Monday, December 9, 2019

12/2 - 12/8

I fell off a cliff last week. Monday I actually did some significant running, 7.81 miles worth. I swam that morning, early, 4.050 yards. And after running I hit the gym hard.

Tuesday I also got up early and swam another 4.050 yards. I shuffled a mere 2.88 miles, however, and did some small lifting at the gym. Wednesday morning, I rolled over and went back to sleep when the alarm went off. I did swim that evening a little bit, 1,700 yards. I only did 3.17 miles of road work, and I did a little leg work at the gym.

Thursday I slept in again and failed to swim at all. On the road, I did 4.12 miles, and at the gym I did light bench day. Friday I swam, but just barely, doing only 1,550 yards. I did hit a fair run at 6.4, but because of the Christmas Parade, that was all I had time for. Saturday was the apex of my laziness. I lifted a little and did nothing else physical. 

For the week, I

lifted five times,
ran 24.38 miles, and
swam 8,955 meters.

Not a bad week, just not a good one in terms of the numbers. Thank you, Jesus, that I am healthy enough to do that.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Friday and Saturday

Friday morning I slept in and when I got to the pool around 7:00, I did some anemic swimming. I just was low on energy and motivation. I ran later in the day, 6.4 miles. But it was Band Festival Day and that was all I had time for. The parade was nice, we enjoyed to company of some of our friends, the Johnsons, Kelsey, and Sheila. After the fireworks, we went up on the hill, what used to be called the County Barn. I don't remember what it's called now, but we had a meal and more fellowship.

Saturday, I spent most of the morning studying. I decided not to run, to give my legs that break. I did hit the gym for squats and upper back. Then it was time for Forrest and Paul's Christmas Party. We had a nice time. In short, the training was truncated and the eating was intensified and volumized. Oh well, praise the Lord anyway.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Unsolicited Advice

People don't like it. Unsolicited advice. I don't offer it much because I'm nice like that. I figure if people want my opinion, they will ask for it. The problem is, sometimes what I have to offer is not opinion but hard earned knowledge, facts that could help them avoid some discomfort in the future.

One thing that for the last few years I have seen that causes me to want to say something is people running in shorts in very cold weather. I used to do it, down into the 30s. I know you can take it. I know your legs don't feel cold, but what you are doing is not a good idea. You will pay a price for it one day.

One guy who took the ultrarunning world by storm, winning race after race never clad in more than shorts even in knee deep snow, is now living proof of what I was thinking at the time. I used to read about him in the magazines and cringe at those pictures of him in his shorts while sloshing through the snow on some mountain pass, on his way to another victory.

I wanted to warn him, but I did not know how. I also am pretty certain he would not have listened to me. Who was I? I found his blog a couple of years ago. He now rarely runs do to some injuries as well as some pretty bad patellar tendonitis. Who woulda thunk it? That is the part that gets you. You have about an eighth of an inch of tissue between the outside air and your patellar tendons. It doesn't take a socket rientist to figure it is not good to run in shorts when the weather is cold.

What is cold? you ask. I asked a bicycle man that one time when I was purchasing my first pair of tights. He told me to cover the knees anytime the temperature hits 65 of below. What?!?!? Sixty five?!?!? I'm in a T-shirt at 65, and I hate cold weather. 

To make a short story long, through years of experience I have learned that he was right. I have learned that about a lot of rules of thumb I once scoffed at. Those oral guidelines exist for a reason. The reason is they are come from hard-won experience. And no one has time to learn everything the hard way. Listen when old timers give you advice.

In 2016, I did the Mississippi River Marathon. It was cold, like freezing. I lot of the young guys were in shorts. I told one of them "Your patellar tendons are going to hate you one day." He did not answer, and I am sure his behavior did not change. But I warned him and when that problem flares up, I hope he remembers what I said to him that day.

Last week, or the one before, I was running back to town on Money Road. It was cold, and I was in tights. I was headed south and passed a young man headed north. He was clad is shorts. I took my toboggan off so he could see the color of my hair before I spoke. "Young man," I yelled out. "If you want to run when you are my age, cover those knees up." He did not acknowledge me in any way. I am pretty sure the next cold day we have will find him out there running in a pair of shorts. But I gave him sound advice.

I can now run at 70 degrees in shorts. When I come inside the house and sit down, my knees begin to ache so bad that I groan. Not at 80 degrees, and not at any distance long or short. It now only has to be just a little bit cool. If I could do it over again, I would cover those knees at 65 every single time.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Wednesday and Thriday

I'm sagging. It happens every now and then. In weight training, many programmers build in de-load weeks. These are weeks when the volume and maybe even the intensity is reduced to allow for recovery. I do that sometimes with the weights, and I have learned through hard-won experience to do it with running as well. The body will get its de-load one way or the other. Sometimes it gets it through sickness, sometimes through injury, but you can't just keep pushing and pushing. Something breaks when you do.

The only times I de-loaded swimming, however, is a taper before a big event like The Chicot Challenge or the Mississippi State Senior Olympics. Other than a taper once or twice a year I do not de-load the swim other than a cut back a little after Chicot. De-loading is actually a lifting term, and strength athlete concept. Endurance athletes usually speak in terms of cycles.

