Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Strongish 5,150 meter Swim

Mangoes in abundance at the local market. These are relatively cheap during the summer months here, and are a good source of carbohydrates. About US$0.5 each for an "average" one at present.
Yesterday I wrote about rest (implying needed recuperation), and mentioned a little about eating. I also felt quite lethargic, a state that one feels when one doesn't do any training and merely observes others being successful in the things they like to do, not that that is a bad thing. After all, we need to get the focus off of ourselves sometimes.
Well, this morning I woke up slightly earlier and that gave me several extra minutes that enabled me to do a few "rotator-cuff warm-up exercises" as well as eat half a large banana and drink a cup of water. Maybe not much, but more than I am used to. I biked to the pool and was in the water at 6:13 am, sharing the lane with three others at first. I felt comfortable, and swam neither fast nor slow, but comfortably. I managed to pass the slower swimmers fairly easily most times (without meeting another head on), and by the time I reached 1,000 meters, there were only three of us and soon after two. So I rarely had to "wait" behind someone to pass. For quite a while (at least for about 1,500m), it was just me and a lady who swims quite well and consistently, and so I was able to maintain the momentum. At 3,000m I still felt good, and so I continued. When I reached 4,000m, I realized that I only had 25 minutes left, and so I even tried picking up the pace a bit. I reached the 5,000m mark at 7:54 am. I then did another 50m (just in case), then rested about 30 seconds and swam a 100m on my own at a "light-moderate" pace in 1m 35s. Not so fast, but I wanted to stay in my comfort zone. Then I was "pau".
I have rarely felt so good over a swim like that.

The pinkish fruits in the wrappers are "dragon fruits" and I bought one today for about US$1.25. They were imported. The yellow fruits - I need to do more research and maybe eat one first.

Today I almost swam continuously and maintained more or less the same pace. I only occasionally stopped to rearrange my cap, flush out my goggles, or say Hi! to a fellow swimmer. I think in the past, including in Hawai'i, I was often hungry on long swims and even Masters' workouts. I did not eat such a lot yesterday, but I think over the past few days I have been eating more. For instance, for lunch today I ate, boiled potatoes, onions, tomatoes, chicken breast (which I fried), and two apple bananas, which I prepared myself. The cost of the ingredients was a little over US$3, and so I was hardly breaking the bank. My wife is buying meat at the traditional market from chickens that are skinnier than most, i.e., they are not pumped up like so many one sees in the supermarkets.
In the pool, the early morning lighting was not too good (or was it my eyes?) when it came to keeping an eye on the clock's second hand, and my googles were often quite misty, so I did not worry about what my splits were. I knew that I felt good and that was all that mattered. Of course, if I am getting better at swimming, then inside me there is a growing desire to go out and race some people, and so times are important there. However, I will probably have to go to Kona to do that, and so that is a long way off. For now I will try to find a happy balance between training, eating and recuperation, and hopefully out of that I will find a magic formula that will make me faster. Certainly, as the photos of the mangoes show, there is plenty of good stuff to eat round here, at relatively good prices.
Lastly, today was a rainy day in Kaohsiung. I was so pleased with this. It rained quite hard a lot of the day, but not when I biked to the pool, nor when I biked back. The house was a few degrees cooler today. When the sunny weather comes back, probably in the next couple of days, the air should be a lot fresher and I should be able to see the distant mountains from our house.
A mango tree that I pass each day on the way to the swimming pool.

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