Monday, May 10, 2010

Handicapped persons

This is raising issues with handicapped people, and I'm concerned because I certainly don't want to leave them out. Last year, we had a paraplegic cyclist pedal with his arms. Well, he, of course, couldn't hike the trail, so we registered him, let him do what he could and gave him an award - that's a no-brainer. But then comes the obese people, for example, or people with "hidden" (we call them "invisible illnesses or disabilites") handicaps. Well, I just don't know where to go with that.

We can talk about that later. I saw the "no shuttle bikes" clause and know of a young girl that has a health condition that would make it hard for her to walk/shuttle the bike & they had talked about doing the shuttle thing; it's similar to mine. I have the same concerns. I've been talking about rollerblading the route since last year. (It'd be easier for me to walk my blades.) Lake and Byrne love it. Lake said, "Yeah, Skate the Lake (Love it!).

Wouldn't that be great on Mem Day? The "mini" event could include things like that, and be the solution to this issue. I would like to keep TTL "pure" if you will, and "hold it up" as the BIG goal. It's not for everyone, but for more people than think.

Alright, I'm liking the idea of inaugural Lake Skate Memorial Day 2011. I think I could possibly do it "cold" with not too much off season's the hike I'm worried about....but I'll cross that path when I come to it. By LDW I can actually keep up pretty well with some of the bikers....I actually paced myself last summer with some training bikers. :O) It's so strange, Mark the difference I have when I'm on skates. I've heard Michael J. Fox make a similar comment about when he is ice skating that his Parkinson's doesn't bother him and I've heard other the same for similar neuro dysfunctions in motion. Odd. I feel so normal and free when I'm on my skates. I wish I could skate everywhere......

The brain is our strongest muscle, they say?

I need to remember that-ha! I know it weighs the most of any organ.

Can't tell you how often I underestimate myself - TTL has surprised me with me, or something like that. I did not believe I could swim 4 miles for years, until I just said I could.

I think most people would be surprised by their ability to do the swim, although it really is a physical feat. I'll have to tell you a story about my best friend swimming along side me for most of the way sometime.

Allow me the opp to quote myself : / ). During last year's coverage, I wrote: "But before any one person could take their first step on their Personal Endurance Challenges, they first had to come to believe that their own strengths could deliver them past the limits they had once set. That was the biggest step of all, and then the rest was easy." I don't exude much brilliance often, but that there one was a zinger ... Why did your friend swim?

I would discourage giving awards or anything for these - save that for TTL.

Agree. Agree. Maybe a certificate, at most. Maybe make the registration free, X amount with a Tshirt (i.e. pre-sell the Ts)

That's basically what we do with TTL

Yeah, but it'd be cool for you on the planning and cash flow if you could figure out a way to collect some $$ on the front end. What about a paypal button on the Tshirt sale only. It might take a small amount, but maybe worth it to know how many shirts to order. Might not be worth the hassle. (Same deal, with TTL.) Discussing this with Rachel, as long as it has a name unlike TTL, we would worry less about confusion.

Exertion & other safety hazards

it's tricky b/c you're dealing with a spectrum of motivations and lack of motivations and ranges of athletes. Without going into the psychology of the event too much, I remember one year being in the water --2004-- and actually praying that the novice swimmers would have the strength to give up the swim if they needed to because the conditions were incredibly dangerous. (Thank goodness a few did that year.)

Yes, we are dealing with an assortment of challenges. On one hand, we want to zealously promote this, but then, we have to be cautious... Agree. Have time to come up with some inclusive and realistic language/talking points...maybe talk to some physicians and physical therapists at Columbus County Hospitals (a sponsor?) for advice? Include a section on the website; would have to go through their legal, of course. Lots of lead time. Think the Memorial Day discussion "ahead" allows for more creativity.

Last year, I sort of spent August promoting how serious the event was. I think it worked. That's good to hear. ..Sorry to bring this up, but we need to expect some overexertion / injury incidents and be ready to work past them. I agree. This event is not going to be for everyone.

About the only thing we could do to really address this is post a volunteer every quarter mile or less, and that would be a nightmare (about 12 people) unless we find a group, like Friends of LAWA or Boy Scouts. Thing is, cool people who would be up for that would want to participate.

I've thought about the difficulty managing the logistics and agree on all your points. I didn't know if the EMS crew could just go up and down the crowd on golf carts and we could have the dam people keep a look out, as well. Also, we could maybe just better educate the participants themselves (although it's hard to know yourself when you're having a problem) by and through a link on training tips. Heat issues will be more of a problem in the training months, but during the "race" people tend to push themselves more and drink less so it gets heightened then with the push of adrenaline, too.

Sounds like we need a Safety Committee to meet separately. It would need a Chair who is in the health field, is level-headed and can get their head around how to work with "1,000 patients."

