Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Document Dump

Ever since the Association of Sports Syclists, the Association of Sports Shufflers, and the Association of Sports Swimmers merged in 2010 to form Big ASS Endurance, the sporting world has been abuzz and sometimes ablaze with news controversy, and sometimes just plain craziness. The craziness has returned.

After a couple of mostly silent years, due to Zane Hodge foregoing his annual showdown with Randle Beets at Swim the Suck, and the cancellation of the 2015 Big ASS Awards Banquet due to an ISIS threat, the volume of chatter has suddenly returned in subwoofer-busting loudness with the recent Wikileaks document dump of 13,000 + emails, training records, and secretly recorded videos of the Association's biggest stars Hodge and Beets.

When asked for his comment, Big ASS President Dr. Timothy Nomann said, "It will take some time to wade through all of these videos, emails, and records. We will respond at an appropriate time. If errors in reporting by our athletes are found, they will be dealt with swiftly and decisively." Nomann was obviously referring to the contract athletes monthly training reports required by the Association.

Jay Unver, match-maker, reporter, promoter, and investigator for the organization, retorted that the implications of this new information "could be enormous and possible may see one or both of the star athletes being censored, suspended, or even fired. Hopefully, none of the emails have the athletes being critical of management. That could be a real bombshell and result in some severe punishments."

When told of the Wikileaks, a visibly shaken Hodge refused comment as he jogged across the MDCC Greenwood Center's parking lot and through the front door of the building where he works. When followed inside, Hodge locked himself in his office and refused to respond to repeated calls for him to come out for an interview.

Beets, on the other hand, appeared giddy and shouted, "This will be the downfall of Hodge. Mark my word, Hodge is going down." When asked what evidence he had that Hodge was guilty of any misconduct, Beets simply said, "The truth will come out."

As of publication time, this reporter has been called to the Big ASS Headquarters in Lehrton, Mississippi, presumably to begin an examination of the documents. Further updates will be made when more information is available.

Monday, January 30, 2017

1/23 - 1/29


No thing.


For the whole week, I did absolutely no training.

But I ain't worried. Not yet.

It was one of those weeks primarily because of my shoulder but my propensity to nap figured into the train wreck also. Monday, I usually lift weights and run. I did nothing.

Tuesday, I skipped Masters to give my shoulder a little more time.

Wednesday, I usually lift weights and run. I did nothing.

Thursday, I skipped Masters again thinking that one more day off might help. I could still feel something in the shoulder. It was not pain but some sort of weirdness. Simply put, I knew it was not right and that frightened me.

Friday I had intended to go in to the DSU pool and do a short, slow swim. Somehow I became very lazy and felt like the cats needed me so I stayed home.

Saturday, Penny and I went to Jackson with the Johnsons. We had a blast. For the first time in weeks, the shoulder felt normal. Although I did no training and ate too much, I did purchase some items for the next Chicot Challenge. At Academy Sports, I bought an alleged glow-in-the-dark kayak paddle. I have been a bit worried about the swim lapping over into the darkness. Most likely it will. At Dick's, I acquired a new feed bottle. This one is larger, more flexible, and completely see through. This acquisition should make feeds easier and more efficient for both me and the paddler.

The pontoon will have to go in about dusk. My tentative plan is for Trevor to stay with me in the kayak with his glow-in-the dark paddle, a headlamp, a lamp on the back of the boat, and a small airhorn to warn anyone who comes too close. MJ Staples, the independent observer, has already said she will swim with me after dark. She is an accomplished marathon swimmer herself, so she can handle it if the swim runs really long. Her presence in the water will give me the nerve I need to stay in after the alligators come out. She can still perform her duties as the observer because she will be there and know first hand if I swim or not. Hopefully, this part of the swim will only be a mile or two at the most. 

Please keep up the prays. The plan this week is for two or three short, easy swims with no problems, hopefully. Then I will unleash the beast. Thank you, God.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The DFM Oxford Walk

47 cool day in Oxford,
an army gathers and starts;
they walk for for a cause

they fight for a need
they battle to beat the wreck
diabetes brings

perfect weather twas,
the activists gathered to
do DFM's walk 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

School Poem

Wrote in World Literature II class. It took thirty seconds.


