Monday, August 18, 2008

Putting Money in the Bank

As I prepare for my week "more focused swim training", I was particularly impressed by a quote from Michael Phelps (probably now the foremost authority on swimming!) who said: "Bob (Bowman) has a saying, "Putting money in the bank"." I had heard of this before and have even used the expression in my blog before (at least I think so), but I did not realize it was Michael's long time swim coach, Bob, who said it. So I decided to go through my blog records and try to find out how much money I have been putting into my swim bank. The weekly summaries are as follows:

Apr 16-Apr 21 18,500 meters
Apr 23-Apr 28 20,900 meters
Apr 30-May 04 20,800 meters
May 6-May 11 28,100 meters
May 13-May 18 19,725 meters
May 20-May 25 30,750 meters
May 27-June 01 31,150 meters (a record)
June 02-June 08 21,150 meters
June 10-June 15 23,800 meters
June17-June 22 21,900 meters
June 24-June 29 29,100 meters
July 01-July 06 24,000 meters
July 08-July 13 19,950 meters
July 15-July 20 23,550 meters
July 22-July 27 26,750 meters
July 29-Aug 03 26,150 meters
Aug 05-Aug 10 26,300 meters
Aug 12-Aug 17 26,450 meters

If I added up correctly, that gives a total of 439,025 meters (439 km or some 273 miles) in 18 weeks, which is a couple of days over 4 months. I started going to the pool in early March, but I did not keep records for the first several weeks. In any case, the first couple of weeks I was doing more like 8,000 to 10,000 meters a week at the most, and I only "broke the 4000m barrier (for a day's swimming)" on April 24. The first few weeks I was just getting back into swimming after not swimming since the Hapuna Beach swim in Hawaii on July 01, 2007, in which I did relatively poorly compared to previous attempts at that race.

Training in swimming is a learning process, and from all the workouts, the blogging about it and comments and encouragement from friends, as well as the Olympics, I have learned a great deal. However, I feel I am only just beginning, and there is so much more to learn, and so I will try to swim more this week, while at the same time trying to continue to put money into my real bank account, too. Of particular note is that I went through "shoulder problems" during the first two weeks of June, but I adjusted my approach to warming up and have not had any discomfort since. I can't wait to get in the pool tomorrow!

When we engage in some activity and persist in it, whether it be swimming, learning Chinese, or cooking or whatever, we will certainly see improvements. The big deciding factor is whether we keep at it, for "Where there is a will, there is a way (有志者事竟成)." When I first started to learn Chinese, I just bought a book called "Teach Yourself Chinese" and it was a real struggle. However, my passion and determination led me to study under some of whom I consider to have been the best teachers of Chinese in Taiwan, and then to continue with my language studies after language school when my energies were mostly focused on making a living.

It is probably not surprising that I feel euphoric these days - the Olympic Games being held in Beijing and my watching all the TV coverage in Taiwan with Chinese commentators. I truly feel I am in the right place at the right time. Swim training should be a lot of fun, and my only regret is that some of my equally inspired friends cannot join me for it. I will continue to put pennies into the (swim) bank, and I hope one day I can hit the jackpot in a swim race.


ShirleyPerly said...

Wow, you are rich! Those are some great deposits in the swim bank. I wish I could understand another language besides English. I think it would be very interesting to hear how the Chinese commentators are covering the games.

Dolphin Boy said...

Awesome swim distance Bruce! Amazing...keep up the good work and the bank will be paying you back shortly! Just don't invest in the US dollar right now!! hahaha!

Glad to see the swim adjustments are coming along well.