Welcome to my blog which focuses on my life in Taiwan.
(Photo: Cheng Ching Lake (澄清湖), Kaohsiung)
Thursday, May 1, 2008
A More Tired 4,050 Meters & Goal Setting
The huge artificial mountain across the freeway is the trash incinerator where much of the city of Kaohsiung's trash gets burned. It is just across the busy freeway from the swimming pool, and is the reason why the pool is almost free to nearby residents. The thought of a big incinerator is not so nice, but what would happen if we did not have it? Would garbage just pile up by the roadside?
Today, I got in the water at 6:30 which left me an hour and a half before the pool closed. I basically just swam and swam and had very few rests, although at one point I did some 50s on one minute, although I barely made the send-offs. While I felt I swam OK, I was somewhat lethargic, and did not really have any speed, and my stroke felt a little sluggish. However, it was still 4,050 meters and nearly all freestyle. Maybe one should expect to get tired swimming 12k in just three days, at least at my age. With my fellow blogging friends aiming to win international professional triathlon competitions, I thought about my own goals. What should I try to achieve, and how should I get there? My goal is to be able to swim the Peaman 1/2 mile swim in a race in under 15 minutes, and/or to swim the King's Swim distance (1.2 miles) at Kailua pier in under 30 minutes. A few years back, my best times were 15m 19s (in a Peaman race) and 31m 05s in the Peaman Post-Pigout Plunge, which was effectively the same distance as the King's Swim. To cut a long story short and without going into the mathematical calculations here, to be capable of these desired times, I need to be able to get my 400m pool swim time down from the current 7 minutes flat to 6 minutes flat. This is based on my times in the pool in Kona versus my concurrent times in the ocean in Kailua Bay. To get down to 6 minutes for 400m, I need not only to wear a better swimsuit, do various stretching and upper body strengthening exercises, and learn to flip-turn better, but I need to swim 15k to 20k a week for most weeks over the next year, and at least towards the end of the workouts to push myself a bit. Of course, I need to constantly pay attention to technique so that I hopefully learn to swim better and not just try to do it by brute force. My goal is to try to spend some time in Kona in Summer 2009 when there are several big swims on. I cannot make any very definite plans at the moment, as it all depends on whatever else is going on in my family. However, train I will, and at some point I will make the trip over there and try to see where I am at. I also have to accept the fact that I might do all this training but not reach my desired goals. However, unless I have a go, I won't know if I can make it or not. Anyway, while the summer here in Taiwan might make swimming more difficult (as the pool will be packed), as fall and winter come, from what I know the pool should be relatively empty and so I should be able to continue to work at it during those months when maybe many people are just not doing anything. Tomorrow, Friday, I will try to get an early start, as I will be out of town Saturday with one son who is taking an exam and will miss the swim on that day. Maybe the rest will do me good. Less than five minutes by bike from the huge incinerator, people choose to incinerate their own trash themselves. So what would otherwise be a nice ride past rice fields is turned into having to occasionally breathe clouds of dioxins and other poisonous gases. I should send this to the EPA. This is perhaps a typical example of life in the Third World. Poor people who can barely afford to eat in turn help increase global warming (and possibly destroy the rice crop). We have to do something about it.
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.