Teacher's Burden

Glassy eyes and confused looks
compete with boredom, apathy, sleepiness
   comedy is dead
   truth unwelcome
   knowledge a foe
     feared, avoided, dreaded
School is in session

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

1/16 - 1/22

I had a good swimming week. With the warm weather, I was able to swim outdoors Monday, which I wrote about already. Tuesday I went to DSU and swam

16 X 50 as
  1 - 4 first 25 fast
  2 - 8 second 25 fast
  3 - 12 middle 25 fast
  13 - 16 decline 1 - 4 (39, 38, 36, 34)
800 swim with fins
3,600 in 1:05:11 @ 1:48
total: 5,850 yards = 5,346 meters

Wednesday I was at Plate City for a big swim-pull session. I did

15 X 26
20 X 26
30 X 27.5
13 X 30
13 X 30
15 X 31.5
20 X 30

Thursday I was back at DSU with the Mad Swimming Scientist for 

3 X 4 X 200 r:15
  1 - 4 50 fast, 100 fast, 150 fast, 200 fast
  5 - 8 floating 50 first through fourth
  9 - 12 decline (fourth in 2:54)
end of Masters
3,800 in 1:09:05 @ 1:58
total: 6,700 yards = 6,123 meters

I have been having some shoulder issues of late and they came to the forefront Thursday. Over the years, my left shoulder has been injured a number of times and this December and January I have re-aggravated it lifting weights. I have been pretty aggressive with the weights the last few months. Despite my aggression, I never thought I was pushing too hard. Wrong. Friday I went back to DSU and the shoulder was not right. I tapped out after only 2,100 yards. Not only did I tap early Friday, but I dropped my weight session Saturday. It is still bothering me, and that is starting to make me nervous. 

For the week, I

swam 15,188 meters and
lifted weights one time.

A good swim week, but not much else. If you pray, please include me and my shoulder in your intercessions. I have put myself on the line for another Chicot Challenge. I would hate not to be able to pull it off.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Shut Up Already!

Enough already.

Enough Already!


Enough Already!!!

You are entitled to your opinion and your free speech. But does everything have to involve politics? Just in case you haven't noticed, your smart-alec Facebook posts have converted no one. Neither have they made you any more friends. Maybe they made you feel better. I hope.

I am especially disturbed at my inability to get away from the fray. Sports has always been the one place Americans could retreat to to get away from the mudslinging and name calling and hand wringing of politics for a while and escape the pressures of life in general. That is one reason people are so put off when athletes bring their politics onto the field, court, or wherever their game is played.

For months years, I have endured Facebook post after Facebook post that reviled my intelligence, goodness, and fitness to even be alive. I have meekly turned the other cheek and kept posting pictures of my good-looking cat. 

You're welcome. 

What has my ire up today is my inability to get away from it all. This morning I retreated to some of my usual sites attempting to get out of harm's way and indulge in my fantasies of and love for swimming only to be assaulted over and over there also. #swimstory has long been, one of my favorite places to soak myself in the water adventures of others and recharge my batteries, free form insult. 


The politics on #swimstory has been so strong lately that I am seriously considering unjoining the site. The same is true of Did you swim today?, a United Kingdom based group that has been a delight over the years. But I do have a problem with Brits weighing in on American politics. I have never commented on their elections, parties, candidates, etc. I figure it is none of my business, and I figure ours is none of theirs. 

So I bailed on #swimstory and Did you swim today? and Facebook also and turned to one of my tried and true avenues of escape: blogs. I have dozens of blogs in my favorites list on my laptop and wade through then periodically just for fun or inspiration or information. The first one I returned to this morning was comparing lane etiquette with political parties. If you commit this or that lane sin in your local pool, you are like ________ _________. If you have this attitude or that attitude then you are like this political party.


I closed that one out and went to anther of my favorite blogs, one that has always been good for some creative swim sets that inspire me to add some thought to my practices. 

More politics.

