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.