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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fitter, Faster and less Fat

The daily routine of attending the local swimming pool continues. Usually now about 1 pm as that suits the pool manager. Now that Jean is back from Benalla we both go down. There was one day when I went down with Jean at 8am and then back again at 1 pm but that was just too much.

With the pool closing for the season in a few days we are all motivated to get in those last few sessions. I'm sure if it was the beginning of the season we would not be that enthusiastic.

Jean does her bit separately. But she is no slouch getting 40 laps (1 kilometre) completed. The pool guy and I vary our routine from day to day. Sometimes it starts with a slow 10 laps to warm up other times it is 20 laps turning on 40 seconds. This is an indication our fitness has improved as we would normally do those laps on 45 seconds. Just that little more pressure to work harder.

Today we did three 100 metre laps on 2 minutes 30 seconds after doing 20 laps on 40 seconds. This seems reasonable but it isn't. The body doesn't accommodate the change in distance as it should. Four laps make up 100 metres. At a steady pace it only takes about 2 minutes and 5 seconds to finish the four laps. A rest of 25 seconds and then off again. This next 100 metres takes a little longer and the rest time is shorter. The last 100 metres is fine until the last lap when it all catches up with you. I say it's fine because you know it is the last 100 metres and a little adrenaline flows. But there is not enough oxygen. You are pulling harder as this is the last lap and a bit of a race. To get more air the head is lifting higher to suck in longer. The arms and legs lack energy. There is the fight of the mind over the body. It never seems to get easier.

So that's 32 laps completed. A pause as air is gulped and the heart eases towards semi normal. Now starts the worst part of the daily training. The test of fitness is the 4 laps we do every day right near the end. They have to be done at 30 second intervals. Lap 1 is a breeze at 25 seconds. Lap 2 is 28 seconds. Lap 3 with a mighty effort squeezes in at 29 seconds, just barely time to turn. Lap 4 is the final test and the killer lap. The push off at the deep end is always sluggish as there is almost no energy. The lungs are screaming for air and exhaling under water eases the pressure a bit but as you surface you're gasping for more air. The clock is running and despite every effort to maintain some style it's near impossible. Gasping for air and trying to pull as hard as possible to get to the end before the 30 seconds has expired. Once the wall is in sight there is some motivation to pull a bit harder squeezing in a few mouthfuls of air. Just on 30 seconds. Two weeks ago the last lap always took 33 seconds. So that means a 10% improvement. Does that mean in style, motivation or fitness? Don't know.

But the goal is 40 laps and we have only done 36. Jean has finished her 40 laps and gone to the showers. Once the breathing is back to normal and the tingling in the extremities subsided we embark on two sets of two laps. Sprint to the deep end. The goal is as close to 20 seconds as possible for me and as close to 15 seconds as possible for the pool guy. We get a breather at the end of the first lap of the set and a slow crawl back before repeating the sequence.

My previous best time is 20 seconds and his is 16. But not today. 22 and 19 is the best we do with two attempts. Not every day is perfect.

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