Tuesday 31 May 2011

Pain in the Neck (Confessions of a Wuss) (and a mercifully short post)

After my heroics in the Tyne yesterday; you may recall I lost my way a bit in the river, well the theme of being lost continued into the pool tonight.

It started with me being 45 minutes late for the session (legitimate boring work related excuse) but also I have been struggling with a really sore neck over the last few days which caught up with me tonight as I lost all motivation and pace I gave up and wimped out. I acknowledge that I am a complete wuss.

12 x 75's pull with paddles @ 75 secs
8 x 50's no 1 drill @ 70s
4 x 50's no 1 progressive
100 floppy
2 x 100 swim down

Monday 30 May 2011

A Bank Holiday Family Day Out (and navigation problems in the Tyne)

The Tyne Valley
It was a typical Bank Holiday Monday, cloudy a bit chilly and the odd spot of rain. True to form I had been putting off sorting the garden out, but after breakfast in bed and a lazy morning I eventually untethered the hover mower and set to.

Following an afternoon of causing carnage in my garden (when do masters swimmers do their gardens?) my neighbour (who is a lovely woman and extremely tolerant of my family) wandered across and produced a tool for scraping the weeds out of block paving.

Now that wasn't a particular chore I was planning to accomplish today,  but she's trying to sell her house so I felt obliged to take the hint and attack the somewhat excessive growth in the gaps in the front path. By 5pm the weather was picking up and I had collapsed on the path with blisters and finger tips like brillo pads.

At this point Bob turns up (where has he been all day you all ask, I can't say that that particular thought hadn't meandered through my mind as I toiled in the garden this afternoon.) and suggests a family trip out. A typical Bank Holiday pastime? But being Bob this has a bit of a twist....an open water training session in the Tyne at Hexham.

Tyne Green, Hexham
The sun came out on the drive over and as we sped through the fabulous countryside I was allowing myself to think mmmh this could be really pleasant. All the exciting things you could do on a day's holiday from work and my other half comes up with immersing ourselves in freezing cold water: and good grief it was fffffffff cold (a brisk 12.8 degrees), I was immediately struck with  "live long and prosper" fingers. I was quite impressed that teenage daughter ventured in and lasted just under 20 minutes swimming before retiring.

There was a great crowd there (probably about 35 swimmers) and the photo shows the beginners group which took to the water before we got in. Bob got out with her to keep her company (or so he says). I spent 35 minutes in complete confusion as to where I was. Godfrey goggles may be okay for pool swimming but they are no good swimming upstream into a setting sun. Apart from the glare they constantly fogged up and I was all over the place. I haven't a clue how far I covered but I reckon it was a good 40% more than anybody else and I've put 1500 metres down in my Swim Log for today.

Thanks to Tim and One Life Tri club for letting me join in.

Sunday 29 May 2011

A Mini Binge (with a bit of variety and complete fatigue)

The May summary from my Swim log
A bit of a mini binge this week meant that for the first time since February I was ahead of my target for the month. Torn between mowing the lawn and going for a swim, well that was no contest really and I wandered onto the poolside at Consett this afternoon to hoots of derision and calls of "well look what the cat's dragged in" "sorry who are you?" "what's this, is it February?".

As you can tell from the quality of these comments they're a very supportive lot. This was the first Sunday session I'd done with them for quite a while and I really enjoyed it although the sprints were hard work. Not sure why I should be sprinting really given my upcoming competitive schedule, however it does add a bit of variety and complete fatigue when you change pace (or at least try and change pace)

Warm Up
200 free
6 x 66's alternating drill 33 swim 33 and swim 33 build 33
4 x 200 pull for technique @ 3.45
4 x 66's @ 1.20 build 66, max 33 steady 33
3 x 200 pull for technique @ 3.45
3 x 66's @ 1.20 build 66, max 33 steady 33
2 x 200 pull for technique @ 3.45
2 x 66's @ 1.20 build 66, max 33 steady 33
Total 3200 metres

Saturday 28 May 2011

Who took the C out of Canal Street?

