Monday, March 27, 2017

Corey at Church

107 (37)
oohs and and abound,
Centerville takes its first look,
Corey's in the house

108 (38)
excitement rises
with the day's climbing sun. our
Corey comes to church

109 (39)
proud parents carry
bundle of God's blessed grace;
Corey in our midst


3/20 - 3/26

My distance dropped off a little last week but it was still a pretty good training cycle. Monday I went to the pond for a 3.55 miles swim. The dogs got to got and they had a good time. Tuesday I was back at the pond for 4.34 miles in a little better pace than Monday's. This time the dogs didn't get to go because I left for the fish farm from the Moorhead campus. The 6,983 is my longest open water swim of the year. They will have to get much longer.

Wednesday, I stayed home and lifted weights. On the bench press, I pushed

17 X 70
10 X 100
9 X 120
6 X 140
6 X 140
6 X 140
4 X 145

On the Swim Pull, I did

55 X 21.5 + 3 washers
33 X 26.5 + 3 washers
10 X 28 + 3 washers
11 X 28 + 3 washers
12 X 28 + 3 washers

Thursday I went to DSU for a change up and some speed work. I swam

1,100 warm up
8 X 50 @ 1:30
400 medium paddles 3, 5, 7, 3 by 25s in 6:48
6 X 50 @ 1:30 decline 1-3
300 pull
400 swim 6:57
200 cool down
total: 3,100 meters

I left instead of swimming more because I wanted to save something for Friday, pond day.

Friday I was at D 10 with the dogs, and we were accompanied by 25 mile per hour winds. Amazingly, the water temp had dropped to 68. It was 69 Monday, 72 Tuesday, and the weather was warm Wednesday and Thursday. !?!?!?!? I would not have been surprised because the strong winds straight out of the south often cools the ponds. But this one had been very low and I didn't think there was any cold water on the bottom for the south wind to push up. Maybe  there was some cold water down there or maybe the wind itself, although it was in the seventies, carried off warmth. I don't know, but I find it fascinating how the water temps can fool me when I think I have it all figured out.

I only swam 1.89 miles. I climbed out to get a snack and got smacked by that wind. It chilled me and sucked out the desire to bust it big. I sat for the longest time in my truck and tried to talk myself back into the water. It's OK. I'm ahead of last year by 37,884 meters before this week. I need to be for several reasons, but I don't yet feel the panic to swim my arms off. That will come.

Saturday I hit Plate City for a focus on the Swim Pull Machine. I did

65 X 21.5 + 3 washers
60 X 23 + 3 washers
50 X 24.5 + 3 washer
35 X 26 + 3 washers
30 X 27 + 3 washers
15 X 28 + 3 washers 

For the week, I swam 18,883 meters. I hope to bust out some good ones this week. It is rainy looking out there right now, but if I don't see lightning, I plan to release the hounds at the farm before the sun sets.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Two Corey Haikus

105 (35)
the Lord took care of
Centerville's precious baby,
little Corey's home

106 (36)
when will he come to
church? Centerville waits his face,
God's grace in diapers

Friday, March 24, 2017

Changes in Chicot

As I train up, gear up, planup, and prayup for Chicot Challenge VI, I thought it was time to let you know some of the changes and the reasons for them in this years event.

1. A new course. For the sixth straight year, I have a new course in mind. I really don't like change, and I have been thinking for several years about settling on a course and leaving it. I can't remember why all the course changes in the past other than each year I wanted to swim a little farther. Chicot I was a 13.94 swim. As soon as the pain from that swim began to dim in my memory, I started scheming on a longer swim for the next year. Another thing that has forced changes in the course has been the changing nature of the swim. As the swim got longer and required more support, the rental boat forced us to make South Shore Cottages the base of our operations. That has all changed.

