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My non-workout blog and random thoughts

I swim in the Land Of Enchantment (New Mexico) at New Mexico State University. I train alone and love it (no motivation issues for me - but maybe I'm just plain weird - who else gets up at 4:45am and swims in the cold darkness - by themselves)? I make up my own thrilling workouts and change them whenever I wish. On my wish list? A really good technique coach.

I am the NM LMSC webmaster (created the NMMS website in 1997), sanction officer and stroke/turn official. I swim backstroke and IM events and like to participate at USMS Nats and Senior Olympics.

Swimming is one of the best things in my life. I'm made so many good friends through swimming (college, overseas and masters).

See you in the water!

  1. Lonely Hearts Club

    by , January 11th, 2012 at 10:10 PM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    Hey there you crazed single female masters swimmers!

    I am a Asian male masters swimmer and have been single for several years. I love swimming and exercise. I live in the New Mexico Mountains.

    So what's up with the title?

    I've been on the dating websites and while there are a plethora of single women, NONE of them swim or understand swimming.

    I am a swimmer. Period. If you don't mind getting up at the crack of dawn to swim and fall in bed at 8pm (tivo your favorite shows), love to travel to meets, enjoy culture (theater, movies, opera, music) and can converse on a wide range of subjects, we need to talk.

    I am well educated, have reasonable financial security, good professional standing - (outside of swimming) and have demonstrated culinary skills. I have deep faith and a strong but flexible soul.

    I have a black cat (he is totally cool) and live at 5000 feet on 2.5 acres. You can see the Milky Way on a dark night from my backyard. I train at 4000 feet at New Mexico State University. NMSU has a outdoor 50 meter pool and an indoor 25 yard pool. Today, January 11, I swam outside at 6 am and watched an amazing sunrise (backstrokers do rule but I would be happy to learn how to swim the other strokes).

    I have a number of great friends in Las Cruces and some family.

    I have pics (me, house, pool, cat, etc). PM me if this is of any interest.

  2. Cold water

    by , October 14th, 2010 at 11:01 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    I haven't posted in several months but it's not because I've stopped swimming. It's been on the back of my mind but pretty low priority.

    I went to 2010 LCM Nats in Puerto Rico and had a great time. The pool was fast, deep and beautiful. If you didn't get to go, well, hopefully they will have another meet. It was worth the dime! Also went to a bioluminescent bay in Vieques that was beyond words. Check out the photos ( I thought they were fake but - well, you have to experience it yourself. It was so, so, so, very cool.

    Cold water: so NMSU converted back to short course yards about a month ago. I'm an early bird (fewer people, clean locker room, showers, etc) but it is cold and dark. This morning, one of the lifeguards told me that the temperature of the water had dropped to 79f. Now normally, I'm pretty hardy about cold air, cold water and cold shoulders but this morning, I couldn't bring myself to jump in. I stood on the deck for minutes thinking that I could just go take a warm shower and go to work.

    I finally screwed up my resolve, tied my suit and jumped in. And it was not that cold!!!

    My workout main set was 4 x 400 (IM, backstroke) with an emphasis on feeling the water and keeping my core straight.

    See you in the water! (Cold or not).
  3. Long Course!

    by , March 15th, 2010 at 08:46 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    The NMSU Natatorium outdoor pool was reorganized over this weekend to long course. It was really wonderful to swim the full length of the 50 meter pool.

    Although I take some pride in my turns and push offs, I really enjoy swimming without having to turn so often. The feeling of taking stroke after stroke in a long course pool is absolutely wonderful. I enjoy the beauty of the morning, the coolness of the water, the many, many shades of blue in the pool as well as the view of the sky and occasional bird (a benefit of swimming backstroke).

    It takes me about 8-10 strokes per length (backstroke and freestyle) in a 25 yard pool - swimming at a moderate pace. Now that the pool has been converted, I take around 25-26 strokes per 50 meters swimming at a moderate level of effort. While I know that "distance-per-stroke" is important, I have never been able to increase my speed and maintain the same stroke count. In order to swim faster my turnover rate dramatically increases. Perhaps a real coach could help me in this area.

    Besides the sense of peace that comes with swimming in a 50 meter pool, I believe that you get stronger and gain a psychological edge when you return to race in a 25 yard pool.