Maybe I am throwing the towel in too early, but that's it. Instead of reading blogs, I will write which is why I am typing this. In fact, if you investigate my blog you will notice that each year of my blogging life has seen me increase my productivity. For example, 

2012 - 74 posts
2013 - 107 posts
2014 - 125 posts
2015 - 190 posts
2016 - 216 posts

Anyone can see that I have been writing more and more. What you can't see but what I am plainly and truthfully telling you now is that there is a direct correlation between my increased writing and my decreased reading. When I first began this blog, I had about thirty women triathloners saved in my favorites list. One by one I deleted them because their machismo was more than I could bear. No joke, the blood and pain and suffering and the sacrifices were just too much for me. I hope I don't come off that way and if I do, please call me out on it. I hope my writing entertains and informs you and maybe even inspires you, but I certainly don't want to wear you out with how I suffer and sacrifice the be the world's most unheralded athlete.

So since I can't find suitable reading material, I am creating it. Thus my blog has expanded to include poetry, essays, fiction, complaints, and whatever else I will add in 2017. One thing is for sure: will will not find me voicing my opinion on English politics. In fact, you will not catch me typing a single word about American politics. If you can find where I ever have in 724 blog posts or four and a half years of Facebook, I have a crisp $100 bill I will hand over to you or send you in the mail. 

So there. Please just shut up and read this blog. 

Have a terrific day. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Good Weather

Winter has been great thus far: warm, sometimes sunny, and inviting for outdoor activities. I have been utilizing the pretty days to spend lots of time at Plate City which means I also get to hang out with our dog, Bear. He loves it when I am in the back yard, and he just can't get enough affection. I try but I can't keep him luved up. Not only do I have Bear, but on the east side is Smokey, another sweet pooch who is the size of a juvenile moose and wants attention. If I so much as speak to him, Bear gets jealous and goes a little pscycho. On the west side is Sam, an overgrown German Shepherd mix who is just as bad. If I catch Bear looking the other way, I will stick my hand over the fence and give him a quick touch. Once I got caught and it really hurt Bear's feelings.

Of late, however, we have been having days on end of rain. But that is OK; we need the moisture and it has to rain sometimes. Actually, I think drought conditions still exist in some parts of the state, and I noticed the other day driving over the bridge in Greenwood that the Yazoo River is really low. So low in fact that I believe one could wade across it right now if one had such a mind to. I have not such a mind to.

At this moment, I am in English Composition I class on the main campus at Moorhead, Mississippi. Yeah, I acquired a schedule change this time around and my days are now spit between two of our three remaining campuses. I miss being at the Greenwood Center everyday; the good people there tell me that they miss me also and it is not the same without me. I know that is true because no one is blowing an airhorn over there when I am gone. The Greenwood Center feels like home and there I feel free to be myself. Moorhead feels like a job, and I dare not let my personality show here. 

Only a mile or so away from my present classroom sit some catfish ponds that I have swum in the past and still have permission to swim whenever. Whenever is drawing near. My plan is to stroke these some after school in the near future. I did swim a pond on MLK Day in one of my standbys at Tackett Fish Farm. It was warm enough to swim Tuesday, but I received a call from the bank concerning my bank card that morning and that sort of sent me into a tizzy. Not only that, but it was raining sheep and goats, and although I love swimming in the rain, it is messy to do so in a catfish pond. To get that muddy and then show up for Masters Swim at DSU is problematic. Next week the forecast is for sunshine and warmth so I will figure out how to clean up for what I hope is a delicious double dip on one if not both of my days at the main campus.

All in all, I am off to a good start on my Chicot training. I am way way behind what the other ultra swimmers whom I read about are doing, but I have been down this road before and I know what it takes to get my body ready. Valley is still in the works, but I don't know if it will come to  pass or not. At least I have the hope of another shot at water once or twice per week. That would be huge if I can get in the extra work because if winter continues this way, the water temps will allow long, long swims by mid-March. April should have me going hours without a suit.

I have more plans for Plate City, but everything is on hold right now because the bank cancelled my card, and until I receive my new one, I am financially hamstrung. Sweet. Making changes at the gym always gives my motivation a shot in the arm. That motivation is running very high right now, so high that I am trying to reign myself in a little so as not to put myself at risk for injury. I must avoid injury at all costs.

