Sunday, 4 August 2013

Very Great Swims

First of all, huge congratulations to Ella The Mermaid who's completed her Channel Solo in the last hour or so - absolutely fantastic, I've been on pins watching the tracker all day. Amazing stuff.

So, no updates from me for a while, not for lack of swimming but because I've mostly switched to a tablet for day to day use and much as I like it, it's not great for typing on. It's time I did a bit of a round-up, though! No big swim this weekend as we were away in Whitby for a little family break. I was good and did a set of drills in the hotel pool, though, and the girls are doing great.

6th July - barely a cloud in the sky, 18oC in the water, clocked 4050m - my first Iron Fish of the season, and dropped the wetsuit for the last 500m. Ridiculously warm, caught the sun of course. Slow, and I bought a Finis Tempo Tracker this week, which I still haven't used because I've been too busy and fuddled to work out how to set the baseline. I really enjoyed the non-wetsuit lap, though.

A view from the bridge, 13th July - 20oC in. I forgot my prescription goggles, so stuck to four laps of the short course (1600m), one unsuited, and a lesson from Coach Jane, who sorted out my sinky legs with a single tip - stick your head down! I'd been so stressed about sighting since before Windermere that I'd got myself into the habit of swimming with my head much too high in the water, which caused my legs to drop and slowed me right down. It improved things a great deal; far less stress on my shoulders.

I went to Great Manchester Swim unsupported this year - since I know my way around now I wasn't too worried about getting back to the baggage drop without my glasses. I got there early, talked to Steph from ChillSwim and walked the course with Michael from USWIM (who was the first person to help get me into the water last year, so that was lovely - very much full-circle) and sussed out where everything was. I was well in time to send off Alex and Ben in the first wave, who I'd got to know through Fitocracy and taken round the Quays earlier in the year. I love chatting to people at these events, especially first-timers - there's nothing like sharing your enthusiasm for the sport and helping to calm someone's nerves at the same time. I met loads of lovely people and the atmosphere was fantastic. 

The swim itself was crazy-warm - 21oC - and though they'd made it wetsuit-optional I elected to keep mine on, knowing that I simply hadn't trained that distance without. Event day is not "try something new" day! I'd done around a mile in the pool (urgh - like swimming through grease) earlier that week and had to bail out with cramp so there was no way I was changing anything at that point. It was a good swim, for me - 39m 15s, a new PB over that distance for either pool or OW; didn't do too badly on the sighting and quite enjoyed the tussle and busyness of being in the middle of the pack. The water was pretty weedy, especially through the canal, but I didn't mind - it wasn't obnoxious. I am proud of that time and look forward to taking minutes off it next year!

Good use for a space hopper, no?

Back at Salford again the following week, 27th July - 22.5oC in the water and a full Iron Fish (3.8km) with no wetsuit. It is MUCH harder to do that distance without the suit and I was really quite sore in the upper arms the following day. But no joint pain, just DOMS, so I'm hoping that means my stroke is getting better technically.

Comparing my stats from last year, I managed 4km only once between April-September. So far this year I've done it (or 3.8km, which is near enough) three times already and there's still a fair bit of time to go. I'm seriously considering entering the USWIM 5km in a couple of weeks since there's no time limit on finishing - I want to see how close to 2hrs I can get before deciding to enter Great North 5km since you have to be under that. If I can get it within 10-15mins then I know I mostly have fitness to work on; more than that and I'll have to leave entry til later when I can get some one-to-one or at least regular technical training at Aquatics over winter as well.

In terms of upcoming plans beyond that I want to do at least one Chillswim - they're coming to Salford in December! That's an unsuited 25m-ish at about 5oC, which should be funny if nothing else. If it's fun I may do the Coniston one in Feb too. After that...well, we'll see, but cross-Coniston in Sept '14 (5.25mi/8.4km) is looking like a distinct possibility. I'm good for half that now - surely I can double it in a year? :)