Sunday 28 October 2012

Advanced Racing Tactics (ASA Nationals day 3) (Oh and not for the squeamish)

Day 3 and my body is proving to me that I still have those basic survival instincts which kick in at swim meets, otherwise known as the "flight fight or sh*te" reflex.

This caused me a moment or two of anxiety this morning in the 100m IM; because an unfortunate upshot of my lack of conditioning is the fact that I've put on about 8lbs in weight since June.

I've already waxed lyrical about the spacial difficulties encountered in stuffing my ample frame into a racing suit see this.

Well the additional handfuls of flesh made donning this critical bit of kit extraordinarily tricky. Trying to roll the unyielding polyamide over the very flabby bits is really painful and difficult and you end up with friction burns on the inside of your thumbs as you try to work some space between flesh and fabric.

But having eventually succeeded I wandered onto the pool deck, now what is it about competitions that means no matter how short the period since you last visited the loo, the impending effort immediately means you want to go again? Figuring that I had time and that being lighter might improve my competitive edge (yes I was getting pretty desperate at this stage *); I slipped into the ladies room, big mistake, apart from the pain of removing the infernal suit, the temperature in the ladies was akin to a sauna and the sweaty struggle with the suit just contributed to the difficulty, talk about slick.

I escaped to marshalling with seconds to spare, and figured that I'd just endured a pretty tough warm up, but alas it didn't seem to help my IM as 4 lengths was about 77.5 metres too far... Oh Well there's always next year!

100 IM 1.25.28
100 swim down
100 breast 1.29.78
150 swim down (really went for it here!)

* (in more ways than one)

Oh and finally thanks to Nic Latty for immortalising my world masters 50 breast on  You Tube!

Advanced Racing Tactics (ASA Nationals Day 2)

Day 2 of the ASA Nationals and in the absence of any proper training I was reduced to experimenting with even more esoteric and obscure tactics.

Unfortunately I have to report that, go out for dinner on Friday night throw a couple of beers down your neck, along with half a bottle of wine and then spend a significant amount of time (and money at £7.90! for two drinks) in the hotel bar discussing Newcastle United till the wee small hours with Matt the Cash proved to be  not particularly great preparation for my swim.

The silver lining in this was I'd only entered the 50 free so at 33 seconds the pain was mercifully short, and if I'm being honest I think I probably already knew that a hangover doesn't quite cut it when you are trying to make the "zone"

Anyway I continued my policy  of eschewing a warm up whilst adhering to a strict 100 metres swim down! hardly worth blogging about but a swim is a swim.

50m free 33.24
100m swim down

Saturday 27 October 2012

Advanced racing tactics ( ASA Nationals day 1 )

So World Champs in June, National Champs in October and a soupcon of training in September (approximately 7,500 metres) this is not great preparation for a weekend of intense competition. 

I reckoned that to survive this weekend I needed to adopt some advanced racing tactics. My prime concern was leaving my sharpness in the warm up pool. 

I overcame this little hurdle by adopting a very strict "no warm up policy" and bl**dy hell it worked or at least in the 50 breast where I surprisingly went sub 40. 

I was to come a cropper though in the next session where a brain abberation had somehow entered me in the 100 m fly; went out in a controlled 40 seconds for the opening 50 but paid for this in the next 50 as I struggled to break a minute to bring the second 50 home. A fairly spectacular 1.39 ( a significant personal worst) 

As you can see I also didn't take the swim down very seriously either.

50 breast 39.48
100 swim down
100 fly  1.39.37
100 swim down
350 metres

Monday 1 October 2012

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Speedo (or when the going gets tough the tough go shopping)

Yesterday I missed my afternoon stint with Consett Masters for the most pathetic of excuses: I couldn't find a training swimsuit! Honest, I spent a good 20 minutes turning the house and my car upside down but utterly failed to locate this essential piece of swim kit.

