Sunday, December 17, 2006

With the greatest of ease

Ok, so I haven't been near the pool all week. All week I was skating dangerously close to overtraining. In fact, if you looked at all closely, you would have thought I WAS overtraining.

On Monday I had a lesson with Lesleigh. It was a frustrating lesson, with the breathing taking forever to come right. We graduated from a kickboard to a small little floaty thing, then from that I tried swimming on my side, one arm extended, one at my hip. Just like Super Woman. Except that Super Woman doesn't sink. Right, well at least I managed to float on my back, and I knew what I had to do for my homework!

The day's workout was bookended with a fabulous run with the Jog Squad. We were sent on a scavenger hunt, up to the Basin Reserve, back down and up and down the side of Mt Victoria, down to Oriental Bay, up the very flight of stairs that were my nemesis when I first signed up for Special K at the start of the year, around the side of Te Papa, and back to the gym.

Our little group of women powered around the city on a beautiful, mild and still evening. Lisa and Allie knew all the shortcuts and we kept up a good pace as we left all the other teams in our wake. We were happy little red, sweaty tomatoes as we rounded the corner and made it back to the gym several minutes in the lead. did I mention that I've been feeling rather fit?

On Tuesday I got up early for a weights workout. As the day wore on little stressors kicked in. I was tired, work was stressful, and by the end of the day I was at meltdown. Which is what I promptly did. Enough said. I've posted about that little incident already.

On Wednesday the Jog Squad had its last session before Christmas, which could only mean a fitness test. On another still, warm evening we ran straight up the side of Mt Victoria - ten minutes up then straight back down. I got all the way to the summit sign, despite taking it easy and trying not to put too much pressure on my knee. My days of powering downhill are over. I loped down at a casual pace, letting the others speed past. This running thing seemed easy.

I probably would have been ok if I'd just gone home to bed, but I had a prior appointment with Nic and Leonie to see Casino Royale (highly recommended, incidentally). I didn't get to bed until Midnight, then was up at 6am for my session with Duck. I was still a bit angry about Tuesday, but I don't really hold grudges, so despite everything we had a good workout.

By Thursday afternoon I was bleary-eyed, and I didn't exactly feel a huge amount of joy when I discovered at 1pm that our staff Christmas party involved getting into teams and engaging in a complicated scavenger hunt the length of the city. Five hours of Amazing Race type of eventing left me clinging desperately to a thin veneer of Christmas cheer. It wasn't that I wanted to be grumpy - I was just too darn tired. I was glad I'd elected to miss the last Women's Multis session. I would have been whacked if I'd even tried a swim/cycle/run combo.

I was in bed by 9.30, having had only slightly too much to drink. I was up again at 5.30 for RPM. My legs were pretty dead from the Duck-bashing the day before, but I still managed to turn the dial up. Thankfully no one at work was really in the mood for concentrating after the day before's party. I felt entirely justified in sneaking out at 1pm for Body Balance. My poor aching body appreciated the opportunity to stretch.

Hamish's staff Christmas party was on Friday night, and on Saturday morning I surrendered to the idea that I was NOT getting out of bed to work out that day. I slept in till 11am, which in my world means that I REALLY needed a break. The only workout I got was pushing a shopping trolley up and down New World, then carrying a few bags of groceries down our 46 steps. Oh, and I cleaned the house and spent time with the cats. Miracles will never cease.

Likewise I slept in to 9am this morning, then spent only a few short hours in the Sanctuary with my fledglings. However I knew that I had to get to the pool today, because I need to be able to show Lesleigh some progress in swimming on my side when we have our last lesson tomorrow. The anxiety monster was out and about again. The water was cold, the earplugs uncomfortable. I had almost talked myself into a nothing practice session.

So what have I learned in the last week if not that I have to take it easy on myself sometimes? I backed off, did a little swimming on my side with a floaty, did a little rock-and-roll, did a little freestyle correction. Finally I had started to warm up and relax, and remember a little what it was I liked about this swimming thing.

The end result? Some half-lengths of the pool on my side, sans floaty, without sinking, and with my legs going vaguely in the right direction. Enough progress to feel like I won't be in trouble with Lesleigh.

I put too much pressure on myself. It's both a gift and a curse. I need to make sure that swimming, running and cycling remain fun. I made a conscious decision not to get out on my bike, even though I "should" have done. Having a break was more important than continuing to push myself. I am a lot stronger mentally than I used to be, but I have to recognise that I do still have limits. It's just that time of year.

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