Sunday, April 28, 2013


Right now I'm scared spit less. Long story. I'll keep it short.

Wednesday was rainy and colder than most winter days here (when's it going to stop?) so I didn't even attempt a swim. Instead I ran 2.67 miles, walked .62 miles, and did a major upper body weightlifting session. That night I had my last class meeting for my Film as Literature course. I am going to  miss that class. I absolutely love teaching that and will spend the summer preparing for an improved version next Fall.

Thursday I did an easy 5.25 mile shuffle before heading out to Skene to see the grandchildren. We went to the ditch and the bridge. Little things like that are still a big deal to the kids. At Masters we swam

5 X 200 pull @ 4:00 decline 1-54 X 50 as 25 kick/25 swim (no fins)
5 X 150 descend by 50s
end of Masters.
Then on my own I swam
2 X 1,000 small paddles
6 X 100 @ 2:00 medium paddles
Total: 6,000 LCM.

Friday I slept a little late, drank a quart of coffee, then packed up and eagerly went to Jerry Nobile's for a long swim. The water was 65. That's not that bad, but it hit me the wrong way. I swam one lap, a little less than 1,000 meters, and something inside of me just gave up. I knew I couldn't stay in two hour at that temp. I got out of the water and did a 4.05 mile run thinking I may get my motivation back. It didn't come back. I sat in the truck and wept. I just couldn't do it anymore. It was a total failure. The only bright spot of the pond trip was I mounted my GoPro on a spineboard and got some pretty cool shots.

Saturday was supposed to be rainy but thankfully the weatherman was wrong so I went to Twin Rivers aching to get a long swim in. The water was 70 degrees and I swam

10 X 100 @ 2:00
500 easy
8 X 100 @ 2:00
500 easy
7 X 100 @ 1:58
Total: 6,000 LCM.

On the last set (I had planned to do much more), I began to feel a mild discomfort in the rear of my right deltoid just before I would flip. Then I started feeling a little discomfort on the pull. I stopped, rubbed my shoulder and felt some soreness. I got out and went home.

I can not afford and injury right now and still pull off the Chicot Challenge. After having worked very hard to publicise the swim, I would feel terrible if I failed to make it happen. I really don't know what to think. The soreness is in the back, on the bone just above the scapula, just toward the mid line from the rear deltoid. I am frightened and confused.

When I got home, my wife wanted to go to the festival in Kosciusko, so we hopped in her truck and left. Once there, she walked me one lap around the vendors and was planning a second more thorough lap when I said I wouldn't mind taking a little run. She was OK with that, and we agreed to meet at the truck in one hour. I got in 5.52 miles of shuffling. Nice day except for the shoulder.

For the week I
swam 25,633.22 meters and
ran 27.19 miles.

For the year I am at
263,176.88 metes (+ 49,390 over last year) and
365.63 miles running (+ 235.15 over last year).

Now my mind is all messed up. When I move my arm around, I don't feel anything wrong, but when I reach back there I feel soreness. I'm praying this goes away real soon. Please pray with me.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Chicot Challenge Rampup Has Begun

It's getting close and I'm feeling the need to pour on the distance. The Chicot Challenge is only six weeks away and although I have swum some 42,000 meters more than last year at this time, thanks to the coldest spring in my memory, I am way behind on long swims. Monday I did a little 3.15 mile shuffle and then went to Twin Rivers. The pool was in a little better shape but not much. It always takes a few weeks to get in clean and the chemicals right. It ain't right yet. But it is sooo much cleaner than a catfish pond. I swam 5,700 meters just up and down, up and down: no sets, just lap swimming. I was in a lap mood and felt I needed an easy pace after yesterday's hard swim in New Orleans.

Tuesday I went for a run during my lunch break and did 6.55 miles in a multi-paced fashion. I was stronger at the end than I was on the same workout last week. Good sign. After some nutrition and a nap, it was off to the pool at Twin Rivers instead of Masters. I stayed home to save the gas money and the two hours of driving time thus giving myself the opportunity to do a longer swim. This time I took my thermometer and found the water was 72. That is still a bit cool to me, especially when trying to stay in two or more hours. I swam
I love paddle sets. They make me really strong in the water.

10 X 100 @ 2:00
400 easy
10 X 100 @ 1:59
400 easy
200 XL paddles
400 L paddles
600 Medium paddles
1,300 Small paddles
Total: 7,000 meters.

