It’s been an amazing training week! Thanks to the national holidays I had four days off to complete my very first staged 3 day swim. Awesome experience! In preparation of my swim from Elsinore to Copenhagen in July the plan was to swim 5 km three days in a row to test my endurance and my body’s reaction to fatigue. The water temperature was around 14-15 °C, so I had no problem covering some of the distance without my wetsuit.
The first stage was on Thursday. I was a bit anxious in the morning, as my cold was not completely gone. My Granny gene told me to start with my wetsuit on to see how it felt. And it felt great! So I decided to split the distance into 3 rounds and swim the last round in my Speedos only. My friends Britta and Martin N joined me for parts of the swim. Fantastic company as always, but we were in for an experience we hadn’t quite prepared for. Hypothermia! It was Martin N’s first day in the open water this year, so he hadn’t acclimated to the cold water yet. Despite his wetsuit and a neoprene cap the cold took its toll on him. He cooled off so fast he had to stop earlier. Britta made sure to give him plenty of hot coffee and warm clothes while taking stock of the uncomfortable situation. It was quite scary to see Martin N’s physical and mental reactions. His shivering and disorientation, the stiffness of his muscles and his mental shutdown with only one focus left: keeping on swimming after me. Surely this chilling incident has taught us a lesson and led us to agree on clear rules in order to guard against all eventualities in the future. Safety first!
On the second day, Friday, the weather was superb. Sunny skies, gentle wind and a nicely challenging current. Martin KM and Thomas joined me in the water that was clearly colder than the day before. Martin wasn’t ready for that, so he chose to go for a shorter distance with our friend Bente. Thomas and I decided to start off with a whole 2.5 km against the current, so we could get a free ride on the way back. With my winter training focused on rehabilitating my left biceps and improving my efficiency I have clearly lost a lot of speed, resulting in Thomas being way in front of me. My poor buddy had to wait for me every 500 m. Though his amazing speed gave my confidence quite a knock, it was a brilliant mental challenge for me. I did my best to stay positive and focused on my swim the whole time and I managed to do so, pushing away any self-destructive feeling of failure. It was a great swim, leaving my triceps and my back muscles nicely sore for the rest of the day. When we came back to the harbour, Martin and Bente were waiting for us together with Lotte. After treating myself with a delicious burger at the local café I went home for a well-deserved nap in the sun, wrapped up in layers of warm clothes and ski socks.
The third day, Saturday, was quite cloudy. My cold was slightly back and I felt a bit tired from the first two days. Again the water was a notch colder, so I decided to limit my swim to 3 km (my Granny gene, you know…). Uffe joined me in his kayak, while Thomas and Tine swam along with me. On the beach was the rest of my support team – Lena, Marlene, Camilla, Lotte and Martin KM. Though fatigue was sneaking up on me, I had once again a really great swim. I did my best to keep up with Thomas and found even the strength to swim the last bit of the route at maximum speed. That felt awesome and I realized how much I had missed my speed work this winter! While getting my breath back I quickly took off my wetsuit and went for a final round in my Speedos only. As always it was a huge relief! I really love the feeling of swimming without the bloody neoprene cat suit restricting my movements. I gave all I had on that last stage. So I was quite satisfied as I walked out of the water with Thomas by my side as always. After a quick change to my voluminous clothes and my dear ski socks I had yet another burger (and a Coke at that in order to fulfill the sin!) with all my friends on the terrace of the local café, basking in the sun that was finally peaking out.
This swim was my first staged swim ever and it was a fantastic experience! It gave me a precious insight into how my body reacts to fatigue and made me realize how crucial a role my friends play in me achieving my dream. I can’t be thankful enough. Their help and support mean all the world to me!
From this week on speed work is seriously back on my training schedule. And I’m already loving it! 🙂
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