Four sessions done last week, the opening chapter of the return to the pool.
This session is the third this week, so the early morning swimming routine is slowly, ever so slowly, starting to become habitual.
Which is the only way to have any kind of fitness regime, especially one involving showing up on the pool deck at the un-Godly hour of 6am to spend the next ninety minutes wrestling with the demi-gods of the deep end and the harpies of the shallow end.
Arrived late this morning as had nothing prepared from the night before, not a bag packed nor a pair of socks or undies stuffed into shoes, or a shirt ironed for work.
This is the real time trap, ironing a shirt while still half asleep and with the siren call of a still warm bed beckoning like a sleepy, smooth as silk, dreamy lover calling one back for sleep or bedroom high jinks.
On arrival, get a dose of Deano caustic wit about being late now that the abode is so close to the pool compared to the previous schlep from the far north of the city.
The four lanes are already churning with the flailing arms and flickering legs of swimmers, but the rising sun is warm and the air is still so who gives a hoot anyway whether one is late or not.
As long as one is here, Garmin powered up, lowering down off the side wall into the brine, googs in place, kick away from the wall, first couple of strokes and then settle into for the ride.
There is a singular advantage in being the slowest swimmer in the entire squad – four lanes, approximately 12 per lane, so therefore 50 odd swimmers – in that nobody much cares about how one spends the time slogging up and down the lane.
So, when the decoupling starts and the rest of the train pulls away, it’s decision time.
Whether to bust a gut trying to keep on the toes of the next last swimmer, so just let go and carry on at a pace that can be sustained the slower sets of the session, while retaining some rocket fuel for the sprinting sets.
And that’s what 50s Friday is all about – sprinting, anaerobic torture, oxygen deprivation depravity. 50 x 50 in a variable pattern of hard, easy, hard, hard, easy, easy etc.
715am – the last four 50s – hard, hard, hard, hard as one can go.
Somehow have ended up at the wrong end of the pool with four of the fasties – svelte, streamlined, muscled, gimlet eyed swimming machines.
Not a chance of coming near any of them in a sprint.
But…going all in with the special Ben-Hur-Roman-Galley Ramming-Speed-Muppet-Style, get to within a stroke length of the last fastey, Spike.
For anyone wanting to learn this style at the feet of the master, it involves head down, don’t breathe for the first ten strokes, then bilateral until all the puff is gone, now blow up, surface and try to make the remaining 25m without going into cardiac arrest.
All in – it’s the only way.