Monday 28 February 2011

Woo hooo! "gannin as fast as a fish"

Well thank you Tulatin Hills Barracudas for hosting the February Fitness Challenge. I can honestly say I've really enjoyed it and I'm truly grateful for the motivation. My short dip at lunchtime took me over the 100,000 metres mark for the month and ensured that my first Blogging Challenge was complete i.e that I swam every day in the month of February.

During last year's challenge I swam everyday but I only covered 78,250 metres, so I've definitely improved. I hope that I can keep going to complete the half a million metres in 2011 and swim at least twice a week. Sadly I am getting a bit carried away with this swimming lark. As the venerable Cheryl (Cole) would say "it's got it's mojo back" and this morning I caught myself sending off an entry for the Darlington Masters Meet at the end of March.

Back to lunchtime and deciding that I might as well get this over with, I slipped out for a lunch time dip, I couldn't make my mind up as to what I should do, should I just swim 200m and get out, should I go for a Tesco session (an express or a metro?) or a French Riviera session, (Le Touquet). With a big thank you to Katie Bun for that descriptor.  

Decisions decisions, the pool was reasonably busy with about 8 or 9 elderly head up breaststrokers, and a bloke with a spectacular screw kick who commented that "ya gannin as fast as a fish" when I stopped next to him after my warm up. Not quite sure what that meant, but I accepted it as a compliment, smiled sweetly at him and pushed off on the main set.

I was able to find enough space to plough my own little furrow. As I swam I was wrestling with how long I was going to stay in as I completed the warm up. I came to the conclusion that because tomorrow is a club night I'll probably swim anyway (and it's good practice for the leap year next year) so I could afford to have a really dossy session.

There was however a teeny part of me (the competitive part) thinking "if you only slob through 1200 metres and someone beats you by 200 metres you'll be pretty sick". It just never goes away does it no matter how laid back you try to be, the desire to beat someone is always there.

Anyway without too much effort and deliberately choosing easy and non taxing stuff to do, I covered 2,200 metres in just over 45 minutes I never really got out of third gear but hey thus ended the 2011 February Fitness Challenge.

Finishing the Final February Fitness  
600 up free down alternating back & brst warm up
10 x 100 pull (what else) @  1.45*
200 brst kick
200 free catch up 
66 free kick
66 brst kick 
133 free pull (swim down)* *

Session Total 2200m
Monthly Total 102,000

* swimming between 1.34 and 1.37's **added the extra two at the end cos I think I miscounted the warm up!

Sunday 27 February 2011

"Smutty innuendo is the lowest form of .........

Not a smutty innuendo in sight in today's post, not sure if that's the result of cumulative fatigue or my subconscious reacting to the comment from Bob this morning that "Smutty innuendo is the lowest form of tabloid journalism."

After yesterday's efforts I arrived at the Sunday afternoon session at Consett, and was relieved that it only lasted an hour. No chance of getting carried away in the quest to swim a zillion miles, completed a fairly measured and uneventful 2,466m.

With only tomorrow left in this year's February Fitness Challenge  I feel pretty confident that I'm going to make 100,000 metres for the month. I'm not sure when I last completed that sort of distance, probably never....

Didn't quite manage it today falling 200m short of the target, but provided I can find my way to a swimming pool at some point tomorrow I should complete what was my tertiary target, after swimming everyday in the month and the secondary aim of swimming 100,000 yards. The incumbent Christine was back today and I have her to thank for this little work out.

133 swim, 66 kick, 66 pull
133 swim, 66 kick, 66 pull
4 x 33 @ 45 prog
133 swim @ 2.40
100 swim @ 2.00
66 swim @ 1.20
33 swim @ 40
100 swim @ 2.00
66 swim @ 1.20
33 swim @ 40
66 swim @ 1.20
33 swim @ 40
33 swim @ 40
4 x 66 @ 80s 33 hard, 33 easy
4 x 66 @ 80s 33 easy, 33 hard
4 x 66 @ 90s hard *
6 x 33 breast @ 60s
133 swim down

* There were a couple of 55's and a couple of 53/54's thrown into this last set.

Binge Swimmer does it twice in one day (and sleeps with the coach)

Now for most of today I have been seriously debating whether or not I should, or indeed could  make a second session. Ultimately I'm not sure what possessed me but at 3.30pm I found myself inexplicably driving back down to Gateshead for my second dip of the day.

The work out was one of Bob's triathlon club sessions. I slotted into the top lane and any thoughts of spending the session drafting off someone's feet were dashed when I found myself leading. In the lane this time was Mrs Fairy Snow Baby, I've already commented on how incestuous North East swimming can be, obviously Mr Fairy Snow Baby was at home looking after the Fairy Snow Babies.

It was an interesting work out with something to think about every couple of hundred metres (thankfully to take my mind off the distance I have covered today).  I am not sure when the last time was that I swam so far or for so long in one day.

I was pleased with my 200 times which whilst nothing to write home about are much faster than they were in January and particularly after the work I've covered over the last month. I even managed an extra 300 metres swim down at the end to bring today's total to a rather stupid 9600 metres.

You would think that after this level of exertion I would be collapsed infront of the TV but no rest for the wicked or the wiped out, I'm out at the cinema with not only teenage daughter but almost-teenage niece. I suppose I should be honoured that I was invited out with her particularly as I went out straight from the session in hoodie and complete with straw hair!

So here's what we did:-

200 free
8 x 25 kick @ 40s
200 free
8 x 25's@ 40s drill single arm
200 free
8 x 25's @ 40s progressive *
200 free steady @ 3.45s**
4 x 25's kick @ 50s
200 @ 3.45  50 hard 150 easy 3.07
4 x 25's free with paddles @ 35s
200 free @ 3.45s  100 hard 100 easy 3.05
4 x 25's free pull with paddles @ 35s
200 free @ 3.45s  150 hard 50 easy 3.01
4 x 25's free with paddles @ 35s
200 free @ 3.45s hard 2.58
4 x 25's kick @ 50 s
200 free @ 3.45's 150 hard 50 easy 3.02
4 x 25's pull wih paddles @ 35s
200 free @ 3.45' 100 hard 100 easy 3.07
4 x 35's drill kayak @ 35s***
200 free @ 3.50
2 x 100 @ 1.55
4 x 50's @ 55
8 x 25 @ 25s
4 x 50 @ 60
2 x100 @ 2.00
200 free
300 swim down

* end of warm up
** start of main set
*** end of main set

Saturday 26 February 2011

Saturday Dilemma?