In years past, I began the Friday swims in February. This year I have already swum one Friday and plan to go back tomorrow. I hope to be able to ramp up a bit fast with a bigger base under me than I have had in the past.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

45, 46

child wades into water
boys learns the art of swimming
man swims a full day

child rides training wheels
boy throws newspapers from bike
man rides for three days

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

MLK Day Swim

I'm loving this warm winter. Sunday the 8th of January, we woke to an 11 degree morning. All the water I saw, except the Yazoo River, was covered with a layer of ice. The temps, however, began to warm even Sunday afternoon and by Monday it was shirtsleeve weather. The mildness has stayed and it has been so nice that I called the fish farm late last week and inquired about the water temperature. David told me the ponds were running 58 degrees. Cha ching!

My cutoff point is 60, but I knew with the weather forecast we had that we were bound to get there. I didn't bother to call again but Monday I drove to the pond in faith sure the temps were high enough for me to manage with my wetsuit. I loaded Bear, our trusted dog, and headed for an afternoon at the pond.

As soon as we arrived the sky quickly clouded over and the wind picked up and had a touch of a bite to it. I had run Bear the final mile in and he was loving every minute of being out of the back yard and hanging out with me. I laboriously put on the wetsuit and waded into the chilly water. Bear looked at me with a definite expression of confusion. I didn't tarry long but began to swim.

At first, the bite of the water was tough on my face and caused my skull to ache. But it was not as bad and water in the 50s and I knew it would get better if I could hang in there for four minutes. I learned long ago that four minutes gets you passed the pain. I got passed and slowly adjusted to the cold water trickling inside the suit. For a while, my stroke was short, choppy, but as I warmed up and became comfortable my stroke lengthened and I felt smooth again.

Bear trotted along at the edge of the water and eyed me with concern. A few times he acted like he wanted to swim out. I don't know if he was afraid for me or if he just wanted to join the fun. When I made it to the end of the first levee and started my turn, he did wade into the water and began to swim towards me. I turned over on my back and spoke to him as he drew near. He swam well, but I was still confused as to whether he was trying to have fun or attempting to save me.

I rounded the end levee and began the long trek down the length of the pond. Over and over Bear waded out and swam to me then swam back to undry ground. He seemed to be having great fun. Then it began to rain. Lovely. Bear wasn't happy about that, however, despite being wet already. Even turtles on a log will go into the water if it begins to rain. 

I finished the lap and started back up the long levee. Bear disappeared and I was a little worried about him. I swam up the pond until the Garmin under my swim cap buzzed letting me know I had covered a mile. I turned back towards the truck, and when I got to the corner where I get in Bear came out from under the truck. He was happy to see me. I stood there a bit and pondered if I should swim some more. I decided to pack it in. It was raining hard and although I love swimming in the rain, Bear didn't. Besides, any outdoor swimming I do this time of year is a bonus. The Garmin read 1.12 miles in 35:02 @ 31:15.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sunday at Centerville

Our time at Centerville Baptist Church this past Sunday was a nice and edifying. Brother Gary and Beth were out and he asked me to fill in for him. That was my first time to preach since October, and I enjoyed it immensely. I preached on "Faith in the Book of Psalms," one of my better ones if I were to judge, but I learned time ago not to trust my estimate on those types of things. The content was there and I felt a liberty to preach. But from my over two decades of pastoring at the Moorhead Church of God, the ones I thought were the best were seldom commented on. When I felt life I totally bombed, I had the most positive remarks. It could be that the congregation, on the difficult sermons, perceived my struggles and were just being nice. I don't know.

Besides preaching, it was Movie Day which we had not held since early November. When we have Movie Day, we always eat and who doesn't like to eat? Surprisingly, this come on the heels of Sheila Mitchell, the Sunday School teacher, asking me to teach on nutrition the week before. Normally on Movie Day we don't have Sunday School, but since I did not finish my presentation on nutrition, she asked us to come in thirty-minutes early so I could finish up.