    Atlanta note: made my hotel reservation; need to enter the meet and make travel arrangements. I'm very hope to have the opportunity to swim fast at this meet. It is the last chance to use the "cheater" suits!

    BTW, my personal feeling is that the suits should not be banned at any level of competition. IMHO the suits are analogous to advances in pool design and lane-line technology. My first (and only) high school race was in a pool with no gutters and ropes for lane lines. There were no turn guides on the pool walls or "black lines" on the bottom of the pool. It was just a cement tank retrofitted for a swim meet. No swimming purists have advocated for a return to such pools. I view the advance in swim suit materials to be similar to that of pool, starting block and lane line technologies.
  4. Long Beach Grunion's Holiday Invitational

    by , December 11th, 2009 at 02:38 PM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    I'm very pleased to report that this was my 10th Holiday Invitational at the Belmont Olympic Plaza pool. For the last decade, I have flown from New Mexico to Southern California for the final meet of the year. If you have not gone to this meet, it is very well organized and run. It was the largest SCM meet in US and many Grunion volunteers and officials worked very hard to successfully run this fantastic event.

    One of my goals for this year was to reset the mens 55-59 age group backstroke records. For the first time in my 44 year old swimming career, I did reset the 50, 100 and 200 meter short course meters world and American records. These swims were done in a full length Blue Seventy. I feel justified in my belief that my 50 and 100 meter swims were the best. The former record holder for the 50 swam his race in a B70. For the 100, I was one second faster than Tim Birnie's old record. Tim swam his time before the advent of the swim skin and I have heard estimates that the swim skins provide about half a second per 50. In the 200, I was 1.2 seconds faster than Jim McConica's mark, but his swim was performed before the B70. I know because I swam next to him when he broke the mark (and we were both in fast skins). So I can't fully justify the 200 backstroke mark and would like to give Jim the credit. He is a great swimmer, an Olympian, a member of the swimming hall of fame and the driving force for building the Ventura County aquaplex.

    If you have read my previous posts, you may know that suffered a significant personal tragedy - my partner of 10 years and the person I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, decided to cheat and then ended our relationship one week prior to a major swim meet in Toronto. I had high hopes for that meet (to reset a number of SCM age group records). She seemed to time the announcement and betrayal to maximize the amount of suffering. And she was very successful. I lost 15 pounds in that week and was exhausted during the entire meet. Fortunately, the good lord opens other doors -I made friends with both Karlyn Pipes and Don Graham - who sheparded me through the most difficult meet of my life.

    Now - after my performance at Long Beach (and at National Senior Games at Stanford this summer), I finally feel that I have accomplished some of my personal goals and thus, regained my self respect. My message is that swimming can help you overcome major life tradegies and that the friends that you make thru swimming will be there to support you.

    I've stayed in contact with Karlyn over this year and as I have said before in my blog, she is a really wonderful person. You may read about her amazing swimming accomplishments and be somewhat jealous, but let me tell you, she is much, much more than just a famous name. She is the real deal - she has a great heart and a great mind and embodies what a masters champion swimmer should be. If you get a chance to participate in one of her clinics, you should! She really knows swimming and she really understands the psychology of a champion athlete.

    Back to Long Beach - it was great hanging out with the Mud Sharks - Eric, Billy (goat), Don and Doug. It was great to see Cokie is swimming fast and building a great team. It was good to see Lucy Johnson - the original meet director. I had a chance to talk to Jim McConica after my 200 back and express my admiration for his championing the sport of swimming. It was wonderful to see Ande and Jeff swim so bloody fast. They are great guys out of the water and very willing to share their knowledge of swimming.

    I met a number of fellow masters swimmers - Bob Strand - who is absolutely one of the funniest swimmers on the planet. Gotta love his joy and energy. I made friends with a number of Rice swimmers (Rick Kammerer - a fellow backstroker) and with a number of Manatees (Allan, Juliet and Sarah - but missed seeing the fastest moustache in masters swimming - Jim Clemmons).

    I've already organized our crazy holiday swim - 111 x 100 @ 1:45 - and passed out invitations to the local teams, the high school and as many masters as are in the area. I don't know how many takers we will get, but it should be fun - as long as I don't mis-count.

    My plans for 2010: Atlanta, Puerto Rico (everybody I've talked to wants to go to the PR (and PR)). And of course, Long Beach.

