I was kind of stressed for Monday: a two hours training in open water keeping the same pace when crossing the Ijselmeer on May 18th.. People close to me have noticed by now that when I have to do something I don’t look forward to I get pretty grumpy haha. My mom suggested we go to my grandma in Broek in Waterland and do a round there, which was a great idea. It’s nice to discover new places with swimming. 🙂
I jumped into the water just outside of the village in mini-river/ditch ‘Het Dee’, my mom beside me in the boat passing me food, all the way to lake ‘De Leek’ and across towards the ‘Broekervaart’, along that all the way home to my grandmothers house again.
The water in ‘Het Dee’ and between ‘De Leek’ and the ‘Broekervaart’ is extremely narrow, shallow and filled with mud. Not too strange because it’s in between all the meadows but it makes every stroke heavier. Haha loads of people passing us in their boats were looking at me, either curious or thinking I’m mad. ‘De Leek’ was fine for swimming across, little bit wavier and still shallow but at least I had room. 🙂
The ‘Broekervaart is a long canal next to a expressway (max speed 80km/hour). There was a tractor on that road so the cars behind it had to drive slowly and the saw me. They must’ve thought: ‘Wait what? What the hell is she doing?’ I had space and it wasn’t narrow. 🙂
Afterwards we had dinner at my grandma’s and we also talked to my uncle who works RTV Noord Holland (radio and tv station) and he asked me if I wanted to be on the radio to talk about the English Channel and het Ijselmeer. Pretty cool! So I’ll be going there the 17th of May, the day before my Ijselmeer crossing. 🙂
I also signed up for the Introduction week at Leiden University where I’ll be studying after the summer. I’m excited! 😀
Tuesday I did a technique training of 6km. In the evening my dad and I met up with Peter van der Maat. He’s the one who saw me swim in October and who had told us to contact him. Well here we are, telling him everything about the Channel, about me, how I got the idea, my fears, everything. He’s going to write a series of article for a local newspaper ‘De Groene Venen’. This will also get us publicity for the event, since he wrote about that too. 🙂
Wednesday morning I went to pick up Feyenoord shirts signed by famous Dutch footballers including Dirk Kuyt. Someone was kind of enough to give those to me for the auction on June 2nd. 🙂 I went to my psychologist, went to my piano lesson, followed a SWOD. A pretty regular Wednesday.
Thursday I followed a SWOD and the rest of day did absolutely nothing. Just hanging out and spending time with a loved one! 🙂
Friday I was pretty tired. But I had to swim five times one kilometer at a steady pace. Well this is gonna be a disaster, I thought. So after my warming up I started my first kilometer at steady pace, not too fast. I swam 14 minutes 57 seconds, just faster than 4km/hour. This is was already pretty good seeing as how tired I was. Not just tired but also a little done with stuff. The next one I tried to do at the same pace but I felt myself swim faster than the one before: 14:50. Okay this is pretty good, but I think the last three will be around 14:55 and that’s pretty good.
I’m actually kind of struggling with a couple of things. I just want to be able to do this right: swim fast, have a good endurance, be focused, know what to do with food, know how to keep my mind busy for hours. I found myself swimming faster again, I didn’t feel like slowing down to match the same pace and now I swam 14:36..
Haha wow okay so that’s not 14:55. But I won’t be able to keep it near 14:36. Well I was right: 14:06. I just felt frustrated. Frustrated that I find myself worthless and that it keeps me from so many things. It keeps me from believing that people can love me, it makes nothing ever good enough, it makes me sceptical of peoples intentions towards me even though I’m convinced people always have good intentions. It makes it hard to accept compliments because they don’t match up with the image I have of myself, it doesn’t fit in with the reality I’ve created for myself.
I wanted to swim that last one under 14 minutes. It could’ve been 13:59, I didn’t care but I wanted to do it under 14 minutes. So with that last bit of frustration and focus I swam pretty fast. I could hardly believe that I managed to swim a kilometer in 14:06 so this time I counted my laps carefully and looked at the clock extra intently. I swam it in 13:37.
I couldn’t believe it. I had never swum a kilometer so fast before. That is 1:21/1:22 per 100m which I already really fast when I do a 10x100m for example. And yet the pride I felt and the contentment with myself only lasted a second. It’s hard to describe what comes after it. I guess some sort of disappointment. Not that I think I could’ve done better, because this was extremely good and I didn’t even believe I actually did it. I guess it just feels like, no matter what performance you put down, nobody cares.. Because you’re invisible and worthless so anything you accomplish means nothing.
I’m only able to write it down like this in a later analysis. At that moment, when you get out of the water you just feel that way and you don’t get what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it because you know you should be proud and happy. I talked about a similar situation with my psychologist and in the next blog I’ll talk about it more.
My coach also seemed to be pretty proud of me for accomplishing this though. 🙂
On Saturday I followed a SWOD and in the afternoon we went to my grandma to borrow her boat. The idea was to swim from Monnickendam to Marken. It’s sort of the same waters as the Ijsselmeer but more sheltered and smaller of course. It was a 4.5km swim and it was good practice for the Ijsselmeer crossing the next week. I was extremely grumpy, I was tired and not at all looking forward to the cold water and long swim towards Marken.
Last minute my aunt and two nieces joined us on board. They were actually going swimming but decided they wanted to see me train and swim. It was nice to also have them support me. 🙂 There were waves but it was bearable. What wasn’t bearable was my dad throwing his go pro in my face every other minute. He’s pretty enthusiastic when it comes to making nice shots of me swimming, I think he’d prefer I used that term but I call him obsessed. I do have to admit that that the shots look cool. It gives it a real drone effect.
When I got to the harbour of Marken people there started clapping. They asked where I came from, how long it took and how long it was. They seemed pretty impressed. We got drinks there (and some food because I really hungry) before heading back home. My aunt and nieces still wanted to swim though so just before the harbour of Monnickendam they jumped in and swam a little more. I couldn’t resist. 😉 Technically I swam three times that day haha.
In the evening we had dinner at a pancake restaurant with the whole family. 🙂
On Sunday I didn’t have to swim anymore. I was supposed to work but because of the bad weather they called me to tell me I didn’t have to come. Quite a shame actually, that would’ve been my second-to-last day of work. At least I still have next week!
I am a nineteen-year-old girl from Baambrugge, a tiny village near Amsterdam, with big ambitions. I like to set big goals for myself, I like to explore my own boundaries and see if I can expand them.