Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Pushing hard!

It's been months since I have been in blue ocean waters to do any serious freediving training. Painful, but I thought I'd make the most of it and experiment with something different: to see how hard I could kick my ass in the gym over two and a bit months, and then to see if this would have any effect - positive or negative!

In any case, this has been sweaty and fun. I continued to follow the painful advice of sports doctor - I should have known that going to see him was going to hurt long term - and refrained from endurance training, focusing all my efforts on intervals and sprints instead, trying to push my heartrate as much as possible. Anaerobic 
training. All the time. Did I mention it? Pain.

After an hour of sprint intervals on the running machine and bike, I would then get straight to weight training. My time was limited and my toughts were: the sprinting bit seems more important for the moment. In any case, it worked surprisingly well, culminating with today's last session before heading off to Sharm: After breaking my legs nicely sprinting (well. sprinting for me!) faster than ever before, I jumped onto the leg press and some devil made me stick the pin into 140kg. And no, boys, the weight is not in pounds, grams or ounces!

I did not think I could even move it. Three sets with eight repetions each later, it was time to switch directly to 70kg for a superset of 100 repetions. Then I stopped, because it was boring and I was getting a cramp. Ha!! Seems that maximum strength and strength endurance are not so bad...If anyone doubts if it was me lifting the weight in the pictures - here is the state I was in afterwards:

The picture is a little out of focus - my hands were shaking! Now the question is: will this make me worse or better at freediving? If the answer is: worse, I am going to eat ice cream and chocolate and just lie in the sun for a week, until all the muscles are gone and the fat has returned.

Hmmm. I wonder which outcome is preferable??

Friday, 5 July 2013

Memory lane

Last week I took a trip about as far out into the wilderness as you can get three hours from Berlin: I was invited to give a talk to kids aged around 12-14 at the boarding school Schloß Torgelow. Turning down a final bumpy, tiny, aged looking country lane framed by nothing but green meadows and trees on either side, my friend Matze (who was kind enough to drive - I love it when men drive me) and I realized that we were on our way to the perfect boarding school location: stunning nature all around, and no bus stop within a ten mile radius. Brilliant!

This was a bit of a trip down memory lane, too, since I had the good fortune to spend the last three years before my A-Levels (Abitur) at a boarding school on the shores of Lake Constance (Bodensee), which was nothing short of a teenager's paradise and happend to be the place where I first learned to scuba dive. Freshly qualified, me and my fellow adventure-seeking-kids convinced the school to buy us three sets of scuba gear, thus allowing us to try and see if we could find the bottom of the enormous - and enormously deep - lake Constance, which we did, having all kinds of fun. There was a science week project, too, where we came up with the smart plan to test the water quality of the lake - "forcing" us to do lots of dives to depths ranging from 60m-10m (before the days of diving computers..) to collect samples. If only I could convince my dad that my dangreous activities are long in the past!

The sixty-odd kids at Schloß Torgelow were one of the most engaging audiences I have spoken to so far. When I asked a question at the outset, expecting to have to give the answer myself (as is often the case with adult groups before you have managed to get them involved), I was amazed to see ALL of them with their hands up! It was so much fun to deal with such bright and lively kids. I was asked some of the smartest questions, too - such as: why does the balloon not burst on the way up in no limits diving? (!!) - and as they appear to want to try just about anything new that comes their way, I think a proper little freediving workshop might be in their near future.

To finish off my visit, I got a special invitation: the opportunity to whizz down the slide that has you flying down a tube through a series of fast corners from the top floor of one of the new buildings. These youngsters have obviously understood a top secret yet key element of successful apnea diving:

We freedivers simply can't resist anything fun!