The Canal at Canal Street

My stay in Manchester involved a wander each morning along the aptly named Canal Street to attend my course. No doubt this particular street is named after the waterway that runs parallel, although  bearing in mind it's location at the heart of the gay village in the city, I was left musing as to how often Manchester City Council have to replace the signage as some wag attempts to obliterate the letter C.

Work yesterday was a bit of a shock to the system, however it was a Friday and a bank holiday weekend as well.  I suppose that means at some point I'm going to have to mow the lawn this weekend, as both Bob and I have studiously ignored the encroaching jungle as we walk up and down the front path.

You can't accuse us of getting our priorities wrong as we both went swimming this morning, and with half an eye on the approaching British Championships I though we should start to try and move to some fast work. I also have neglected swimming breaststroke (basically because it hurts too much to swim breaststroke fast) so I introduced some broken 100's at the end of the session.

You can see from the print out below the effect of breaststroke it always puts my heart rate through the roof. Mind you it was Matt the Cash I felt sorry for as he opted to swim this set fly!

600 warm up
8 x 75 @ 1.40 25, back, 25 brst, 25 free.
4 x 50's @ 65 prog back
4 x 50's @ 65 prog brst
4 x 50's @ 60 prog free
4 x 50's @ 70 prog fly
4 x 200 Pull @ 3.30
4 x 100 no 1 broken @ 5.00
no 1 straight*
no 2 10 s @ 50**
no 3 10 s @ 50 & 75***
no 4 10 s @ 25, 50 & 75****
100 free active rest @ 2 mins inbetween

*   1.45
** 1.42
*** 1.39
**** 1.37
(once upon a time I would have been disgusted with these times but I'm beginning to adjust to the reality of being a pretty slow swimmer)

Thursday:a gentle paddle and a ferocious traffic jam

Nothing of note really ( but it fills a bit of space)

I made a smart get away from Manchester, on Thursday afternoon (after paying nearly 50 quid to spring my car from the car park it had been abandoned in on Tuesday). Having hit the road at 4.55pm and worked out how to cheat the traffic at the end of the M602? as it merges with the M62 (basically whizz up the outside lane and cut in and cut someone up as the turn off approaches) I was harbouring hopes that I might make the Gateshead Masters session for 7.30 pm.

No chance, an accident on the M62 put paid to that, so I had to be content with the fairly gentle paddle I'd had at the MAC on Thursday morning when I never really got out of 3rd gear as the above toosmartwatch print out shows. Still I was quite pleased with the 8500 metres I've covered whilst I was in Manchester.

800 Warm up
600 pull
400 pull
200 pull
5 x 200 pull @ 3.40
100 swim down
3100 metres

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Wednesday is the Pits

Swimming this morning was a whole 10p cheaper than yesterday, something I couldn't quite fathom until I walked onto the pool side to discover the British Men's Water Polo team training in the 50m pool.

So Binge Swimmer and Joe Public were relegated to the more familiar 25m laps in the diving pit. It was actually better in a way because the lanes were probably 3 metres wide and gave plenty of room to pass or be passed.

Now call me overconfident but I immediately chose the fast lane and set off on my session. This may sound as if I had given my sesh some thought and that I had a plan but actually I just made it up as I went along and I was feeling pretty good so I stuck it out for almost an hour covering 3K.

Over time the swimmers in the lane thinned out and eventually there were only 4 of us left, ploughing our lonely furrows. My companions included "Female stick insect", who turned out to be super fast and who was whopping me going up and down, I very quickly gave up trying to hang on to her feet, (although I was a little encouraged that I was out turning her (or so I thought)) and then there was also "garlic breath girl" and "halitosis him" I soon realised it wasn't good to hang off the wall when they stopped and I couldn't work out if they were an item because they weren't working together, although they disappeared at about the same time and clearly had eaten the same thing for dinner last night.

