From Winter to Summer in 24 Hours…

In our part of the world, we don’t have a Spring season anymore. The one night it was still in the minus degrees below Centigrade, and the next week we started seeing days that is 31 degrees C. And we do have a long summer- going on up till about end of April…

I am using this new season wisely. I still have this dream to do my 20th Pick ‘n Pay Argus Cycle Race (109 km) around Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa in less than 4 hours. After my operation I did not start cycling yet. I started by swimming.

The first week was pure hell on earth, it felt like drowning every step of the way.

But now, after 4 weeks, I am swimming 30 laps a day (25 meter laps).  I am starting to wonder how one of our country’s one mile swimming races will feel, and if it is survivable for someone like me… Any advice and tips on training for a mile dam swim will be most welcome!

This is my view every morning after sunrise…

2014-09-15 08.16.26

30 Laps swimming, then a hot shower at the resort, and then I am good to go for a 10-12 hour day’s work…

It went Swimmingly, thanks…

The Weesgerus (Be Relaxed in Afrikaans) Resort is just outside our town on the way to Vaalwater.

It is still winter here for another month. But I really, really needed some exercise after nearly 3 weeks of resting following my operation. Following 8 months of inactivity following the first gall stone attack…

I also have heard that swimming will improve the stomach muscles a lot after the gallbladder removal and the break around my belly button.

So- as I still can’t drive, and not wanting to walk the 4 km uphill to the resort, my wife took me over there. In my Camino days in 2011, it was such a breeze hiking up the hill, buying a bottled water at the shop, and returning downhill to my home.  Today, I bought my monthly ticket for the sum of ZAR 100 (abour US$ 9, I think…)

And then it was me and the swimming pool. The last time I really swam for a sport was at high school over 3 decades ago. I could then do a mean breast stroke…

But today, 30 years later? I usually just swim to get away from the Great White Sharks around our coast line. And maybe when a bottle of beer drifts away when I try my hand at fishing…

Fortunately, being winter, the swimming pools were nearly empty. No beautiful girls in bikini’s to ogle me.  There is a heated swimming pool on the left, and a cold one on the right. Being winter, I opted for the heated pool. I am just no Ice Bear…

I felt like a hippo leaving the dressing room. But I don’t do Speedo- they should be banned from the face of the earth. No, baggy surfing shorts is still my style, being a Natal boytjie when I grew up.  The home of the Sharks rugby team in Super 15, dear Aussies and Kiwis…

But now, in the heart of Blue Bull Country, I, with my blue baggy shorts, entered the water. Not as slick as our hero Chad le Clos, (our other national Olympic sports hero and gold medal winner,  who does not shoot girls in the bathroom…) No, it looked more like that unfortunate day underneath the Enola Gay, with first a boom and then a mushroom cloud spreading around the earth…  The people in town thought it was another earthquake- we had a huge one last week just 5 km from my mother in law’s house in Orkney, btw…) But it was just me, trying to get back to my old former self- that would be the one 30 years ago…

I popped up from underneath the water like a cork from a champagne bottle. And then- far, far away, over on the other side, I saw the opposite wall. A whole 25 meters away. Do you know how far 25 meters can be? Really, really, really far away! It takes much less than that to drown in. But I started bravely to paddle my arms, and weakly kick my feet. Some form of propulsion did finally kick in, because I moved slowly, oh so slowly forward.

It took place in this swimming pool. But at the moment, the beautiful grass banks is covered with guano. That is penguin doodoo… it stinks. When the first rains of summer comes, this will be a delight to see. But every breath tasted like sh… some kind of stinky stink thing…

After I saw my whole life since birth flash before my eyes, I finally reached the other side. And then I did an Olympic style turn, and went back. No not really… I first hanged onto the wall of the pool for a few minutes, while my lungs found their way back inside my chest, burning like a streak of napalm. When finally the darkness and the red stars subsided in front of my eyes, I tried returning to where I started.

I did 10 laps of this pool- 250 meters in total. One small step for man… one giant leap for me…

It does not sound like much. But I really, really tried hard to start my comeback in the fitness department. I really have this dream to be fit again, and to ride next year’s Argus Cycle race in Cape Town under 4 hours. That will really take a lot of training for me!

I will try and do this till spring is well underway, and then also start cycling again. That I may only start doing 6 weeks post operation.

I am really thankful that our part of the world has such short winters, the leaves of the mulberry trees in my back yard are already starting to bloom again. And our days are getting longer- more time for training, and living each day to the max…

I now have a new found respect for people who can swim a mile!

 

On the Move- Weekly Photo Challenge

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/on-the-move/

I am sorry. The quality of this photo is not nearly up to scratch. But it brought back such good memories of my university days.

We had this huge sport on Campus- the Pedal Prix. With ultralight pedal driven cars we drove a relay route on campus for about 6 hours if I remember correctly. We had to be really fit, and it was still very exhausting. But then- between your laps you had the attention of the ladies from the wonderful Physiotherapy Department getting that aching muscles repaired again…

Pedal Prix 1987

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This was a lovely way to MOVE!