I’m two weeks into the new training regime. My daily exercise has, quite literally, doubled overnight, and I am feeling every new step, stroke, and pose. I’ve never been more mindful of my body, and that includes the aches in muscles I couldn’t even put a name to last week. I’ve gone so far as to take up running, my most hated activity, which leaves me with cracking knees and panic attacks and deep aches that won’t shift without pharmaceutical assistance.
Last night I was in the pool for a solo session focussing on cardio and working with a build-up of lactic acid. It was hard. It was meant to be hard, but after two weeks it was almost unbearably so.
Every body part felt like it was screaming at me to stop, stop, and my mind just wanted to quit, to give up on my ridiculous dreams and go home to sit on the sofa eating icecream and drinking wine and cry. I was one away from crying into my goggles. I had epic period cramps. The fatigue was deep within my bones. I couldn’t see how i would ever managed to keep up this training schedule in the long-term, and all it seemed to do was to make me worse.
I stopped when i reached the shallow end to contemplate how i could rescue this session. It struck me I haven’t had any fun in the water in some time, so I gave myself a break and treated myself to just… playing. Just being in the water, swimming up and down, somersaulting and corkscrewing. I pulled myself forward and… there it was. It was a no-fins kick.
And it was phenomenal. It was strong and controlled and it came out of nowhere. I glided along the bottom, a little further and longer than usual. I came up, breathed. Ducked under, and there it was again- another kick. Suddenly, i understood which muscles i needed to use, and i could feel them activating, rotating and angling just so, stamping outwards and describing that arc through the water before coming to rest, pointed and relaxed all at once.
I couldn’t quite repeat it again that session, but that stroke gave me hope. It made me see that the weeks of training, of pushing and working, are worthwhile. I felt strong, controlled, in both mind and body, and I was marvelling at something that felt fundamentally different in my glutes and thighs as they finally activated of their own accord, and with more power than I’ve felt before.
I felt that tiny difference. And that’s what got me out of bed this morning to hit another muddy, hilly, aching 5k run.