Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Wednesday's work

What a lovely session. The slow lane was quiet for most of the hour I was in the pool, despite it being half term. The kids were mostly in the open section or the diving pool so us lane swimmers could just carry on. Yay.

Not much to report to be honest. I did 24 lengths; a 20% increase on last week. I've been advised to not go any higher than 20% and I'm ok with that. Maybe because I had a longer rest this week with not swimming Monday I didn't struggle at all. I did short bursts of hard swimming as fast as I could and bursts of using both legs and arms (though I tend to drift when I do). I don't feel exhausted like I did last Friday so I'm quite happy. Basically an hour in the pool and 24 lengths completed. All is going well and I'm just going to continue with this schedule for the time being until I start needing more time in the water.

Now for some lunch! xxx

A new week, sort of

Yup, I'm playing catch up again aren't I? Friday went well. I was as tired as normal, Friday's can really be a struggle for me after a busy week. I just remind myself that I can rest that afternoon and during the weekend and that keeps me going. Once I'm in the pool, it's so cold you just have to get moving. I find it far too cold to stand around and chat for more than a few minutes, but when you first get in it's quite a shock so you have to move straight away. In that sense it's actually really helpful because you really can't stand around and dither and once you get going, as long as you have the energy to move you just keep going.

I had a lane to myself again for about 10 minutes so it was lovely not having to worry about bumping into anyone else.  I managed 20 lengths and I probably could have done a few more, but I did push myself to work my arms and legs the last few and I think I went too far because 1. I've done something weird to my left big toe (o_O) and 2. I was left feeling really weak and shaky and it took more effort to change afterwards, I was really glad I didn't have to get home under my own steam so big thanks to R for all her help.

My toe .... I noticed it during the weekend. I seem to have tweaked the muscle or joint in my left big toe. It's not mega painful but it is uncomfortable and quite an odd sensation. I'll see how it goes today (Wed) now I'm getting back in the pool.

Stupid storm weather prevented me swimming on Monday. For those that don't know me well, my balance is pretty crap and with the wind blowing a gale it wasn't very safe for me to be outdoors so I stayed in.  I was surprisingly bummed to miss my session and ridiculously bored. It felt like a waste of a day.  Maybe my lifestyle is changing after all?!?!?!

So, it's Wednesday and time to swim. I got up (far too) early so I had some porridge for breakfast. Let's see if it gives me some extra energy to increase my lengths today.  Watch this space ......

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A Very Busy Week

I forgot to blog again on Monday. This week's a bit bonkers and I haven't had much down time, and it's nearly Thursday already. How did that happen? 

Monday went fine, I got there early to get some lengths in before the aqua class cut off the lanes. It was mostly fine apart from a few silly people that wanted to make things complicated by swimming down the middle and bumping into each other.  I'm still having the cramp problem with my left foot.  I don't know if I'm going to be able to solve that when I eventually have 60 lengths to do. I'm just going to have to try and work with it as much as I can, I don't want it to get to the point that it's so painful it stops me carrying on.  My lovely friend Nyree Kindred who is a paralympian swimmer has been wonderful for little snippets of advice to help me improve and keep going. Apparently putting a pinch of salt in my water bottle will help with the cramps so I shall try that, thanks Nyree. 

My new lap counter is fabulous and it's really helping me focus on the swimming rather than the counting.  Today (Wed) has been a very busy day but the swimming went very well.  I managed 20 laps in 45 minutes which seems to be about 15 minutes faster than the first time I got that far. I'm certainly not complaining about that because I have no idea how long I have to complete the 60 during my session!

I had an appointment with my ME therapist this afternoon and she was really pleased about this new adventure of mine. We talked about making sure I get adequate rest so that I don't make my ME/Fibromyalgia fatigue worse.  She seemed happy with the way I've worked out my training schedule and I must be doing something right because, touch wood, I'm not having any pain after swimming that I might expect after lots of exercise. It's possible I'm not doing enough to cause the pain but I'm not going to worry about that. I'm progressing well and I'm only 3/4 weeks in so I just want to continue doing what I've been doing. Onwards and upwards towards the big 60, eh? ;) xxx

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Friday's bliss and the reverse

The end of the week is always tiring for me and it takes more effort to get up and go on a Friday than during the rest of the week. I was rewarded for my effort by arriving to find only one other person in the whole pool.  Apparently the schools session had just ended and so I had the opportunity to have a lane to myself to start counting laps. It didn't last long of course, but for about 15 minutes I was able to swim laps on my back without worrying about any other swimmers. I'm quite sure my counting was off but I was in the pool for about an hour overall and I think I managed about 20 lengths. By then my left foot was cramping and my arms were really struggling to keep going. It had also got very busy by that point and so I got out but I'm really proud of my effort and the amount of laps I achieved.

