Tuesday, 23 September 2014

So...this happened.


I seem to have been adopted! I'm still a little bemused and bowled over even a week or so later, partly by the sheer enormity of the digital hug that is Team Bear, and partly from an unsubtle dose of imposter syndrome. Patrick summed it up really well recently in this piece for H2OpenAm I A Proper Swimmer?. I think it's a feeling most people run into from time to time so I'm trying not to take it too seriously. Debates about the definition of "ultraswimmer" aside*, crossing Coniston has put me in a fairly small group of distance-capable swimmers, and I'm still getting my head around the reaction of people who don't swim a great deal. It still doesn't seem that far to me when I hang out with Windermere soloists and Channellists at USWIM.

Anyway, I suddenly have a zillion new and awesome people to follow on Twitter, lots of interesting conversations to have, enormous amounts of cheerleading and Kermit flailing to do, cake recipes to swap, and hopefully folks to duck drown throw into taunt bribe with cake introduce to open water. I still think it's unlikely I'll ever do a tri - the hills and narrow roads where I live are really quite intimidating for a newbie cyclist - but I'm content to be a long-distance swimmer, amateur runner and triathlon groupie! We (see, it's the royal we, now, cos we are Team Bear) will have some participants in IronManUK in Bolton next year, so I will almost certainly be hopping over the hill to provide screaming and cake. I'm definitely talented at that bit. My kids are even talking about doing the IronKids race and asking for Team Bear "Cub Strip". All very exciting.

Speaking of being in a small minority, this also happened:

Big thank you to Carl at @hypehairdarwen for the four hours of patience it takes to put that lot in!

This is the third time I've had mermaid greens put in, this time with some blues, and I'm as delighted as ever. The green is particularly long-lasting in my hair despite - or perhaps because of - the chlorine. You very rarely see greens and it does turn a few heads, but I guess the school run folks are used to my odd taste by now. There were many admiring noises at Salford Quays on Saturday, which was fun. So sad to be near the end of the season, although there are super-amazing Winter sessions to look forward to - including a Victorian themed dip in December for which I'm making a costume (or three, depending on how easy it is and how big the bribes are) modelled after an 1880s style outfit with bloomers and all. When I start making it I'll put some progress pics on my other blog Sea and Wood. I appear to have broken all the photos on there, bear with me.

This week(ish) I have:

- Brought my Aspire Challenge total up to 7.3 miles; a combination of working on my technique and bobbling about at Quays with friends - I have a rotten neckache from all the head-up breaststroke but it's been so worth it to just play in the water with no training pressure.

- Three sessions of karate in which I have my kicking legs back! I fell off the pontoon at Quays about five weeks ago and massively bruised my left leg to the point that Coniston was in doubt for a bit. I haven't been able to spar properly in a month or so, which has sucked in terms of fun, but I think it's made me more aware of how I use my punches and how much I depend on that left leg. All very educational.

- Been out for a run twice more, trying to balance the combination of disappointment that I'm not amazing right out of the box with surprise and pleasure that actually, I can run a mile without stopping and nearly two if I take a wee break for the vicious humpbacked bridge in the middle.

- Re-committed to a regular yoga practice. I did my very own little Julyathon and practiced every day, but it wasn't so easy to do with the kids off all Summer. Now I can go back to it, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I have a day off here and there. I would really, really rate YogaGlo for a home practice. For me it's well worth the subscription fee - much as I miss Jane's classes I now have access to lots of fantastic Yin-style classes by Felicia Tomasko which have undone a lot of my troubles. I also love David Harsharda Wagner's meditation classes.

So yeah...been a pretty darn good week for sports!

* I think it means the same as for running, ie anything further than marathon distance, which for swimmers is 6 mi/10k and that's the yardstick I judge myself by - but I also think that sea swims like EC, Triple Crown, Ocean's Seven etc deserve a special category of their own because the degree of difficulty is so much higher. Certain members of Team Bear loudly argue that the definition is "a bloody long way so shut up", and I'm going to leave it at that!