I continue to swim close to 25,000 meters per week (24,800 meters this last week to be precise) and my times have been slowly improving, which is encouraging, as before I left Hawai'i in 2007 I was getting slower and slower and felt that maybe age was catching up with me.
On Saturday I had a fairly typical swim in fairly typical conditions, with the first hour having to swim with several people in the same lane (several being slow breaststrokers) and the last half hour maybe just one or two swimmers. I covered a total of 4,150 meters, which is not unlike the distances I was doing a few months ago, only now I am incorporating quite a lot more speed work. The focus today, after warming up, was on 100s (even with several other slower swimmers). I think they got a bit tired of my passing them all the time and several just moved to other lanes or quit altogether (although they normally don't swim that long, anyway). So I went: 2 x 500 (focus on form not speed), 10 x 100m on 2:05, 5 x 100m on 2:00, 5 x 100m on 1:55, 5 x 100m on 1:50, 5 x 100m on 1:45, followed by a rest and a "race pace" 100m in 1:27 and a little later to finish off with a 50m which I did in 40 seconds. I often took about a one minute break between sets, figuring that a little more recovery would make me a little fresher, which it did.
On Sunday I did a total of 4,050 meters, which included a lot of 50s, although at the end, while I was sure of the distance, I could not quite remember whether I did more 100s or 50s in the middle. Well, I guess it doesn't really matter. I still got the workout. I in fact ended with 20 x 25m. Then I raced over 50 meters which I did in 39 seconds. Going faster takes me a little out of my comfort zone, but hopefully it will make the longer more leisurely swims go a little faster.
I was out much of the day Sunday, and after church I biked a few extra miles to take a look at this trash incinerator, which I can see from our 5th floor balcony at home. When I first moved down to Kaohsiung I was a little horrified at the sight of factory smokestacks, garbage incinerators and morgues, etc., but I guess that is just life, and so far I have not felt under attack by deadly chemicals, apart from those I might come across in my milk powder.
I might add that I felt quite tired around dusk on Sunday and ended up sleeping close to two hours. The "sprint" swims are no doubt using up quite a lot of adrenalin, as I haven't been eating that well. I get tired of constantly peeling potatoes. Fortunately, church served up spaghetti bolognaise for lunch and I went up for a third helping.
I really want to go out and bike more, but I am still about a week behind on my work, and so I will continue to press on with that first. I also ordered stretch cords, but some my card details did not match up on the order and so the items are still somewhere in California. I really hope I can get them soon and also have a little more time so I can start some "real" training.
I've tried telling one or two people I see at the pool each day that they could be fast if they train properly. Some have clearly learned good technique, but have never been introduced to training for something like an age-group race. I think most people here think that if they are not going to make the Olympics, there is nothing else worth aiming for. Maybe things will change with time.