Now I could've worn a knee skin racing suit but that seemed to me to be a bit over the top and pretentious for a training session (particularly in my current physical state!), so I opted for an afternoon's retail therapy at the Metrocentre instead, where I made a futile and superficial attempt to buy a new one.

To continue the Speedo saga, Teenage Triathlete came in from training last night and pleaded with me to hang her kit up to dry. Now I know that as a fifteen year old she should be doing these little chores herself but the guilt of a working mum kicks in and I pick up her bag and remove the sodden mess from the bottom.

I was somewhat surprised when my missing Speedo suit fell out of the towel! Now I know she wouldn't be seen dead in a 7 year old baggy endurance suit and it somehow seemed to be cleaner and much fresher smelling then when I last saw it but life's too short to ponder on these little mysteries so I didn't give this occurrence a second thought until lunchtime today.

A window of opportunity had opened up and I escaped the office for a 25 minute swim. As I walked into the pool towel over my shoulder, and swinging my cossie and goggles Pauline the receptionist greeted me with "so you got your cossie then" I must've looked even more confused than normal as she put me out of my misery and explained that I'd left it behind last Sunday and she'd picked it up and undertook to return it to it's rightful owner via her own teenage triathlete Poppy.

Mystery solved and a short lunchtime Tesco set (you remember "every little helps")

warm up
400 up free down alternating back and breast
3 x 200 freestyle pull @ 3.45
6 x 33 @ 55 breast kick
200 swim down


Sunday 23 September 2012

The Great North Skinny Dip

Sunrise over Druridge Bay, Northumberland
 September is obviously the silly season for outdoor swimmers in the North East, as following hard on the heels of the Tyne River Swim last weekend came the North East Skinny Dip in Druridge Bay yesterday.

The swimmers who attended were forced to contend with an air temperature of 5.5 degrees which made the North Sea possibly balmy, possibly as barmy as the 146 souls who bared all and braved the conditions to raise money for MIND. Respect!

And why I hear you ask was Binge not there? well I must admit that I took the Facebook page rather literally and decided that there was no way I could possibly stretch the adjective "skinny" to cover my current ample frame so I dipped out.

Seems I misunderstood that judging by some of the pictures (see below) but what a gloriously life affirming and slightly eccentric event. Maybe one to put in the diary for next year.

I've had an interesting Sunday which included making my third Sunday Swim session in a row, it's a pity about the rest of the week as I can see my mile a day challenge for 2012 may need to be postponed until 2013. I think Binge needs a serious Mojo hunt.

Busy session though as Proudie turned up fresh from a similar 3 months out, and Cloughie (another veteran of the Tyne River Swim)

4 x 100 @ 2 mins warm up increasing pace 1 -3 lengths
4 x 66 @ 80 secs pull
4 x 33 @ 60 secs kick (hard)
266 free @ 5mins
2 x 133 @ 2.20
266 free @ 5 mins
4 x 66 @ 1.10
266 free @ 5 mins
8 x 33 @ 35 s
266 free
2600 metres

I really need to swim through the week as well.

Sunday 16 September 2012

Flog on the Tyne 2012 (not mine not mine)

Once you fall out of this swimming habit it proves darned difficult to re-establish your regular trips to the pool.

But inspired by watching Sparkie Clarkie et al set off on the 10 mile trek to South Shields I struggled to Consett to follow in the wake of the Awesome Sparkie Walton, this afternoon.

As if the effort of swimming in extremely cold and salty water for over 2 hours wasn't enough, Graham was also sporting the war wounds (significant wetsuit rubs) to prove he had completed this particular Flog on the Tyne. It had been a bit of a mad start as the swim just happened to coincide with the Junior Great North Run and I received a couple of stern looks from event security  for stopping in the wrong place to take these pictures.

Slightly less of a struggle than last Sunday, and EMSC 1.0 even took pity on me and suggested that I miss out the middle 100. Further evidence he's going soft?

