This week started with a Reggie sulk/strop.
I spent last weekend at my parents and had fun playing with, snuggling with and taking Reggie for some nice long walks/runs. All was well until I started packing my bag to leave on Monday, at which point Reggie decided to sulk and go to his crate, hide and refuse to look at me because I was leaving him. He may be an 8 year old dog but he might as well be a toddler!
Monday evening started with the usual BRJ coached pool session, it was a pretty tough set and I also really struggled with the chlorine levels. I just couldn’t breathe and each time I took a breath whilst swimming it felt like I wasn’t actually getting any air, just chlorine! Attending these pool sessions on a Monday has helped me tremendously, its made me think more carefully about my stroke and helped me make it more efficient and I believe, less prone to injuries. Some of the sessions have been hard work, as I said the other day “I don’t do sprints, I do 5 to 10kms!”
Although I woke up a little tired, I was really looking forward to my long river swim on Tuesday morning. It turned out to be an interesting training swim and being honest probably one of my toughest training swims yet. Our plan was to swim 10km, we were going to swim just over 1km downstream, back up past our entry point and then do the same 7.5km swim as last week so that we would get the full 10km distance. We got in and the first thing I noticed was the water temperature had dropped by about 5 degrees since the previous week. As soon as we were in we started to be pushed downstream by the current so just started swimming and decided to ‘go with the flow’ (pun intended). It took us about 23 minutes to get to our turning spot and it was only then that I realised how strong the current was, it took us over an hour to get back to our entry point! It was a bit of a fight to get back and we were unable to stop at all because each time we did we would be pushed further downstream.
When we made it to the pontoon next to where we get in we were able to hold on so didn’t go bobbing off down the river, we decided to try and push on and see how far we could get. The next bit under the bridges wasn’t too bad, it was hard work but nothing we couldn’t swim through with a bit of effort, however when we got to the fork in the river where we would head towards Godmanchester we were hit by and incredibly strong current. We battled it for about 10 minutes moving very very slowly forwards and Val had just managed to get round the corner when I called it quits. The issue I was having was that where I am unable to kick my legs every time I take a breath there is nothing propelling me forwards. It ended up being on every 3rd stroke (when I breathe) I ended up going back 5m, I was getting tired and eventually decided it wasn’t worth carrying on. I tried to stand up as the river is quite shallow there and I couldn’t even stand up because the current just knocked me over! We obviously had a very fast swim back to Riverside! We ended up only doing 4.5km but I used the energy and effort levels of if I had swum 10km.
Wednesday was a big day for me; my first double swim day! I don’t remember the last time that I went swimming twice in one day, but to start with I did a nice easy 2km pool swim. I then followed that with a 4.4km swim at Lake Ashmore in the evening AND I even managed a wee WHILST swimming for the first time in years! I knew it would be a tough day, especially with not only having 2 swims but also the journey to and from Lake Ashmore which takes about 30min each way. As a result, I was expecting and as prepared as possible for a high pain day on Thursday, even though I had a busy day planned.
I woke up on Thursday pleasantly surprised at the fact my pain was only about a 7 out of 10, it hurt and it interfered with what I was doing but it didn’t actually stop me doing anything. I had an appointment at Draft Wheelchairs on Thursday to replace the tyre on my TriRide since I have done over 900 miles on it in under a year and as a result, I had worn out the tread on the tyre. Two hours later I zoomed off straight to my personal training session and arrived 30mins late for my PT session, some-how we still managed to get quite a lot done and my core definitely knew that I had done a workout the day after!
On Friday I did the first day of my Mental Health First Aider course, it was online through the local charity Illuminate and I struggled with it., physically and mentally. The course ran from 9 – 5 with a few short breaks and I just couldn’t cope with all the sitting and the constant concentration for so long, I also struggled with some of the topics we were discussing and learning about. Despite that I somehow I managed to stay on the course until the end of the day and completed everything required for day 1.
Friday was tough, pain was high, fatigue was even higher and in the end I decided to miss my lake swim session in the evening.
On Saturday I was volunteering at the BRJ Running Festival which took place at Hinchingbrooke Country Park. For those that don’t know, I am a member of the BRJ Run and Tri Club and it was through them that I got back into Open Water Swimming and into Wheelchair Racing. I volunteer when I can at their events and at this one I helped to run one of the activities that was put on at the festival for the kids. It was a highly successful day with lots of fun had by children and some very yummy cakes (so im told).
As planned, I headed to the lake for a long swim on Sunday afternoon. Sadly, I was unable to get in the water until later than planned so I didn’t have as long as I hoped I would. However, I did still manage to do a strong and decent 6km in 2 hours 34 minutes. The swim was comfortable, a little choppy at times but also really lovely, although, I did come out with a wetsuit rash on both sides of my neck. My pacing was on point again with the maximum difference from one interval to the next being just under a minute.
It really feels like the training is working and I am feeling strong and positive about Windermere now. The only issue I am facing at the moment is fuelling my body correctly so I am trying to work out how to increase my carbs intake to replace all the energy I am burning during the intense training I am doing and I am also trying to increase my protein to continue to support and increase my strength. I am also beginning to think about different things I can use and have for food and drink during my actual Windermere swim on 1st September. If anyone has any suggestions feel free to comment on this post!
So overall a week of mixed emotions and mixed swims too. It was made better by reaching over 400 members in my Adaptive/Disabled Open Water Swimmers Facebook group! Despite the bad swims and difficulties this week I am feeling positive about how my training is going and reached my target of swimming 19.5km in one week, stats/distances below:
2 Pool Swims – 4169m
1 River Swim – 4514m
2 Lake Swims – 10.562km
Total for Week 9 = 19,246km