Saturday, September 21, 2019

The 300 Oaks

My mind was filled with questions and doubts as I began my walk to the boat ramp where the Oaks was to start and finish this year. It was Saturday morning, September 21st. The weather was cooler and with the sleeveless T-shirt I wore, I was a little chilly. That was a good thing.

At the boat ramp, I saw Anita Horn, Katie Jones, and then my son, Forrest. I saw a few other people too like Timmy Farrish from Louisville who is at every race I do. I walked a little over a mile to get there and warm up after I was there.
MDCC Greenwood peeps


When the horn sounded, I was determined not to go out too hard. Occasionally I would glance at my Garmin, and I saw the pace slowly ease downward from a 12:something to an 11:something to a 10:and change. Eventually I went through the first mile at an average pace of 9:51 per mile. Forrest was out in front of me, but in sight maybe 100 meters ahead.

Around mile two, I caught Forrest and eased in front of him. He tried to respond. I pressed the pace just a bit. The second mile average was 9:40. I was feeling pretty good but breathing hard, very hard. 

Forrest and I fought fiercely during mile three. We were south on the Boulevard. He passed me and then a little latter he stopped to walk. I passed and listened for him. I heard him start back. I could hear him clear his throat from time to time. I heard him draw near. I pressed every time he did. Eventually, I heard his voice back about twenty or thirty meters. Now I had the advantage of fear. Fear is a big kick in the butt, let me tell you. My third mile spit was 9:31, still easing downward.

Mile four was where I began to feel it. We crossed the bridge into downtown and hit the linear park off Main Street and headed west. When we turned onto to park, I looked back and caught a glimpse of Forrest about 100 meters behind. I then knew I could win if I kept pushing. My fourth mile split was a disappointing 10:14. I was slowing down. Was Forrest gaining on me?

People started passing me on mile five. I tried to hold them off and imagined Forrest creeping up on me. That split was 10:49, but when we made another turn I got a chance to look back. Forrest had slowed more than me and was at least 150 meters behind. 

Mile six was mostly on River Road. At that time of day, it has some shade. I tried to hold up. In fact, when I got down around the courthouse, I picked up the pace. My footfalls and breathing matched, and for just a little bit, I felt like a real runner, like I was young again. It did not last, of course. Mile six's split was 10:37, a slight rebound.

When I turned onto the bridge and headed north back towards the finish line, I knew I had beaten Forrest and Randy Beets. I tried to simply hold up, not slow down drastically. The final leg, .15. was at a 9:13 pace. Hey, I picked it up. I went across the line in 1:02:09. I never thought I would be proud of doing a 10K in over an hour, but I was happy. 

Forrest and me before the start

My average pace was 10:06 per mile. That is what I was hoping for but was unsure of because my training paces have been so slow. I knew a taper and an event always makes a big difference, but things are not like they used to be. When I wore a young man's T-shirt, there would be about a minute per mile between my training pace and my race pace. Now there is about three and a half minutes between the two. Go figure. I don't know what to make of that, but it appears that is the new normal.

All in all it was a good day and I had a good time. I must admit that I enjoy beating my son. I am not ready to pass the torch yet. That day will come, I know. But not now. Thank you, Jesus.

Easier Day

Thursday was an easy training day and Friday was an easier one. I swam, alone, early, a mere 1,600 meters. John was tired and called to tell me he was sleeping in. I had to leave home by 6:30 to go the Raymond (Jackson) for a conference. I drove my own truck so I could try to make the day feel less like a work day and more like an outing for fun.

I did enjoy the conference. I got to chat with some of my colleagues that I don't see much anymore since they moved my back to Greenwood full time. I also liked the speakers, especially the novelist, Michael Farris, Smith. I bought his The Fighter. I've read a few pages, and I think I am going to like the book. I found him interesting, down to earth, entertaining.

We were out by 2:00 p.m., and I drove straight to Play It Again Sports. I didn't buy anything there. Then I went to Academy Sports in Madison, my all-time favorite store. I only purchased a few bands for the gym. Next, I drove to Bicycle Revolution in Glucksdat where I purchased my son's Christmas gift. Then I went home to snack and get ready for the 300 Oaks the next day.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Easy Day

Thursday was a much easier training day by design and necessity. First, I am tapering for the Oaks and decided to take two full days off of running. So Thursday I swam and lifted. Good thing, because I had to go to Carroll County to take plumber out there. In the pool, I swam nilly willy until I got in 3,100 meters. 

After school, I led the plumber to the ski lodge. When we turned the water on, if didn't make it to the cabin. Thus we had to go looking for a leak. I was walking the easily accessible part of the line when I heard it up near the old tractor shed. The pipe was out of the ground and broken totally in two. 

Back home, I went out to lift and mow the back yard. When I did, it felt like Fall. I checked the temperature on my phone, it was 93. Seriously, 93 and it felt like Fall.  I did a pull work out. I did not do the volume I have been doing. I decided to make this a de-load week and start a new cycle Monday. I think I am going to do a linear progression model. That is sort of the way I have been training but not as systematic as it is practiced by some. I never did institute the conjugate method I was thinking about. Maybe later. Thank you, Jesus.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Another Record

We set another record high Wednesday. September the 18th, 2019, was the hottest day of the year in Greenwood, Mississippi. It officially hit 101. The good news is I am very heat acclimated. Now if it will just cool off, I should be able to run faster than a shuffle.