2 x 200 133 swim 66 pull
             133 swim 66 kick @ 30 s RI
4 x 66 @ 90s
            no 1 16.5m max rest easy
            no 2 33 m max 33 easy
            no 3 49.5m max rest easy
            no 4 66 max
3 x 100 @ 2mins
2 x 100 @ 1.45
33 swim *
2 x 100 @ 1.45
3 x 100 @ 2 mins
4 x 66 @ 90s
            no 1 66 max
            no 2 49.5m max rest easy
            no 3 33 m max 33 easy
            no 4 16.5m max rest easy
2 x 200 133 swim 66 pull
             133 swim 66 kick @ 30 s RI
2300 metres

* this should have been 100 @ 90s

Sunday 9 September 2012

Evil Mutant Swim Coach 1.0 goes soft? (whilst Sparkie and Clarkie get tough*)

My comeback last month was just a bit short lived as it's taken me nearly a fortnight to face enduring the pain of a second session, but I couldn't avoid it today, having bumped into EMSC 1.0 in town yesterday and assured him I would be there.

I turned up (late) to be met by EMSC 1.0 collecting the fees, and he advised me that I was the only one in as the rest of the squad (proper hard swimmers in Consett!) had done a couple of miles at Ellington lake this morning.

Now I know the dynamic duo of Clarkie and Sparkie are down to do the waterfied version of the Great North Run in a couple of weeks when they swim from Newcastle to the mouth of the Tyne during the world's most popular half marathon. At a mere 10 miles it's a bit shorter than the run and probably a bit cooler. I had been following their training on Facebook and was dreading the ribbing I was going to receive for finally daring to show my face at a session.

Sparkie, Clarkie and Cloughie with AN other!
Anyway survived that ordeal, as they'd obviously opted for the Great Outdoors leaving just me, Dazz and Queenie to plough through this rather benign little set. It may have been benign for them but it was torture for me, I was struggling to complete the technique swim within the repeat time and dipped out of one of the 66's on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th repeat.

Unsurprisingly I am regretting my slothful summer.

Warm up 200 swim 133 pull 66 kick
133 swim 66 pull
266 @ 4.40 steady for technique
1 x 66 @ 80
200 @ 3.30 steady for technique
1 x 66 @ 80
133 @ 2.20 steady for technique
2 x 66 @ 80
66 @ 70 steady for technique
3 x 66 @ 80
266 swim down
100 loosen
2100 metres

* Clarkie and Sparkie het hard didn't really sound appropriate!

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Computer say "No" (amidst Olympics, Floods and the usual summer madness)

Hi there, so after an uncharacteristically quiet and unusually dry summer ( in swimming terms), I find myself in the rather unenviable position of not having swum since I left the swim down pool in Riccione way back in the middle of June. 

That's not to say it's been a dry summer, far from it; in fact it has been punctuated by one or two moments of extreme wetness. I am of course referring to our fabulous weather.

Most notably this included a flood during the Geordie Monsoon season which was mercifully short this year, lasting perhaps 3 hours on the 29th June, but with devastating consequences as our driveway turned into a raging torrent, sweeping away, amongst other things a wall, about 4ft of road, 3 wheelie bins, the cat's hutch and my dad's car. For one short moment it looked like I would need to do some serious open water work across the garden if I wanted to access my house, which was at this point under about 9inches of water.  

However all this palaver, the Olympics, a pretty awful chest infection and post world championship blues all contributed to about 12 weeks without a swim, now that is highly unusual because even on holiday I can flop up and down a leisure pool somewhere with the best of them. But as my summer holidays were spent in London, (I am forever indebted to Lesley Cook who very graciously provided us with somewhere to crash) our hectic schedule didn't allow any surreptitious dips, and tonight provided the first opportunity to get back on track with the 2012 swim challenge.

