Saturday 25 June 2011

A Random Bum Slapper and What am I doing here?

The leisurely pace of training continued this morning with none of us having any ideas of what we wanted to do and being more interested in swapping Great North Swim adventures as all of the Beckleberries had completed the swim and had met up with the Park Ranger at the finish.

As they stood there some woman came up to them, slapped the Park Ranger on the butt, commenting "nice ass" as she walked on.

The assembled Gateshead swimmers were astonished by this and the Park Ranger turned bright red with embarrassment. They were all left a bit bemused to realise that she was a complete stranger, a very strange stranger if you ask me. Anyway I think from now on the Park Ranger might be known as Kelly Cute Butt.

So no one brought their game head to swimming this morning and I was having trouble remembering what I was meant to be swimming, messing up the warm up and stopping after 50 during the 100's. We paddled through a steady 3300 metres without really breaking sweat. Probably the shortest Saturday morning we've done.

800 warm up change stroke each 25
16 x 50's @ 65 drills
4 x single arm
4 x chicken wing
4 x catch up
4 x swim
8 x 100 @ 1.50 steady
16 x 50's prog 1-4, 5-8, etc
2 x 50's @ 1.15 flat out
100 swim down
3400 metres

Thursday 23 June 2011

Road Trip Day 6.....Disaster...speeding ticket and (another) three points

My road trip came to a pretty sorry end yesterday evening as I was nicked for speeding in North Yorkshire, I managed to get away with a fixed penalty ticket and another three points which leaves me teetering precariously on 9 penalty points.

I hated the smug way the copper smirked at me when she asked for my occupation, it clearly made her day.
I had really had a great time on my Road Trip up until then, I hate North Yorkshire I was caught in the average speed cameras there last August (I didn't believe that they worked, I was wrong).

So a final gentle paddle in the aquatic centre, in the diving pit ended my time in Manchester. I guess I need to start doing some work in the water.

2 x 400 @ 7 mins
12 x 100 @ 1.50 pull with paddles
1 x 100 IM
200 swim down
2300 m

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Road Trip Day 5...Don't Post when you are Pi**ed

Picadilly Gardens

Last night was the last night on this course for the entire surviving 23 Mediation Trainees; and predictably we started drinking as guests of our lecturers at 5.15pm. 2 pretty large glasses of wine later, and after a quick shower and change, and via a further stop in the hotel bar we headed out to sample the delights of Manchester's night life.

I have concluded that I'm probably too old for a night out like this particularly on a Monday. Our little band (actually there was about 12 or 14 of us) were aiming for some swanky trendy restaurant, but hey this is Manchester so no sooner had we got out onto the street then the heavens opened. We couldn't possibly get wet so we dived into the nearest doorway which just happened to be a Wetherspoons bar (how did we manage that?) We couldn't shelter in there for free so a further round of drinks was ordered.

We made a dash through the rain soaked streets to some  (allegedly) Danish restaurant where for some bizarre reason we all ordered Italian dishes and of course more drink......When we eventually paid the bill and left the restaurant I diverted into the loos,  there's only so much beer you can take really, now maybe I encountered a temporal anomaly in the toilet because I emerged to discover I was Billy no mates and everyone had buggered off. (There was undoubtedly a subliminal message to me in this but I was too thick skinned for the penny to drop)

A quick skirt of Picadilly gardens yeilded no sightings of a large group of mainly middle aged (sorry Dan and Graham) drunken lawyers, so I made my way back to my temporary home, via the course hotel bar, as I arrived back at my hotel I received a text asking where I was and with the assistance of technology (an Iphone and Google maps) eventually met up with the crew in a very trendy bar in Deansgate. I was a bit concerned that British Gas Flip Flops would be acceptable dress code footwear but I managed to persuade the bouncer that they were an essential 2011 fashion item.

So to cut to the title, we were eventually thrown out of the bar and on reaching home I decided that it would be a good idea to post this morning's blog (which of course by then was yesterday morning's blog.) I merrily tapped out my thoughts and eventually fell into bed.

