Welcome to my blog which focuses on my life in Taiwan.
(Photo: Cheng Ching Lake (澄清湖), Kaohsiung)
Monday, May 12, 2008
Starting the Day with a "Normal" Swim
As I mentioned yesterday, the Martyrs' Shrine in Kaohsiung (壽山上的忠烈祠) is a place with much historical significance. The Japanese-style architecture is a legacy of Taiwan's Japanese colonial past, when Taiwan was ruled by Japan for a period of fifty years (1895-1945). After that it was transformed into a shrine to remember the many patriots who fought and lost their lives in various wars, including resistance to the Japanese occupation.
Ever aware that there are many things that I need to do today (like most days), I tried to make the most of the relatively limited time I had to swim today. I started swimming at 6:21 am, and was up to 2,950 meters within one hour. I continued at that point, since there were fewer swimmers in my lane and I was able to keep up the momentum, until I reached 4,000m. Earlier on there were about 5 people at one time in the lane, and occasionally I had to stop at one end of the pool and just wait ten or more seconds while the ones in front of me got further away. I generally felt relaxed the whole time, and mainly focused on an even consistent stroke, that remained the same even though I had been swimming almost non-stop for over an hour. In Kona, years ago, I would often swim fairly well getting out to the King's buoy, but often after I started to come home, due to weakness and being a little fatigued, my stroke would be poor, in that after my right arm entered the water, my hand would go down, and then up again so that I sometimes caught air bubbles before I pulled through. Sometimes when I pass another swimmer swimming freestyle, I see the same mistake that I used to make (and hopefully do not make now). No wonder they don't get much forward propulsion. The last 15 minutes or so today were spent in the jacuzzi (about 5 minutes), and then a few easy "warm-up" swims, and then a 100m race against my friend. He was not that committed or focused today, and we finished together within 1m 31s. I got a pretty fast start today, but kind of lost it the second half and he caught me up. My total distance today was 4,425 meters. I still felt I could have continued, but the pool had to close as is always does at 8:00 am on these early morning swims. Yesterday there was a huge 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan, China. I did not really notice anything while at home at 2:28 pm local time when it happened, but my wife who was attending a meeting on the 14th floor elsewhere in town felt a little dizzy, thinking she might be about to faint until she realized what it was.
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.