I turn up at Blaydon, dived in, or rather jumped (for elf and safety reasons) and set off up the pool, that first 25 felt pretty good, strong and sensuous; but oh dear elephants, pianos and any other entity of large mass you care to name came crashing down on my back just after the turn. I became completely demoralised when in a set of 5 x 200's I swam 3.10, (encouraging,) followed by a 3.25, (oh dear,) and finally after a 3.35 (woeful) I decided that discretion definitely was the better part of valour and called it a night.

If that wasn't demoralising enough I returned home, fired up the laptop and clicked on "2012 swimlog" my absence has caused havoc with my mile a day schedule I not only find myself having covered only 40% of my challenge in 66% of the year, but the question "Is it a sensible target? is now answered with a rather resounding "NO" and my forecast distance for 2012 is a mere 371,000 metres... 

Need to get my act together, but somehow I know this is going to be very painful; Olympic inspiration is needed but as Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu said " a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step"
I feel a mega binge coming on.
Tonight's session for what it was worth:-

300m Warm up
3 x 200 @ 3.30 free*
100 swim down.

* should've been 5 of these but called it a day after I missed the repeat time....Wuss

Monday 30 July 2012

Binge at the Olympics Day 2

View from the Aquatic Centre.
Wow what a night at the Aquatic Centre some phenomenal swimming Dana Vollmer going sub 56 for 100 fly, Kitajima well and truly eclipsed in the 100 breaststroke, and pay back time for the French in the 4 x 100 freestyle team.

That's not to mention a fabulous swim from Becky Adlington, to claw herself a bronze medal. The noise levels were truly unbelievable as she tried to swim down Muffat and Schmitt in the final 50.

The home crowd's favourite had emerged onto the pool side to a primeval roar, and obviously meant business. Swimming  from Lane 8 she had worked out that she would have little time on the pool side, to compose herself,  she had already shed her tracksuit, removed her shoes dumped them in the box and before you knew it they were off.

Lanes 4 and 5 set a blistering pace and were well under world record schedule for the first 100 with Adlington trailing in 6th. You could feel the atmosphere and the noise build as she gradually worked her way past the other swimmers. At 125 meters everyone (and I mean all 17500) was up on their feet screaming at the top of their voices...not sure I've ever been anywhere, where the atmosphere was so visceral and certainly never in a swimming pool.

Astonishing! what a gutsy swim, I won't be there to watch her 800 but I think that's going to be very  special. What a competitor.

Anyway first stop this morning Boots for some Strepsils

Saturday 28 July 2012

Binge at the Olympics

Hi I'm still alive and currently pottering around London with Teenage Triathlete. We're suffering from a bit of sleep deprivation having spent last night in Victoria Park watching the Opening Ceremony about 4 hours sleep and back to Stratford for the opening session of the swimming.

I think LOCOG are obviously considering "the queue" as the debut sport in 2016 and Team GB are going to wipe the floor with the rest of the world with all the training we're getting in.

All good humoured though and met some Canadian Masters Swimmers in the queue as well as Tam Jaggs and Susan from Swiss Cottage.

Oh here we go MEN'S 400IM more later.

Friday 15 June 2012

Binge's Adventures Abroad Day 7 (live as it happens)

It's all over, a real lack of commitment in the 200 Breast this morning a very relaxed and unmotivated 3:23. Put me in 10th place for a putty medal and another rubbish swim from Lane 1.

At least the Brits appear to be improving their results. Meritorious Jen smashed the opposition to win the 60 years age group and Dave Milburn also struck gold as he became the first male British Champion (as far as I'm aware)

It is kind of interesting this meet, I haven't fully trawled through the results but there have only been a handful of world records, however apart from the odd phenomenal swimmer (who sadly all seem to be in mu age group) the depth of swimmers has been astounding.

