To all my U.S friends and fellow USMS members:
Tomorrow being the 4th of July, I have my kindle e-book “Kyle Harrison: Movie Star” on sale at $1.99.
The “blurb” says it's 67 pages or such but that really isn't quite true. For example, before I put my “Riding a Strong Wind” into paperback format, they said it was 137 pages on Kindle. Well now the paperback is out and I'm holding 210 pages in my hands. So you can almost double Kindle's count. Anyway, it's not a big deal.
The action is almost all Hollywood. In fact, so much so, you'd almost think I'd actually been there and been on a movie set …..
Would love to hear from anyone as to whether you're at all interested in the idea I had of videoing my “Stopwatch sprints workout”. I mean c'mon feed me back some encouragement here … that water is cold. Well actually it's around 31ºC but I like it Warm !!!
Happy Fourth !!
So I was thinking, and wondering, and I was wondering How.
How could I get a bit more interest in getting fitter? How could I re-ignite a smidgen of the interest I had as a younger (just a little) competitor, and I came up with this Brilliant idea: to use the Stopwatch!!!
Now probably, all you club swimmers have pace-clocks and coaches who time you on the occasional sprint in workouts. They (the coaches) probably also give you that invaluable bit of instruction when you're in a race; you know the bit where they walk alongside you, busting your gut there in the pool, and shout from their deck-side position the breakthrough concept, “Up, UP!!”
Bet you'd have never thought of that yourself, would you??
Anyway I digest ... no, I who have no-one ... no I ... I who have nothing … oh hang on, I'm off on a tangential frivolity.
Anyway (again) getting back to the Brilliant Stopwatch Diet or Training or whatever, I'm going to see if doing less but timing it, will work.
So here's the plan – Rather than swimming endlessly up and down and being bored out of my skull, I'm going to swim pretty much Just Sprints, apart from a little warm up, loosen up and all that usual jazz.
And I'm going to video it, Right here in River City … well actually Not right here in River City, but here at a small private pool, that I am allowed to use.
So maybe it will work and maybe not. But I will explain very briefly the concept when I do the video.
Will probably film it in mid-July, cos I like the water to be warm, and the weather to be warm and your welcome to be warm and … now I've run out of things to be warm ....
... so here are the official times:
I never really know what the points are all about – I guess if in a Club it goes towards determining which is the top club. But for Individuals like me, it's the time, and that alone, that is the marker.
I thought I might find it strange after so long without a competition - and I did.
There was a certain surrealism about getting on those blocks, and sometimes you just feel things and you can just tell how they are going to be.
I had to make a deliberate consideration of my start and getting into the 50 metres Free, whereas in days of old, all that would have been automatic. But I concentrated on NOT 'forcing', and thus tying up. So I suppose on later reflection, I was a bit too easy and relaxed off the block, and then I had a bit of a shock when I saw that a fellow, two lanes over, was not that much behind me. Now we were in with the slower entries, (yes you may call it 'sandbagging', but I call it 'having clear water to work with'), and that didn't exactly fill me with positive thoughts about my own pace.
So cutting a long, sad recount to the bottom line – I won, but the time was rather woeful. We will need to do more competitions to shake off some rust.
Certainly, as I said before this lame showing, nothing brings you on like competitions.
Only problem here for me is I have to find them, where I can compete as a US Master.
Having gone out the first 25 m so lazily, thankfully I did not 'die', as I feared I might, on the return 25 m (I didn't burn, down there either but I didn't die).
As I touched, my opponent in that other lane seemed some body lengths distant now but 'mental note' to self was, “more competitions needed for sure!!” I was unaware that there was an electronic display board, as it was something they had wheeled into place after I had swum the warm-up, so in honesty I don't really know what my time was, although someone said later they thought 30 something, so I will not make any excuses, I was just very slow and it may have been 30.99 for all I know. Need to get back around 28 or so, to feel right.
The 100 IM was as taxing as I had feared, and again I had an uncomfortable reality check when I turned onto backstroke and saw someone's leg-kick matching mine, level with me – oh dear !
The Breast-stroke was just an opportunity to get my breath a little, and the final 25 m Free was a bit of forced endeavour where one has the definite feeling one is going very slowly but just trying to hang on.
The time on that was 1:20:77 I think I recall accurately, but this one was really more a bit of 'training' and I knew it would be a good guide to my general fitness, and how much I need to do to get in shape – Plenty was the reply !!
So there you go – now I must look for another meet cos hopefully the more I do, the sooner I'll get back to some pace – fingers crossed.
Anyway, two entries, two medals.
Champion d'Aquitaine 2014, yo!
But, sadly, no “free shit” ... sorry, Alex!
Before I forget, I would like to thank the people who played the guessing game with me and, in particular, the first three correct respondents … well, it wasn't difficult, was it? Also, to the two who connected with me on Skype: I enjoyed chatting with you and hope you did as well. And thank you for the kind things you both had to say about my book, it's encouraging to know that someone, other than my wife, enjoys my writing!
AND before I get started on today's – Allow me to tell you, I am putting my other book, “Bedtime Romance: Short Stories for Sweet Dreams” on sale starting the 11th Feb, on Amazon Kindle, at 99 cents for a few days. I mean c'mon, 99 cents! But, you know, that reminds me of an interesting thing about Scott Fitzgerald. Did you know that in 1929 'The Great Gatsby' earned him total royalties of … wait for it ... $5.10 cents(*) and his books, all of them, earned him $31.77 cents. Imagine. For today's money multiply by 10. Now, his short stories were a different kettle of fish and earned him most of his money.
(*) Source: “The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald” published by Charles Scribner's Sons 1989.
Well I'm just back from the pool and that was interesting. There was a guy swimming with the full USA colours Speedo, and I had noticed him doing a fairly active and quite fast 400 metres or so with fairly big fins on, but nonetheless he was moving along pretty good, so today I notice he's not in the lane reserved for 'equipment' users, and he's got no fins on but is still moving along pretty good.
Now he's a young guy, but I thought, here's a way to gauge how I'm doing. That's one of the drawbacks of training all alone: you have no real idea of how you're moving through the water. Oh yeah, there is a pace clock, BUT that is reserved for proper competitive swimmers; those in the local club or such.
Anyway, I try not to make it obvious but I set off just ahead of this guy at the turn, and I allow him to catch me so that now we're level. I can now gauge that a fairly slow, relaxed free is sufficient to stay ahead of him, and I can also get an idea of my turn efficiency – he's two metres back after the push off, so that's encouraging. So anyway, I'm not in the kind of shape where I want to keep going and I have my assessment made so I shut it down after 150 metres. And that was my warm-up.
So here's a case to illustrate a point about swimming alone without a club. It can get boring, and it can be very easy to cut yourself too much slack. Not that I am a proponent of the 'tough guy, demanding coach' rubbish. All that ego stuff is just a bore.
No, the point I'm getting laboriously to is: to liven up the interest in the training grind, find someone who can swim a bit and then tailor your depart to allow for them being either faster or slower, BUT use them as a tow or a rabbit you must catch. You can get pretty good at judging – I'll give them 15 metres and then aim to catch them by the 50 m or, if they ain't so fast, aim to catch 'em by the 25 m mark.
Right I explained that brilliantly, didn't I? … No?
OK, today's workout was:
On a side note, I have not heard back from the French club I intended associating with so I could compete in Feb … so, if nothing changes, I will look further afield for a competition that allows US Masters members, which I am.
Next pool day: Saturday
~ Author of fiction