Tuesday 10th August – Going Through the Motions
A morning of harvesting sweetcorn and uprooting the stems that had dried out now completely for rabbit food in the winter, I was knackered by lunchtime. Also, as I loaded the rabbit feed into the car boot I jarred my left knee that now has swollen up and now is giving me jip. Goof job it isn’t cycling or running that waits for me in the later afternoon.
There were moments where I couldn’t resist an apple fresh from the tree, just like Adam, but added a few ripe figs an a few grapes that just called out to be eaten. The consequence was just minor and just in terms of mental nervousness with these deeds.
My wetsuit is too small for me as I well know, but once it is on this is forgotten and I just get on with things. The trouble is it takes nearly 20 minutes to put on with the bulk of the time trying to ride up the skin to give enough slack to do the zip up at the back. The zip finally rode up after a good ten minutes of tinkering trying to getting more slack at the back, (poet don’t you know it!) It has been said before that it is too late to get a better fitting wetsuit with limited finances to hand and outfits scant here Bulgaria. Will just have to make do. Only a week and a half to go and three anyway.
It was an action replay of last Thursday with the wetsuit semi-disguised under scant summer clothing. And blow me, would you believe it, another 10-minute wait at the reception for the cashier to turn up again which was something I would have put money on with this never happening before other than last Thursday. Sweat running down my face again with the wait, even though I stood by the entrance door for a hint of wind that swept in from the outside.
At this stage, I knew I was somewhat dehydrated, not just from sweating wearing the wetsuit, but from this morning’s graft on the farm with only a cup of tea and a cup of coffee taken in the whole day. My mind was positive however, with a view that this may well be the case after 90 minutes of swimming in the event and it would be good to experience how it felt swimming dehydrated.
The pool finally swamped me in at 16:45, I can get more than an hour in with the pool virtually empty. I just realised this is because schools started up this week so no kids splashing about, they are all in the classroom until 18:00 when school lessons end. This, of course, means that next Thursday I can turn up earlier without fear of being hindered in continued swimming. Perhaps even pay for 2 hours and use that time to do the distance of 2 miles.
Today however once in the pool, it was 8 lengths of breaststroke trying to get the legs to push water rather than air. Without a wetsuit breaststroke is snail’s pace, with a wetsuit it is half a snail’s pace! Restricted arm strokes with the tightness of the wetsuit didn’t help and just like last time, felt quite an effort on the arms that probably couldn’t be maintained.
It was good now to get into freestyle, almost a relief, now there’s something I’d never thought I’d say a few weeks ago. During the monotonous up and down with lengths, there were challenges set to keep focused. The main target was to see whether I could reduce the number of stroke cycles for each length. The norm was 9, but on a few occasions I got it down to 8 and on one occasion 7. The reason this could be done was to focus on gliding more and delaying the stroke. In a wetsuit, you can delay more as there is a tendency not to sink. Also, there is a difference in the speed and forward motion by giving a little more power with the stroke - naturally. I was now looking and experimenting for the most effective position of the pull underwater not having to focus on other basic stuff now. In addition to this, more attention was given to using my body to turn with my head rather than just running my head. This tactic used less energy and a more streamlined technique and is done automatically in the main if I am relaxed. I was buzzing reaching the end of the pool seeing the pool floor pass under me and that pool wall speeding towards me on many occasions. I never thought I could get to this stage, ever.
There was another young teenage female swimmer in the next lane also doing freestyle, naturally it was compared with my own. Even more of an ego boost was that I sped past her on many occasions without any effort. Yes, I was in a wetsuit and subconsciously maybe put a little more effort in. she stopped for a breather every length whereas I just carried on without pausing for an hour and 5 minutes.
During that time in the water, after 45 minutes there was a cramp in my left calf muscle, a change of position got rid of that. Then a more severe bout of cramp in my right thigh a few minutes later that took a bit more of work to get rid of. Well, this was the result of being dehydrated so was no surprise.
There were moments where I did feel some anxiety during this swim, mainly with the thoughts of not having been in open freshwater swimming environments without a few seconds pause after every 17 metres to turn as in the pool. Also, swimming blind is okay with a lane free, but what if clashes occur, how would I react? There were also many phases in the swim where it felt like I had indigestion. They only lasted a few minutes and usually come about after burping. Not sure what causes this I hadn’t eaten in the afternoon. Maybe, that is the problem with the stomach trying to digest something that isn’t there. Well, with the event in the morning and breakfast some 2 to 3 hours before that indigestion issue hopefully won’t occur. Regardless of a little anxiety, there is always going to be that tow float to rely on.
All done and dusted and back home it was into the usual sequence of planks routines which is now up to 18 minutes. With my left knee still feeling the pain from the jar this morning there was quite some discomfort when lifting my right leg with my left leg supporting the whole of my body. Hopefully, it will repair itself quickly as I want to target a 20-minute planking routine by Monday Sweat was still pouring out of me during this session so no concerns of being severely dehydrated.
If I’m honest, I have to admit this evening I was a little tired, but from the events of the whole day, not just the swimming. There are not too many concerns not that I will not be able to complete the 2-mile event. Having said that, you never know what is in store on the day.
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