Many of our swimmers who would normally be shoe ins have struggled and British World Champions are very few and far between. With somewhat predictably Jane Asher (the dasher)landing 4 titles to date, and Nic ( we are not worthy) Latty providing a master class in how to beat very tall opponents including Olympic Champions (Claudia Poll). The answer in case you are interested is even pace swimming. Nic went out in a controlled 34 and came back in an even more impressive 34 passing the whole field.

I'm back on the sun lounger at the moment experimenting with blogging on an iPad which explains the poor grammar and spelling and somewhat erratic punctuation.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Binge's Adventures Abroad Day 6 (Altitude Training and the Male Mentality)

Relay day at the Worlds so Binge spent the day recharging her batteries and lounging by the pool, it counts for a swimming day as when I overheated I was able to flop into the pool to cool down and I reckon that I must've covered a whole 60 metres.

Eventually made it down to the pool to collect one half of the Karate Kids and head off for some altitude training in San Marino. It was great to escape what is rapidly becoming an endurance event.

Apart from the huge numbers of entries at this event one of the reasons it has seriously overrun has been the inability of swimmers to estimate their times. I reckon it speaks volumes that the Women's pool has pretty much run to time but as you Binge devotees are aware it's the men's pool that has had all of the problems.

What is it about Men that they have to be overly confident about what they think they can do! I have to say particularly (at risk of being racist and offending our hosts) Italian Men there are huge numbers of them that swim not only slower than their entry times but scads slower than the event entry times, optimistic or what.

One of the other interesting features of this meet is the guy with a horn, or rather a cornet who pops up periodically to serenade the swimmers with such musical classics as the theme from Flipper, the Birdy song and the fanfare which calls American racehorses to the starting line... And they're off...

Well 200 Breaststroke up tomorrow which is going to be exquisitely painful and a further consignment to bl**dy lane 1. So I'm off to bed.

 Flop about 60 - 80 metres

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Binge's Adventures Abroad Day 5 (Relentless or what.)

Day 4 of the World Championships and it continues to grind on and on and on, in fact Day 3 didn't get finished till the early hours of this morning with the men's 50m fly swimming thorough the night under floodlights.

Being cheered on by a substantial crowd who stayed behind and packed out the bleachers to support the swimmers efforts. Unreal; Of course most of the sprinters were back first thing for the 50m free (a great piece of scheduling that right?).

Big event for Binge today 50 breaststroke, successfully negotiated the start without a DQ, in fact I sort of stood on the blocks invited everyone else to start and finally it registered I needed to chase them so I dived in after them and was rewarded with a putty medal for my efforts (7th)

I'm sure you are all relieved to know, we've really sorted the trip back to the villa, finally working out that if the traffic is too heavy to try the Italian inspired U turn across the traffic, we can travel 200 metres up the road and turn round in the turn off for the "Sexy Shop" (you know I couldn't make this stuff up could I)  I'm sure there's a joke there but it's late and my brain has atrophied. So we've cracked Riccione. 

600 warm up
2 x 50's 12.5 sprint 12.5 easy
50m breaststroke 39.53
850 metres

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Binge's Adventures Abroad Day 4 (in which Binge learns that too much Prosecco does not lend itself to coherent blogging)

Not sure if I can coherently blog tonight as I think I've had a wee bit too much Prosecco, can't say it wasn't needed cos this meet just grinds on and on. I left the pool along with the Karate Kids around 7.30 this evening after a thoroughly pleasant hour or so sitting in the cafe, sipping the odd beer and catching up with Michelle Dige (former Heart of England swimmer now based in Germany) and Ulf. There were still 24 heats of the men's 200 free to get through and then a mere 184 heats of the 50 fly.

200 freestyle was up today, yet again I ended up in the lane of death, what is it about this meet there are 10 lanes in these bl**dy pools and I've found myself in Lane 1 every time I've swum. Rubbish 200 free although maybe not quite as rubbish as I was anticipating.

Didn't even bother warming up cos the 5 lane 25 m warm up pit was just a tad crowded and I survived for a  whole 100 metres post race swim down, then spent the rest of the afternoon chilling on some sunbeds.