An hour is about the maximum time I can spend in the pool because my carer has other duties to attend to later in the afternoon, so I will need to keep an eye on the clock in future.  I had planned to buy a waterproof watch so that I could see the time and also count laps. Long story short, it turns out that of course when the battery runs out and needs to be replaced ... you lose the waterproof seal. So buying any waterproof watch, let alone the expensive £50+ model I wanted was going to be a waste of money. I decided instead to spend £10 on a lap counter so that at least I can make my counts accurate from now on. That has arrived and I'm really looking forward to using it on Monday.

I don't know if I'll be able to equal Friday's effort but we'll just have to see how I do. 

The downside to Friday was coming out of the leisure centre and finding we had a parking ticket. We'd forgotten to display the disabled badge and had gotten a ticket to thank us for our lapse. Not the ending to the week I might have hoped for.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Playing Catch Up.

Ok, I forgot to post after Monday's swim. Bad me. :) But I did swim, honest.

For now it's just a case of doing as much as I can with the limitations of a public pool. I don't know how busy it's going to be until I get there. I've gotten used to the fact that everyone swims lengths in a clockwise direction so that no-one gets in anyone's way. So I just have to time it right so that I can swim at my speed without holding anyone else up. So things are flowing better and I managed 10 solid lengths on Monday, some of which I swum on my back.

Today (Wednesday) the pool was pretty busy, with the school session still running in one half of the pool. I'm starting to see familiar faces now and we say hello and pass the time of day in between laps. I struggled swimming breast stroke today, I just didn't have enough breath to do the whole length without getting so tired that I started having to breathe after every stroke. Hopefully in time I'll get better at that and will be able to swim lengths without getting desperate for air.  I was able to swim several lengths one after the other on my back which was really helpful. I'm still having the problem of my left foot cramping up but I did use my legs more and that stopped it getting any worse.  I managed 14 lengths in total today, which is an improvement on Monday. I am starting to wonder how I'm going to manage to swim 20, 40 and ultimately 60 lengths in the future in a busy pool though. I long to have a lane to myself.

Still, onwards and upwards we go. x

Friday, 11 October 2013

The end of my first week.

I'm really starting to feel tired now. I even tried to go to bed before 7 last night I felt so tired. So I was feeling the drag of tiredness this morning but I'm determined not to wimp out and get lazy, especially not this soon cos I'll only pay for it in the long run. There's a long way to go and a lot of work to do, I counted and there's 22 weeks till the big swim. That's 66 sessions of swimming between now and then. But if I start feeling now like it's too much I'll never get there. Just work on one at a time, keep going and concentrate on looking after myself and I'm hopeful that I'll get there. I'm already seeing an improvement and that's just after one week.

I arrived a bit later today. When the school swim is running until 12 it's very busy in the other section of the pool. Afterwards there were only a handful of swimmers and some of them moved over when the lanes re-opened. I thought two teenage girls were going to be a pain cos they seemed to want to just splash around but in all fairness they must have been paying attention because the never once got in my way when I was swimming backstroke. I did about 4 lengths of backstroke without stopping and it was fine, but I noticed than my left foot was starting to cramp up. I hold my legs quite still because with Cerebral Palsy, I can't do lots of things at once, my brain can't process it all. So after a while my foot started to seize up. Given how many lengths I'm going to be doing at the end we can't have me getting cramps. I spoke to a life guard and he advised me to make sure I stretch before I get in and to regularly spend a bit of time getting my legs and feet moving to hopefully avoid them seizing up. I'll try it next time and see what happens. It makes sense though, because there's bound to be times when my arms get tired so I could try and work my legs a bit and give my arms a short rest.  It's something else to try and work into the routine so that I can improve without injury.

Now I get to rest up and recharge the batteries before I start again on Monday. I may even remember to put my knickers in the bag next time. ;)  xxx

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Midweek slump

I woke up stupidly early this morning, 2 hours before my alarm. Bloody hate it when that happens, especially when you really need the extra rest. Hey ho. Breakfast and a nice cuppa, shower and on we go.

The pool was really busy today. We got there earlier than previous visits and there was a school swimming lesson happening in the lanes. This meant that the other half of the pool (lengthways) was full of swimmers who would normally be out of the way. Of course my need to stay near the bank makes it awkward for everyone cos on the way back I'm swimming against them and just get in the way. Blah. So today really didn't have the space to work on my backstroke at all. I did one length backstroke, that was it.

I spent some time last night looking at videos online about improving my breaststroke, especially with regards to when I lift my head out of the water to breathe because that's the stroke that bothers my neck. So, I focussed on smooth strokes , lifting my head every 4th stroke to breathe and using the stroke to lift me rather than yanking my neck.  It did seem to go better and I did manage to swim almost full lengths before I got too tired to breathe properly. That's a definite improvement so I'm happy with that.  Though having not done any backstroke means my arms are gonna hurt later and my neck is tired because it didn't get a break.