You might have gleaned that I was dipping out of the idea of 2 swims today. There were only 3 of us at the pool for this morning's sesh when I arrived I left Bill and Ben (Barbara really but Ben sounds better) swimming and set out to try and atone for last night's feebility (I've just made that word up).
About half way through the warm up Synchro Dad and the Fairy Snow Baby turned up, and I stopped to brief them on where I was.

The FSB proclaimed he wanted a doss session, and off he went, 1000m kick a doss? Synchro Dad and I decided that we wanted to do some pull. Me because I'm inherently lazy and anything for an easy life, and Synchro Dad cos he was going on a long bike ride in Yorkshire. (Who said we're not a cosmopolitan lot)

Anyway between us we came up with the following session, not sure what it really did for me, but it took me over the 100,000 yards mark for the month and toosmart watch told me at the end of the work out that "fitness and fat burning improving" won't argue with that.

1200 Warm up alternate 100 swim 100 drill
6 x 200 @ 3.30 progressive*
8 x 50 @ 65 alt brst & back
4 x 125 @ 2.30 medley changeover
300 swim @ 5 mins
2 x 150 @ 2.30
3 x 100 @ 1.45
400 swim down
4600 metres
Coffee and Croissants

* went from 3.14 down to a 2.56....

Friday 25 February 2011

Middle aged exciting Friday Night.....A Short Tesco Session and then Vegetate...

Did you know that we are 15.3% through 2011 and I have now covered 25.1% of my annual yardage target? My toosmart spread sheet informed me of this fact when I added tonight's rather meagre efforts to my February total.

Kid's half term holidays made a lunch time sesh impractical, and my plans to slope off for a swim at Gateshead were quashed by teenage daughter's social life turning to mush. Racked with an unusual amount of parental guilt and conscience I gave up any aspiration of a trip to Gateshead Leisure Centre and settled for a dip in the Endless Pool.

I am hopeless at swimming in that flume, although I probably should be encouraged because I lasted longer than I did a fortnight ago or indeed at the beginning of the year. I was also able to rachet up the speed on the flume hence the increase in heart rate as shown below.

800 *warm up
2 x 400 @ 7mins 30 secs
2 x 100 pull @ 2 mins
200 swim down

*these distances are all approximations but are probably conservative estimates based on 100 strokes per 100 metres.

Thursday 24 February 2011

Bl**dy Piano Lessons and a Confession

I suppose now is as good a time as ever to fess up that my reporting of the wimpy boys lane on Tuesday evening was slightly inaccurate; in that Synchro Dad did not lead the charge out of the pool, apparently Paul the Poolie headed for the showers a clear 15 mins beforehand, sorry guys I should pay more attention, but you should all be there till the bitter end.

Yet again teenage daughter's piano lesson threw a mega spanner in the February Fitness Challenge works, when she rang me at work at 4.30pm to tell me that her piano lesson had been brought forward to 6.30pm. Thereby disqualifying her dad from his usual taxi duties, and placing my Thursday night swim in jeopardy. Of course she'd only known since last Thursday.

Despite this I was only 15 minutes late for this evening's session. We were clearly all in a chatty mood as there were some fairly lengthy breaks whilst we negotiated what we were going to do next. During the course of one hiatus, Fairy Snow Baby and I were discussing some one we swam with in the 70's when Babyface Student piped up that she wasn't born until 1991...boy did that make me feel old.

I was the only one who did the set of 100's at the end because I'm desperately trying to hit 100,000 metres for the month and I needed to cover at least 3300 (this is all getting way too serious).

The weekend is a bit of a swimming desert and to cover this distance I'm going to have to swim twice on Saturday and possibly do a lunchtime session on Monday and hit the Triathlon session on Monday evening. Hmm is it really worth that much effort and that many heartbeats?.....

200 warm up
4 x 150's free @ 2.40
8 x 50 @ 60s prog 1-4 5-8
4 x 150's free @ 2.50 progressive,
swum as 1st 150 steady, 2nd hard 50 easy 100, 3rd hard 100 easy 50, 4th hard
8 x 50's brst  @ 70
10 x 100 pull @ 1.45*
500 swim down

* These were really comfortable hitting 90's for the swim, and keepng my pulse rate in the 130-133 range

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Not toosmart Swimmer with Elephant dropped on back outsmarted by Mouse

Good old Amazon came up trumps and my new toosmartwatch chest strap arrived in the post today, only the third strap in 7 weeks. I also adopted drastic measures and decided I'd better change the bag I carry my kit in as the top is too wide and all the gear I cart around in it has a tendency to fall out.

Concerned about the expense I reverted to my old Speedo knapsack, which had been decommissioned after sustaining a mouse attack. I walked into my kitchen to see the rodent making a bid for freedom by jumping into my swim bag on the floor. I was too much of a wuss to extricate it, so I thought I'd imprison it by zipping the top up, leaving Bob to dispatch and dispose of the body when he came in.

This seemed like a smart idea except I made no allowance for sharp rodent dentures and ingenuity as the thing simply gnawed through my bag and made good its escape, leaving a mouse size hole in the bottom of the bag. I reckon the hole is too small for the chest strap to fall out of.

I know I've been banging on about having no speed in my swimming but I walked in to a monstrous sprinty session at Consett tonight, which was bl**dy hard work. No one told Cookie that the fast stuff should be put off till next month.

I was pleased with the earlier part of the set, swimming between 49 and 51 secs for the max efforts, my lane mates Clarkie and Sparkie and I were discussing whether it was better with the longer rest or the more frequent active rest repeats. By the last set when the active rest disappeared altogether, we had our answer.

