It’s been a while since I wrote but that doesn’t mean my week was uneventful. I’m really sorry I haven’t written in a while but I was on holiday! 🙂 So this blog post is going to be kind of long but please do read it because I have a lot to tell you!
Let’s start with Thursday the 22nd of February. Honestly, I can’t remember what I swum then. What I do know is that I divided the 34km I had to swim that week into six trainings instead of five. The plan was to drive to Italy Friday night. I swam in the morning and I didn’t want to have to swim another 8,5km on Sunday in a pool I didn’t know so I decided to make it 3,5km and 5km. From now on I’ll describe each day separately.
We arrived in the morning at around 10:00 at Hotel Schönwald in Valles/Vals. This village is situated in the Dolomites in Italy put it’s also part of South Tyrol so everyone speaks German and Italian and you see the flag of Austria everywhere. Hahah kind of a weird place..
We couldn’t ski/snowboard that day yet but we just got our gear, placed ourselves on a terrace in the sun and waited until our room was available. Eventually, once we had settled into our room, everyone had chosen their bed, had unpacked and had rested from the 12 hour car ride through night I was ready for a training.
My mom drove with me to a pool fifteen minutes away: Alpinpool Familienbad in Maranza/Meransen. I think the name says it all.. It was incredibly hot and the pool was 17,5 meters long, not the regular 25 or 50 meters I’m used to. We had calculated that for the 3,5km that would be 200 laps. It wasn’t ideal but for such a short distance it was doable. I would’ve never been able to do an 8km training there, though. That would’ve been hell!
I woke up at 7:30 so that I could have breakfast at 8:00, leave at 8:30 and to be there at 9:00 when the pool opened. We went to the Acquarena in Bressanone/Brixen where they had an actual 25m pool with lanes for people to do swim their laps. There was also a pool for kids to play in with a slide.
All the lanes were full so I just jumped into a random one with a guy who’s technique was awful but he did give me space to swim. Which is nearly impossible because the lanes were extremely narrow. I kept bumping into the swimming lines..
Naturally this was very frustrating. Even more so because a third person joined our lane while some of the other lanes only contained one person. I just didn’t get his logic.. (Still don’t) but I moved to another lane myself. I at least value space to train.
After a while I noticed that a lane at the edge of the pool was free. Finally! A lane to myself! Aaand, it was also broader! SO MUCH SPACE! 😀 Though this lane seemed to be popular for people who wanted a nice quiet swim for about two lengths so I shared that lane now and then too. Kids were also just jumping in and going back out again but it was better than bumping into those lines all the time..
It’s quite tough to be swimming in a new pool, where there’s no big digital clock, with people who swim slowly and have less consideration, with less space and so many distractions and obstacles. The water felt heavier, I swam slower and the five kilometers took longer than it usually would at SwimGym.
I was glad when I was finally done. It didn’t give me the satisfaction of completing the training. I just felt exhausted and worried: how am I ever going to do the other trainings in this stupid pool? All I can do is hope that the trainings won’t be so heavy this week.
My dad and I drove back, relaxed for a little before we went off to join my mom and sister to go skiing and snowboarding. We only went for a few hours because everyone was still tired from driving through the night and our beds weren’t super comfortable..
I didn’t have the right binds boots, my feet hurt like hell the whole day so I stopped a little earlier to get new ones (I always have trouble with snowboard gear). Also because I was worn out from doing two sports that day and I didn’t feel all too well.. I just went to bar to read and waited for the rest of the family to join me.
After dinner I got an email from Marcel, my coach, with the schedule for this week: Tuesday – 5km own program, Thursday – 6km own program, Friday – 10km, Saturday – 9km including a one hour test, totalling up to 30km. I said I was hoping for an easy program, right? In return I get the toughest one so far.. Minus the snowboarding that is haha.
Naturally I panicked a bit.. At least I didn’t have to swim the next day and I knew that if I could do this I would be so much stronger afterwards. I would just have to let it come and go. But for now sleep and rest. Tomorrow would be easier.
Hehe, we started our day a little later but I still woke up early with stiff shoulders and a stiff neck. No obligations though, except for Cézanne’s ski lessons in the afternoon.
We can basically ski into and out of our hotel. And on that first tiny slope I realised that my boots were still not right. So we went to get new boots while my dad went to get some cash because they scarcely accept cards there.