On returning from training this morning, I sat down and read last night's ramblings which were completely incomprehensible and made even less sense than I normally do. I was forced  to do some serious amending to retain what journalistic integrity I have (and it all sounded so good last night.)  So if you are one of the 49 people who managed to read yesterday's rubbish, I can only apologise and say sorry and it does make slightly more sense now.....and I have learned the lesson that you shouldn't post when you're pi**ed.

A second gentle paddle and recovery set saw me through a very leisurely 2.4 kilometres this morning.

3 x 400 @ 7 mins up swim breath  every 6 strokes, down drill

5 x 200 @ 3.45 pull with paddles breathing every 6
200 swim down
2400 total

Road Trip Day 4 ...Shattered illusions.Sex Goddess to hermaphrodite in 10 days?

So despite the rigours of the weekend I bound out of bed at 7.15 this morning. After collecting my gear I saunter up to the aquatic centre to start my day with a gentle recovery swim; before having to deal with the realities of mediation training and the ignominy of having your homework marked and returned to you. It's a long time ago since someone's marked a piece of my work.

Anyway I turn up at the Aquatic Centre and join the queue to get in, I get a little agitated (well ok annoyed) by the fact that the person in the queue in front of me is discussing buying a life long membership and wants to know the ins and outs of the special offers and the introductory pricing structure. When all I want to do is throw my three quid and 10p at the receptionist and go and change.

You may recall that I was more than a little secretly smug at collecting the epithet "sexiest woman in Consett" about two weeks ago, but my ego was about to take a severe bashing. The girl causing the delay is clearly empathic to the mounting resentment coming from behind her and she is acutely aware that the receptionist is taking an excruciatingly long period of time to explain her options. So she helpfully asks acknowledging me "could you serve this gentleman first!"... Damn from sex goddess to hermaphrodite in 10 days......

I am pleased to report that when she eventually realised her error she apologised profusely, although it didn't make me feel any better. The swim was a gentle stretch to recover from the stress of the weekend's effort a steady 2.5k barely moving out of first gear as you can see from the toosmartwatch print out.

1200 warm up
3 x 400 @ 7.10s
200 swim down
2,600 Total

Sunday 19 June 2011

Road Trip Day 3.... A day in the Lakes

The Grim North Swim?
So it's a Sunday lunchtime in the middle of June, and in a perfect world, where should you be, about to go out for a relaxing meal? chilling in the garden? nowadays in our leisure rich lifestyles there are all sorts of sophisticated activities available to us to wend away our time over weekends.

Taking this into consideration, where do I find myself? yes you've guessed it standing in that bloody rubber suit again, on the edge of a lake about to plunge into cold water on a very grey day. What's happened to the summer?

An infeasibly early start saw the Fairy Snow Baby and myself heading north for a quick dip in Windermere, (you'd think we should have had enough of swimming this weekend wouldn't you). Now the dip was very quick in the FSB's case as he managed to come 14th over all, not bad for a 43 year old.

In one of those spooky sort of happenstance situations I bumped into Julie Hoyle, (formerly Pinkney, formerly Bennett,) (she likes the taste of wedding cake) on the ferry from Bowness, (we swam against each other as kids). What's strange about it is that the last time we met was on the ferry at the last GNS. She and her husband Stuart also swam blinders to place respectively 1st and 2nd in their own age groups, Julie did a great job of sandbagging me at the start with her lack of training, bad back yada yada, you get the picture... but brilliant swim Jools.

We were standing together on the starting line (pushy or what) when this very tall stick insect just pushed herself in front of us, (apart from being rude, she was sickening as she was one of the handful of people who look good in a wetsuit,) however much to my satisfaction she came out of the water at least 3 minutes behind me!

The event was terrifically well run, I suppose it has to be because 10,000 swimmers and probably twice as many supporters passing through that site takes some organising. There was a slick conveyor belt operation moving visitors from Bowness to Ambleside via a short stop at Low Wood for that swim.