Memorial Day mini event

We've always had requests by people to just walk part of the route (and always will!) While we, of course can't stop people from dropping out (wouldn't that be interesting?) we do discourage people from starting unless they intend to and believe the can finish. We're pretty stubborn on that. We want people to commit themselves early, and train for the big day, not just wake up and decide to do this. You're right, it would "dilute" TTL.

It would really need a different name, too, I think... Agree on another name. Memorial Day Lake Splash. Memorial Day Lake Laps. Memorial Day Lake Pace Races (play on Indy/Coca Cola 500 & training). Long training sessions should give you plenty of time to come up with the name. Let me get on my skates and give it some thought. Computer storming isn't my thing. Sorry, nothing's raising my BP here. I would love to get out of the norm with this. Just heard about a footrace called "Crazy Feet." The name doesn't have to spell out what it does - I would just rather it be something people will remember and feel like part of the in-crowd to join. How about "Little Feat" as in the rock band of the 80s. I just checked and they're still active, so that might be an issue. "Little Feats" maybe? Keep stirring those synapses.

Here's the logic behind TTL, from what I can remember. It comes from a military term, (you may already have gathered.) When you "take" a hill or fort, you capture it, you surround it, and it's yours. I didn't realize how well it worked until we were in the heat of a discussion about people wanting to shorten the route (see above) and Eric Brandt said; "It's Take the Lake, not Take Part of the Lake." So, even though it isn't zippy, hip or really catchy, I'm more comfortable with it now than ever.

How about these distances?
Walk / Run / Skate - 1, 3 & 5 12 miles between LAWA visitors center & dam
Bike (no hike) - 5 & 12 miles from the LAWA visitors center
Paddle - About 6 miles between Dale's & Dam
Swim - One mile near Dales.

Event name? Memorial Day Mixer. Memorial Day Mix(ed?) Race. (OOPS! Scratch that. I'm glad I did not say that out loud at a meeting.) Memorial Day - Mix It Up, LAKE WACCAMAW. Still a low pulse. It's too bad Mix and Race do not fit well in an event title name. I like using the "M"s. Well, how about Summer Kickoff, or The Summer Kicker? We have plenty of time... Mmmmm.....I think Mixed Raced is just about as bad, Mark. I actually kind of liked "The Summer Kicker." Oh well... *< )

Extended Schedule to introduce new events

2010 Labor Day - TTL & TTL Extreme (Pilot)

2011 Memorial Day - Mini events (Pilot)
Labor Day - TTL & TTL-X (Full)

2012 Memorial Day - Mini Events (Full)
July 4 - Swamp Fox (Pilot)
Labor Day - TTL & TTL-X (Full)

2013 Memorial Day - Mini Events (Full)
July 4 - Swamp Fox (Full)
Labor Day - TTL & TTL-X (Full)

Waccamaw River Race

The extended paddle race concept is catching on around the country. Mike Shaw at the Ext. Srvc. tells me about a race in Missouri about 100-150 miles long that started just a few years ago and is now turning away participants at some 300.

So, we're working on something from Lake Waccamaw to the ocean. It's about 130 miles or so. I think the way to do it is to actually make it three races over three days. We would have official starts and finish lines and we would add up the times for each leg. People would camp out each night, and we would forward their gear by truck. Or at least that's how we figured it so far.

There's just something neat about going all the way from the Lake to the ocean. As Ray Wyche commented; "It's where the whole Atlantic Ocean gets its water - from Lake Waccamaw!"

The first stretch is winding and challenging with obstacles, while the last third or more is wide-open river and bay. We'd moor a boat out at the official ocean line for the final finish.

We thought of starting at the dam, but a better idea is to start at Big Creek, especially if we get several dozen (or hundred) boats, so they can spread out before they get on the narrow river.

We haven't come up with a name yet, but are working with the "Waccamaw Slide."

Tom thinks the event sounds great, but he said no way was he spending three of his precious days off paddling down those snake-infested waters.

Ashleigh, I need to look at that calendar again. I think the early spring or fall would be best, as your husband is right - snakes are an issue. Too bad, because the river is so much more beautiful in the summer.

In the year 2010, I don't think it's as much of an adventure as it used to be. They cleared the NC part of the river right out a few years ago, pulling large trees out of there and everything - we cruised through in small boats. But already, it is filling up with obstacles. I've got two years to work on him.

