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KaizenSwimmer
November 18th, 2006, 11:19 AM
I've written previously of how, in my teens and 20s, I was intensely aware of and overly focused on perceived physical limitations. Once I recognized that "talent" existed and I didn't seem to have it, I became somewhat discouraged and limited myself through that focus. I realize now that if I'd practiced with the same resourcefulness then that I do now I would have swum much faster.

In my 50s, with my physical capabilities greatly reduced from 30 years ago, I find myself routinely exhilarated during and after practice by employing craft, guile self-awareness, focus, all of which should only increase with the passage of years.

Thursday night's Masters practice was a good example. In terms of speed, I had my slowest practice in nine or more months. I was feeling tired, became breathless with even slight increases in effort during warmup and generally felt as I do when coming down with some illness.

I can usually repeat 2:30 for 200 Frees at 85% effort on a 2:45 interval. Tuesday I was stuck at 2:40+ on a 3:00 interval as we began a set of 12 x 200.

It took all my creativity to finally figure out how to swim a few "decent" repeats i.e. 2:36. But when I achieved that on my last two repeats - when the interval had dropped to 2:45 -- and they were easier and more controlled than earlier slower repeats I finished the practice with an intense satisfaction.

After practice I pondered what this will mean as I move into my 60s and 70s. Though my repeat times have greatly improved lately from ages 48 to 54, that trend won't continue indefinitely and I expect the time will come when 2:40 will represent an outstanding practice performance - superhuman figures like Graham Johnston notwithstanding.

It's encouraging that a modest time, achieved through concentration, mindfulness and patience can be so satisfying.

SolarEnergy
November 18th, 2006, 04:43 PM
Once I recognized that "talent" existed and I didn't seem to have it, I became somewhat discouraged and limited myself through that focus. That's probably why you later became one of the best references in the swimming industry in teaching and coaching how to swim.

Well done !!

Passion - Talent + Brain = Coach (with a capital C)


It's encouraging that a modest time, achieved through concentration, mindfulness and patience can be so satisfying. Well said !!

Peter Cruise
November 18th, 2006, 05:13 PM
Terry- although the same (roughly) age as you, many in my club (and this website) would question whether I am maturing at all. However, I have experienced roughly the same type of workout as you describe, more often as not in the last few weeks, probably because life has been biting back a bit. What I do find when I am having one of those workouts is that I have to be very patient as I feel that I just plain do not warm up as fast when I am distracted (mentally or physically) as I do when everything is peachy. Like you, I tend to focus on attaining a minor positive goal towards the end of the workout that fuels the desire to keep coming back for more.

The Fortress
November 18th, 2006, 08:08 PM
that I just plain do not warm up as fast when I am distracted (mentally or physically) as I do when everything is peachy.

Peter:

I think this is an extremely good point. I have had a somewhat lamentable two weeks of training and sleeping myself. The times I have gotten to the pool, I plodded through some sets. So, if we could not be satisfied with the more minor achievements Terry posits when faced with the myriad "distractions" of life, I think the risk of burnout or quitting would rise dramatically. So I think we have to be simultaneously competitive and philosophical about this venture of masters swimming.

Peter Cruise
November 18th, 2006, 08:29 PM
Oh, I don't know Leslie- about being philosophical helping, after all Aristotle was a terrible swimmer...

The Fortress
November 18th, 2006, 09:04 PM
But Lao-Tse/Laozi wasn't. He was reportedly a great swimmer.

He said: "Those who make waves must know how to swim."

Peter Cruise
November 19th, 2006, 01:30 AM
He must not have viewed an aquasize class...

The Fortress
November 19th, 2006, 08:49 AM
Peter:

Ha, ha. I don't want to end up in one of those, so I'm focusing on keeping positive with minor goals as well as setting more long term goals. This is "philosophical" as opposed to being overly weighted down with the burden of human consciousness from contemplating our existential world. That might not be so good for swimming.

Terry:

I wonder if all that traveling you've been doing could account for some of that practice fatigue. I find travel exhausting even when I'm just sitting on a plane. Or maybe the mental energy required to participate in all those meets has taken a small toll? If so, the slight slow down in practice might just be temporary.

KaizenSwimmer
November 20th, 2006, 09:40 AM
I can't blame travel. That starts in a couple of weeks. It's more that I was feeling somewhat under the weather physically the latter part of the week. Not enough to go to the doc, but certainly enough to recognize that I was somewhat compromised physically.

I was entered in a meet in Ithaca NY yesterday, and seriously considered not going, considering how I was feeling and swimming since Wednesday. In the end I decided to go and take away a learning experience from "racing when compromised."

I swam 100-200-400 IM plus the 1000 Free, and indeed all my times were off, but I still felt the experience was entirely worthwhile.

