Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Harder I Try . . .

After Sunday's swim with Randy, I decided to go back to the pond Monday after work since the air temp was warm and the Sunday swim boosted my cold water eagerness a bit. I suited up and swam 1.36 miles (2,188.24 meters) and then got out and ran another 2.11 miles. After the little shin issue last week, I am being ultra conservative and just don't want to risk a further aggravation. The 27-mile birthday run with my son was a bit too much, and I knew from past experience that the following few days carried a high risk of injury. Also I know from experience that this type of issue, something sore after overdoing things, will almost always clear up rapidly with a little rest..

Where is Randal Beets when you need him?
Since Tuesday was even warmer than Monday, I hatched the idea to do a double swim and go to the pond and then on to Masters. Sunday the water was 50, Monday it had warmed to 54, and Tuesday it was all the way up the 58. That made starting a lot easier, but I still got cold. I did make 1.65 miles before I tapped out. I also ran 2.5 and did a little walking.

At my daughter's house, my granddaughter got her Kindle out and started Sponge Bob for me. She always tries to make me happy in some way, and lately she loans me her Kindle to watch cartoons. I am not about to tell her that I really don't want to watch because she seems to get such joy in trying to please me. She is a sweet child and a true giver.

I was only 800 yards into my warm up at Masters when the Mad Swimming Scientist ordered us out of the pool because of a tornado warning. Dude, this has happened before. The last time I tried a double swim we got ordered out then also. I am trying really hard to get some major yardage in and it seems the harder I try, the less I do. Last week I did 5,392 meters on Tuesday. I swim twice this Tuesday for only 3,369 meters. What to do?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fifty Degree Swim

Randy climbing out after 400 meters in 50 degree water

Friday I drove back to DSU to get in another swim. From now until June 1, I need to get in as many yards as possible. When I started to exit my truck at the natatorium, I got this sickening feeling inside. I forgot to bring my swim bag. Who does that? Luckily, I had an old towel and a pair of goggles on the back seat so all was not lost. I had planned on doing a lot of paddle work, but putting in some yardage was the main thing. I had swum 450 when Mark Blackwood walked up so I stopped and we chatted a bit. He left to go the the gym for a treadmill run and I did another 1200 when he showed up again. After he left the second time, I decided to swim until the pace clock flipped to 00:00 and then start a 33 X 100 set @ 2:00. I got in another 1000 and then rested a couple of minutes waiting for the pace clock to get right. The 100s set went pretty well, but I got tired after 25 of them. I finished with an easy 50 giving me 6,000 yards for the day.
Saturday I decided against running to allow my left shin more time to heal. Instead, I did repeats of a circuit on the bike trainer and some weight lifting. On the  weights, I did squats, overhead presses, sled drags, and shrugs.

Sunday afternoon I met Randy at the pond. The air temp was in the 60s and the water was 50. Randy lives in an apartment building that has an outdoor pool, and he has been getting in every morning before work. I am the one who got him started on this cold water stuff, but he has taken off and left me in the dust. He wanted to go the distance of his upcoming swim in Chattanooga. I drove him to the far end, and the plan was for him to swim back while I drove beside him on the levee taking pictures and being there to help if he got into trouble. He was in the water ten minutes, got out in good shape, and never started shivering. Then it was my turn.

Me scooting along in the coldest water of my life.
I hadn't been in cold water since December 17th, I think, and this was a record temp for me. I suited up because I was hoping to get in some real distance. If Randy had not been there, I most likely would have gotten out. The pain on my hands was indescribable, and I thought they were going to go dead on me. Overall I never got too cold, but the hands, arms, and face were pretty intensely painful. Eventually the hands did feel better. Randy followed along on foot, taking pictures and being close in case I got into trouble. When I made the entire circle and wound up back at the truck, I should have gone for another lap, but I wimped out and quit swimming. I made .72 miles at a pace of 27:12 per mile, and was amazed at how tired my arms became. Short course swimming just does not prepare the body to swim open water. The muscles get a rest every eighteen strokes. When there are no walls, the muscles have to just keep working and working and working. Big difference.

For the week, I

ran only 6.63 and
walked 2.81 miles
biked 111 minutes on the trainer
did dry land three times and
swam 17,793.28 meters.

Although that's not a huge amount of swimming, it is a record for me for any week in the month of January. December and January are the most difficult months to get in distance. I pretty much take December in stride considering it my off season. But by the time January rolls around, I begin to get a bit antsy. It was a good week for me swimming in January. Maybe I can top it next week.

Friday, January 25, 2013

More Play

My running has taken another direct hit from Satan. What else is new. Anyway, Wednesday I did another upper body weight session that had me getting out of bed on the next morning greeted by extremely tired upper body muscles. I love that.