The extended paddle sounds awesome. Are you talking about negotiating the Waccamaw River all the way to the Atlantic? YUP. If you are I am so jealous! I wanna go. It's always, always been my dream. I'm up for a Waccamaw "Float", as I'm not in race shape, but I'd be happy to be the 2nd man on a slow-paced personal endurance challenge. I've been infatuated with the Waccamaw River since I was a wee tot. I've studied the route very well and have even been to the part of the Waccamaw in SC where it is wide. Not having to tote gear would make the trip a lot easier for sure; I might be able to talk my husband into this. :O)

Are you ready to paddle 30-40 miles / day? Maybe you could be the third person on a canoe? The thought of traveling the route in a small skiff with a 5hp is appealing. Someone just told me about a "relay" race, where each team would have a dozen paddlers, and they each paddle a leg. But that takes the fun out of paddling the entire river...

As for the start, you could do a scattered shotgun start (by lottery) b/c you're going to keep track of start times by leg. Put the fastest people in front? Big Creek might be the easiest. But there is something so romantic about starting out at the dam. Help me out here, is it the symbolic start of the Waccamaw? It does seem a bit neater package, unless you think of Big Creek as the origin. For that matter, Dale's would be more public and "fun." Might want to try it the first year, especially if you don't have too too many participants.

I like the "Waccamaw Slide" idea. The only other thing that pops to mind is that maybe there is some naming potential with the "Swamp Fox" character from the Revolutionary War. I like this! - This I like! And it seems to me that I've heard some lore that the Waccamaw River (that crooked first leg portion) was unnavigable in one of the colonial war campaigns; I can't remember if it was relative to the Swamp Fox or not. The Swamp Fox Run, or The Swamp Fox 130...

Also, the Waccamaw Depot museum has an awesome old map of the would neat for a tshirt back art. It depicts the area, at least the lake and most of that first river section and it's termed "The Savage" 'Tract'. Good branding op. We have the Savages, the Rice Run and the Bay.

The whole event sounds promising. When are you thinking about launching it? Whenever I can muster up enough enthusiasm in someone to take the reins. We have plenty of time (see schedule below) but there are other parties possibly interested, like the Waccamaw River Keeper, maybe Conway tourism, etc. See above comment about a LWP&R..

Hospitality Houses

Something that may help your "Triangle" efforts would be a hospitality house on the lake. If we could find someone on the lake who is connected with the Y or even one with GOPC, then that person could set up their house as a stopping place. I WAS THINKING SOMETHING ALONG THESE SAME LINES -- just not to the detail. I LOVE IT! By the way, I'm already running one at 2767 Waccamaw Shores Road....little does my Granddaddy know. :O) Might have to haul his camper back, too, for the weekend (little does my husband know -- oh boy he'd kill me. Don't want to cause trouble here... :) ) Don't know if I've discussed this with you, but here are thoughts on
The TTL Hosp. House Concept:
- Much like what you see at major golf tournaments, in a way.
- Out front, they would have "cheer" posters supporting the walkers and cyclists.
- They would have a table with water and whatever for participants.
- Hang the company / Organization banners out front.
- Out back, they could have a cookout for their employees, groups, etc. or campout ? :O)
- Their people would now have a central place to be, and hang out, and maybe even crash, (tents in the backyard, ha! on the beach? On the pier? always been my dream -- they can have my bed! In the boat?)
- I would like to see this take on a life of its own, and it could be a major attraction of TTL
- It would mostly be for the Sat. AM walk and the Sun PM cycle. (Maybe for the paddle, and somewhat for the swim.)
- It's a long shot to find someone connected to the Y or GOPC, but A: Plenty of Triangle people have houses here, and B: Rental units available! Brownie Cook would love me. :O) I'll talk to him. Would be great to talk the Y into renting a house for training week(s), too. There might be $$ for it.
- I think these are what may keep people coming back year after year. NSCU swim team used to swim...until the years gators started showing up. That wasn't the reason, but it was parallel. Didn't know that was why they quit - chickens! Let's bring them back.
- Possible groups (outside the county)
- UNC Alumni
- NC State Alumni
- Duke, Wake Forest, etc.
- State Museum system

Out-of-County Statewide Promotion

Why promote out-of-county?
1. Tourism - No explanation needed?
2. Motivation - If you work out in an empty gym, are you as easily motivated as when the place is packed with people working out? I would like Columbus Countians to see people from around the region coming here to Take the Lake. That's hard to ignore and will motivate us to participate.
3. Pride - We have been told recently that we are the least healthy county in North Carolina. We have, for generations, been told we are poor and helpless people, and we are very good at asking for handouts and waiting for the world to come help us. So, let us host an event that will help others. I want to see hundreds of people come here from Raleigh, Wilmington, SC - wherever - and say "you guys have an awesome lake, event, county, etc.!" If we start seeing people admiring us, it can change our attitudes about ourselves.

