Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sunday Summary on Thursday

My typical Sunday Summary is way late due to the holidays and everything associated with them. It has been nice to be off work and spend time with family. It has not been nice to gain so much weight. I really was thinking I had been temperate in my eating and intemperate in my exercise, but the scales do not agree with my perception. I finished the week before Christmas with

Run- 20.37
Walk- 3.26
Bike Trainer- 138.5 minutes
Swim- 10,347 meters with one cold water (57) swim.
Weight on Sunday morning = 163.6 (scream!!!)

That wasn't enough to stave off body expansion. It seems that now I don't even have to eat the food; just being in the same house with it is enough.

So far this week, I haven't swum. Tuesday Masters was cancelled for Christmas and Randy, my only open water swimming buddy and cold water wanna-be, has had the flu. To make matters worse, it is now very cold here in the Magnolia State. Even to think about swimming outdoors causes me bodily pain. I know, I know, but remember I am the one who calls himself a cold-water-sissy. I haven't received a reading on the ponds today, but my guess is low forties or colder. My all-time record is 54, and right now that sounds outrageous.

One thing I have been doing differently is riding the bike trainer and then running. In 2010, I did thirty rides of 100 or more miles. Last year, I  scarcely touched my bike. I hope for the upcoming year to be somewhere in the middle of 2010 and 2011. A while back, I purchased a collection of twenty Alfred Hitchcock movies. I'm thinking that if I can watch all those films while pedalling my Trek in my little man-cave, I may be able to contend with Randy Beets at the Heart O' Dixie Triathlon next year. Last year, he defeated me easily as did most of the fat ladies. I'm tired of getting beat by fat ladies. Really, several of them passed me on the run going up a hill. That hurt.

Another change for next year involves more running. That has been a goal for the last several years. For four years in a row, my running has been compromised by Achilles heel issues. Just recently I had a mild flareup. It seems the main thing that causes me problems is to try to run fast. By fast (blush here) I now mean anything approaching eight minutes per mile (sigh).

Recently I reviewed my training diary for 2012. I was thirty-four weeks into the year before I was able to pull off the first twenty-mile week. How I ran as well as I did is astounding when I check the numbers. I manged to place in two of the few events I entered. For me, twenty-miles per week has always been the tipping point. Good running, begins with that modicum of training volume. Twenty-five is better than twenty and thirty is better than twenty-five. But at twenty miles per seek and no speed work, I have always been able to beat the fat ladies. This week I am working on my eighth consecutive twenty-mile week (whu hoo!!!), but it has been primarily old man shuffling. Still, old man shuffling is better than sitting at home dreaming about back in the day.

So far this week, I have done trainer rides/runs three straight days. From now on, I will refer to these workouts as Trans. Today I plan another Tran and tonight we have Masters swim. It's about time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bad Man, Bad, Bad Man

If anybody out there is able to view my blog, I wish you would let me know. You can contact me through Facebook. I just received notification that several of my blog posts are under review for violating policy and are visible only to me. WHAT?!?! WHAT?!?!?!

All I write about is swimming and running and occasionally I mention my cat. Violating policy?!?!? Are you kidding me?? I can't even talk to anyone to find out what the problem is. I've read the policy and I don't violate it in any fashion so what the heck????

I am not a happy camper.

Consequently, EndangeredSwimmer may soon disappear if I can find a new venue. I really need to hear from you, the reader, to know if you can even view this blog. I have access to stats that allege the blog is being seen by someone, but now I'm not sure anything concerning Google blogs is on the up and up. Heck, one month I had 149 page views from Russia. Really?

Uncle Teddy Bear
I suppose I am writing only for me any way. Here is something new that no doubt violates policy. My Uncle Teddy Bear died and we buried him today. He was a sweet man who touched my life with his kindness, gentleness, and love of flowers. Tomorrow we bury my Aunt Pearl. She was aptly named.

Monday morning I did 24 minutes on the bike trainer and then shuffled three-miles. In the afternoon, I went to the pond with my eighty-four year old dad and his dog. I swam 1.29 miles while Dad and his dog chased birds around the pond levee. The water was 57 degrees.

Tuesday I ran 7.46 and walked .67 miles. At masters, I swam

200 back kick/swim with fins
8 X 150 @ 2:30 as 50 kick/100 swim with fins
50 easy
4 X 300 pull with paddles @ 5:30, decline 1-4
   1- 4:17
   2- 4:13
   3- 4:07
   4- 3:58
50 easy
8 X 75 breathing odd 3, 5, 3 by 25s; even 5, 3, 5 by 25s
200 easy
Total: 4,850 yards = 4,432.9 meters.

Wednesday Dad and my brother-in-law, RT, traveled to Louisville, MS to attend Uncle Teddy Bear's funeral. It is sad to see him go. I did a 29 minute trainer ride and shuffled 1.52 miles when I got home. Then I went online and found out what a bad man I am, an evil man. Heck, I write about taking naps with cats, about immersing my loins (THAT'S IT!!) in cold water, about running and weightlifting. I write about hugging my grandchildren, about swimming in catfish ponds and raising money for the American Diabetes Association. I see it all clearly now: I am a bad, bad man.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday Summary

The water was almost a stranger to me last week as I only got in twice and not a single time outdoors. It was rainy and cold most days, and I just couldn't muster the courage to go out alone and wade into painful liquid. Sunday was nice, and Randy and I have been swimming sabbath afternoons. But he was ill so basically I spent time with my wife and cat and later watched some football with my dad.

Friday I managed to fritter away most of the day after drinking two quarts of coffee and doing a short trainer ride. Saturday I went out Money Road for a long (for me) shuffle/hike. I ran 9.57 and walked 5.54 miles. It was a good food day also, so I was a bit distressed, when I stepped on the scales Monday morning, to find I had gained weight.

For the week, I

ran 28.29 (the most this year) miles
walked 9.66 miles
lifted weights once
swam 5,803 meters
spent 44 minutes on the bike trainer

The air temps are supposed to be up this week, and we should have some sunshine so I hope to swim outdoors some. Also I need to do some big time weight sessions and keep the running mileage climbing.

Right now, I am torn between doing wild running the next six days, and sticking with my program. By wildrunning, I mean, exploring (going to Carroll County), running by feel, having no plan other than to pursue pleasure. That is always the fence I sit on, and a Garmin watch makes that kind of running possible while still keeping meticulous records. The other side of the fence is the scheduled runs I have that include multi-paced efforts that build on the week before. As of now, I do not know which side will win out.

Don't touch that dial. Stay tuned and find out who won, my wild side or my structured side.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Off Work

Being off work has been nice as I get to sleep late, spend time with the cat and dog, and train at my leisure. Monday I did a short trainer ride and a three-mile run. Tuesday was my usual multi-paced semi-long run. Long, being a relative term, at the moment for me is anything five-miles or more. My total was 7.22, and my recovery intervals were faster and more consistent than last week. At masters, Anna from the Greenville triathlon community, showed up at my invitation. Margaret was more than happy as she is usually the only woman there. Waiting on Anna so I could show her  how to get in the building and where to swim, caused me to get in the water a little later than usual so I didn't get as much warm up as normal. I managed

400 breathing 3, 5, 7 per 25
300 pull
200 kick no fins
100 50 swim/50 back
3 X 75 4 times through as 1 easy, 2 build, 3 hard
400 pull with buoy between ankles (ouch)
Total: 2,700 yards = 2,467.8 meters.

Anna left early as she hadn't been in the water since the Y in Greenville closed their pool for the season. I made a point to talk with her over the phone, and she seemed genuinely excited to be back in the water and eager to regain some swimming fitness. She left because she said, "My legs and arms were like spaghetti."

Wednesday I took an easy 4.13-mile shuffle followed by upper body weightlifting, and a little bit of plyometric work which consisted of box jumps and tire flips.

