Game of Two Halves – Well Nearly

Posted on: 28 Aug 2019

Wednesday 14th August – Game of Two Halves – Well Nearly

After Monday’s session, it was a bit of doom and gloom in terms of expectations to try and work on freestyle technique and endurance. Still, it had to be done as I made my way in the sweltering heat of Bulgaria touching 34C today.

There was about the same amount of young folk in the pool today as I took the time to choose my lane most likely to give me the least grief.

There was a centre lane with kids knocking about each end, but only one swimming. The swimming was busting a gut for two lengths and taking a breather. That was my cue with the plan to get some freestyle each time he paused for his breath.

My daily plans, of course, have gone to pot, It was meant to be a 3:1 ratio with freestyle and breaststroke respectively Monday and today upped to 4:1. No chance with things as they were in the pool.

It is just impossible to have any form with swimming with other swimmers heading towards me in a single lane. It is the matter of not being able to swim forward blindly for the want of inevitable collisions. Even with just one other person in the lane, Also, because the length is only 17 metres it is only a matter of 30 seconds each time the passing happens.

So, it was mainly breaststroke for 45 minutes with sporadic freestyle, the latter always with anxiety with not knowing what was coming towards me. I endured this and resigned myself to working on breaststroke which was to be a cop-out because I wasn’t extending myself physically.

Eventually, the child left the waters and I had 15 minutes of a lane alone! It felt like a great weight was lifted off my shoulders with this. I started freestyle with the intention of doing the 3:1 ratio missed Monday but it ended up with around 20 lengths non-stop with freestyle other than stopping to turn each length. I was slightly out of breath throughout this rep but amazed myself that that could be done. Not entirely comfortable in terms of relaxing as much as I like, but I’m sure that was to do with the hangover of the enduring anxiety of potential collisions in the previous 45 minutes.

All this swimming in traffic I guess is good for the actual event where there won’t be one other swimmer but thousands. There is a grace in the fact that all swimmers in the Serpentine will be going in the same direction and also, my snail pace means that I won’t be bumping into peoples’ feet ahead of me!

Today then. A game of two halves, well the first half was 45 minutes, the second half 15! Not quite.

Friday now beckons and I think it may be a good idea to arrive maybe 30 minutes later than I have been. Seems like it would be a good chance of a lane to myself with this.

With that, the thought of the event only 5 weeks away is quite nervy. Throughout the last six months, training has been erratic, to say the least, but I do feel that there are others who are in the boat as me on the day. Perhaps we could paddle along together for company and encourage each other on the day. Somehow, especially over the last half mile, it will be needed.

Back home and speaking to my partner Galia, I said that after five weeks you won’t see me in that swimming pool again, I don’t enjoy it at all. I’ll be back on land with my bicycle and conquer local mountains again. Surrey 100 again next year… Whoooo! There I go again, setting up other challenges again. Why do I do that?

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