Saturday, August 30, 2014

"For Your Work," She Said

I've had some weird experiences while out running.

I've had some frightening ones.

I now carry a weapon.

Once, while running in the dark on a lonely county road outside of town, I had a car come idling up behind me. Slowly the car pulled up beside me and drove at my side for a couple of minutes. I couldn't see inside the auto, so I have no idea how many people were in there, what they were doing, or what they were planning. To say it made me nervous is an understatement.

Eventually, the driver increased his speed to almost one mile per hour faster than me, so the cat and mouse game, or whatever it was, continued.

You don't forget things like that.

There have been other incidents. Besides carrying a weapon, I have become hyper-sensitive to automobiles stopped on the side of the road or sitting in a driveway ready to pull out but not doing so. It seems that sometimes people just want to watch me run, but at my age and pace I have no idea why.

I had another strange car-encounter Friday morning while out for a jog. To you who are not from around here, Greenwood, Mississippi is unique in that you go from town to country in a moment. We have a beautiful street, Grand Blvd, that runs south to north from the Yazoo to the Tallahatchie River. The Boulevard, as it is called by locals, is tree-lined and decorated with lovely homes. On the north end, sits the bridge which has a crest that hides the view of what lies on the other side. What lies on the other side is Money Road, and when you crest that bridge and tumble onto County Road 517, its alias, you are in the country. Just like that. There is no slow transition from town to country, but an abrupt. shocking, total change from one world into another.

And speaking of other worlds, it is not uncommon for me to be stopped on this road while out for a run by drivers who want information. This little seventeen mile county road in the Mississippi Delta is a destination for people from all over the world. Literally.

Robert Johnson, the Bluesman who reportedly sold his soul to the devil, is buried just a few miles north of town. I once had a man from Germany ask me in a very thick German accent, "Where is he buried?"

I didn't even have to ask, "Who?" He was not the first nor will he be the last pilgrim to ask that question.

Also the road is infamous for running through the little ghost town of Money which is where I once ran over a fox that caused me to weep for days. But Money is infamous for something much, much worse than a dead fox. That little town is the scene of the Emmit Till tragedy. I have also had motorists stop me to enquire about that. "Where is the store?" they succinctly ask. I don't have to wonder which one they mean.

I don't like being stopped. For me running is sort of like eating. Once I start, I don't stop until the job is done. That's just the way I am, and that's the way it was when Penny and I were raising our kids. Sometimes I would let my wife finish eating so when I started I didn't have to stop. Tell me I can't eat, but do not tell me to stop once I start.

I was just a little bit over the bridge onto Money Road, Friday, Augsut 29th, and shuffling north in the late morning heat. I saw the car on the edge of the road at the only driveway for miles. (By the way, that driveway runs to a house where some of The Help was filmed. Here in the Delta, we can't hide from history, bad or good) That is the kind of thing I will always notice. No, I didn't feel threatened. I never do. But I always notice.

It is almost a quarter of a mile from the base of the bridge to the driveway. The car didn't move. I slowly shuffled on and once a few steps past the driveway and car, I heard the automobile pull onto the road. Then I could tell it was coming my way. Slowly. It was coming very slowly. Then I heard . . .

"Excuse me, I hate to interupt you."

At least it was a woman's voice. A woman's voice always makes me calm.

I turned and saw her a little behind me with her driver's side window down and something in her left hand which she extended towards me. I knew her. She had money in her hand, maybe a ten dollar bill.

"For your work," she said.

I took the bill and stuck it into the mesh pocket of my Nathan Hydration Pack.

"Thank you," I said. "Thank you very much."

I turned and kept trotting north towards WABG Radio, towards Robert Johnson's grave, towards the Emmit Till store.

"Keep swimming," I heard her say.

And then she was gone.

Two miles later, I pulled the cash out to take a look. Ten dollars heck. It was a hundred! That will bring the total of this year's Chicot Challenge to $1,855.