So onto today's session: well on the mediation course we're really getting into much more complicated stuff now! don't let that first comment mislead you cos it's not. (although I suppose it might be if you have the brain capacity of a Vulcan but for a poor Binge Swimmer.......this is not simple stuff)

The Old "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock" technique

But back in the pool things were much more straightforward

1200 warm up  as
  400 swim, 200 catch up, 400 swim, 200 catch up
12 x 100 pull @ 1.45s*
12 x 50's @ 60 secs 50 back, 50 free, 50 breast, 50 free
200 Swim down
3000 metres

* or thereabouts as I ducked and dived around Halitosis Him and Stick Insect
** these weren't intended to be but ended up as progressive.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

The Continuing Manchester Chronicles

So back in Manchester for a further three days of somewhat tortuous and comfort zone evicting Mediation training....

On my visit last month I accidentally stumbled across a really neat place to stay, the Atrium which is an apartment hotel. It was selected by me on that occasion (as I reported in "The Streets of Manchester are paved with 20 quid notes") because of it's location between the Manchester Aquatic Centre and the hotel this course is based in. But it's a great place to stay and may become my hotel of choice the next time the British Masters make it here. One further benefit from the last visit is that I'm in a different block this time so I don't have to endure the delights of the fart obscuring lift (see above post).

The benefits of being away on your own for three days is no work, no family and you can do whatever you want. So, why am I getting up earlier than I need to, to go for a swim, rather than staying out late to sample the varied night life of the metropolis? Probably because I'm such a saddo and also rapidly turning into a grumpy old woman.

An incident free visit to the Aquatic Centre this morning, a fairly quiet lane and only one dodgy moment when I was overtaking a bloke with a very wide breaststroke kick and almost clattered a guy coming the other way. Fortunately he was extremely magnanimous when I profusely apologised to him when we had both stopped some 300 metres later on. Anyway a really pleasant 45 minutes and some 2500 metres (or at least I think it was cos I forgot to bring my toosmartwatch downloader so I haven't been able to check my print out.)

1000 warm up
12 x 50's @ 60 drill
4 x 200's pull @ 3.30s
100 free
2500 m

Saturday 21 May 2011

Bitten by the Open Water Bug?

After a bit of a bumpy March and April where my forecast distance for this year's swim quest was rapidly diminishing, I have started to push my average distance per week back in the right direction (according to my toosmartswimlog). I've successfully logged two consecutive green weeks albeit only just green.

Now hot on the heels of last week's outing in open water my common sense deserted me again (maybe it was delayed brain freeze or that staple the Jedi mind trick) but I sent off my entry for another open water swim, signing up to do the 1500m event at Ashington. The Fairy Snow Baby mentioned it to me and he was even keener, skipping Thursday night's pool session for an open water training sesh in some lake in deepest darkest Northumberland.....Brrrrr.

As for the Saturday morning session today, we had 11 swimmers turn up (no Awesome Emma) and the luxury of the pool to ourselves. So 11 swimmers in 6 lanes, heck you do the maths but somehow I still ended up in a lane with 4 of us. I enjoyed drafting off Matt the Cash and the Beckleberry Boys and as you can see from the print out it was pretty hard for me with  a serious lack of rest at times and  50% of the session spent with my heart rate in zone 3.

18 x 50's free warm up*
as  3 @ 60s,
     5 @ 55s,
     5 @ 50s,
     5 @ 45s
4 x 600's
as  1 x 100 drill @ 1.40
     1 x 200 steady @ 3.20
     1 x 300 build @ 5 mins
16 x 50's @ 60
as  4 x 50 @ 60's back
     4 x 50 @ 60's free
     4 x 50 @ 60's back
     4 x 50 @ 60's free
300 swim down
Total 4,400 metres

*missed beginning of warm up

Thursday 19 May 2011

An Uninspiring Thursday

Ultimately there's something more than faintly comic about swathing yourself in skin tight rubber and jumping into 14 degree water, it certainly doesn't make for flattering photos.

So serious training for the British Championships next month, well ok not particularly serious as I couldn't quite motivate myself to make training on time
no excuses today just simply late for the session, although not quite as late as last week.

You can tell from the warm up (I missed the first half) that it was a Matt the cash session as he loves swimming the 100's free, back and IM.

By extending my swim down while the staff were removing the lane ropes and with a bit of ducking and diving  (mostly under the untethered wave erasers) I covered an almost respectable French Riviera session (le touquet)

A more unremarkable than usual print out.