Not only do I love that, apparently my muscles also are fond of resistance training followed my endurance work followed my resistance training followed by, well you get the point. Despite my pecs and biceps and shoulders, I felt like a boss in the water Thursday night. With Cagri out, I got there early and swam

The DSU pool set up for short course
Then I talked stopped on the wall and talked to Margaret and Randy and we decided to do the practice that Cagri sent someone to write on the board for us. We did

4 X 100 @ 2:00
3 X 200 pull @ 4:00 (he wrote 3:00 but we can't make that)
4 X 100 @ 1:50
3 X 200 pull @ 4:00
4 X 100 @ 1:40 fins
3 X 200 pull @ 4:00
100 easy
12 X 50 @ :50

Then Randy and I did

My total was 6,300 yards = 5,758.2 meters.

It was nice to see Margaret back. She has been ill, and I've missed her presence in the pool since she always makes me swim a little harder than I would if she weren't there. It was even nice to see Randy. No one even had to call Campus Police or anything. We didn't come close to fighting which is highly unusual for us. Actually it's not that unusual. Normally we get along pretty well until our competitions start drawing near. He is training for the COWS (Chattanooga Open Water Swimmers) Polar Bear Swim in February. He challenged me to do it, and at first I agreed but I've since fallen by the wayside. I have totally lost my mojo for cold water swimming. Maybe next year.

The build has started for the Chicot Challenge. It was only a couple of weeks ago that Margaret was handing me my butt on a 30 X 100 set. Now I am passing out the gifts. I felt so good in the water last night that I drove home with an inner glow.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

While the Cat's Away

Monday my wife and I went to Jackson and I got my Powertap fixed and reinstalled on my bicycle. Also, I purchased a Bosu Ball that I think will be a good addition to my backyard gym. When we got home, I did 22:00 on the bike trainer (enjoyed being able to track my cadence and wattage), shuffled 1.61 miles, walked .45 and then did a huge upper body weight session.

Tuesday I did another short trainer ride and ran 2.81 miles. It was then time to be off to Masters swim. Our coach of the Delta Aquatic Masters (yes, I'm a dam swimmer) is out of town for the week. He left practices in the possession of one team member, but I started a little early and by the time the practice arrived on deck, I had scoped out my practice in my own mind and didn't want to change. I did

400 back kick/swim with fins
32 X 100 @ 2:00
300 kick with fins
4 X 150 with paddles @ 3:00 small, medium, large, and extra-large
200 back kick/swim with fins
200 easy
Total: 5,900 yards = 5,392.6 meters.

He'll be out again Thursday so most likely I will take the opportunity to get in as many yards as possible. You know what they say: While the cat's away the mice will play. I like to play.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday Summary

Overall it was a good training week and a much better start to the year than 2012 was. For the week I

ran- 28.15
walked- 17.02
lifted weights- 1X UB; 1X LB
spent 61 minutes on the bike trainer
swam 10,099.7 meters.

Compared to last year, I am 47 miles ahead on the running, but I am behind 187 meters in the water. My goal for the upcomming week is to make up the swimming shortfall and pull ahead by one or two thousand meters. At this time last year, I knew I wanted to do a birthday swim, but that was about all. This year, I already have many of the details worked out, and since I will be swimming an extra two-miles, I have more motivation and need to build my endurance early.

The problem so far has been the frequency of the DSU pool closings. Friday, I had to leave early because of a snafu with a swim meet. The meet was scheduled for Saturday, but when the opposing coach called DSU's coach and told him his team would be there at 1:00 pm, my practice got cut short.

I am still trying to get into MVSU's pool. No one there will talk with me, but I am going to resume my phone campaign next week.If that doesn't work, I plan on driving over. If I can get into that pool just one day per week, it would add a lot of distance to my totals that I've never had this time of year. Anyway,

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Birthday Run

I am not a morning person, and, consequently, I was not happy with the 5:30 a.m starting time. But it was my son's 27th birthday run, and I had agreed to do whatever he wanted. It was cold, about 30 when we left his house and headed towards Grand Blvd and then north, the opposite direction from where we were going. We did a little out and back on the Blvd to add the necessary distance before we made it to the Yazoo River levee and picked up our walk into a slow run. We ran the levee and made it onto the bridge and then resumed walking. That would be our manner of the day: walking/running with no effort or desire for speed. We were going 27-miles and neither of us were really fit enough for that distance.

The beginning of another gift from God
When the eastern sky began to turn a stunningly beautiful orange, we stopped to urinate and take a few pictures. That's when I decided I was OK with the early start. The sight of that sky alone was worth the price of admission.