The wheels completely fell off by the second and third repeat and by the final 66 I had an Elephant on my back who started to play the piano over the last 15 metres. Although my pulse rate was still skyrocketing my times fell away to 53's and 55's

266 warm up
3 x 33 @ 60s max 10m
100 steady
3 x 33 @ 60 s max 20m
100 steady
3 x 33 @ 60s max 30m
16 x 66 @ 75s*
swam as 4 sets 1 x 66 max 3 x 66 steady
1 mins RI between sets
12 x 66 @ 90s
swam as 4 sets 1 x 66 max 2 x 66 steady
1 mins RI between sets
8 x 66 @ 1.45s
 swam as 4 sets 1 x 66 max 1 x 66 steady
1 mins RI between sets
4 x 66 @ 2.00 mins max
600 swim down
3466 m

*on the second easy repeat my mind wandered and I set off thinking it was a max effort, it was only as I began to catch up with Sparkie after about 30 m I realised I'd bollocksed it all up.

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Endorphin Rush reduces annual swim total to 383,834 metres

There was  a good turn out in the girlies' lane tonight, Park Ranger, Awesome Emma, Quiet Claire (she just gets on with the session) and honorary girlie Bart the Shark checked in and we tackled this mega session.

Much to my disgust the guys in the top lane all wimped out before the end of the session. Synchro Dad starting the rot after an hour and was followed in short order by son of Beckleberry, and Paul the poolie. Matt the Cash stuck it out to half way through the 75's before he succumbed  and left the 5 of us as the last men standing.

I'm in a big push to try and hit 100,000 yards before next Tuesday so I set out to cover more than last Tuesday's 5,200 and was aiming for 5400 m in blocks of 600. I mixed it up a lot and tried to give everyone quite a bit to think about, there were some encouraging signs that we are all beginning to improve our fitness levels.

I came out of the pool feeling very satisfied and buzzing after a great work out, I could almost feel the endorphins kick in. I am looking forward to next week because I do need a day off.

600 warm up change stroke every 25
4 x 3 x 50's @ 55s swim 50, catchup 50, catch up 50
200 back @ 4mins
2 x 100 back @ 2 mins
4 x 50 back @ 60s
2 x 300 pull @ 5mins
3 x 200 @ 3.30 *
200 brst kick @ 5mins
2 x 100 brst @ 2.30
4 x 50 brst @ 70s
6 x 100 @ 1.55, 1.50, 1.45 x 2
8 x 75's @ 90s ba, brst, free
12 x 50's free @ 55 swim down working on streamlining
300 swim down**
5700m total

* the aim of this set was to count your stroke rate, and reduce by 1 stroke on each length on each repeat whilst holding the same time. I managed to swim 18 strokes for the 1st 200, and the 17 for the 2nd and although I held the time, I couldn't reduce my stroke count to 16 for the last one. I did swim about 3 minutes for each repeat tho.
** bit of yardage garbage with a couple of tolerant pool attendants.

Monday 21 February 2011

Tri a Session for 4000m

Half-term pool problems solved by dropping in at Ryton Tri's swim session at Stanley this evening, that's my 6th swimming pool in the last 3 weeks. Although I'm not a member I took advantage of a personal connection to blag my way in.... (I'm married to their coach)

Normally I enjoy swimming with triathletes because when we do kick sets they make even my kick look good, however this evening I ended up in the teenage girls lane most of whom are ex swimmers so it was a bit of a struggle to keep up and I was massacred in the kick.

I've also realised that whilst my fitness may be improving I have very little speed. Which I think I'll start working on next month.  Overall it was a pretty tough work out.

2 x 200 @ 20s RI
2 x 50's @ 10s RI drill single arm*
4 x 25 kick @ 10s RI
2 x 300 @ 20s RI
2 x 50's @ 10s RI finger trail
4 x 25 kick @ 10s RI
4 x 25 sprint @ 60s RI
3 sets of
200 free @ 3.15
4 x 50s @ 50 Progressive
extra minutes rest
2 x 100 @ 2.30**
200 free @ 3.30
4 x 50s @ 50 Progressive
extra minutes rest
2 x 100 @ 2.30 broken 10s @ 50***
200 free @ 3.30
4 x 50s @ 50 Progressive
extra minutes rest
2 x 100 @ 2.30 broken 5s @ 25****
700 swim down
4000 m

*this was swam with the none moving arm down by your side, god it was hard work
** 85's
*** 80's
**** 80 & 78

Sunday 20 February 2011

Deal with the Devil?

A "design" feature of the revamped and the new leisure centres in Gateshead are motivational quotations on the walls, inside the centres. As I was wandering the half mile or so around the outside to get back to my car on Friday night I noticed through the windows "getting older doesn't stop you playing, but playing stops you getting older".

Which when you get to my age has a certain resonance to it and is a truly inspirational thought, however the person who came up with this obviously wasn't 20 days into the February Fitness Challenge....despite the improvement in form I am absolutely knackered, there is not a part of me that does not ache.

But I'm almost into the last week of this and in some ways this will be the most challenging. Apart from the inevitable fatigue it's school half term so I'm not too sure about how I'm going to manage the lunchtime sessions. The pool will be chock full of kids and trying to swim laps will be difficult and potentially dangerous. Last year I was severely rebuked by a life guard for swimming through a group of teenagers who were standing in a clump in the shallow end.

The other options are endless pool sessions, or selling my soul to teenage daughter to persuade her that she really wants to sit in a swimming pool and watch her mum swim up and down for Consett's session, I shudder to think what that is going to cost me in either Top Shop or iTune downloads.

A mercifully brief session today. Why is it that I turn upon the pool side determined that this is going to be a steady, comfortable session and instead I end up expending much more effort and energy than I intended. Is it that it's just hard swimming properly?

400 warm up
9 x 66 @ 1.20 progressive 1-3, 4-6, 7-9 swum as easy 33 easy33, hard 33 easy 33, hard 33 hard 33
3 x 4 x 33 IM @ 2.45*
4 x 200 @ 3.40 steady reduce stroke count each 66
6 x 33 @ 1min alternating freestyle/breast
266 swim down
2866 m

*still drilling the fly
* 27's, 26's, 25's, & 26's, 25's, 24's, & 24's, 23's, 21's & 24's, 22's, 21's & 19 for last 33

Saturday 19 February 2011

Small but perfectly formed.. and a break through session 396,400 metres left

Despite the cold wet and sleety start to the day I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that Saturday morning is my favourite session of the week. Fallling out of bed at around 7.25am is a bit of a struggle, and it always takes me over 30 minutes to get to Heworth pool so I'm invariably late, but I love the new pool there, it's small (4 lanes) but perfectly formed. A great training temperature, wave eraser lane ropes and deck level so it's really smooth to swim in, and that's the training over by 9.45am.