The hottest day started with a 3,100 meter swim in the dark at Twin Rivers. After work and a nap, I stepped outdoors for my shuffle, and I knew the prediction of a 98 degree day was likely wrong. It was. I managed to step off 3.04 miles matching Tuesday's run and giving me 14.2 for the week. Since this is the 300 Oaks week and since me legs did not recover any from the previous 3.04 mile shuffle, I likely will not run again until Saturday morning when I do battle with the old men and the fat ladies.

The hot run plus mowing my front lawn sapped me so much that I failed to lift weights. What I did do was to go to the pool to work with Brad. I got there early and did some swimming before he got there, while he was there, and after he left. I put in another 3,000 yards giving me 5,842 meters for the day. Pretty good. Thank you, Jesus.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

New Record High

I was stroking early. John was late. What else is new? In the dark, I don't do sets until daylight. I fear banging my head on the wall. Besides that, I don't always feel like busting it. So I just swam up and down and down and up until I made 4,100 meters. It was then time to go home and get ready for work. 

In the afternoon, I ran in the heat of the day as I always do. Greenwood set a new record high of 100 degrees. Imagine that: 100 degrees on September 16th. It has been major hot here. I did a slow 3.04, and by then I was soaked through with sweat. I dried and cooled before going to Plate City where it was bench day. I pressed

11 X 95
3 X 135
2 X 155
1 X 160
1 X 165
1 X 170
missed at 172
3 X 155
3 X 150
3 X 145

And that was it. I did not do any assistance work because I was pressed for time. My swimming boys wanted to practice tonight instead of Wednesday night. After they swam, I did an easy 1,200 yards giving me a total of 5,196 meters for the day. Pretty good. Thank you, Jesus.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

From Night to Light

Nighttime melting into morning is a strange thing. I see it now everyday in the Twin Rivers outdoor pool. I start stroking around 5:00 a.m. It is very dark, and the walls are hard to find. I count the laps because I cannot see my watch. On every sixth stroke my face exits the water to the east. I look for light. I swim 1,000 meters and the sky looks the same. I swim another 1,000, and I think I see a slight lightening between some trees and the back of County Market. A few more strokes, and I think I see the brightening a little farther south. Then I am not sure. Then I am sure. Then I think I see some pink. Then I am not so sure about that. Later I think I might see some pink a little farther south. Then I doubt it. Then I am sure. Then the pink turns to orange, first a little, later more, then the sky brightens just a bit. Does it? I'm not sure. Then I am sure.

Once I am sure I began to look at my watch when I flip on the south wall. A shadow covers the north wall, and I cannot see anything there. At first, I can only see the watch, that I am wearing it. A few more laps and I can see that it has numbers on the face, but I can not read the numbers. More laps and I can make out one number, then another, and finally I can see the time.

The Twin Rivers pool at 5:00 a.m.

There are three displays on my Garmin watch. The time is the largest. Now I start looking for distance. At first, I can only see that something is in that screen. More laps and I can tell there are numbers there, but I can't read them. Then I can read a number of the four there. Then I can read two numbers and finally, it is daylight, and I can read the whole watch.

Monday morning, the small numbers were at 3,300 before I could read them. There I stopped, took a deep breath, and put on paddles. I did paddle work for another 1,200 meters finishing with 4,500 meters for the day, my longest practice since Chicot. 

After work, I eat, nap, then go for a run. We had Over 60s so I needed a big one to offset a Larry's Fish House eating. I shuffled 8.12 miles in the continued oppressive heat. When will it end? I had no time for lifting and that bothered me. Nevertheless, it was a good day. Thank you, Jesus.

Monday, September 16, 2019

9/9 - 9/15

When I wore the running shoes of a man ten years my junior, I thought a 20/20 week was a big deal. What's a 20/20 week, you ask? A 20/20 week is a seven day training cycle where the run equals at least twenty miles and the swim totals 20,000 meters or more. That's good training; I don't care who you are or how young you are. I hit a 20/20 last week.

Monday I totaled 3,600 meters in the pool, much of it in the early morning darkness. Later I shuffled 4.18 miles, and I lifted some weights also. Tuesday I made 3,400 in the pool, 7.11 on the road, and more work at Plate City.

Wednesday I was good for two swims totaling 4,562 meters, 3.24 miles at attempted running and more weight work. Thursday I swam 3,100 meters, ran 3.12 miles, and lifted once more.

Friday I swam 3,400 meters and did another seven mile run, this time in the hills for 7.16 miles while the temps hit an official 100 degrees. Saturday I got to the hills again for 4.03 miles after first swimming 2,100 meters.

For the week, I 

ran 28.84 miles (the biggest week of my comeback)
swam 20,162 meters (the most since Chicot), and 
lifted weights four times.

That was a solid week with lots of cardio and some strength training also. I hope this pays off at the Oaks. Thank you, Jesus.