Thursday was 4.35 shuffling and some leg work. At the pool (Anna didn't show up), I swam

500 back/swim with fins
12 X 25 as hard/easy
12 X 50 as 25/hard/25 easy, 25 easy/25 hard, 50 hard all 4 times through
12 X 75 as breathing 3, 5, 3/5, 3, 5 by 25s
250 easy
Total: 3,650 yards = 3,336.1 meters.

Margaret has been beating me on all this short stuff, and I am not happy with that. She is swimming a lot, and my swim training is down right now. I had hoped to drive over today and swim, but DSU has a meet going on so that is out. I am contemplating the pond as an alternative. The water is somewhere in the mid to low 50s so I am having some motivational problems there. I may just get the wetsuit out and have at it.

I've been checking my e-mail for a note from the T-shirt girl. When I talked to her, I realized after I left that I made a terrible error. When she asked me when I wanted it, I said there was no big hurry. Those words just sort of jumped out of my mouth. From past experience, I know that you never tell anyone that. Really there is no big hurry since the Chicot Challenge is not until June. But still I want to get as much done as early as possible. It has been going on three weeks since I talked with her, and I have heard nothing, and I will hear nothing until I call a few times. I could have waited a couple of months and said I need it right away and gotten this done quicker. But now that the words "There is not big hurry" have exited my mouth, I may actually never get my T-shirts. Been there, done that.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sunday Summary

I went to Horne's Landing (Roebuck Lake in Itta Bena, MS) Friday and took a temp reading before jumping in. It was 62 degrees and amazingly that doesn't feel too cold anymore. Mind you, it doesn't feel warm, but it is very doable. I did put my shirt on because I was alone, and I had to jump in off Anita Horne's deck rather than wade in as I do at the pond. The initial shock wasn't that bad, but I only swam .87 miles in 26 minutes. I should have gone longer, but again. I was alone, and I never really relax when I'm in Roebuck.

Alligators are always in the back of my mind when I'm in that lake except for the when they are in the front of my mind which is almost all the time. I know the risks are very low, and I wouldn't do it if they weren't. But I still think about them. I read somewhere that alligators don't feed this time of year. But if that is really true, I know not. I do know that Roebuck just looks like alligators and every time I ever asked Anita Horne about them in Roebuck, she never would say anything. You've heard the phrase, "Deafening silence"?

Saturday I did a slow start day and after I drank the coffee pot dry, I took a run/walk out Money Road. I finished with 8.22 miles of shuffling and 4.45 miles of walking. Later in the afternoon I lifted some weights. My wife and I then attended a party at our son's house. It was nice, and he told me about his desire to run twenty-seven miles on his twenty-seventh birthday which is coming up in January. I told him I wanted in on that, and immediately I began to scheme out routes.

Once again, Randy wanted to swim so we met at the pond on Sunday afternoon. The water was 66. Wow! Amazingly, it was still difficult to wade in but the initial shock when we started swimming wasn't too bad. I warmed up quicker but never got that toasty warm feeling I get when the water is really cold. I remember in the Swim the Suck it was the same way: always cool. The water temp there is 70-74. I suppose when the water gets really cold, maybe the body shunts more blood out of the extremities. I'm not sure because all of this cold water stuff is still pretty new to me.

For the week, I

ran 26.56 and walked 6.68 miles,
lifted weights once,
spent twenty-minutes on my bike trainer,
and swam 12,480 meters, three times outdoors.

For the year, I have run 666 and swum 531miles.

I am off work for a few weeks and plan to spend some quality time with my cat and my wife's dog and train like a madman. Life is good.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Semester Over

The semester is over, and I am as happy as a dead pig in the sunshine. Now I hope to swim, run, lift weights, hangout with my cat, and bike till I just can't take it any more. Probably I should do some repairs around the house also. Maybe I can earn some goodwill points for the spring.

Since it was so warm Monday, I went to the pond. Last time I was there, I left my thermometer so I didn't get a reading. David picked it up for me, but I haven't met up with him to get it back. Anyway, he told me the ponds were averaging about 60 degrees. Being alone, I put my shirt on and swam 1.05 miles and then ran 3.01.

Tuesday I did a 7.01 multi-paced run and then went to masters and swam

4 X 200 breathing 3, 5, 5, 3 by 50s; :20 rest
4 X 50 kick with fins @ 1:10
4 X 200 breathing 3, 5, 7, 3; :20 rest
4 X 50 kick with fins @ 1:00
4 X 200 with fins breathing 3, 5, 7, 9 not by 50s but repeat
100 back
Total: 4, 50 yards = 3,701.7 meters.

Wednesday was a stressful day at school. I took a couple of hours off in the afternoon before returning that night. I didn't want to run; I needed to run. I did an easy 4.12 miles and six box jumps.
Thursday I ran another 4.2 miles, hugged my grandchildren, and swam

400 back with fins
4 X 150 with paddles declining by 50s; :20 rest
50 back kick with fins
600 breathing 3, 5, 7, and 9 by 25s on (1, 3, and 5) choice on 2, 4, and 6
50 back kick with fins
4 X 100 decline by 25s; :20 rest
50 back kick with fins
400 breathing 3, 5, 7, and 9 by 25s on 1 and 3, choice on 2 and 4; :20 rest
50 back kick with fins
4 X 50 decline @ 1:30 (:41, :39, :37, :34)
200 easy
Total: 4,400 yards = 4,021.6 meters.

The Mad Swimming Scientist is as mad as ever. I really do not like the breathing swims when we go all the way to nine strokes without a breath. Tuesday night, I felt like I was going to pass out. One reason to have a coach is to have someone make you do things you will not do on your own. I will never do nine strokes without a breath on my own, and I always know where Cagri is on deck when we do that at practice. Wink, wink.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Swim and Summary

A few weeks back, I set a personal record by swimming in 54 degree water. I was wearing a wetsuit. Randy wanted to swim this weekend and since I was out of pocket Saturday, I suggested we try it Sunday. We met at the pond a little after 2:00 in the afternoon and promptly took a temperature reading : 54 degrees.

I asked Randy if he had a wetsuit. Since he didn't bring one, we waded in with only a jammer on and two swim caps. Mercy, it hurt, but we got started. I didn't think I would ever get comfortable, but eventually I did. When we got down to the other end of the pond, we and the water were both noticeably warmer. We then swam across to the other side and up the far levee a bit before turning around and swimming back. For a while, I felt like I belonged in the water, like this cold water was nothing. It's a wonderful feeling but a fleeting illusion.

When we got back to the truck and climbed out, we were cold but not out of control. Our condition, however. degenerated and we got colder not warmer despite the fact that the air temp was 75. That seems to be how it works. We got in the truck and drove around a while with the heater doing its best. My Garmin said we swam .92 miles and were in the water 32:58. Not too bad I guess, for a cold-water-sissy.

For the week, I executed a drop  down in running/walking mileage. The goal right now is to finish the year healthy. This week I

ran 20.14 and
walked 2.85 miles,
swam 8,700.88 meters, and
lifted weights several times.
Also, Saturday I did a monster leg workout session.

My totals for the year are 639.7 miles running and 523.68 miles swimming.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Slow Start Day

It is Friday morning and I am sipping coffee, hanging out with my cat and dog, and watching one of my film noir movies. Life is good.

Wednesday I did a short shuffle and some dry-land training. By dry-land, I mean the swim pull, some cord work, ball slams, and pullups, sports specific stuff. Thursday I ran 6.51 miles in multi-paced fashion. I then drove to Skene, hugged my grandchildren, and went to Masters. Cagri, the Mad-Swimming-Scientist, who was AWOL Tuesday, was on deck early Thursday. I swam

4 X 150 as 50 kick with fins/100 swim, :10 rest
18 X 50 as 4 @ 1:00, 2 @ :45, 3 times through with fins
400 decline 1-4 by 25s
4 X 200 as 50 fast each 200, 1 (first 50), 2 (second 50), 3 (third 50), 4 (fourth 50)
200 easy
Total: 4,000 yards = 3,656 meters.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Dog Named Smu

Hanging out. That is Smu in the background.
Monday I shuffled 2.2 miles and did some weightlifting. Tuesday I ran 6.25 in a multi-paced fashion and felt pretty good. Then I drove to Skeen and got to hang out with Smu and my granddaughter before swim practice. Smu meets me at my truck and climbs in when I open the door. That little turd-eater has won my heart. I always pick her up and carry her indoors where we hang out with Caitlin and watch Square Bob Sponge Pants, hug, and eat candy.

