My phone screensaver tells me today is 45 days away from the big swim…
It doesn’t feel like a lot of time but in all honesty it’s probably the most crucial period.
I’m confident in saying i’ve figured out the shoulder issue and am on track to completely remove that from the equation. It only took 2 physiotherapists, 1 massage therapist, 5 appointments, rehab exercises 3 times a week and an online virtual stroke analysis with recommended drills to solve it, ha!
I’m always trying to shift my own clients expectations when it comes to the body, a straightforward quick fix is not always possible. Trying to pinpoint the final cause of an ache or pain is no longer my modus operandi. Instead, i look for large imbalances in strength, mobility and soft tissue tightnesses. In my experience when you begin to unwind these, starting with the most obvious, the body takes over and reverses the damage endured from when it started needing to compensate. Not only does this eliminate the problem being experienced but it makes the entire structure around it more resilient to future issues. It may take longer depending on the length of time it’s been slowly going off track, but in my opinion, given that we only get one body to live in, it’s worth the extra work to fully rebuild.
Figuring out the shoulder was a massive step in the right direction and has allowed me to start focusing solely on improving my stroke, my fitness and the kilometres swam. Since starting 6 months ago i’ve increased my time per 100m by roughly 25 seconds and just last week moved up a lane at my Masters swim sessions, woohoo! I’ve still not hit 20 kilometres in a week which should have happened for the past 4-6 weeks, every week, however, i’m not going to beat myself up. Instead, i’m looking ahead to do what i can for the next 45 days.
“Worry is like a rocking chair, it’ll give you something to do but you won’t go anywhere!” – Someone smart
Two weeks ago I attempted a second 10 kilometre ocean swim at Mullaloo. From the moment i arrived at the beach and set up my tent i was just not feeling it! Yes, the conditions looked way tougher than Rockingham many weeks prior, but it was more a feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was simply not motivated, energised, call it what you will, i was not looking forward to it in any way, shape or form! I tried talking to myself, stretching and moving the body, breathing, messaging Kristen for some encouragement.. nope. Nothing was working. I switched up my plan to take any extra pressure i had subconsciously put on myself and told myself it was just another opportunity to swim some kilometres in the open ocean, nothing more.
Apparently my intuition about ocean conditions is strong because it was TOUGH! Finding a rhythm in the rolling swell and waves felt impossible, worse still was trying to get air every few strokes and not a mouthful of ocean. I choked, gagged and snotted out salt water regularly as i got it wrong. Not only does this mess with your head but you end up holding your breath for the next opportunity to grab some air which is tiring and stressful. But wait, there’s more, i finally got to experience another aspect of open water swimming, Jellyfish. Although i had been stung once when Kristen and I had a break in Busselton, this was entirely different. I feel like i was stung 4-6 times under each armpit throughout the first 4 laps, stings on stings is so much worse! Once towards the middle of the 4th lap, a jellyfish went down the back on my short and got me all over my butt! Arrgghhh!
I decided i would pull out at the halfway point and quit at 5kms. I have one more 10km event in two weeks time at Sorrento and will complete that come hell or high water just to know when i choose to push through, it’s there in reserve.
Having experiences to draw from are great sources of confidence and motivation when trying to reach new heights.
Last Saturday i joined the swim club in an event they call “100 x 100 x 100”. 100 repeats of 100 metres on 100 second intervals for 10km total. Like many of the swimmers, that is bit fast for me so i opted for 100 x 75m x 100sec. I led my lane for the first 5 kilometres, pushing the repeat splits hard to increase the challenge. It was a great confidence booster to see how my shoulder has improved, my fitness and my swimming technique. I finished the last few repeats tired but happy with the session.
I must thank Kristen for her support, encouragement and patience. I’ve spoken before about the challenges of coping with the excessive highs and lows that i can experience with my mental health. Having a constant in my life like Kristen is immeasurably valuable during a long journey that requires a steady, consistent approach. Kristen never fails to send a quick “well done on your swim, i’m proud of you” or “well done for getting up this morning, see you at the studio” text, it seems simple and although it’s become common place it always has a positive lifting impact on me. Love you babe! xox
If you haven’t already, please consider donating $20 or so to my fundraising efforts. With a little over a month to go i’m still chasing $950 to reach my goal. I want to also thank those people who have taken to time to ask me about training or comment to me about these blog posts, every conversation add fuel and desire to reach that beach on February 22nd!