I called South Shore in early January to reserve the pontoon boat only to be told they no longer rent them. !!!! They were nice enough to tell me the State Park has a pontoon for rent. After securing that water craft, obviously our starting point had move with the boat. So this year's swim will start and stop at the State Park. By the grace of God, I will swim from the park to Ditch Bayou and back. That makes a little over 23 miles so I get the extra distance I wanted. I had already planned the basic route thus the new boat just reversed the course.

2. New Distance and measuring method. I have just about reached the limits of what can be swum in one day. This new course and distance may be the final form of the swim for years to come, but that remains to be seen. But one really big change in the distance is the method of measuring it. For the first time, this year's course is pre measured and landmark based. This change is to bring the swim into full compliance with accepted open water swim practices. The Marathon Swimmers Federation (marathonswimmers.org) wants the course to be landmark based so it is repeatable. I do a swim, and have it documented, then someone else can do the same swim. 

In the past, we set out an approximate course based on our knowledge of the lake and how far I wanted to go and then measure the actual distance I swam that day. With this new method of a landmark based course pre measured on Google Maps the shortest distance it could possibly be swum, I will most likely swim a mile or two farther than the named distance. This is a substantive change and has me a little nervous. More about that later.

3. Tracking capability. In the near future, I plan to purchase a Spot Tracker (http://www.findmespot.com/en/) so anyone interested will be able to keep up with the swim in real time. We will have a link on Facebook that will go to a map of the lake. The tracker will update every ten minutes and place a dot on the map. Thus, besides relying solely on Facebook words, one can see exactly where we are and how long it took to get there. This also adds a level of documentation desired my the Marathon Swimmers Federation.

4. Official Observer. Marathon swims that are recognized by governing bodies of the sport require an official observer to watch the swim and take notes during the event. In the past, we just went out and did it. This year, MJ Staples (https://www.facebook.com/mary.staples.79) of Atlanta, Georgia has agreed to serve as the observer for this swim. MJ is a marathon swimmer with a passion for and an understanding of the sport who has a desire to work "the other side of a swim." MJ has also graciously and bravely volunteered to swim with me if the event last past the daylight hours. I have always been a little afraid of the alligators at night. In the event she swims part of the way with me, Gerald Johnson will assume her duties as observer.

5. Marathon Swimmers Federation Documentation. Some of these changes, you may have figured out, are in an effort to have this swim documented by the MSF. Doing this will lend credibility to our efforts and my boast that I swam the longest swim ever on Lake Chicot and possibly in all of Arkansas.

6. Crew. Each year the crew changes. Some of these changes are planned while others are not. At this point, I don't know who the full crew will be. I am expecting Justin Nunnery, Gerald Johnson, Trevor McLain, Sheila Mitchel, MJ Staples, and my wife Penny Hodge. Possibly joining for the second year will be Debbie Johnson, and Kelsey McLain.

7. Faith. The Chicot Challenge has not only been an adventure over the years, but it has been a journey of faith. This time, I have approached things with more patience and trust in God than I have in the past. I hope to continue that, and I pray that God will in some way glorify Himself through this event that has so blessed my wife and me. 

Praise be to the God of heaven and earth.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

800th Post

EndangeredSwimmer will complete its fifth year in July. It has now become long enough that even though the blog provides a permanent record of my training, I usually look back at my hard copies when I want to see where I was a year ago. I do that a lot, compare this year with last year. Thus far, this year is looking really good on the training front.

On the writing front, things are looking even more prolific. I don't try to see how many times I can post although it may seem that way of late. I have been writing a lot because I have been having something to say and because I like to hear myself write. Some people like to hear themselves talk. Not me. But I do love to hear myself write.

I feel like I must. It is part of my job. If I am going to teach writing (and that is how I make my living) then I should practice it and model composition for my students. Plus, I have been enjoying writing on a whole new level lately. Many mornings I begin my Composition classes with some in-class writing. Sometimes I sit down to the computer with no plan but once I begin to peck at the keyboard, things just happen, thoughts comes, stories form, something is born. That is one thing I like about the process so much. Once the juices start flowing, you never know where the piece will end up. 