I got to the pool a little early and started warming up. Mark Blackwood and Ricky Smith showed up when I had already done 500. I kept swimming, but stopped at 1500 when I saw Mark on the wall. Cagri was not there yet, which is most unusual for him. Consequently, we decided to keep swimming and did 10 X 50 kick with fins thinking coach might show up while we kicked. While going up and down the pool, we made up the rest of the practice since the Mad-Swimming-Scientist was a no-show. We did

10 X 50 kick with fins
3 X 400 as 1 with paddles, 2 with fins, 3 swim
10 X 50 fast @ 1:00
100 easy
Total: 3,900 yards = 3,564.6 meters.

When I dressed and got to my truck, I saw a text from Cagri saying he was running late. Way late. It felt good to be back in the water, and I am hungry to bust out a big one Thursday.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Summary

For the first time all year, I went a week without swimming. It was not my choice, at least not totally, and I am not happy to say the least. I not only want to swim, it seems I also need to. Our masters group meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays so Thanksgiving knocked out one practice. But Tuesday's session was allegedly cancelled due to a broken heater at the pool. I say "allegedly" because every year at this exact time the heater breaks. Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

Luvie also loves film noir.
Yes, I could have gone to the pond, but my motivation to freeze myself nearly to death while having no one even to witness my death has slowly vanished with the fading day length. OK, a little hyperbole there, but really not that much.

Friday I did an easy 3.21 mile shuffle and lifted some weights. Saturday I ran 6.14 straight, did some setups and squats, and then gorged myself on a smorgasbord of college football. Almost all the football was good with the SEC serving out butt-whippings to everyone they played. The dark spot was Mississippi State getting lit up by our in-state rivals. Dreadful.

Since Saturday night was dark, I felt drawn to some dark entertainment. Like last Sunday, I took a mild three-mile walk in the afternoon after eating several pounds of popcorn and watching another movie in my Film Noir collection. My cat watched Quicksand, starring Micky Rooney, with me. He likes the genre also and thought it was Rooney's all-time best role. The movie is a morality tale that vividly details the misery which comes from choosing the bad girl over the good one. Alas, however, there was a happy ending. The movie I mean.

For the week I ran 23.48 and walked 10.15 miles. I also did upper body weight work three times.

I can't wait to get back into the pool next week. Maybe I shouldn't get too antsy; this is my off season, and I probably need an off season. My schedule for the spring semester is giving me the first period off, so if I get into MVSU's  pool (something I've been working on), I can do some major swimming before work everyday. If that prooves to be the case, I may up the distance on the Chicot Challenge, which now is set at sixteen-miles.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Break

Everyday on Facebook I read people's posts of things for which they are thankful. I am thankful, among other things, that I get a whole week off for Thanksgiving. Yeeha!. Monday I didn't do too much but take some naps and shuffle 2.1 miles followed by some weightlifting. Tuesday I decided to ride over to Lake Village, Arkansas and try to finalize some details concerning next year's fundraising birthday swim. For one, I have not yet worked out a route that enthuses me. I did some measuring, acquired some maps, and worked out  a route. Also I met the Superintendent of the Lake Chicot State Park, and met the managers of the Lake Chicot County Park. They are all on board with the swim.

Previously I had talked with Ocee Hunter, the state park man, over the phone. It was good to meet him in person because I am pretty sure now he will not forget me. I found the county park, which is way south and on the opposite bank of the lake. The plan is to start at the state park, swim to downtown Lake Village, then to the landing at the Copper Penny, proceed south to Ditch Bayou, go another mile or so past the bayou, then cross the lake and turn north finishing at the county park.

Having a point to point course complicates the logistics a little bit, but is mentally easier than an out-and-back course and is what I have been trying to work out for awhile now. I'm happy with the course and now can work on other details of the swim.

Wednesday I drove to Grenada and found The Print Shop where I discussed my T-shirt design with the girl there. Tina Garrett recommended her so I thought I would give her the business. The swim is still more than six months away, but I'm trying to get everything done that I can. When I got home from the T-shirt mission, I ran 3.05 and did some dry-land training.

My old running buddy
Thanksgiving Day arrived with a clear sky and some cool but warming temperatures. We eat thanksgiving lunch with the in-laws who live in the Carroll County hills about fourteen plus miles from our home in Greenwood. I decided to ambulate all the way. Since I am not that fit right now, I knew I would have to walk a good bit of this. My goal was to run about eight of the fourteen miles so I left the house at 9:13 a.m. with my Nathan hydration pack and four PowerBar Gels. I walked the first 2.3 miles to warm my legs up before I started shuffling. When I got far out Humphry's Highway and turned onto the lonely gravel road, I soon met an old friend.

We met one cold, stormy night when I got caught running in the dark up a wilderness road where I had seen a large cougar the spring before. I became very frightened, but this dog came out from the last house on the road and went with me all the way. When I arrived at my destination, he stopped at the drive way and watched me until I went inside the house. As long as he was there, I felt totally safe. The dog and I have become good friends and he loves to run up the road with me. I even wrote a short story, "Up the Road," about our runs. My affection for the dog is so strong, I let him narrate the story. Maybe I will post it here sometime.

I ran 8.92 and walked 5.56 miles to create some room for Thanksgiving lunch. I got to hug the grandchildren and everyone was in a good humor. After lunch, I napped until Caitlin hit me with a pillow. For the evening meal, we went to Mom's. My brother, Quinton, and his family were there and we had a nice time sinning with too much food.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday Summary

Wednesday I had an English faculty meeting and that managed to knock me out of any kind of workout. Thursday, however, I got a good run in and did 5.77 miles. At DSU, I did

12 X 25 as 2 drill/1 fast
3 X 25 fast/25 easy
       50 fast/50 easy
       75 fast/75 easy
       100 fast/100 easy
100 easy
Total: 4,300 yards = 3,930.2 meters.

Friday I did a little 3.04 mile shuffle and a little bit of dryland work. Saturday the weather was gorgeous and I did a shuffle/hike getting in 7.17 miles of running and 4.03 miles of walking out Money Road and back.Usaully I do nothing on Sunday but this week I did an easy 2.65 mile walk.

For the week, I ran 24.07 and walked 11.22 miles, swam 8,957.2 meters, and lifted some weights. For the year I have swum 518 and run 596 miles.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cold Weather

My weeping tomcat
Winter has arrived here in the Deep South, and just the idea of swimming outdoors causes me to curl up in the fetal position and weep uncontrollably. At least I have a fat tomcat to weep with me.

Monday I shuffled 2.5 miles and Tuesday I did 5.58. Wow! Maybe this time I really am on the way back. After my run, I drove to Skene with a backseat full of clothing. My wife, who is the best and most selfless person I have ever known, recently received a pay raise on her job and spends every penny of her new finances on our two grandchildren. Caitlin tried on every outfit and looked good in them all, even the one she put on backwards.

