Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wherefore Art Thou?

Yes, I’m still around. Regrettably both circumstances and other factors have conspired to keep me from posting the past couple of months. April, May, and June are at the best of times exceedingly stressful for me as the busiest time of year workwise and this year was no different. The time required to research, outline, and grind through drafts of even one article a week is surprisingly time consuming and this year with its changes there's been little or no time to write. Most of all, because I’ve decided on a long term approach to swimming fast, I've radically increase my swimming kilometrage and therefore this busy season instead of cutting back to considerably less than 5,000 meters a week my meters only dropped to around 12,000. A significant change which entailed not only more time but left me with less energy to tackle my day-to-day commitments. The other major reason for not posting at least something is more complex. Originally this blog was to be a personal training log which merely tracked my progress in rehabilitation. As I grew to better understand swimming as a sport, however, I also wanted to join in the swimming community’s discussions. In short order I went public and started posting ‘articles’ exploring certain aspects of the sport in more detail. To my delight I’ve discovered swimming is an incredibly complex sport to master – there’s plenty of subjects to choose from (I have some thirty topics on my list right now waiting for enough time to address them). Some articles write themselves, others take considerable effort, and still more find themselves in limbo due to problems in construction, research into underlying facts, or simply falling into disfavor. Over time the numbers of these work-in-progress/on hold drafts started to accumulate (one nice thing about a personal blog is having neither deadlines nor an editor/instructor requiring any particular assignment to be handed in). If I ran into a problem I’d just walk away from it and go onto the next subject on my list which attracted my fancy. Still, it was bothersome to have considerable time and effort invested and no publishable results. Eventually the unpublished articles were reduced to just those less favored and unpleasant as compositional difficulties and deficient research can be, and were, dealt with. After a year and a half I have four partially completed posts in various stages of completion – all of considerable merit, a couple to my mind actually a source of considerable pride – but all generally depressing in nature. Frankly I avoided dealing with them by immersing myself in writing posts on current topical swimming issues. That is, until two events happened. The first was Eamon Sullivan’s mind-blowing 21.28 50 free. The second was the introduction of the Speedo LZR Racer. Addressing Sullivan’s massive improvement lead me to eventually look to what extent doping might have penetrated swimming and what I found was devastating to me ... absolutely crushing. And the more I look at the LZR Racer the more I’m convinced the suit is illegal even under FINA’s existing rules. The intended follow up post on FINA’s selling out of what was a relatively pure sport was equally demoralizing. By April I was stuck with choosing to finish off depressing posts with topics such as yet more evidence of the inevitability that Dara Torres dopes, humankind’s natural inclination to cheat, what is clearly a doping epidemic in sport, FINA’s hand over of swimming to corporate interests, the tacit acceptance of doping by the IOC and WADA, or how I can’t reasonably expect any significant progress in my times for at least a year or two. If you were handed a subject list like that to write about would you be posting regularly?

Now I’m going to start writing again in July but I intend on clearing off my slate before continuing anew. If I get them dealt with quickly hopefully you readers can use the Olympic experience to wash away the bad taste left in your mouths. But for me my romance with elite swimming was, like a summer affair, wonderfully intense but short-lived. My blog will be returning to its roots as my personal training blog with only the occasional foray into commentary. In a month’s time I think you’ll understand why.


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