    Finally, my brother, who held the 50-54 age group record in the 400 IM for about a week, should be pleased that his 200 breast stroke record should hold up for this year. To the best of my knowledge, we are the only two brothers to have simultaneously be in the USMS record books - and in the same age group. That is, until Long Beach. A fantastic swimmer - Jamie Fowler, rewrote a number of records in the backstroke and IM - and I no longer hold the 50 backstroke record (in the 50-54 age group).

    Best wishes for the holidays!

    See you in the water...
    Philipp (aka Phishy)
  5. Ron Johnson Memorial Invitational and my brother

    by , November 23rd, 2009 at 12:44 PM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    I swam at the Ron Johnson Invitational meet this weekend and achieved one of my goals for this year. I'm proud to report that my brother also achieved one of his goals at another meet held in Washington during this weekend.

    First, if you have never been to the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in November, it is really a great time of year to visit Tempe. The weather is much cooler - in the 70's - as opposed to 100 - 120f in the summer. The pool is very fast - deep, great non-slip surfaces on the bulkhead, waveless gutters and lane lines. They have a new digital scoreboard that is easy to read and makes the venue more professional. The bulkhead splits the long course pool into two parts and there were plenty of lanes for warm up and cool down. Of course, the sunny skies and coolish temperatures makes a great environment for swimming fast.

    The meet is superbly run. My hat is off to Katy James - the meet director. The officials were real professionals who impressed me with their knowledge of the rules as well as their knowledge of swimming technique. All the timers were volunteers and I as well as my fellow masters swimmers thanked them for volunteering. I also had a chance to thank the starter and meet referee before leaving the meet. I highly recommend this meet to any swimmer.

    It was really good to see my fellow competitors and friends- Tall Paul and Laura Smith, Barry Roth, Bob DiTolla, Gail Roper, Robert Wilson, Patty Buffett and the Queen. I watched Jeff Commings and Dave Rollins smoke the water with some amazingly fast swims. I didn't get a chance to meet Mike Mann, but perhaps I will if he goes to Long Beach. I did see him swim and man (pun intended), is he fast!

    My goals for this year were to reset some backstroke SCM and LCM World Records. I didn't do so well at LCM, but I was able to reset the 50 meter backstroke record in the 55-59 age group - 29.07. In a previous post, I had dedicated this swim to the memory of Ron Johnson. He was a great swimmer and masters coach. And I think that the extra motivation help me. After the race was over, I meditated for a few moments and thought about Ron and hoped that he was racing in that big pool above us.

    On a more earthly level, I feel pretty good about this record because the previous record holder was encased in a B70 - much like I was. I missed the 200 record by 0.4 second, but was feeling rather weird before the race - something was missing. Perhaps at Long Beach? I was humbled in the 50 back by a wonderful swimmer - Sheri Hart of Denver. She won the heat in a time of 28.86 - not bad for a 38 year old. We had a chance to compare notes afterwards and like most masters swimmers - just a really nice person.

    While I was basking in the warmth of Tempe, my brother, Lincoln, was at a SCM swim meet in Washington. I got an email from a dear friend (and college team mate) telling me that the local paper had announced that he was coming up to the meet to break the 50-54 400 IM record. And sure enough, he did! But he was not very happy with his swim. In an email, he said he was on pace 3:44 at the 300, but died badly - finishing in 1:11 for the 100 free and with a final time of 4:55 (beating the old record by 2 seconds). As for myself, I would love to swim that fast. I'm really proud of my brother for his accomplishments - even though he wishes that he had a stronger freestyle leg.

    For a short time (as records will be broken in the near future), I am honored to be in the record books with my younger and much faster brother.

    It's off to Long Beach in two weeks!
  6. Birthday Swim

    by , November 15th, 2009 at 09:33 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    Wow! I made it to 55 today. Although I have avoided posting my workouts, my set this afternoon will be 55 x 50 on 55 seconds.

    Boring? Most likely.

    Symbolic? Yeah baby!

    I'm going to Tempe next weekend to Ron Johnson Memorial.

    I've got the need for speed! And I'm dedicating my 50 back to Ron.

    He was a great human being and made a huge difference in the lives of so many swimmers. In a very real sense, he lives on in each swimmer who had a chance to be coached by him.

    Rock on at 55!
  7. Cold Water Swim

    by , October 22nd, 2009 at 10:31 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    Darkness greets us as we shiver on the edge of the deck.

