Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Aborted Practice

I went to Twin Rivers this morning ready to hammer out at least 10K no matter how long it took. However, at about 9:20 a bus drove up and off loaded a half acre of kids. Time up. I managed to get in:

500 kick with fins
100 easy with fins
10 X 100 @ 2:15
400 easy
500 kick with fins
100 easy with fins
Total: 3,900 meters

I went home, took nutrition, rested, and then ran 3.36 miles. Maybe tomorrow I can knock off my 10K.

Monday, July 30, 2012


After lunch, I got on my mountain bike and headed over the Tallahatchie Bridge. The heat index was 112. I rode out the gravel road to the right and hid my bike in a corn field and ran a turn row to the woods and back. Then I rode back to Money Road and got on another turn row and did some more running. By the time I got home, I had run 3.42 miles and ridden 7.18. Those are not big numbers, but in that heat, it was a big deal.

I went to Twin Rivers about 6:30 p.m. and swam an easy 3,100 straight. Despite the fact that Saturday I only did a light warm up and swam 800 meters, the swim was all out and Sunday and early Monday I had a sore tendon in my right elbow. I truly never swam harder in my life than I did Saturday and I really felt it and not just in the elbow. I took some mega doses of anti-inflamatories and did a ton of messaging. The easy pace felt good and nothing was sore while I swam. I plan a pretty big pool swim in the morning with some pace work along with some paddle swimming.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Summary

Friday I went to Twin Rivers and swam an easy 1,500. I also did a short run and some dryland. Then I packed and went to Noxapator, first stopping in Louisville to register. My Aunt Mary and Uncle Paul put me up for the night and fed me like I was their fat little baby. I love these people. One of the things I always loved about the Heart O' Dixie (HOD) is visiting my family. There are a whole lot fewer of them now that just a few short years ago.
My training buddy, Randy, and me after the HOD
The race was a mixed bag. I busted out a pretty good swim (11:56) which was a PR by 46 seconds and best in my age division of fourteen old men. After the swim, I didn't have the confidence to push the bike due to my lack of riding. Literally, I must have been passed my 200 bikers. I averaged 16.8 miles-per-hour, good for 12th in my division. From 1st to 12th- ouch! On the run, I started well (9:46 for the first mile), but then the wheels fell off. It was hot, it was hilly, and my legs died. If you are not in bike shape, you can't run off the bike. I already knew this. I snapped a picture of two fat ladies running away from me on a hill. Humility, I think, is a noble virtue.

For the week, I swam 18,465 meters, biked 27 miles, ran 9.72 miles, and walked 6.67. I only lifted weights 1X but did a lot of other dryland work.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Last Practice with Petya

Before leaving home, I did some light running and a little dryland in the morning. Then I went to see my grandchildren in Skene, Mississippi. My grandson, Zane, and I walked to the airport and back.

Petya finally announced who her replacement will be. Cagri (pronounced Charry) will take over week after next. There will be no Masters next week. Since next week is also my last one off work, I will probably go to the pond a couple of times and hit some mega yardage.

Thursday's practice was obviously intended to humiliate me. The whole thing was sprints and the whole thing was done in fins which means I got my butt handed to me on every rep of every set. I not only have a distance stroke, I have a marathoner's kick, or lack thereof. We did:

400 back
8 x 100
6 x 50 kick alternate free and back
4 x 100 as 50 hard aerobic, 25 all out, 25 easy
2 x 200 back
6 x 50 all out
Total 2,800

Again, since there was no lifeguard on duty, I had to leave after practice. It's turning out to be a really light week as far as volume goes, but I should be able to rectify that starting Monday.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Time, Motive, Opportunity

Since The Swim the Suck Ten-Miler in Chattanooga, TN (Oct 6) is my next A-list event, I've been trying to hit a minimum of 20,000 meters with one 10,000 meter session per week after taking four weeks of low volume swimming following The Chicot-Challenge in early June. Usually, Randy and I go to the pond on Saturday and get in our long swim, but The Heart O' Dixie Triathlon (.5 x 27.5 x 7) knocks that out this Saturday, and Bikes, Blues, and Bayous (Greenwood's annual bike ride) eliminates it the next. That leaves me looking for a long swim during the week.

Monday I knocked off 7,000 straight before abandoning the pool to the ladies water aerobics (you who think I over use certain insensitive terms, applaud me here). Tuesday and Thursday are Masters and Friday is way too close to the HOD for a swim that long. This left Wednesday. I went to the pool after 5:00 o'clock with the time, motive, and opportunity to get my 10K, but I discovered that motive is not the same as motivation. I suffered from low energy and uncooperative bicep muscles. After changing my lifting program last week, my traps and biceps have not yet adjusted.

I did some light running in the morning and a little dryland. At the pool I managed:

500 kick with fins
Total only 3,100.

Then I succumbed to the allure of my cookie dough waiting for me at home.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Distance Stroke in Two Languages

Tuesday and Thursday nights are Masters Swim Practice at DSU. Petya Petrova, our coach, took over my swim training in September 2007 just after I completed That Dam Swim at Muscle Shoals, Alabama. This was my first swim marathon and before Petya became the Masters coach. At the time, I was either taking or teaching classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I would go to the DSU pool at noon on Fridays and Petya would write my practices. I give her the credit for making me the swimmer I am today. She was extremely critical of my style (ouch!) and molded me and built me up physically over a period of months with tons of paddle work. I am convinced that those long paddles sets permanently made me stronger than I ever was. Keep in mind I am a middle-aged adult-onset swimmer.