We went up with the gondola. There we skied down and yess! My boots and bindings are right! This feels so much better! 🙂 In that village we sat down for a drink and my dad went to get cash there because in our village the ATM machine didn’t work. Haha it’s such a simple and outdated village.
We did a few more slopes, dropped Cézanne off and went on. We did take it easy though. I was so tired and didn’t feel too well all the time. It makes snowboarding harder too and I can’t afford to break my wrists again. 😉
We picked Cézanne up and I went to the hotel while the rest of the family went up the slopes one more time. I was too tired haha. And I would need my energy for the next day so I’m glad I didn’t push myself!
We woke up early again to be at the pool at 9:00. One little thing though: three lanes were reserved for aquagym for the elders. And what was also incredibly fun was that they brought more of their elder friends who wanted a casual swim.
I thought I’d be smart and swim in the lane at the edge of the pool, because it was broader, but before I knew it the lane was overflowing with old people. Why would you go in a lane which already contains three or four people when there’s also room in the other lanes? They were ghost-swimming as well those imbeciles!
My dad beckoned me over to the side: “I don’t get it. Why do all those old have people have to swim in my lane? It’s already super busy! And the other lanes are way too narrow, I’ll keep bumping into the sides. I just can’t do my trainings in this pool. This fucking sucks!” I said to my dad extremely frustrated. “You can either stop and we’ll go home or you just try.”
For a split second I considered going home. It is impossible to train here. But quitting just isn’t an option. I was so angry! I wanted to punch someone in the face or scratch someone’s eyes out. Instead I threw my pullboy on the floor, picked it back up again, chose a lane and dived in.
Swimming calmed me down a bit. I did finish the training but I felt a little hopeless; five kilometers is doable but how am I ever going to do 10km and 9km in this pool? Talking to my dad helped. Turn it into something positive right? For now: let it go and just have fun snowboarding!
Another fairly easy day. Lots of little huts to get drinks and food or else to read my book. Swimming takes a lot of energy and taking it easy like this makes it a lot more fun for me. 🙂
Speaking of fun and letting go. In the evening there was a party in a club under a restaurant at the top of the slopes. We took the gondola up there and it was great! All the locals (and tourists) were just going crazy. There was a pole where all those 16 year old girls and guys danced around, the music gave good vibes (Viva Hollandia and Drank & Drugs in German haha) and I just had a great time dancing with my sister! 🙂
It was just something different than the usual club in Amsterdam. I mean who takes the gondola up in the dark to go to a club at the top of the slopes? 😉
Today I didn’t have to swim but I still felt pretty sickish. My throat was sore and I didn’t really feel like anything. I did take private snowboarding lessons though, where I learned a lot and I which made me feel better. I snowboarded more than I thought I would and I stayed till the end of the day instead of leaving earlier and I realised that with each slope it was okay to keep going. We all felt like an easy going vacation anyway. 😉
This morning we tried to be at the pool earlier so I could have a lane to myself. As we walked from the parking lot a hoard of old people was going the same way. Ah oh…. I was not amused…
I changed quickly and dived in first (because old people are slow). Six kilometers including warm up and cool down and I had decided to swim a piramide. It’s easy because there’s a lot of variation and you don’t have to swim many long distances. For me that was a good way to start three consecutive days of heavy training.
I still feel like I’m quite slow but I’ve also kind of let the worry of ‘I can’t do those heavy trainings’ go. We spend the rest of the day snowboarding. Well my family dropped me off at little huts on the pistes now and then where I would read my book. After a while they would come back and I would join them again.
I had already done so much by then and it was showing during snowboarding. I didn’t mind, though, it felt comfortable this way and I didn’t want to take any risks. There’s just much at stake.
We did go down a black slope because it was basically red. It went really well and it’s obligatory to go down a black slope every ski-vacation. 😉 The only problem was that I fell out of the only surface lift that would get you back up. I had to walk through the trees where I sank into the snow up to knees until I finally reached the black slope to try again. I was lucky because the second time I took that lift was the last time it went that day.
So naturally I was exhausted and quite tired. Early to bed, early to wake, early to swim.
This was one of the days I had feared. Ten kilometers: 6x1km, after every kilometer 50x50m swimming every 50m in 55 seconds. This makes 9km plus 1km for warming-up and cool-down. But I just had to accept it, there was no point in worrying because that would’ve made it harder.