I have to say that the pool staff there are also very tolerant, as while I've been on this February Fitness Kick I've swam a fair bit of garbage yardage as a swim down at the end of the session when my team mates have headed for the showers. The staff have simply left me there and taken the lane ropes out around me. Not one of them has shouted at me to get out so a big thank you to them.

Turned up this morning and there was only 2 of our lot in the pool, the kids squad which we share the pool with were at a swim meet. I selected an empty lane and was eventually joined by Synchro Dad and we worked our way through this little was pretty unremarkable safe for the fact that I notched up my first 100,000 metres, and oh no yet again not too smart swimmer has lost the chest strap for the toosmartwatch... another 40 quid?

10 x 50's free @ 60s*
10 x 50's free @ 55s
6 x 50 fly kick on back @ 75s
800 pull with paddles @ 13.30
600 Pull @ 10.30
400 swim @ 7mins
200 hard**
9 x 50's @ 65 medley changeover
350 swim down

*the end of this set put me on 100,000 metres for the year.
** managed a 2.58, which isn't a particularly stunning time but represented a serious change of pace from the previous plod.

Friday 18 February 2011

The Vanishing Door leads to 400,500 metres left

An uneasy peace broke out in the Binge household today, with teenage daughter managing to make the Founder's day Service complete with a hat, in fact she was so accommodating that she agreed to go and keep her grandmother company (a Friday night Rugby widow, the Newcastle Falcons probably even more of a lost cause then United). Miracles seemingly do happen.

This somewhat unusual display of compliance gave me the opportunity to make Gateshead's Friday night session. The session is at Gateshead Leisure Centre which was an old 33 yard pool built during the 1930's, the leisure centre was added in the 1970's. Last year the whole place underwent a refurbishment, I've never managed to make swimming there since the place reopened.

The session proved to be more of a challenge then I imagined, I pulled up in the car park only to discover that the front door had disappeared (I kid you not). Helpfully there were signs indicating where the entrance now was, (about a half mile walk around the building, I suppose it was a good warm up)

The whole interior of the centre has been revamped and the pool has been completely retiled and a boom inserted to make it 25m. It's a pretty good job although it took a bit of getting used to, as I've been swimming in that pool for about 40 years or so in the 33yd format and the shorter length with the familiar ceiling and balcony was a little disorientating.

My plan for the session was a steady plod, however Matt the Cash came up with this little challenge, I added the stroke and breathing stuff. My number 1 Facebook fan, Graeme Bradley turned up on the pool side enquiring if Matt the Cash was Mr Farty Pants, I pointed out that his identity was a secret I would carry to the grave.

I was pleased with this session, I really feel like my feel for the water is coming back.

Warm up
100 free @ 1.40
100 back @ 2 mins  x 3
100 IM @ 2 mins
4 x 100 @ 1.50 decrease 1 stroke per 25 each 100*
4 x 100 @ 1.50 add 1 stroke per breathing cycle per 100**
4 x 100 @ 1.50
200 brst
300 free pull

* 18, 17, 16 & 15 strokes per 25
** breathing every 6,7,8 and 9

Thursday 17 February 2011

Methane Emissions in session blow out.

There's still open warfare going on between Teenage Daughter and myself, so the swimming session provided a welcome opportunity to escape from the house.

No Fairy Snow Baby tonight, leaving the session negotiations to me and Matt the Cash (our master's section treasurer). I sorted the warm up, Matt chipped in with a bit of a quality set and I added the Medley's at the end.

Once we got going I moved into the guy's lane and hung off the back, big mistake, one of the down sides of chain swimming is that on occasions as you move into someone's slot to push off you get a wiff of their garlic breath. Well tonight was even worse, as I moved over to follow my lane mate, a big bubble of methane gas burst onto the surface at the exact same moment that I took in a deep breath before pushing off.

Bleargh not pleasant. That'll teach me to take a full 5 secs before I push off and not try and draft off the swimmer in front. Apart from that particular incident (and in the interests of squad unity and to save the sensitivity of the malodorous individual he will remain anonymous.) the session was really good, the quality set went much better than I'd expected, I was holding 83's for the 100's.

200 warm up
5 x 50 s free swim, kick, swim, drill swim @ 60s Kick @ 75
5 x 50's brst swim, kick, swim, drill swim @ 70s Kick @ 90
5 x 50 s free swim, kick, swim, drill swim @ 60s Kick @ 75
5 x 50's brst swim, kick, swim, drill swim @ 70s Kick @ 90
4 x 100 @ 2mins hard  holding 83s*
4 x 75 @ 2 mins hard holding 61's
6 x 50 @ 90s hard 40's last one 38
3 x 200 IM's @ 4 mins  3.30's
4 x 100 IM's @ 2 mins  1.15s
4 x 50's medley changeover @ 60s
300 swim down

*Now in the big scheme of things 83's are pretty average but given where I was at the beginning of the year this seems like quite an achievement. Especially after yesterday's session.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

If you want to get a head get a hat.......

Uh oh I'm in the dog house with teenage daughter having completely "ruined" her life, and failed as a parent, my transgression? I didn't manage to purchase a school hat which is apparently absolutely mandatory and essential wear for the "Founder's day" service on Friday....and if she doesn't have it she'll be in the deepest doodoo I can imagine. (don't you just love the sense of proportionality teenagers have.)

The following conspired to cause my failings, starting with my unrivalled ability to procrastinate, a late meeting at work, leaving credit cards at home, a parking crisis, an inability to find a sales assistant from the relevant department at John Lewis, the wholesale moving by JL of their school supplies to an on line only service, and finally placing the order at 7.03pm 3 minutes after the cut off time for next day delivery.

There was such a spectacular argument all the way home, she didn't take too kindly to being told it's just a hat..... in the end I abandoned her at home alone and went off swimming absolutely foaming. I fully expected child protection officers waiting for me when I returned home, but a degree of tranquility had set in.