There has been a lot on Facebook lately about charities with the ALS ice challenge and all that. I recently read that 27% donated to that group goes to its charitable purposes. Every group has overhead. I understand that. Want to know how much goes to the charitable purposes if you donate to the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi? The answer is 89%. Besides that, 100% of those funds stays in the State of Mississippi where we have the highest diabetes rates in the South. The South has the highest diabetes rates in the country. The good ole USA is at or near the top in the whole world.

Thank you, Aubry Whittington, for your donation. The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi thanks you. Kids across Mississippi who have diabetes thank you.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bonky Tonk

I went to the hills Friday morning and did something I have wanted to do for a while now. I marked a long, moderately inclined hill and then went back and ran it. I know, with my Garmin I can run anything with no need for marks. However, when running hard, it is a bit distracting to have to continuously peer at a watch to get the exact distance wanted. So I marked this hill every 100 meters nine times. Then I went back to the cabin, put on my running shoes, and ran to my freshly marked incline.

It was hot. Brutally hot.

It is almost three miles over and then I did the 900. I jogged down and went back up for 800. I died about half way up, a combination of bonking and heat. I then did the 700. Dreadful. My plan, before I started, was to make the fourth rep a 600. Nothing doing. I bonked on a 200. Seriously. It was so bad that my shuffle back to the cabin was at 17:00 minutes per mile. I literally could have walked faster. Oh well, I have something to improve upon.

The cats and I had a nice nap after I got home, and then John and I met at Twin Rivers at 6:00. I didn't bonk like I did on my run. I started bonked. I wasn't surprised or disappointed because I had 19,300 meters in the first four days of swimming. It was pretty bad. I was reduced to 50s with lots of rest. I finished the day with 2,700 meters then went home for a protein shake and some kitty love.

Saturday morning I weighed 160.6 down .2 from the day before. Finally, I have my appetite under control. I hope I can be solidly under 160 for the 300 Oaks 10K. This is important for my health as well as my performance.

Feeling lazy, I stayed around the house until noon before driving to the pond. I didn't set up the circuit like before because it was hot. Brutally hot. Not like I'm complaining or anything. Actually I am a bit happy it has been so hot this week. I have been worried about water temperature at Swim the Suck. The water temp has come up this week, here, but it is still below normal.

At the pond, I found swimming difficult. My arms and chest muscles didn't have much in them.  After doing a few laps, I tried a run. One thing to realize. although the temperature may have been 98 in town and the humidity high in town, the humidity on the largest fish farm in the world is always higher. I found the little shuffle exhausting. Soon I was walking. When I got back to my truck, I took my shoes off and crawled into the pond to cool down. When I tired to swim, everything was off. I could feel my thighs protesting. My arms barely turned over. The bonkitude was complete. I made one last lap and knew I was done for the day.

For the day, I swam exactly 5,000 meters, ran 2.83 miles, and walked .61 miles. Not a bad even if everything was slow and laboured. For the week, I ran 21.24 miles. swam 26, 900 meters, and walked 6.86 miles. Despite my bonky tonks, that is real Beetsdown training.



Friday, August 22, 2014

Beetsdown Sets

Monday was a long day at work since it was the first day of classes and we were still registering students. I had to go to the pool after my night class to get a swim in. It would have been easy to let it go, but I have a tall guy to beat in Tennessee this October and the date is rushing towards us with the speed of a calendar. I also got a vVo2 max run in during the afternoon, but by the time I was free for the pool, the kids were out of school and lap swimming and kids in the pool mix about as well as motor oil and scrambled eggs. There is plenty of room for me and a dozen or more kids in that big pool, but it doesn't work. I will not get in if there are six kids or the threat of six kids in the water. Enough said.

When I did get to the pool, it was dark and the mosquitoes were out in force, so I didn't even try to do sets but just swam. I did 4,700 straight. That kind of swimming has its place, but I was worried I might not be able to pull off my Beetsdown set Tuesday because last week when I tried to do it the second time, I failed after only three reps. I have to be fresh to pull that one off. Last training cycle, I successfully navigated the set on Monday when I managed 24 X 100 @ 1:57 with the first five reps @ 1:56. After that, I edited the workout in my watch so that next time the first six reps will be @ 1:56.