To my pleasant surprise, everyone brought a healthier selection of food than normal. Sheila brought the spaghetti which was made with whole wheat pasta. She also had some zucchini spaghetti that was more than good. Gerald brought enough salad stuff to feel a junior high football team and he included eggs, mushrooms, and cheese for protein and tomatoes for taste. I don't know who bought the desert, but it was cottage cheese and fruit. For once I left without feeling guilty for eating too much and consuming way too many calories. I ate enough to be satisfied but I didn't overindulge. The food tasted good and was good for our bodies. That's a win win.

We couldn't find the movie we were scheduled to watch, but that was OK. Everyone was relaxed, and we just sat around and visited. We walked out of the church to crows cawing across the road in the warm winter air. This is turning out the be a winter after mine own heart, a typical winter that I was beginning to fear had left us for good. After six straight cold ones, I was believing our climate had changed permanently for the colder. If this weather holds, I will be swimming outdoors soon. Thank you, Lord.

Monday, January 16, 2017

1/9 - 1/15

It was an underwhelming week, in some ways, but still not a bad kickoff to the Chicot 2017 buildup. This time of year, I am always scratching and clawing for every yard I swim. Monday I did a pretty big benching session that went like this:

15 X 100
8 X 120
6 X 140
1 X 150
1 X 160
1 X 165
4 X 150
4 X 150
4 X 150
6 X 140

On the Swim Pull I repped

22 X 26
22 X 27.5
22 X 29

Tuesday was my first day with my new teaching schedule. I have three large Comp I classes on the Moorhead campus so everything changes this spring. The classes went well, and I drove to the kids after getting out. At DSU, I swam

4 X 50 @1:30
300 pull
8 X 50 @1:30
300 pull
6 X 50 @1:30
300 pull
4 X 50 @1:30
total: 4,100 SCYs = 3,742 meters.

I thought that wasn't a bad start for the year until I got home and checked my training diary and discovered that I was already behind last year. 

Wednesday I lifted more weights, and Thursday it was back at the kids for 4.48 miles of walking and then to DSU for

8 X 50 @1:30 decline 1 -4
4 X 50 @1:30 breathing every 9 (?!?!?!?)
8 X 50 @1:30 breathing every 7

Chary wasn't there and you know what they say? When the cats away the mice will play. He left us a practice and we were supposed to swim 800 breathing 3, 5, 7, and 9 per 100. I just couldn't wrap my head around that one so I simply swam with the determination to not stop until Ricky did. So I got in 1,000. Everybody else then cooled down and left, but since there were some lifeguards on duty, I started back swimming and did a straight 2,700 in 49:39 for a total of 6,250 yards which equals 5,712 meters.

I went back Friday for

4,250 1:14:47 (1:45)
20 X 50 @1:12 with small paddles
total 5,350 = 4,798 meters.

Saturday I hit Plate City Gym. On the SP (Swim Pull) I eked out

60 X 22
30 X 26
25 X 27.5
25 X 27.5

I also got in a little walking with the dogs at the recycle and at the gym.


I walked 7.21 miles,
lifted weights three times, and
swam 14,257 meters.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

43, 44

dead bug brushes skin
while the swimmer plies his craft
orange leaves drift down

swimmer is alone
no pumps clean the long-course pool
while leaves fall like snow

Fall swimming at Twin Rivers has ended. So have my haikus.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

1/2 - 1/8

The new year has begun and with it my training for the Chicot Challenge has officially opened. Already I am behind. Changes. Changes. Changes.

I am not longer able to get into the DSU pool early so I am losing yardage from the start. Somehow, I will make it up. There are always complications, I've learned that much, and too much is at stake to give up easily. Last week's training left a lot to be desired. Monday, I ran .26. That's right, .26. Tuesday I went to DSU. At the kids house, I went out for a whopping .36 run. At the pool, I did 2,600. I did not write the practice down as soon as I got home and I could not remember the details when I decided to put it to paper.

Wednesday was big weights day and on the bench I did

15 X 100
7 X 120
6 X 140
1 X 150
1 X 160
1 X 170
2 X 160
4 X 150
4 X 150
4 X 150

This currently is my one bright spot. I am stronger in my upper body than ever. I know that helps in the sprints we often do in the pool under the Mad Swimming Scientist, but I don't know how it impacts all-day swimming.

