Thursday, 26 February 2015

Baby, it's cold outside (and we're going swimming)

would rather jump
and know
the freeze of the water,
the shake of my bones,
and the stinging
of my skin
than spend my life
clinging to the rails
and staring down 
at the current

- Tyler Knott Gregson

So Janathon ended with a whimpering plank each day as life just got too icy, virus-y and busy to do anything more with. February has been incredibly difficult - a planned operation for DH which fell at the same time as both girls attempting to scare the living daylights out of me with bug after bug, leading to almost a whole week off school for Youngest and a fairly miserable time for Eldest. I also caught one of the bugs and a not-at-all fun time was had by all. I owe a great debt of thanks to the friends who kept me afloat. Then there was a tired, gentle half-term we managed to fill with a little swimming, a little cinema and a lot of cuddles.

We are recovered. Some training has been missed, some not even started. Spring is coming, though, and now events can be booked, plans made and fun things looked forward to. The year's starting to take shape, starting this weekend with a Polar swim at Salford Quays on Saturday for me, and special seminars with Sensei Matt Price on kata and point-scoring kumite for me and both girls on the Sunday. Youngest is now working on becoming a Cadet Leader, too, and doing a fantastic job of it for a kid of only four and a half. She won't be able to join the rest of the cadets for some time as she's simply not physically big enough or skilled enough yet, but she has confidence in bucketloads. I'm quietly looking forward to tournament in a few months - my kata's come on very nicely in the last week or two, though I know my kumite needs work. I can hope for a June grading, too, though of course that's never a certainty til you get the official papers.

I'm completely giddy about Saturday's swim, and there's another at the end of March before the season kicks off properly. I have just one swimming event booked at the moment - the Aspire Night Swim in Liverpool in October - but things are starting to take shape for Bala 10k, which I guess is my "A" event this year. That does involve learning to kayak again, something I've not done since I was 14, so here's to another new string to the bow, as it were. USWIM series races are also pencilled into the calendar, and I'm open to being persuaded into other swims if they're affordable and reachable. I'd certainly like to get to Gaddings this year, and up to the Lakes even for a paddle. But mostly I plan to hang out at Quays a whole lot.

For my own curiosity and the edification of fellow and new Quays swimmers, here is a graph for your delectation. I went back through my training logs, which start in mid-2012, and noted all the water temperatures I'd recorded.

I just thought it was really interesting to see 2013's slow temp rise and sharp peak (that being the only time a Great Manchester Swim has been wetsuit-optional) vs 2014's much warmer start (relatively speaking!) but flatter summer period. Unfortunately I didn't get to do winter swims in '12 or '13, but I'd like to keep updating this for the next few years. Given that it's reported as already around 7oC, it's to be hoped the 2015 season will be more like '14 than '13 and I'll be able to get some good distances in early on. I'm getting to that really difficult stage of winter training when the coached sessions are coming to an end and my motivation to mix it up with the public is at an all-time low.

I haven't been able to take on running particularly yet. The kids are still excited about IronKids in Summer, and I've found a place we can run laps on a decent track for not much money, which I think will be safer and more motivating for them (since there's a playground right next door and it's where we go for them learning to ride their bikes) than trying to slog up and down our hills.

I'm going to be needing to get my finger out, though. Because there's this:

You have successfully entered The Morrisons Great Manchester Run 2015 

Oh, shit.