"de rigeur flip flops"
complete with  Windermere mud 
The loos (porta potty's) were as you might well imagine, the changing area was a just bit cramped (the black hole of Calcutta sprang to mind)  and the showers weren't really worth bothering about but apart from that, the swim waves were well thought out, the course was well laid out, easily navigable and the swim was great fun. The collection of Goody bags, T shirts, Powerade, Water, Medals and this year's "de rigeur" footwear the British Gas flip flop was a breeze (with the latter proving to be soul savers in navigating your way back to the changing marquee.)

Slightly tired I headed back down the M6 to Manchester with uncombed hair and that delightful aroma of open water emanating from me. Not sure what the receptionist made of it as I presented my scruffy and lightly humming body at check in. I'm back in Manchester for my final three days of mediating this week so if I recover from this weekend there'll be more adventures from the aquatic centre.
Toosmartwatch print out from GNS


Road Trip Day 2...and a nasty case of swimmer's bum.

Day 2 at the British Masters Championships in Leeds and my mad schedule continued, I can say swimming back to back 200's is not clever and hurts (lots) particularly when the second one is an IM at the end of 2.5k of racing over the last 36 hours.

There wasn't a centimetre of that race which didn't hurt compounded by the weird sensation at the end of the 50 fly leg that I was actually swimming backwards or that someone was moving the wall away from me.

It's been a great swim meet, and fun to catch up with everyone. Especially the original Essex girl (Lesley Cook) who kept me entertained when we escaped to a Costa for lunch and decided that we could be a new generation of "Angry Birds" (perhaps Grumpy Birds would be more accurate)

I also managed to buy a toothbrush, doesn't life feel better when you have clean teeth? Readers of a more sensitive and sophisticated disposition should stop reading now, as my final thought for the day is that I know I've been to a serious swim meet because of the onset of swimmer's bum. An affliction usually attributable to rough loo paper and the old "flight fight or s***e syndrome" kicking in. Perhaps that's too much information for one blog... bed's calling and I've an early start with the Fairy Snow Baby for Stage 2 of my road trip tomorrow....

Windermere and the Great North Swim...

Saturday 18 June 2011

Road Trip Day 1 Beirut?

I'm in the first stages of a 6 day road trip and after a pretty hectic Thursday I finally managed to pack (most of ) the gear I needed to survive away from home during my solo adventure.

I cleverly forgot my camera so that photos on this blog will be reduced to camera phone photos and my toilet bag so it may not be too clever to stand too close to me over the coming weekend.

I did once manage a whole weekend at Crystal Palace without a hairbrush but I'm not sure it's too pleasant without a toothbrush. 

First stop today Leeds for the British Masters Championships, taking place at the John Charles Sports Centre. A new venue for this event and a pretty decent pool even if its environs leave a little to be desired and are reminiscent of a Beirut street scene. 

I arrived just as the warm up finished and after grabbing a quick lunch warmed up in the diving pit. First up 1500 free and a reasonably controlled swim which I quite enjoyed (at least when it stopped). Now here's the thing, if you'd told me yesterday I was going to swim 22.02 I would have taken that and been quite satisfied. But...having swum 22.02 I was left cursing and spitting feathers that I hadn't gone 2.5 seconds quicker 21.59 has such a better ring to it doesn't it. 

We'll not mention the disastrous 200 breast, in this evening's session when I truly thought my legs were going to fall off. But here's my 1500 splits. 

More from Leeds tomorrow

Monday 13 June 2011

The Slog on the Tyne

Tyne Green
A second trip out to the One Life Tri Club open water session was a slightly warmer affair than two weeks ago, the water was reputedly 15 degrees, still a bit chilly but much more bearable.

I lasted around an hour (I forgot to start toosmartwatch) and I reckon (conservatively) I covered around 2.2k.

It was another glorious evening and I swapped the Godfrey's for Bob's Aquaseals which dramatically helped with the navigation. After a few little circuits around a couple of buoys off the slipway, we struck out for the start of the rowing course around about 800m upstream (allegedly).

You can see the effect of the current on the way up which we covered in two stages, and coming back in one longish swim.

Total 2,200m (or thereabouts)

Sunday 12 June 2011

Binge passes through to the other side.

So we're 163 days through 2011 (44.7% of the year gone, according to my s..log) and somewhere through the set of excruciatingly painful 66's at Consett this afternoon I passed over to the other side having covered 50% of my annual yardage target. Woohoo.