This is my first full week of swimming and I'm starting to feel quite tired, so we'll have to see how it goes on Friday, how tired I am at the weekend and whether I can recover enough to start again on Monday.  Also I have a guest staying at some point this week so it may all get a bit bonkers.  La la la, on we go. xxx

Monday, 7 October 2013

7th October. My first full week.

Monday. I hate Mondays, by the way. Just so you know. Getting out of bed early (i.e. before midday) on a Monday morning takes quite a bit of effort for me. I usually prefer to spend my Monday mornings huddled in my bed, fast asleep and doing my best to ignore all the noise that happens on that particular morning; the rubbish sheds outside get emptied by the bin men which means lots of crashing around with big metal containers. Also the hallway in my building gets cleaned on a Monday morning, and the cleaner takes the opportunity to bash every bit of pipe and skirting that he can along the way and it's surprisingly loud and annoying. I call it the pipe  symphony and it's not pretty when you're trying to sleep.

I missed most of that this morning cos I was out of bed at 09:30. I had to get myself up, showered, dressed in my preferred comfy clothes, eat something sensible and warm up my crunchy joints ready for the swim before the carer arrives around 11.

I am happy to report that apart from some slight arm aches, I didn't feel any ill effects from Friday's first jaunt in the pool. This morning started off fine. The pool was quiet enough that I was able to start swimming on my back straight away, though I felt slightly flustered and not really ready for it. I think in future it might be an idea to do some swimming on my front a bit first to get myself going. Then the pool started to get busy. I like to swim near the wall so that if I get in any bother I can just grab hold of the wall and have a rest. This got a bit difficult to do as the pool filled up with other folk. I was thinking of calling it quits cos it was getting hard to swim more than a few strokes without having to stop to avoid other swimmers, but my carer (sat on the side with my walker, waiting for me) said I'd only been in for 15 minutes. Bugger, can't quit that soon. Thankfully a little while later the pool was sectioned off for an aqua aerobics class and lots of swimmers left so I had 15 minutes of swimming on my back with no one around before I decided I'd had enough. It's hard to count how far I'm swimming when I'm often just doing bits of a length, but I think I managed about 200 metres.  I worked my arms quite hard and my shoulders are complaining a bit now so we'll see how they are tomorrow. I'm hoping to swim Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and rest on the weekends. As long as I'm well enough and my carer's available (she helps me change) then I'm going to do my best to keep to that schedule.  So far I have been having a rest in bed after lunch with the electric blanket on high and that seems to help soothe most of my aches and stiffness. So, I'll see if I hurt tomorrow and get ready to start again on Wednesday.

Crazy time in the house of Kaz.

Ok, I've done something rather bonkers.  If you know me you'll know that's not altogether unusual but this is way more bonkers than usual.  I got an email from Sport Relief mentioning their fundraising opportunities for next March. Cycle - never in a million years, run - I wish I could but I'd kill myself, or swim. Now, I can swim. It's not fast, it's not pretty but it gets the job done.

I've been a bit unwell since last summer with what turned out to be ME, or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, if you want to know its proper name. It also turns out that the arthritis I've had for about 15 years is actually Fybromyalgia a whole other kettle of very complicated fish. Notice the term Myalgia in both conditions there? Myalgia basically means pain. Not good, right? At times it's very much not good. Anyway, as you can imagine, exercise and specifically swimming, really hasn't happened this year.

But there's a swimathon. Next March. 6 months, nearly 7 months away. Time to train myself up right?  Sounds sensible.  So I've signed up.  I've set myself the shortest distance, which at 1.5km or 60 lengths is a whole hell of a lot more than I've swum for a very long time. This is the bonkers bit. It's not so much the swimming, it's the distance.  I do also have to bear in mind that my silly body may well not take kindly to my proposed idea. So I need to be really sensible and careful about the whole thing and hope that it doesn't decide to throw a strop and put me in hospital, or in bed for a month or something nice like that.  But part of my ME therapy is to try and get me moving a bit to strengthen muscles etc so that my body can cope with things a little bit better than the wet noodle it's been behaving like lately. So I'm thinking this might be a good thing to motivate me and to aim for. Plus it's for charity so we're all good.

Friday 4th October - my first swim. It was not pretty, nor was it fast by any stretch of the imagination. But I blundered around in the pool, avoiding all the other (proper) swimmers while I tried to loosen up and get back into the swing of it. My neck has been giving me quite a lot of grief lately and I've even had an x ray to make sure I haven't done anything silly to it (I haven't.)  I'm most comfortable swimming on my back, but this isn't easy to do in a public pool when you can't see who's around you, and I'm not fast enough to swim in the shared lanes. My breast stroke is appalling, it has to be said but just now with the neck thing, my breast stroke is especially entertaining because every time I lift my head to breathe, it hurts. Not the greatest start, but as I went on I kept moving my neck to loosen any stiffness in between bursts of swimming and it seemed to get easier.

I didn't swim very far, probably about 100 metres all together, but it was a start and I'm hoping I can build on it and keep improving between now and next March. Well, here's hoping anyway. Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it. xx