Welcome to my blog which focuses on my life in Taiwan.
(Photo: Cheng Ching Lake (澄清湖), Kaohsiung)
Friday, August 8, 2008
The Olympic Games Start
Our new 37-inch flatscreen TV bought just in time to watch the Olympics
After being without a TV set since we moved to Kaohsiung at the end of January, we finally bought one (we had to sell a house to be able to afford it), just in time for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. I am so unaccustomed to TV now that I forget we even have it and if I watch for more than ten minutes I seem to feel dizzy. It is a bit like my swimming was after an 8-month layoff earlier this year.
I understand that the local Taiwanese TV stations will together be broadcasting various different events. At least it's all in Chinese and so there won't be any need for translation. Fortunately, I won't be needing to get up at 3 a.m. to watch something. The opening ceremony was very interesting to me. How that country has changed since I first started studying China seriously in the mid-1970s. It was interesting that they picked as one of their themes "All men are brothers" (四海之內皆兄弟也). This quotation from the Analects of Confucius was something I studied when in language school in Taiwan in the early 1980s. I certainly would not have got to study that had I studied on the mainland.
The Olympics are so vast with so many nations represented and so many different sports. It hopefully makes us think about how our own training fits into the grand scheme of things. At least triathlon involves events in water and on land, and pretty good all-round body training, and it is also something we can do as we get older. However, we should not let ourselves get sucked into just one event or a particular format for an event. Enjoyment should be the overriding consideration, and not just because the rest of the triathlon community only do certain events or because we may think that the best races cost the most.
To briefly recap on the last two mornings, I swam 4,350 meters on Thursday (yesterday) and 4,250 meters today (Friday) despite a slightly later start. As with other recent workouts, I swam steady for about the first 3,000m, and then took rests between faster 50s and 100s or 150s. Finally, I raced my friend. Yesterday, the plan was to race 100m. I found that I was swimming comfortably, but was not going fast, and towards the end of the 100m, my friend was about two body lengths ahead of me (about 6 seconds roughly). So instead of stopping, I just continued and tried to maintain my steady rhythm. In the end I finished 200m in 3m 05s, knocking 2 seconds off my "record" of less than a week ago. Today I tried to do the same again and went 3m 06s. The improvements, although small, are still coming, so that goal of breaking 3 minutes is looking all the more possible.
For the last several days, my training has been "lighter", in that I have continued with the morning swims, but have not done dry-land exercises at home. It is mainly that I have been trying to get on with my work when not doing something related to our house (which fortunately is not very often, but still consumes a chunk of my time) and I have not had a lot of free time.
I am not sure if I will watch a lot of the Olympics except around meal times. However, I will try to follow specific events (swimming, triathlon, modern pentathlon, etc.) by watching YouTube in the hope that I will be able to get a reasonable amount of work done. Some of my friends will be training for their Ironman events over this period and others will be attempting to swim across the English Channel, so I guess we will all be rather busy.
Anyway, if I watch something that drives me wild (like a particular swimming world record), I will probably try to post it for those who might have missed it. Hope you enjoy the show, whetever you are and whatever you are doing these next few weeks.
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.