Sunday 25 September 2011


I've done a sort of "outside in", this weekend with the Great Scottish Swim yesterday, and the North East Regional Championships at Durham today. A sort of reverse of the weekend of the Great North Swim.

The event took place in one day, with 4 sessions so it was pretty full on, and to try and add a chunk of yardage to get back on track towards my years total of half a million metres, for a change I actually swam down partially seriously.

The swims weren't brilliant but I thought that I'm making progress and they were better than the years earlier efforts. The North East Region have an interesting pricing structure there's a flat entry fee of twenty quid for unlimited entries, now I thought I was a bit of a skinflint entering 8 events, but Everton's Mark Jones went all out for value for money swimming, entering all 15 events!

My performances deteriorated over the course of the day, especially the 200 free, as my 200 split in the 400 was almost 2 seconds faster.

The meet was friendly, well run and saw some interesting officiating decisions with a competitor being stood down off the blocks for wearing two cossies, (she was given the chance to go and take one off). I was glad of the extra few minutes rest and an interesting dispute about the definition of starting grips in backstroke. ( Sometimes we can be a bit anorakish can't we?)

Not that anyone's interested but the yardage and times were.

800 Warm Up
400 free  5.20.17*
240 swim down
50 Breast   39.87
100 Free 1.12.48
300 Swim Down
200 IM  3.05.88
100 Back 1.31.91
300 Swim Down
200 Free  2.39.69
50 Back  42.78
50 Fly  40.17
700 Swim Down
3440 Metres total

*200 split 2.37.70

Finally a Great Swim in the Sunshine

The Great Swim Series came to an end for 2011 in Strathclyde Country Park yesterday, and the Binge household had one of its sad family days out with all three of us taking part. The water was a perishing 12.8 degrees C (allegedly).

This was Teenage Triathlete's first open water competition and as she was only doing the half mile swim she was the first one in. I could tell that despite her bravado she was having quite serious second thoughts. Anyway arriving at the marshalling area with seconds to spare (surprise surprise we were late), she found one of her triathlete buddies to talk to, settled down and without any hesitation bravely pushed her way towards the front and took off. (personally I'm not sure if this could amount to child abuse!)

About 14 and a half minutes later it was all over, she was delighted with making the top ten girls finishers and talked none stop about it for the rest of the day (only stopping to demand a new swimming cossie!).

Bob and I were in separate waves, the logic for this being we could (a) support and encourage each other, and (b) keep TT company, although I suspect the real reason was we only had 1 pair of goggles between us! (they're his). To rectify this and headed for the Blue Seventy tent to buy a pair of snazzy red Hydra Visions..

I made my way to the start and as I was tightening them in the marshalling area (I was late getting there because I forgot my timing chip the first time round and had to make a mad dash to baggage store)  that got the adrenalin going) when the black plastic bit that holds the strap in came apart in my hands! Fortunately Bob dutifully ran back to the car park to retrieve the communal pair of Aquaseals, which came flying over the heads of my fellow competitors with about 20 seconds to spare.

Grief the water was cold, however I think I'm gradually acclimatising to cold conditions as there wasn't very much head up breaststroke and panic this time. The sunshine made such a difference as the trusty rubber suit absorbs the heat pretty effectively. A pretty smooth swim from 400m onwards, the first couple of hundred meters was a bit physical, and as you can see from the print out I deployed the leg kick for the last 100m.

Exiting the loch, I discovered I was covered in a very fine silt and I had a green weedy deposit under my nose, I guess that's probably 1 official photo I won't be buying, as I don't think the enhanced bogey adds much to it.

As usual the event organisation was pretty slick and it was a great day out, I even found some proper loos so I avoided the portapotties.

Broadbandless Binge

A bit late posting this, as I've had a bit of a mad week. In addition we've had the biggest trauma at home broadband! God how did we survive without it. It's even more serious than no telly! A dongle's ok in an emergency but not quite the same. 

I'm currently travelling back from the Great Scottish Swim as I write this post see the next instalment for further details 

Having spent last weekend in London celebrating my brother in law's 40th birthday, I was invited to a Sunday morning session at the esteemed Kings Cormorants in Wimbledon by no less than Jane (we are not worthy) Asher. Now that really would be something to blog about, a session with one of the World's top swimmers.

