Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Help Needed

Dude. I knew something had to happen. Things were going pretty smoothly in the buildup to Chicot Challenge VI. The first fright I had with this swim was when I called South Shore Cottages to reserve one of their pontoon boats. They politely informed me that they were no longer in the boat renting business.


They did let me know that the Lake Chicot State Park had one so I called them immediately and secured that boat. Then this morning I received a phone call from Lake Village. I answered. It was the State Park Marina. There is a problem with their pontoon. It was being loaded onto a trailer for a trip to a shop for repairs when if fell off and did additional damage. "Now we have to get three estimates and we haven't even started that yet. Thought you ought to know." 

Maybe it will be ready. Maybe not.

In short, I have to find a boat.

The Bible says: 

     My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.
     Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 
     But let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect and entire             wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4 KJV)

The Bible also says:

     And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,         to them who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

I love God. I am called according to His purpose. This swim has seen God's ownership so I am expecting to find a boat and expecting good things to happen out of this complication.

If you are a praying person, please add this to your list. We could do the swim without a big boat, but that would put serious stress on the kayakers and force them to be in a tiny water craft for a long, long, time. It also would reduce our visibility, safety, and the number of people who can participate. 

Mystery Solved

Mystery Solved
By Jay Unver

(Lehrton, MS). The mystery of Zane Hodge's location has been solved. This reporter, clad in a ghillie suit and operating on a tip from a confidential source, hid his car and walked through the woods to the Lehrton County Coon Hunters' Association club house located deep in the woods off Jimmy Jack Road. From a safe distance and using a pair of high power, high resolution binoculars, I spied through an open window what looked like a despondent Hodge sitting inside. He appeared to be weeping while Junior Jones cooked steaks on grill on the porch. Around him was a gaggle of people, one petting him on the shoulder, another backwards-collar-wearing preacher praying, and a fat man who appeared to be a stand-up comic telling jokes. Their efforts seemed to have little positive impact on the distraught star swimmer.

Speculation as to Hodge's whereabouts and mental condition has been rampant of late and many have sought to track down the fallen and disgraced athlete. My latest intell said Hodge has been under constant supervision and on suicide watch since his plea and sentencing. From what I could tell looking through my binoculars, Hodge is in fact in a sad state indeed. 

One rumor had Hodge taking a submarine to Brazil where he allegedly was living in the jungle and surviving by hunting wild pigs and monkeys by day and hanging out at a bordello by night. Another rumor was sure he had fled to Mexico and was a short order cook in the tiny town of Guadalosta hid away in the mountains of southwest Jalisco. A third theory said Hodge had moved to Canada, undergone plastic surgery, and was surviving by picking up aluminum cans along Quebec's busy highways. But the old men at the barber shop were fully convinced that Hodge would never leave his cats. "He has a wife and cats in this town. Trust me, he ain't far away," said Smiley Bob Boggan.

I finally received a phone call from a trustworthy source that advised me to try the Coon Hunters clubhouse. "But don't be seen out there. They love Hodge and will shoot you at the drop of a hat because they think they are protecting him." I took the warning, secured the ghillie suit, and made the trip. 


There sat Hodge inside the club house and surrounded by people attempting to help him cope. Besides the group who was attempting to cheer him up, someone brought him a bowl of ice cream, but even without the benefit of sound, I could clearly see Hodge was unmoved. At least now we know he is alive, and locally located, but he obviously needs more help than he is getting. If anyone can offer Hodge counseling, contact the Lehrton County Coon Hunters' Association at 662-897-0020.


chilly wind on face,
birds sing about falling leaves,
runner plods along.

sky full of feathers,
circling, looking, swooping down,
swimmer braves the cold

feathers fill gray sky,
green heads turn while wings circle,
swimmer spoils the plan

Monday, April 24, 2017

4/17 - 4/23

Some week, heavy and light at the same time. I only swam three times for a little under 20,000 meters, but I had one long swim and one monster weight session. It went like this.

Monday I attended to errands and business. Tuesday, I did the MDCC Greenwood Center 5K, but I was reduced to walking not running. After that, I went to DSU and swam 4,400 meters at Masters.

Wednesday I went to the pond and swam only 2.36 miles. I had one of those days when I didn't feel like training and couldn't make myself do it. Thursday, I went home and stayed in bed, napping, and getting my stuff together for Friday.

Friday was my big swim day and I hit 7.08 miles which is getting up there where I need to be. Saturday, I spent time with the cats, drank lots of coffee, and lifted weights. On the bench,  I pushed

36 X 76
18 X 105
9 X 125
6 X 135
4 X 140
4 X 140 

On the swim pull, I did

35 X 24.5 + 3
40 X 24.5 + 3
41 X 24.5 + 3
42 X 24.5 + 3
10 X 26 + 3
10 X 26 + 3

For the first time I did some triceps push downs. I have come to the conclusion that my pressing is not adequately working those muscles. The benches help the pecs. The swim pull help the lats. Curls have helped bring my biceps to a whole new level. The tris are lagging behind and are one muscle I really feel during and after a long swim. So now I am adding some isolation work for them.

For the week, I 

walked four miles,
swam 19,573 meters, and 
lifted weights only once.

Barry finished the T-shirts Friday and the sales are going pretty well. That you, Jesus.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Friday Big One

Despite my sinking spell this past week, the dogs and I went to the pond Friday and had a big time and a long swim. Finally, I am getting into the kind of distance it takes to swim all day.

