Where’s the thanks? 

Swimming pools are communial areas and I’ve overheard all sorts of weird and wonderful conversations…sometimes, I hear, and see, things that really annoy me. 

I’m going to take a moment to apologise here, to some I may seem old fashioned or a bit of a prude. 

In a communial, local authority run pool, there will be people from all walks of life, young and old. One of my local pools, has two water flumes. The children love them. So do the the adults. 

To reach the top, of the slide, means walking up a long winding stairway. Stairs are not my strong point and I don’t mind letting children past me, often though, they barge past with little thought, or consideration. Even, when I allow them past, or offer to allow them to go before me, on the flume, rarely do I get a word of thanks. 

Then there is the language. Yes most of us, in our childhoods, went through a phase, when out of earshot of our parents, thought we were big or hard, to swear, particularly the “really naughty ones”. However, I regularly hear young children, swearing vehemently and loudly, leading to me (and others) shoutung at them to “mind their language”. 

Maybe I’m old fashioned, a “fuddy duddy”, but surely there’s nothung wrong, to expect little courtesy and manners, from other users. 

A little update, from me!

It’s been a couple of weeks since, I last updated my blog and I do have a post, in the pipeline. 

However, at the minute, I’m been kept out of the pool, by some sort of viral infection and my lungs, being the narcissistic bitches they are, have opted to pitch in. 

At the minute, I am resident to a sore throat which had reduced my voice to a hoarse whisper. Luckily, so far, other than affecting my asthma, it hasn’t developed beyond this.

It’s frustrating, but unfortunately, my lungs are sensitive to chlorine, getting in the pool right now, would be idiotic. Usually I can overcome, this easily, by using my “blue inhaler” before I swim, but as I’ve learnt, to my cost, pre-existing angry lungs, will only get angrier when faced with a pool full of chlorinated water!

I don’t have reason to complain though, my asthma has been pretty good for the past four and half months. That, for me; in a winter, is brilliant. 

So, for me, it’s now a case of “riding it out” increasing my chest physio, in the hope it doesn’t develop into a bacterial chest infection and hope that I can get back in the pool, by the end of next week.

Swimming and fitness

Today, this Swimming article, appeared as a “pop up” on my web browser. I am not really a reader, of “The Guardian”, nut it makes interesting reading and provides useful advice on correct technique.

I particularly found the information, on front crawl. interesting. I recently swam front crawl, the way I did, before I learnt to swim. Head up and essentially, splashing down the pool. It was exhausting!


A new level of tough…

Learning to swim, has seen my confidence in my physical abilities rocket and has seen me,  stick the proverbial two fingers up, at my arthritic joints and difficult lungs. 

Neither of these are going to go away, ever. Nor are they ever going to “get better”, I have, however been encouraged by the increase in lung function, since I took my first plunge in the pool.

Aside, from my health problems, I’m physically fitter and healthier. I’ve found a sport, I truly love, swimming rarely feels like a chore. Every time I go swimming, I feel a little frizzon of excitement, the desperation to be in the pool. Holidays have been chosen or rejected on the quality of the pool! 

Learning  to swim, has allowed me to enjoy many experiences: swimming in the sea, something I would previously, have been terrified to do, taking part in swimathon and being invited to a lunch reception, at the houses of parliament (unfortunately, due to work commitments, I couldn’t attend).

Now, I am preparing to begin a new chapter, in my journey. Joining a “swim squad”. 

I’ve found one, that suits me, it’s non competitive, but it pushes me. The trouble is, it’s 8 till 9am. The first challenge is, that mornings are not my best time, on awakening my joints are stiff and  sore and it can take, several hours for that to settle, particularly in winter. 

My lungs also, take a while to wake up and clear the accumulated junk that has gathered there, during the night. 

The session, one hour, is tough, it’s hard work. There’s no slacking, our coach pushes us, hard. As a former competitive swimmer, himself, he has high expectations. 

Already, I am reaping the benefits. My fitness is improving, along with my stamina. In addition, my front crawl distances are stretching out, so long as my lungs are in agreement. 

Front crawl, is my weaker stroke, I tend to rely more on breaststroke, which has proven to be a bit of a mistake. Squad training, focuses so much more on front crawl, thus my front crawl is improving.
And so, this morning, I’m up at half five in preparation for this, busy getting my stuff together and preparing for what I know will a tough, but fun hour. 

Next big challenge…

Over the last few months, I’ve filled this blog, with generally waffle posts. 

This year I am going to undertake Marie Curie Swimathon, the 30th one, and a swimming challenge to raise funds for Arthritis Care, Gateshead Branch. 