We made our way through the industrial park, onto old Highway 49, and then onto the present Highway 49. A store sits at the spot where we got to exit the busy highway and once more ambulate the old, mostly deserted highway. We stopped and Forrest bought a breakfast sandwich, and he also treated me to a cup of coffee.

After Forrest ate his sandwich, we walked while I drank my coffee. No, we didn't litter. When I finished the coffee, Forrest allowed me to store my trash in the pouch of his hydration pack, and then we began to run slowly up the old highway towards the tiny delta town of Sidon.

Forrest and me on the road
We made Sidon about 13-miles into our trek and instead of stopping at the store there, we crossed Highway 49 and entered the most enjoyable stretch of our journey. We were alone now, in the open delta and headed for the loess bluffs that overlook our stretch of flat farmland. Once more we slowed to a walk trying to pace ourselves for the final 10-miles, which I knew from experience would be the most difficult.

We turned off the road we were on and travelled an even more desolate one that turns gravel, runs to the hill-line, then follows the foot of the hills giving some beautiful vistas along its route.

When we made it to the foot of the hills, Forrest was beginning to lag behind and little. I noticed him grimacing a little and asked him how he felt. Blisters proved to be the culprit. I had packed a homemade blister kit, which consitsted of a pin, Kiesio tape, and scissors. We got Forrest taped up and then rusumed our journey.

Somehow we acquired a dog, an energetic, lab-mix, who would stay with us the rest of the day. The road that skirts the foot of the hill line is called Galey Road and it runs into Humphrey Highway at the base of a hill that rises 264 feet over seven tenths of a mile. At the top of that hill sits a little store, Acey's, that has some of the best short-order cooking you could ever imagine. We stopped at the store and ate some sinfully delicious food.

At Acey's, we were a little over 22-miles into our run, and when we left, our stomachs felt better but our legs were pretty much shot. Forrest, however, was determined to make his 27-miles "even if I have to crawl," he said. Leaving Acey's he was the one pushing the pace, and I was the one lagging behind.

We passed the marathon distance with a "Whu-hoo!" and continued our survival shuffle towards his grandmother's house where we had plans to hang out and have supper with a few family members. He pulled ahead as we neared our destination. I was proud of him and happy that I had survived my longest run in several years.

Already, we are thinking about next year. It will be 28-miles and maybe we can be fit enough to run much more of it. Our evening meal was great, and when my wife and I got home, I went to bed and slept like I had been drugged. Great day.

Pre-birthday run

Wednesday I did a little 3.68-mile shuffle and a 1.25 mile walk. Thursday at Masters I did

4 X 3 X 100 and 6 X 50
 The 100s were decline and the 50s were 25drill/25 swim; on the 100s I did 1:17 on each 3rd.
After Cagri left, I put on my small paddles and knocked off
2,200 straight
Total: 6,050 yards = 5,5529.7 meters

Friday I drove back to DSU only to be told I had limited time due to a swim meet, so I just got in the water and started swimming. I wound up with 5,000 yards = 4,570 meters.

I did no running after Wednesday in order to freshen up a bit before my son's birthday run. HE turns 27, and we are attempting to get in that many miles.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Read

My cat and I are reading a new book. It's The Great Swim by Gavin Mortimer given me by a dear friend, Robin Bond, who helped crew my last charity swim. Robin has gifted me several books on swimming and is scheduled to work my next charity effort, The Chicot Challenge Swim for Diabetes, set for June 1 in Lake Chicot at Lake Village, Arkansas. Thank you Robin.

The weather has been threatening bad, but not really severely inclimate, and I have been off work for a couple of days. The folks at DSU have been off work also bringing my swimming to a screeching halt. Dude, I am so tired of missing swims. I know I could go to the pond, but I'm just not tough enough right now to handle the water and weather. I read with envy all the others swimmers' blogs and posts in "Did You Swim Today." I just don't have that kind of access to the water. I've contacted MVSU about trying to use their pool, but no one there will talk with me. Why and I surprised? Our Chief of Police at MDCC has talked to them (they will talk with him), and he is supposed to let me know. But I need to be swimming now.

I did get in a four+ mile run Monday in the cold and threatening rain. Then I lifted weights until it did shower. Last week I failed to get any upper body weight lifting done and it showed as my poundage dropped a bit on the bench and my numbers dropped on the chin. On the bright side, I was able to do One-arm-rows. I feel that is a very important exercise for my swimming health, and I have been precluded of late from doing that move because of elbow pain. I harmed the right elbow in a bicycle crash in 2007 and it causes me a little trouble from time to time. Thankfully, it has never bothered my while swimming. However, it does not like certain exercises, primarily the ones I feel are the most important, like one-arm-rows and pullups. I have replaced pullups with chins. For some reason, chins don't flare the elbow up while pullups do.

