Slow Progress by Numbers.

Ever since I worked on a poultry farm in my teen years, I’ve had one irritating obsessive compulsive disorder. I count things. This came from the twice daily routine of walking through the sheds and collecting eggs from in, under and around the nesting boxes and the poultry shed. A careful and accurate count had to be recorded of the eggs from each shed.

Nowadays I catch myself counting whenever I’m doing anything that has a hint of repetition associated. Depending on what I’m doing, at some time during the day I discover a number incrementing in my head, and I often have to ponder before I realise what it is that I have been counting. Riding my motorcycle it may have been power poles, or species of animal; driving on the Tanami it was kangaroos and wallabies, or neck-crunching potholes.

In the Bribie swimming pool I’ve been counting the number of strokes it takes me swim a length and the number of lengths I can swim in 15 minutes. Today for the first time I managed to do that and in addition keep count of the total number of lengths I swam. I’m pretty sure I did 50 lengths on Thursday, but I had to calculate it from the number of laps I did per quarter hour. All I know is that I was completely buggered and needed a nap before I could go to the physiotherapist that afternoon for more workout. There I pedalled for 15 minutes with shrieking knees, then 10 minutes pedalling another machine with my arms, and lastly knee bends or squats on a vibrating platform that gave me the weirdest sensation. The efforts of that day left me aching and weary. I treated myself to a lamb biryani for dinner, from the Indian restaurant up the road. The next day I spent quietly at home, napping and reading. And eating leftover biryani.

That itself is a breakthrough. Once, there would have been no leftovers.

Today I kept count again while swimming and was pleased with myself when I completed 40 lengths in just under one hour forty five minutes. That is 1 kilometre. I started out doing two lengths in a little under 3 minutes for a time then settled into a steady 6 per 15 minutes, with enough time spare for a short break every four lengths to do some water assisted chin-ups on the dive podium, and step-ups, squats or leg stretches on the exit steps.

It’s all getting easier and easier. I am concentrating now on breast stroke when I swim, because according to the app I use to record my progress, breast stroke burns the most calories. I know I am not giving it the effort that a fit swimmer would, so I record my swim in the app as leisurely swimming, That is listed as being about a thousand kJ less per half hour. That way, I feel I will not be exaggerating the progress I’m actually making.

On Thursday I was watching the clock, aching and weary long before the time I had set myself, and totally stuffed at the end of my session. Two hours seemed far too long. By the end I was struggling to maintain my determination.

Today I was surprised at how effortless the swimming seemed and how quickly time passed. I could have gone on longer and considered for a bit trying for 50 laps. In the end I chose to finish after an hour and three quarters, while my shoulders were still not aching. Hunger played a part in that decision because I had only had a mug of coffee before I set out. My reward today is a Thai prawn green curry and noodles I am about to prepare.

I swam five out of seven days this week, and I am thinking that four days a week will be sufficient, or perhaps just a regular two days on and one off. Judging by how good I felt today, a periodic rest day is a great idea.

Author: Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.

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