Endless pool – Week #2.2

2nd phase, 2nd week: Check! This week: 15 sessions, 5h23 of swimming, 8h44 of riding and 5h17 running (54k). For the 2nd straight week, I keep on improving and feel like I could do more, which is always a good sign.

Monday:

Swimming in that thing is a lot of fun! I absolutely need it in my future living-room.There is a mirror at the bottom of the pool. It helps you see exactly what you do well and what you don’t. It is not really obvious on TV but swimming is a sport where technic is king and where a single stroke can become very gracious and light. Therefore, beware of that mirror, you can easily fall in love with your own reflection.

Contrary with what I said on the video, the water was cold! After 50′ of swimming, I was frozen. Ryan told me they were going to set up a heater. Still, if you want to swim, you need to book the pool in advance to allow the pool heat to significantly go up!!

Swimming against the current wasn’t easy at all. It took me some time to tame it and stabilize myself. Often, I would swim to the left, to the right or in diagonal!

Regarding the clock that was supposed to tell the speedwell, I still don’t know what it corresponds to! My “speed” was set on 1:44 but it was definitely too slow to be 1:44 / 100m.

In conclusion, it was a great experience even though I believe it would take a few sessions to really get the best of it. On the other end, to see yourself swim is priceless. Joe, another employee from the store, filmed me during the whole session! The video is 55′ long. And after 5′ of watching, I had already written a full page of what to improve. Michael Phelps…you can sleep tight! 😉

But today’s essential was elsewhere. First, I met Ryan and Joe, 2 incredibly kind guys. I don’t know what I did one or two years ago but I became a magnet to super nice people.

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Secondly, it’s in this store that I feel in love with my future race bike: the Cannondale Slice. When I rode it for this picture, I felt like I was Han Solo, taking the commands of the Millennium Falcon.

Last but not least, I left the store, stopped in a hawker centre. Ordered a japanese soup to warm myself up and sat down at a table where another guy was playing with his iPhone. After 5 minutes, he looked at me and said: “I am going to order a drink. Do you want something?”…”Mmm, what are you takin'”…”Well, a soda, an apple juice probably”…”Same as you then”

A magnet, I am telling you.

Tuesday:

Every tuesday morning, I go to the track. That’s it. I go for one lap hard, stop and take 45” off to catch my breath. I do that 25 times. It is the one session in my program that scares me. Every tuesday morning, when I wake up at 6, I ask myself “What about doing this session tonight instead?”. But nope, I do it first thing in the morning and that’s it. As a motivation, I tell myself that I’ll be stronger when I finish the set. Not because I would have run fast but because once again, I would have conquer my fear.

I usually run these laps between 88-91”. On that day, for the first time, I ran them between 83-87”. Fear doesn’t mean anything.

Then, I went to the pool to swim 1500m and as usual, for the past few weeks, I beat my previous best of a minute (30’30 instead of 31’30)

Wednesday:

This morning was my last run in Singapore so it had to be a special one. I woke up at 5:30. Put on my Free 3.0 (which probably only have a few weeks to live!) and went to the MRT station. An hour later, I was close to the airport. Now let’s go back home.

Thanks to those run, I became pretty good in terms of orientation. One of my ex’s used to tell me that I rocked at it, that with me, she was never scared to be lost.

It is now 10k that I am running westbound and towards downtown when suddenly I am facing two options:

One, a beautiful road going south 😦 and – Two, some kind of gravel road that doesn’t really exist, going below a highway bridge and which goes west.

I took the “gravel” option and 800m later, I found myself face to face with ten lovely pit bulls barking as if they didn’t eat any humans for too long. With a plastic bottle (empty!!) in my hand, I was read to fight! No, I am kidding, I went back the other way.

Afternoon: 30k easy ride where I beat my previous best of 7 minutes! Definitely, avoiding a do or die fight with the pit bulls was a good idea. I would have never savoured that record otherwise! 😉

Evening: Departure from Singapore. Lay-over in Mumbai. Lay-over in Brussels. Back home in South France.

Usually, I am always emotional when leaving a country. I think about the possibilities, the regrets, the failures (oh yes, the failures), the efforts…But in Singapore’s case…no, no regret. I did everything I had to do and met all the people I had to meet. I can leave with peace on my mind.

Thursday:

Craig, a Singaporean triathlete buddy who works as a steward, told me that his thing to fight off jet lag was to go for a work-out as soon as he arrived in a new city, rather to go for a nap. So I followed his advice. Landed in Marseille at 11:45. Head below the water at 12:30.