The 7,000 makes this my longest swim of the year. Following on the heels of 5,700 the day before, and I feel I am developing a bit of endurance. Since I have to drive to the main campus tomorrow, I hope to take the opportunity to get into a catfish pond, Jerry Nobile's, tomorrow and try to hammer out another long swim.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekly Wrapup and New Orleans 70.3

Thursday afternoon I went to the pool and swam 3,200 meters then went out for a run. Some bad weather was moving in and I managed to get 5.22 miles done before the lightening frightened me back into the house.

Friday I had planned to do a short pool swim before heading out to New Orleans where I was to do the swim part of a relay in the Ironman 70.3 Sunday. It was cold. I was tired. I went for a run instead. I ran 3.7 miles then finished packing and left. Big cities cause me a lot of stress and it took some time for me to find my motel in Metairie, Louisiana. One of my teammates invited me to dine with him and his family that night, but I ate in my truck and turned in early.

Saturday I arose around 6:30, ate breakfast in the motel, then went for a run getting 6.49 miles done before I tapped out. I met Dean Seeley, the biker, and Brian Peterson, the runner, at the expo where we picked up our packets. After that we went to Southshore Harbor to find the start and left Dean's bike there. By the time we made it back to the motel, I ordered a burger and retired early.

Sunday we were up at 4:00 and left for the transition area at 4:30. We had an hour and a half before starting time when we got to Southshore Harbor. It was dark, cold, and windy so I sat in the truck for about an hour. I heard the announcer say the water temperature was 64. Ouch. I had planned on swimming skin. That changed my mind. I put on my wetsuit even though the zipper was broken and it catches water in the back like a parachute.
The Three Amigos after the race

Although the professionals had a wave start, the rest of us, thankfully, started in time trial fashion. I think this is much safer and allows swimmers to perform to their potential. First thing I noted when I jumped off the pier was the lack of a cold water shock. Even though I had a sleeveless wetsuit on, I am sure the water was much warmer than the announced 64. To me, it felt 68 or 69. That may not sound like much difference, but to a cold-water-sissy, it's huge. I went out hard and swam my best, finishing my leg in 34:05. Then it was Dean's turn.

To make a short story long, Dean averaged 21.7 on the bike (wow! and in the wind at that), and Brian ran a 2:02. It turned hot by the time Brian started, and he looked shot when he crossed the line. You could tell he left it all on the road. Our combined time was 5:15:44 which put us at 15th among 100 teams. Not too bad for three average Joes.

For the week I

swam 19,959.88 meters
ran 26.66 and
walked 6.15 miles.
I did no weightlifting as part of my mini taper.

For the year I have

swum 237,543.76 meters + 46,705.44 and
run 338.44 miles +  219.35 over last year.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Frustration Overload

Frustrated. Very. Pissy.

At this moment, I am in my Comp I class and my students are writing a practice essay to prepare for their final exam. I am not very encouraged as I occasionally take a walk around the room and look at them "at work." No one is doing any pre-writing.


I guess that is a pretty good hint that I need to get back to swimming, in my writing, in my thoughts and in the actual water. Yesterday I was able to train in my hometown for the first time this year. Twin Rivers pumped their pool up Friday. The water is green, full of pollen, and floating with leaves. But it is there and they always let me in no mater how bad the water. I didn't take a reading, but my guess is the aqua temp was about 70 degrees. I can do that.

Laps was all I did, and I got out after 4,000 meters. The plans still is to get in my 20,000 and do a mild taper. Monday I did 6,500+, Tuesday it was 4,200. If I can get 3,000 this afternoon after my dental appointment (it is supposed to turn stormy) and another 2,000 Friday morning before I leave for New Orleans, with Sunday's race effort added to the total, I will be set to take Saturday off and still get my 20,000.  This will give me time to find the race start and, I hope, take a long run, resting my arms but ruining my legs.

Besides the swim, I did a little 2.45 mile shuffle after work Wednesday night. Today, I need an in town swim and then a five mile run. If I can make that happen, my frustrations will melt away. Yee Haa.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Some week. I am signed up to swim for a tri team this weekend in New Orleans. This puts a real strain on my schedule and conflicts me to an unbelievable degree. I need to taper for the the triathlon, and I need to train like a madman for the Chicot Challenge. I hope to split the difference and try to parcel out 20,000 meters of swimming front loaded on the early part of the week, leaving me time to slow up the last few days before the event. We'll see how it works.

