Welcome to my blog which focuses on my life in Taiwan.
(Photo: Cheng Ching Lake (澄清湖), Kaohsiung)
Monday, May 5, 2008
More Swimming & Recollections of St. Croix
This MRT (mass rapid transit) station is a 10-minute cycle ride from our home on flat roads. It was only opened less than a couple of months ago. The bike can be locked outside (for free) and it is seven stops to get to Costco (which is about a 5-min walk away from the MRT), or one stop to the HSR (high-speed rail) if you want to take the Shinkansen at 298 kph to Taipei. The name of the station "Ecological District" is hopefully part of a plan to make this part of the city more beautiful and to encourage people to live healthy lives.
Yesterday (Monday) was my day off, and after all the euphoria of following the live radio broadcast from St. Croix on Sunday evening (Taiwan time), I just got on with my work, and only went out for about 30 mins leisurely biking just before sundown.
I felt a little tired this (Tuesday) morning but got up and biked fairly quickly to the pool, as in spite of all that, I only entered the water at 6:20am. I felt a little wooden and sluggish, and basically mostly just swam non-stop. Visibility was not very good (the lights were off, but it was cloudy outside and the pool seemed rather murky), and so I had to look pretty carefully just to avoid the possibility of a collision with another swimmer. Fortunately, from about the 3,000m mark on, I was left with a reasonably good swimmer sharing the lane, which made navigation a lot easier.
At 7:55am, my two friends challenged me to 100m. I wasn't too keen as I thought they would beat me easily today. However, I took off down the first stretch pretty fast, but held my slower, longish stroke most of the way, and despite just pushing off at the turns, no one really challenged me. So it felt good at least to beat that other guy for the first time. A subsequent 50m, though, left me over a length behind my friend, who obviously must be relatively good over short distances. My pace was slower I think than the first 50m of the previous 100m. I wasn't tired, but I just tried to push it and I became inefficient.
After I got changed having finished swimming (today I recorded 4,250 meters), I drank a small can of "Ensure", a kind of condensed milk drink with some carbs but a lot of calories. It may not be the best thing for me, but I am at least trying to eat more. I then rode a fairly easy 30-40 minutes along various quiet lanes on both sides of the freeway. They are good for an MTB, plenty of small inclines and twists and turns, and a fair amount of debris on the road (I realized I had a slowish flat tire close to reaching home). I wish Maui was closer to home (for the X-terra).
Following the St. Croix race was a real treat with their radio updates (I wish the same could be said for the Wildflower), and especially that at first they were only talking about the famous pros with their funny colored swim caps, but then at some point they suddenly mentioned "Bree Wee". Who is Bree Wee? Later, when she had not died of exhaustion due to going out too fast, but was still in the lead pack of bikers, they commentators did their homework and found out she had broken the amateur Hawaii Ironman course record last year. However, I somehow do not think they could have envisaged a rookie lasting throughout the race, and who would, since Felicity started to burn out on the run, and when they confused Bree's number with that of what would have been a suddenly back-to-life Julie Dibens, I even had my doubts myself. It was the same at the Ironman last year. At first it was all Michellie and Natasha, but after they started getting into difficulty, eventually it was some unknown "Chrissy" who was too far out in front to last. However, she actually further extended her lead. I guess I'm a little partial towards people from the UK. (I wish Julie the best next time.)
It is a lot of fun to win something. Obviously, it is often more fun to race against the little fish (and beat them) than to race against the big fish and just go for your own personal time. I must confess that, after my "victory" today, I conjured up some evil thoughts of beating some people back in Kona. Well, I guess if I continue to improve, the chances of my beating some of them will increase, although I just want to concentrate on beating my personal best and not someone else's.
So besides the swimming and biking today, my training during the rest of the day will include consistent eating. I ate some potatoes last night and did not feel so hungry as in previous days at the end of my swim. I hope one day I can be a real swimmer/triathlete.
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.