This week was a building week. I started my first ‘sprint’ training session on Thursday and was humbled by it. It was a tough session. I went in with expectations of certain times I aimed to hold, and was 5-10seconds off that time, which in a 75 swim set, is far off track. I walked away humbled, realising that I need to lower my expectations a little, especially after a busy work week on the back of 4 hours sleep on Saturday night and a hectic fitness test on the Wednesday before my sprint session.
I learnt 2 important lessons that day; 1- not to be so hard on myself and give myself a little bit of playing area for flexibility; 2- to swim relaxed and listen to my body (to get back to the basics when things are not working) I was fighting the water and apparently swimming a very messy stroke during those sprint sets and I felt very uncomfortable doing them. After my humbling session I had an early night and then after a hectic Friday morning at work got to spend another weekend down the coast with my coach, her family and some friends.
We live in such a beautiful province, I am constantly wowed by her beauty and the blessed life I live to get to enjoy it. We stayed just on the border of the Transkei at Clearwater trails (a mountain bike trail spot) we overlooked the gorge onto the banks of the Transkei with the river that I had swum in the week before in between the gorge.
Saturday morning was spent doing an easy trail ride, although my nerves were still shot by the end of the 10km cycle! I was terrified of falling due to fear of the consequences and implications on my swimming goals if I did. Thankfully I came away unscathed. We had a very chilled afternoon playing games and braaing in the rain before an early start before my 3km Lake Eland swim the next morning.
As always, I was nervous and felt silly- I was not going in to race, I was simply supporting the event and hoping to use it as a training pace swim with any winnings to be donated to my Hawaii fund. Simply swimming in the event I was aiming to create awareness for Breathe and conservation.
I tried hard to stay relaxed before the swim and did my usual land warm up (minus the push ups) my friend and coach did a good job of maintaining my perspective and calming me down a little!
Once I was in the water I focused on getting into a good rhythm and a good technique. As I neared the end of my first lap I saw my coach telling me to keep my head down and lengthen my stroke, I remembered then to relax as well and enjoy it.
I am very proud of my coach who swam a mile to support my efforts
By the second lap I had warmed up and felt strong and comfortable, I was on track for my target pace and was happy with my progress, besides swimming skew a few times, I maintained my long strokes and focused on my length, rhythm and enjoying the race. I bought in my kick for the last 200m and ended up coming out the water 3rd female (almost a km behind the winner) but I was happy. I loved the race, I felt comfortable and could comfortably have continued swimming which is a good sign for the longer distances to come.
I am very proud of my coach who swam a mile to support my efforts and ended up winning her category and coming 4th in her race! Just another reason why she is such a good coach!
I started this week with my 100 set and was pleasantly surprised to be comfortable ahead of track in my pacing for Cape Point in December. Consistency pays off.