Not only has the triathlon put a strain on things, but my schedule has been wrecked by more than one inconvenience that I really don't want to talk about. I did, with great strain, make it to Jerry's Monday and swim 4.1 miles in two hours and ten minutes. That was my longest swim of the year thus far. I felt good and finished without fatigue. I would have swum longer, but I had to go back to work.

After my evening class, I went out for a 3.11 mile run. I usually don't run after work when I teach at night being pretty washed out when I get home. However, sometimes that's the only way to get it done. Needless to say, I slept pretty well Monday when I put my head on the pillow. Tuesday I managed to wedge in a 5.69 mile multi-paced run and also to make it to DSU for Masters where I swam

Doing a long pull set last Thursday
8008 X 50 as even 25 drill/25 swim; odd breathing 5 and 7 by 25s
4 X 300 pull, decline, no paddles
   1- 4:55
   2- 4:47
   3- 4:41
   4- 4: 38
6 X 50 as 2 all out, 1 easy @ 1:15
End of Masters. On my own I swam
Total: 4,200 meters.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Summary

Wednesday I went to Jerry Nobile's and did my longest continuous swim of the year, 3.25 miles. The water was a nice 74 degrees, and I would have liked to have stayed longer but I had to get out to go to work. Wednesday night is when I have my Film as Literature class, the highlight of my week. We discussed last week's feature, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and viewed Cool Hand Luke, one of my all time favorites because of the acting and the overwhelming Christ-figure motif. After work I went out for a 2.23 mile run before the bad weather moved in. It was dark and windy, and I felt great as I did what I call a "tipper," that is I just tipped around.

Thursday was cold, yes cold, and raining so I went to Twin Rivers and ran 5.15  miles on the treadmill. I got out early enough to go see my grandchildren where the girl got my phone, took this picture, and posted it on Facebook. Notice Smu napping on my leg. The kids and the animals all go ga ga when I show up. It's overwhelming. It's just one of me and I can't keep everything loved up. Two kids, three dogs, and two cats all want me to meet their need of affection. No wonder I'm worn out.

At Masters I swam

6 X 50
6 X 50 kick with fins
6 X 50
6 X 50 kick with fins
3 X 100 with fins @ 3:00
100 easy. End of Masters. Then I swam
2,100 pull with small paddles for a total of 5,100 meters.

Friday I went back to DSU. I'm doing way too much driving to swim, but before I left town, I cruised by Twin Rivers and saw that they were pumping the pool up. Thank God. That should start helping me out next week. At DSU I was tired and unmotivated. I struggled through

5 X 200 @ 4:00
6 X 100 @ 2:00
2 X 250 large paddles
2 X 250 medium paddles
2 X 150 small paddles for 4,000 meters. I was done.

I went home, did some cleaning and took a nap. Then I did a little 1.55 mile shuffle. My wife came home and we went to Larry's for some super catfish. Jerry Nobile and his wife were there. I chatted a bit with him. He said to swim any of his ponds because there was nothing in them that could hurt me.

Saturday I had breakfast at Burger King with my old friend Danny Collins. Danny is a really smart guy and we go way back. We just sat around, drank coffee and chatted. Afterwards I ran 7.15 miles and for the first time in weeks did a few very light squats. Because of my patella tendons, I've had to lay off the squats. In the late afternoon, I went back to Jerry's without much energy, so if just did a short 1.28 mile swim. The water was 66 where I put my thermometer but it varied several degrees up and down around the pond.

For the week, I
swam 22,088.77 meters
ran 24.27 and walked 4.07 miles
and lifted weights one time.

For the year I am
217,583.88 meters swimming, + 47,497.5 over last year and
311.78 miles running, + 200.96 above a year ago.

In short, training is going pretty well, way better than 2012. I am still short, though, on longer swims. I did manage a 3.25 with no fatigue. Yee haa.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Double Five

Due to a dental appointment, I did not get to swim Monday although it would have been a great day to do so. I did get in a little 3.06 mile run and lift some weights. Tuesday I got bogged down watching a movie, Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf, and lost a couple of hours of training time. I did, however, do a 5.13 mile run and then head to DSU for Masters practice. There I swam

400 breathing 3, 5, 3 by 25s and last 25 of each 100 all out
8 X 50 easy/hard by 25s @ 1:30
300 breathing 3, 5 by 25s and last 50 all out
6 X 50 hard/easy by 25s @ 1:30
200 breathing 3, 5, 5, 3, final 100 all out
4 X 50 all out @ 2:00
100 easy
End of Masters. Then I swam
2,400 pull with medium paddles.
Total 5,700 meters.