Materials @ Alexander YMCARaleigh(Hillsborough St.)
LARGE FITNESS ROOM: Brochures - 30, Cards - 15
YOGA: 4, 5
BIKE: 6, 15

4 Personal Endurance Challenges
Join in one or all four....
September 4-6, 2010
LAKEWACCAMAW, NC(125 miles SE of the Triangle)
WALK/RUN 15 miles SAT 8 am
PADDLE 14 milesSUN 8 am
BIKE & HIKE 15 milesSUN 2 pm
SWIM 4 milesMON 8 am
It's not a's an opportunity for your health!

It would be great to do small ads, but be careful that you don't hit too many market with a small ad that gets lost. Almost better to pick one or two (likely) markets and have a small ad that runs for enough of a frequency to make an impact. It's a commitment for anyone, especially for an out-of-towner. But it could really pay off with an over-night stay.

Because resources are always limited, esp. time low-hanging fruit is definitely a priority. (You're right. The business journal angle isn't low-hanging. It could have a broad reach and an easy formula. But we have no one easy as of yet to plug in, so it's not low hanging. So let it hang and ripen for a year, or three.)

The only low-hanging fruit might be at the Sandhills Business Journal. I might have an in there. The publisher is very good to work with editorially; however, it might have been b/c I repp'ed the pr and advertising for a major bank. :O) If you look at your roster and notice a past participant from the Sandhills that might be notable biz man/woman, we might want to contact them to see if we could profile them and pitch the story through that paper.

As for dailies, that also maybe the best angle to get a story --- match-up TTL trainees with their local media for a in-training profile. Would recommend doing a combination of past participants returning (i.e. dependables) and newcomers with a compelling story. You might even contact some past participants to see if they will be participating and if we could follow them (if they are not signed up yet). (B/w the two of us we have a lot of participants on film and can scout their bib #s and track them down.)

You are right it would be great to reach the Y's in a single shot. Maybe they have such a coordinator for member info. My contact is out of the office until May 26. It's either going to be really easy or really hard. I'm sure a lot of folks would like to reach the Ys. It might be possible to reach them (w/ a fee? to cover mailing or intra-office pony express service). Or maybe they have a central mailing list that they can provide. I'm just dealing with the Group Fitness Director of one branch of the Raleigh Ys. There is such a hierarchy. I can't even keep the Raleigh leadership straight.

Does Grant Eggley have a lot of experience in getting the word out for runs? I'll ask my Dad about how he's done it in other cities. Usually there's a communication clearinghouse circuit amongst the 5K/10K crowd. Tapping into that network would be critical.

You're right. The phone call pre-call and/or follow-up can be a real suck-up but it makes the biggest difference in terms of results. You need an intern!!!! Or Eagle Scout.

Maybe next year you could add a street team icon on the website. A lot of bands, special events folks use this tactic. You tend not to directly recruit street team members. It's kind of a fringe level technique. Or....Lake might be able to coordinate something like this for you on Facebook and/or the website.

My only contact at OUR STATE are in home furnishings & are so rusty. Undoubtedly you have way more editorial contacts and pull, but I'll keep pulling pubs and culling calendars for you. Even if you just get posted on the calendars this year that's something for building name recognition.

And seriously, I was NOT fishing for a Tshirt. My husband is Tshirt person; me not so much. He has a 2009 Tshirt and he loves it. I actually wear a Youth XL, usually an adult small and even an XS is too long, and I don't like the tuck in. :O) If you have extra 2009s, maybe I'll try a S and hem it, or something....

Thus begins 2010

... or ends it, depending on how you look at it. Everything below here is old stuff, from 2009, so you can pretty well ignore it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Team Posters

The team posters have been ordered and should be ready in a few weeks. The top portion of the poster appears below.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Thank you, McNeill family!

click on the letter for a larger version you can read.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

First official meeting of the Take the Lake Society!

Well, what an exciting evening we had at the Lake Waccamaw Depot on Tuesday, Sept. 16!

There were about a dozen people there, and everyone had excellent ideas for the future of this event.

First, Mark (that's me) showed a slide show of photographs he took during the four events over Labor Day weekend. Then he gave a presentation all about his motivation for this event and some ideas.

Here's the video (on YouTube) shown below.

Major topics of discussion:
- Most everyone agreed that a vital element of this event is that we either circumnavigate or cross the lake, and that, in the bicycle event, pushing the bikes through the park is a feasible idea.

- Walter Palmer suggested we host a similar and smaller event on Memorial Day weekend, all in one day, with a 1-mile swim, for example, as a warm-up, or tryout, or whatever, to motivate, inspire and encourage people to try the Labor Day event.

- It was informally decided that this, like any large event these days, will need an official t-shirt.

- We will look into event insurance.

- Eric Brandt noted that the URL is already taken.

- On entry fees:
- Will charging a fee increase our insurance premium?
- Charging a fee helps participants commit to the event
- Fees would help pay for t-shirts, insurance and operations expenses.

