As many of you may know, a few months ago, I decided to step away from the biscuit tin, start trying to look after myself and get in shape. I’ll be honest, things are going really slowly! My six pack still looks like a beer barrel and the “guns” are looking like pea shooters. Don’t get me wrong, there has been some successes since joining to the gym, I’m sure the free weights have never been re-arranged in size order as much and, when I walk into the Reception area, I am now acknowledged with a friendly “Hello” instead of the staff talking amongst themselves!
Since the start of this journey though, one of the hardest battles hasn’t been physical, it’s been the psychological one. These are the voices in your head that say “It’s cold and dark outside, take a night off”. The voices that say “That’ll do, stop now”. The voices that say “All this effort and you’re still fat! Loser”. I’ll admit, there have been times I’ve listened to the voices and have stopped half way through a session and given up or blamed things like the cold weather or a cough for not going out in the first place.
For every battle that’s lost though, there’s a battle that’s won.
Yesterday, I read a blog from sports journalist and Sky Sports presenter Anna Woolhouse.
Her blog – www.annawoolhouse.co.uk/#blog
is all about breaking the gym routine and training outside. I was inspired as I really needed a break from the gym routine and especially those thoughtful souls who sit on machines sending texts and emails between sets! Why?! Are you seriously that important?! (I digress) While I was happy to go out for a run, I thought I’d get my daughter involved and asked her if I should go for a run, swimming or to the gym. She suggested swimming so swimming it was.
For starters, I don’t consider myself a strong swimmer at all. My technique is all over the place and the furthest I have ever swam is 1,600 metres (1 mile). I also haven’t been swimming for months so knew that it was going to be tough. Or at least that’s what one voice inside my head wanted me to hear. I thought back to Anna’s blog and, while I wasn’t training outside, I was making a change from the routine and I could therefore set my own goals and a 1 mile swim within the hour it was.
One mile in the pool is 64 lengths of a 25m pool. As simple as it seems, counting to 64 when you’re swimming can be tricky. There are other people in your lane that you may need to talk to (never), they may talk to you (hope not) causing you to lose track. You may need to take a break or two, or you just lose concentration.
I had decided that nothing, but NOTHING was going to get in my way of swimming towards my target. I was a man on a mission. By the half way point though, I was getting tired and the voices were telling me to stop. However, I remained focussed and carried on. By the 50 length stage, I was beginning to hurt and my arms were feeling like lead. My legs had given up kicking. Eventually though I got to what I thought was 64 lengths and, as I was still within time, I thought I’d swim 2 more, just to be on the safe side! After those final lengths, cramp kicked in so a night was called.
When I received the results from the SwimTag watch, it turns out I did lose count. I managed 70 lengths! A total distance of 1,750 metres, a new PB! I am already thinking that 2,000 metres is going to be the next target!
So what’s the point of this blog I here you ask? To be honest, this one is to act more as a personal reminder, not to listen to the negative voices or the doubters and don’t fear change.
If you’ve taken something from it to, I’m blessed.
Thanks for reading.
A Grumpy Man