    The water is deep blue, placid and glassy. It looks cold and uncaring.

    Lane lines, red and white, parallel the black line markers under water and seem to beckon.

    The whistle blows and in one swift leap, the water embraces us, chills us and finally soothes us as our minds turn inward.

    Swirls of steam rise into the dark morning sky.
  8. New Mexico Council on Aging

    by , August 28th, 2009 at 11:35 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    I recently spoke at the plenary session for the New Mexico Council on Aging conference at the invitation of NM Senior Olympics. I was introduced by NM Secretary for Aging and Long Term Care Cindy Padilla. There were easily 1000 people in the audience with many standing in the back. I was astonished to learn that my home state has an amazing support network for seniors. The conference featured speakers from NM government and private industry. There were many breakout sessions and roundtable forums. This is the 37th year of the conference and is the capstone event that unites many of the senior programs funded by the State of New Mexico. It doesn't attract much press (which usually focuses on doom and gloom), so learning about all of the various support programs for seniors in New Mexico was truly self educational and heart warming. New Mexico really does care about seniors.

    I'm not a bad speaker and I have lots of professional experience. I am the past president of a major professional society and have organized many sessions and even an international conference; I've been the invited speaker at plenary sessions before - but - I've have never spoken before such a huge crowd. It was a bit scary, but once I got started and got the crowd to laugh a bit, it was like speaking to old friends.

    I spoke about my experiences at the 2009 National Senior Games in Palo Alto this summer. Although the level of swimming competition is not up to the same par as USMS, the diversity of sports and the enthusiasm of the participants is my main motivation for participating in the Senior Games. I'll brag a bit and tell you that I broke the listed record for the 50-54 50 yard backstroke (and I'm 54) - but the listed record was broken at Clovis. The intensity of the athletes is a common factor that cuts across all sports. I attended 3-on-3 basketball games, doubles badmition, track and field and water polo. It's great fun to see other sports and watch other competitors during and after the events. With swimming, one never talks to your competition during the event - but for 3-on-3 basketball, talking (trash and joking around) is the order of the day. The same is true for water polo. It's great fun to hear the 80 year olds trash talk! I saw a doubles badmiton game between two teams that was very heated. The losing team (it was pretty close), would encourage each other as they won and lost points. The doubles match I saw was between 65-69 old (young) women. I could feel their enthusiasm and disgust with each winning or losing shot.

    As a bonus, I got a free DNA analysis from a company that was offering this service to all NSG athletes. I just got the results back and they are very interesting. I didn't know very much about my genetic history, but I now know more about my origins. And I learned that I don't have markers to be a "sprinter". May it is time to try the IQ test races: 400 IM and 200 fly (which I have taken and failed in the past).

    My big take away from the national senior games: even as we age, our spirits remain intact and the will to win never disappears. The body may turn to mush, but mental and spiritual aspects associated with the bond of competition will never evaporate.

    It was an honor to speak at the NM Council on Aging conference and represent the sport of swimming. I'll always treasure the experience.
  9. Pacific Masters Champs - More than Swimming

    by , July 13th, 2009 at 09:50 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    It's Monday morning (July 13; 6:00am) after the meet and I am so happy to have come to the meet. It was great seeing the Rolling Hills Mud Sharks and Manatee Masters swim teams - as well as over 400 swimmers. What a grand celebration of life and friendship.

    Coach Sharlene Van Boer and the Rolling Hills Mud Sharks adopted me and let me hang with them. What a great group of swimmers! A few years ago, I swam some relays with Shar's husband - Eric and team members Bill Adkinson and Lee Rider. We did fairly well and more importantly, we became lifelong friends. What more could you ask for from masters swimming?

    I also got to touch base with the amazing Jim Clemmons and Rob Murk from the Manatees. Jim gets my award for the most famous mustache in Masters swimming.

    I also got to know Cokie Lepinski a bit better after sitting with the Mud Sharks. Cokie has been a long time Mud Shark, but is now branching out to start her own team in San Rafael. I was particularly touched by the kindness and encouragement shown to her by Coach Shar and the other Mud Sharks. I know that Cokie will do well in her new career (having already retired once). She is a great person with a big heart.