Tuesday, John and I got in the pool about 7:00 pm. After a 2,000 meter warmup, I launched into full Beetsdown mode. I did it and stayed at it until I had completed 26 100s. Dude, there is no doubt I am in way better shape than just a few of weeks ago. Bad news for Randy Beets. I started tiring after twenty, but I finished them. Compared to last week, I did 200 more on my warmup, took another second off one of the 100s, and added two 100s to the end of the set. For the day, I matched Monday's 4,700 but this practice included some real quality.

Wednesday, John and I met up at 1:30 in the afternoon because I have a night class and I didn't want to come in at 9:00 pm all alone and face the flying, blood-suckers. I warmed up with 2,100 meters and then did some 50s. After that I did another Beetsdown set that I call my Countdown set. This is an ever expanding swim that involves sprinting followed by recovery followed by more sprinting followed by more recovery swimming followed by more sprinting followed by more recovery followed by. The recovery is active which means I don't stop swimming I just slow down and rest for the next sprint. I did 1,200 on my Countdown/Beetsdown set. Then I swam 10 X 150 with small paddles. I was doing some more 50s when the pool was invaded by children. Swim over. But I got in 6,000 meters.

Thursday, John and I got in at around 6:00 and would have gone long, but a cloud blew up and it contained a little lightning, We left after I had 3,900 meters. I swam a 1,300 meter countdown set with small paddles before we abandoned the water. I also did some running that afternoon, so it was a good day with lots of calories burned. My weight has really been dropping this week, and oddly I have not been hungry at night. I hit my low for the year, 162.0, Thursday morning. I have a real chance now to get the weight really down this week because Penny has an engagement Friday night so we will not be going out to eat as we almost always do. I enjoy my date night with my wife, but I always gain at least three pounds from eating out that one meal. Really, three pounds. Without the eat out Friday, I should get under 160 this weekend. Sub 160 is where running begins for me. A lot of people think I am already too thin, but besides athletic performance, I have my health in mind. I am literally swimming and running from diabetes.

Randy Beets has been off Facebook for about a week now. He does this every year around his birthday. When he gets back on, we need to give him fits. Please post in Vicarious Butt Beets and show him how much he has been missed.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Beetsdown Training Week Two

Week Two of my Beetsdown training is in the books, and it was a good one. I feel a little guilty because Randy Beets has been ill and his swimming has been curtailed. But I still have to train. He is a young man and can rebound quickly. Believe it or not, I wish him well and have been praying for his recovery.

Agility ladders on a pond levee.
Having to work Friday, I was hampered from doing everything I wanted. Forced to make tough choices, I picked lifting weights and running. I went back to my old lifting routine. The new routine is one I still believe in, just not when I am in full build mode. I'll go back to it after the Suck when it is too cold to swim outdoors or to swim far outdoors. I have long found it odd that I swim very well the day after a tough upper body lifting session. But when I split my routine, doing push one day and pull the next, and lifted the same day as I swam, my swimming tanked. I find it difficult to lift and then swim. I cannot swim and then lift due to the mosquito problem a Plate City Gym.

Saturday I went to the pond after lifting (full upper body) and running Friday the day before. As usual, my muscles felt stiff and sore. With running that always means a bad jog. But as usual, my swim was great. I am really interested in knowing why that is the case. Just thinking about it, the only thing I can come up with is maybe it involves muscle fiber recruitment. It could be that the weights wake up some of those fibers that were starting to sleep during my swims.

At the pond, I set up a couple of agility ladders, some dumbbells, a barbell, a kettlebell, and some cones in various spots for a circuit workout between swim sets. I had a good time and worked the whole body. The lifting was light and didn't seem to hinder the swims. I did laps followed by the dryland circuit which was 1.35 miles long. Randy Beets and I used to do this sort of thing back in the day. Now I have to do it alone, but that is OK. Besides Randy, when it comes to working out at the pond, I am the best company I have ever had.