My aim is, and I think I’ve mentioned this previously, is to swim “a marathon in a month, with a marathon in a week”.

I know this sounds  a little confusing, but I will explain. 

A marathon,  when ran, is 26.195 miles or just under, 42200m. A swimming marathon, is 10km. So my plan is to swim 42200m in a month (1688 lengths of a 25 pool), with at least 10km (400 lengths) being swam in the final week. Arthritis Care week. 

Obviously, I can’t just dive in there and swim it. It will take 2-3 months before hand of training, building up my distances and further increasing my fitness.

Training, of any kind, is a bit tougher right now, because the pools are busier and some people seem unfamiliar with the “rules of the pool”. 

Last Saturday, I was swimming on the pools “training lanes” only to have someone swim into me, head first, as they were swmiming on the wrong side of the lane.

On Monday, I was forced to abandon my plan to swim 2km, after I was joined by two social swimmers, who swam a slow “breast stroke” side by side, while chatting, making it impossible to swim at any pace but theirs. Overtaking resulted in being kicked, as the had a wide legged, scissor kick, in opposed to a frog type kick, resulting in flailing legs!

The life guards are supposed to intervene in situations like this, but failed to and speaking to their manager didn’t help either. 

Anyway, my focus over the next fews will be on my training and preparation for this challenge and this blog, I hope, will help chart some of this.

New Resolution makers…everywhere! 

Christmas is well and truly over and we’re a few days past the New Year as well. With this time of year, comes the inevitable “New Years Resolutions”.

On Friday, I went for a swim, a swim that was to prove frustrating. The lanes were not free, being reserved for training, by the local swimming club. Hence, the remainder of the pool, was incredibly busy, it took me a while to work out why. Previous visits, at this time, to this pool haven’t proven to be anywhere near as busy. It was when I heard a family, of six, shouting that they were going to join the gym, go swimming regularly and join slimming world, I realised what was happening. The people was full of people, whose News Years resolution, was to get fitter and healthier.

I wonder how long these resolutions will last, I’m guessing for some, not much past 1st February, as the reality of the commitment, cost, effort and work involved,  kicks in and the excuses build up. 

Some, however, will still stick to it and it will be life changing, for them. 

As the clock struck midnight, welcoming in 2013, I was determined that this would be the year, I would finally learn to swim, properly. 2014 was welcomed I with the same resolution…and 2015. Finally, in April, that year I took my first, tentative steps towards learning to swim. 

It’s taken a huge amount of commitment, to keep going. It’s cost me, literally hundreds of pounds. It’s been hard, it’s been frustrating. My health problems, haven’t gone away, each time I swim, pain is my companion. In my back, my knee’s,  my hip and sometimes, my elbow. Pain, though is not a reason to give up, it’s a reason to keep going. 

Arthritis, is a degenerative disease, by swimming I’m using my joints and in doing so, keeping them mobile as I can. This helps reduce the inevitable stiffness and pain, that comes with arthritis. Last year, a research study showed that swimming is the best form of exercise for arthritis.

I still experience asthma symptoms, I swim at well ventilated pools. One of the reasons, I left the pool as the gym, was because it was in the basement, with low ceilings. My inhaler sits at the side of the pool, and my nebuliser, sits in a bag, with my towel.

Now, nearly two years on, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, I have more energy and I’ve lost weight.I feel more confident and motivated. I want to keep myself fit, I don’t want to be spending my days, sitting around, feeling sorry for myself and psychology disabling myself, with thoughts along the lines of “I want to do it, but I can because of my asthma etc”. I also want to maintain, as good as quality of life, as I can for as long as I can.

Being able swim, has resulted in some amazing opportunities: swimming in the sea, off Anti-Paxos, featuring on an Arthritis and me DVD, taking part in Sport Relief, being part of the “this Girl Can Campaign and more recently, an invite to a reception at the Houses of Parliment which, to my huge regret, I can’t get time off work for. 

People do ask me how I do it, in view of my health problems. I don’t know, I know my increased fitness levels, help, along with determination and sheer bloody-mindedness. I might be gritting my teeth, against the pain, but I’m still getting to the top of the pool! 

To conclude, this post I what I am trying to say is, that before you dive headlong (no pun intended) into New Years resolution, think through what you want to achieve and what you are prepared to commit to achieving this, though it seem easy at the start, it soon proves tougher. Can you still offer this level of commitment in 3 months, six months, a year, two years? How are you going to maintain your motivation? And so forth

The only other left to say is 

Good luck and keep at it.