- Discussion led to medals (Colliers Jewelers has donated medals for swimmers for decades). John McNeill announced that his family has decided to donate medals for all participants for as long as possible. A brief discussion entertained various medal concepts.

- Julie Stocks suggested forming committees. A few suggestions:
- Each of the four events
- Overall marketing and promotion
- Volunteers
- Medal design
- Safety

- To announce this event we could, in the spring, hold a Saturday morning walk through the park trail, beginning at the park and shuttling people back from the dam in vans. We could stop at the beach for a catered (ostentatiously?) lunch, with tables, chairs and a small band brought in by boat. Invitees would be business, health, government and education leaders in the county.

- Mark asked about the name Take the Lake and everyone seemed to like it. No one had suggestions for anything else.

- Mark announced a $500 grant from Healthy Carolinians and about $1,300 in the Dropaton account that could be used on this project.

- Forgive me if I left anyone or anything out - I'm doing this from memory. Please feel free to leave a comment. (I don't believe you have to register.) Let's make this a public forum!

UPDATE  ---- Since the meeting...
 - I have purchased the domain name:, so we can move forward with that. I will keep this blog, but the .org URL will be easier to direct people to.

 - I have looked into two insurance companies and have received one quote (from Western Heritage). There are many factors that I may not have right, but the quote was under $300 for 100 participants over three days. 

Next meeting: 
Tues., Oct. 14, 7 p.m. 
at the Depot

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Did you ride in the Take the Lake bicycle event?

Please help us understand the viability of this ride, including the trek through the state park.
Click Here to take survey

MEETING to plan for next year

When: Tuesday, Sept. 16, 7 p.m.
Where: Waccamaw Depot Museum

Some topics:
 - What went right this year
 - What went wrong this year
 - How to improve each event
 - What's with this bikes in the woods thing?
 - Routes (start and end points)
 - Schedule (4 days? 3 days? 2 days? 1 day?)
 - One-day triathlon? Maybe a different time of year?
 - Safety
 - Will someone other than Mark organize the paddle or bike?
 - Entry fees?
 - Liability and insurance

Please don't think that, if you come to this meeting, you are committing yourself to be on a committee to organize this event. As a participant of this year's event, we need your input, so stop by and offer up some advice and go about your busy life!

I will probably start with a presentation of my dreams and ideas and we can go from there.

Yours, at looking toward a bright future,

Mark Gilchrist 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

DONE! (OK, let's start on next year...)

(Click the page at right for the full story)

Wow, what a beautiful weekend! The weather was perfect and everyone appeared to have a great time.

I, however, had an ordeal getting through this thing, but boy, did I enjoy it.

Walter Palmer, Dawn McMillan of Ocean Isle and I left the Wildlife boat ramp on Friday afternoon about four. Dawn's little kayak couldn't get her around the lake in time, so she turned around at the park, leaving Walter and I to fend for ourselves. We made it around the lake and up to the McNeill's pier in time to score some scraps from the Friday Fish Fry and then we paddled the next hour in one of the darkest, starry-est, prettiest nights ever.

Nearly 40 walkers left the state park visitors center Saturday morning, with about half heading north and half, south. We're trying to understand which route is the best; to suffer the hot sun on Bella Coola at the end of the trip, or trip over the trail at the end. Organizer Grant Egley says he'll probably just let people go either way every year.

I discovered on the walk that there are essentially two trails one can take. From the dam, stay along the shoreline and cross both of the park piers (five miles.) If you have a bicycle, just get off the walking trail at the campground and hike to the swimming pier parking lot (three miles.)

Now I think I know why people have looked at me like I'm crazy when I've talked about walking bikes along the trail (Insert joke here). They perhaps have only walked the five-mile hiking trail and did not take the two-mile shortcut. Also, by taking the shortcut, you miss the trails that are the most hilly and difficult terrain.

I'm not crazy, honest!

About two dozen cyclists of all ages turned up on Sunday for the bike ride, which left the Wildlife boat ramp and the campground near the sailing club at about 10 a.m. They broke into two groups with the faster adults going on ahead and the families with young children and grandparents following up the rear in the casual, party group.

Monday's swim went like clockwork, with the group beginning on the north shore and swimming to the dam. Two children, Samantha Lane and Andrew Powell, both 10, finished the four-mile journey.

Russell Smith is helping develop a one-day event. Here is what he did:
 - 6:15 a.m. - Bicycled from park entrance to dam (12 miles - 1 hour)
 - 8:30 a.m. - Swam from Dale's to dam (4 miles - 2 hrs., 42 min)
 - Noon? - Walked from dam to park entrance (12 miles - 3 hrs., 21 min)
 - 5 p.m. - Kayaked from Dale's to the dam (4 miles - 1 hour)
Thanks Russell. We're going to look at the possibility of maybe holding several events in one day, either on Labor Day or as a one-day event in itself.