6 x 100 as 100 free @ 1.40, 100 back @ 2 mins 100 IM @ 2 mins
18 x 50s @ 65 secs medley changeover
8 x 25 @ 45s sprint 1st 12.5 metres on odd lengths, last 12.5 metres on even lengths.
300 pull swim down
2000 metres

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Boring Tuesdays and Olympic Tickets.

I don't know about you but I was quite relieved when I checked my credit card balance on line yesterday and discovered that I hadn't yet been allocated any Olympic tickets. We're planning on pitching  a tent in Bob's brother's back garden for the duratio of the games.

Back at the pool this evening, there were about 25 of us turned up and spread across three lanes it made for some interesting swimming and meant that mercifully there were no long repeats.

Of note was the return to the fold of Daddy Dom who was responsible for the first set which took some explaining. I turned up a little late and missed the warm up not helped by leaving my chest strap for the toosmartwatch in the car.

The longish freestyle set gave you a bit to think about other than this is nearly 2000 metres.

Missed the warm up
18 x 50's @ 60 rotate through set sprint 1st 20m, middle 20m and last 20 metres from 1-6, sprint 1st 15m, middle 15m and last 15metres from 7-12, sprint 1st 10m, middle 10m and last 10 metres from 13-18,
200 swim down
2 x 200 free @ 3.40 negative split 100's
5 x 100 @ 2 mins progressive
2 x 200 free @ 3.40 negative split 100's
5 x 100 @ 2 mins progressive
8 x 75 no 1 (not free) @ 2 mins  count strokes reduce by 1 stroke per length on repeat 4-6 and 1 stroke per length 7 & 8
16 x 25 IM @ 35
100 swim down

Sunday 15 May 2011

Binge dines with the Thorpedo

Very fetching Binge

I've just returned from a trip to Manchester to take part in the first Great Swim of the Season "The Great Salford Swim". What a great event, I can't say that I am an expert open water swimmer but it was really well organised  and despite the ffffff freezing fourteen degrees and the miserable weather it was really enjoyable (once I got passed the first 150 metres).

I was ably assisted by teenage daughter whose day was made by our running into Matt Baker and Ian Thorpe in Costa who kindly cooperated with our requests for autographs and photos. I'm not sure what they had done to be sentenced to such a bleak afternoon at Salford Quays.

They were both lovely and Matt Baker is such a gent even signing the back of my coffee receipt for my mum who is his biggest fan. Needless to say the following image was uploaded onto teenage daughter's Facebook page before you could say "Social Network".

OK I suppose it's a bit of artistic license to say we dined with them when we were sitting two tables away but it made for a more interesting headline.

I also learned that I could not be a paparazzi because it took us about 30 minutes to pluck up the courage to ask for a photo and autograph and about 4 goes for me to work the camera on my phone as I was so in awe of the Thorpedo I kept pressing the wrong buttons.

As for the swimming; well I managed a sub 27 mins which put me in the top 150 finishers and 2nd woman in my age group. Romford's Kay Hamilton swam a blinder with a 22.06 for 23rd overall and 5th woman.

I took "toosmartwatch with me" for the trip and wore the chest strap. So I have a print out for the race see below.

The beginning was awful, cold, horrible, swimming over people, a fair bit of head up breaststroke and a touch of blind panic, why is swimming in a wetsuit so constricting? (that was a rhetorical question but I know you're all thinking cos you're a fat b***ard).  

Live Long and Prosper
 The route around the quays is interesting and the swim through the Mariner's Canal into the adjoining quay meant that the spectators could get really close to the swimmers.

After about 200 metres or so I eventually settled down and the only problem I had in the closing stages was that my fingers were so cold I couldn't close them, and was giving a vulcan greeting see photo  to the spectators on the bank side. Mind you I think the Vulcan death grip would have been of more use at the beginning.

So all in all the event lived up to it's billing, a Great Swim in Salford. You should all try one. Bring on the Great North Swim next month. As an afterthought I'm playing about with inserting video's here's the best one

I'm the swimmer with the pale blue underarms who goes spectacularly off course.

