Monday, October 27, 2008

The Blog is Active Again!

Well, I got the basic information up here early, and now it is time to make use of the blog on a regular basis.

First, one bit of great news: my church received a grant from the Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program to finance the activities of my sabbatical, including the English Channel swim. I was committed to the swim anyway, but this grant will make it easier to cover the costs of swimming the Channel. (Just to be clear - 100% of your donations go directly to the school in Waku Kungo, Angola.)

Second, good news on the Waku Kungo front. The school project is now fully approved by our church partners from IECA (the Congregational Church of Angola), and I have learned some more details about what we will be doing. As I mentioned before the church already has a school functioning in Waku Kungo, but it is very rudimentary. Our project will enable them to build a permanant school structure, and triple the number of kids they can help educate - from 120 to 360 or so. It is amazing to think that with only $50,000 they can do so much. IECA knows that education is the key to the economic and social well-being of their people, and it is their top "social mission" priority. You can donate here (click on the green button on the left side of that page), and help transform the lives of hundreds of wonderful kids in Waku Kungo.

Third, my training: I have begun to train in earnest for the swim, and am now slowly increasing my yardage. I am trying to do this intelligently, taking advantage of my knowledge of endurance training from running/tri-ing, of my experience in swimming, and of modern research about swimming. I know from experience that I want to do more at this point than I probably should do. The basic danger is that I will pull a muscle and lose two or three weeks of good training, so I am holding back some. Swimming (consistent with running) research says, perhaps surprisingly, that I need to include a good deal of harder, shorter training at this early point. That builds more muscle mass, which means you have more draw from a little later when you focus on endurance more.

But I am doing some longer stuff too. Without too much difficulty I worked up to a four hour, eight and a half mile swim in Lake Michigan: photo above (yes, the little splash is me - thanks to Frank and Diane Bunker for the escort!). The water was 67 degrees. I would have preferred colder, for the experience, but that's when the timing worked. I did two hours in 64 degrees in the back yard pool (yes, swimming in place, tethered to the side with a fancy rubber cord - yes, it gets boring). The Channel should be around 63 when I swim, so I know have a little better idea of what is involved in getting used to the cold, and am confident I can do it. That will be one of two top goals beginning about April of 2009 (the other being endurance of course).

For the record and anybody actually interested in the swimming: A good set for me right now is 10x100 (yards) on 1:30. Yesterday I was coming in at 1:20 for all of them, with the last one on 1:14. I did a 1000 yesterday on 13:50. I do lots of 1000's on 15:00 intervals, and am keeping a consistent pace of 4000 yards per hour, no matter the set. That is in a 25 yard pool, with turns obviously, so I am not sure how that translates to swimming speed in the Channel. But it is pretty consistent with my eight and a half mile four hour open water swim.

Well, that's enough for now. Remember donate here! I'll be writing regularly now, so come to often!


1 comment:

Karen said...

Hi Mike, are you SURE you're in the water in that picture? Hey, I logged onto the District 205 website to get some info and saw that Haskell School has been taken off the watch list! Way to go Second Con Church reading buddies. What an accomplishment! Bravo to all.