Since switching my focus to swimming and getting chatting to people in the Cotswold Open Water Swimmers group I have built up a wishlist of swims I want to do in the next few years.
I’m sure this list will build as I get to know more people and hear their stories and experiences. Also there are many swim and places I don’t know about so they will be added to the list. My goal will probably be to do one big one each year, but if the timing works out I might be able to do more.
My goals for 2015 have changed from the ones I set previously and that is okay. I have now set myself some new ones and I am excited about working towards them.
My technique goal is to master bilateral breathing. At the moment I can do it, but I feel it slows me down, so I also need to build my fitness back up while using this style of breathing to make it become habit. Overall I just want to swim as much as possible in both the lake and the pool.
I had my first 121 open water coaching session this week with Jason from South West Swim. This was a follow on from my Video Analysis session earlier in the year. This was my treat to myself this year and has really brought back my love of swimming and my motivation to focus on it over other things.
I got to the lake just after 7am on Tuesday morning. It was beautiful and sunny, even if a little chilly. The air temperature was 6 degrees and the lake was 14-15 degrees!
Once I was ready with wetsuit on and tow flat attached we headed into the lake to see how I was swimming. I have been concentrating on my head/body position and my hand entry /catch since the video analysis and it has been working. There are still some tweaks I can make to improve even more and there are times when I slip into the wrong position, but I now rectify pretty quickly.
In the lake we concentrated on my catch through the water to make sure I am getting the most efficient stroke possible. We used a new toy for me – the Finis Fulcrum – to hold my arms in the correct position. This is the torture device of swimming I’ve decided. There is no room for movement or adjustment once your arm is in them. They feel like an arm brace, it reminded me of the only time I had my arm in plaster. You don’t want to keep these on for very long. Even once I had taken them off I could feel where they had been on my arm!
We then went onto sighting. It’s the one part of open water swimming I don’t like. I find it throws me out of alignment and rhythm. It also tired me out more quickly than if I don’t. However I don’t swim in a straight line. The test, which we did, is to swim towards a buoy with your eyes closed and see where you end up. I ended up to the right of my target, so I need to sight, so I need to practice! There is not one right way to sight, but I am going to have a play around with sighting first then breathing, as I natural do the opposite and feel like I’m holding my breath, which probably make me feel more tired than I actually am.
I have another 3 121 lake sessions booked and another video session to book over the summer, so there are plenty more adventures to be had in the world of open water.
On Sunday I swam my first ever 5km swim. That is 5000m metres or 200 lengths of a 25m pool in one go. Okay I had 3 rests to keep hydrated, but each was only around 30 seconds, so over the course of 93 minutes, less than 2% was rest.
I normally swim between 2500m and 3500m (maybe 4000m metres occasionally) in my swimming club sessions, so a 5000m swim was heading into the unknown for me. I didn’t know how my body would feel or react. My strategy was to keep it steady the whole way and finish. Luckily I didn’t have to count my own lengths, so I asked my friend to let me know every 50 lengths so I didn’t have to think about distance at all, just swim.
It was quiet this year, with only 3 swimmers (one was a family group swimming one at a time), so we had a lane each, which was super nice. I started out well and felt good. I didn’t let the speed monster in the lane next to me push me a long, I went with how I felt. I knew I could build up if I had energy left at the end, but main goal was to get to the end.
My swim in pictorial form:
Ignore the 202 lengths. I don’t know if that is a miscount on the watch or my friend, but it is close enough for my records and I’ll go based on total time.
- First 50 lengths or 1.25km = 21.8 minutes
- Second 50 length or 1.25km = 22.5 minutes
- Third 50 lengths or 1.25km = 23.1 minutes
- Fourth 50 lengths or 1.25km – 23.7 minutes
As you can see in my breakdown I slowed down slight in each 50 length section by about 0.6 of a minute (36 seconds) each time, which is fairly consistent. But that is an additional 2 minutes on the final 50 compared to the first 50 lengths. So something else I will look at this year is pacing over greater distances, probably using CSS training more to make sure I keep the same pace throughout. I can see I started faster than I thought I did so I need to work on building knowledge of effort and timing by using a beeper to keep me in check.
The Swimathon is an annual event and I plan on taking part again next year if I can and I believe is for a different cause each year or every other year. This year I raised £70 for Marie Curie.
My next aim for the 5km distance is to swim it in the lake!
Weight is such an annoying topic. It seems to permeate into every aspect of my life somehow and that is because I let it. I have managed to attach my self-worth to what I weigh and it is not the way I want to live. It is restricting and uncomfortable (and not only for my body, but also for my mind). I’m trying to look at myself a different way. To look myself in a way in which I can love myself for who I am rather than for what I am. I want the word ‘fat’ to no longer be attached to myself worth. It is just something that is and that means I can change it if I want to. I don’t want it to get in my way anymore, or be an excuse. So I am going to do something about it.
I’m limiting my body’s potential by eating too much (realised after reading Superlatively Rude -I love this girl!) I’m also limiting my own life’s potential. I want to be able to do anything I set my mind to.
I want to change how I look after myself – body, mind, and soul – as I want to feel strong, sexy, adventurous, confident, competent, sassy, accomplished, and even more!
So how can I change how I take care of myself?
- Swimming – work towards a 10km and lake swimming through winter
- Eat well and not more than I need – cut out the crap!
- Daily personal care – makeup, clothes, face routine
- Monthly personal care – waxing, hair
- Monthly reflections
- Managing my finances and spending wisely
- Work for progress
- My cats – I love them to bits!
- Read good books and watch good tv
- Blog because I love to share, not because I have to blog
- Enjoying my home and space (especially my new garden space)
I do all of this already, but with no regularity and can feel guilty about them as they are personal things for me only and that can feel selfish. I have realised I spend a lot of time adapting to others and that has to stop. I want to be flexible and reliable, but this needs to be on my own terms, not because someone else thinks it’s selfish of me. I want to focus on different aspects of my life and get away from thinking in terms of diet, fitness, and work. I want to create a fulfilled life even if that changes every month. I’ve been so busy focusing on the same things over and over I’ve lost my sense of creatively and adventure. I want to search it out again. I want to change from thinking about the destination to thinking about the journey and enjoying everything single moment I can for the rest of my life – that is my journey.