Thursday, May 23, 2019

Last Pond Swim

I made my last pond swim Wednesday.

What's that, you say?

Not my last pond swim ever, just my last one before this Chicot Challenge.

Ten days out from a marathon, I like to do a significant swim. Significant usually means long but not my longest. This time it meant my longest of the year.

She was back.

As soon as I climbed out of the truck, that red-winged black bird was back hovering over me. I guess it was the same one. And the brown thrasher was back also. The gangs all here; let's have a party.

The party started with a 2.32 mile swim. I was relaxed like I have not relaxed anytime since the old days, two years ago. This is very important in marathon swimming. I felt like I was taking a nap.

Still worried about style.

After nutrition, round two of the party was a 2.02 mile swim. On that one I notice the red-winged black bird on a light line at the far end of the pond. Was it the same one? I don't know. They looked the same at least.

Round three was 1.18 miles. Now I was getting close. I left the house thinking I needed at least five miles and maybe seven. Round four's .83 gave me 6.35 for the day. I tapped out and went home. That's 10,217 meters, a pretty good day.

Thank you, Jesus.

Not four hours but close.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Swim, Run, Lift

Yeah, I did it all. Yesterday. Tuesday.

John called and wanted to swim at 7:00 a.m. I wanted to swim at 10:00. After much pleading from him, we finally settled on 7:30 in the little pool. He got there at 7:41.

Yes, this kind of thing does aggravate me. It tests my sanctification, and I fail here often.

I am supposed to help preach his funeral. The other people involved probably won't go for it, but he needs to be late. Seriously, if I have my way, half way through the sermon his casket will be rolled in. That would only be appropriate.

I wasn't feeling it in the pool, and I was a bit pissed. I swam

400 kick with fins
200 kick with fins
total: 1,900 plus 600 kick

I left and John was still there. He wanted to swim 7:00 today. Yeah, right. I told him no. I hope to go to the pond today.

I went home and then took a run. It was hot but a nice breeze helped keep me from overheating. I did 5.62 with some multi-pacing. After that I rested for a while before going outside where I worked on my rotator cuffs and benched

13 X 100
  8 X 120
  7 X 140
  4 X 145
  2 X 150

This is as late as I have ever lifted before a marathon swim, eleven days out. This is also the heaviest I ever lifted before a marathon swim. I am thinking this will not hurt me although the conventional wisdom is not to lift three weeks out before a big swim event. I lifted the week of the meet before the Senior Olympics. If it hurt me I could not tell. Once more, as Mark Bell says, "Strength is never a weakness." I plan to lift once more this week, maybe Thursday, to hit those other upper body muscles. Probably I will not lift the week of. The week of is time for a radical taper.

I slept well and now just want to drink coffee. Praise the Lord for the bean.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


I was supposed to meet John at Twin Rivers at 9:15. For once, I was the late one. I got there at 9:25. John's car was in the parking lot but there was no sign of John. What to do? I swam

    800 countdown set
4 X 50 small paddles
total: 3,300 plus 300 kick with fins.

John came up between sets and said the water was too cold, and he went to the indoor pool. This probably sounds harsh, but I answered, "That is a level of sissy that is unacceptable."

Dude, the water is above 80. There were two babies in the wading pool while we chatted.

My wife, who is usually right, said I should be more understanding. He is an old man and old men don't like the cold and can't tolerate it well. Maybe. It wasn't many years ago, three, that he was pushing me to swim in the fall all the way down to 66. I was the one wanting to stop the madness.

Oh well. I had a decent swim. The rest of the day was consumed with business at 422 West Harding (Mom's house) and getting ready for our trip to Cleveland. Our granddaughter graduated from junior high. Wow. You want to hear about signs and wonders? The graduation ceremony started on time. I kid you not. Thank you, Jesus.

Monday, May 20, 2019

5/13 - 5/19

It was a pretty full week. Monday I swam 4,570 meters. Because of all the errands and stuff, that's all the training I got in. Tuesday, however, I busted out three workouts. I ran 5.21 miles, lifted weights (full body), and swam 4,615 meters. That's the stuff fitness is made of.

Wednesday, I did some more lifting and got into the big pool for 5,500 meters. By Thursday I was dragging a bit and only managed a decent run of 6.15 miles, but I swam a mere 1,645 meters.

