Wednesday 31 August 2011

Coniston the return....

An 11.5k walk yesterday with an 1800 ft climb in the first mile clearly demonstrated to me that I am nowhere near fit, as I toiled up the side of Wansfell, trailing pathetically behind husband and teenage triathlete. I used to manage this sort of thing with ease.

The walk did however set us up nicely for dinner at the Drunken Duck which was fabulous and nearly worth the pain.

As today was a rest day (from walking) and because I had such an enjoyable swim in Coniston on Monday, we returned there this afternoon for a second dip. Bob joined me for some company and we swam from the beach near the car park down to the  boathouse probably about half a mile and back. (I know it's pretty feeble compared with everyone elses's outdoor exploits but I am on holiday and I know that I am deep down essentially a pool swimmer)

Now whilst I felt braver swimming with some company, it meant we only had one pair of goggles between us, (see deatheater goggles RIP) and I am therefore currently suffering with slightly red and sore eyes. The advantage of this was that I couldn't see the grotty weed as clearly; although we did manage to swim through a subsurface slick of the stuff which my vivid imagination imbibed with the traits of Devil's snare. (thanks JK Rowling)

The ducks and swans were kept at bay by a couple of canoes also using the beach. The water surface was completely calm and flat, blissful.

Monday 29 August 2011

Coniston and not a thrush in sight.

How was your bank holiday? one of the best things about being away on vacation is that it takes the urgency out of life. After a leisurely breakfast and a very lazy morning reading and watching the World Athletics Championships I finally persuaded my family we should make an effort to go out.

After an afternoon out and about, I noticed that the grey sky was clearing to the west of us and suggested a swim in Coniston. Now this suggestion was not enthusiastically received by my family although I finally succeeded by persuading Bob that we could go past the Drunken Duck and book dinner there tomorrow night!

We drove over to Waterhead at the northern end of Coniston
(a spot selected by me after significant study of an ordnance survey map, finally a use for my A level geography.)

Bob and teenage triathlete went off for a run and I set off for a swim down the lake. It was about 6.30pm and the lake was pretty deserted. The temperature was fine and the water was clear, although I found the wavy weeds a bit unsettling. (I know I'm a complete wuss) not to mention the killer flock of ducks and swans.

It was a great swim though; completely peaceful and calm, the only sound being the gentle splash and lapping sounds as my limbs broke the surface, and I was able to watch the low grey rain clouds come down off the nearby hills and across the lake. Stunning.


Saturday 27 August 2011

Death Eater Goggles RIP

I think I was 16 the last time I spent my summer holiday in the UK, (North Cornwall, Port Isaac & Polzeath in the mid 70’s as I recall.) Thanks to the credit crunch, we’re in the Lakes actually having a great time.

A “cottage” in Ambleside might be a bit of an exaggerated and idealised description of our accommodation but it’s more than adequate.

Now having purchased a pair of hiking boots for teenage triathlete this morning, inevitably we all went for a swim this afternoon. We wandered down to Jenkins Field and I swam the Great North Swim Course backside foremost.  I worked my way leisurely down to the marina at Low Wood touching the pier before turning back, stopping periodically to take in the views, wave at the tourists on the ferries, and check out the position of nearby craft which ranged from 2 man canoes to bloody huge ferries.

Jenkins Field
It was a gorgeous afternoon and the water was fantastic, it made a pleasant change to take it easy over this route, (my pulse rate maxed out at a pedestrian 117 bpm). A blissful 43 minutes, marred solely by the fact that the only pair of goggles I had with me were my Godfrey's (these very ones) which as I've blogged before are hopeless in open water. I realised that I could swim pretty comfortably without the goggles but they managed to slip off my head and as I came ashore I discovered that I'd lost them.

Hobbling out across the pebbly beach also brought back some painful memories of the very first Great North Swim where we had to exit the water and run around the half way buoy.

Probably swam around 1600-1800 metres and of course I'm a complete wuss so I wore my wettie. Might try a different lake tomorrow.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Tuesday's Bookday?

No room for the Slothful in tonights session
Just booked a last minute break in the Lakes so I'm deciding whether or not to take the wetsuit and try an open water challenge or simply take a pile of books and chill.....

Tonight's session was an attempt to continue last weeks theme of "more rest, harder effort," with the stage directions to give a bit to think about to take the edge off. I announced the set and Proudy and Fairy Snow enquired what book I'd been reading? Just as well I'm not the sensitive type and I 'll take that as a compliment!

