As you know, I am part of the official #BlogSquad for the Sport Relief Swimathon 2016, which means I am currently spending a lot of time in the pool. The pool is a funny place and I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about myself in the past two months of training, including…
- I generally dislike being around people. I knew this about myself already, but when you end up swimming in a lane with someone who stops 5 strokes in to stand up and have a look around at their surroundings, or someone who takes up so much of the lane that your arms and legs end up touching the side of the pool, or end up with a man who hasn’t learnt how to control his splash, you can get a little flustered. The splashy man I’ve mentioned in previous posts seems to be partial to a morning swim and always enters my lane just as I have finished my warm up and am moving onto my main set – as a result of this, my main set always suffers and I end up in a bit of a grump. My tri coach assures me this is good training for the start line of an event, but I just think I need my own private pool (husband, if you’re reading…).
- I think I assumed that I would improve really quickly – I haven’t. People tend to jump to the assumption that because I’m on the Swimathon #BlogSquad that I must be some kind of Olympic swimmer…sorry to disappoint, but I’m not. My stamina has certainly improved over the past few weeks of training and I am regularly swimming 1200m a few times a week, but my goodness, I feel like the slowest swimmer in the world sometimes. Well, until a really slow person joins my lane and then I feel amazing.
- I also assumed that I would resemble some kind of mermaid after a few weeks in the pool and would have one of those toned upper bodies the magazines tell you you’ll get if you take up regular swimming. Well, my speed resembles that of a sea snail and my technique looks like something a crab would attempt. Less mermaid, more sea monkey with poor upper-body strength.
- Waking up at 5.30am for a swim is horrible. Honestly, no one should be awake at that time of day during the winter months…but as soon as you make it to the pool all misery is forgotten and you begin to wonder if you should make all of your training sessions early morning ones because having the freedom to do absolutely nothing in the evening is quite blissful.
- It only takes three swims a week to make you start smelling of chlorine. I’m a huge fan of regular showers, I also love Lush bath products much like every other female on this planet, and yet I still smell that faint aroma of chlorine every time I wave my arm past my face (I talk with my hands a lot in every day life).
- I have never been a swimming costume person – and the thought of wearing one filled me with dread as I have a stupid hip-waist ratio which makes my body look like it belongs to two different people. As it turns out, there is a swimming costume that suits every body shape and I actually feel quite confident in mine at the moment. Big thanks to Zoggs for helping me out with that!
- My usual peachy bottom has gotten even peachier. Now this is something I never anticipated happening as I was obviously convinced that swimming would only change my upper body, but I guess it makes sense. Apparently I have a powerful kick so I’m beginning to wonder if I am relying on my legs more than I am my arms when I swim. Either way, I quite like having a peachy bottom, so this is a lovely side effect of swimming.
- Swimming makes you hungry. Sure, I’ve experienced ‘runger’ fairly often – but swim hunger takes this to a whole new level. When I’m in the changing rooms after my swim I feel fine. Then thirty minutes later whilst sat at my desk I suddenly feel like I could eat an elephant. The swim hunger doesn’t subside either but instead chooses to stay with you for the whole day as you make your way through oatcakes, babybels, yoghurt, bananas…anything you can set eyes on. This may also be a contributing factor to the aforementioned peachy bottom.
- People who work at pools are generally really kind. Even at that unholy hour of the morning I can guarantee that everyone I cross paths with will say a cheerful good morning and will smile – that makes a huge difference to my swimming as it instantly puts me in a good mood. A lifeguard even passed me my water bottle last week as I was struggling to reach it from the pool. Pool people are good people.
- As with life, swimming has its ups and downs, but one thing I have learnt over the past few months is that I absolutely love swimming. Wholeheartedly. It doesn’t matter how slow or ungraceful I am in that water, I am always having a good time. I still think I prefer open water swimming to pool swimming, but I certainly won’t be giving up pool swimming once my year of triathlon is finished.
At the moment I think my training is going fairly well – I still have about five weeks left before taking part in Swimathon and am not setting myself a particular time to achieve on the day. My Swimathon challenge is going to be all about enjoying myself in the water and musing over how much I have achieved over the past few months. I am also really pleased that I chose to complete Swimathon at Whitstable pool as the Active Life team have been nothing but supportive on social media and are regularly cheering me on and encouraging me to take part in their other events.
Hopefully everyone else is enjoying their training too!