Dumbbells on the levee

For the week, I

ran 12.95 miles,
swam 22,822 meters,
walked 3.9 miles, and
lifted weights two times (counting the Saturday pond circuit).

It is now Monday, August 18, and school proper began this morning. I like the look of the three classes I met today. The I now face the challenge, however, of adjusting to my new schedule and surviving this first week. Since I have to keep extra office hours during week one of each semester, the opening of a school term presents challenges to a marathon swimmer. I will survive. That's what marathoners do.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Don't Even Think about It

The week before school starts is always a tough one. I have to work too many days, work too many hours, and be places where I am not needed when I could be doing something productive. Besides all that, I am attempting to ramp up my Suck training so I can once more smash Randy Beets in our Big ASS World Championship race. After the victorious 24 X 100 @ 1:57 that I did Monday, Tuesday night I was back in the pool for

1,800
10 X 50 @ 1:15
1,000 countdown with small paddles (17:52)
10 X 50 @ 1:15
300 small paddles
total: 4,100.

Wednesday I ran at lunch time and did some leg work at Plate City Gym before heading back to work. After my necessary hours, I swam

1,800
10 X 300 @ 6:30
6 X 50 @ 1:15
total: 5,100.

Thursday I had to go to main campus because it didn't make any sense to be there. They needed me in Greenwood because they had no help, but we aren't qualified to know that. During lunch break, D Turner and I ran 3.32 miles. I did come back to Greenwood during the early afternoon after Mary Joseph called and said if I didn't return to the Greenwood Center they were going to start shooting themselves or the students one. At the pool, I swam

2,000
3 X 100 @ 1:55 (I was planning on six or seven but I couldn't make the interval)
1,100 countdown with small paddles (20:15)
2 X 50 easy
100 easy
total: 3,600

I now sit at 17,400 meters for the week. I also sit at my desk despite the fact that today is Friday. During lunch I will either run or swim or lift weights. After work I will either run or swim or lift weights. Tomorrow I will violently and repeatedly punch in the head and shoulders anyone who tries to prevent me from running or swimming or lifting weights. I am serious. Don't mess with me. Don't even think about it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Swim the Suck Training Week One

The first Swim the Suck training week was a huge success, and my confidence is sky high. The only thing that worries me is the water temperature. Around here, I have been able to do something I could never do before: swim anytime of day in a catfish pond. In that past, the water temp would be high enough to literally burn you around mid-day in July or August. Now the water is cool anytime of day with only a warm spot in the downwind corner.

That means in Chattanooga the water must really be chilly, and this year the swim is a week later. A week's time in October can make a lot of difference, especially that far north. For the past three years, the water in the Tennessee for the Suck has been consistently around 70-72 degrees. I can do that. For four and a half hours, I can most likely handle 68. If it falls below that, I may get into trouble.

Be that as it may, I am training for a fitness breakthrough. I wrote already about pulling off my 20 X 100 set @ 1:57. Since I have two Garmin 910XTs, I am going to strap them both on and go for 21 X and then 22 X and so forth. The watch will only save twenty steps which is one reason I never go over 20 X anything unless I do it on an even number like @ 2:00. Anything else and I get confused once fatigue sets in.

All in all, last week, I

swam 20,502.92 meters,
ran 22.29 miles,
lifted weights two times, and
walked 6.44 miles.

I lost another pound, but at the rate I am losing, I will still be fat for a long time.

Next week I start back to work, and not only that but I have to work late and work Friday. That really messes up my training. In addition to the long hours, the weather looks spotty at best. If the weather holds. John and I can still get some good swimming in since I don't start my night classes until next week. The running, however, may suffer.

Everything above was written Sunday afternoon. I just got back from the pool where I had a really nice swim set. After running 3.21 miles, at Twin Rivers I swam

1,700
24 X 100 @ 1:57 (the first five were @ 1:56)
500 easy
total: 4,600 meters.