Saturday 14 May 2011

"Do or not do....there is no try"

I have this theory that when faced with an entry form for a swim meet the reasoning part of my brain goes AWOL and is completely overwhelmed by the part of my brain which comes up with such random thoughts as "1500m freestyle that'll be fun!" when, it should be at its most active screaming "no you silly cow it'll be anything but!" closely followed by  "particularly in a 50m pool."

I wonder if meet promoters are able to infuse their entry packs with subliminal old Jedi mind tricks? Because, I cannot even begin to explain why I entered the 1500m at the British Masters, and the 400m free which is not only in the same session as my 100 breast but is before it, and 3 other events which left my £48.50 poorer.

Every time I think about it, I can hear Yoda in the background cackling "stupid you are"

John Charles Pool, Leeds likely scene of an excruciatingly painful 23 minutes for Binge on 17 June

Anyway this morning's session was intended to be a fairly easy paddle in preparation for Salford tomorrow, but with no Fairy Snow Baby, Synchro Dad or Matt the Cash I found myself in the top lane with the Beckleberry brothers and I got a bit carried away with the session ......

Awesome Emma's woe from Thursday continued as she discovered she'd left her hat and goggles at GLC. (thinking they were Bart's I had given them to the FSB!) If the 100's free on 1.35 were difficult the last IM was mental not sure my poor heart was particularly impressed.

800 warm up as 200 back, 200 free, 200 brst 200 free
4 x 50 @ 60 steady count strokes*
4 x 50 @ 60s catch up
4 x 50 @ 60s stroke count reduce by 1 stroke per 25**
4 x 50 @ 60s catch up
4 x 50 @ 60s stroke count reduce by 1 stroke per 25***.
12 x 100  swam as 3 sets of 4 @ 1.50, 1.45, 1.40, 1.35
100 floppy
5 x 4 x 25 IM's @ 2.15 progressive
no 1 steady
no 2 sprint fly
no 3 sprint fly and back
no 4 sprint fly, back & breast
no 5 sprint all
200 swim down

3800m total

*   18's
** 16's
*** 14's

Friday 13 May 2011

Masters Mayhem!

I have mentioned before that I live my life in a total state of chaos stumbling from one crisis to the next. Well clearly I am not alone even in the small cross section of people within my Masters squad, as Awesome Emma confessed this evening that she had inadvertently repeated my mistake of turning up at Dunston pool for a Thursday night session rather than Gateshead Leisure Centre.

I couldn't be smug though because as you can see from my rubbish session total, I'm about to inflict another tale of incompetence and woeful organisational skills upon readers of this blog. It all started with the brakes failing on Teenage Daughter's piano teacher's car (don't worry he's fine) leading to the cancellation of her lesson and a subsequent decision to come swimming with me.

Urging her to hurry up and get herself ready at 7.20pm she eventually saunters out of the house at 7.40pm, we set off, now 10 mins late, only to discover that "they" (a generic term which applies to any semblance of an authoritative body which conspires to cause me grief) were digging up the main road between home and the pool and I ended up in a mini localised traffic jam fuming as the minutes passed by and I saw my swim time diminishing.

We arrived at the pool and I dived in and followed Bart the Shark who was basking in Lane 2 behind Babyface Ciaran. I didn't even register the repeat times for the 100's and I was saving myself for the big set after the 50's build when the Fairy Snow Baby asked me "What time did you think that this session started Binge" "8 till 9 right" to the derision of my other swim mates! absolutely 100% WRONG!!!! 7.30 - 8.30 so it was swim down and get out;

Only to spend 10 minutes in the pool foyer discussing where training was tomorrow (Friday). The upshot? was that no one knew (god how bright are we?) and we were all advised to check the club website! Ah well taper for Sunday...

6 x 100 alternate 100 free @ 1.40 100 back @ 2.00*
4 x 50 build @ 70 seconds
200 swim down

* not even sure what this repeat was on just dived in and started swimming!

Wednesday 11 May 2011

200,000 metres milestone passed

I was carried away last week and entered the Great Salford Swim .....mmmm 14°C really inviting since then I've spent the time asking myself why? no doubt I'll have more to say about this on Sunday. Is anybody else swimming?