I'd worked out that I could catch a train (even if it was unfeasibly early!) and I was definitely up for it, until I picked up my swim bag containing towels, goggles pullbuoy etc but crucially no cossie......dang blast. I vaguely considered swimming in a t shirt and knickers and thought whilst I might get away with this in the rough and rural north east, it was probably a bit much in the leafy lanes of Wimbledon...rats.

So the only session I did this week was Monday at Consett which was proper horrible! (oh dear I'm clearly spending too much time with teenage triathlete
Warm Up 666 
3 x 100 @ 1.45 
3 x 100 @ 2 mins 
3 x 33 @ 60's 100 steady 
3 x 100 @ 1.45 
3 x 100 @ 2 mins 
3 x 33 @ 60's 100 steady
3 x 100 @ 1.45 
3 x 100 @ 2 mins 
3 x 33 @ 60's 100 steady 
233 swim down
3300 total

Thursday 15 September 2011

Binge tips back into the black (although it's red on the slog)

Just See this for explanation
Finally made a Thursday session on time for once, I was raring to go aiming to do at least 2500 to keep my streak of green weeks going (see the penultimate paragraph of this post).

There was a pretty good turn out so I left "new guy" to lead out my normal lane and up for the challenge I  ventured into the top lane to play with the big boys:- Fairy Snow Baby, Proudy and Matt the Cash.

I spent my time hanging off the back but still managed enough rest to swim pretty well, my 100's were all under 90 and a good proportion of them were probably under 85 as well. We cracked on and finished with a tidy 3200 metres for the session.

800 warm up as 200 free, 100 ba, 200 free, 100 br 200 free
10 x 100 @ 1.45 progressive
1 - 5 & 6 - 10  no 1 steady, no 2 25 hard 75 steady,
no 3 50 hard 50 steady, no 4 75 hard 25 steady no 5 flat out then repeat
4 x 100 IM @ 1.55
4 x 75's Breast @ 95
6 x 50's free @ 60s
200 swim down
3200 total

Just found this link and thought I should share it. Great job USMS, pretty much encapsulates the fitness friendship and fun aspect, but why is my experience of open water always grim and grey.... see here and here

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Tuesday Training down the Pan

Not quite the way to impress your boss
Having a bit of a topsy turvy week from a swimming point of view as yesterday's session went down the pan as Teenage Triathlete winged about doing homework and having to stay in. I didn't have the heart to leave her home alone.

In fact there was a bit of a pan theme going in the whole day as a student trying to gain some work experience, managed to lock herself in the loo at the office.

After about 20 minutes of very gentle calling for help someone eventually heard her, thereby commencing a further 15 minutes of barely audible and increasingly frantic discussion through two locked doors to explain the idiosyncratic nature of the internal sliding door. You can imagine how embarrassed she felt although the rescue squad were virtually in tears at the situation.

Anyway I finally extricated myself from a County Masters meeting in Newcastle and pitched up at Gateshead's new Wednesday session at Dunston. Predictably I was late and arrived to find I only had Matt the Cash for company, although Mrs Fairy Snow Baby was in for the first half an hour or so.

After the rigours of the weekend and Monday I thought I wanted to take things steady but to push on with a bit of distance, so the 400's seemed a bit of a no brainer.

Warm Up
4 x 100 IM @ 2 mins
1 x 100 free @ 1.40
1 x 100 back @ 2 mins
1 x 100 IM
5 x 400 free pull with paddles @ 6.30*
12 x 50's @ 55 up drill down swim
200 Swim down

* the first 4 were under 6 mins which I was quite chuffed with

Monday 12 September 2011

A Change is as Good as a Rest (she lied!)

The Utilitarian Consett Pool
33.3m of torture.
Now this was a bit of a novelty, a Monday night swim with Consett Masters. You might have thought I should have learned my lesson yesterday; but nope Teenage Triathlete went swimming in Bob's triathlon session, and I was left completely free to do my own thing.

