Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Preparing to Break Another "Record"

Bruce's home office. Although I have been using this 5th-floor room for 8 months now, I still haven't finally sorted everything out, but at least it is now beginning to take shape. The advantages of this room is that it is quiet, breezy, bright (no lights needed during the day), and has all the equipment I need to get my work done. I even have enough room to do push-ups on the floor, etc. Since I don't want to spend all day, every day in this room, I also usually go to a local library mid- or late-afternoon to continue my work there for a few hours. Remaining sane is important.

While by "record" I mean "personal best", I am pleased to say that at least I am already doing better on most pool distances at the moment that I did in Kona over the past several years. This, to me, makes swimming all the more fun, and despite my currently busy work schedule, trying to figure out ways to swim faster makes each day exciting and challenging, not to mention the good feeling I have each morning when I go and swim in the pool.

To swim faster, and to break 3 minutes in the 200 meters free (my best so far s 3m 01s), I have not only been trying focus on techique (head position and movement, body alignment, stroke mechanics, etc.) but also on swimming faster in practice. For the week ended September 21st, I swam a total of 24,900 meters. Each day I had a tendency to start slowly and swim without rests for one or two thousand meters. Then I would do a few 200s, then 150s and 100s, and even 50s and 25s on some days, so that I would end by swimming with a faster turnover.

This last week (Tues Sep 23 to Sat Sep 27 - an approaching typhoon closed the pool Sunday), I swam 4,250 + 4,100 + 4,400 + 4,250 + 4,100 = 21,100 meters. While it may have seemed like a typical week, in a "race" against my friend I did 100m in 1m 23.5s (my fastest so far) on Wed 25 Sep, and the next day I finished with a 50m in 38.3 seconds.

A new development this week is that normally when I did 100m sets, I would have my "send offs" on 2 mins and sometimes longer if I just wasn't really moving. On Sat Sep 27 I did 10 x 100m on 2 mins followed by 10 x100m on 1:55. Yesterday (Tues Sep 30), on which I swam a total of 4,350 meters, I did 8 x 100 on 1m 55s and 4 x 100m on 1m 50s, with no rest between these two sets. Today (Wed Oct 1) I swam a total of 4,000m. The last swim of the day was a 200m that I swam alone, and did 3m 04s, despite not turning well and having to turn on one wall just as another swimmer was trying to do the same.

My plan over the next few days is to continue with these 100m sets, but according to whether I am able, to gradually lower the send offs. I find that I am fairly well focused on these sets, and they not only enhance my stamina, but also increase my speed. One of these days, I want to have another crack at breaking the 3 minute mark for the 200m free. I am also hoping to start some "real" swim training once I am not so busy with work.

Today I was shocked and saddened by news of the passing of "Bob" (those from Kona will probably know who I mean). He had been living in Kona having retired several years earlier and was a strong biker. He certainly did not look like he was in his mid-60s. Sometimes I would try to race him, but I remember more the talks we would have when we decided just to cruise instead. Bob had had a pretty successful life from what I learned from talking to him, and he is one of the people who inspired me (perhaps without realizing it) to carefully plan for my future, which was something I generally tried to escape from before. I also frequently told him about my plans to return to Kona. Little did I realize that, when I did go back, I would no longer be able to see him. Bob died of cancer and was robbed of what should have been many more years of healthful living in Hawai'i. He will be missed by many. The biking/triathlon community in Kona is very close knit.

Finally, I appreciate the comments regarding the Brendan Hansen video I posted. Until I saw it I never really knew much about him except that the famous Japanese breastroker Kitajima had recently been beating him and had lowered the 200m world record. Brendan's video is truly inspiring, not just for his dedication to the sport from a very early age, but because it also shows how much people who encourage can lift us up and help us reach new heights, while at the same time not feeling too overcome by failure. In a world in which it is so often a case of every man for himself or dog-eat-dog, we can see the preciousness of friends and the value of those who are for us rather than against us. For those of you facing a big or not so big race, take courage!

A butterfly at the butterfly sanctuary that I pass on my way to the pool each day. This species seems to be the most common here and the easiest to photograph.


LeAnn said...

Okay, Im frantic...whos bob...can you tell me on my facebook.

ShirleyPerly said...

You know, I met a Bob at a Peaman event who was probably in his 50-60's. I hope you don't mean him.

Thanks for the inspiring words at the end of your post!

Bruce Stewart (施樸樂) (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

"Bob Schratz" was an elected officer in the Hawaii Cycling Club, a keen biker, and also quite a good runner who ran the Peaman in earlier days under the name Lava Dawg. His wife, Corrine, was a regular at most running events. Bob did not swim a lot, so people knew him mostly from the Saturday bike rides, as well as the early Tues and Thurs morning bike rides that several of us would do. I was not aware of anything going on when I last saw him in Kona early last summer. He was a strong biker and I had to ride really hard to catch him.