Thursday it was back to DSU for 

7 X 200 with breating patterns (why does he hate us?)
50 kwf + 100 + 50 kwf X 4
100 easy
total: 3,200 meters.

For the week, I 

ran .62
swam 5,800 meters
lifted weights one time.

Now, I have to get serious.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Oops! 12/26 - 1/1

Somehow I missed my obligatory post last week. Maybe it was that I did so little. Whatever. Here it is.

Monday I did some major lifting at Plate City. The bench went like this:

14 X 100
7 X 120
6 X 140
3 X 156
1 X 167
1 X 178
failed @ 183
4 X 150
4 X 150
4 X 150

Tuesday, Penny went with me to Cleveland and dropped me at the pool. She went on the the kids to visit with the grands. I swan

200 pull with paddles
150 as 100 hard/50 easy r:30
150 as 100 hard/50 easy
5 X through
total: 3,200
I think there was a breathing pattern in there. The Mad Swimming Scientist has been real pissy about breathing of late. What's up with that?

Wednesday, Penny and I went to Jackson. I purchased a neck harness from Play It Again Sports. I had issues with my neck last year in the really long stuff so I want to head that off at the pass. Each year, besides the normal conditioning stuff I do, I discover a new weakness to work on. This year, it is the neck.

Thursday I was back at DSU for both the am and pm swims. At lunch I did a straight 4,000 in 1:18:58 for a 1:58 average. At Masters I swam

9 X 200
100 total, 2,600; 6,600 for the day. 

Friday I went back to DSU for 

6 X 50 @ 1:30
400 small paddles
three X through
200 easy
total: 3,600 meters.

Sunday I usually only go to church and rest but this time I did another big session at Plate City.

For the week I swam 13, 400 meters, ran none, and lifted weights two times.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 in Preview

I am entering the new year with high anticipation. Although my running currently is up in the air, I am attempting to look at that in a positive way. Last year, I went into my final phase of Chicot Challenge training doing a large volume (large here being a contextual term) of both running and swimming. My training diary reminds me that I was swimming in the 25,000 to 30,000 plus meters per week range and around 25 to 30 miles of running over each seven days. The result was I became very fit, but I also became very fatigued and there were times when I barely could make myself get into the pond and slog through a lap or two. Many times I sat in the truck for long minutes and thought, I don't want to swim today. Other times my volume at the pond was limited by my compulsion to get in a good number of miles on the levee roads instead of just swimming.

So with my forced slow down in running, I am choosing view this as an opportunity to focus my training more on swimming. By June, I hope to have returned to running, but this year my aim is to keep the running low (ten to fifteen miles per week) so that it adds to my overall cardiovascular fitness but does not compete with my swim training for energy and time. Running does not compete with muscle recovery of my swimming muscles, but it can and did become a drain in those other ways.

Besides running less and swimming more, 2017 looks favorable for my weightlifting. This is significant for overall health as well as swimming performance. For health, I mean at the age of sixty, resistance training is more important for me now than ever. I am experiencing both the successes and failures of my weight training. The muscles I have focused on are relatively strong and healthy. The muscles I have neglected, low back and neck, have given me some problems of late. As we age, unless we practice intervention, we naturally lose muscle mass. It is muscle that keeps us upright and ambulatory. 

Old people who are shaky and feeble for the most part are that way because they have lost too much of their muscle. I am attempting to rehabilitate my weakened and somewhat troubled lower back. I also recently purchased a neck harness to work on my underused neck muscles. Last year, I began to experience some irritation in my neck during my longer swims. This hit during the Challenge and a day or two after Chicot I pulled a muscle in the neck that cause me severe pain and limited my mobility for several days. I don't want to go through that again so I am now working on this neglected part of my body.

Besides working on the low back and neck, I have made some real improvements to Plate City Gym which is both motivating and commodious to working out. Not only have I done some major upgrades, but I have plans for further developments. At this very moment, Leflore Steel has the drawing of a project that will help me become healthier, happier, and more fit. I have visions of other gym improvement floating around in my mind. One goal of mine is to end 2017 stronger in every muscle group than I ended 2016. I will do another post on the gym, maybe several, along with some videos, but for now that is all on this subject.