After 2015's 190 post, I speculated that my blog, like so many I have followed and carefully observed, would begin to retreat. Look for yourself: usually bloggers peak in their third year of writing and then, if they keep writing, they do so less and less each following year. To my own surprise, I posted not less but more in 216 with 2016 entries. That, I thought, was certainly my apex of productivity. Although 2017 is still a young year and could end in several scenarios, I am outpacing 2016 by a wide margin in terms of post numbers. Not only that, but I compose now much quicker than I did in 2012 which makes it much more possible for me to get my thoughts, feelings, records, and plans in black and white type. This 800th post makes my 41st of the month. I can't seem to stop or even slow down.

I am guessing that I will always blog as long as I have cats to love, ponds to swim, and adventures to plan for, experience, and share. So there. I hope you enjoy it. If not, just go to Facebook and look at pictures of our cats.

Bless God's Holy name.

Wednesday Weights

I chose not to go to the pond Wednesday. I am in the build stage but not yet to the point where I have to get every yard possible. I've had two consecutive good swims at the pond this week, and I surmised a change up, some strength work would be beneficial. Today, I will skip the pond agian, though it is the temp is right and the temptation high. Instead I plan to make it to DSU for some more change up, some sprinting and breathing drills, and long-course pool swimming. At Plate City, I benched

10 X 70
10 X 100
9 X 120
6 X 140
6 X 140
6 X 140
4 X 145 This is as high as I plan to go in weight. Soon I will start cutting days, then sets, then reps as the big swim draws nigh.

On the Swim Pull, I did

55 X 21.5 + 2 washers
33 X 26.5 + 3 washers
10 X 28 + 3 washers
11 X 28 + 3 washers
12 X 28 + 3 washers

lat raise

20 X 8
20 X 8
20 X 8
20 X 8

cords

10/10 pink
10/10
10/10
10/10

That made for a pretty good workout. My strength is a little higher than this time last year, and I have swum more meters.I have not run, however, but that doesn't seem to be hurting my distance swimming. I think it is maybe hurting me some on things like a hard 400. I notice then I don't have the wind I think I need to have. 

Tonight I go to DSU because Tabby Cat wants a shot a whipping me in the water. I ain't going down easy girl.

This morning the birds were singing like a riot. Thank you, God. Bless the birds today. Keep them all from violent deaths. Protect every cat someone loves. And help all the people on my prayer list. Praise your name for what You did for Patsy Misterfeld.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Prayer for Birds

I feel like my heart is not good. I went to work then turned around to go home and pick up a book I forgot. Climbing out of the truck, I noticed a small bird feather in the short spring grass. Unthinkingly, I prayed, "Lord, take care of the birds today," and with that little sentiment I realized I had never before prayed for the birds. How could I have been so blind so unfeeling so unconcerned for so long?

I do notice birds. My mom is a fool for them. When she still had some health, she took pictures of birds and flowers constantly. In January of 2012 when she was in the hospital in grave condition, she noticed every bird that flew past her window. She would ask me what kind of bird was that. "What bird?" was my usual reaction because I never noticed most of them.

She keeps birds, cockatoos and a parrot. She has for years. In fact, she was in the hospital when Dad died feeding her birds. Even now, she has several. 

At the fish farm, I am amazed at the beauty the birds provide. I wish I knew more of their names. I see mallards, Canada Geese, Cormorants,
egrets, blackbirds, and many other types of ducks. They are stunning in their grace as they fly off the ponds sometimes chased by little Pee Wee. Bear pays them no mind.

I have thanked God for their music. God blesses us with free and soothing melodies almost anytime we step outdoors. But why have I never prayed for their protection? Jesus said of sparrows that they do not, "fall to the ground without your Father" (Matthew 10:29). God pays attention. So should we. We pray for people, why not birds? God forgive the hardness of my heart. Help me notice and pray for all of your creation. Amen.