A Few Things Understood

Posted on: 30 Aug 2019

Thursday 22nd August – A Few Things Understood

It was over 36C in Yambol today and I had been working on the land in those temperatures up until midday. After getting back home I just conked out on my bed for two hours, probably due to a little heat exhaustion.

Earlier that morning my right shoulder continued to give me pain which had been the case for a few days now. It could have been caused fighting with the power of milling machine on the land or carrying Gaia##s grandchild on my shoulders at the weekend. I don’t think it was from swimming. Regardless of the cause, it was painkillers over the last two days and again this morning and after my two-hour recovery on the bed.

By the time it was all systems go and making my way to the pool the shoulder paid had subsided much to my relief. The last thing I needed was another barrier for training with four weeks to go to the event.

It was another play on will power to get me to the pool again today with the end in sight helping with the motivation.

I was in the pool at 16:50, the latest I had turned up to date, but there were still children abound. One adult swimmer beckoned me to share his lane telling me it was better sharing with him than the kids. I didn’t need much persuasion and took up his offer.

Even though there was just one other person in the lane, the freestyle just couldn’t be practiced consistently with a major tendency to look up and see where he was every few seconds. There was a nervousness swimming not knowing when he was about to pass and the opportunity to relax and focus on style was impossible. So it was a mix of the freestyle and breaststroke for at least twenty minutes in this situation.

If there is one thing I know now, it is a big stress factor swimming with other swimmers. I know in the event we are all going the same way, so that might ease the anxiety a little, but breaststroke is the only answer to alleviate swimming with others right now.

There is also another thing I have learned today. There is a need to be at least 10 to 15 minutes warming up to get into a relaxed state. This reminds me very much of the same system with running and cycling. It was always uncomfortable for the 15 minutes or so until you got your second wind. Then the comfort zone kicks in and you just get gradually more tired as you go on, but aerobically stable.

With this as insight, it is now my plan to start the event with breaststroke to two reasons. Firstly, there will be hundreds of other swimmers crowding out at the start and the last thing anyone needs is a panic situation from the outset. Once swimmers have strung out after a while freestyle can kick in. Secondly, this will give me an opportunity to warm up and get a second wind ready for bouts of freestyle. These just make sense to me right now.

So, my shared lane became my own lane after some 20 minutes and freestyle began. What a big difference to the focus being on my own makes. Not entirely comfortable as I found myself racing with others in adjacent lanes, but this was good for aerobic practice. It still ended up that I swam at least 35 minutes freestyle non-stop and was quite content with that.

There was an issue with the swim set up though. I decided to try different earplugs as the coned silicon plugs were giving me some plan after 30 minutes use on previous occasions. The new pair were just squeezy silicone that had to be molded into the ear. That was fine for a while then they began to seep after 20 minutes and I ended up with water in the ears by the end of the session which to me is a big irritant. I’d rather have a little short term pain than ears full of water for days on end.

Somehow my goggles didn’t seep in the water today and they weren’t strapped on that tight. These goggles are so temperamental it presents a mystery as to why they work one day and not another.

There was no hot water in the shower after the swim for the second time this week. This was only a problem for a few seconds once acclimatised. Besides, it was 32C when I stepped outside into the sun and walked the 10 minutes back home with a coffee in hand.

The thought of only having to go to the pool a handful of times now is quite calming. It has become a chore now and I would rather be doing other things in this glorious weather. Every morning I say sorry to my road bike for ignoring it and give the tyre a little pat. Returning to Bulgaria on the 22nd September after the swimming event it will be back on the road again. I have also registered and applied for next year’s Surrey 100 bike ride although I know logistically and financially it won’t be possible. Dream on….

The Black Sea on Sunday, hopefully, jellyfish avoided with the plan to swim along the coast rather than out to sea.

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