Oh welcome, 2016! A new dawn and a fresh start! As my friend Camilla will love to tell you, this year, I’m finally turning 40, so I want to make the best of it. Still, I’m not a big fan of new year’s resolutions. The way I see it, it’s nothing but stillborn bullshit declared for the only purpose of getting a clear conscience following a night of heavy drinking and desperate shagging. Nonetheless, this year I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon. Might be worth giving it a try, hey?
My final swim test back in December didn’t quite turn out as expected. Besides sleep and taper, it has reminded me how crucial nutrition and tranquil bowels are for optimal performance. As always when working under pressure, I ended up pigging out on junk food and buckets of coffee through December – anything to keep my brains ticking over for lack of a good night’s sleep. Combined with my traditional laying siege to the loo due to anxiety prior to a big event, I showed up to my test with my body badly fuelled and partly dehydrated. As a result, the warm-up alone left me depleted of energy and I had to complete the test, fighting stomach cramps and the tiredness of my drained muscles. (This is the part where you feel sorry for me 🙂 )
So, if I’m to make but one resolution for 2016, it must be this: stay away from junk food and G&T however stressful work may be. Poor nutrition means poor performance – so get some sleep and keep a balanced diet. As to my anxiety, Susanne and I have agreed not to schedule my coming tests – I’ll take them “spontaneously” whenever she secretly plots them into my Friday training sessions. I could see the cunning smile on her face as she suggested this solution, and I played along. If anything, at least, it’ll give my toilet paper suppliers three months to refill their stock.
Following my swim test I decided to take a full recovery during my Christmas break. I only resumed my training after a fantastic holiday spent with my family in Belgium (and yes, that means eating tons of chocolate). I spent a whole week unwinding and relaxing, playing tourist in my own country and reading books by the fireplace. Among other things I read two exciting novels written by my fellow translator Billy O’Shea. It’d been years since I’d read any steampunk literature, so Billy’s Clockwork series took me all the way back to the Jules Verne’s books of my teenage years. Intrigues and futuristic engineering stuff, it was all in there. My inner child loved every page of it! Click here to take a look at his webpage.
Back home I had a look at my training plan for the next three months. I decided to make some slight changes so I can enjoy an extra recovery day each week (turning 40, you know…) while keeping the same intensity in my swimming. Also I’ve started a new mobility protocol with a special focus on my hip flexors. They are so tight they force my lower back to arch excessively while swimming breaststroke, like an inflated seahorse groping its way through the water, resulting in lower back pain. Not exactly my ideal of a smooth and elegant swimmer – with a walker and all. So I guess I’d better do something about it before it’s too late.
Last but not least I’m headed to Lanzarote on Friday to take part in Paul‘s long distance swim camp. Sea, swim and sun – plenty to look forward to. Hoards of energy bars, my whole range of Funky Trunks, my wetsuit and a few tee-shirts – it’s time to pack my gear. But it seems my usual curse follows me, as I’m submerged in work again this week. I guess I’ll have to catch up on my sleep on the plane so I’m fit for fight by Saturday morning. In the meantime we’ll see how it goes with this new year’s resolution of mine about keeping a healthy diet under pressure…
Sink or swim – it’s up to me how I’ll make it!
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