A dip into reality

Training Diary 2 Comments

Anyone that followed along with the FB chat on Sunday starting at the Twilight Run might be all too well aware that me and reality aren’t necessarily room-mates. Sometimes I fail at real life. I have concluded that adulting is for people who are more adulty than me. I have accepted this, and therefore prefer to retreat into my own little world of cosy chaos. But today I was confronted with a dose of hard cold reality. And I couldn’t ignore it.

So the thing was, I returned triumphantly to the pool after my stupendous effort of swimming 50m of front crawl last week. I should have seen the warning signs that things maybe weren’t going to go to plan when there was no merman sitting on the side flapping his golden fin resplendently, waiting to welcome me into the enchanted world of my new family: the mer-people. Instead there was a baby sploshing with his mumma. Cute but not golden.

Then there was the fact that I’d spent the morning ODing on articles on the Swim Bike Mom site prior to making my way to the gym. And for some reason, my brain had translated reading articles about triathlon swim training to me being able to do triathlon-type swimming. Oh, and the fact that I swam 50m of front crawl last week. (I thought I would just mention that feat of superhuman water perambulation in case you missed it).

So I signed up for a newsletter that gave me access to a novice training programme, which is broken into 3 general groups: complete beginners, beginners and a plan for those with a general grasp of each discipline to get you to a sprint triathlon. Needless to say, I fall in an interesting bracket. Running – yep, I could quite happily cope with the 3rd plan once my shin is fully recovered. The longest run on the “advanced” plan is 5 miles, so about 8km and is definitely within my normal range of running capability..

The “intermediate” bike plan starts at about 8 – 12 miles. On the basis that I was the cycle leg of a triathlon team last year, and signed up to the team the week before the event and had to borrow my son’s mountain bike, I know I can cycle 20km. Not fast. But my legs will keep going. (Although Whyalla is somewhat flatter that Brisbane, so the reasoning may be flawed…)

But then there is the swimming. This extract is taken from the “total beginners” section:

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Now, I suspect Meredith is talking about 200m of continuous freestyle. And she uses the term “only”. It’s ONLY 200m that’s required. (To be fair, it does say this will be after you have learnt to swim). But, I swam 50m last week, so surely I was building my capability and would be probably ready for this within a session or two. After all, it’s ONLY 200m. How hard could it be?

The answer my friends is not blowing in the wind. It’s somewhere drowned at the bottom of a pool…

I could not even manage to go beyond 2 lengths today (i.e. 32m) without taking in an enormous gulp of pool water and thinking a watery death would actually be a more pleasant option than swimming 1 more stroke. My legs (quads) were on fire and I had NO energy.

It was at this point that I remembered I’d run WALKED a 5km. (Just in case my physio finds out I write a blog). The photos were released today. Do you think anyone will be convinced that I was taking it steady when they see this:

(Sod it, I’ll admit I’m chuffed. I’ve NEVER had a photo where I’ve got full air. Usually I’ve got both feet firmly on the ground, at a point where I’m walking and grimacing and looking like I’d rather be anywhere than at the event).

And on Monday I spent 35 mins doing bike intervals at the gym, as part of a 60 minute workout. I didn’t think it was possible to have so much fluid emitted from your body unless you were actually doing a wee. In fact, it’s left me wondering if I’ll ever rehydrate fully again. It was a pretty gruelling session. None of the sedate cycling that I like to indulge in.

Having said that, the fabulous Coach Zoey over at Operation Move has inadvertently taught me something new today. Not so much about fitness, but about my Garmin. It has a function that I never knew about and shows the time you spent at each level of effort throughout a workout. I thought I worked pretty damn hard on that exercise bike. But I’ve just compared the effort level, as measured by my heart rate following a written down workout, and the effort level when being shouted at by an instructor in a Spin class. (I was clinically dead whilst running on Sunday, according to the Garmin – I had a flatline heart rate, so I can’t compare it to that effort). The 2 bike sessions were equal in terms of “perceived effort”. Clearly I perceive more pain when I’m alone. It might explain why I do better in group events, then…

And then I tried to swim yesterday. Turns out I was a teensy bit tired.

But, I gave it a go, as best I could. I acknowledged that you can’t go hard every single day, but wanted to keep working towards that elusive ability to swim front crawl. So, for every 4 lengths of breaststroke, I did 2 of crawl. Now I might have been hallucinating due to water on the brain, or something, but I did feel that towards the end of the session, the outward crawl length was starting to feel easier. In fact, I seemed to have found sufficient rhythm one time that I was actually upset that the pool was so short: I felt I had found the correct position in the water. (I have been told I try to swim uphill, but that’s an occupational hazard when you have extra booty). Anyway, I needed to do 13 lengths and I actually swam 14 or 224m. Total session = 700m.

So the reality is that I have some work to do in the pool. I’m not yet ready to swim 200m!!

To help the process, I ordered a swimming costume. And a swimming hat. (Thank you for the tips on where to look Dannielle ;)). New togs are bound to assist.

Just don’t tell the Grumpster!!!!

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