The session was a bit of a survival set, as I'm suffering a bit. It was notable because the "mighty Morgan" turned up and led the lane out, sickeningly getting faster and stronger as the session wore on. The aim of the set was to swim the 200's steady and to swim the shorter distances hard. I failed miserably in that and I think that there's a fair amount of garbage yardage going on here.

200 warm up
200 @ 3.30
2 x 100 @ 1.45
200 @ 3.30
3 x 66 @ 70s
200 @ 3.30
1x 100 @ 1.45
1 x 66 @ 70s
1 x 33 @ 35s
200 x 1.45 s
6 x 33 @ 35s
6 x 33 @ 40s
200 @ 3.45
1 x 33 @ 40s
1 x 66 @ 80s
1x 100 @ 1.45
200 @ 3.45
3 x 66 @ 80s
200 @ 3.45
2 x 100 @ 1.45s
200 @ 3.45
800 swim down
4200 m

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Bingo Wings Friction Burns..and another 5200m closer.

Well if last weeks Tuesday session left me with swimming hickeys, tonight's efforts have produced a rather different injury..... friction burns on the inside of the tops of my arms... Bingo Wings Burns. I apologise now for too much information and a pretty ugly mental image.

Do you remember the old bri nylon costumes (with a skirt) which used to give you friction burns on your neck and under your arms. I guess you wouldn't if you were a bloke, but what us girlies have to put up with in the name of our sport.

Turned up at the pool tonight, and fellow girlies where were you? there was only Bart the Shark and the Park Ranger turned out for our lane. I think I'll make Bart the Shark an honorary girlie.

The Fairy Snow Baby and I were initially completely clueless as to what we should do but we agreed we should be aiming for 5k and then we each came up with about half a session which seemed to work pretty well. In the end we comfortably managed 5.2k in about 1hr 50mins. I reckon we'll be up to 6k in the next month or so.

600 warm up up free down o/c
8 x 125 @ 2.30 50 pull, 25 kick, 50 swim*,
3 x 300 @ 5.20 reduce 1 stroke each length each repeat**
6 x 50 @ 65 fly, ba, br x 2 drill
3 x 300 @ 5.20 100 swim 100 c/up 100 swim
6 x 50 @ 65 fly, ba, br x 2 drill
3 x 300 @ 5.20 progressive
6 x 50's free @ 60s
5200 m

*this is my all time favourite swim set. Mentally I approach it by starting with a hard 50 pull, then I tell myself I'm giving my arms a rest during the kick so I can blast the swim.
** reduced from 18 stroke to 17 strokes to 16 strokes

Monday 14 February 2011

Valentine's Day Massacre...with 416,600 metres to go.

OK half way through the February Fitness Challenge and so far so good. I not only managed to swim each day but also I'm on target to complete a mini challenge of swimming 100,000 yards in the month having passed the 50k mark (by a mere 87 yards) with a swim this afternoon.

It's Valentine's day and there I was, stuck dealing with a divorce case in the world's most inappropriately named building which is the "Durham Civil and Family Justice Centre", until well after lunchtime. (trust me the only accurate word in that title is Durham as it is hardly Family friendly and there is nothing Civil nor anything like Justice dispensed there.)

To cut a long story short, my extremely unromantic day was spent watching my very own Valentine's Day Massacre unfold as we became the victims of a conspiracy between a genuinely bonkers husband, his pernickity barrister and a Judge determined to retire by the end of the month who was clearly worried that if she started the case, she would still be hearing it by Christmas.

As I drove back after a fruitless and frustrating four and a half hours, fretting about missing my swim, I suddenly thought what the heck, I'm due a lunch break anyway. Now I wouldn't normally play hookey from work but all bets are off this month, so, I made a detour via the pool.

I was aiming to do a bit of a Tesco session somewhere between 1600 & 2000, but felt pretty good and my extended swim put off the carnage back at the office. The pool was very quiet, and although I'm not normally a fan of 800's they felt really good and I thought I'd stay in and put my monthly yardage target back in the black. Is this a comeback..... 

800 warm up
2 x 800 pull @ 14mins
6 x 100 66 drill 33 swim @ 1.55
4 x 100 @ 2 mins 33 ba, 33 brst, 33 free
200 swim down

Sunday 13 February 2011

Counting Cock Ups

Swimming with the Consett guys this afternoon, their leader the esteemed Incumbent Chris (so called cos of her favoured mode of transport to the pool, an incumbent bike!) couldn't make it so they suggested that I set the session.... as usual making it up on the spot, nothing new there then.

I intended this to be steady but actually it turned out to be pretty hard work. We had a couple of counting malfunctions so the 2 x 300's ended up actually being a 233m and a 366m swim as is obvious from the print out below. I also miscounted the warm up, (encroaching mad cow disease) so I stuck an extra 2 lengths floppy (there's that term again) after the second set of 4 x 100s.

Not sure the guys were used to this sort of session but they seemed to enjoy it, and were still talking to me at the end.

The interesting thing (OK it's not that interesting and I am a very sad person) about the toosmartwatch is that it is absolutely merciless in that it records your every move, you can't kid yourself or shirk from anything, it's all there recorded in lovely wavy lines for posterity. As you can see the miscounting error in the 300's and you can count the actual number of repeats, also it shows that the progressive bits were actually progressive, in terms of heart rate anyhow.

400 warm up changing stroke every 33
6 x 33's @ 40 secs progressive 1-3 and 4-6
2 x 300's easy swim but working on turns, hard in and out of turns, streamlining and dolphin leg kicks
4 x 100 @ 1.55 count strokes per length for the first 100, then drop 1 stroke each length in each 100*
4 x 100 @ 1.55 add 1 stroke per regular breathing pattern, each 100**
5 x 100 @ 1.55 progressive, steady pace for the 1st 100, then sprint half a length further each 100
100 swim down
2800 m total

*I dropped from 27's - 24's
** I started breathing every 6 (single arm strokes) managed 7 & 8's for the next 2, knew I couldn't do 9's bilaterally so swam 10's that was very hard.

Saturday 12 February 2011

Saturday retail therapy? Grumpy Old Woman has 422,800 metres left.