It was 2 months ago since I used to come to this pool to start swimming “well”. But at first, it wasn’t really fun. The pool was crowded and overtaking someone was as risky as overtaking another car on a narrow mountain road. Therefore, you often end up at a pace that is not yours and that usually depends on the swimmers behind and in front of you.

This is why today would be a real test! During my 2 months in Singapore, I swam hard but I had wide open water lanes just for me.

The first lesson I learnt is that in a pool, it’s okay to get hit by other swimmers. It’s a part of the game. At first, I would be a bit shocked and stop swimming all of a sudden. But now, I became able to overtake someone, crash into the swimmer coming in opposite direction and then keep going as if nothing happened 😉 That’s what life in a pool is…with only a bit of exaggeration.

2 months ago, in this pool, everybody used to overtake me! I was telling myself that if I want to qualify for the olympics, I really have to focus on the swimming. But here, on that day, coming back from Singapore, I felt this incredible feeling called: mastery.

When you swim in a pool, either you look at the bottom and don’t see anything or you look on the sides to breath, where once again, you don’t get a lot of clues about what’s happening in front of you. But sometimes, you start seeing bubbles which mean there is someone kicking in front of you. Other times, you go for one more stroke, you glide…and the tip of your fingers lightly touch the tip of the toes of the swimmer in front of you, which in the language of swimming means: I control you.

Friday:

When you train like I do and that you switch places, your conversations with your friends are quite limited! The only questions worth asking are: where can I swim? Where can I ride? Where can I run? 😉

The “pool” case was resolved but without any real bike, I decided to take out from the garage, a rusty indoor trainer, as old as a bottle of wine worth 300 euros. I first tried to tighten up the screws of the saddle, the pedals and the handlebars but quickly realized that the screws wouldn’t turn in any direction! Then, I tried to find some batteries to make function the electronic counter. First miracle: I did find 4 batteries! Second miracle: After pushing on these batteries left, right, north, south, inside, deep, all of a sudden, I heard the counter ringing as if I had woke him up from a 10 year coma!

Swimming is exciting because in a way, you’re looking for style and beauty. Riding is exciting because you can pretend you can handle a monkey wrench and be a mecano. I’m a boy after all!

Saturday:

I currently train twice a day. That’s normal. But little by little, I will add a few “3 work-outs/day” type of day. Today was one: Bike at 9am. Pool at 12. Run at 4pm.

When I got to my first track session in Singapore, I said I was worth about 40′ over 10k. Someone then told me that one is usually 10% slower in South-East Asia than in Europe, because of the hot and humid climate. So, even if I thought I ran pretty well in SEA, today was the perfect occasion to compare two joggings in two parts of the world. Here is the verdict:

Friday December 6th, Singapore, 8k run in 45′ = 10,7 km/h.

Saturday December 14th, South of France, 10k run in 53′ = 11,4 km/h.

Sunday:

Today is a new type of triathlon, which is probably going to teach me a lot: 60k ride, 15k run and lunch with the family in the middle.

My sister lives in the National Park of Camargues. I didn’t know but the bike course is flat, flat, flat! It was also my first time riding a road bike. If you too ride a mountain bike on the road, you know that the following is true: Road bikes overtake you, mountain bikes get overtaken. I think I might been close to overtake a road bike, running – but with a mountain bike…impossible! When I left, my brother in law told me, “you will never ride a mountain bike ever again”. Can’t believe how light that thing is. It’s really something else. I need one!

The afternoon run would turn out well but I would make a lethal mistake during the “family lunch” transition, which will become the lesson of the day. On the menu, nothing but healthy dishes. I was quite glad. But dear Gregory, even if you just rode your bike for 2h30, it’s not a reason to help yourself 3 times!

It is one of the aspects that I love about triathlon and that I need to implement in the other aspects of my life. When you train for 3 different sports, it is very easy to make mistakes.

But since triathlon is very important for me, I developed the mid set to think that when I make a mistake, I simply need to understand it in order to improve. Each time, it is a very small improvement but after all these weeks of training, the difference is huge I believe.

I remember, I tried so many times to study japanese and set up so many different programs. When something wouldn’t work, I would get frustrated and give up. Then, loaded with regrets, I would start over a few weeks later, instead of thinking right then “Okay, this study plan is not good for me. I just need to add a slight modification to my plan” and continue my learning the next day.

This mentality works for triathlon. It must work for japanese and other stuff in life too!

If I remember right, it is Edison  who said it took him 10.000 tries to invent the light bulb. He said that with each of his 9.999 failures, he would think “Great! I failed and learned one more way that doesn’t work”

I got to go back to my japanese.

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