That's a cause for celebration as I now have 202 days left to cover the other half. I'm a bit concerned because the second half of the year may be a bit of a challenge because the second half of the year has no February Fitness Challenge to boost my yardage, and also contains the swimming desert months of August and December and traditionally I don't do swimming in December.

As you can see from the above print out toosmartwatch obviously couldn't cope with this impending milestone and produced some rather eccentric readings at the start of the session. Rest assured that despite these somewhat erratic readings I am still functioning as normal (even if normal functioning for me bears little relationship to everyone else's view of normality)

Obviously Sunday sessions are evolving into a bit of eyeballs out, with a distinct lack of rest

200 warm up
400 free @ 7 min *
2 x 200 free @ 3.30**
4 x 100 free @ 1.45***
6 x 66's free @ 1.10****
2 x 33's free @ 35 s
6 x 33 free/brst @ 60s
200 pull swim down
2600 m

* 6.15
** 3.05 ish
*** 1.28 -1.33ish
**** 61's

Saturday 11 June 2011

Sexiest Woman in Consett ?

Consett on its sunny day
It's been a funny old week; take Thursday, it's lunchtime and there I am wandering along Middle St to buy my lunch. There were a couple of old codgers (actually they probably weren't that old) sitting on a bench watching the world go by.

As I approached, one of them looked up and shouted at the top of his voice "Wey it's Miss Dobbie, the sexiest woman in Consett!". I quickly recovered from the shock of being heckled in public to advise him he was "a very sad man" and then wandered off (with a big grin on my face and thinking my not so secret admirer had obviously been reading this blog and seen the pictures of me in the black rubber suit.)

Now for anyone who knows me personally they will realise that sexy is not an adjective which readily springs to mind to describe me, but my work colleagues (and a few shoppers passing by) did find the whole incident hilarious.

So on to Saturday morning training and there were a bunch of Beckleberry's turned up for the session, the regulars Daddy Beckleberry, and the two Beckleberry boys were there and this time they were joined by Beckleberry girl. (In an effort to enhance their Great North Swim Training for next week).

One advantage of having the Beckleberry bunch as club members is that when we hold our Masters meet we are able to offer the technical officials the best cakes during the lunch break. (They do a raspberry and almond flan that is simply to die for.)

Daddy Beckleberry &
Beckleberry boy
(one of them)
There was no Fairy Snow Baby today so the session was a hybrid Binge/Matt the Cash collaboration. I only planned the warm up to be 12 x 50's but I was thinking 600 metres that's 24 lengths, and accidentally said 24 x 50's. So we "accidentally"did 1200m warm up.

The sprint set was pretty hard and I'm not sure what Synchro Dad had eaten for breakfast but he kept suggesting that we did more, he didn't think 4 x 50's or 8 x 25's was very far! At that speed (well ok at that effort) it was the equivalent of a bloody marathon.

I thought the 75's swimming easily and working on turns would be a good swim down, wrong! My original suggestion was 8 x 75's but the too much testosterone for breakfast boys in the fast lane thought 12 would be better!

I was knackered by the end and profoundly disappointed when I thought we'd finished and discovered there were two more...cue expletives

24 x 50's @ 55 alternate swim 50 drill 50
12 x 100's 100 free@ 1.40. 100 back @ 2 mins, 100 IM @ 2 mins
4 x 50's @ 1.30 sprint alternate free no 1
8 x 25 @ 60's sprint alternate free no 1
12 x 75's steady working on turns, hard in hard out, fly kick 2 strokes underwater before 1st breath
300 swim down
4000m total

Tuesday 7 June 2011

21 Swimmers and not a single swimming brain amongst us?

21 swimmers turned up for swimming tonight and there wasn't a swimming brain amongst us. Pathetic really we couldn't make our minds up what we wanted to do and ended up with a pretty bitty session.

With each of us chipping in with suggestions, we probably should be on a really serious quality programme with a view to the British Championships in less than two weeks time, but no one was really up for that. I came up with the unimaginative 100's pull to get us going and then there was consensus between Matt the Cash, the Fairy Snow Baby and me that we should do IM's. FSB suggested the somewhat complex 2nd set, which was actually 4 x 400 IM's although it didn't feel like it.

