Thursday 25th April – Easter Break Upon Us
Having the week shift forward a day due to the pool being closed on Monday it was a Thursday visit today. What’s more this weekend being Easter in Bulgaria the pool is closed until Tuesday next week so it will be a 5 day wait for the next session.
What I wanted to do today is prove to myself that progress is being made no matter how small. So the challenge was to try and get a five-length non-stop freestyle swim in today. Added to which recovery breaks using the floating on your back system, as that needs to be worked on for open water sessions.
After a night of strange dreams a nice muesli breakfast and the usual ginger and lemon tea, it was 09:46 on the car park ticket machine. I know exactly what time is going to be shown on the machine now, with two methods. The first, what time I leave my apartment and whether I get caught having to wait at the traffic lighted pedestrian crossing. And secondly, the regular coach that travels past the school at exactly 09:45. Today I had to wait for the green light on the crossing and the coach passed me 100 metres after the school so I knew instinctively how to account for that extra one minute and that it would be 09:46. There is something quite calm and reassuring working these things out although I am fully aware that it is a quintessentially English phenomena.
Second in the pool and the quest begins to improve. With my mind on objective today I forgot to do the out of the pool warm-up exercises. Once in the pool, I didn’t want to get out again for this. Nevertheless, I carried on with a 20-minute session of breaststroke, seemingly today I was sitting lower in the water and tried to compensate by sinking my head lower when expelling air. It seemed to work although the technique on how to get faster is a complete mystery, regardless of this I plod on. This is an entirely sustainable motion and reassuring that at no time would I get exhausted aerobically, just fatigued.
Onto the freestyle, quite nervous knowing that the last two lengths of the five-length challenge will be approaching the cause for panic. With the focus entirely on relaxing and very easy pace by the time the fourth length had been reached I wanted to stop but didn’t. Five lengths under my belt and I was exhausted and I can’t understand why. The slow and unforced strokes shouldn’t exhaust me. The breathing technique in place albeit left side only and intermittent kicking just for balance shouldn’t tax my lungs but it does.
After a length of drifting on my back to recover it was thinking time. There is no point doing front crawl to exhaustion, better to focus on two or three length sessions and recovery on my back until is become too easy, then extend the distance. Also, it is very difficult to use breaststroke as a recovery method as after exhausting myself with the freestyle and into the breaststroke I just lose form and tension and slight panic sets in.
So, intermittent freestyle two lengths at a time with floating recovery and an occasional breaststroke length it was.
The session finished and I went away knowing that the five-day break would probably do me good. Going away forgetting about learning how not to drown and return next Tuesday probably a few pounds heavier from the Easter feasting and celebrations that go on here.
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