    Saturday evening, the Mud Shark team went to a fantastic brew pub in San Rafael. I had a good porter and a great salmon dinner. And there was live music on the plaza next to our outdoor table. It was cool, the skies were blue and everyone was so happy and rock'in to the music. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed that evening.

    Sunday evening, Bill Adkinson and his partner Diane S. hosted a BBQ at their home on the bay. They built a dock from the seawall to the estuary that leads to the ocean. Bill's daughter and her friend came over and they went kayaking. If I had had a bit more time, I would have gone out with Bill - but tempus fugit. We had a really nice evening and I helped them with their backyard improvements by wheelbarrowing two loads of gravel to their backyard. It more ceremonial than anything else. I really appreciated their hospitality and I am looking forward to hosting them when they make the big Southwest swing in the fall.

    As for my swimming, I gave the 50 back record a scare, but did not swim as fast as I had hoped. I think I need to learn how to swim LCM more strategically. I died in the 100 and 200 backstroke races and had subpar swims.

    But more importantly this swim meet was a symbolic victory over a broken heart. I barely survived Toronto - but at this meet, I was able to enjoy myself, cheer for and joke around with old friends - as well as making some new friends.

    Masters swimming is much more than just racing - it's all about friendship, celebrating life and acting on positive life choices.

    I'll see you in the water!
  10. Back in the Saddle??

    by , July 8th, 2009 at 12:42 PM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    I'm headed to Hayward this weekend to swim in the Pac Masters LCM meet. I'm looking forward to seeing a ton of old friends (go Mud Sharks!) and hopefully swimming well. I still haven't been able to gain any weight back - no matter how much I eat - and I do love to cook (and eat). Perhaps I need to eat a lot of fast food (Supersize me??) But no way! I may have to just adapt to my current weight and body shape.

    After the meet, I'm scheduled to give a talk at a conference at Stanford on testing unmanned and automomous systems. Basically, the assumption is that robots are going to become smarter (Kurzweil's When Things Start to Think?). Given the assumption, the question we address is how to create tests, enviroments and conditions to insure behaviors (the results of black box decision making) are consistent with human intentions.

    Two weeks later, I'm back out to Palo Alto for the National Senior Games and looking forward to seeing another set of friends. The National Senior Games swimming competition is not as competitive as USMS, but it is a lot fun and there are other venues to watch - to see other senior athletes excelling in other sports is really, really cool.

    Finally, I'm interested in corresponding with single, 45-55 female swimmers. I really love traveling to exotic locations for swim meets and it would be great to find a swimming companion who appreciates cultural activities (theatre, arts, opera), is educated, enjoys (organic) cooking, has good family relationships and likes my cat!

    For 2010, I'd like to go to SCY NATs in Atlanta, perhaps Nanaimo, BC for Canadian nationals (and perhaps go exploring/ camping on Vancouver Island) and I would love to go to Puerto Rico for LCM Nats (perhaps Cuba will be open to American citizens -).

    Updated July 8th, 2009 at 12:45 PM by pdjang (small additions)

  11. A new start

    by , June 29th, 2009 at 11:09 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    Thirty three days after she moved out, she signed the title of our house over to me. Our ten year old relationship is officially over.

    I've suffered several depressive episodes and lost 20 pounds. But I came through like a champion. I took positive actions over these 30 days: locking in to a great refinance rate, got the house appraised, organized records and took them to an accountant, got a market analysis done, hired a lawyer, found some friends that would mediate the financial settlement. It was really hard to do these things because I was hoping to reconcile, but she would have no part in joint counseling. The only discussions were over her withdrawing her equity.

    So she lost some of her equity in the home, but has a new boyfriend - and he has some interesting issues. It's the stuff of soap operas.

    She has stopped swimming and has essentially dropped out from our social network of swimming friends and family. During our very brief discussions, I sense a lot of confusion, some anger at me (although she chose to initiate the affair) and sadness. I also believe that she will bury her feelings by immersing herself new work projects. I know that eventually, the thrill of the affair will wear off and reality will set in. What happens then?

    In the end, I have the house (new windows and interior paint (2007), new floors (2008) and a new roof and restucco (2009), a great refinance rate and in 10 years will own the home. And I have a broken heart.

    I'm doing a lot of self work (counseling, journaling and joining civic minded groups) as well as swimming like crazy. I've found that no matter how much I exercise, it does very little to help overcome the grief. Talking, writing and being with people has really helped me get through this nightmare.

