Monday 16th September 2013

Workout Soundtrack: Earth Crisis – ‘Last of the Sane’ (on the way to the pool and on the way back)

100m warm-up (freestyle)

40x25m 19:51 (20×25 9:43, PB) (500m PB/PR & 1km PB/PR)

100m warm-down (breaststroke)

Today has been the complete opposite of yesterday! Although my knee/ITB/back have been giving a bit of trouble I haven’t let it phase me, nor have I let the fact that I can’t run at the moment despite having to see pre-work and post-work runners on my commute (and on my way back from the pool).

I must have kept yesterday’s feelings in mind and decided to combat them head on with a positive onslaught at work. I feel like today was a really productive, useful and rewarding day on the front lines of mental health service provision and that alone is usually enough to make me feel good.  After work I met my colleague’s two little boys, who are 1.5 and 3 years old and they also made the day that much brighter – you can’t fail to finish the day with a smile when you see two little trouble makers smiling and laughing with their Mum and Daddy!

My commute to and from work was uneventful and fairly comfortable – there wasn’t the usual Monday crush of people going to work this morning and then heading back this evening. I don’t know, maybe quite a few people decided to take the day off or maybe they tried a different route?! Either way, it made my day easier and far less stressful than most Mondays. It really did seem that somebody was watching over me today to ensure that I had a good one and that I remained positive throughout. On reflection that is a nice feeling to have and one that I’ve rarely experienced in my almost 30 years on the planet – maybe there’s a lot to be said about this new found [attempt at] relative positivism and the adoption of a [mostly] positive mental attitude!

So onwards to this evening’s swim workout. The plan was to hit a 40 lap, 1 kilometre swim pretty hard. Little did I know I was getting in the pool to get out again with a new 1km pool PR! As I finished my warm up a guy had just jumped in and he motioned for me to head off first. I thought nothing of it, maybe he was a slow swimmer and didn’t want to get in the way – it was quite possible, especially as I’d never seen him before but looking at his goggles I thought he may very well be a serious swimmer. It turns out the latter was correct, pushing off onto lap 2 he was on my heels, quite literally! I upped my pace and felt a surge of adrenalin at the idea I was actually racing and being raced in the pool. Mr. Mystery (I had to give him a name) passed me on the 3rd lap and I doggedly stuck to his heels up to lap 21 where I pushed hard and gained the lead – I guess we must have been quite a sight for the other swimmers because it was clear we were in an unspoken race! Between lap 21 and lap 29 I had the lead, Mr. Mystery swam up beside me for laps 30 and 31 and then pulled away about halfway into lap 32. I stayed determined and kept on pushing to stay on his heels. At lap 36 I overtook him and then pulled away for the final 4 laps, he finished about a lap and a half behind me and when he stopped we exchanged a smile and a nod. I set off on my slow warm-down and thought I’d catch up with Mr. Mystery afterwards but there was no sign of him at all when I got out of the pool! I really hope to see him around again as it was such an enjoyable experience to race instead of swimming alone lap after lap and clearly, without his competition, I would never have come to close to setting a new PR! In the unlikely event that you’re reading this good sir I’d like to say thanks a lot, next time we meet again I’ll buy you a coffee afterwards and we can talk swim tactics!

Regular readers will know what comes next for me after a swim. So, as usual, I headed up to the steam room for 15 minutes of pacing which passed nice and easy again – the second day in a row where I haven’t felt pushed close to my heat/humidity tolerance meaning I’m going to have to look at trying to go for 17 minutes next time and increase gradually, much like my plan for upping my sauna tolerance! After my pacing session in the steam room I stood under the ice cold shower for 5 minutes focusing the jet onto my left knee, left ITB and lower back before heading into the sauna. Anybody that read yesterday’s post will know I managed 13 minutes and 35 seconds in the sauna so I was aiming for the same today. I didn’t take any water in with me which I became aware of after around 10 minutes but I stuck it out as there were a couple of people in there having a discussion about politics, economics and the nature of humanity which sufficiently distracted me (and became quite annoying after a while but I let it slide) from the no water issue. Before I knew it, I had zoned out – I could hear that people were conversing around me but I had no idea what they were saying until all of sudden the main protagonists got up and left – at this point I looked at my watch and saw I had been in the sauna for 17 minutes and 40 seconds! I waited out the last 20 seconds in a kind of quiet self appreciation and then headed back into the cold shower for five minutes.

All in all, my day could be described as brilliant! 500m and 1km PRs in the pool, a productive day at work, an interesting race developing out of nowhere and going beyond what I thought I was able to manage in the sauna with no trouble at all. To top it all off I got home after my workout, put the football on the radio and cooked some dinner and then sat back to watch an astonishing episode of Breaking Bad – season 5 episode 14 has left me speechless and very much looking forward to the final two episodes!!

I promised a more upbeat post when I signed off yesterday and I think I have delivered that. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read and taken something away from it. Stay positive dear reader and keep on keeping on!

Until the ‘morrow I bid thee goodnight!

Peace 🙂

[Addendum: I forgot to mention yet another positive arising from my day! I’m booked in for my initial physio assessment and treatment on Thursday morning, hopefully I can get back out on the road and trails pretty soon.]

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