For more details, get a sneak-peek at the full-page spread in Thursday's The News Reporter. Click on the image at right.

We have a lot of work to do, with the most challenging task of figuring out a schedule for an event like this. Do we make it a four-day event, or cram it all (shorter routes) into one day? Do we do both?

What do we do with the bicycle ride? The two challenges are crossing the dam and keeping people from riding on the trails. Let's try to meet at the Lake Waccamaw Depot Museum at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 16. Please email me if you can make it.

Yours, at 14 miles paddle, 17 miles walk, 17 miles bike and 4 miles swim!

Mark Gilchrist

Sunday, August 31, 2008

3 down, one to go...

Well, I completed the third leg of the Waccamaw quad-crown today and was most pleased.

The kayak paddle (14 miles) was beautiful - I'll fill you in later.

The walk Saturday was nice, but tough.

Today, nearly 30 people showed up for the ride and we had a wonderful time!

I have to get some rest for the swim tomorrow. Thanks to everybody who has participated!

Yours, at near death,


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is it too late to back...

Is Labor Day really this weekend? Am I really going to walk/bike/paddle/swim Lake Waccamaw? Did I really brag (endlessly) about how I am going to put other people to shame? Did I really have to brag so loudly?

Can I just crawl back under my rock and forget everything?

No? OK, Mark, take some deep breaths and relax...

We have work to do. Here are the latest details.

- First, I have heard some very positive comments about how important an event like this can be for the lake and county, so I want you all to know that we are really on to something big, here, and that your participation is a vital part of a grassroots effort to develop a more healthy and exciting Columbus County.

- The schedule is pretty solid. Of the four events, the swim and walk are set, but the bike and paddle start times and locations wiggled around a bit. Here they are (as printed on the yellow card.)
- Bike - We'll leave the Wildlife boat ramp at about 9:30 and roll down to the campground where they should be finishing up with church. Meet at the ramp or attend "Campground Church" - your choice.
- Paddle - Walter and I will be at the Wildlife landing at 4 p.m. Friday. Our original plan was to just paddle the swim route back and forth, for 6-8 miles, but then we got carried away and started dreaming about paddling the whole darned lake. We're thinking now that might not be such a good idea only a few days before the swim, so we'll probably just stick to the west shore - we'll decide on Friday. Everyone is, of course, welcome to do as they please and I'd love to see some people paddle around the lake.

- Remember, we don't all have to do this together. If you can't make it this weekend, just walk/bike/paddle/swim the lake some time. This year, it's all about researching the idea for development.

- We need to get together for an initial discussion about the future of this event. I'm going to suggest this date:
SEPT. 9 (TUES) at 7 p.m at the Lake Depot Museum
I'll ask everyone at each event (please remind me) and get some kind of consensus. We could meet at Dale's or the State Park (during business hours, I presume)

- Any tips? Walter says a few bananas before the swim will help stop cramping. I don't know - I've fallen for some good ones before, and you know how those attorneys can be. I'm going to eat pretty light this weekend.

- We'll have to have a "personal Takethelake trainer" page or blog for next year.

- I'm bringing a GPS to track my routes for future reference (and for proof!) I guess it'll look pretty boring - look, a circle... - but hey, that's my circle, and I walked it, and cycled it!

Yours at 71 beats per minute resting pulse

Mark Gilchrist

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Well, here's the latest art for this project, as we develop the concept of the bike ride.

Thing is, if you give someone a bicycle, they'll want to ride it. But we need to change our perspective when we get to the dam. People will naturally want to ride their bike along the 3 miles of trails, and that just won't work. The state park can not have hundreds of people riding bikes along that trail - it just doesn't meet the standards set up by the state.

I know, we're not hundreds of people. In fact, we may only be a dozen or so. But we are designing this event so that hundreds of people may enjoy it in the future. Besides, when you ride a bike along a narrow trail, you spend most of your time staring at the dirt in front of you, and the scenery along this trail - right along the water - is too beautiful to miss. So let's walk the walk, shall we?

Yours at 1 mph swim, 3 mph walk, 5 mph paddle & 12 mph bike,


Monday, August 18, 2008

The bike ride is no walk in the park

Click image for a (slightly) larger version

Well, it includes a long walk in the park, (3 miles) and a beautiful one. Lake Waccamaw Police Chief Scott Hyatt and I rode bikes around the lake Friday (Aug. 15).

It took us only two hours. We rode the road part pretty casually, but tried the trail faster than you would if you leisurely walked the whole way. It really is pretty, as you hug the shore of the lake most of the way. We could have stopped at one of the many small beaches along the way, and we met a boater who had stopped for the scenery.

