Success is relative

Here is the link for the race I am training for: .  Last night I checked out prior year results to get an idea how many 50+ year old swimmers are participating.  I’d assumed a fair amount, given that prostate cancer research funding is the focus of the race promotion.  Although the race literature points out that 1 in 6 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, I’d never really thought about all the men I know who have been through that trial.  I am inspired and awed by the courage of the many people who have shared their personal experience with prostate cancer with me since becoming involved in this race.  My father-in-law’s experience, in particular, has had a big effect on me, and I suddenly don’t feel so much like writing about it.  We’ll leave it for now at noting that sometimes life is extremely unfair, and that the quality of the medical care you receive in prostate cancer treatment is as important as your attitude and willpower.  My father-in-law had a difficult personality for many people, but I was always aware that he treated me differently.  It would be fair to say that I went from admiring that man, to loving him like a brother.  You had to know him.

I was also curious about prior year results because I like to measure myself.  I will state right now that I will not even come close to placing in my age group category, regardless of how many other competitors are in it.  It doesn’t matter if there are only two other 50-54 year olds, I don’t intend to even come in third.  Last year, the first swimmer overall crossed the finish line in slightly over 25 minutes, while my age group was mostly bunched around a 35-45 minute time.  I suppose I wanted to know how many 50 year olds were swimming in that time range, so that I could prepare myself mentally for humiliation.  Humility is a big part of my sporting life.

Also realized that the water on this swim was going to be much cooler than the pool:  69-72 degrees, as opposed to my nice 80 degree pool.  Once I get moving I’ll be ok, by I sink like a rock and will exhaust myself if I have to tread water for long before the start, plus borderline hypothermia is pretty much my base status even when I’m not in the water.

Been reading “Total Immersion” by Terry Laughlin in an effort to improve my stroke.  Had to read through three chapters of filler before I got to something useful–swimming faster comes down to three rules:  balance your body better in the water, make your body longer, and swim on your side.  Now I’m excited, because I seem to remember some of this from training for triathlons years ago, and I’ve already been working intuitively for a while on making my body longer in the water.  So far, those rare instances when I succeed have been the highlights of my swims, so I’ll keep reading the book and applying the lessons in the pool.  I suppose it is difficult to create a book-length work around just those three things, so I can’t really criticize the author for wanting to make something long enough that people will pay for it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s