Friday 29th March – ‘Yes!’ Well almost, ‘Yes!’
After half a bottle of red wine before bed which seemingly gave way to a good night of sleep, it was back to normal in an array of matters. No babysitting, no aches or pains in the shoulder during the night and glad to be alive with the continuation of the swimming challenge.
07:00 alarm actually woke me up after naturally waking up at 06:30 and dozing off again. Two boiled eggs and toast and freshly brewed herb tea to set me off for a lay in bed again for it to digest.
At precisely 09:34 it was out of the front door and a well-timed walk checking the parking ticker machine on arrival just before the school that showed 09:45! The daily coach ran past as I entered the school premises as normally seen at exactly this time. All was going to plan as I entered the changing room, but there was something different at this point.
Hanging up on the pegs on the wall were four sets of clothing and trainer tucked under the long benches that trail underneath. Now there are four swimming lanes and my thoughts at this point where that they would all be used and sharing a lane would be more than probable. Not an issue for me but maybe an issue for a more competent swimmer if I get in the way.
Today it was a warm shower en route to the pool having been warmed up by the folk earlier. Even though I put the cold tap on full I could only get it to run lukewarm. By Jove that was quite a luxury with the norm where I run cold water prior to the pool. I could easily get used to a warm water shower in the comfort zone.
As I turned out of the shower and glimpsed the pool, there was water disturbance and a discotheque light effects on the walls and ceiling with the sun shining and reflecting from outside through the high windows. No time to boogie as I saw my normal nearside lane occupied by a swimmer. The side lanes are the last choice for swimmers as both sides have two water filters that stick out along the length of the pool. This creates less space as you swim by them and a jet of fast water spurting out which pushes you to one side. Quite often, especially with breaststroke, your hand would accidentally hit the filter system as you pass. These obstructions in these lanes, therefore, are not favoured if given a choice. I choose this lane as I feel safer near the side of the pool.
With my normal lane occupied, the far side wasn’t as two swimmers were sharing one of the inside lanes. I made my way there and it remained my sole possession throughout my swim today.
Making sure my goggles were as tight as a duck’s ar** it was bobbing with ease for a few minutes then into the breaststroke, nice and easy with a focus on the strokes trying to relax more. 10 minutes later it was nicely warmed up thinking I could do that all over again without getting weary. That thought was reassuring knowing that it all else fails 2 miles of breaststroke is a realistic option.
Bobbing a few and enjoying this again then into the front crawl knowing the focus had to be on the right side breathing. Kickboard support initially with the left side stroke and breathing just to get up and running and this was very comfortable and felt natural! Then to the right side which I must admit I don’t enjoy. It feels so uncomfortable, awkward and very difficult to relax getting more exhausted after each length due to technique much worse than the left side.
Every now and again I’d do a left side drill to get the relaxing back with the right side being such a chore. I know it has to be pushed until it gets comfortable and that’s what keeps me trying it.
There is another factor involved here where my right shoulder is not as flexible as the left and has given me quite a bit of grieve pain wise over the last few years, even on my bike where I have to work on not putting pressure on the right side which creates numbness. This I am sure is why I feel slightly disabled on that side in the swimming. It will never be the same as the left I’ve come to terms with that, but stride for improvement regardless.
Being comfortable on the left it was now a drill without the kickboard with a few lengths breathing every two-stroke on the left. After a couple of lengths without any issues, it was a very pleasing thought that I think I’ve almost got this cracked. I even went to breathing every four strokes for a while just to check it out and it was possible.
Next step was to try the three strokes alternative breathing without the kickboard. There is a mindset issue here as I know before I even start that this is going to be uncomfortable and for sure the will be some intake of water on the right side, tensing up, panic and a stop. I didn’t really want to go through this with that thought, but I did. True to expectations it was a struggle each time that right side breathing came in and such a relief to get back on the left again to recover. A few times I had to stop, otherwise, the technique learned to date would just go to pot trying to get my head further up out of the water causing my legs to drop.
After quite a few struggles with this drill, I didn’t want to end the session on this note. Back to left side breathing again to finish off with only one tense moment with some water up the nose, due to getting a little tired.
Warm down with breaststroke again and the thought of how the session went compare to two days ago. If Wednesday was chalk then today was cheese! Two completely different outcomes form the sessions. It was a sense of ‘Yes!’ I’ve cracked the front crawl, but not a capital YES! As the right side breathing still needs major work, maybe some therapy outside the water
The weekend ahead and feeling good despite all else!
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