What I am getting at is I have finally realized that my body does its own de-load in swimming. I go through phases every now and then when I just don't have much zest to swim. This week is one of those. I hit it pretty hard Monday morning. But Tuesday morning, I was lazy and lethargic. Wednesday morning when the alarm went off at 4:00 a.m., I did not hesitate to turn over and go back to sleep. I did the same thing Thriday morning. Tuesday, which I have already written about, I did a straight swim because I had not the unction to do sets. Wednesday, I swam with Brad during our session at 5:00 p.m. When he left, I did only a few hundred more and quit. 

It is not that my muscles feel bad. They feel fine, and I am strong in the water. I just do not have the fire in the belly to push it. So, my body gets it's de-load, it takes it against my will. Maybe I should start programming one every three of four weeks. 

Wednesday I also shuffled 3.17 miles, and did leg work at Plate City. Thursday, I slept in, ran in the afternoon, then did my light bench day. Since we had a Carmont Ministers and Wives Banquet that night, I did not swim at all. 

So there. I have not swum much this week. Oh, by the way, last week I hit a run PR for the year in terms of volume. This week? I am dropping back, cycling back, de-loading, whatever you want to call it. I'm trying to learn from experience and stay healthy. Praise God that I sometimes am able to say no to myself.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


When I got to the pool at 4:20 a.m., I heard honking up above, and despite the darkness I was able to see a flock of geese flying north. I thought they flew south in the winter. These were going north. I was feeling lazy in part because of the 7.81 mile run the day before. I have noticed that if I run long one day, I don't want to push it in the pool the next day. So I did a straight swim because once I started, I was afraid if I stopped, I would not start back. I went for 1:25:58 but only covered 4,050 yards for a pitiful 2:07 average.

I waited too late to start my run and forgot my flashlight when I did. Consequently, I only shuffled 2.88 miles. The good news is my legs are feeling right nice. I now have a pretty decent base laid, but I am still trying to decide on the half or the full at the Mississippi River.

At the gym I had a good time. I ordered a landmine from Titan Fitness, and it came in. So I set it up which involved moving three 100 pound plates. I don't need 100 pounders, and only have them because they came with a leg press I bought. I set the plates up on a walkway for the base to the landmine. I used the trap bar for it and it was a nice pull on the lats with only two 33s on it. 

Moving the plates, the 100s, was an amazing workout itself. I will probably incorporate that into my strongman training. It really hit my biceps and back hard because I had to hold them above my legs to walk while the plates were trying to pull me forward. 

Besides setting up the landmine, I made an adjustment to the duck walk apparatus I recently acquired. Both of these, the duck walk thing and the landmine were very inexpensive and made nice additions to the gym. I put to 45s on the duck walk and played with it a little. 

I also cut a piece of cord and tied a one-pound weight to my 55 for one-armed dumbbell rows. When we went to Jackson the other day, I had intended to buy a 60, but I could not find one. With the weight tied to it, I now have a 56. I can up that a little at a time until I find me a 60. I guess if I find one, I should go ahead an purchase a 65.

So I swam, ran, and lifted, a good day. Thank you, Jesus.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


Since I had to go back to work, I was swimming at 4:30 a.m. Monday morning. I did 

1,450 28:46 (1:58)
5 X 200 @ 3:49
300 medium paddles 5:41
5 X 200 @ 3:49
300 medium paddles 5:48
total: 4,050 yards = 3.701 meters

That was a good practice. I felt those 200s, especially by the time I got to the 8th, 9th, and 10th.

I shuffled 7.81 miles. It was pretty cold, but I had on a new pair of tights I bought over the weekend and they felt nice. The pace was pretty slow so my legs did not get beaten up. Later I went to the gym and benched 

Dumbbell incline

10 X 30
10 X 30

Flat bench

6 X 115
5 X 140
3 X 150
3 X 150
3 X 155
3 X 155
3 X 155
2 X 160
1 X 160
1 X 160
4 X 145

Log Press

6 X 57
8 X 57

Tri push down

20 X 35

I was a little surprised that I did not lose any strength on the bench. Last week's single session was such a good one, that it boosted me up and much as taking off took me down. I was as strong if not just a bit stronger. I might count that as a de-load week even though I went heavy that one night. We will see how I progress over the next couple of cycles. Thank you, Jesus, for a nice day.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Week O-F-T

I had a week O-F-T so I should have busted out some really big numbers. That was, however, not the case. It was the case with my running, but with the other two, not so much. 

Monday I swam 4,300 yards. John is out with a broken foot, so I went in later, about 10:10. I had a really strong practice with a long warm up and a 9 X 200 set. I ran 8.41 miles that afternoon and lifted weights to have one really solid day.

Tuesday, I swam 4,100 yards, again after 10:00. I ran 4.65 miles. I did not, however, get to lift weights. Wednesday I once more had a good day at the pool, but failed to get to Plate City. In the water, I did 4,000 yards. On the road, I shuffled 4.65 miles. So it was still a lot of training.

Thursday, I did what I always do on Thanksgiving if I am healthy enough and fit enough. I ran to Hillbilly Heave. That meant no swimming and no lifting. But I felt good about the 16.01 miles.

Friday was my Black Friday chauffeur day. I did shuffle 1.91 miles in one of the parking lots while the ladies were shopping. That was all I could do that day. Saturday was another day of Thanksgiving eating with us meeting at Forrest's. I shuffled 1.25 miles over there to finish my week of training. 

For the week, I

lifted weights once,
swam 11,333 meters, and 
ran 35.5 miles.

That is my biggest week of running in several years. My legs feel good so my confidence is rising. I now am pretty sure I will sign up for the Mississippi River Marathon. Thank you, Jesus.