    While some have advised that time will help heal me, I believe that it is what I choose to do with the time that is more important.
  12. The real race

    by , June 1st, 2009 at 11:48 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    So it has been about three weeks since my partner has left me for the arms of another person. I've lost about 15 pounds since then (anyone what to buy a lightly used B70 - size 28), gotten into counseling, had a physical exam, stopped drinking and started reading about relationship repair, divorce and recovery.

    I know now that she will never return. She refuses to admit she is having an affair and refuse to apologize for the pain and suffering that she caused not only me - but my mom - who loves her and misses her. I can't understand why she would throw away 10 years for a person she just met 2 months ago and why she would stonewall requests for counseling. Eitherway, now, I have to accept this path and take positive steps forward.

    The real race in life is not in pool or on the track or on the court. Yes, it is nice to be able to be successful - to win a gold medal or set some new record. The real race in life is building and maintaining a healthly and constructive relationships - this race has no gold medals and rarely makes headlines - but the rewards are so meaningful.

    Cheaters never win this race; they never do the hard work it takes to build a healthy and loving relationship. They just drift - justifying their actions and suppressing their emotions. Who would want to live their life like that?
  13. You can't swim fast with a broken heart

    by , May 22nd, 2009 at 10:59 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    I went to Toronto to swim in the Canadian Masters SCM championships. Seven days before we had planned to go, my partner of 10 years told me that she is leaving me. No matter how much I begged, pleaded and cried, she would not go to joint counseling. She said she was unhappy and just had to get out of our relationship. Three days before I left, I found out there was another guy in the picture. Not only did she time her announcement in an attempt to ruin this meet for me, I found out later that she had invited this miscreant to our house for a party! I remember giving him a beer and making him feel welcome. Talk about being humilated in front of my friends and family - and not finding out until after the fact. I was completely blindsided by these horrible events.

    It's no fun to try to race with a broken heart. I lost 10 pounds and my swim skin did not fit - it let water into the suit while I was swimming. I could not sleep soundly - waking up with night terrors or panic attacks. I was exhausted and could barely eat. My usually hearty appetite was replaced with the sensation of eating tastless cardboard. All the classic signs of depression. With the amount of stress hormones in my blood, I probably would have flunked a drug test!

    We have been going to swim meets together for as long as we have been together. I really missed her and found myself saying "what would she do if she were here - and she would have really like this or that". Useless thoughts, but in times of stress, your mind has a tendency to get stuck in these weird cognitive loops.

    I wish to thank Karyln Pipes-Neilsen and Don Graham for taking me under their wing during this meet. Their fellowship, sympathy, kind words and insights were particularly comforting.

    Everyone knows KPN and what a wonderful swimmer she is. Some people are jealous of her accomplishments, her enthusiastic joyful manner and her perfect lifestyle - globe trotting to put on swim clinics, living in Kona and just unbelievable talent.

    Well, I'm here to tell you that she has a heart of gold to go along with all of those other attributes. She is a great listener and she had a lot of insight into my problems. As I got to know KPN, I found that she is a really special human being who has overcome a lot of difficult life challenges. She is a true champion in every sense of the word.

    Don Graham has been a long time rival in the backstroke and IM races - he is primarily a butterflier (and a pretty good one at that). I really did not know him very well until this meet. But once I told him a little about what I was going through, he immediately opened up and let me pour my heart out. Don had some of the most insightful and thoughtful words that gave me great comfort. Without the help of these two very special people, I don't think I would have made it through the meet.

    Now that I'm back, I have many questions and no answers because the only thing she wants to talk about are financial arrangements. It is very painful and difficult to even see her at the pool. Unfortunately, the only time I can train is when the masters swimming team is in the water. I'm going to try to swim as far away as possible, but it will still be very difficult.

    Eventually, I will get through this and I know there is always another swim meet.
  14. 2009 H1N1 Flu at a swim meet???

    by , May 4th, 2009 at 01:25 PM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    Ok, this spring will be remembered for the swine flu pandemic. I went to the Las Cruces Aquatic Team's Sun Tan classic swim meet this weekend (LCM) to get some swim meet experience before my big races. Since we live so close to Old Mexico and because there are several very good Mexican age group teams within a few hours drive of Las Cruces, the pool staff and event organizers were worried about spreading the flu virus.