I arrived at the pool early and Mark Blackwood was already there. We changed and walked out on deck only to find Cagri, the Mad-Swimming-Scientist, at poolside with a stack of printed workouts. Seriously, it took an entire 8 X 11 sheet of paper to write that practice. His practices are complicated and long. I'm not complaining, just sayin'. We/I did

250 swim
250 pull
250 kick
250 swim
4 X 300 as 50 back/50 free
12 X 25 @ :40 as 2 drill/2 fast
5 X 100 pull with paddles @ 2:00
        2 X 50 swim- build @ 1:00
        4 X 25 race @ ;30
600 as 50 kick/50 back/ 50 free with fins
10 X 50 as 25 underwater kick/25 swim
500 small paddles
Total 5,500 yards = 5,027 meters

I have come to notice that whenever I do some serious running, Cagri somehow knows and tries to get us to wear and fins out in a single session. If you run before coming to our Masters practice, expect to go home without your legs. They will still be in the pool kicking while your butt drives home.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Summary

Recently I posted a comment in Marathon Swimmer Forum that Water Girl didn't post often enough. Actually, I feel the same about all the bloggers I follow. I like to swim, and I like to read about swimming. It entertains me, inspires me, encourages me. Water Girl responded by writing a new post and mentioning me by name even. Thanks Water Girl; I enjoyed the post

In my last post, Friday, I mentioned that I was trying to muster energy to drive out to the pond and take a swim. Finally, I did cruise out and take four temp readings (60, 57, 58, 58) in different spots. Then I sat in the truck and failed to gain the umph to get into the water.

Call me a sissy or sorry or whatever, but in my defense, I am a sissy. Not only that, but I was alone and tired, very tired like in needing to stay in bed all day. So I went home and got in bed with my fat tomcat and took a nap. When I got up, I ate some junk food and went back to bed. I think I'm losing it.

Saturday I managed a slow shuffle/walk. I impersonated a runner for 5.89 miles and ambulated 3.08 more miles. After a protein shake and some college football, I went back outside and lifted weights.

Normally on Sundays I don't do anything physical. I preach in the morning, eat lunch with my wife, and nap with my cat all afternoon watching some real quality television like Finding Bigfoot. This Sunday was different, however, because Randal Beets wanted to swim and since I am so often alone, I agreed to meet him on the fish farm. We took a temp reading (61) then I discovered I had forgotten my swim bag. Who does that? Randy had no extra goggles. I would have tried it without goggles but I had no swim cap and just didn't think I could take it. The last time I got into cold water without a cap, my head hurt so terribly it felt like my noggin was being squeezed by a muscle man in a giant vice.

We took a run instead to give ourselves time to think over our options. I agreed to get in the water and attempt swimming, and even if I failed, to stay in the water until Randal finished. By the time we wrapped up running, however, it was getting dark and stormy so we abandoned the idea of swimming. For the week, I went to bat twice and struck out both times. Yee Haa.

Overall I

ran 22.7 miles
swam 9,367.5 meters
walked 9.11 miles
and lifted weights 2 X.

I also gained some unwanted weight. Maybe with my run coming back up, I can get rid of that. My cat doesn't seem to mind, however. The weight that is. The fatter the better seems to be what he thinks. And his opinion is important.

Friday, November 9, 2012


This is Luvie, my sweetie tomcat.
I'm trying to decide if it's courage I lack or laziness I possess, but right now I am drinking coffee, hanging out with my cat, and daydreaming about warmer times. Also I'm trying to muster enough umph to go to the pond this afternoon. The cat is sweet, the bed is soft, and the coffee is good.

Wednesday I ran 1.51 miles, mowed the back lawn, and did some weightlifting. I was too much of a coward to drive to the pond. Thursday I ran 5.31 miles but I'm not sure it was wise. I drove to Skene and hugged my grandchildren and Smu, then was off to Masters swim where I did

8 X 50 progression (1-4 by 12.5 yards)
400 pull with paddles
4 X 100 hard :30 rest
300 pull with paddles
3 X 100 hard :30 rest
200 pull with paddles
2 X 100 hard :30 rest
100 pull
100 all out (1:18)
850 easy with small paddles
Total: 5,050 yards = 4,615.7 meters.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Brag alert! If a little boasting disagrees with you, maybe you want to skip this post. Normally I don't crow too much except when I best Randal Beets in some sort of swimming event. And I am well aware that any real swimmers who happen to see this blog will think my times are a) shockingly slow, b) pathetic, or c) embarrassing. Probably the correct answer is d) all of the above.

But I am an adult-onset swimmer, and I'm excited about the progress I have made especially over the past year. At Masters practice last night, I broke my 400 short course PR not once but twice. And I wasn't even swimming all out. The instruction from our coach was to go hard but not full speed.

I never can remember my own records, but I dutifully record my workouts and records in a training dairy. Among other things, we swam 3 X 400 hard but not full speed. When I got home and checked my records, I discovered I had broken my 400 time not once, but twice, from 5:52 to 5:50 and then 5:48. It's been a good year like that.

It was 2006 when I joined the Masters group at DSU. I didn't swim that much in '06, but it was the most I ever had swum. Each year I did a little more. Only in 2010 did I swim enough that I started totalling everything up. I swam 311 miles in 2010, 409 miles in 2011, and this year I am at 506 miles and counting. I guess you can see the trend.

This year I have set all sorts of distance records like most meters in one week (42,000), most distance in one day (13.94 miles), biggest pool workout (12,100 long course meters) and many others. Also, almost every distance I have swum for time has produced a new PR. Long course has seen me PR in 50, 100, 400, and 500. For short course, I PRd in 300, 400, 500, and 800. In the open water last July, I smashed my half-mile best by 46 seconds at the Heart O' Dixie Triathlon lowering it to 11:56.

I'm a little excited.

I hope the records continue to fall, but I know at some point they will fail to do so. When that happens, I'm sure I can still be happy because I love to swim for its own sake. In fact, I love that all-day pace more than the lung busting effort it takes to set a PR in the pool. I'd rather swim long than fast. What I really want, however, is to swim long and fast at the effort I love to swim at now. That feeling I get when I am swimming smooth and feel like I can go all day is one I can't get enough of.

Well, If you've read to this point, the brag is over. Last night we swam

1,400 warm up
2 X 800 as first 800 50 back kick/50 swim with fins; second as 25 kick/75 swim with fins
5 X 400 as 1,3,5 hard, 2 and 4 as 50 back kick/50 swim no fins
200 easy
Total: 5,200 yards = 4,752.8 meters

Also, Monday I ran 2.01 and Tuesday I ran 4.32 miles. Today, I need to lift some weights.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Summary

To all  two of my readers, I really wanted to post more often this week, but I have been tied up caring for my mom while Dad was out of town. Maybe it's no big deal to you, but I become grieved when the bloggers I read don't post often.

Thursday I didn't run because something was sore, I don't remember what. But I did see the grandchildren, and I managed to get into the pool a little early. Cagri has gotten pretty laid back about warm ups, but is anything but on the main set. Typically, I get in and swim till I see him hanging around on deck. Thursday I just kept swimming and swimming. Finally I saw him on deck but he was talking with his high schoolers. So I swam some more. When he ambled down to my end of the pool, I stopped and he gave me the main set. I did

2,050 warm up
900 pull with paddles
300 for time 4:09 (PR)
150 easy kick/swim with fins
300 for time (4:10)
150 easy kick/swim with fins
300 for time (4:09)
150 easy kick/swim with fins
3 X 200 as 50 kick/50 drill/100 swim with fins
500 kick/swim with fins
300 kick with fins
Total: 5,700 yards = 5,209.8 meters

Friday was nice and warm so I went to the pond after I got Mom fed. I swam three plus laps. The water was 62 degrees where I got in, but it varied wildly from side to side, from end to end. On one side, it was so cold my feet would go numb. On the far end, it was so warm my feet would thaw out and then re-numb swimming up the next side. Wild. I did get 2.62 miles of straight swimming for 4,215.58 meters.

After the swim I did a little 2.76 shuffle around PD lake. This was the first time going around the back side of the lake. It was pretty and reminded me of squirrel hunting. Alas, I can't do it all.

Saturday, after getting Mom fed, I did a run/walk out Money Road and back for 5.21 miles of running and 1.82 miles of walking. I added a little stiff-legged deadlift set and a few squats to the end. I watched some college football, mowed the lawn, and took a nap.

For the week, I

ran 17.19
swam 15,597.9 meters
walked 4.19 miles
and lifted weights 1X.

