Welcome to my blog which focuses on my life in Taiwan.
(Photo: Cheng Ching Lake (澄清湖), Kaohsiung)
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
5,150 meters and "Chase Your Dreams"
View of Gu Shan from the Love River, Kaohsiung. I just love looking at the symmetrical relationship between the actual mountain itself and its reflection in the still water.
Today I made an effort to start swimming a little earlier as I will have to miss the next two mornings of swimming as I travel in Taiwan. So I got started at 6:10 am, and by 7:53 am I had completed 5,000 meters, all freestyle, and mostly relaxed swimming except when I occasionally "burned" by someone when passing. I did not try to do anything particularly hard. Once or twice when passing someone, the extra surge in energy and effort made me feel my right shoulder and triceps a little and so I mainly concentrated on swimming smoothly. While at times I was joined by slower swimmers at other times I had to maintain a pretty good pace just to fend off a reasonably good (and perhaps fresher) swimmer. So there was a certain amount of variety. I was not just on my own. After a couple of minutes break, I raced three other guys over 100m. I did about 1m 3os, coming in second behind my friend who went about 1m 26s. I guess I did not feel very strong on the swim, my arms feeling a little tired. 50 meters more of easy swimming brought me up to 5,150 meters. My former coach in Hawai'i, let us call him "Steve-O", was training at the pool there a few years ago for the Masters' world championship 100 & 200 fly and freestyle. I noticed he would do a lot of steady freestyle swimming, as a kind of conditioning as it were. Then, near the end of the workout, he would rest a little, and then a friend would time him on a few all-out sprints, or else friends (who were also very accomplished swimmers) would race him over these short distances. So I guess the slowish steady swimming is all helpful and, at least for people like me, there are no short cuts to getting faster. Macca has a slogan on his website that reads "Chase Your Dreams". While it is easy for someone like me to think that such a statement only applies to world changers like him or Bree, I think it is well worth anyone spending time to think about. For me, it is not just about entering and finishing an Ironman race. Of course, doing well in a race of some kind is an important goal for me. However, being able to make a living for me and my family doing something I generally enjoy and also having the chance to combine interests (like learning an East Asian language and getting healthy exercise and seeing beautiful scenery all at the same time) are also worthy goals. It is not a matter of waiting until I retire to do things. In fact, I will never really retire, and I don't want to either. So I am now in a kind of state of semi-retirement, keeping busy doing things productive and that I like, and trying not to let my life be run by other things, be they jobs, volunteerism, training schedules, or debts. With the necessary travel over the next three days, I will have less time to train, but perhaps a little more time to reflect, even though the nature of my work means that I can get on with it even when waiting at a bus stop or train station. Certainly, to "Chase Your Dreams" is important for all of us and I thank Macca for blazing the trail and giving me the inspiration. "Have bike, Will travel." Don't wait for that US$6,000 bike. Just use whatever you have, and start biking and enjoying the outdoors.
I was born and grew up in the south-east of England, and as a child was a keen golfer. During my first year at university as an economics student, I became very drawn to Asian students and their respective countries. This led to further studies in the economics of developing countries and later the study of the Chinese language in Taiwan. In 1985 I married Hsiu-chin, and while we made Taiwan our home, we also lived for several years in Hawaii. It was there that I took up triathlon, completed the Hawaii Ironman in 2004 and took part in many smaller races. While I have gained much experience as a translator of Chinese, over the years I have developed a passion for other East Asian languages and cultures, including, but not limited to, Thai and Japanese, as well as other Chinese dialects. We currently reside in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, where I continue with language learning and triathlon training.