So what do I do, well I go training of course and check out the Monday night session at Consett. It was every bit as hard as I imagined it to be, although I rapidly realised I had no chance of keeping up with Proudie and the Mighty Morgan.

During a discussion with Clarkie he confessed to having read this blog (sad individual) and completely agreed with me that it's ten times harder leading the lane then drafting off someone.

Yet again there was an excess of effort with 53% of the session in Zone 3. and surprise surprise Toosmartwatch is warning me that tomorrow is a red day, from a training point of view. My theory that a change is as good as a rest clearly isn't working. But at this rate I might manage to have a weekend off without completely losing the plot.

Warm Up
200 free @ 3.30
200 pull @ 3.40
200 free @ 3.30
133 pull @ 2.20
200 free @ 3.30
66 pull
8 x 33 @ 40s swum as
no 1  half length sprint half easy,
no 2 build
no 3 flat out
no 4 easy repeat
1 x 166 @ 2.45 free
1 x 166 @ 3.15 33 free, 33, ba, 33 free, 33 brst, 33 free
2 x 166 @ 2.45 free
2 x 166 @ 3.15 33 free, 33, 3 x 166 @ 2.45 free
6 x 166 @ 3.15 33 free, 33, ba, 33 free, 33 brst, 33 free
ba, 33 free, 33 brst, 33 free
4 x 33's @ 60
half sprint half easy.
600 pull swim down
4000 total

Sunday 11 September 2011

Seriously Painful Sunday Swim (followed by mercifully short blog)

This afternoon's session was just torture my toosmartwatch said that my average pulse rate over the session was 139 bpm and I spent 63% of the time in Zone 3 (which hurts!).

I'm not really sure that I needed a gadget to tell me this, my temperature, glowing red face, and general soreness were a bit of a giveaway.

So looks like I'm slowly beginning to put myself back on track in making the half a million meters by the 31st December. My Slog is telling me I'm  on target for 494,067 metres although I'm a little concerned as we're away for the next two weekends. When I normally catch up with my training.

200 easy
133 slightly harder
66 harder
400 free @ 7 mins long and strong
4 x 100 @ 1.40
266 @ 5 mins long and strong
4 x 66 @ 70s
133 @ 3 mins long and strong
4 x 33 @ 35s
300 @ 5.30s long and strong
3 x 100 @ 1.40
200 free @ 3.30 long and strong
3 x 66 @ 70s
66 swim down
3066 metres

Saturday 10 September 2011

The science of marginal gain and the tsunami.

Incremental Improvements
This morning's training session was another collaborative affair with a significant discussion about whether at some point we should do some sprints.

For the first time in about 5 years we decided we would use the starting blocks. God it was hard work climbing out at the deep end! (I'm so past it). (and I did resort to climbing out the steps)

I thought the session had gone okay until the drive home when Bob said "so you're introducing the theory of marginal gain into your training".  Thinking that he was going to say something complimentary about our decision to introduce some technical work (dives) and speed work into our session I actually started to listen to him.

Why did I bother? his next comment "so you dive in and displace half a ton of water vertically where do you think the energy went?" it did however bring a smirk to my face cos it had caused a mini tsunami which he had had difficulties in negotiating!

1200 as 100 free 50 ba, 100 free 50 br
6 x 100 @ 15 s RI alt 25 swim 50 drill 25 swim, fr, ba & brst
3 x 500 swum as
200 free @ 3.30
150 ba or brst @
100 free @ 1.50
50 ba or brst @ 15 s RI
4 x 4 x 25 @ 60s in IM order even repeats dive start
300 swim down
4000 total

Tuesday 6 September 2011


Just how we all felt
Oh no I came out from swimming tonight and it was dark, what happened to the summer? I even came out early, the whole squad had lost it's mojo. There wasn't an ounce of mojo between all of us.

Synchro Dad was probably the only one of us who had an excuse having spent Sunday taking part in the Keilder 100 (100 miles on a mountain bike) in atrocious conditions.

Everyone else was just generally depressed about being back in training after that elusive summer. The session didn't help, I'd enjoyed doing the main set on Sunday so I thought I'd set it again but we couldn't whip up any enthusiasm. We need a challenge and something to aim for... the nationals?