For the year, I have swum 815,553.93 meters (506.87 miles) and run 551.6 miles. Already I am planning my big birthday swim. Next week I will be writing about my latest plans and things I have done to start the promotion, which is someting I know next to nothing about so if anyone out there can give me some tips, I would greatly appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On the Road Again

I did a little shuffle Tuesday. It felt nice to run again. I ran 4.21 and walked 1.5 miles. Then I did a 22 X 30 set of squats. I should have done more, but I have been a bit lazy of late. Next I drove to the my grandkids' house and watched Square Bob Sponge Pants and hugged Smu and Caitlin. Chagri sent a text saying he had an emergency at work. He texted the practice. I did

9 X 200 as 100 pull @ 2:00, 2 X 50 swim @ 1:00
100 easy
500 kick with fins
500 swim for time (I did 7:07.16, a new PR for me)
100 easy
500 small paddles
Total: 4,500 yards = 4,113 meters.

This put me just over 500 miles for the year. Wu Hoo!

I chatted with Vladimir a bit after practice. He is a distance swimmer, and he was extolling the virtues of running for swimmers. He said the legs consume a lot of oxygen so they need to be in the best condition possible. He is correct, of course, but my kick is so light it seems to make little difference. For me, I just like to run for its own sake. I like the endomorphs I get from a long run, and it does a body good. In the very short time my running has taken a down turn of late, my weight has started trending upward which is another reason to run. All in all, a marathon swimmer should be in top shape: running, swimming, and weight lifting. That is what I generally strive for, but doing the extra dryland training with consistency is what I find the most difficult. It is so easy to get lazy and just do a little running and a little swimming.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sissy Still?

The water was 54 degrees in the pond today, and I was alone. At least there was some sunshine although the wind blew fiercely. A glance at the thermometer, I almost backed out and I knew it was a wetsuit day for sure. In fact, this is an all-time cold water record for me.

Even with a sleeveless wetsuit, starting swimming was most difficult. The water burned my arms and face like being way too close to a bonfire, like being in the fire and my breathing was rapid and shallow for a quarter of a mile before I could settle into a bilateral pattern. Eventually, I did get comfortable but with the chop on the water, the added buoyancy from the wetsuit made me bob like a cork in a bed of little, hungry pan fish.

I managed only thirty-six minutes and was not euphoric upon climbing out of the water. In fact, I felt a little ill and my hands were so weak from the cold that I had great difficulty extracting myself from the suit. I towelled, put on dry clothes, and drove home with the heater on top setting.

This was not very encouraging. It is only October and I feel as if I've already bumped up against my limit. I don't know if I can go any lower or if I even want to. I will, however, try it at least one more time. The weather forecast calls for a warming trend over the next few days. Maybe the water temp will come up a little. I pray.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Summary

I went in to work Friday to set up for ACT. My intention was to leave there and go to the pond. I think I might could have pulled it off, but I locked the keys in the truck and was delayed for over an hour. When I finally got free, the weather had turned really cold. That, the overcast skies, and the high wind was just more than this cold-water-sissy could face. I went home and took a nap.

After ACT Saturday, I met Randy at the new pond. The temp was somewhere around 58 to 60 and the wind was high. But at least the sun was out and that always gives me some courage. However, when we checked the thermometer I had left out soaking, it read 60 degrees. Thursday the water temp was 72, and two days later it was 60.

Randy and I had a strategy session. We sat in the truck with the heater on and decided to wade in and let out lower bodies numb out. Then we would start swimming head out for a little while. Stepping into the water was incredibly painful. We got in waist deep and stood there a minute or two while our lower bodies numbed. When I asked Randy what he thought, he answered, "I don't know." I knew then that we were a dog's hair from not swimming.

I pushed off before we could back out and swam head up for a while. My upper body felt like it was on fire, but when I put my head down, it wasn't any worse. Breathing, however, was difficult for a minute or two. I could only take short breathes. Finally, I was able to breath normally and switch to bilateral breathing.

We had agreed to swim down one side, avoiding much of the downwind chop, and then swim back. When I got to the end of the pond, I felt totally comfortable in the water. I pulled up and saw Randy who said he felt great also. We swam back to the truck and decided to go back for one more length.

Swimming back felt good but about the time we turned around, I was starting to feel a little cool. I felt it more and more on the swim back to the truck. For some reason, I became a little frightened. This cold water swimming is new to me, and I was aware that my body was reacting in a considerable fashion. When we waded out, we both were already shivering before we exited the water.

We grabbed our towels, dried off and jumped in the truck. It took at least fifteen, maybe eighteen minutes before we were warm enough to put our running shoes on and do a little one-mile shuffle.

I'm glad we did it but I'm not highly confident in my ability to keep up this kind of thing. Next week I will try to swim some more outdoors, but without Randy I doubt I will even attempt 60 degrees without a wetsuit. Having someone with you in the water gives me a lot of push. With a wetsuit, I think I can do it, and even suited up, there is still some cold water exposure.

Last week I

Swam 19,149 meters
Ran only 7.16 miles
Lifter weights 1 X.

It was a light week except for the swimming. The swimming distance isn't that high but it is way above what I normally do this time of year. If I can keep the outdoor swimming up, who knows what may be possible next spring and summer. I want to do at least 16-miles on my next Chicot Challenge. The biggest hold back there is my wrists. I felt them some during the Suck. Since the Chicot swim, I have done a lot of stretching. That has helped, but they are still an issue. I think a strength imbalance is part of the problem.

Besides the Chicot swim, I have at least toyed with the idea of doing the Tampa Bay Swim. That is a serious swim (24-miles), it is in April (early for that kind of endurance), and expensive ($1,500 entry fee). That is a lot of money but way cheap compared to what it would cost to do an English Channel swim. I could take my stipend I am to receive for my award and add that to some bait-money I have and do it. But it's a real big deal. I will have to totally solve the hand pain issue, and I will have to swim outdoor all winter. I will have to have a life best endurance level and be cold water acclimated. Even In Florida, the average water temp for Tampa Bay in April is 75. That is not too cold for me now, but for 24 miles, you have to be able to take it.

Totals for the year are:

Swim: 799,956 meters = 497 miles
Run: 534 miles.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pond, Pool, and Suck II

I love Thursdays because the weekend starts for me when I leave the Greenwood Center sometimes around noon. Today, my wife treated me to lunch at the Park Ave Cafe. After that I went home and Luvie and Jeff and I took a nap. Those babies love to nap.

I made it to the pond and got in the water about 3:30. The water on the warm end was 72. It just keeps rising, but that is about to change. we are in for some much colder weather and next week will be the test, the proving time. Next week I will know if I am still a cold water sissy or not. Anyway, I did three plus laps today for 2.41 miles (3,877.69 meters). The water felt good. I think I am acclimating a little.

I made it to the grandkids and then to DSU where I did

4 X 250 pull @ 4:00 decline 1-4
50 easy
4 X 75 hard @ 1:10/25 easy @ 1:00
50 easy
4 X 250 @  4:00
2 X 250 easy
300 as 25/25 back kick swim with fins
Total: 4,300 yards = 3,930 meters
Total for day = 7,807.89 meters