We rode counterclockwise, so we approached the trail on the dam side. The water level is still very low and crossing the dam was "no dam problem." The first mile or so has a lot of roots, the second has packed forest bottom and the third is sandy and camping trails. It's not a big deal - you could walk it in an hour or less, even with your bike - but it is important to have the right mindset at the outset so you won't be upset, or feel like you were set up.

Think of it as a 14-mile bike ride and a 3-mile walk.

That being said, I wouldn't really recommend it for young children. But, this is one of the things we need to comprehend during this trial year, and I can use everyone's help with input.

Yours at 92 mg/dl FPG blood sugar

Mark Gilchrist

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two weeks out...

There's only about two weeks left to get in shape -- I'm doing my part by watching the athletes in the Olympics, on my couch, milkshake and Oreos ready...

I just want to say that I'm very excited about this project and how everybody is coming together to support it. Julie Stocks says the swim group is pleased to have other groups on the lake that weekend, and Grant Egley with the walkers is enthused, too. I have heard talk of another group considering taking over organization of the paddle - wow!

I've been trying to make these events fit into everybody's schedules and that just won't work easily. Remember, this year, it's all about just getting out there and trying out the events to see how they will work, and we don't necessarily need to do them together (except for the swim.)

If you can't paddle with us on Friday afternoon, walk with us on Saturday morning or bike with us on Sunday, then go when you can. If that weekend is totally out for you, then go the weekend before or after the event - whenever. Just keep in touch so you can give us feedback.

After the events ( September 9th?) we should all get together for a postmortem / planning session so we can make this an exciting, healthful and popular event in the coming years!

I have printed several hundred helpful little cards that you can hand out to people interested in this event. Call me or stop by my office (at The News Reporter) to pick some up.

Yours, at 90 LDL and 45 HDL

Mark Gilchrist

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Updated schedule

Here is the latest schedule that I am planning to follow. The swim and walk are set, and I'm pretty comfortable with the ride. (UPDATE Aug. 12: I will be kayaking with Walter Palmer from his parents place Friday afternoon. We haven't set a time yet. Call me if you're interested.)

FRIDAY (PADDLE) - In the late afternoon or evening. I'm borrowing a kayak from a private home on the west shore and plan to paddle to Dale's or the dam or both. I'm doing this today to give my arms three days of rest before the swim.

Want to paddle with me Friday? That would be great! Contact me at (910) 207-1920. If anyone would like to paddle other days, feel free. Please let us know how it goes. I'd like to know what it's like to paddle around the entire lake, (about 15 miles.)

SATURDAY (WALK) - Grant Egley's group leaves the State Park visitor's center at 8 a.m. Plan to walk "clockwise" so you will walk the trail and the dam first. Actually, I understand there will be two groups, walking both ways to determine the best and easiest route. Contact Grant Egley at 646-4851 if you would like any more information.

SUNDAY (RIDE) - If you'd like to pray before you ride, the "Campground Church" begins at 9 a.m. A group will meet at the Wildlife boat ramp and wander down to the campground around 8:30 or so. If they finish church early, they'll wander up to us. We'll bike in a "counter clockwise" direction to get the dam and trail out of the way first. Very important NOTE: We will walk our bikes on the 3 mile trail through the park. This trail can be sandy and uneven. It will be a challenge.

MONDAY (SWIM) - The swimming group will meet at the dam at 7:30 a.m. You must have an escort, preferably in a non-motorized or electric-motor boat. Contact Julie Stocks at 641-1071 if you would like any more information.

Yours, at 22.2% body fat and 25.3 BMI

Mark Gilchrist

Monday, August 4, 2008

The First of September is coming right up, which means I'm about to pay dearly for all that bragging I have done on my behalf and all the smack-talk I've sent your way.

Look, I was just out of my mind to think I could do this. What, swim 4 miles? Walk and bicycle 17 miles? It's the medication! Honest, I'm taking eye drops and, and you're not supposed to mix those with cough syrup - it makes you loopy!

I'm even lining up some fine excuses. Listen to these:
- Went to the doctor today and he said I have "pre-dislocation syndrome" in my left foot. Man, that sounds serious! But I'm going to walk the 17 miles anyway. Heck, it's not like it's "dislocation syndrome" -- I still have the "pre" left!
- My knee has been acting up a bit lately, and...
- I can hear the joint in my right shoulder as I swim -- it's from that old motorcycle wreck...

So, there you go, I've covered all the excuse bases -- let's hear yours?

You can participate in one, two or all four events. Don't feel like a complete, lame, weakling sissy if you complete fewer events than I do. (Oh, boy, there I go again.)

This is not a race, so you can stop bragging about how you'll "beat" me. Besides,what are the chances?

