Yesterday I received a birthday card, a day early, from American Express (pictured). They also sent a few coupons, but unfortunately the ones that I could use expire at the end of October, just before my wife returns. I can't be bothered to go and eat somewhere on my own.
Entering a new age group increases my chances of getting a higher position in a race or of qualifying for something, like the US Masters' Nationals. Today, I very much wanted to accomplish something swimming on an otherwise very uneventful day, and so my swimming practice was a gradual build-up for a crack at the 3 minute barrier for the 200 meter free.
This week had been a typical week swimming: Tuesday, 4,350m, Wednesday, 4,000m, Thursday, 4,200m, and today altogether 4,050m. On Wednesday, I went 3m 04s in the 200m (a little tired from the earlier 8 x 100 on 1:55), and on Thursday I went 3m 01s, despite almost colliding with another swimmer at the wall. Today (Friday), I did 2 x 500 (easy and long efficient strokes), 5 x 200m (each in about 3m 50s), 5 x 100m on 2:05, 5 x 100m on 1:55, 10 x 50m on 1:00, 1 x 200 in 3m 30s, 1 x 100m in 1m 42s (relaxed), the rest room, 1 x 50m very easy. 2 mins rest then "Go!". I had to rely on my ability to watch the clock, but the second hand was definitely before the 12 when I first saw it after I finished. Hence, it is reasonable to say that I did the swim in 2m 59.5secs.
I did not feel particularly excited about the race. While swimming I wondered if I might have rested too long beforehand. There was just me and my friend swimming. Inside of me there was that fear that it was just the "old Bruce" swimming, but I felt at least I had to break the 3 minutes because it was my birthday. I did not feel any fire or burning zeal to storm through the water. It was a fairly well controlled, consistent swim.
Now that barrier is broken, I now I have my sights set on lowering the time by about another 18 seconds, which will probably qualify me to race against a bunch of old fogeys in the USMS nationals. I would much rather race against younger women (at least unofficially), and since their qualifying times are not much different, maybe that would result in a fair race. So the training will continue, but I don't know if in the end I will have anyone to race against!
Earlier this year (April) I set as my main goal breaking 6 minutes for the 400m free within one year. I haven't swum hard at that distance for a long time, but given my style of swimming I am surely getting closer. One of these days I'll try to see where I am at.
This morning the skies (at least until mid-morning) were overcast, and I faced the need to finish one or two of my more tedious "work" jobs (which call for extra discipline and patience). So in a sense I don't feel that happy, but I don't feel much else either. I don't think happiness is something you can turn on and off. Generally speaking, I feel happy doing my swims and being able to work at home, etc. I have read that many people become increasingly unhappy as they reach their 50s and 60s. Certainly, my experience when younger was that older bosses could have lots of money, etc., but they were some of the most miserable people to deal with every day.
I guess it's hard for people in their 50s to have a lot of fun these days, so I will have to schedule some into my morning workouts. A lot of fast 50s should do the trick.