    I understand they politely requested that the Mexican teams stay at home and they argeed to do so. It is a real shame that the flu panic would have such an effect and hopefully this won't happen again.

    One of the bad side effects of the flu panic is that the water seemed to be super-chlorinated. Besides smelling like bleach, I spent the evening and next day with a burning feeling in my lungs. Yech.

    Oh well, any bugs that were hitchhiking that day were most likely decimated.

    BTW, a physician friend of mine told me that there is a significant number of people in the USA who would test positive for the H1N1 antibody - but are not necessarily ill with flu.
  15. Gregor Mendel was right!

    by , May 1st, 2009 at 12:44 PM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    OK, so I can do a little bragging about our family swimming prowess. My brother and I hold (soon to be certified) national records in the same age group! At the time of this blog entry, I am 54 and he is 50 (and a young whipper-snapper).

    I will be happy to challenge him to race any distance and any stroke as long as I get a 5 year head start. Fortunately, in 2009, I am now considered to be "aged-up" under FINA rules and happily leave the land of the 50-54 year olds.

    Seriously, he was the star swimmer when we were age groupers and was an 1980 OT consolation finalist in the 400IM (during the Moscow games that we (USA) boycotted). He still holds the Las Cruces High School record in the 200IM (1:58 - set way back in 1975).

    I was never able to achieve anything close to his performance level. It wasn't until I started back into swimming as an adult that my performances were sort of notable. While I'm happy with my times, I also realize just how darn slow that I am. There are 12 year old girls that can swim faster than I ever will be able to and given that fact, I see no reason to get all puffy.

    Neverless, our little family accomplishment could make a great USMS trivia pursuit question.

    2009 M50-54 Short Course Meters Records
    Event Name Date Time
    50 Back
    Tom Wolf 10-10-04 29.30
    Philipp A Djang 12-07-08 29.04*

    200 Breast
    Robert Strand 12-15-96 2:34.71
    Benn W Doyle 12-07-08 2:32.78*
    Lincoln P Djang 02-15-09 2:32.06*
  16. Linc's Visit

    by , April 25th, 2009 at 11:51 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    My brother, Lincoln and his family came for a short visit this last week. What a whirlwind of events! Several family dinners, early morning swims and the White Sands Missile Range Rocket Science swimming meet.

    It was good to see him, his wife Amanda and the twins - Philip and Rosyln. The twins are totally into their Nintendos, but came up several times to play and collect some desert bugs. Our Mom had a great time and enjoyed seeing the twins and Linc again (he fixed a lot of things at her house).

    Although the WSMR pool is a few inches shy of being official, everyone had a fun time at the meet. I think Linc got a huge charge seeing his son swim the 50 free in the meet. Linc swam well and I'm glad that I did not bring my suit (one of the benefits of running the swim meet).

    It was good to see him and spend some quality time talking over family history and upcoming plans.
  17. Spring Nationals

    by , April 25th, 2009 at 11:43 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    I'm really, really excited about USMS Nationals and the YMCA Nationals. Although I won't be going to either of these events, I'm happy to say that I know many of my fellow swimmers are going and they have my best wishes for both great swims and good times!
  18. Niskayuna, New York

    by , March 23rd, 2009 at 08:26 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    I've been working at GE Global Research for the last 7 days and have three more days until I hit the road for home and warmer weather. And the Dona Ana County Senior Olympic swimming games.

    I was searching the internet for pools and if you are on the road, I highly recommend It's a great resource for swimming road warriors (not that I am in the road warrior category).

    I was thinking of swimming at Union College and it was the first stop after landing at Albany International Airport. The campus is very scenic and the pool looks fab. They had some D3 qualifiers and I think they scored! Unfortunately, spring break was starting and the pool was on limited hours. It has been cold and snowy in the area and just as a rough measure of how the students were starved for sun, a glance at the athletic field revealed students in shorts and t-shirts playing softball and jogging on an artificial turf - surrounded by huge piles of old snow. They were have a good time and it was a warm (45), sunny, crystal clear sky. Everybody seemed pretty happy.

    Well, the next stop was the Niskayuna High School pool. It is a beautiful facility- 25 yards by 8 lanes. 13 feet in deep and a bulkhead that partitions the shallow (1ft). The pool is all tile and really nice and clean. The pool officially opens at 6:00am and closes at 7:00am (with additional hours that I counld not make). Did I mention indoors? Nice clean locker rooms and backstroke flags. The only thing missing - a pace clock.