All in all it was a pretty good day with a 5-mile run and 5 K of swimming. The weather is looking good and I hope to get at least one continuous swim of 3-miles or more. Yeehaa.

Monday, April 8, 2013

GoPro Swim

The water was surprisingly cold Sunday afternoon as Randy Beets and I stepped into one of Jimmy Nobile's catfish ponds just west of Moorhead, Mississippi. I squealed like a little girl as the water shocked my foot, my leg, my senses. I felt less of a sissy when Randy, the cold water swimmer of us two, also let out a little noise upon entering the water. My thermometer read 68 degrees, warm by the standards of year round outdoor swimmers, but way below normal for April 7th in the Mississippi delta. Randy's water reader said 66 so I put his measurement down in my training diary.

Me and Randy in the big water under the big sky.
On my forehead was my brand new GoPro camera, purchased with the stipend I received from the Mississippi Humanities Commission at being named MDCC's Humanities Teacher of the Year. I knew almost nothing of the camera, and was sure good shots would be limited since most of the time it would be face down in the water. However, one has to start somewhere to learn something new and this is where I was starting. We swam a lap and he pulled up and asked if I were OK. Then we started around again. And Again. And again.

At the end of four laps, Randy wanted a short break because he was suffering from goggle fatique. I got out to check the camera and Randy followed suit. We were only out of the water a minute or so when the ubiquitous delta wind started us both to shaking. The swim was over after only 2.51 miles.

To backfill the rest of the week, Wednesday was cold and raining so I went to Twin Rivers and ran 5.05 miles on the treadmill and lifted some weights. Thursday it was was 3.15 miles of running and then straight to DSU where I swam

12 X 50
12 X 50 pull
8 X 50 end of Masters
200 xl paddles
300 large paddles
400 meduim paddles
800 small paddles
300 finger paddles
Total: 5,200 meters..

Friday I went back to DSU and did
10 X 100 drill with fins
300 back with fins
15 X 200 @ 4:00 small paddles
100 back/swim with fins
Total: 5,400 meters.

Saturday we had the grandchildren so training was limited. I took them out in my truck for four hours, and three times Caitlin said, "This is the best day ever, Poppy." All we were doing was riding around. We went to Sonic, ate food, and got ice cream. We went to the park. We rode out Money Rode and I let them stand up on the front seat and stick their heads out the sunroof. It amazes me as to how little it takes to make them happy.

After the kids left I drove to Hillbilly Heaven to help my father-in-law with something. When we finished I did a 6.3 mile run. All in all it was a pretty good week of training. My totals are running way above lst year, but I am behind on long swims.

For the week I
ran 20.13
walked 1.39
swam 28,051.41 meters
and lifted weights one time.

For the year I am
swim = 195,495.14 meter + 42,774.69 over last year.
run = 287.51 + 184.29 over last year.

Finally the weather is turning warm and the night time lows are coming up. The water should warm quickly now and I should be able to start getting some long continuous swims in. YeeHaa.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Pond (Austin 58)

Some week. Monday started with me going back to a different fish pond. The water at Tacket's was 58. At Nobile's it was 72. Deew Whaaat?? Dude, I can do 72. So I did a little 2.26 mile shuffle and swam 2.58 miles. I would have swum longer but I had to go to work.
The shores of my new pond

Tuesday I went to my new pond at Austin (a part of Tacket's). There were dead fish piled along the banks for over a mile. I took a 3.05 mile run and then got into the water. The water temp was 62 and choppy, but I got in, did 2.4 miles (3,861.6 meters), and then headed to Masters where I swam

8 X 50
4 X 50 @ 1:00 with fins
4 X 50 @ 1:00 with fins
4 X 50 @ 1:00 with fins
400 easy
End of Masters
Then I swam
100 XL paddles
200 L paddles
300 M paddles
400 S paddles
500 F paddles
Total at pool = 5,400
Total for the day = 9,261.6 meters.

A good day.