760 lengths in the pool…

a little peek in my head:

– when coach Jacomina said she wanted to do a 6 hour pool swim this month (training for the enduroman arch-to-arc), someone in her team said: “who wants to join for a bit?”
– even before the little voice that lives in my head wakes up (the one that comes up with crazy plans and stupid ideas) I sign up for the whole 6 hours…
– not even an hour later I start to think that maybe it’s a nice plan to go even longer, and swim the magical distance of 19km’s… In a 25m pool that is… (more on the meaning of the 19km later…)
– and, since coach makes my training schedule, everything was sorted, and on a Tuesday morning we find ourselves poolside just after 7AM, ready for a long swim…

my view for 7+ hours…

But why 19km? Well, a long swim is a nice training for this seasons goals (the 26km Lake Zurich Swim Marathon), but basically everything this year is about next years Deca-triathlon (38km swim, 1800km bike, 422km run). The swim part of the Deca takes place in a pool, so todays swim is a nice test to see if my nutrition-plan works, to see how my body copes, and (more important) how my mind reacts to 760 lanes of swimming… And while the big race next year is 38km, it’s a huge confidence-boost to now get through half the distance ‘comfortably’…

My schedule is pretty simple; just 19 times 1000 meters (funny to see the difference; Jacomina has a 20-page 20km schedule today). Right now that seems like a good race-strategy for next year: 1km is short enough to make it mentally ‘manageable’, but still long enough so that after every set you feel as if you’re slightly closer to the end…
The swim itself is pretty uneventful; the first hour or so it’s pretty busy in the pool, but when it gets less crowded there’s plenty of room… Only after the swim I heard that the awesome pool staff ‘redirected’ traffic away from us, so our lane was left pretty empty for us! Thank you for that!

After about 8 or 9km I hit a small mental wall; my shoulders hurt, and I know I’m not even halfway… I’m trying to ignore that feeling, and get back in the zone, and once I’m over 10km I’m starting to feel good again (mentally that is… physically things are starting to get slightly uncomfortable…). I know now it’s “only” 9km to go (never thought I’d think that!), and I’m taking it 1000 meters at a time… I keep on counting the laps, it helps to focus on something and stay in my little ‘bubble’… Two weeks ago Danielle (animo sportspsychology, who’s helping me towards the epic, but slightly scary, 2020 Deca adventure) and me brainstormed about what I could do to distract me from pain/boredom/distance… Turns out that I didn’t need anything we came up with, I was completely ‘in the zone’ today, just keep on counting the laps, and time slowly passes…

The last kilometer Jacomina swims next to me; she finished her (20km?) swim, and decides to keep me company for the final part… Although it isn’t necessary (I still feel pretty good, or: ‘I still feel as you should expect after a 7hour swim’), it’s nice to finish this swim together…

And after 7hours and 19minutes (total time; actual swim time: 6hours and 47minutes, averaging 2’09/100m) it’s done! 19km in the pocket, gained quite a bit of confidence, learned a lot (about nutrition, but also about the mental and physical stuff that might come your way during such a long and boring swim), actually enjoyed myself, but now I’m mostly glad it’s over… Shoulders, neck and back are pretty sore, but that’ll be gone in a few days…

Oh, and for the statistics; this wasn’t my longest swim (that was last years vidosternsimmet), but it was my longest pool swim to date!

goggle-marks!

2 Responses

  1. 25th March 2019

    […] I hit the marathon mark at around 3 hours 30, at this pace I would run 72km in 6 hours, but I know that’s not going to happen… Every few laps I walk though the aid-station to eat and drink, and I notice that these walks are getting longer… So I try to focus on keeping up a steady(ish) pace… By now the first problems start to occur; for the first time in my running-career I suffer some terrible side-stitches, and I have to walk for almost a lap. Luckily I can recover from that, and by now it’s a mental game; the legs feel good, but I don’t seem to be able to push myself. It doesn’t help that I know that the 70km-goal is unreachable today, so why bother? And maybe I haven’t really recovered from my long swim this week… […]

  2. 21st June 2019

    […] my final 100m, that would be nice…” Then again, I hardly ever miscount in a pool (give me a 19km pool swim, and I swim 19km, not a lane more or less), and this time I counted right as well… 200meters […]

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