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Back to the grind

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Shoulders and back are sore from all the butterflying and IM work over the past few weeks. So, no pool action for 1 to 2 days while I recover — though it won’t be a complete rest since I’ll be going for yoga classes to stretch out the body and do some cross-training for flexibility and core strength.

But I’ve made some progress and can now swim the 50m fly, 200m and 100m IM more comfortably — aesthetics is another matter, ha ha. My distance freestyle is also improving, and I don’t get breathless as much. I’ve tweaked my breathing pattern to gain greater control over my breath, and am thus able to relax more and focus on correcting my strokes and swimming longer.

The Mastering Swimming book I recently picked up has helped in many areas. Swimming is not just about the stroke. Having a keen water sense or an intimate feel for the water is also essential. Being able to relax (as opposed to fighting the water), breathe naturally and easily, and having good balance and streamlining to reduce resistance, will help one to swim better. There are also very useful tips on physical conditioning and planning workouts, such as setting shorter-term goals which will help to track progress while working towards the bigger long-term goals; varying workouts to allow for different intensities and sufficient time to recover; cross-training (flexibility and core strength — hallooo abs!!) which also helps to break the monotony and keeps one going; and most important of all, recovery periods.

Certainly, as I ramp up pool workouts to 40 laps each time (which is only less than half of what competitive swimmers do per session and they train twice a day), I’ll have to be more disciplined about committing to weekly yoga sessions and backing off at least 1 day a week to allow the body to recover.

New year, new goals, new races :-)

 

Written by The Intimate Stranger

January 6th, 2014 at 12:34 am

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101 things easier than getting married

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# Getting my own place and moving out.

# Beating the ex-national swimmer at the inter-agency meet next year.

# Completing the Lifesaving 1+2+3 Courses, Standard First Aid Course, National Coaching Award Programme, and becoming a certified swimming coach.

# Collecting all 20 badges for the Singapore Swimming Proficiency Awards, including swimming 4 continuous laps of Butterfly.

Just saying.

[To be continued...]

 

Written by The Intimate Stranger

December 28th, 2013 at 1:02 pm

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His little heartbeat

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His rhythmic panting paces our walks

It is the only sound I hear in the quiet of the park

At night.

 

It means his little heart still beats

And it comforts me

At night.

 

 

Written by The Intimate Stranger

October 26th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

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Be still my beating heart

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“I remember listening to his heart beat.

Your heart beats much slower than ours.

There is this gentleness to the sound.

I find it comforting.”

~ Sonmi-351, Cloud Atlas

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Written by The Intimate Stranger

February 16th, 2013 at 12:47 am

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Let’s get physical

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jan2013_1_swim

1 Jan 2013 – 5 km swim in 2 hours 10 minutes :-D

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The last time I swam 100 laps was at least half a lifetime ago, if not longer. I used to swim everyday when I was in Secondary School (nothing better to do; plus I was too ugly to date though I was distracted enough by boys, ha ha).

Hell, I wasn’t sure if I could do it this afternoon. The last time I attempted a long distance swim – probably about a year ago – I made it to 60 laps. I stopped due to exhaustion and pain. Granted, I went much slower this time. I was nowhere near breathless nor was I even breathing heavily. Neither were my limbs aching like the last time.

I started advanced swim classes a month ago and have been working on achieving a more streamlined profile in the water and fine-tuning my technique. Sure, I can already swim pretty well, but I wanted to be a stronger swimmer, and I wanted to pick up the butterfly stroke again.

Who knew these relatively minor tweaks made such a difference? While I no longer possess youthful stamina and brute strength, I now make up with better posture and technique. And, I’ve gotten fitter in the last one year from maintaining a busy exercise regime comprising mostly yoga, weekly dance which was replaced with Muay Thai when my preferred dance class – street jazz – was no longer available (hip hop was not ideal because of the repetitive stress on my knees), roller-blading and occasionally swimming on the weekends. I’ve also focused on gaining greater body awareness in all the activities, rather than just building aerobic fitness.

What made it a challenge though, was persevering and holding on until the 100th lap. As my yoga teachers like to say, you can do anything if you just put your mind to it.

And I will need willpower more than anything else to make it through 2013.

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Written by The Intimate Stranger

January 1st, 2013 at 9:39 pm

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Byebye 2012! Hallooooo 2013!

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Happy New Year all :-D

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Written by The Intimate Stranger

December 31st, 2012 at 9:11 pm

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Rain, rain go away

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22 Nov 2012, Bishan Swimming Complex

 

 

1545 h became 1630 h became 1715 h; the last change was 1800 h.

I waited 3 hours in all.

Swim class at 1500 h was cancelled but I hung around expecting the rain to stop – it didn’t (as forecasted). I could have trudged home, when it became clear the rain wasn’t going away soon. The handful of people who were already at the pool when the rain started, or who had showed up because they had also thought it was just a passing shower, left at some point.

But it was a slow weekend for me. I didn’t need to run off to another appointment or to walk the dog (already did, and wisely so, in the morning). Besides, there’s something about rainy days and the sound of rain…. time seems to slow down and we are lulled into a pleasant stillness. And so I hung out at the pool with my friends who couldn’t leave anyway – they were teaching and had classes lined up all the way to 1800 h. We talked; they pointed out people they knew to me; I met fellow course mates who left after waiting for some time; a handful more students showed up but left as the pool remained closed; I checked out one of the other swimming instructors (heh); and we just waited. It was surprisingly easy, really – divers are used to having to while away time during surface intervals between dives, which can last from 1 to 3 hours each time. Grin.

The all-clear was given by the weather station eventually, and we were allowed into the pool just before 1800 h. I swam for an hour and my friends got to teach their last, and only class, for the day.

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Written by The Intimate Stranger

December 23rd, 2012 at 3:53 pm

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Revelations

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29 November 2012, Brauhaus

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1.

We could do with fewer assumptions about our friendships. Sometimes, a friend really doesn’t care about your past and ‘failings’, or needs to know everything about you –  she accepts you for who you are; or knowing more about other aspects of you makes no difference to how she feels about you and the friendship simply because she doesn’t attach significance to these things. In other words, it isn’t always about you.

2.

Because it’s clear that you are just not a nice person. All the nice things you do cannot hide the unpleasantness, just like make-up cannot hide bad skin and unattractive features – and when the make-up has to come off, which it eventually has to, WAHLAU EH!!!

3.

Alcohol loosens tongues. Heh. Heh.

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* * *

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So, I was looking the wrong way….

What’s with the teasing looks and smiles you 2 have been giving each other?

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Written by The Intimate Stranger

November 30th, 2012 at 11:52 am

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Letting go

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I dreamt of you; of us.

But it was your choice to make.And you made it – as you always have.

It is your lesson.

And mine too.

I’ve learnt it is not for me to teach. Only,

Understand. And

Letting go.

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Written by The Intimate Stranger

November 2nd, 2012 at 10:51 pm

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Skin on Skin

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“Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.”

~ Romeo and Juliet, Act I Scene v

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Because I wanted to know what his touch would be like.

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Written by The Intimate Stranger

April 17th, 2012 at 12:31 am

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