Thursday, 21 July 2011

Oops...

that one went wrong. What I had in mind was along the lines of: get over the nerves, do a solid dive taking a look around in 130m, then: party for a week! What I got was the first proper, solid black out of my freediving career. It seems there is no point in doing things by half, so I went for it in a spectacular fashion, blacking out deep enough for my scooter guardian angel Andrea to get to do the first scooter rescue in freediving history. He says I owe him ten years of his life, and he looked at me quite sternly, but I think it's only fair, as I am sure he took much more than that off the life of his mother who had to watch him crash his motorbike on the racetrack. What goes around, comes around!



The beauty of freediving is, you recover quickly, so after my coaches allowed me to have a dinner of lemon ice cream, I was on the mend. We spent the rest of the week at the mercy of photographer Andy Fox, who showed no qualms in attacking a woman with a camera and a flash at 04:15 am, when I was sitting on the nabq desert beach trying to reflect on the beauty of the sinai sunrise! Well. Good luck with that, there were paparazzi everywhere, even taking pictures of each other:



After I got to chill for one night in the desert the danish feedivers turned up for a minicomp, and I did my usual coaching session, looking after Jakob, who did a national record in CW with 96m, Rune, and new diver Carsten. These guys are always fun and I love to take care of them! When everyone had left, I twisted Andrea's arm a little bit - I might have batted my eylids and said: please take me on a scooter dive, pleeeeeease! Anyhow, we cruised down the reef and took a few turns in 25m. The little devil in me wanted more, the blue was just so beautiful, but Andrea has become annoyingly good at taming it, so no chance in hell, not a single extra meter.



Now I have a hectic month at home where it is - how could it be any different - raining and cold. I will try to follow my homework as closely as possible. I have been told what to eat, and when. Somehow I don't think my coach will agree with my usual breakfast & lunch of coffee, and then coffee.

This is going to be hard work. Will go and have a coffee...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Murphy loves me



When I was still going deep with lots of tanks - see photo above - my fantastic trimix instructor, Aaron Bruce, once told me never to forget that Murphy loves tech divers. I now realize that he also loves female athletes. All attempts at timing my world record attempt for the perfect time of the month have failed miserably, and so my training has gone rapidly downhill.

During one of the sessions I felt so bad, I hit the brake in 80m, because I had finally failed to keep contractions away on the way down. I was lucid enough to realize that having contractions at well below 100m would most likely give me a massive lung squeeze, so I turned early, grumbling the whole way up. It is a frustrating thing to experience in freediving, which is a sport largely controlled by the mind, but there are moments when you can mentally be as ready as you like but your body just won't play along. Murphy remained in full attack mode for the rest of the week, so I had to listen to super coach Andrea and take two days off to let my body recover. He has been with me on all my dives, as he has developed a new deep safety system: he comes down to meet me in 50-60m with a tech diving scooter! It is a really great moment to see him on the way up, just when I am thinking, am I there yet, am I there yet...



The break had me feeling great in the water yesterday, no stress at all, and I was psyched and happy heading down to 120m, when a freak incident hit me at around 70m: an enormous burp/hick-up! I felt like I had a bubble of air stuck in my throat, went into a full panic as what to do with this - unfortunately, I was unable to find a way to add it to my mouthfill - and by the time I reached 80m equalization was pure chaos. The chaos and I made it to 115m. Then I was so annoyed I kind of sprinted back up, which had Andrea struggle to follow me with the scooter, and earned me a telling off by both coaches. I know, I know, I will be good next time, I promise! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....and I know what you are thinking, but I have NOT been drinking beer before the dive! Honest!



After training I always have to wait around in the pool for Andrea to come and get me out of the 7mm Zodiac suit, so this is when we usually have our debriefings. I believe I might have wailed something along the lines of "I don't want to do another training dive, I don't want to, I don't want to" and the coaches agreed it was time to quit messing around and just go for the record.

Rope has been measured (in the dark, see above), judges are here, all is set. Minor detail: me doing the dive. Ah well...

Did I mention? I have now officially entered the panic phase.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Training...again

Here is a video from our tandem no limits world record dive!



After a semi day off I went back to train for the variable weight world record. The plan was to do three 80m dives and get comfortable on the variable sled. This is the sistership to the deltaflyer, and is really nice - only problem is, I have to hold on to it which is creating stress. In any case, I was sure this time it would be easy, but no such thing: I felt amazingly horrible and completely unable to focus.

After I was hit on the head by the tank on the way down and hit by the seld on the way up during the first dive, I jumped on the platform to try and get my concentration back, but instead found myself crying tears of frustration, which would not stop during the rest of the session! So annoying. Here is a problem for a blond diver to solve: how to hide the fact that she is crying from a bunch of men who are monitoring their athlete closely, and a cameraman who is zoomed in on her face! During the breathe-up for the final dive, I was so bad I could not get a proper breath, and then Marco messed up the countdown - straight after "two minutes" he jumped to "thirty seconds"! Cazzo! I turned to him and said, quite nicely: "I don't think so." That had them all jump to attention.



After all that, I was really lost and unsure of how to go on. In the morning, I just wanted to disappear, so I wandered off to the beach at the very far side of the deserted hotel. Ten minutes later, my coach had found me! How? How? He's getting spookily in tune with my head, he is. He even came up with the perfect way to fix me: challenge me with something difficult. Just when I was worried that I was too tired to dive, he said to me: "today we do 100m. Or maybe 110m, if you feel good." How the hell could I feel good after yesterday? Impossible. But then my mind started to work. Eight days to go. 110m today, 120m Monday...hmmm.....

By now I simply trust Andrea on his ability to judge how strong I am, so by the time I arrived to train, I had my bite back. My mind loves a challenge. 110m it was, not too bad except for trying to leave the bottom three times and being stuck each time until I dropped way down again and untangled myself.

Last night boss-instructor forced me to eat an entire pizza. He is getting bossier by the minute! Anyhow, today is a rest day, so I will go and hide from him.

We'll see how that goes...