I struggled a bit with the final set and completely lost the plot so I added an extra 100 m swim down just to make sure I covered 4.5k this evening.

300 warm up change stroke each 25
10 x 100 pull @ 1.40
4 sets alternate drill swim as
25 fly  @ 30s
50 back fly  @ 60s
75 back, fly, brst  @ 90s
100 fly, back, brst, free  @ 2.00
75, back, brst, free @ 90s
50 brst, free @ 60s
25 free @ 30s
30s RI between sets
18 x 25s kick @ 45s
1 easy, 1 medium, 1 hard
20 x 50's in 5 sets on descending time  @ 60s, 55s, 50 & 45s
300 swim down
4650  metres

Sunday 5 June 2011

No rest for the wicked?

This afternoon's session at Consett gave Cloughy, Sparky and I the opportunity to chew over the exploits of yesterday's adventure in Ashington. Whilst unbeknown to us the stand in coach (Ian Frame) was plotting a rather nasty little (actually it wasn't that small either) set to completely finish us off.  

It all started quite nicely with a steady 400 warm up. Now despite the litany of personal bollock dropping, catalogued on the pages of this blog, I think that on occasions I can sometimes be quite smart. So when our stand in coach for the afternoon said "OK we'll do 16 x 100's" adding "in sets of 4" "the first set on 2 mins, the second set on 1.50" it really didn't take much for me to fill in the blanks and extrapolate down to the last set being on 1.30.....

It's funny isn't it how coaches always say "we'll do "?; when really what they mean is "you'll do" and I'll stand on the side and laugh at you all struggling with this.

The harshness of that final repeat time (and this is a 33.3 metre pool remember) wasn't ameliorated by the steady 133 drill in between each set. Sadly I failed miserably to make the times having about 4 seconds rest after the first 100, then swimming a 92 and a feeble 97 for the next two although I pulled the last one back to about 88.  Bloody hell it hurt though!

400 warm up
4 x 100 @ 2 mins
166 drill
4 x 100 @ 1.50
166 drill
4 x 100 @ 1.40
166 drill
4 x 100 @ 1.30 *
400 swim down
2800 m total

* repeat times 86, 92, 97 and 88

Saturday 4 June 2011

Grim Weather and Open Water in North(ish) Northumberland

QE 2 Challenge Swim Course
Why was the weather absolutely fantastic yesterday but absolutely miserable today just in time for the QE2 challenge swim? This was the 1500 m swim I kind of entered on impulse a couple of weeks ago after the Fairy Snow Baby mentioned it to me.

I bowled up to find not only Fairy Snow Baby but fellow stars of this blog "The Park Ranger" (who beat me by 10 metres grrrr) and Awesome Emma (who bravely set forth in a shorty sailing wetsuit). The tropical weather which has bathed the North East for the last couple of days fortunately toasted the lake to a  balmy and very bearable 17 degrees.

The Gateshead Crew
Fairy Snow Baby, Park Ranger, Binge & Awesome Emma
The course was 3 loops of an allegedly 500m circuit, this came as a bit of a surprise to me because I hadn't read the briefing information. (as a lawyer should I make admissions like that?) and I had spent a few minutes quizzically looking at the course and thinking it looked a bit short.

There was a 10 minute warm up and then a 2 minute warning to line up in the water for the start. I almost missed the starting horn and set off when I heard the announcer wish every one good luck.Now I don't know about you but I just can't gauge how fast I'm going, or how far I've covered in open water. 

Looking at my Toosmartwatch print out I guess I might've taken the middle lap a bit easily but it all felt quite smooth and I really enjoyed it. Navigation was assisted by Bob's Aquasphere mask. I managed to take a reasonable line around the course except for the last buoy, on each lap my brain was unconsciously trying to cut off the corner and I had to double back a bit to swim around it.

I finished with a time of 24.09, the Fairy Snow Baby was 2nd man home with 20.06 (bet he wishes he'd ran from the slip way to the finish line!