Three weeks earlier, I'd swum a 200 Fly, 400 IM and 1650, all in just over two hours. The final 1000 of the 1650 was 12:20. Yesterday I could muster only 12:30 for a 1000, but was still completely satisfied with how I put it together, as I descended the last four 200s, doing the last in 2:24, or 12 seconds faster than I was able to do in that set, just a couple of days earlier. I know the experience will serve me well on a day when I'm more on my game.

It seems to me that learning to race well on a bad day - or when not in optimal shape - is extremely valuable to aging swimmers, as it requires you to rely more on mental/psychological strengths.

quicksilver
November 20th, 2006, 10:37 AM
It's encouraging that a modest time, achieved through concentration, mindfulness and patience can be so satisfying.


This is why you are the Kaizen swimmer.

I had to look this definition up to know what it was. And in doing so...and in reading your posts...it's my understanding that you personify this trait so very well.

KaizenSwimmer
November 20th, 2006, 12:57 PM
you personify this trait so very well.

Thank you. I hope to influence other adult and Masters swimmers to embrace a similar philosophy. What could be more hopeful as we age than to believe in the possibility of Continuous Improvement?

It obviously helps to define "improvement" more liberally than the usual basis - what the pace clock or stopwatch says. When I first became acquainted with Bill Boomer in 1988, he said "A stopwatch is too imprecise an instrument for measuring swimming performance." That stuck with me and I began looking for other means of measurement - both qualitative and quantitative.

I swam rather slowly from my mid 40s thru my early 50s. Still I could sense that I was improving as a swimmer the entire time, based on feeling more in harmony with the water and on seeing incremental, but steady improvements in my SPL.

When speed/time became a priority again in the past year, I found I was also "improved" there as well. Being willing to swim slowly for a prolonged period - i.e. putting aside speed/time as the standard -- was instrumental to the speed I managed more recently. It also revealed how deeply satisfying swimming could be when practiced as an "art" rather than as a "sport."

It dismays me how many truly masterful swimmers - the gods many of us were awed by when we were younger -- are uncomfortable with appearing "human" today mainly because they don't feel they can approach the times we associate them with 20 or more years ago. They are still more gifted at swimming than anything else and this self-consciousness keeps them from using those gifts.

It's also why I am so impressed when I see someone like Jim Montgomery or Gary Hall Sr. swimming Masters today and being willing to appear "mortal."

quicksilver
November 20th, 2006, 02:00 PM
Humble pie is an acquired taste.

LindsayNB
November 21st, 2006, 10:09 PM
I swam rather slowly from my mid 40s thru my early 50s. Still I could sense that I was improving as a swimmer the entire time, based on feeling more in harmony with the water and on seeing incremental, but steady improvements in my SPL.

When speed/time became a priority again in the past year, I found I was also "improved" there as well. Being willing to swim slowly for a prolonged period - i.e. putting aside speed/time as the standard -- was instrumental to the speed I managed more recently. It also revealed how deeply satisfying swimming could be when practiced as an "art" rather than as a "sport."

Last night, after a practice that culminated in a set of "fast" 200s in which I was concentrating intensely on technique in hopes of surviving, I stayed for a bit of the following open swim. It takes about five minutes to move the bulkhead and set up the lines in the other end of the pool so I got several minutes of rest and stretching in before hopping back in the pool. The first hundred metres felt truly sublime. And then I got tired again. :D

Unfortunately, although a few people whose opinion I respect have told me that my stokes have improved a lot in the last year and I feel like I have improved, my meet times do not reflect that. Which is kind of frustrating. :(

Oh well, I do still have a long list of things I need to work on so hopefully I'll make progress soon. :hopeful:

Steven
November 21st, 2006, 10:42 PM
I wonder how the mindset of a lifelong swimmer would compare to an older swimmer who started upon retiring.
I know, I've been swimming for a whole week now, but I've befriended a gentleman about 80 years old who took up swimming 20 years ago. He swims very slowly, a modified front crawl with one arm. His presence in the lane is a kind of banana shaped path (look out!), but he is an inspiration to me (at the age of 39) for his persistence in training and his love for the water.
Side note: it's amazing how challenging swimming is compared to other cardio-sports. Lord, I've never been so tired.
S

Allen Stark
November 22nd, 2006, 12:41 AM
When I had been swimming Masters for a few years I decided my long range goal was to set the World Records in the 3 breaststrokes in the 100-104 age group. To do that means I will have been swimming Masters 75 yr.Obviously the first requirement for that is to live that long. some of that is out of my control,but I try to live a healthy lifestyle. Also important is to continually come up with workouts that are challenging,changing, and the sort of thing I can imagine doing for 75 yr. I'm 57 now and I swam my fastest times at 31. I will never swim that fast again,but I don't need to match what I did then. My stroke is much more efficient now and I swim much smarter now. My stroke is not perfect and never will be,but it can always get better.As Wayne McCaully says"it's not how fast you go,it's how slowly you slow down."