I could tell the difference between today and last week. The set was not nearly as difficult, I was more relaxed while swimming, and my recovery between reps was quicker. I could have done more than 24, but I thought that was a pretty big jump as it was and since the race is still out there a ways, I don't want to peak too quickly. I may do the set again later in the week, but tomorrow I need to do a different kind of swimming. Maybe I'll do some, 50s with lots of rest, some paddle work, and my countdown set where I change gears a lot.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I Did It

I finally pulled it off. What's that you say? That set, the 20 X 100 @ 1:57. When I opened training for the Suck, I went back to my old 100 meter repeats. The first time @ 2:00, I think I did six reps. Slowly I have been building reps and reducing rest time. Remember, I came close to doing it Monday, but lightning forced me out of the pool. I made it to eighteen then. Thursday, after a bad day of swimming Wednesday, I felt ready to try it again. Not only did I attmept it once more, but before I did I took a second off the fourth rep. So now my watch is programmed for the first four @ 1:56. I swam it all.

I was thinking about Randy Beets the whole time.

Yes, I was pretty shot when it was done, but I think that marks an advancment in my fitness, a leap forward in my ability to swim on the edge when the body is producing a lot of lactic acid and the heart rate is way up there. That is the kind of fitness I may well need to beat Beets butt again at the Suck. Next week, I will try to swim it again after I take a second off rep five. If and when I pull that off, I will take a second off rep six. I think you can see the pattern.

I did the set after a 1,600 meter straight swim warm up. I hope to add a 100 to each warm up and keep hammering the 100 repeats with reduced rest times. Not every day because there are several days during the week when I just can't pull it off. But the idea is to be able to swim long and then push really hard for a mile or more under a state of fatigue. That is what I may have to do in the Tennessee River. Last year, Beets was ahead of me for FOUR miles before I caught him and then we swam side by side for about a half mile. I was pushing hard and finally began to pull away. But then I had a bad patch around mile eight and Randy got close. I keep thinking about that. I have to be able "to go" at any point in the ten miles.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Jury Is In

The jury is in. I know. It was just yesterday that I wrote about the jury being out on my new weight lifting scheme. Not only have I split my upper body routine, but I am lifitng the same day and before swimming. It's not working. Don't get me wrong. I think it is a great plan in several ways. But I am going to have to go back to my old way-- whole upper body in one workout once per week-- until after Swim the Suck.

I have known for awhile that it was impacting my swims in a negative way. The only good swims I have had since starting the new program have been on the days I didn't lift. Even John has noticed a few times. One day last week after our swim he said, "You were struggling out there weren't you?" I thought maybe I would adjust and reach a point I could handle it. Wednesday afternoon disabused me of that notion. I went to the pond, a new one, because Twin Rivers was closed for a private party. I lifted that morning, just two moves, bench press and swim pull. I had some nutrition and an nap. At the pond, once again, I could barely swim. I made three laps of the half-mile fish enclosure before I tapped out.

If I weren't training to race Randy Beets at Swim the Suck, I would continue my present program and just get in what swimming I can handle. But it is time for me to start ramping up the distance to build the endurance I will need in order to hammer down for ten miles. I just can't do that after an intense lifting session, so I will focus on running and swimming during the week and lifting on the weekend. hat is the new plan. After the Suck when I am reduced to swimming twice per week, I will go back to what I have been doing of late.

I have already written about Monday when I ran 7.75 miles and swam 3,300 meters. Tuesday, I lifted weights and swam 3,000 short course yards at DSU. Wednesday it was to the pond where the water had to be over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. That water temp and the lifting left me done, and I missed a good opportunity to bust out some distance.

On tap for today is a vVo2 max run, lower body weights, and a pool swim  this afternoon. Friday I plan to go back at the pond for big meters and some running too.

