It has been nine weeks since I decided to implement a self-imposed mini boot-camp and set myself a massive general health and fitness challenge. Alcohol free for three months, and regular training sessions in the pool, with the aim for my final fastest attempt at a five kilometre swim in mid-July. And how are things progressing so far?
Well, they got off to a pretty shaky start. First things first – (as might have been predicted if you know me well!) – the alcohol detox plan went out of the window within an embarrassingly short amount of time. Only about a week! What was I thinking?! I was never going to be able to spend a Saturday evening with friends drinking water when they were drinking wine. So I relatively quickly accepted that I will just have to wait for my next pregnancy to feel virtuous and super clean-living again! I don’t drink a lot, and really, what is life without a glass of wine and a bar of chocolate every now and then?!
The first few weeks of my new regime also coincided with raging forest fires nearby. Some days it was so bad that just being outside for more than a couple of minutes left you feeling wheezy and short of breath. Not ideal conditions for long training sessions in an outdoor pool. I did use the time to get to the gym instead and build up my cardio stamina on the cross trainer and treadmill. Thankfully the forest fires seem to have been brought under control at last. But it’s really only in the past three weeks that I’ve managed to get any serious amount of time in the water.
I’m swimming three times a week and covering 2.5-3km per session. Based on current performance, I am reckoning on a total time for the full 5km at about the 1hour 35min mark. But I haven’t done the full distance yet, so we will see. I’d like to hit something around that time, but really the whole process has been more about the journey than the destination.
It has forced me to carve out some regular time for exercise, which I am so pleased about. Swimming, more than any other exercise, really helps me to relax and work out the stresses and niggling thoughts bouncing round in my brain. I think it is the white noise of being in the pool. You get in your own zone and your own rhythm, you aren’t having to make small talk or acknowledge other people. It’s just you and the water. It’s very calming. Which is perhaps an out thing to say when by the end of the session your heart is hammering, you are red in the face, and your arms are aching. But there we go, that’s how it is!
I train early in the morning so it is not usually busy, but even by usual standards the pool has been so quiet this week. It has been fantastic. It really has just been me and the water some days! Hopefully next week will be the same…