I had also accepted the fact that I was tired, stiff, aching all over and therefore wouldn’t be able to swim fast. The most important thing was that I reached the 10km. I mean I couldn’t read the time very accurately anyway so it didn’t matter.
Funnily enough it went by pretty quickly. I had woken up, confused by some confronting dreams so I had a lot to think about. If you swim for a long time on end you have time to clear things up in your mind.
I just start having conversations with people in my head. Of course in real life it would never go like that. In your head you’re always much more confident and you make the outcome positive for yourself. Still it keeps you busy, it gives you relief and before you know it you’re already half way. It’s quite meditative and relaxing sometimes. 🙂
So I came out of this quite happy and proud of myself. All that was left: last day of snowboarding! 😀 I didn’t go down many slopes because I had little energy and strength left but I did try another black slope, for the coolness of it and to end the vacation well. 😉
Me and my dad also did something funny. I was just chilling at one of those huts. He would just go up the gondola and go down the slope again to where I was waiting. I put a beer on the standing table on the terrace. He came skiing down, grabbed the beer, slid onto the terrace and drank. The perfect welcome! 😉
Afterwards we went to the pizzeria near our hotel for a couple more drinks and gezelligheid. It was a great last day, tomorrow we would pack up and leave again unfortunately. Just one more training the next morning and the holiday would really come to an end.
We had packed the night before. We would all go to the pool together, Cézanne wanted to go swimming too so we went down the slide together first. Then it was a warming up of one kilometer for me and she just joined my lane to do a couple of laps too.
But then it really had to start: the one hour test! The aim was 3800m in one hour. It was incredibly sweet how Cézanne kept telling people not to swim in my lane because I was busy with a test. I didn’t know it then but I thanked her afterwards.
My dad kept track of how fast I swam every 100m. If I swam 1:34 every 100m I would reach the 3800m. We had a system where two fingers up would be two seconds behind and two seconds down would be two seconds ahead of schedule.
I got annoyed when Cézanne only kept pointing fingers upwards and even more so when it only became more and more. I made a filthy hand gesture and she left me alone after that. Don’t worry I apologised afterwards but it’s just demotivating to know you’re doing horrible. Especially when the muscles in your arms and shoulders ache like hell. I started to swim slower..
After half an hour I realised: if I keep up this pace I will make 3600m. And that is unacceptable. A couple of months ago I reached 3725m and I had to reach at least that now or else I wouldn’t have improved at all.. So added a little extra strength to my strokes, (the aching had decreased) and swam faster.
The last 20 minutes I thought: if I swim about 4km/hour I can make it. So I went even faster and was surprised how much energy and strength I still had. I was extremely focussed those last minutes and that worked out pretty well for me. When the clock said I had swam an hour, when I touched the side of the pool I knew I had done it: 3850m! 😀
I still had to swim about 4km haha.. I did not have the strength and energy for that.. But I finished it: very slowly, though.. And afterwards I went down the slide again; I thought I deserved a little fun for completing my trainings! 🙂
All that’s left was the 12 hour drive home!
I have to say, I was pretty proud of myself: I had completed the toughest week ever! Six days of snowboarding plus 38,5km spread over six days aaand I did better on the test than I thought I would keeping in mind that I was extremely stiff, aching sickish, I slept short, had been doing two sports, was exhausted most of the time, trained in a new pool (which is quite mentally exhausting) and I had been sad and stressed that I couldn’t enjoy my ‘holiday’.
This whole week was a giant test to see if I would be able to turn the negative into something positive and I’m pretty damn sure I got an A! I can’t thank my family enough for their support and good talks, especially my dad. They supported and helped me so much, not just by accompanying me to the pool or restricting lanes to other people, but by talking and discussing things that troubled me.
And they told me it was okay to take it easier while we skiing and snowboarding, that I should just rest more, read a book in the little huts on the slopes. They told me to see the snowboarding as an extra and that otherwise I would be at home all by myself.
It helped that they were impressed and proud of my achievements like I was of myself. They made me feel less alone and more supported and I’m extremely grateful: if not for them I’d have had a really hard time this week.
So thank you for an awesome holiday, thank you for the support, thank you for the encouragements, thank you for the massages to release the stiffness, thank you for the talks that lifted my spirit! Thank you for everything! 🙂
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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.