy and they both have a blast when we go to the pond. We'll have to go back soon. For them, of course.

Oh, I almost forgot. I swam 6,000 yards at DSU. That brought me to 10,800 meters for two days of swimming and the weather forecast looks good. Here I go. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hodge Unhappy

Hodge Cries Fowl
By Jay Unver

Lehrton, Mississippi. Zane Hodge was as angry as I have ever seen him, and I have seen him murderously mad at Randal Beets several times over the past few years. Big ASS Endurance had just announced the expansion of their Wikileaks, uh Wikibeets, investigation as it is now being called. Additionally, they revealed that the inquiry was "now focusing mostly on Hodge," according to President and CEO Dr. Timothy Nomann.

"Beets," Hodge kept repeating over and over. "I knew he was a low down son of a skunk, but I never thought he had either the intelligence or the spitefulness to pull this off."

"What proof have you that Randal Beets is behind this?" I asked. We were at Plate City Gym, an hour after the announcement. The gym is the one place I can usually find Hodge and get some insight into his mood and thought.

"Proof? Just look at his reaction when this first broke. He was jumping up and down like a little kid at Christmas, practically laughing out loud. He was on TV doing that. Then he posted the video of his shadenfruede on YouTube and Facebook. Isn't it obvious?"


"Yeah. That's a German word that means 'joy at someone else's misfortune.'"

"Shadenfruede is not proof," I answered him. "Some would say it's not even evidence. If you have evidence that Beets started this ball rolling, you need to reveal it."

"I don't have any evidence. Not the courtroom kind. But trust me, he did it and I will do everything in my power to prove it. And if I ever catch him walking the street, I'm going to knock him out."

"That could get you suspended from Big ASS," I informed him.

"That is where this is headed anyway. Suspension. I can see it coming like a bad car wreck. Beets has been dreaming and scheming on me for years. When Nomann snubbed me at the banquet, the writing was on the wall. And then Beets won all those awards. He's finally getting it his way. I tell you what, if I get suspended, there's no telling what I'll do. Besides beating his butt, I will most likely move back to the Fasttrack Fatties. That's an organization founded on principle not on arbitrary rules they use to hang you with. They don't have these silly reporting requirements where you can get suspended if you make a simple mistake in arithmetic, and say you swam 20,000 meters when you only swam 19,900 because you added wrong. All of this is as stupid as Randy Beets is goofy. They act like you cheated or something if there is a reporting mistake."

"I don't remember you having this reaction when Beets was suspended over misreporting his height," I reminded him.

"And we still don't know how tall he is, do we?" Hodge snapped back.

"But either reporting matters or it doesn't. Which is it? You were all for it when it hit Beets. Now you are against it when you apparently think it is going to hit you."

"OK. I'm inconsistent. Sue me. I'm for anything that's against Beets and anything that's for me. It's called being competitive."

"Some would say it's called being a hypocrite."

Hodge reacted strongly at that. His face turned red, and then he stood up and stepped towards me with his right fist balled up as if he intended to strike me around the head and shoulders. His anger was alarming and I sought to deescalate the situation as quickly as possible.

"You're a preacher, aren't you?" I asked him, appealing to his better nature

"What's that got to do with it?"

"Preachers can't be beating people up."

"Samson did, and he made Scripture."

"Well, if you pull a Samson on me, you won't make Scripture, but you will make the newspaper. The Police Docket."

That caused him to think better of things and he sat down on a bench, stewing in silence.

"What am I going to do?" he asked after a few minutes of saying nothing.

"What have you done to get into trouble?" I asked. "No charges have been filed as of now."

"Geez. When they start one of these things, they're like the IRS. They're gunna find something whether there is anything to find or not. Beets has been working on this for years. Sucking up to Nomann and sending Christmas gifts to all the secretaries at Big ASS. I thought he was over it, over all the past fights and feuds we've had. But all this time he was working behind the scenes and simmering in thoughts of revenge."

He sat a bit longer and stared at the floor. Then he got up and said, "I better go hire Tom Flanagan of Morgan Morgan and Morgan to represent me. This is going to get worse before it gets better." 

So he drove away once more leaving behind a cloud of blue smoke big enough to kill the town's mosquitoes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

More Bad Haiku

tall grass hides big cat,
nervous deer graze open field,
rising sun melts frost

cats nap without shame,
man enjoys lazy felines,
sleet pelts house's roof

feet slip on algae, 
water burns and bites like fire,
swim man strokes away

Monday, Funday

I took pups and headed to the pond as soon as I got off work and loaded the truck. The weather is a pure godsend; I suppose it always is, but the way it has been lately has made me think God ordered it up just for me. As I did the last time, I let the hounds out about a half a mile before my parking spot and let them run in. Bear runs just fast enough to keep the truck in sight. Pee Wee races the truck and tries to bite the tires. That last part is not good.

After parking, I set my thermometer to soaking and started the arduous process of getting dressed. It takes a while and it is difficult. If it were not hard to get into and out of a wetsuit, the suit would not work. I also have to spend time preparing my nostrils for taping, and for the actual taping. That is to keep out the brain-eating amoeba that kill several people each year. They enter the body through the nasal passages and destroy the brain. Not only that, but the taped nose, I theorize, discouraged alligator attacks as well as prevents sinus infections due to the high bacteria content of the water.

The water temp was 64. What?!?!? It was that Saturday and Sunday the weather was 80 degrees and sunny all day. But this time of year, the temps do strange things because there is a lot of cold water just under the surface of the ponds even when the top foot temps are nice. 

I did notice that the pond was more uniform in temperature than Saturday and it was warmer farther under the surface than then. That made the total effect much better, and although I froze out Saturday, I could have swum for hours Monday. I stopped at four laps and a double on the parking end. I like to build slowly, and that gave me 3.31 miles in 1:38 for an average pace per mile of 29:40. A pretty nice swim and my longest in the pond this year.

We took a walk after the swim, and my feet were not feeling like blocks of ice. It was a nice day and I am really fired up about some upcoming open water training efforts.

Praise be to God from whom all blessing flow.