Warm up 200 free
12 x 50's up free down back @ 65
200 free
3 x 200 @ 3.50
No 1 Strong/Steady
No 2 Negative split
No 3 Sprint first 50 and stretch out
4 x 50's @ 70s alt ba and brst
3 x 200 @ 3.50
No 1 Strong/Steady
No 2 Negative split
No 3 Sprint first 50 and stretch out
4 x 50's @ 70s alt ba and brst
3 x 200 @ 3.50
No 1 Strong/Steady
No 2 Negative split
No 3 Sprint first 50 and stretch out
4 x 50's @ 70s alt ba and brst
200 flat out 2.58
300 kick alternate 25 brst, 25 own choice
8 x 75 @ 90s 25 fly, 25 ba, 25 br, then 25 fr, 25 fly, 25 back
100 swim down
4,600 total

Sunday 21 August 2011

Big Brother Big Bother even more incomprehensible than usual?

I have to admit that having Teenage Triathlete about gives me an "excuse" to watch loads of crap telly, that ordinarily I just wouldn't bother with.

Can't quite make my mind up about the new season of CBB. Am I the only person in the universe that can't understand a single word Paddy Docherty says, or is it just creeping senility? and does it make you marvel at the ability of Endomol (sounds like an over the counter indigestion remedy doesn't it?) to pull together such a cast of nobodies....

So completely forgetting about the start of the X Factor the prospect of another evening of trash TV forced a family trip out to the flicks yesterday evening to watch "Cowboys and Aliens". I'm sure there's a great story in the premise of fusing two entirely separate movie genres somewhere, but this really wasn't it, even the presence of Daniel Craig couldn't save it.

Drove up to Consett Pool this afternoon on spec to see if they had restarted after the summer break and my luck was in, they were back (although after an hour of decreasing rest I didn't think I was quite so lucky). The session started quite comfortably but rapidly deteriorated into a continuous swim and a rather nasty welcome back.

Warm Up 200 free 200 ba/brst
1 x 133 @ 2.40
2 x 100 @ 2 mins
3 x 66 @ 1.20
4 x 33 @ 40s
3 x 66 @ 1.20
2 x 100 @2 mins
1 x 133 @ 2.40
1 min rest
1 x 100 @ 1.45
2 x 66 @ 1.10
3 x 33 @ 35s
2 x 66 @ 1.10
1 x 100 @ 1.45
30 seconds rest
1 x 66 @ 60s *
2 x 33 @ 30s
1 x 66 @ 60s
30 seconds rest
1 x 33 flat our
400 swim down
2700 metres

* 2 secs rest after the first repeat and it was downhill all the way after that

Saturday 20 August 2011

Nottoosmartswimmer forgets toosmartwatch

My sentiments exactly Homer!
Not a great start to this mornings session when I realised half way there I'd left toosmartwatch reposing on the bathroom shelf. Bob wasn't interested in my request to turn back and of course pointed out that if I'd managed to stagger out of bed before 7:30pm I would be organised and ready.

We were joined by HardSwimmerSoftDad who had been boasting on Facebook all week that he was back in the water. He joined the Fairy Snow Baby who has been missing in action for a couple of weeks.

Felling Pool RIP
He also kindly provided me with this desolate  image of the demolition of the old Felling Pool.

On with the action there was a 75% showing from the Beckleberries this morning and I was able to draft off one of the Beckleberry Boys which made part of the set slightly easier.

Anyway the action

8 x 100 @ 1.50  as 25 swim, 25 drill
5 x 400 @ 6.45s *swum as
   1 pull with paddles
   2 pull
   3 swim
   4 DPS trying to reduce stroke count from repeat number 3
   5 Breathing drill adding one complete arm cycle to your normal breathing cycle
4 x 100 @ reducing time, 1.40, 1.45, 1.50
8 x 25's @ 75 any stroke but freestyle
4 x 25's IM @ 35s
300 swim down
4000m total

* the repeat times went a bit skew whiff here, not helped by the absence of toosmartwatch and failing eyesight cos I can't read the clock properly

Tuesday 16 August 2011

100 Posts (about nothing)

I've just realised this is my 100th post woohoo who'd have thunk it! A bit of a scivy session for me tonight, as toosmartwatch took the huff and failed to register my heart rate for the whole of the warm up, and Proudy my Consett lunch time training mate (well he was until he retired for the second time) turned up.

So by about 8.40 I'd lost all motivation and I was completely bushed anyway after the hard sets of 100's, this resulted in spending the last 20 minutes of the session gossiping and catching up mainly with his trip to Shanghai to watch the world swimming championships.

I'd decided that we should start to pick the pace up with our swimming, so I hit the squad with a bit of a tester set. We were aiming to keep the 100 repeats below 90, it all started pretty well I was going under 85 but by the 11th and 12th one my stroke was dramatically shortening and the effort required was somewhere between excruciating and agonising. The set was originally 3 sets of 6 but I was sensitive to the needs of my squad, (which meant I was knackered ) so to try and keep the quality I halved the set.

900 warm up
6 x 100 @ 2.15
4 x 50's @ 70
6 x 100 @ 2.15
4 x 50's @ 70s
3 x 100 @ 2.15
4 x 50's @ 70s
12 x 50's up IM down free @ 70's
3,600 metres

Monday 15 August 2011

Exploding Houses and Suicidal Pheasants....