Friday, of course, was the big pond day. I swam 6.22 miles (10,007 meters). And Saturday, I swam 2,285 metes, and ran 1.73 miles.

For the week, I

rowed - 7:30 minutes,
ran - 13.09 miles,
biked - 3:00 minutes,
lifted weights two times, and 
swam - 28,622 meters.

That is not a bad week. I would have liked a little more swimming and one more session on the weights. But I think I can swim Chicot on what I did this week. Thank you, Jesus.


After the big pond swim Friday, I wasn't looking for too much Saturday. I didn't even try for the big pool, but instead purposefully went to the indoor pool. The reason? I had a lot of sun exposure Friday and didn't need any more. Also, I was tired so the the long-course swimming had little of its usual appeal to me. It's nice to have choices, options.

I swam

6 X 50 @ 1:12
300 small paddles
6 X 50 medium paddles @ 1:09
100 small paddles
total: 2,500 plus 200 kick with fins

We then had a blessed invitation from the Barrentines to drive out and eat crawdads. It was a lovely time. We got to hang out with Jarrod and Stacey, and Junior and Frances. We also met some new people. The pool house was neat, comfortable; the crawdads and sausages were tasty; the company was impeccable. It was a thoroughly fun day. 

After we got home, I took a short nap and then went out for a little run. I had hoped for a run and a session at the gym, but it began to rain while I ran and since my phone wasn't wrapped in plastic, I pickup up the pace and headed home. I did 1.73 miles. Thank you, Jesus, for so richly blessing out lives.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Swimming Lessons 2

These are the boys I am working with. This is part of their warm up. Each week their stroke looks better.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

I Found It?

I've been on a quest to find a monster swim. Am I getting too old for this? There were several times over the past few weeks that I just left the pool when I had time and energy to keep swimming. What was lacking was the will. Where did that go?

I looked every day this week. I went to the pond today, Friday, to see if time, opportunity, and will could meet together in the water. Did they?

I like to have at least one swim of four hours. In the past these four-hour swims have been nonstop and without feeds. I knew ahead of time I was not doing that today, I was not going to refuse a rest or some food. But could I get some distance done and some time put in?

My beach for the day.

It was a beautiful day. The sky was blue, the weather warm, and as can be seen from the photograph above, the pond was lovely. Notice that red-winged blackbird on that plant at the water's edge. She and a brown thrasher were there and nearby the whole time I was there. The sang, or did the chastise me? they flew about, and the blackbird hovered over me anytime I stood up and waded into the pond.

The blackbird hovering over me. Odd.

I started swimming around 10 a.m. and the water felt good. I did three laps, 1.8 miles, and crawled out to eat and drink. I watched the birds and thought of my mom. She was obsessed with birds. She photographed them, watched them, talked about them, owned them, raised them, and always, always noticed them.

At the truck, I ate potato chips and drank water while I watched the two birds. Then I climbed in for some more swimming. I did another three laps and climbed out with a total of 3.55 miles. An oatmeal cream pie was my snack this time and the birds continued to amuse me. They made lots of noise, music. But were they really singing or fusing at me? I was never sure.

 My wife did the color coordination.

My wife purchased the hunter orange duct tape you see above. "No self-respecting catfish pond swimmer would wear grey tape with a black cap," she told me incredulously.

"But nobody is out there. I am alone. No one will see," I pleaded.

"You'll post a picture on Facebook. Everyone will see. Take some pride in yourself and do it right."

"OK," I said, giving in.

On my third swim, I began to have goggle issues. Too many times in and out of the water and they begin to fog. I stopped several times to wash them out. Consequently, I got out after only one lap to change out the goggles. I didn't eat this time, but I spent a few minutes watching the birds.

Back in I went for two more laps. My Garmin, which was under my swim cap, buzzed for the sixth time while I was swimming the homestretch. I stopped at my getting in and out place and looked at the watch. It read 6.15 miles. I need a little more, I thought, so I turned around and swam up the levee and bit and then swam back to the truck. The watch now read 6.22 miles.

Enough? A monster swim?

Well, it is at least a small monster swim. The swimming time was 3:35. Short of four hours and short of seven miles I was hoping for. I had time, but I needed to get home, bathe, and rest for date night with the wife. I hate to be bad company which I certainly would be without a nap.

June 1 will reveal if 6.22 is a monster swim or not. For now, I am taking it on faith that it is long enough. Thank you, Jesus, for a really nice day on the fish farm.