    So my workouts are based on breathing cycles. Take 5 breaths and go for the next rep in a set. Kick, pull, swim - the stuff that makes up a good workout.

    The local swimmers are pretty stunned in the early hour, so I haven't had much of a chance to talk, but I have made friends with a retired GE engineer. Niskayuna has had several high school AAs in the 2004-2007 seasons. The times are excellent and I think the coach and pool managers are doing a great job.

    I'm looking forward to my 6:00am flight departure time and returning to the land of chile and warm weather.
  19. Bucket List

    by , March 9th, 2009 at 11:56 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    One of my friends and carpool buddies had to go the hospital this weekend. He had been having trouble with ulcers over the years.

    I guess we know that some ulcers are caused by bacteria - and some are caused by stress - or both.

    Anyway, my friend was feeling weak, bloated and just not well. He had a upper GI exam and it indicated that he had a blockage in his stomach (i think).

    He finally underwent surgery to try to find the source of the blockage. It turns out it was scar tissue from the ulcers.

    Furthermore, they also found a tumor in his pancreas. I don't know if the tumor is benign (as I hope) or .... I do know that malignant pancreatic cancer can be the end. No hope. End of the game. My father is a retired pathologist and he did a lot of diagnosis on tumors often while the patient was still on the table. I would guess that the surgeon would know the diagnosis within a minutes.

    One of my other dear childhood friends, Vicky Chidester, who graced the cover of our USMS magazine, lost her battle with colon cancer. She will be sorely missed by her family and everyone that knew her.

    Another one of my friends just had a double mastectomy and is recovering very nicely. I'm so happy for her and I know she will be back on the tennis court in the near future.

    So, what's a bucket list? Well, it's the name of a recent movie: two guys are terminally ill and sharing a hospital room. They make a list of things they want to do before they leave this earth - and proceed to do it.

    I'm reaching the age where retirement is almost in reach. I've worked and saved and had some professional success, but realize that "you can't take it with you" - as much as that is a bad cliche. So what to do? I guess that I need to work on that bucket list - things I'd like to do, places I'd like to see and memories that need to be made.

    The NMSU pool switched over to long course last night. Not only did Daylight savings whammy hit, but the pool got longer and lost some very valuable walls (glide off those turns). Still, it was very beautiful to swim in the darkness again. As an added bonus, we had a light drizzle of rain. Very cool and very good for the psyche.
  20. Momentum swimming

    by , February 27th, 2009 at 11:23 AM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    At this morning's practice, I usually do a fixed set - 500 warm-up and then, because it is Friday, I do 50 (or close to 50) x 50 - just because it is Friday and it's kind of fun. I'm usually really beaten down by Friday and need a day off to recover. So I was expecting to have to struggle with the interval.

    But this morning was a pleasant surprise. I really felt tired and sore during the warm-up, but once I got into the sets, I discovered the joy of "swinging your arms" and "rhythmically rolling your body". Instead of forcing and struggling, I used momentum to leverage my way into some decent times. All with out really elevating my heart rate.

    Swimming is really a zen sport - the harder you try, the slower you go. Try, but try less, release the mind, suppress the inner critic, and enjoy or embrace the rhythm.

    I'm reminded of the word Kaizen - which is the art and philosophy of making small, repeated improvements so that over time, you make a big systemic improvement. The concept comes from the Japanese version of quality control (Denning, six sigma, etc). As a philosophy, one can apply it to all aspects of life. I've been trying it in an effort to improve my stroke technique. I've been working on the stroke technique advice that my nephew gave me - swimming lots of long slow, focused sets (4 x 400 at a low or moderate heart rate). It's really hard to do, but if I continue to use the old stroke with it's flaws, I know that I can't go any faster. The only way to go faster is to 1) minimize resistances and 2) maximize proplusion - both via more efficient, but absolutely weirdly feeling motions. It takes a lot of mental discipline to repeat these motions over the course of these long (and boring) swim sets and my hope is that they will become ingrained in "muscle memory" so that I don't have to think "do this or do that" when it comes time to swim fast.

    In this morning's practice, I finally felt the first emergence of a better stroke via momentum swimming. It was satisfying to have the relative effort positively connected with a time (performance).
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