50m breaststroke at some time tomorrow night, perhaps the most unpredictable of the events, oh yeah I move from the lane of death to the only marginally better lane 2. Better watch my start!

200 free
100 swim down
300 total

Monday 11 June 2012

Binge's Adventures Abroad Day 3 (including an encounter with the World Championship's Temporal Anomaly)

As predicted with 3 events today the world and his wife converged on the pool  and the place was simply stowed off.  There's a lot of outdoor space for swimmers to set up camp around the pool but by 3pm this afternoon trying to find a spare spot of grass to park yourself was rapidly becoming a bit of a challenge. The competition started at 7.30am with the warm up at 6.30, not surprisingly I dipped out of the opportunity to test out the outdoor pool at that time of the morning.

My roommate Meritorious Jen however didn't swim yesterday and was keen to try it out so she left the Villa at some infeasible time in the middle of the night. Returning to kick me out of bed for breakfast announcing that the pool had been chocker, chaotic and a complete waste of time. (leaving me feeling just a little smug).

Jen, myself and the Karate kids were all swimming the 100 breaststroke, so we calculated it would start at about 1.30 and planned to arrive at the pool by 1pm. Yet again we encountered the Temporal Distortion Field that surrounds these events. I've been to enough of these things to know that time marches to a completely different drum at a FINA event so it should have come as no surprise that they were running late. 

I eventually made it into the water at about 3.45pm and yet again was assigned Lane 1 (lane of death). Better swim than yesterday and improved about 9 places. The winner of my age group just went 1.15.50 I mean that is just uneffingbelievable.

Anyway as I write this it's 19.24pm and they are 28 heats through the men's 100 breaststroke, only another 102 to go! Honestly  you've got to be here to appreciate the scale of this thing, there were 224 heats of the men's 100 freestyle that's nearly 1300 swimmers. We've just driven past the pool on the way home and at 9.52 pm they were still going; that's a seriously long day. (did you spot the little bit of time travel here as I stopped blogging at 7.24 to go and find some food.) 

So after dinner in the company of Batman and Robyn who arrived on their supercharged hotel Batbikes, we set off to try and find our way home. Could Binge and The Karate Kids make it to the Villa avoiding the deadly dirt track? Fortunately you don't have to tune in next week at the same bat time on the same bat channel because I can announce that we've finally worked out how to get back to where we're staying avoiding that particular piece of unmetalled road. 

We discovered that the problem appears to be, where Tomtom wants to bring us off the main road, the junction is closed, but no one told poor Tom. Sumo solved this problem tonight with the most spectacular U turn across 4 lanes of traffic. A piece of driving that was truly worthy of an Italian! and confused the hell out of Tomtom.

I'm deciding at the moment whether to spend my day off watching the relays on Thursday or to simply chill in the extremely pleasant surroundings of our temporary home mmh that's a hard one particularly as I know that by Thursday I'll have had 4 full on days of this madness and World Championship Fatigue Syndrome will be creeping in.

Today's yardage
Warm up
600 swim
2 x 50's 12.5 metres hard 12.5 metres easy
100 Breast 1.29.58
800 swim down
1600 metres

Binge Abroad Day 2

The 14th World Masters Swimming Championships opening day had one event, the 800 free style; a mind boggling 1300+ competitors. The event started at 7.30 this morning and I figured that I'd be in the water around 2.30 3pm, wrong, I eventually started swimming (excruciatingly poorly) at 5.10pm. You can imagine that this is the aquatic equivalent of watching paint dry.

The pool was fairly busy but I reckon that by tomorrow the place will be really packed out. It's all about trying to stick to your own race plan, despite the noise and bustle and unpredictable time table.

An early decision to have lunch on arrival at the pool, turned out to be a sensible one as I wolfed down an extremely healthy (!) sausage sandwich, (carefully considered and selected for its nutritious value! Yeah right it just smelt great!)

