Day 45 of the Great Big Marathon 10k Swimming Adventure: Cracking the 4k and dealing with neck pain

My trusty and highly recommended Garmin Swim watch always shows how much you have swum this week. Yes, you can turn the feature off. But it is a great motivator (just don't start "bragging" with it; no one cares).
My trusty and highly recommended Garmin Swim watch always shows how much you have swum this week. Yes, you can turn the feature off. But it is a great motivator.

Brrr! I’ve just come in from an icy but breathtakingly beautiful morning outing with my wife. We took a refreshing (ok, bracing) walk in the snow up to a local hotel for a nice buffet breakfast (my wife won the voucher almost two years ago, and we finally got around to using it) and then we had a slightly mental return trip back down to our house by toboggan. Weee!

Best morning ever.

So before settling down to work on some stories for the paper (even though it is officially a day off from work; I just have too much to do – and I love being able to write in the peace and quiet of my own four walls), let me give you a quick update on where the swimming adventure is at.

  • Into my second week of the “new” swimming regimen, and despite massive snow storms making the commute cumbersome, the habit is settling in. And I am getting some serious pool time: From Monday to Wednesday, I swam 10,575 meters (check photo for proof). That may be yawn-tastic for a serious athlete; for me it is a serious improvement and I am happy about it.
  • I cranked out my first 4k yesterday; needless to say, I swam on cruising speed, just enjoying the ride and even doing stints of parallel and left breathing, sighting and the like to limber up. Still it only took me 1:09:13 hours. That means I swam an average of 1.44 minutes per 100m – or an average of 17:30 minutes per kilometre. Nice. Could I have kept it up for another k? Probably. But I also started to feel a bit woozy (perhaps because of the cold I caught on Tuesday; or perhaps because my body started demanding some fuel).
  • Physically and mentally, I feel better than ever. That said: There is a nasty cold I feel coming on, which I picked up at a strategy session on Tuesday by sitting next to a coughing, sniffling, sneezing person for three hours. Grrr. I sneezed so much in the office yesterday, my colleagues started making jokes about it. Hope this does not flare up later tonight. It is one reason why I am not in the pool today.
  • The mental (health) aspect is huge and should not be underestimated. Swimming for a full hour, my head goes into a very pleasant and deep meditative zone. The rhythmic breathing, lapping and turning, the sensory deprivation, the feeling of being held by the water and yet of flying through it (not to get pathetic but that is what it feels like: the pool is my warm, comfortable sky, and I am casually flying through it) – it insulates me against stresses and provides focus for the whole day.
  • On Monday and Tuesday, preceding the long swim, I focused on sprints again. Don’t like them at all and ideally would be able to find a Masters class to train with once a week for those unpleasant sets. However, it does need doing to help build base speed, muscle and power, not to mention that it adds more options to keep things interesting.
  • Be it from the cold, the driving on icy roads or swimming (breathing too much on the right?): I got some slight neck pain last night and will therefore do some serious backstroking tomorrow morning, and do all kick drills lying on my back, too.