It was a rather bizarre day, which started with one of my little criminal darlings (he's 23 and I've acted for him since he was 10 years and 1 week old) ringing me in tears cos he'd breached his curfew and was going to be arrested. He did however come up with one of the greatest excuses I've ever heard, one which would easily grace this blog and puts my pathetic explanations for failing to swim to shame.

I was somewhat incredulous as I negotiated his surrender with the local town sergeant at Consett nick. But astonishingly she corroborated his story! His mum's house had exploded and he'd gone down to save her thereby breaching his curfew!

Not a hint of irony in his police interview which ended "I'm sorry I breached my curfew cos I was saving my mam's life" I couldn't make it up. So that was the start of the didn't improve and ...

It ended with teenage triathlete and I wending our way through the sleepy back roads of North West Durham aiming for an open water session in the Tyne at Hexham this evening. As usual she was rabbiting on and no sooner had the words "dad had a close encounter with 4 suicidal pheasant's yesterday" left her mouth when a bird of this very species and possessed with the self same characteristic stepped out and strutted across the road immediately in front of us. I can report it lived to die another day.

The River Tyne looked really calm and peaceful tonight but the recent rains meant that the river was higher than normal (and colder at a nippy 14 degrees) and there was a deceptively strong current in the middle, it made the swim back down feel great though.

I managed about 1600 - 1800 metres.

Oblivion as half a million metres begins to Fade

So Teenage Daughter henceforth referred to (at her request) as teenage triathlete, had her 14th birthday and a family trip out to Alton Towers (it seemed a more acceptable alternative to a party) put paid to my attempts at swimming and saw my projected yardage for the year slip below the half a million mark for the first time since February.

I really need to get a grip and get back on course, a bit difficult to do lunchtime sessions during the school holidays but maybe I'll try for a "September swimathon".

Anyway 11 days between swims didn't mean that I remained dry as you can see from the video below. (A bit of  health warning here turn your sound down as the screams are rather loud.)

Saturday's session was unsurprisingly made up on the spot, I didn't initially intend to swim a 900 warm up but I started off as usual in splendid isolation and had covered 200 metres before Matt the Cash arrived I suggested he swam a 600m warm up and by the time he adjusted his goggles and generally fannied about on the pool side I'd clocked up another 100m. So 900 became the theme of the day.

Daddy Beckleberry turned up and new guy (who isn't that new anymore but I can't remember his name), both of whom are really beginning to swim well no dossing at the back for either of them anymore.

900 warm up change stroke each 25
3 x 300 pull with paddles @ 5.15
4 x 225 @ 4.45 as 25, free, 25 brst drill, 50 free, 25 brst kick, 50 free, 25 brst, 25 free
9 x 100 odd numbers free @ 1.50, even IM  @ 2.00
12 x 75's odd free @ 85s, even fly, back, brst @ 95 s
100 swim
4,600 total

And yes I was Bloody Soaking!

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Gateshead Masters are infiltrated by a border reiver* as Binge steals through 300,000 metres.

She didn't look this cool at the
end of the session.

I emerged from the warm up to discover that we had been infiltrated by former club mate turned Scottish Renegade Gayle Shotton who emigrated north of the border some 9 years ago.

It was great to see her, even if we killed her off after 90 minutes and she accused me of misrepresenting the fact that it was the Fairy Snow Baby who sets the hard stuff in our sessions. Well OK I'll fess up now,  it was FSB and me who stopped to catch up about the site meeting for the ASA Masters Championships he'd attended on Saturday.

And for all you Grammar Nazi's out there "reiver" really is spelt with an e before the i. See below*

I actually thought she'd come to see first hand Bob's Ugly Ass shoes, because she was so taken with them after I blogged about them last month see here. Spookily we had both subsequently had an ad for them pop up on our Facebook pages. They look nearly respectable in purple (which is of course Donny Osmond's favourite colour).

Fairly decent session this evening, we had the whole pool to ourselves as the kids were on their summer break, the chat at the end cost me probably best part of 1200 metres, however having been stuck in the 200,000's for what seemed like an eternity I finally broke through the 300,000 metre barrier.

1000 warm up, as 400 free, 200 back, 200 brst, 200 free
12 x 100 @ 1.50 75 stretch 5s then 25 hard
12 x 75's as 1-4 free @ 80,
                   5-6, ba @ 90s,
                   7-8 brst @ 90s,
                   9-12 free @ 80s
5 x 4 x 50's IM order on 65s extra 40 s after each set of 4
300 swim down
4,400 metres

*"Reive" is an early English word for "to rob", from the Northumbrian and Scots Inglis verb reifen from the Old English rÄ“afian, and thus related to the archaic Standard English verb reave ("to plunder", "to rob"), and to the modern English word "ruffian". (here endeth the leffon)