Today is the end of 2019 and my life has drastically changed in this year as I have become an endurance athlete when compared to previous years. It’s time to have a review what I have done this year, referencing what I have written last year to see if I have achieved them.
- Remain in the elite class in local sprint ranking in 2020
- Become a Hong Kong team member for the 1st Asian Trail Orienteering Championships, and get good result in it.
- Decrease my TrailO world ranking points to below 45.00
I did 5 world ranking races in trail orienteering this year, and got my personal best of 4.01 in Fin5 TempO, which brought my world ranking points down to 40.22. Locally I did 3 sprint ranking races and got an average of 711 points, just enough for me to stay in the élite class in 2020. I originally hoped to perform well and got a good place in TempO in the 1st Asian Trail Orienteering Championships, originally scheduled to be held in Hong Kong, but due to social unrest the race was cancelled which was a pity for everyone in Asia.
Therefore my targets in orienteering have been fully done except the one which becomes invalid.
I have travelled less this year. I only had a trip to Nordic countries in late spring, and a trip to Europe this summer. However I ran out of budget in my second trip so I may still need to limit my travel in 2020, which I’m planning a short haul race trip for my marathon in Korea, and a long haul trip to Sweden and Poland for marathon swimming and trail orienteering.
Swimming has already taken over most of my life in this year apart from orienteering. I set my goal to become a marathon swimmer by the end of March 2020, with Cold Half as my goal race, and I ended up doing LGSA Classic 13 km instead as my first marathon swimming race. I have signed up the Cold Half which is going to be held on 19th January 2020, and I’m now in my final stage of training, entering the taper period soon.
While for swimming, I have a very ambitious goal which I don’t know if it is achievable or not – swim the channel in 2021, during a working holiday that year. In order to know if I am ready for that challenge, I would like to try the cold half (a 15 km open water race in Hong Kong in winter) in 2020, if I can complete it that means I am ready for that challenge. Therefore, I need to train a lot in 2019, eventually build up to 15 km without wetsuit by the end of the year.
I’m now reaching out to the pilots to see if there are any remaining slots for 2021 channel swimming, such that I can book one after I do the race in January. However, most of them are fully booked for 2021 already, and those who have remaining slots are not ideal for me. I’m currently putting my hope when pilots release slots for drop-outs during the year. 15 km is now within my reach after my training these few months, but the sea temperature is still staying at 20°C now, which is not that useful for cold training.
Moreover, I also need to work on my speed as well. I hope I can get my 1500 m time within 30 minutes in February once the HKU 50 m pool reopens, 27 minutes in July to qualify for the Hong Kong cross-harbour race, and 25 minutes by the end of 2019. I will probably take 1 or 2 coached sessions at the squad, 1 or 2 additional sessions by myself, and also an open water session on the weekend every week, in order to have maximum benefit.
However, my speed training didn’t go well in this year. My time basically plateaued around 31 minutes for most of the year and the squad sessions didn’t help. In the time trial for the cross-harbour race early September I did 0:31:03, which was not fast enough to qualify for the race (which was eventually cancelled due to social unrest). I also couldn’t get good training effect in the summer because it was consistently too hot for me. However in late October I did a lesson in another triathlon club from a total immersion coach and it brought me immediate improvement, combined with regular practice and cooler weather afterwards I’m about 10 seconds / 100 m faster than in September and the progress is still ongoing. In December I took my 1500 m time in the university 50 m pool just before it closed for annual maintenance and I got 0:28:54, which meant I had finally got to the 30-minute mark which was my long-term target when I was a beginner in 2016 (short term: 5 minutes for 200 m, medium term: 4 minutes for 200 m, long term: 30 minutes for 1500 m – the previous 2 were done not long after I took the beginner lessons). However I’m no longer satisfied with this now, after I found out that I couldn’t catch up anyone in the open water swimming groups, especially those who regularly go long. I really hope that I can get another 2 minutes away from my 1500 m swim time and qualify for the cross-harbour race in 2020.
The third sport I’m doing now is running. I resumed running and started serious training from October, and I did my 10 km PB late October and my first half marathon early December. As I got a good result without any ill effects from my half marathon, I subsequently signed up a full in March 2020, and now I’m training for it.
Outside sports, I am now learning Swedish in small group lessons and I hope that I can reach conversational level when I visit Sweden / Finland in the coming summer and chat with the local orienteers there. Also I am planning to learn a front-end framework such as ReactJS such that I can become a true full-stack developer with the ability to make a whole web application myself.
I am setting my goals in my following year 2020 to be done before March 2021, from the highest priority:
- to qualify for the World Trail Orienteering Championship (scheduled for 2020-11-08 to 2020-12-05 in Hong Kong) as a Hong Kong representative
- to remain in élite classes in sprint orienteering and trail orienteering in Hong Kong in 2021
- to complete my first running marathon
- to complete my first swimming ultra-marathon of at least 16 km (10 miles), which at my current level should take at least 6 hours to complete
- to complete a running marathon (42.195 km) within 3:40 (pro-rata for longer races)
- to complete a swimming marathon (10 km) within 3:40 (pro-rata for longer races)
- to qualify for the cross-harbour race in Hong Kong in the racing category
- to learn a front-end web framework and make a useful website out of it
- to learn Swedish such that I can chat with locals when I visit Sweden / Finland for orienteering events
Some of these goals are relatively easy, and some are actually a bit ambitious, and I have a plan for all of them, which I hope I can complete most of them.
I wish everyone a happy new year and aim high in 2020!