Swim the Suck Part II
After supper, Penny and Martin both gave presentations. I found the two fascinating but wished they each had more time. I also wish we could have had some question and answer, though we did a little of that with Martin. I am curious about Penny’s dry land training. I know she does some because I’ve read to that effect on Facebook and on her blog, but I’m interested in some details. For one thing, I want to know if those guns of hers are natural or the result of hard work. She has bigger biceps than I do. Well, I suppose almost everyone has bigger biceps than I do. But I would love to sit down with her and pick her brains on the details of her training both in and out of the water.
Forrest fed me at forty-five minutes then I noticed a woman swimming to my right. When she breathed to her left, she looked like Penny. That fired me up through the roof. I was thinking, it doesn’t get any better than this. I am swimming beside one of the greatest swimmers in the world. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and pulled my head up.
“Who is that?” I yelled at her pilot.
“My name is Charlotte,” the paddler responded.
I took a couple of more strokes then pulled up again.
“I mean the swimmer,” I shouted back.
“Her name is Nancy,” the pilot answered.
 Awe shucks, I thought. I shouldn’t have asked. Turns out, Penny Palfrey finished about a Tennessee County and a half ahead of me. How could I have been so delusional to think I could swim beside her? But it was a great thrill while it lasted, and I felt like the champion of the world when I believed I was swimming beside a world-class athlete.
Somewhere about this time, Forrest told me I was ahead of Martin. What?!? That made me really put it in gear, as if I weren’t already swimming hard enough. I didn’t even take time to ask him how he knew this. I even had some suspicions he may have been lying to me. But there would be time for questions later. Now was the time to swim, and I fought for every second. Turns out that Martin climbed into a motorboat at around three-miles. When Forrest asked his pilot what happened, she replied that, “He just said he needed a beer and got out.” Barut was right: “Martin is fat and drinks too much beer.”
Not long after this, I noticed my miles were slowing down. I didn’t know for sure at the time, but the cut current was catching us plus my early torrid pace was taking a terrible toll. When I realized I wasn’t swimming as fast, I tried to force the pace back up which only resulted in my rear deltoids feeling like they had been bitten off my a dog. I could swim a moderate pace with no issues. In fact, I felt like I could swim that pace all day long, and I did exactly that last June in my Chicot Challenge when I swam for eight hours and twenty-four minutes. But when I tried to push, tried to reel in a swimmer ahead of me, my deltoids screamed in protest.
I’m guessing now that in addition to a bone headed start, I didn’t do enough pace work. Last year, besides a more sane swimming strategy, I did lots of 100s on everything from 2:30- to 1:55. Anything 2:00 and below is fast for me in a long course pool. Next year, I plan to go back to that and try some longer intervals also. I need to learn to hold pace when fatigued. And I know which muscles will get the most attention in my back yard gym over the next year.
It wasn’t too long after I noticed my miles slowing that I lost my ability to run the numbers in my head. That always happens, on land or on water, if I am really going hard. Then my Garmin vibrated and a few minutes later it vibrated again. This confused me and I essentially became lost at that point. I really didn’t know how far I had been because I didn’t trust the watch. I don’t know if it lost and regained the satellite signal or what but I knew that it had malfunctioned, something very rare for that instrument, and I couldn’t make sense of things anymore.  
I did notice the Pot House, the place of the post swim party, and I remembered being told that it is approximately half way. Forrest, who also was wearing a Garmin GPS watch, told me then that his Garmin showed 5.26 miles. The Garmin under my cap had buzzed six or seven times so I wasn’t sure what to think.
Since I didn’t know what to think, I didn’t think and just swam. After another hour or so, we came to a place in the river I recognized. There is this huge bolder out a little way into the channel and when I saw it I knew that we were getting close. Then we came to another area, I don’t know what to call it, I think it’s the water outlet for Raccoon Mountain which is about a mile from the finish. But when I looked down the long straight away, I couldn’t spot the red buoy that was supposed to mark the finish. Eventually when the buoy did come into view, it seemed to keep moving downstream. It was discouraging to see it and never seem to draw any closer. After the swim, I heard another swimmer, Jeff Williams from Newburgh, Indiana, say the same thing.
Finally, I did start drawing closer and at some point after glancing at the Garmin on my wrist, I realized I was not going to break last year’s time. Still, it was a great satisfaction finally to touch that big red buoy, and know it was over, all the training and planning and dreaming had come to a resolution, a conclusion.   
Unlike last year, the water was a few degrees warmer, but the day was much cooler. Someone had started a fire, which felt really good to stand beside, and there was also a changing tent this year so we were able to get into dry clothes after being wet for almost five hours. In fact, I was on my way to the changing tent when Robin Bond called my name. I was surprised but not shocked to see Randy coming in so soon. He improved much over the past year. He was as happy as a dead pig in the sunshine until he saw me and knew that once again, Zane Hodge was the Fattie-ASS  Champion of the World, not him.  
When Randy got out of the water and finally quit weeping, we stood around the fire and talked to Victoria Rian for a while. She won the race last year and was fourth this year a few seconds ahead of Penny Palfrey even. In other words, she’s a major swimmer. We found out that she did MIMS (Manhattan Island Marathon Swim) this year and she trains up to 70,000 meters per week. Do what??? My all-time record is 42,000 and that pretty much wiped me out for a couple of weeks. She also swims outdoors, in Indiana, until the water temperature dips below 50 degrees. Dude, she is one bad chick.  
After watching almost everyone come in, Forrest and I ran to the Pot House four-and-a-half miles away for the post-race party. There we ate food and heard tales of Martin, who was inside, drinking everyone under the table. In my mind, once more I heard Barut Strel say,“Martin is fat and drinks too much beer.” Then some red-eyed, slurry-speeched swimmer stumbled out of the house and said, “Don’t go in there. Martin finished the beer and is working on the wine.”
Shortly after that, Forrest and I hitched a ride to the Suck Creek Boat Ramp where we got the truck and made our way back to the Delta Queen. We bathed, napped, and then went out to eat. We walked to a restaurant which is not difficult to do in Chattanooga because they are everywhere. When the ticket came, my son Forrest picked it up.
“Let me have it,” I protested.
“No Dad. I’ve got it.”
Wow. That had never happened before.
I learned a lot on this trip. Among other things, I found out that:
1.   Martin Strel is fat and drinks too much beer.

2.   Martin Strel is just as wild and crazy and he is presented in Big River Man.

3.   Despite all my training, ten-miles is still a long way on water.

4.   Sane pacing is important in an endurance swim.

5.   Pace work is needful to swim fast and far at the same time.

6.   Randal Beets is rapidly improving as a swimmer and if I am to beat him again next year, I’ll have to train harder than ever.

7.   My son, Forrest, is growing up and I am very proud of him.

I hope we get to do this again next year. I hope then to cut some time off my swim. I hope also to beat Randal Beets in 2013. I suppose that is another thing I’ve learned. Long swims give me hope.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Swim the Suck Part I

Wednesday after work and after napping with Luvie and Jeff, I went to the pond. The water on the warm side was 71 degrees. I swam three laps for a total of 2.24 miles which equals 3,604 meters. Seventy one felt pretty warm. Most of the pond was a bit cooler, but I didn't take time to measure it. It is always warmer on the  downwind side if the sun is shining.

