Illness no Training Obstacle

Posted on: 10 Mar 2019

Tuesday 5th March - Session Four

After baby-sitting for five days over the National holiday weekend with Galia’s sick (as in not well), 2 year old Grandson with us, we both got infected with his infectious virus. We are still suffering today with sore throats, blocked sinuses, annoying coughing and headaches. The child is now back with his mum and dad after leaving a legacy of germs with us.

It has been a weekend full of research online with various swimming maestros churning out their advice on breathing technique. They make it look so easy, but there was a lack of online advice on how to overcome the triggering of panic when water is accidently taken in the nose or mouth.

Thinking back to swimming in the sea, it was much easier there even with waves crashing about and I wondered why. I didn’t seem to have any issues with my breaststroke with my head underwater and coming up for a breath every three strokes. I recall doing quite some distance swimming parallel to shore last summer and felt in control for the main part with not getting exhausted. This is not the case in the swimming pool! It must be due to the salt water causing my body to be become more buoyant therefore resulting in a higher posture on the water. With this is wouldn’t be wrong to assume that swimming in a pool or unsalted open water is harder than in the sea. This assumption didn’t do me any favours in terms of taking on board more confidence. 

The idea of using a snorkel also hit the idea headlines with the issues I am finding difficult to overcome, namely breathing. It is used by many in training and I found quite surprising that it is also used in events so why not give it a go. It is also a tool used by swimming with mobility issues which prevents them from turning their head in freestyle. For many this is a great ploy to use if issues of conventional breathing remain. Personally I might consider this after a few months if nothing improves. At least this will give the option of not having to give up because of technical hang-ups.

Having got advice from some very kind people online who had commented on my blog, the advice was to work on the breathing technique, relax and trying not to panic and invest in a coach. Well a coach would certainly put the technique on the right track and I have decided to try and find one despite which is hard for me being the stubborn fool I am!

Back away from analysis, the pool was closed yesterday due to a National holiday. The plan was still to get a session in today and the alarm for 7:00 despite feeling rough last night. It was up this morning after a paracetamol, breakfast, one hour piano practice and then off to the pool. Not feeling too bright with a stuffed up head I might add.

The pool was empty on arrival bar the female lifeguard so it was on with the swim cap and goggles. The goggles fell apart for some reason and it took a few minutes to fathom out how it was put together. Being the cheapest set of goggles in the world bought new at just the equivalent of around £1.50 it didn’t surprise me, but I still managed to put it together albeit this time with a big double knot on the elastic strap which now kept slipping out of place. I will have to buy a decent pair online and just though it was funny trying to ‘google for goggles’.

Not feeling too well it was planned just to work on the breathing and relaxing again similar to the previous session. It felt like it had been ages since the last session although only three days had gone by. The ‘Bobbing’ exercise was done for five minutes with controlled exhaling before going a length of breaststroke with shorter strokes and straighter leg kicks as seen on a video over the weekend. Didn’t make much difference to the speed made and I found the shorter strokes meant it was harder to surface my head up for a breath due to less time to do it and  less force propelling my head up. Still, will persevere on this. I’m sure the issues of panic stem from fear of water intake and every time that happens I stop. 

I progressed onto the float board and moving with just a left arm freestyle stroke and breathe on the left side. Again, the slightest hint of water up the nose and the feet swiftly reached for the floor which happened frequently. This must happen to other swimmers with the slightest splash causing an ingress of water to be forced into the nasal! Nothing has been found on how to deal with that situation other than don’t panic. So what do you do if it happens? Not panicking is one thing, but there is now water up the nose and without stopping to expel it how is this resolved whilst in swimming mode?

Finishing with a slow breaststroke for two lengths, I left the water somewhat in a defeatist mood after 40 minutes in the water. I’d guess about 15 of those minutes was getting my breath back. Not to be put off with this I will try again tomorrow.

When showering I spoke to another swimmer who I’d befriended. He was about the same age as me and swims twice a week just for fitness in between going to work in another town. This is the nearest swimming pool he said with nothing else available locally.

Getting back home after a quick expresso coffee from a vending machine en route, I started looking for a swimming trainer online. It was quite a sense of excitement seeing a website that said there were two swimming pools in Yambol. The one I use which is 17 metres in length not 20 metres as I thought. Also it said that only students were allowed to use it, but that is not the case obviously. And there was another swimming pool, namely a 25 metre Olympic standard pool with two female swimming coaches. It said it was open all year round and was free to use. Why didn’t I see this before, why didn’t anyone tell me about this that knew about my challenge. It was only some 3 kilometres from our apartment and of course we made a beeline to the place without hesitation.

On arrival we entered the big block and thought it was strange that we saw a single pedal bike chained up to a railing in the empty carpark. There were two in attendance at the little reception area in a small cubical with a glass façade. We asked about the swimming pool and they told us that it wasn’t working and hadn’t had any water in it for 15 years! Wow! What a let-down after such joy and excitement of the find on the website, which seemed to be up to date with all current swimming events and news.

It was retail therapy with a supermarket right next to the dysfunctional pool site and treated myself to an ice cream which I enjoyed immensely on this very warm sunny day. Options then remain as they were and the last few hours will stick in my mind for a while, but just get on with things to best of my ability.

Still feeling unwell in the afternoon and even worse in the evening and know it wouldn’t be wise to dive in for another session again tomorrow, but knowing stubborn me I will. It is just like going to work regardless of being sick, which was the culture in the UK workplace before I retired in 2017.

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