"Can you do me a favour if you are going down to your mums. The department is buying me an Android phone so I can develop apps for our courses - I've reserved it at Argos, could you pay for it (there is money in the joint account) and pick it up for me? " I received this seemingly innocent email yesterday afternoon from my other half, thus starting this morning's adventures in Metro centre wonderland....

As devotees of this blog (my mum) will know, I suffered a Frantic Friday and wasn't able to make Argos last night, so I thought I'd pop in on the way back home after this morning's training session it would only take me 5 minutes right..... wrong!

Have you ever shopped at Argos, it's not a particularly inspiring retail experience the place is a bit reminiscent of a cross between a job centre and an airport check in area and there's hardly any stuff on the shelves.

Undeterred I walked in armed with the reservation slip, to be met with a row of chairs and a display screen showing numbers, thinking it was like a supermarket deli counter I looked around for the machine to collect my ticket from. I was perhaps fortunate that this was early on and the place was pretty empty as a girl at the collections desk explained that I had to go and pay for the item first at the tills, trusting huh?

I walked over to the checkouts and stood in a queue, was it my imagination or did every transaction at the tills take the best part of 15 minutes. The glacial pace of the queue gave me an opportunity to study the reservation form,  Which helpfully actually gave instructions as to how you collect your item; step 2 said:-

Aha I'll use the "Quick Pay kiosk" so I fatally step out of the queue, and locate a kiosk, I enter the reservation number only to be advised that the item I am attempting to purchase must be bought at the till. Back to the queue which of course is now twice as long as when I gave up my spot.......  On arriving at the till and paying for the item I was told that I had to also buy a £10.00 top up with the phone. Blissfully unaware of the details of the transaction my other half had signed up to, I just accepted this and after a trip back to the collection point I eventually escaped with the phone.

As I walked out I was reflecting upon the fact that the etymology of Argos is Greek and means "bright, shining and swift" hmmm not too sure about that, but as I recall Ulysses' dog was called Argos and he spent 10 years waiting for his master to return, obviously the inspiration for this particular retail model.

Of course the £10 top up I'd paid for was part of a special offer and included in the price... so Bob then spent most of the afternoon being Mr Angry to Argos' customer service department and I'm dreading the inevitable "please could you just take this phone back it's on your credit card and they'll need it for the's too short."

Meanwhile earlier at the pool the Fairy Snow Baby hit us with this little work out. My arms were just knackered particularly my triceps but I managed the 400's on 7.15 that's 15 secs quicker than in the session on the "Can I outsmart an Excel spreadsheet" blog and I was repping on about 6.25-6.35's so I reckon all this aquatic madness is having an effect.

800 warm up 100 free, 100 back, 100 free, 100 brst x 2
6 x 400 @ 7.15 1 & 2 swim, 3 & 4 pull with paddles, 5 pull and 6 swim *
6 x 50's kick with fins @ 65 s**
6 x 100 IM's @ 1.55
200 swim down

* times were between 6.25 and 6.35
** this was very ugly

Friday 11 February 2011

Every little helps....A Friday Tesco Session.

Bit of a Tesco session today but thank god it's Friday, having more or less survived a week of sheer madness. Capped by the wheels coming off something at work forcing me to skip lunch and my planned swim. This wasn't done consciously one minute I was engrossed in a task and the next time I looked up it was 3.20pm. By the time I collected teenage daughter and made it home, being treated to her eternal whinging about being left alone, I was too late to make training down in Gateshead.

With my aquatic options rapidly diminishing it was into the endless pool to maintain my February Fitness Challenge. As you can see from below I wasn't particularly enthusiastic. After 25 minutes I'd had enough and was craving the usual Friday night slob out staples of pizza, beer, sofa and telly.

600 warm up
4 x 100 @ 2 mins
50 brst kick
50 brst
100swim down
1200 m

I have to thank Graeme Bradley for the inspirational title.....

Thursday 10 February 2011

Teenage lurgy?.......... 428,400 metres left

Bit of a hectic day and I've still got some homework to do so consequently this is a mercifully short post. Reporting on quite a short session because I was late for training this evening, due to an ill daughter protesting about being left home alone for 40 minutes. Hope she doesn't pass her lurgy on to me as that will properly kibosh my February Fitness Challenge.

Pretty busy at training, so I slipped into the big guy's lane and schlepped along at the back. I was trying to take it easy as a sort of recovery session, The Fairy Snow Baby had a bit of a medley theme going and I had to drill the fly cos there's no way my arms will come out of the water simultaneously.

200 warm up'
4 x 50's
400 IM 25 kick, 25 drill 50 swim
4 x 4 x 50  65 s Medley order
12 x 50's medley changeover @ 60
4 x 50's @ 60 free
200 swim down

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Flabby thighs and their uses...69,200 metres down

There was something vaguely familiar about Cookie's session at Consett this evening, as it had a similar structure to last weeks I really enjoyed it though. Queenie Reed was in great form but struggling to hang on to her pull buoy, I raised a smile when I pointed out that having flabby thighs and a large a**e came in useful sometimes.

As you may have guessed from my sessions I love swimming pull I'm probably faster pulling then straight swimming. Despite the creeping fatigue I coped much better with the 200's and gradually worked my way to the front of the lane.

So there I was leading and holding around 3 mins for the first 7 or 8 and then I crashed and burned pretty badly, which coincided with a spectacular choke when I must have swallowed about a gallon of water as you can see from the print out.

Which translated into the following swimming.

200 warm up
6 x 33 @ 35s sprint 10m, 15m, 20m, 25m, 30m 33m
4 x 200 pull @ 3.30
4 x 100 swim @ 1.45
4 x 33 kick @ 60 30s RI*
3 x 200 @ 3.30
4 x 100 swim @ 1.45
4 x 33 kick @ 60 30s RI
2 x 200 pull @ 3.30
4 x 100 swim @ 1.45
4 x 33 kick @ 60 30s RI
1 x 200 pull @ 3.30
2 x 100 swim @ 1.45
133 kick
66 swim

* I think Cookie only gave us the extra 30 secs cos I mentioned to him that "you could go off people"

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Swimming Hickeys

Ouch there is not a centimetre on my body that does not ache, 8 consecutive days of swimming and I'm knackered. Worse still my costume's starting to rub and my neck looks like either I've been strangled or been in a passionate tryst which has left me with two beautiful symmetrical hickey's (chance would be a fine thing).

