I’ve always been a swimmer. I spent my youth doing squad training up until the age of 18 or so when uni life took over and the idea of spending my winter mornings in a pool from 5.30-7am no longer had any appeal. I was a pretty good swimmer, swimming competitively and training once, sometimes twice a day for years. Eventually there came a point where the desire for a normal life trumped my desire to progress as a swimmer and I rebelled against the pool. I think it was a good thing in the end – I went off to try different sports and different activities to try fill the void that hours in the pool once filled. I still felt so completely at home whenever I did jump in the pool or ocean for a casual swim but the idea of joining a squad again made my stomach turn.
Skip forward 14years and I’ve spent the last couple of years with my physio clinic supporting all the swimmers at the end of the Rotto swim. I’ve watched and treated and listened as they’ve prepared for the swim and have been privy to their euphoria when they cross that finish line and stumble exhausted, yet so proud, onto my treatment table.
I always knew that one day I would have to tick the Rotto Solo swim off my to-do list but had no interest in doing that anytime soon. Until this year. Something changed in me (perhaps having friends and clients close to me participate in the swim this year) that made me decide to take the plunge (hah). However, as always, there was a caveat with my own self. I would do the Rotto Solo swim BUT, I had to do very, very well in it. If I was going to train properly and jump back in the pool to be prepared for this swim, then I was going to go all out. I didn’t just want to finish this crossing, I wanted to place in it. As in top 3 swimmers.
Tall order? Yes. Will I make it to the end? Who knows. I flipping well hope so.
This is my diary of my year preparing for the Rotto Solo Swim. Feel free to join me for the ride (and hold me accountable for my actions and decisions). Here we go...
Well 3 months have passed by without a break. I have been swimming 4x/week – once with Elena at squad training on a Monday morning and then 3 -4x/during the week following my own program. I’m slowly building up km’s and swimming about 11km a week at the moment. The body is feeling strong and good and whilst the sessions never get easier, I’m pushing through them with more ease than I was at the start. My sprint time has improved to 1.18/100m – still eluding that dratted 1.15/100m time.
The weather is definitely making it a lot harder to stay committed with pitch black mornings and freezing cold temperatures. Luckily after a few laps I’m burning up so the temperature doesn’t bother me unless I stop for a bit. But my oh my, that initial start when you have to will yourself to jump in and flounder like an octopus flailing limbs every which way to warm up is enough to make me second guess this ridiculous goal of mine.
I have Raynauds which is a genetic condition where you have very poor circulation in your fingers and toes. So when I get cold my fingers and toes go white and then yellow and completely numb as all the blood in them leaves. It has made me pause to consider how I am going to fare swimming 20km in the ocean without suffering from hypothermia. There’s been talk of the use of duck fat- which, being vegetarian, doesn’t exactly fill me with joy, but thems the breaks.
I have been complementing my swimming with a couple of gym sessions a week to work on core, leg and latissimus dorsi strength particularly and to keep my shoulders strong to keep any niggles at bay. I’m also sticking to weekly massages to keep my muscles from getting too tight and am planning on playing tennis once a week for some cross training. So far so good. I am determined to get through this year without any injuries!
I’m not going to lie though. We have a 4 week break from swimming coming up and I’m hanging out for it….think I’m ready for a little break....
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