Swim the Suck Part I
I never did get my hands on the underwater rope we were supposed to hold at the start. In fact I barely got in line when the horn sounded and we, seventy-four of us, were off on our ten mile trip down the beautiful Tennessee River. Like last year, we started at the Suck Creek Boat Ramp. Unlike last year, I went out hard, really hard, swimming like I was doing 100 meter sprints in the pool.
The plan, the hope was to go swiftly from the start and hold on. That’s the strategy I used at the Heart O’ Dixie Triathlon this year where I smashed my half-mile open water personal record by forth six seconds. I went out then like I was doing pool 50s and held on for dear life. Also I was thinking about the current. We started the third annual Swim the Suck Open Water Marathon near Chattanooga, TN at 9:00 am, the exact time the TVA was scheduled to cut off the river’s the water flow. My thought was if I swam hard enough, maybe I could keep up with the good current we had at the time.
Another thing different from last year was that Forrest and I were on time for the pre-race Friday night banquet. We hooked up with Randy Beets and his pilot, Robin Bond, and found a seat inside Outdoor Chattanooga. When “Big River Man” Martin Strel walked by, I jumped up quickly and asked him for a photo. He was very gracious and obliged. Martin is a marathon swimmer form Slovenia who has swum from end to end the Yangtze in China, the Danube in Europe, the Mississippi in America, and the Amazon in South America. A documentary on him, Big River Man, is one of the most inspiring and funniest things I’ve ever seen. Narrated by his son Barut, one of the opening statements in the movie is: “Martin is fat and drinks too much beer.” My favorite line from the film, though, is “Martin in drunk and driving 100 miles an hour.” A shot of Martin behind the wheel cuts to the car’s speedometer. “Martin is also studying English,” Barut adds, “and doing breathing exercises.” You gotta see this film.
If my Garmin was accurate, I swam the first mile in something like twenty-two minutes. I had my Garmin 310X under my swim cap and it was set to lap, buzz, and vibrate every mile. When it vibrated, I glanced at my Garmin 910 on my left wrist and saw the number 22. Now I am well aware that I can’t swim that fast, but we had good current at the start, and I was trying to bank all the time I could.
That unbelievable time fired me up so that I swam even harder. Forrest was scheduled to feed me at forty-five minutes for the first two feedings and then at every thirty minutes after that. When the Garmin buzzed the second time and I still had not had fed, I knew I was flying.
Not only did I get a picture with Martin Strel, but Penny Palfrey was there. She is my hero. At my age, I don’t have many heroes left and we live in a world that seems desperate to destroy anyone worthy of the title. I enjoy the ball sports, especially college football, but I do not idolize ball players. Neither do I idolize movie actors or writers even although I admire and respect both groups. My heroes are endurance athletes, but not the kind most people think of when they hear the term endurance athlete. It is not the marathoner or professional cyclist that sits atop the thrown of my admiration. I am drawn, rather, to a sub-culture of what most people know nothing of and if they have had any exposure to it at all think of it as extreme. They are right, it is extreme.
Ultra-marathoners, swimmers and runners mostly, are the group of people I hold in highest regard. Swimmers especially since they are the rarest breed. It is a world I have slowly entered and the farther in I go in, the more intrigued and admiring I become. These are the people who inspire me to step higher, who open my thoughts to new possibilities, whose exploits ignite my imagination into a forest fire of new worlds and challenges. Penny Palfrey is chief among these.
She has swum all the major channels, English (twice), Catalina, Molakai (twice), the Straits of Gibraltar and others, many others. She swam from Little Cayman Island to Grand Cayman Island, a distance of 67.25 miles. She even came to and swam Swim the Suck in Tennessee. She inspires me to dream big, far beyond what I previously had thought even possible, and to chase my dreams with faith.
I felt like a stalker as I watched her from afar, seeking an opportunity for a picture. We lined up for our pasta dinner, and since the line was long, I decided to make a trip back to the restroom. When I did, I found Penny Palfrey alone at her table. My heart skipped a beat, skipped two beats. Heck, I almost swooned. “Penny, may I have a picture, please?” She was very gracious and posed for a photo. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I was star-struck, totally star-struck. When I got back in the food line and showed Randy, Robin, and Forrest my photo, their jaws dropped.

Temptation Overcome

He loves to take a nap. I do too.
I took a nap with the cat and dog and then did a little shuffle Tuesday. I broke down again. Don't ask. Earlier I had considered going to the pond and DSU, but then I decided I just wasn't that energetic and overcame the temptation. At DSU, I got in the water a little late and only managed

450 warm up (I like to do at least 1,000)
800 pull
4 X 50 @ 1:00
600 swim with paddles
8 X 50 @ 1:00
400 swim
12 X 50 @ 1:00
4 X 100 breathing 2, 5, and 9
Total: 3,850 yards = 3518.9 meters

We were short on lanes. What are we going to do when the pool goes back to long course? I swam with Margarette and the other girl (sorry, I can't remember her name). Swimming two per lane is one thing, but this is the first time I have swum three per lane. It wasn't that bad except on the longer swims (800 and 600) when Margarette and I had to lap. Then it was a little crowded. But overall, it wasn't that bad.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Still a Cold Water Sissy

After taking a nap with my cat, I lifted weights and then loaded up and drove to the pond Monday afternoon. Once there, I did a 2.52-mile shuffle and then took a swim. While I was running, I had my thermometer in the water to get an accurate reading. The water on that end of the pond was 68, an increase of three degrees over Friday. It didn't feel any warmer to me.

As I've mentioned before, one idea I had for naming this blog was ColdWaterSissy. The reason for that name is I admire cold water swimmers and have tried myself, unsuccessfully, to become one. I've done more cold water swimming this year than ever, but I'm still a long way from being able to handle sub-70 degree water for any length of time.

Due to time constraints, I swam only two laps, 1.5 miles. At least I did something but with the cool pool swimming and the cold pond swimming, I was hoping the water would feel warmer. It didn't and neither did I. But the plan is to swim again Wednesday. As long as the weather is so delightful, it seems wrong not to swim whenever possible. Tonight I head to DSU. I am tempted to go to the pond AND DSU. But I need a longish run and I need to see the grandchildren. I suppose if I was really energetic enough, I could do it all. We'll see.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Summary

Saturday, I had originally planned to make another trip to the pond and get some more cold water swimming in. However, I was just feeling lazy, so I drank a lot of coffee and hung out with my wife and helped clean up. I also watched some football, Texas A&M vs LSU, until half time then I went outside and did a pretty substantial weight session. With every rep and every set, I had the Chicot Challenge and the Swim the Suck in the back of my mind. Although my yardage is by necessity way down from now until next spring, I am training for these events already.

Originally, I had planned to do next year's birthday swim at Ross Barnett. Now the plan is to go back to Chicot. Although Chicot solves a host of logistical issues, a number of those still exists. The main issue is starting earlier than last year. The store at the state park doesn't open until 9:00. This is where my pilots rented their kayaks. Last June we didn't actually start swimming until about 9:50. I want to up the distance to at least 16-miles, maybe farther. To do that and have time to contact Bob Darden early enough for him to write a follow up article, requires at least an 8:00 am start. How to get the kayaks? I own one, but need three. That's right; it looks like I will have three pilots instead of two next year. Great. The more kayakers, the safer I am.

Penny's brother, Brice, came down from Nashville so we went to Carroll County in the afternoon. I got out of the truck just before the bridge over Pelucia Creek and shuffled and walked 9.16 miles going up the big paved hill. For the week I did

Run: 15.06
Walk: 3.87
Swim: 15,822.34 meters
Weights: 2 X

For the year, I have 527 miles running and 485.27 miles swimming.

Friday, October 19, 2012

New Pond

Getting ready to get in the new pond.
Randy and I have a new body of water down on the fish farm. Our favorite pond has become too dangerous to swim. In the summer of 2011, we started swimming what immediately became our favorite. It was large and since the farm had just pumped it up, the water was cool and the fish were small. Now the fish are large, the water is crowded, and if something spooks them or excites them, you get hit a lot by rapidly moving fish. Usually being hit is mostly an annoyance but it can be, and recently was, more than that.

The new pond was just stocked late this summer, and David tells me the head count is about half of what our old pond has. Since both ponds are the same size, there was no reason not to change.

The water was 65 degrees today, but I got in alone and did two laps and another trip down the short levee and back for 1.76 miles. I wore a light, partial neoprene shirt which gave a little protection, mostly from the initial shock when just starting. I wanted to swim, and I'm glad I took the plunge. Maybe I can keep some outdoor swimming up through the fall and who knows, maybe all winter. I have a wetsuit if the water, and it will, drops too much more. If the weather stays warm like it is now, the water temps should drop slowly and possibly I can acclimate to the colder temperatures a little at a time. Some people, in other parts of the country and in England, swim outdoors year round.

After the swim, I did a little run of 3.35 miles followed by a short walk. The run and walk helped me warm up. I was still shivering after ten minutes of jogging. When I got home, I took a nap with Jeff and Luvie. Jeff has been sick and is on some major meds. He acts like he's feeling a little better. This should make my wive happy. You know what they say, if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What?? Too Cold??

The weather has been so warm and the Twin Rivers pool so clean I went back Wednesday to do a killer practice. They were draining the pool. Turns out that 85 degree weather and 73 degree water is too cold. Unbelievable. I'm pretty much a cold water sissy. In fact, that was one of the names I seriously considered naming this blog. But even I can swim in 73 degrees. And this has to be the warmest October ever. Not to be stopped by common sense, Twin Rivers pulled the plug and ruined my fun. I'm telling you, there is a vast right and left wing conspiracy to keep me from experiencing pleasure.