The Fortress
November 22nd, 2006, 12:52 AM
Allen:

You must have been writing your post at the same time as me. I love your ultimate goal! I hope you get there. I'm amazed that you were winning Worlds on such minimal yardage, especially training alone as you do. What's your secret? How do you win world titles training alone with the nagging middle age impediments of sore shoulders and whatnot? I was in the hot tub with my middle aged teammates tonight. (We have a loose definition of "middle age," although it would not include any one under 45.) Unlike our college days, all talk is centered around nagging injuries, what medications/vitamins we were on, and how we should get kicked out of the fast lane with our different chronic injuries... The newest talk is that vitamin D helps with immunity. Clearly, middle age is not for sissies...

swimr4life
November 22nd, 2006, 03:56 AM
Wayne McCaully says"it's not how fast you go,it's how slowly you slow down."

BEAUTIFUL! I can see this on a future Masters T-shirt!;)

swimr4life
November 22nd, 2006, 03:58 AM
Allen:

Clearly, middle age is not for sissies...

TRUE!.....it is 4 am and I can't sleep due to aches and pains! UGGGHH!:shakeshead:

Allen Stark
November 22nd, 2006, 11:53 AM
Another great quote I heard about Masters Swimming "If you wake up in the morniing and it doesn't hurt,you died!"

KaizenSwimmer
November 22nd, 2006, 12:06 PM
my long range goal was to set the World Records in the 3 breaststrokes in the 100-104 age group.

When people ask why I swim I tell them "so I can be strong, supple and graceful at age 85." I will now go on the record as being hopeful of setting distance records in the same meet - and age group -- when Allen sets those 100-104 breaststroke records. And I hope to win a close race with Jim McConica when I do...it may just take me that long to close the existing gap tween our performances.

Seriously, the major motivation that led to my breaking two USMS LD records last summer was being narrowly beaten by Bruce Gianniny (a frequent lurker, infrequent poster - maybe this'll draw him into the open) for the 50-54 2-mile Cable title the previous summer.

Since then Bruce and I have mutually pledged to keep nudging each other to our best performances for the next 30 years. How cool would it be if Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett, or Phelps/Lockett, Coughlin/Hoff, etc. were to make a similar pledge for the next 60-70 years.

Bruce, shall we extend our pledge another 20 years?

SearayPaul
November 22nd, 2006, 12:08 PM
We have a lady that is about 70 or so in our pool. She is painfully slow but always swims one mile exactly when she comes. As she tells all the kids "Last one in the pool wins" I really like her sense of humor.

Have a great day

Paul

swimr4life
November 22nd, 2006, 12:48 PM
I think a sense of humor is soooo important as we get more years under our belt. I saw this on Marin's website. These are cute!

Now that I am older, here's what I have discovered:

1. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.
2. My wild oats have turned into prunes and All Bran.
3. I finally got my head together, now my body is falling apart.
4. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded...
5. All reports are in; life is now officially unfair.
6. If all is not lost, where is it?
7. It is easier to get older than it is to get wiser.
8. Some days you're the dog; some days you're the hydrant.
9. I wish the buck stopped here; I sure could use a few.
10. Kids in the back seat cause accidents.
11. Accidents in the back seat - cause kids.
12. It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.
13. Only time the world beats a path to your door is when you're in the bathroom.
14. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
15. When I'm finally holding all the cards, why does everyone decide to play chess?
16. It's not hard to meet expenses... they're everywhere.
17. The only difference between a rut and the pits is the depth.
18. These days I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter.... I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I'm here after.... (That's an oldie!):groovy:

The Fortress
November 22nd, 2006, 01:23 PM
Beth: Here's some more jokes on us "maturing" types. Fortunately, according to Allen, I don't satisfy #1 since I'm not sleeping and I'm in pain. Ha, ha.

1. You're asleep, but others worry that you're dead.
2. Your back goes out more than you do.
3. You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.
4. You buy a compass for the dash of your car/truck.
5. You are proud of your lawn mower.
6. Your best friend is dating someone half their age, and isn't breaking any laws.
7. Your arms are almost too short to read the newspaper.
8. You sing along with the elevator music.
9. You would rather go to work than stay home sick.
10. You enjoy hearing about other people's operations.
11. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.
12. People call at 9:00 p.m. and ask, "Did I wake you?"
13. You answer a question with, "Because I said so."
14. You send money to PBS.
15. The end of your tie doesn't come anywhere near the top of your pants.
16. You take a metal detector to the beach.
17. You know what the word "equity" means.
18. You can't remember the last time you laid on the floor to watch
television.
19. Your ears are hairier than your head.
20. You talk about "good grass" and you're referring to someone's lawn.
21. You get into a heated argument about pension plans.
22. You got cable for The Weather Channel.
23. You can go bowling without drinking.
24. You have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.
25. People send you this list.