Concerning swimming, I have two big events on the calendar with some other possibles on the radar screen. In May, some friends and I will do Pool Fools (look for a separate post or three). June of course brings Chicot which will undergo some major changes this year and I will post about those later. But for now I say only that the distance will change as will the course, measurement of the course, crew, and documentation of the swim. I have offered my services to some others but I don't know if these will come to pass or not, but I think at least one of these has a real shot of making. 

I am wanting to swim some new bodies of water just for the experience of it. The Tenn-Tom, Lake Martin in Alabama, Lake Sardis here at home, and Pickwick Lake are all calling my name. It is not that easy to pull off long swims in far locations. I am a little shy at asking for help because I am already the recipient of lots of crew care from people who gain nothing from giving me a day and part of a night of their lives. To Team Centerville, again I say, Thank you for your selfless help. I remain touched by it.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016 in Review

Twenty sixteen, how did I love thee?
Let me count the ways . . . .

It was a good year for me in several ways. Primarily this is a glance back at the year from an athletic standpoint and the glance over my shoulder shows that I ran well, swam well, and lifted well.

However, the year did not end well on a running note. I have not run in December because of a gimpy knee. My running may or may not be over forever, but oddly I am not wigging out about it. Maybe that is due to the fact that I have other sports on which to focus. If I can't run anymore, the water will grow weary of me, moss will grow on my back (Oh wait, it already does), the fish will call me brother. Also, the backyard gym, Plate City, has reached new levels of functionality and my love for spending time there is at an all-time high. But that is another paragraph.

I did not do any adventure runs or set any records. Twenty fifteen saw me complete my decade old dream of running to Noxapater, and I have thought long and hard about another such goal but nothing has captured my imagination the way The Great Noxapater Journey Run did. But despite not running at the end of the year, I shuffled 1,067.6 miles and performed pretty well over eleven of the year's months, pretty well for a sixty-year old man. 

The past year also saw me reach new heights in my gym building and weight lifting. I have collected many more plates. Every time Penny and I make a trip to Jackson, I always go Play It Again Sports while she is hitting some of those women stores she loves so much. They sell new and used exercise equipment. Mostly I purchase weight plates there, and over time I've acquired an impressive collection. Also I have done some woodwork and created a station for doing partials on the bench press. 

Notice the blue cords in the picture. This is a new purchase and a new technique. Also notice the chains. The cords and chains cause the weight/resistance to increase as the bar gets higher where the lifter normally begins to receive a mechanical advantage. With this change, I can put more stress on my underdeveloped triceps, a much used muscle in swimming. The triceps is very important in the second half of the swim pull. In addition, the new lift starts at my normal sticking point for heavy bench presses.

Early in the year, I hit a new modern record for my standard bench press at 166. Later (December) I hit first 170, then 171, 175, and 178. My record from thirty-five years ago was 185, but that was a cheat lift as my butt came way off the bench, so really 178, done without a spotter and without a cheat move, is my real all-time record set in my sixtieth year of life. I am proud of that. It may not be much weight to a real lifter, but I am a small man, and an endurance athlete who lifts primarily for athletic performance in all-day swims.

Swim wise, 2016 was a banner year. The Chicot Challenge saw me swim non-stop for almost fourteen hours and hit a new high of 22.38 miles. For that week, I set a new weekly total record of 46,309 meters. For the year, I did not set a new record, but I came in a close second with 866,651 meters (538.6 miles). My yearly record was set in 2012 with 873,842. My total for 2015 was a mere 533,015.

Monday, January 2, 2017

40, 41, 42

the flock huddles close
while coyotes howl in the dark,
the shepherd stands watch

mighty clouds roam the 
sky threatening the day's peace,
billows break, sun shines.

a deer, a crow, squirrels
sheep rest under yellow leaves
drive to Centerville.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


She rises from the mist, a stranger 
  new only in our minds
  full of promise, hope, uncertainty.
Resolutions are frolicking dogs
  hard running hounds
  soon to perish along life's roadways.
Good intentions are high-flying doves,
  character is the hunter's shotgun,
  the trapper's snare, the fisherman's hook.
God's grace is sufficient
  to those who trust and cling
    to those whose soul submits
      to those who softly sing.