Pee Wee taking a drink after his run to the pond.

We left the house about 10:00 a.m. but I still didn't get into the water until about 11:15. I can't figure that one out myself. It takes time to throw out my thermometer, tape my nose, and pee on the levee. And then there is the radio. I have to listen to the radio and watch the waves for a while before getting in.

Between the waterfowl and the flowers,
I always get blessed with beauty.

The water was a nice 78 but a bit choppy with 11 to 14 mph winds. I felt rested after staying home Thursday night and going to bed early. My thinking at the time was the one long swim, at this point in my Chicot buildup, was better than two mediocre ones. I think I made the right decision. I felt good from the start. My energy was adequate, my shoulders felt solid, and my muscles were ready to work. I started with a four lap set before getting out and taking nutrition. That gave me 3.01 miles. My pace was pretty slow, but I didn't really care much. The goal for the day was at least a little over a 10K. Next, I moved to a three lap set which put me over five miles, but I don't remember exactly how far. I drank a small bottle of Gatorade and took a Gu.

Then I waded in for set number three. Two laps would give me my longest swim of the year. I did two and pulled my watch out before getting out of the pond. I was at 6.93 miles so I swam across the pond and back to finish with 7.08. That is the earliest in the year I have ever swum seven miles so I feel pretty good about the day. Before I left, Barry Brewer sent a text that the T-shirts were ready. Yeeha.

Thanks be to God for a good day at the pond and hope for the swim.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


The dogs and I went to the pond. Untypically, I had plenty of time and told Penny I would be in late, that I was swimming as long as I could. I got in around 3:00 p.m. and swam three straight laps. My shoulders and muscles felt good. I was hoping for around six miles, and I could tell that my body was ready for it. I got out to check my phone, and sat in the truck to drink some Gatorade. Then it hit.

That sinking spell.
Pee Wee running the edge of a pond.
He always has a big time.

I suppose it's just fatigue, but as I sat in the truck, I slowly realized I was not going to get back in. We are now in prime time for training, but I just could not make myself wade once more into the water.

Go figure.

I am not panicking. It happened a lot last year. But I thought this time around would be different. After my running breakdown in November, my thinking was I would have more time, and more energy when that 25 - 30 miles per week of running were no longer draining down my vigor. 


I have had a little more time and a touch more energy. But it hasn't been the bonanza I was expecting. It can't be my age, so what is going on? One thing is for sure. The dogs are having a blast and that always makes me happy. 

Right now, I am praying about and thinking about this afternoon. Should I go to DSU? How about heading to the pond after work without the dogs. Or maybe I should go home, get the hounds, and head for the fish farm. I am even contemplating going home and getting in bed, maybe some weights first. I could use some study time, and the rest would help set me up for Friday. I do need a big day, well over six miles. But then there is the weather. What to do?
Training partner, Pee Wee.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Monday and Tuesday

I missed my Monday training swim. Next year, I will not be taking care of this kind of business this time of year. You'd think I'd know by now. This year I started plenty early, what should have been plenty early, but was held up waiting on people. If you will wait, you will wait. That's one thing life has taught me. I've been waiting on several electricians for over twenty years. I've been waiting for an apology for over thirty years from what was an inappropriately irate customer. The only way to beat waiting is to reduce as much as possible the number of people you have to wait on. 

The missed training swim had another reason besides taking care of business. The weather was threatening also. If Twin Rivers was in operation, I would still have been able to go there and swim a few thousand before the storm hit. But it is out of commission for all of spring and who knows for how much of summer. This time of year I am usually tearing the pool up and enjoying the close proximity of my training place to home. This time around, however, I have had to rely exclusively on the pond. I like the pond, love it even. Even when Twin Rivers is up and open to only real swimmers, I make at least one trip per week to the fish farm. Now I have to make the twenty-mile drive to the pond for every training session and as a result, Monday got knocked out for the second week in a row.

Today is up in the air. The MDCC Greenwood Center is holding its 5K today at 2:00. I need to participate even though I can't run. I can walk. The weather is threatening again, so I will almost surely forego the pond and make the trip to DSU where I will at least get to see the crew and do some speed work to boot. Wednesday, I am off from Mom's because Sis and I swapped one night this week. Thus I plan to hit the pond for what I hope is a big swim with the dogs. Weather permitting. The forecast doesn't look inviting. Scratch that. I just checked and the weatherman is prediction sun and sun and more sun for Wednesday. Yeeha.

Fast forward. I did the 5K even though I was reduced to walking. That was a bit embarrassing to me but I did it anyway. We loaded up and were bused to the linear park in front of Crystal Grill. I was surprised at how nice the park is. I made the walk at a 14:35 pace and it gave me a real workout. I suppose I need to start walking regularly.

Since the 5K knocked a hole in the afternoon, I commuted to DSU for my first swim there in a couple weeks. I swam

800 warm up
4 X 200 with medium paddles r:30
8 X 100 with medium paddles @ 2:30, descend one to four
4 X 200 swim, descend one to four
 1 - 3:43
 2 - 3:38
 3 - 3:23
 4 - 3:12 This one had me breathing really hard.
1,200 easy
total: 4,400 meters.

I had almost an hour left on the clock, and it is crunch time for training. However, I got out and went home. I'm glad I did because the wife and I had some business to attend. Praise be to God who directs the affairs of men.