Since I couldn't swim, I went home, redressed, and took a little shuffle. I did

2.12 miles and walked .29
I then did some weights
   Overhead press: 8 X 50
   Chin up: 4
   Dumbbell shrugs: 22 X 50
   All three times through

Thursday I shuffled 3.37 and walked .23 Then I went to DSU and did

600 paddles
400 as 50 free/50 back
200 hard
200 hard
400 as 50 free/25 breast/25 back
600 paddles
800 for time I did 11:29 which was a PR by six seconds
800 easy
Total: 4,800 yards = 4,392 meters

Randy was there for the first time since early summer. It was nice to see him, and he brought the gift certificate for David who takes care of us at the catfish pond. We gave him one last year. Speaking of catfish ponds, David tells me they have some empty ones at PD. I am going to try to find one tomorrow and swim test it I hope. I really am not eager to get back in what was our favorite, number 29, because the fish are getting so crazy in there. David says there is about 200,000 pounds of fish in that pond and the last time we swam it I got severely finned. My hand was paralyzed for maybe eighteen minutes and the pain was just below kidney stone level.

I just finished a draft of the Swim the Suck report and will serialize it probably starting next week. It was an interesting experience that I learned much from and I'm eager to share it with you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Great Weather

Since the weather has been so good, and the water relatively warm, I have swum more than normal this time of year. Last year, I pretty much shut it down after the Suck and only did the Masters two times per week. The water temp at Twin rivers was 70 Friday and 74 Saturday. That once was cold enough to keep me out, but not anymore. Monday afternoon I swam and the water was 73. That is starting to feel pretty warm. Brent was there swimming in his wetsuit. He's pretty lean, so I understand, but 73 is really not wetsuit temp. Monday I did

20 X 100 @ 1:54
Total: 3,800

The 1:54 interval is the fastest I have ever done long course 100s on. It wasn't that bad, but my times were not very good. It's just really hard to push yourself when you are the only one. Brent was there, but he was doing his own thing. Towards the end of the set, I was only getting six seconds rest. But at the pace I was swimming, plus the cool water, that was no problem.  My plan is to work my interval times down on the 100s and add reps which should build endurance and some speed, in other words: stamina. I am breaking mental barriers now which should help me next summer.

Tuesday (today) I gave my presentation at MDCC. I tried very hard to keep the time down and left out so much I wanted to share. Still it lasted 1:08. That's hours not minutes. I did my best and I feel a bit more free now. It was nice and they gave me cookies afterwards. Cookies always make me happy. Preparation kept me from running Monday, and our dog kept me from running today. After the program, I came home and took a nap with Jeff our weenie dog. He is ill, and I was very concerned about him. If something were to happen to this dog, I am not sure my wife would survive it. She is extremely attached to the little fellow as am I. He was better than this morning so I decided not to take him to  the vet. He  just isn't feeling well or eating much. He had perked up some this afternoon but was still not his usual self.

I went to DSU and did

10 X 100 pull @ 2:00
400 @ 8:00
4 X 100 as 1) @ 1:55, 2) @ 1:50, 3) @ 1:45 with fins, 4) @ 1:40 with fins
400 @ 8:00
4 X 100 @ 1:50
400 @ 8:00
4 X 100 @ 1:45 with fins
Total: 5,250 yards = 4,798.5 meters

You gotta love Cagri. I do. He works us pretty hard which is what I want.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Sumamry

With my hero, Penny Palfrey, the night before Swim the Suck
It was not a good week of training. Not to worry, recovery is the chief thing right now. But my running has collapsed again and that is a real strain on my psyche. I can't even talk or write about it. Monday I shuffled 2.86 miles. Tuesday I took off from running and went to DSU. There I did 4,100 yards = 3,747.4 meters. Wednesday I tried to run again and broke down after 3.59 miles.

The bright spot of the training week was Thursday at Masters. I had a good chat with Cagri before practice. He is going to help Randy and me get faster for next year's race. He talked about us doing 10,000 in the pool sometimes. What!?! We did

1,000 warm up
30 X 100 @ 2:00 We took our pulse after every other 100. Cagri wrote every thing down.
200 easy
4,200 yards = 3,838.8 meters.

I couldn't believe my ears when Cagri said 30 X 100. The most we ever did with Petya was 20 X 100. Cagri's practices are longer and I like that a lot. He also shows some interest in helping Randy and me train for the longer open water stuff. Most pool swimmers don't really care anything about that sort of thing.

Friday I went to Twin Rivers. The water was 70 degrees and I did an easy 2,700 straight. Saturday I went back and did

16 X 100 @ 1:55
500 easy
3,200 LCMs

Water temp hit 74 by the time I left. Later in the afternoon, I lifted weights for the first time in a couple of weeks. Then I shuffled 1.47 miles to Dad's to watch MSU beat Tennessee.

Still to come is the Swim the Suck write up. I have a major presentation to make at work Tuesday, and until that is done, pretty much everything else is on hold.

I swam 13,486.2 meters
Ran 7.92 miles
walked 1.87 miles
Lifted weights 1 X
and ate way too much food. That is just one reason I need to run. Whenever I am running, I am much more circumspect about what I put into my mouth. As soon as the running goes south, I fall off the wagon when it comes to a decent diet. I'm not sure why that is, but it has always been that way with me.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Summary

The Big River Man himself, Martin Strel
Thursday I ran 6.37 miles and intended to go to the pool but just didn't make it. Friday was travel day to Chattanooga. Forrest and I left about 9:00 and just did get there in time. Penny Palfrey and Martin Strel were there. I will do a full report and post more pictures later. Right now, here is a pic of Randy and me with Martin. I also got one with Penny. For the first time in my life, I was star-struck.

Forrest and I stayed on the Delta Queen again this year. Saturday, the swim went OK, although I was a bit disappointed that my time was six minutes slower than last year. The reason for that is two-fold: 1) I went out hard, really hard with the hope that I could hold. I could not. 2) The water flow was really low. By the time we finished, we were swimming in a lake. I did beat Randy Beets, but he swam much better than last year and cut the gap between us in half. If he does that again next year, we will be sprinting each other at the finish.

The water temp was 75, a bit warm for all the people from the North, but for me it was still cool but doable. Forrest and I ran the 4.57 miles from the swim end back to the Pot House.

For the week, I swam 19, 025 meters and completed my second Swim the Suck Ten-Miler. I ran 25.7 miles and walked 3.93 miles. Since it was race week, I did no weightlifting.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Suck Week Started

Being Suck week, I am radically tapering down, but I also have the goal of keeping my running up. Monday was chilly and raining so I didn't even attempt to go to the pool. I did shuffle an easy 4.14 miles. Weights, which I often do on Mondays, are off the agenda this week also. Tuesday I shuffled 6.6 miles with a 1.37 mile segment of M-pace work and one .25 interval of T-pace. It was a nice run and I thanked God for the opportunity to enjoy His creation both inside and outside of this body. At DSU, I did a total of 3,300 SCYs which comes out to 3,016 meters.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Summary

I took it easy Friday, but Saturday was a huge day. Randy and I met at the pond with the plans to swim about five-miles without a feeding. We were just starting lap six when a fish collided with my right hand. I felt the fin go into the flesh of my right hand below the thumb. The pain was immediate and excruciating, and the hand would not move for probably twenty-minutes. It was not too easy to swim out with one arm and a paralyzed hand. The swim was over for me. Randy finished lap six and got out. I made 3.9 miles before I tapped out due to fish fin submission. The pain lasted about an hour and then faded rapidly.

I went home, bathed, doctored and soaked the hand and napped. After some good college football, I got up and went for a run. My legs were seriously tired, but I kept shuffling aiming for eight or more miles. I got in 8.5 and although the pace was embarrassingly slow, I threw in some T pace intervals and even just a bit of speed work.

For the week, I swam 13,145 meters, ran 23,94 miles, and lifted weights both upper and lower body.