Take a look at this photo. I should have put something down for scale. That bone is about eight to ten inches long. This is a new pond, just rebuilt and pumped up. How did that get there? If you look closely, you can see my footprint in the mud on the bottom. What could have killed and eaten such a large animal so soon? There are only three possibilities I can think  of:

   1. Bigfoot
   2. Bull shark
   3. Alligator

Bull sharks, by the way, can and do live in fresh water. They swim up the rivers, into the ditches, (fish ponds are always bordered by ditches) and jump the levees. Once in the pond, they wipe out the fish, turtles, birds, and alligators.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tension

I am in constant tension. Training is the issue. Every time I do the Heart O' Dixie Triathlon, I vow to train differently over the upcoming year. Specifically, I need to ride the bike more, do high quality work when I do, and push running off the bike. But that resolution, made on the run to the Neshoba County fair, fades over time and I return to default mode: swimming a lot, and running a bunch of slow miles.

The same tension applies to my running, and I usually resolve, after a tough battle with a fat lady at the 300 Oaks 10K, to run more high quality miles and do lots of leg work in the back yard gym. That resolution, like the New Year's kind, also fades as my legs default into their old-man plodding day after day. A couple of reasons for the plodding make a lot of sense because they include pleasure and pain. Specifically, I enjoy long, slow runs. That kind of training fires up my neurotransmitters and makes me happy. Also, I have learned the hard way over the years that too much pushing the pace in training inevitably leads me to injury. Injury means no running at all and no running means I am a hard-to-live-with man. My wife deserves better.

I have the same issues with swimming. Hammering tough sets in the pool all alone can be less than fun. In fact it can be difficult even impossible at times. I rather swim long and leisurely and rack up impressive weekly yardage totals. But I know that if I want to be able to perform (which mostly means finishing the Chicot Challenge and beating Randy Beets at Swim the Suck) I have to swim hard, at least some of the time.

I also have tensions in the gym. By "gym" I mean my back yard masterpiece that I will write about in the near future. I need to do a lot more leg work, but that  throws me into conflict with how much I can run. I also don't really like leg work so it doesn't take much for me to talk myself out of it.

All in all it is a tension between pleasure and pain, between having the will to train and having the will to train properly. My general stance on exercise is to find and do things you enjoy. If you don't enjoy it, you won't do it year after year.

Did you notice?

I am mixing terms and that itself is reflective of my tension. I have been using "excercise" and "training" as synonyms and properly they are not. I guess that is what I face daily when I think about my workout for the day. Am I going to exercise or train? It's a real tension for me. In my mind there is a heirarchy in all of this. In order of importance with "1" being the most important, I rank things thusly:

1. Health (exercise)
2. Enjoyment (exercise)
3. Athletic performance (training)

In actual practice, I sometimes get the order differently. That creates problems.

Age is another factor in all of this. I have been struggling with my running because I keep getting slower. I hate that and I have not been able to admit, even to myself, that age has anything to do with my declining performances. I blame it on "the tension." If I can just stay healthy (the tension has something to do with that) long enough, I will get it back, maybe even better that when I wore a young man's running shoes.

As I have grown older the tension has become more pronounced because there is one byproduct of my age that I have been able to admit to myself and that involves recovery. I just can't structure a running week that has three hard workouts in it, and I need four. My legs just won't stand for it. So I have a further tension of what workouts to do. I need to cycle them, that's one answer, because there are at least four types I need to do, and I can only do two per week. I need a long run, a tempo run, a vVo2 max run, and some strength work. But for some reason, I can't bear to go two weeks without a long run. I need the long run, for mental reasons as well as physiological ones, once per week.

And then there are the tensions brought on by races. If I taper for a race and try to cycle my hard workouts, things get all out of wack. If I don't taper, the fat lady always beats me and that is devastating to my ego. More tension.