Tuesday I ran another four miles, did some light squatting, and some easy spinning on my bicycle trainer. Now it is Wednesday morning, and I am scheduled to return to work. This afternoon, I plan a shorter run and maybe some spinning. My son's birthday run is Saturday. We are ambulating 27-miles to his grandmother's house where we will crash and cook. I'm looking forward to it but I need to taper, and I'm not in a tapering mood. I guess that's what you call discipline, or the lack thereof.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday Summary

I had a pretty good training week getting in

Swim: 13,892.8 meters
Run: 29.67 miles
Walk: 9.54 mile
Bike Trainer: 91 minutes

Until now, I have always recorded but never kept a running total on my walking miles. This year I plan to total those miles up also. I may go back and add up last year's walks so I can try and best that number also. I hope to break as many of my records as I possibly can, especially running, walking, and swimming.

For the year I have

Swum: 17,366 meters
Run: 50.83
Walked: 16.13
Trainer ridden: 134 minutes.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Return of the Mad Swimming Scientist

It felt a little like a return to normalcy as I was able to get into the water three times this week. I know for some of you real swimmers who occasionally glance at my posts, that is hardly swimming at all. But with my setup, this time of the year is extremely difficult for training. I missed one whole week of swimming and for two weeks I entered the water only one time each. Additionally, during the holidays there were no lifeguards on duty so I had to get out of the water when practice was over, Normally I stay in and do extra distance. But finally, the holidays have passed, the lifeguards have returned, and I have water in my ears.

Cagri the Mad Swimming Scientist
You would thing that our coach would know that not only me, but his whole team is in less than stellar shape right now, but Thursday night, after I ran five miles in the afternoon, he flung the 30 X 100-@-2:00-take-your-heart-rate-every-100-set at us. I don't call him the Mad Swimming Scientist for nothing.

It was dreadful. Margarette started beating me in the final ten 100s. Dude, that hurt my feelings. I am supposed to be the marathon swimmer of the group, and I gassed and was getting my butt handed to me by a . . .  nice woman. She is nice; she is just super competitive, and she loves to beat me, and sometimes I resent it. She especially likes to show out on kick sets. I am usually the last one to the wall after any kick set. She is the first, and she loves that. So after Thursday's practice, I made plans to come back Friday. I finished the night with 4,700 yards and a bruised ego.

Friday, on my own, I swam

500 back kick/swim
1,000 large paddles
300 back kick/swim
1,100 medium paddles
200 back kick/swim
1,200 small paddles
100 easy
Total: 6,400 yards = 5, 892.8 meters

That should put a little endurance back into my swimming muscles, and maybe now I can start rebuilding for my charity swim in June.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tuesday 200s

It has been a good training week thus far. I am beginning to get a little confidence back after my latest Achilles flareup. Lately, the problems have been fewer, farther apart, and I've bounced back quicker from the setbacks. It's about time. Four years of limited running has changed my athletic identity from runner to swimmer. But I'm starting to feel like a runner again although I am not running well, just doing it.

Monday I watched on an Alfred Hitchcock movie while I did a 45:00 trainer ride and then shuffled 3.2 miles. Tuesday I shuffled 6.31, walked 1.46, and then did a little strength work, which consisted of 3 X 4 walking squats and 16 X 55 regular squats. It was then off to Masters at DSU where I swam

5 X 200 as 150 swim/50 kick
5 X 200 pull with paddles
5 X 200 negative split
150 easy

Randy was there for the first time in a while. It was good to see him. We didn't fight or anything.

Wednesday I pedalled another 46:00 minutes to some Hitchcock and then shuffled 3.57 and walked 1.17 in the rain. I love running in the rain, but only when it is warm.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sunday Summary

I wanted desperately to make the drive to DSU Friday and get in a swim but, alas, I had to work. Since we went on a four-day schedule, Fridays have become sacrosanct to me and I am one unhappy individual when something takes one away. Not only did I have to work, but I had to do it all the way until 4:00 in the afternoon. Life just ain't fair. My cat was also unhappy as he missed his hangout time with me.

My leg press machine.
I did get in a run/walk after work and before taking my sweet wife out to eat. Saturday was one of those slow start days that drizzled rain. I went out for a six-mile run and then did some leg work in my backyard gym before coming in to watch a bowl game.

After a protein shake, football, and a nap, I came back out to for some upper body work.