My polarpersonaltrainer is showing red for the next two days and advising that training is not recommending, unfortunately in the throes of the February Fitness Challenge I don't have the luxury of a couple of days off. Does that qualify as an act of rebellion and defiance?

Training tonight was a definite win for the girlies, with only 3 of the guys turning up. As I predicted Bart the Shark, was promoted into the Girlies lane. The big test set was deceptively difficult. I really lost it in terms of maintaining the times however with a cunning plan which included some hard kicking under the water off the walls and developing a very long gliding catch up stroke I managed to reduce my stroke count from 76 to 48 you can see how my heart rate spiked.

800 Warm up change stroke each 25
4 x 4 x 50 IM order 50 kick, 50 drill, swim, swim harder
8 x 100 @ 2 mins
  1st set of 4 count strokes and hold time 76 strokes per 100 time 95's
  2nd set reduce by 1 stroke per 25  68, 64,60,56 per 100 hold time
8 x100 @ 2.15  
  3rd set hold stroke count from last repeat of 2nd and reduce time  held 56's
  4th set hold time from last repeat and reduce strokes, 1-3 holding 54 strokes per 100 last 100 reduced to 48
200 floppy
4 x 6 x 50  1st set 4 No 1 @ 70, 2nd set free @ 60, 3rd set medley changeover @ 65, 4th set free @ 60 200 swim down
4800 m

Monday 7 February 2011

Teenagers, Pencil Cases & the Law of Unintended Consequences

It's amazing isn't it how your best laid plans can be absolutely kiboshed by such a simple event as a teenager forgetting to pick up her pencil case and nipping back home to collect it.

In the three minutes this seemingly innocent task took to fulfill, of course the school bus arrived and departed without the said teenager amongst it's passengers, thereby setting in train a series of events which meant that today kicked off as an unmitigated disaster. 

The unscheduled trip into Newcastle (during rush hour) took 80 productive minutes out of my day, not to mention the environmental damage and the increase in green house gases, as a result of the unnecessary car journey, and the stress and blood pressure reaching "clinically dead" levels (deja-vu?) as I realised the fate of my lunch time swim was now in the balance. 

What a great start to a Monday, fortunately by lunchtime things had improved somewhat and I managed to sneak away for and hour or so. Swimming up and down can be quite soothing and does give you a chance for some thinking time.

The pool was pretty quiet (5 head up breaststrokers with pretty good lane awareness and an aging backstroker hugging the wall) and I was going so nicely my initial plan to swim 3 x 400's extended to 5. I was repping on about 6:35's - 6.40's so for the first time this year there was a pretty generous rest, a long way away from the slow plod in the "Can I Outsmart an Excel Spreadsheet" post and I was wearing paddles for the first three in that set.

1000 Warm up swam as
3 x   33 free, 33 drill
        33 free, 33 back
        33 free, 33 drill
        33 free. 33 brst
        33 free, 33 drill
5 x 400 @ 7.30 pull breathing every 6 strokes
3 x 66 brst kick @ 10 s RI
200 swim down
3400 m

Sunday 6 February 2011

Sunday Swimming & the Near Death Experience

Dropped in to Consett Masters to get my Sunday swim in and found myself working pretty hard in this session. That's one of the problems when you get a decent rest between repeats there's a temptation to try harder and swim faster.

So there I was hanging on for grim death and just about to push off for my final 100 m repeat when I glanced down at too smart watch and it was showing my pulse rate at 217! Now at my age my maximum heart rate should be somewhere around 165-170 and that sort of level I think I'm probably pretty close to being clinically dead. Here's the print out of my heart rate over the session.

The two red peaks show my heart rate at 217 and 221, too smart watch tells me that the 221 reading is 131% of my maximum heart rate. Should I be worried or is it just a techno glitch. I'll go with the latter, cos I'm still here and feel fine and at the end of the sesh too smart watch told me the effect was "Maximal perf and fitness improving" no mention there of imminent demise then.

Well yesterday when I first posted this I had to add the following apology "Now I'm sure that there must be a more technically proficient way of uploading the graph to this blog, but I couldn't work out how to do it, so I went for the low tech option of taking a picture of the screen and uploading that so I apologise for the poor quality." as you can see from the above I was introduced to a bit of clever software which allows me to capture screen shots..... Whoa Binge Swimmer techno nerd and thanks to EJ for the steer.

400 @ 7.30s warm up
3 x 200 @ 4 mins  (swam 3.10, 3.05 & 3.02)
8 x 100 @ 2 mins
6 x 33.3 @ 60 s kick
6 x 33.3 @ 60s sprint
200 swim down
2400 m

Saturday 5 February 2011

Fully Gadget Compliant? with 445,800 metres left.

Did I mention I'd misplaced the chest strap which compliments my too smart watch; so for the last week I've been swimming without the clever graphs or without the polarpersonaltrainer telling me I'm knackered and I should refrain from hard exercise or racing.

Well courtesy of Amazon, nearly 40 quid and a trip via the post office at some unfeasibly early time on the way training this morning I'm now fully gadget compliant... and once upon a time I thought all you needed was a cossie and goggles..

Training this morning was fairly steady, although the 150's nipped a bit. It included a nice 5 minute break, while the Fairy Snow Baby made "I'm Simon fly me" do a 200 timed swim because he missed the T 30 last week. Not sure that that really stacked up 30 minutes flat out swim versus 2 mins and 28 secs, but hey I for one was grateful for the rest.

600 Warm up 50 swim 50 drill
8 x 25 free sprint @ 35s
8 x 150 pull free @ 2.30 broken 10 secs rest @100*
200 back swim down
8 x 75's kick 50 steady 10 s RI, 25 hard 20 secs RI**
400 IM drill swim down
400 swim down

* These were a bit of a test, I started off swimming comfortably under 90 seconds for the first few 100m but knew I was in trouble when I thought we'd done 6 to be told it was only 5 and I still had 3 to go, I was really hanging on.
**As you may have noticed from my sessions I tend to do the stuff I like doing, and I simply hate kick and I'm awful at it, so these were tortuous...but I probably should do more.

