In one of my Japanese anime movies, the school-age kids enjoy a "Golden Week" which appears to be a time to enjoy a week off school. Well, this week has been a kind of "Golden Swimming Week". It does not mean that I have taken a break from swimming, but the practices each morning, despite my being very busy these days, have gone extremely well.
Generally speaking, life for me has been a little too busy recently. I never seem to be able to keep up with all the work that is coming in for me to do, and even though I enjoy doing it, I don't like keeping people waiting or having a long list of things still to be done. In addition, I also have to shop and cook nearly all my own meals and (occasionally) clean the house. I would like to buy a robot to whom I could delegate a lot of chores, etc.
As a result I have not been eating all that well, and at times while swimming I have felt a little hungry. So much for Michael Phelps spending $20 on breakfast each morning. Well, this isn't Baltimore. There is a lot of good food available, but in my opinion it is best if you cook it yourself, and I never had much training in cooking, not that I really have the time to do it.
The highlights of the last 5 days of swimming are as follows. Basically, each day has followed a progressive build. Usually the first 1,000 m I am just warming up easily, negotiating traffic, and getting into a rhythm. The second 1,000 is slightly faster and now may involve something like an ascending and descending set. The third thousand involves watching the clock and focusing on the 100m to 200m range. Beyond 3,000m, I am getting up to moderate pace and occasionally "flat out" especially towards the end. The pool closes at 8:00 am, and usually the last 10 minutes or so there are few people so that I can swim hard down the middle of lane 4 or 5. While the "last (focused) swim" has me huffing and puffing at the end, I can't say I am really tired after it. I think I am getting used to it and so I will tend to shirk a little. I don't have any slave drivers to give me a brutal workout. However, to get better, I may need to crank things up a little, within reason.
Tuesday: 4,200 m (Focus on descending sets in terms of distance). Final swim: 200m in 3m 04 (equals my "record" so a good start to the week).
Wednesday: 4,200 m (Focus again on descending in terms of distance. Key set 10 x 100 on 2 mins (range 1:48-1:41)). Finished with a 200m race in 3m 08s. May have been slower due to the 100s.
Thursday: 4,250 m (Focus on gradually shortening the distances until 3,000 m mark. Then key set 20 x 50 on 1 min (usually completing each one in 50 secs)). Then raced 200m in 3m o4s (must have a mental blockage here!). After a minute or two, still had time and did a 50 m in 40 secs.
Friday: 4,050 m (Focus on getting into 200s fairly early on and then 150s and then 100s and 50s.) Then as I got close to the 4,000 m, I took a few minutes' break, and then swam 1m 25s for 100m on my own, followed by another in about 1m 26s (felt a little more out of breath on that one).
Saturday: 4,200 m (Focused again on gradually decreasing the distances, but nothing more than moderate.) Later as I was doing 50s I tried to work on my flip turn, and sometimes tried not to kick or else kick hard, etc. Then I went easy for about 100m. Then my friend paced me over 200m and another timed me. 3m 01s for 200m, with the first 100m in 1m 27s. Where I felt I "lost it" was on the flip turns at 125m and 150m in particular, which were very weak and I was gasping to surface and breathe. So I need to work on the turns more.
I still need to go about 20 seconds faster if I am to qualify for USMS Nationals in what will be my new age group next month. Well, if others can do it, then so can I. I just need to get used to swimming faster. To help me, I have just ordered some stretch cordz and larger hand paddles as training aids which are being delivered by Fedex to Hawai'i and then being hand carried to Taiwan at the beginning of October. Hopefully, in October I can start my "real" swim training, and eventually I hopefully will get good enough to give a few of my old friends in Kona a surprise when I finally get out there.
I must not forget, tomorrow (Sunday) will be a swim practice, too! The week is not over yet.