Remember, don't expect big crowds at these events, as this is the year that just a few select people (you) participate to see if making this a large event is feasible. This is not an officially organized event, so think of it like your own personal outing and prepare accordingly -- we're pioneers, here!

(UPDATE Aug. 12: I do have an escort) I don't have an escort lined up for my swim, so if you or a friend has a kayak or canoe and you think you can paddle very, very slow for four hours, and if you can stand to watch a grown man struggle and flounder and founder and flail and wail and weep pitifully while he swallows half the lake, then give me a call! (910)207-1920. Or email me back.

Saturday Walk - Start at the state park visitor's center at 8 a.m. Any questions? Contact Grant Egley, at 646-4851.

Sunday Ride and paddle - (UPDATE Aug. 12: see above for correct times on bike and paddle). Remember, the paddle part is either just across the lake, on the same path as the swim (4 miles) or around the entire lake (15 miles.)

Monday Swim - This is the most organized of the events, as this group has been doing this for decades. They will start out either at Johnny's pier or the dam -- whichever is best for the swimmers given the prevailing winds. We'll meet at the dam at 7:30 a.m. You'll need your own escort boat, which can be either a powerboat or paddle-boat.

Yours at 125-over-78 B.P.

Mark Gilchrist

Friday, May 16, 2008

Spring is in the air, and it's time to...

Get moving!

Welcome to the Summer of Love, Yourself...


Dear Lard-Butt,

I had actually considered making this blog a real screamer. You know, the Army drill sergeant bellowing at the recruit to move his lazy tail, and shouting, and insulting, and demeaning - that sort of thing. But, I figure you get enough of that at home.

The idea was to browbeat and intimidate you into exercising and making something of yourself. But being a sensitive and professional gentleman, I refuse to stoop to those standards. (Knowing me as you do, I am sure you find this as no surprise.)

Besides, you already know that you are a pathetic, indolent, sorry disgrace to your gene pool - why should I remind you?

So, keep your chins up, your love handles soft and cushy, and your fat rear on the fat sofa as I remind you about the "Take the Lake" tour this Labor Day weekend!

If you are reading this, it's because of one of the following reasons:

A. - I sized you up as an excellent speciman of the human form who could easily meet the challenge I am about to issue.

B. - I saw you as so feeble and frail that you might actually make me look good as I drag my sorry butt around, over and around this darn lake (Waccamaw.)

C. - Your wife gave me twenty bucks to get you in some kind of decent shape, because, as she has said over and over "the milkman ain't come around in years!"

In case you don't remember our brief discussion about this event, here are the notes:

- The first year, 2008, will be a "trial run" with only a few of us.
- We'd like to walk around the lake, and paddle and swim across.
- (UPDATE Aug. 12: we will bike the lake) We wanted to bike the lake, but getting through the state park at this time just won't work.
- You're welcome to bike the lake and stop at the park.
- You can participate in one or all events.
- That means you can just walk around the lake, if you like.
... or bicycle, or roller-skate around (most of) the lake.
... or swim across the lake.
... or paddle across the lake.
- This will not be a race.
- The event will be on Labor Day weekend, with one event each day.
- We might walk on Saturday, paddle on Sunday and swim on Monday.
- A small group already swims the lake on Monday and we plan to join them.
- That group has rules (each swimmer needs an escort craft.)
- Another group already walks the lake, so let's join them.
- If this works, we hope to turn it into a large event for the county
- Our county could sure use such a healthful event.
- There will be no registration fee in 2008
- There won't be any prizes either, just the bliss you will experience as you achieve what everyone who knows you believes that you will utterly fail at.

Here are approximate distances (This is from memory - Google-Earth it yourself, OK?)
- Swim across is 2-4 miles, depending on wind, between the dam and the McNeill pier.
- Paddle could be the same as swim, but -- go ahead, Show-off -- paddle around the whole lake.
- Walk is 17 miles.

So, that's what you're in for. These are all very reasonable challenges for any human in average shape (not you) so consider the public humiliation if you back out. (Time to schedule that Chernobyl vacation for Labor Day!)
I say "reasonable" challenge, with an emphasis on challenge. Most likely, you will need to train for this, and in the next few months, I will remind you and give you some guidelines. If you have any sense, you won't trust me, so consult someone who actually knows something about exercise.

Oh, yes. Since this is just a casual test run for the event, you don't really have to do it on that weekend. You'll probably want to swim on Labor Day because they set up bouys and you might be safer then, but feel free to walk or paddle the lake any other time. Just let me know how it goes.

No lying, please. Exaggerations are allowed, but let's have some pride, folks!

Check back here often for more inspiring and kind words! Thanks for joining us, and welcome to the Summer of Love, Yourself.

Yours, at 6-feet, 188 pounds,

Mark Gilchrist