Friday 4 February 2011

Lunchtime sessions and cold showers.... 449,200 metres left.

Hi there it's still cyclone like outside just about blown off my feet dashing from the car to the pool as I managed to grab a quick 50 minute (well ok 48 minutes) swim at lunchtime. Determined to complete this challenge I decided you just have to forget about all the things you should be doing and give your swimming a bit of priority, no pressure there then.

Fairly short session as "Billy no mates". I did however learn that it is advisable to check the temperature of the shower before you put shampoo/shower gel on your head...Brrrrr

1000 Warm Up as 66 free, 33 ba, 66 free, 33  br x 5
5 x 66 @ 75 pull, catch up
5 x 66 @ 75 pul breathing 8 strokes up the pool, 6 strokes down
5 x 66 @ 75 pull
200 brst kick
200 swim down
2400 m

The great thing about swimming at lunch time is that I can conk out on the sofa and fall asleep watching the telly.... what an exciting way to spend Friday night, don't you just love being a grown up!

Thursday 3 February 2011

Going commando! and a smidgeon off 50,000 metres down.

I emerged from work thinking that Cyclone Yasi had veered off course. It was totally wild. On arriving late for training I came in for a bit of stick from Bart the Shark and Awesome Emma for not making Tuesday's session which apparently resulted in Emma going to A & E with an acute asthma attack, you see she hasn't been properly right since those 16 x 25's fly.

The new Gateshead Pools have adopted the changing village concept, so on getting out of the pool and heading for the changing rooms,  I scooped up my clothes and started to dress in a nearby cubicle, only to discover my knickers were missing.... deciding that rather than mess around and drape myself in a towel to check the locker looking for them, I'd simply "go commando". I packed up my gear and stepped out of the cubicle to be confronted by my black Marks and Spencer's undies lying in a puddle in the aisle....for all the world to see.

Anyway this was a bit of a mish mash of a session half invented by the Fairy Snow Baby and half by the club A squad coach who was taking the kids squad in the other half of the pool. Not sure I'm even close to being able to swim fast yet and the 100's were pretty poor.

250 Warm up
8 x 150's @ 2.45 100 free 50 IM order
8 x 50 @ 70s brst drill
2 x 5 x 100 @ 2 mins swum as
   1 x 100 15m max 85 m easy
   1 x 100 25m max 75 easy
   1 x 100 25 max 25 easy repeat
   1 x 100 50 max 50 easy
   1 x 100 flat out aaargh!
550 pull swim down
3200 total.

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Blag a session to blog a session....and only 454,800 metres left.

A lunchtime meeting to discuss cash flow for god's sake, now I know this is pretty vital to our business survival but it certainly put paid to my planned lunch time swim. Never mind I thought, I have a cunning plan which involved a very late lunch and dropping by the pool between 4 and 5 on my way to a meeting. But nope sorry pool closed to the public at 4pm for swimming lessons. So no swim, but I was given a pool timetable.

With panic setting in and the thought of an endless pool session looming, I decided that I'd try and blag my way into the session with Consett Masters. Cookie the coach was as accomodating as ever and waved me in. The kid's squad who swim alongside the masters was fairly lightly attended so he also took our lanes....and set this rather nasty little programme.

I was swimming behind Queenie Reed, another swimmer of my generation and actually sister in law of El Tel (North East swimming can be a bit incestuous)) she was doing a great job, with a nice aerobic pace in the 200's  and I was trying to hang onto her feet.

I started off pretty promisingly but as fatigue set in I crashed and burned quite badly. I led off the 3rd set of 200's and promptly miscounted, I'm not sure if I was more upset by the fact that I still had another 100 metres to complete with no rest and then into the 100's or that I'd just sprinted a 100 and would never make the turn around time when I completed the 200.

266 Free warm up
3 x 200 free @ 3.30 steady short rest*
4 x 100 free @ 1.45 hard
3 x 200 free @ 3.30 as above
3 x 100 free @ 2.00 hard
3 x 200 free @ 3.30 as above
2 x 100 free @ 2.15 hard
3 x 200 free @ 3.30 as above**
1 x 100 free very hard
266 pull, 133 drill, 133 brst kick
4200 total
* which became even shorter and shorter rest
** and this wasn't as above either as it ended up a virtual continuous swim.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

How to have your cake and eat it (or Leek and Chervil soup, followed by Roast Shoulder of Lamb, Fruit and Nut Cous Cous and Lemon Salsa)

There was never going to be any serious contest was there, Tuesday night training session lining up against a Collaborative POD meeting followed by a supper at one of Durham's finest eateries Bistro 21; which describes itself on its website thus "rustic chic style, whitewashed walls, pitched pine floors Bistro 21 has classic simplicity; Classically executed bistro style dishes are served in" yada yada yada.....enough of the commercial, you get the picture.. needless to say given my newfound commitment to the pursuit of aquatic goals; the night out won.

Spurning the delightful company of the Fairy Snow Baby, Synchro Dad, Park Ranger, Bart the Shark et al I opted for the more refined and chlorine free environment of Terry Laybourne's eating establishment, and thus immediately faced the first dilemma of the month, but what about the February Fitness Challenge?  Was I going to fail at the first hurdle, never get out of the starting blocks, be DQ'd for a technical infringement in marshalling?

No......problem solved with a lunchtime dip in Consett public pool, I felt a little guilty sneaking out of the office but it was a gorgeous day, the pool was quiet and the bright sunlight streaming through the windows more than made up for the fact that the pool is 33 metres long and feels really slow.

I was quite impressed I was able to swim on my own for over an hour, usually I run out of patience and motivation around the 40 minute mark but I lasted just over 65 mins with the following rather unimaginative programme. I did though feel that I had earned my dinner which was well worth the wait.

1200 Warm up swum as
200 free, 166 alt br/back, 200 free 166 alt br/back. 200 free 166 alt br/back 200 free.
6 x 100 @ 1.55 pull
6 x 100 @ 1.50 pull
6 x 100 @ 1.45 pull*
166 brst kick
233 free drill
3400 metres total

* I was quite relieved that there were only 6 of these 100's as I was seriously running out of rest on the last couple.