There are huge tensions with food. At my age, it is getting more and more easy to gain weight. Athletic performance demands I get and stay light. I am, by the way, still overweight from the stress fracture last December. It's not just athletic performance that calls for me to stay lean. I am literally and metaphorically running and swimming away from diabetes. It runs in my family. I have seen how bad that condition is. Controlling body weight is a huge risk factor with Type 2 Diabetes. To lose weight, however, one must go into a negative calorie balance. That puts one on a razors edge if one is doing endurance training. Go too low and you bonk on your next workout, which takes the pleasure principle out of the equation and well as the quality principle of training. Go too high and you just stay fat. Nutrition is a constant tension of mine.

Recently, I changed my lifting routine. I am speaking upper body here. I split my upper body from one huge workout to three smaller ones. The split allows me to hit specific body parts even harder than before and the sessions aren't nearly as long. However, the reprcussion I am bumping up against is the way I feel in the pool after lifting hard. During the winter, I swim twice per week and lift on the off days. Now I am hitting the water the same day as hitting the weights. The jury is still out on this one.

Tension. How to train? What to do today?

One of these days,  I'm going to figure it all out. By then, however, I will be too old to do anything with my vast, hard-won knowledge. Maybe when that day arrives some young guy or gal will come along who has big goals and needs a coach to help him or her get there.

That would be great.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Swim the Suck Training Camp Is Open

Training for Swim the Suck 2014 has begun in earnest. The Swimmer Profiles have been posted on the website, Randy Beets is talking trash on Facebook, and Karah Nazor, the race director, has chosen sides and is pulling for Randy. That kinda hurt my feelings, but somebody needs to be on his side seeing how I have a whole Facebook page, "Vicarious Butt Beets," dedicated to cyber-bullying the tall guy.

For our profiles, when we registered we were asked to list four athletic accomplishments. Here is my profile as it appears on the website:
Notice the Athletic Achievments. That's what you call trash talking and when you do it the need to back it up sky rockets. His STS profile ends with "I Will Defeat Zane Hodge at the 2014 Swim the Suck."

It's on!

Last week I only

ran 11.59 miles,
swam 10,787 meters,
biked 37.4 miles, and
lifted weights 2 X.

That's not enough, especially the swimming, I need to hit around 20,000 meters per week between the pool and the pond. This year I plan to focus more on high quality sets particularly 100s with short turn arounds. I have been working for several weeks on reducing rest time on my 100 repeats. It seems I can go forever @ 2:00. I've been chopping seconds off. At 1:59, no problem. At 1:58, no problem. At 1:57, problem. There's the sticking point.

I have actually removed a second from the early reps each time I have attempted the workout. I call the set off when I get down to under ten seconds rest and consider that a failure. One day last week, Brent Baily and I did ten. The first two reps were @ 1:56. Yesterday, Monday, alone, I decided to go for eleven (the first three were @ 1:56). After eleven, I felt more and more comfortable. I was going to go all the way-- twenty is a full set-- then after eighteen, Lance, the pool guy, yelled "Zane," when I got to the wall. He pointed to the sky. "Lightning." It was over.

I could have done it. Only two more and for the first time every I would have completed the entire set at a little under 1:57. That night, I reprogrammed my watch. Now the first four are @ 1:56. I'm not sure when I will swim it again. You need to have some fire in the belly when you swim that one. But I plan to do it at least once per week.

I have some other sets I have worked out that are new and I feel will help me beat Randy Beets. I would describe them, but since he could read this, I will keep them a secret.

Yesterday, I first went to Carroll County and ran 7.75 miles. I did three half mile repeats on a hill that is probably about a seven% grade. I need to do that once a week also. I only got 3,300 meters at the pool, but that's not bad if I can swim every day.

Since I need to take my daughter's bicycle back to her house in Boyle, I may stay over and swim Masters tonight at DSU tonight. Before leaving town, however, I have a little more to do in the yard and on the gym. Soon I will write about the backyard gym, Plate City. I have been working on it, making improvements, over the past couple of weeks. I can't imagine anyone in the entire county having a better home gym. It is outdoors, which is both a plus and a minus. But I have acquired and built a vast array of weights and machines. Now to consistently use it all to beat Beets' butt again.