A business trip to Glasgow put paid to a full session this evening but the eventual session was a bit of quality work. I really enjoyed the set of IM's. For the first time this year I felt quite good in the water and actually allowed myself to think that maybe I could swim fast again.

During the course of the session I passed the 200,000 metres mark for the year. That takes me 40% of the way to my half a million metres and although I've slowed pretty considerably since the mayhem of February I'm still slightly ahead of schedule according to my slog. 

2 x 50 @ 50 *
4 x 50 @ 45
10 x 100 IM @ 2 mins**
200 swim down
5 x 100 back @ 2 mins
6 x 50 brst @ 70 s
8 x 25 fly @ 45s
8 x 75 @ 1.40 kick
200 swim down
3300 metres

* warm up (arrived late!)
** 93-95s

Saturday 7 May 2011

In which Binge Hangs Over and Matt the Cash Cocks up

 I was feeling pretty inadequate this week having failed to make the pool since my last outing in Manchester. As usual I was full of good intentions to attend last Saturday morning's session but I ended up at a silver wedding anniversary party. (I know there's an element of "deja vu" about this post).

We dropped teenage daughter off at my parents and confirmed we'd collect her between 11pm and 11.30pm, you can imagine the wrath of my parents (I was and probably still am truly in the doghouse) when we didn't collect her till 2.45am. I was significantly the worse for wear and didn't wake up until 10.45 with a monster hangover.

Of course feeling inadequate is not an unusual state for me to be in, but this particular bout of inadequacy stemmed from spending last weekend following the exploits of a number of  "swimclubbers" who undertook the ultimate swimming challenge "2swim4life" at Guildford Lido . This involved swimming one mile each hour for 24 hours or there's always "2swim4life lite" which is a mere 12 miles. As if that wasn't enough the pool temperature was a brisk! 20 degrees.

Complete and total respect to everyone who took part in this event I think it rather puts my February Fitness Challenge exploits into the shade.

The above link on the Swimclub.co.uk website provides some interesting commentary on the challenge and was clearly a life affirming and inspirational event for swimmers and helpers alike.

Thanks to Ruth Cordero who took and published a fantastic series of pictures of the event.

Back to the more mundane matter of a Gateshead and Whickham Saturday Morning Session, firstly we had a record turn out with 10 swimmers battling the ravages of Friday night hangovers and the magnetic pull of the duvet to sample the Fairy Snow Baby's "it sounded worse than it was" session.

I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about the swim, but I was up and Bob was going so I piled into the car. We normally share the pool with the kid's squad so I dropped into our middle lane, with "Awesome Emma" and "The New Guy" (I can't remember his name and come to think of it he's not that new!).

Fairy Snow Baby and Synchro Dad snagged an extra lane when only 3 kids showed up, leaving me with a dilemma; do I stay in my lane and swim the 200's pull on a rather pedestrian 3.40 or try and stay with Bart the Shark and Matt the Cash and a repeat time of 3.15.

Yeah guess what I opted for....why do I do this? actually I managed them pretty comfortably on around 2.54-2.56 drafting off Matt the Cash. Matt valiantly led the lane out for the second set of 200's and completely bollocksed it up taking the 10seconds rest immediately after the first 50 much to the surprise of Bart and myself.

Bart was furious when he stopped a second time at 150. We both decided to write off the last 50 and saved our energy to castigate Matt the Cash when he finished somewhat sheepishly conceding that he had completely F**ked Up.

Don't panic I did the extra 50 swim down to make the 4,100 metres.

800 warm up as
     200 free
     100 breast drill
     100 back
     200 free
     100 breast drill
     100 back
6 x 200 pull with paddles @ 3.15*
6 x 100 back @ 2 mins
4 x 50 drill**
6 x 200 @ 3.45 as
1st 200 10s @ 150, last 50 hard
2nd 200 @ 3.45 as
3rd 200 10s @ 100, last 100 hard repeat
100 swim down***
4100 Total

* 2.54 - 2.56's.
** I'd lost the will to live here and wasn't paying attention to the repeat times.
*** It was really 150m to make up for the missing 50.