300 warm up
1 x 100 @ 1.45
100 @ 2 mins
2 x 100 @ 1.45
200 @ 3.45
1 x 100 @ 1.45
100 @ 2 mins
3 x 100 @ 1.45
300 @ 5.30
1 x 100 @ 1.45
100 @ 2 mins
2 x 200 @ 1.45
200 @ 2 mins
1 x 100 @ 1.45
100 8 x 25's @ 60 no 1 kick
12 x 50's @ 70s 25 drill 25 swim
4 x 50's @ 90s IM order
3500m total

Sunday 4 September 2011

Back in the Groove

After yesterday morning's pathetic effort, it was back to Consett this afternoon and the usual very hard slog. About half way through the set, Clarkie and Cloughie decided that I should lead our lane.

It's always the same isn't it? there you are cruising along quite comfortably on someone's feet and as soon as you end up at the front it becomes 10 times harder. (and Consett pool being one of those old 33.3 metre pools doesn't help.)

I was quite pleased with the effort though, much better than yesterday.

400 warm up
1 x 100 hard @ 1.45
100 easy @ 2.00
2 x 100 hard @ 1.45
200 easy @ 3.45
1 x 100 hard @ 1.45
100 easy @ 2.00
3 x 100 hard @ 1.45
300 easy @ 5.30
1 x 100 hard @ 1.45
100 easy @ 2.00
2 x 100 hard @ 1.45
200 easy @ 3.45
1 x 100 hard @ 1.45
100 easy @ 2.00
400 pull swim down

Saturday 3 September 2011

Saturday start back blues

Back home and a real struggle to get out of bed this morning, couldn't resist that extra 10 mins snooze, consequently turned up 10 minutes late and pretty unmotivated. It was strange swimming in a pool again even if I'm a bit of a wimpy open water swimmer.

My 2011 half a million metres challenge is slipping  and I need to try and recover a bit of lost ground because I know that December will be a right off so far as swimming goes. Also the ASA Nationals will be at Sheffield at the end of October need to do a bit of work for them.

Now the only good thing about today's session was that I got there.... bleagh really not up for it. I think the back to school report would be "could do better!"

Late start 100m warm up
8 x 50's @ 55
8 x 75's @ 80
8 x 50's @ 60
8 x 75's @ 90
6 x 50's kick lost interest by now*
8 x 50's @ 55
8 x 50's @ 55**
3200m total

*All of the Beckleberries had left by now, Beckleberry dad and boy to attend a Speciality and Food Fair at Olympia, watch out for their Raspberry and Amaretto Sorbet!
Beckleberry girl to rescue her husband from the 4 6year olds who were due to descend at her house at 9.30pm
** just about lost the will to live by now

Thursday 1 September 2011

Ouch cold feet hard rocks!

If yesterday's swim drew upon imagery from Harry Potter then I'm really giving my age away here as today's swim in Ullswater had me imagining I was Captain Nancy Blackett and I was striking out for a raid on the Swallow's home base.

Now before you saddos start pointing out to me that Ransome's Wild Cat Island was probably based on Peel Island on Coniston, I know all of that but allow me some artistic licence here cos I just loved those books.

Ouch Cold Feet Hard Rocks!
Ullswater felt a good couple of degrees colder then Coniston (or Windermere) and there was no Devil's Snare around to give me the heebie geebies. I swam out from the beach to the nearby island navigating past a couple of small motor boats and the obligatory canoe.

I clambered out on the island to wave back at Bob and teenage triathlete (who totally wimped out) before making the return swim. I did get some strange looks from the other holidaymakers on the island who had arrived there by more conventional (and drier means).

  I was in the water for around 25 mins and probably covered around 1000m all told; for the first time since Saturday we had some patchy sunshine, ( not that you can tell from the pictures).  Despite the chilly water I think this was my favourite lake the fells here are much steeper and seem to come right down to the water making it sort of quite intimate which sounds ridiculous when you consider the vast scale of the lake and mountains compared to the usual indoor places where I swim.

Aah all done!