Friday, January 3, 2014

Slow Start to a New Year

The year 2014 is here, and I am off at a snail's pace. A slow snail. Who can't crawl well.

But things could be worse. People who know me probably think I am most likely a frustrated and dangerous man right now due to my forced inactivity. Actually, I am a frustrated and dangerous man right now, but not as frustrated or as dangerous as one may have thought. I've surprised myself in that I have taken things in stride and done what I could without pulling out the rest of my hair.

But what I could is not much. I've watched a lot of quality television, like MoonshinersFinding Bigfoot, and Ax Men. And college football. I've watched a ton of bowl games and as a huge SEC chauvinist, it's been pretty nice until last night. DO NOT mention the Alabama game in my presence unless you want to find out what frustration and danger is all about.

I've also read some, which I don't do nearly as much as I once did. My latest book is A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema, by Robert Ray. This is an analysis of the changing cinematic and thematic emphases in the American movie industry from the 1930s until 1980. Pretty good stuff, but it's worn a blister on my brain.

Physically, all I've done is to lift weights a couple of times per week. About all I can manage alone in the back yard gym is bench presses, seated rows, and a move I call the swim pull. That may not be much, but its the core of my upper body work for swimming. Last night, I did make it to the pool for the first time in several weeks. I drove myself and hobbled in on my crutches. The pool was set up for long course!!! I think there was a high school meet there recently. Slim chance it will stay that way, but I love long course because I feel like it's much better training for the kind of swimming I do (triathlons, a long charity swim, and the Suck, a ten-mile race), and for my injured leg, I don't have to do nearly as many flips and pushes off the wall. I fear I will forget and push off with both feet after a flip turn. We swam

1,000
8 X 50 as 4 @ 25 fast/25 easy and 4 @ 25 easy/25 fast
8 X 50 as 4 @ breathing 3 and 5 by 25 and 4 @ breathing 5 and 3 by 25
4 X 100 as 2 @ first and third  25 fast and 2 @ second and fourth fast
100 easy
Total: 2,300 meters.

It felt good to be back in the water, and I want more. The leg is improving and the doc wants me to gently ease into putting some weight on it as I walk with the crutches, comfort being my guide. For you who may not know, with a stress fracture the bone is not cracked all the way through. If you don't take care of it, a stress fracture can become a full fracture. But on the flip side, you often can regain your feet much faster than with a total break. His hope is that I can gradually wean myself from the crutches to the walking boot alone by my next appointment a month from now. I've been doing that, and to put even a little weight on the leg makes ambulating a thousand times easier. My hope is that in a week or so the woumded limb will be good enough that I can work my way into my wetsuit. There is a lot of tugging, pulling, and straining involved in getting into a tight neoprene body-wrap, and right now I would not even attempt it. But at the rate the tenderness is disappearing from my lower shin, I feel that it won't be long before suiting up is a possibility. If I can get into my suit, I can crawl from the truck into a fish pond, and crawl out again. Then I will be back in business.

All in all, my prospects for the Chicot Challenge look good. Our four-day work schedule is still in place, and with the tentative schedule my sister has set up for Mom's care, I will have time to train. The stress fracture itself may even be a blessing. I need an off season, and this year I have had one. Another blessing is I have decided to run much less when I am able to resume shuffling. Last year, there was an problem with the two sports due to my volume of swimming and running. The two activities actually complement each other, and they don't present issues with specific muscular recovery. However, my overall fatigue level was way too high for way too long. I shall be much smarter in my training this year with the emphasis, through the completion of the Challenge, on the swim.

Looking back, 2013 was a good year, athletically at least. I

swam 743,258.09 meters = 461 miles, and I
ran 1,236.95 miles.

I set a number of personal records in swimming: longest swim (16 miles), 200 short course, 400 short course, 500 short course, 50 long course, 100 long course, 400 long course, 500 long course. It's nice to still be improving at something at the age of 57. Also, I beat Randy Beats at Swim the Suck Ten Miler for the third straight year. I even beat his whole relay team at the Heart O' Dixie Triathlon. Life is good.

I set no records running; those days may be past, but I was able to be on my feet for more miles last year than in any of the previous four. I did a few one day runs, and I set out on The Great Noxapater Journey Run. Although that effort ended in pain and failure, I had a lot of fun while I was out there. I'll do it again.

Last year was also the year my dad died, and even that should motivate me throughout 2014. Since his passing, whenever I swim or run, he is constantly on my mind. He left me a legacy that goes all the way back to my boyhood. I can't escape it, nor do I desire to.

I don't have any New Year's Resolutions, only some goals: I want to do the Chicot Challenge again and swim even farther this year. I want to set some more personal swimming records. I want to make my Film as Literature class even better than last semester when it was the best course ever taught on a college campus in the history of the world.