Petya is getting married in a couple of weeks and moving to Canada. It's not yet clear who her replacement will be. Her parents from Bulgaria are in town for the wedding. Her dad, through Petya's interpretation, coached us last night.  He had a lot of nice things to say about my swimming. When I tried to give her the credit, she wouldn't translate that part but would only say to me, "I got it all from him" (her father and coach for many years). Petya's dad said my stroke was "elegant" and "an endurance stroke." Actually, about the endurance stoke, I had a clue. I'd heard it before, and I'm sure no sprinter. But I guess it's official. I've been told in two languages that I have an endurance stroke.

The practice was:
   800 free/back
   4 x 200 1 & 3 paddles and fins; 2 & 4 swim only
   4 x 100 free with dolphin kick (I felt spastic)
   8 x 50 @ 1:30
   2 x 50 as 25 all out, 25 easy
   100 easy
Total: 2,700 meters

I wanted more, but since there were no lifeguards on duty, I had to leave after practice. Usually I stay and do extra distance.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Training and HOD Goals

For many  years, the Heart O' Dixie Triathlon has been one of my A-list events. Not so this time around. Saturday my goals are simply to get a good workout and try not to get beaten by too many large females. I'm sure I will not be totally sucessful on the last point.

A number of factors have changed my motivation and fitness for competing in triathlons. One is (was) my mother's critical illness starting last January. She has been ill much longer, but in January she began to suffer a number of life-threatening secondary issues related to her diabetes and liver disease. She is much improved now and is requiring a lot less attention from me. However, during the winter and spring, I didn't even try to ride a bicycle and rarely ran. I focused my limited training time primarily on swimming and weight lifting.

Not only has my mother's illness impacted this year's triathlon season, but some nagging knee and achilles injuries have kept me from doing the kind of training I need even when I have the time. In fact, I have had achilles issues for three and a half years. Over that period of time, my athletic identity has slowly morphed from runner/triathlete to extreme swimmer. It seems like I can always swim without breaking down from injury. At fifty-six years old, I set a number of personal swimming records this spring. It's been year's since I set a personal running record.

Today I got to the pool about 8:00 a.m. without any real plan and started swimming. I like long warmups, but this morning I felt so good I just kept warming up. I wound up stopping at 7,000 meters because I had to use the bathroom. In the afternoon, I did a major upper body weight lifting session. For supper I made a protien smoothie and ate an apple. Maybe I can drop a pound or two before Saturday.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Today is Sunday and my wife and I are doing what we normally do on this day: nothing. I train hard six days a week, but on the Sunday I take the day totally off. Since we pastor a small church, we go to worship in the morning, then out to eat for lunch. But after that it is nap time. We both spend the afternoon and night just lounging around and resting up for the next week. I've come to the conclusion that God was right about the Sabbath. We really do need the rest. After being a pastor for twenty-one years, I've concluded that God is right nine times out of ten.

In my first post, I wrote about my choice of the name "EndangeredSwimmer." You might be interested in knowing what other names I was considering. One name I pondered was "ColdwaterSissy." I read the blogs of cold water swimmers with admiration and awe. Every spring I'm eager to get into the open water and crank up some distance. However, I can't seem to pull off the kind of swimming others find commonplace. In short, I'm a weenie when it comes to cold water. I got in a catfish pond last February with a full wetsuit on. I couldn' take it. I'll try again next February armed with the knoweldge that other people pull it off. Maybe I'll be successfull then.
Another name I actually like more than the one I chose is "RaceswithFatLadies." There are a whole lot of stories behind that name and maybe I'll write about them sometimes. But my wife, and others, helped dissuade me from that choice. I really don't want to offend, but I've had me some epic battles with obese women in 10Ks, triathlons, and marathons. So far no large ladies have beaten me in open water swims, although I'm sure there are some (many even) who could.

Last week was a pretty good training weeek. I swam 28,624 meters, ran 14.68 miles, biked 43.5 miles, walked 2.82 miles, and lifted weights twice. For me, 20,000 meters and up  is big yardage.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

HOD Training

Since this is my very first blog post, I thought I might dedicate a few sentences to what this blog is intended to be about. I plan to write, primarily, about my alleged athletic adventures which mostly center around swimming. The title I chose for this site, EndangeredSwimmer, refers to the virtually extinct state of open water swimming in my home state of Mississippi. This title is a bit of a misnomer because the term "extinct" implies the threatened survival of something that once thrived. If open water swimming ever even existed in Mississippi, I am totally unaware of it. I know a few swimmers, but only a couple of them show any inclination to swim outside of a pool, a triathlon or two notwithstanding. With that said, I turn to what I plan normally to do: give a short summary of my training.

Today I met my buddy, Randal Beets, one of Missississippi's rare open water swimmers at Twin Rivers Recreational Center. Our plan was to swim, bike, and run as a last ditch effort to prepare for next Saturday's Heart O' Dixie Triathlon. We swam 3,800 LCM as follows: 1,000 + 10 X 100 @ 2:15 + 500 easy + 8 X 100 @ 2:00 + 500 easy. I wanted a little more swimming, but Randy was ready to ride so we changed and rode our bikes 20+ miles to the little hamlet of Phillip where we ate lunch before riding back. We then "ran" (shuffle is a more accurate term) for a little over four miles. It was hot, we were tired, and our pace was horrendous.