Wednesday 26th March – Bit of a Downer Today
Another night of sleeplessness form waking up at 2:20 and still awake for the alarm at 06:00. Not sure why this is exactly, but nothing to do with the swimming sessions.
So, back for the kinder garden drop off with Galia’s Grandson and back home heavy-eyed with a nagging pain in my right shoulder which has plagued me over this last week. Sometimes the pain just disappears and sometimes it tortures, strangely enough when I lie down or sit crouching. Added to all this was a stomach upset for reasons beyond me as we always are very careful with food hygiene and always eat fresh homemade food. Nothing is fast food or takeaway, always homemade in our food regime here.
All these issues together I know was telling me to skip the pool today and that’s what I thought I’d do as I lay down back onto the bed that saw now sleep earlier.
Dozing on and off and well aware of the time passing by I just knew I just couldn’t live with the guilt of skipping swimming today. If I didn’t go I’d feel even worse than I felt right now and sulk all day. It was also the day for weight training and of course the daily plank exercise. Knowing me, if I skip swimming it would lead to skipping the other fitness routines. 09:20 now and I had decided that I had to make the effort and it was up on my feet and getting my swimming gear together. Galia my partner thinks I am mad to have such a compulsion to still want to swim when I was overly tired and ill on two fronts. But then again, that’s why she still with me and puts up with me; she’s mad as well!
Of I jolly well go to the swimming pool. Arrived at the parking ticket machined at precisely 09:43. Two minutes too early due to a brisk walking pace faster than normal. A pause watching the same bus that travels past at this time each visit with the same driver. That bus was the signal for entering the school grounds and doing the business. By this time I had perked up a bit with the walk, stomach bearable and right shoulder just holding out at this point.
All changed, a cold shower as the first swimmer and ready to enter the pool semi-relaxed known that this would be more challenging than most sessions due to the mindset of knowing I wasn’t well.
Bobbing, which is something I quite enjoy now as there is no threat or fear with routine. This has taken a month to get this feeling and I now use it to relax each time I feel tense or panicky during this session.
Breaststroke to warm up again for 10 minutes just working on the breathing and head position trying to use the least amount of energy raising my head to breath each third stroke. I did experiment with one breath each stroke but that takes up more effort and is counter-productive and gave that up. Knowing eventually I will find a medium with this stroke and use it as a back-up to the front crawl.
The front crawl or freestyle comes to play now. I never knew it would be so demanding to get this stroke into play and really don’t know how much longer it will take to perfect the breathing which has been the ruin of enjoyment of this sport. Yes, I have to say I don’t really enjoy swimming from the point of being uncomfortable for 80% of the time. Having said that it was 98% when I started and when a moment of getting something right it is a moment of celebration. That keeps me on track, those little moments of achievement.
However, today is a day when I took a step backward when the drills of front-crawl today and I could only manage stress-free swimming with the kickboard leading me off. There were countless lengths done with left, right and shared breathing sides and some consistency with this. Without the board it was a disaster with tensing up, panicking, stopping numerous times and gathering my breath exhausted if a length was completed. I just couldn’t understand why without the board the nerves get jangled.
Other swimmers in the pool are now a real point of interest. Whilst bobbing I sometimes pause underwater to view their styles of strokes and kicking motions. But to be quite honest it just confuses me whether I should try and follow suit or whether to stick to my own internet instructions from the online gurus. These swimmers look so relaxed even with less than perfect technique form what I understand. I guess a lot is down to what you feel comfortable with. After all the objective from my point is to finish a 2-mile stretch and no race inclinations involved. This for me is difficult having a very competitive nature. This was evident today when I was finishing a length and another swimmer was on my left as a faster pace, I just couldn’t help myself and beat him to the end giving up on the drill of technique and relaxation. This was just against one swimmer, what happens if there are hundreds?
Back to the session which in fact ended up being a step back in confidence knowing that after a month of training I was still not able to do a freestyle swim without a floating aid. We all know that we have good and bad days when out doing our stuff, today was not good and with pain from my right side, but the next session might well be better with a 48-hour recovery.
After the session ended, and I was quite happy to end it today, it was still a happy soul walking home in the warm Bulgarian sunshine knowing that at least I have tried today despite all the signals telling me to forget the session. I just put it down to being extremely tired and not feeling well.
Because I turned up and swam today regardless of issues trying to put me off and I’m glad I went through the process as mentally I felt better for it even though the session wasn’t good. To follow on the weight training and plank sessions went ahead despite stomach cramps and right shoulder aching problems that persisted throughout the day. Guess this is not surprising from someone who isn’t a spring chicken anymore.
“Oh the pain, the pain”
Quote - Dr Smith from ‘Lost in Space’
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