For the week, I

ran 24.31
walked 7.58
swam 3,473.2 and
biked 43 minutes on the trainer.

That's not a lot, but I'm off to a better start than last year when I barely managed 11-miles of running for each of the first two weeks. After that things got even worse. Running that is. For swimming, I am actually behind last year, but I'll get back in the water soon and catch up.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

EndangeredSwimmer in Danger

EndangeredSwimmer is in danger of wimping out on cold water swimming. It has been since December 17th that I swam outdoors. I read with relish the exploits of people like Gordon Grindly, Pauline Squire, and others. But I'm a hot weather person, and it's just been so dang cold. I haven't taken or sought out a water temperature reading in a while, but Randy, the only one who will do this stuff with me, has been out of pocket, and that coupled with the cold air temps has put a major chill on my motivation to swim in the cool. All the other times when I swam outdoors this fall and winter have been on days when it was warm and sunny out. For me, that makes a huge difference. At any rate, I pushed the cold water thing farther than ever before. If it will just get warm out, I may put on my wetsuit and have a go at that, but somehow I doubt I'll go skin only in the outdoors until late February at the least.

For the year, I swam 873,843.28 meters for 542 miles. That is a lifetime high for me. Maybe I can beat it, or at least get close, next year. My running was still down as I managed only 741.94 miles for a weekly average of 14.26. That is not very good, but I'm thankful for that as my running has suffered for a full four years now. The worst year was 2010, with 2011 being only slightly better and this year only a little better yet. One of my New Year's goals is to average at least twenty-miles per week running. I need that much to keep my weight in check and to stay in some modicum of running fitness.

Speaking of weight, I am way fat right now. This holiday season I have exercised considerable restraint on the ubiquitous presence of high-caloric food. Nevertheless, my waistline has steadily expanded. Whatt?!?! I really believe that I am at a point in life where I don't have to eat the food anymore; just being in its presence is enough for me to pack on pounds.

I didn't mention biking. I haven't even run the numbers since I probably rode fewer than 200 miles. In 2010, when my running was at its lowest ebb, I did 31 rides of 100 or more miles and a yearly total of  right at 5,000 miles. I had a lot of fun. Somehow, however, I just never got started biking in 2012. One reason was a bad saddle. Another reason was the crazy way I approached swimming thoughout the year. It's just a little difficult to do it all at a high level and keep a job, family, and health even. Consequently, the fat ladies beat my buttocks at the Heart O' Dixie triathlon. There is another resolution here, but my guess is that you are smart enough to connect the dots.

I started the week and ended the year with a 3.15 mile run in the hills this past Monday. The new year started Tuesday with a 3.27 mile run and some squats afterwards. Wednesday was another 4.47 miles of running and Thursday, during my lunch break, I shuffled 3.45. Finally, we had Masters swim Thursday night, my first time in the water in a week.This time of year, with the pool fifty-miles away and closed often, I have some real trouble getting any volume of swim training. Somehow, I need to find a way to start rebuilding my endurance since the Chicot Challenge is two-miles longer this year and is set for June 1st. At practice I swam

4 X 400 pull as 150 breathing 3, 5, and 7 by 50s/50 back, repeat
8 X 125 as 100 strong/25 all out :30 rest
200 easy
Total 3,800 yards = 3,473.2 meters.

My plan was to go back to the pool tomorrow since normally I am off on Fridays. However, I have to work this one, much to my chagrin. If I don't start getting some distance in the water, I'm afraid I might snap and smite someone repeatedly about the head and shoulders. Maybe next week.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Chupacabra and Summary

No joke, I saw a chupacabra. I'll just cut straight to the point. If you have never seen one, or a picture of one, you certainly would think you had seen some undiscovered species. Running just north of town near a small copse of woods bordering a ditch, I saw movement and then a strange monster I tried desperately to photograph. He disappeared into the ditch before I could get my phone out of my fuel belt. I did wade into the ditch and then hearing him in a culvert, I stuck my phone over the opening and snapped several pictures. This is all I got.

He was a coyote without hair. You can't believe how different they look. The head looks huge, the tail is pencil thin, the back legs look way longer than the front. In short, if I had not seen pictures on Monster Quest and known the result of DNA testing, you could never convince me this was a known species.

It was a pretty good week training wise. I spent 155.75 minutes on the bike trainer, ran 23.84 and walked 5.96 miles, but only swam 2,604.9 meters. The holidays always take a toll on my swimming, but I will be trying to push things up now that we are in the new year.

Speaking of the new year, my resolution is to beat Randy Beats in all three world championship events to be the first person to win the Big Ass Endurance Triple Crown.