Swimming 101: Don’t Drown

Five o’clock this morning my alarm went off and I got out of bed. Its pitch black outside without a soul in sight, not even the psychotic neighbours, who I’m convinced don’t actually sleep (that right there is whole separate blog). I’m out of bed, I’m dressed and I’m out the door and headed to the West End to meet my friend (and new swim coach) for 6:30am. I’m out of bed, and clearly out of my mind. 

Its eerie driving through the West End at 6am on a Wednesday morning. The sun hasn’t even thought about rising yet, the shops are all still pretty shut up and there are only a few people around, wrapped up against the pre-dawn cold. And it is cold. Its been years since I saw this side of London, and back then I probably would have been headed to bed, rather just getting out of it. And I certainly wouldn’t have thought I’d ever be dragging myself out of slumber, willingly, at this hour to hit the pool. Before work. Like a lunatic.
Thankfully the Oasis centre in Tottenham Court Road is warm, and although we were disappointed the heated outdoor pool wasn’t open yet, I was slightly relieved that I wouldn’t have to brave the cold wearing only my speedo full piece and some spangly goggles. The indoor pool would do!
Then there’s nothing else for it. I have to jump in. And its more than a shock to the system when I get going. I’m very grateful to have a friend there, who is a very strong and experienced swimmer and talks me through the different lanes and has a look at my very rusty technique. 
The first thing that strikes me is how tough it is. Really, lung burning, muscle aching tough. I am not swimming fit at all. It reminded me of my first few C25K sessions, I had to stop every couple of lengths to catch my breath. Totally knackering. I also seem to have forgotten how to swim without inhaling half the pool. Cue much spluttering and the occasional fear I may actually forget to come up for air (yes, mad). Or get taken out by the super quick pensioner just behind me n the lane. Its a jungle out there. 
To add to this farce, swimming freestyle highlights my terrible co-ordination, those neural pathways are non existent, I’ll need some lasers to burn these into my brain! I can’t get the breathing sorted as well as have my legs kicking as much as they should at the same time. Yup. It’s comedy value really. 
But with a few pointers from my swimming guru friend, and sensibly slowing the pace, I began to get into it. Managed about 35/40 minutes. Not bad going for session one. Now to ensure I fit in at least another three ahead of the Torture (sorry Physio) appointment. 
One of the many excuses I thought up to not go swimming. 

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