They adopted a really interesting marshalling system, firstly and thankfully you marshalled outside the pool, away from those horrible cramped and claustrophobic call rooms they used in 2004, you turned up about three heats before you thought you were going to swim and they simply called you out in your competitor numbers until they had a full heat. Very efficient and quite simple but I wondered what happened when they arrived at the penultimate heat and found they only had 11 swimmers would the fastest swimmer (theoretically anyway) have the chance to swim in splendid isolation as Billy no mates?

Fortunately I didn't have to worry about that problem being ranked at 374. Eventually, my number was up and I was called out to find that I was assigned the lane of death again. Lane 1. Aargh what a horrible swim, I'd felt pretty good in the warm up but I hit the water and it was like swimming through treacle. I have to confess by about 150 I was seriously considering stoping and by 400 I figured I should just treat this as a warm up. I was spectacularly last in my heat and so far behind the rest that the scoreboard had been switched off by the time I finished.

Warm up
600 metres steady
2 x 50's 25 hard 25 easy
800 race....bleargh 12:12.21
300 swim down

Sunday 10 June 2012

Binge Abroad Day 1

So after an absolutely manic 10 days with no time to blog, things started to fall into place; Swimming Times articles submitted just about on deadline, drinks reception arranged, new passport arrives (with 48 hours to spare) and after a 17 hour day in the office, at 12.10am on Saturday morning finally escape from work, I reckoned I'd covered enough of the contingencies that were likely to arise in the next 10 days to enable my liberation;  

I arrive home, pack, 4 hours sleep, (well almost)
 make it to the airport to catch up with the Karate Kids, Sumo and Judo, and leave a very wet and rainy Newcastle for the (initially) wet and rainy Adriatic coast of Italy. Chilled drive down to Riccione from Venice and en route we are struck by the realisation that none of us has had the presence of mind to bring the details of where we are staying! 

2.30pm hit Riccione; navigation entirely on instinct and the combined intellect of Sumo and Binge (which might just scrape into double figures) surprisingly delivers us to the pool without any difficulty. Of course yet again none of us have brought a copy of our registration or any of the other bits of paper we might require, but no worries flash the new passport recieve accreditation and we're in, a very painless process. 

Next stop the British Drinks Reception a hastily organised but very successful couple of hours at La Spaggio del Cuore, catching up with the other Brits out here. Then back to the pool for a swim, mental note to self, it's never great swimming after a couple of glasses of Prosecco and a beer or few, but successfully road tested both pools (mainly the outdoor. An inspired choice of time to swim as the pool was pretty quiet and the sun was setting; it made for an atmospheric early evening dip.

After a spot of dinner, the challenge of finding our accommodation. Smartphones to the rescue and having located the address off Facebook, tried to input the address in TomTom on my ipad (I'm giving away my gadget geekiness here) without success. No option but to navigate from a two inch iphone screen of google maps in the dark.

Sadly my eyesight is not what it was and Farneto and Farreto look very similar under these conditions, but are crucially quite different! The Karate Kids were extremely tolerant and patient but even they were exhibiting signs of anxiety as I took them off the road and up a dirt track which climbed a very steep hill. 

Praying this wasn't a dead end as there was no way that we could turn the car around on the dirt track without ending in a ditch; and reversing down the hill in the pitch black would be an entertaining experience, and probably wasn't a realistic option. At the top of the hill we found a metalled road but realised we were hopelessly lost. 

Expecting locals to speak English in rural Italy was probably always a bit of a stretch although we managed to understand "I haven't got my glasses" as we tried to show a native dog walker the address on the iphone. Anyway to cut a long and increasingly boring story short we stopped, turned round to retrace our steps and saw a sign for the Villa, (right at the top of the dirt track. So check in, bed and a straight 10 hours sleep bliss... just that 800 free tomorrow to worry about.

Warm up
800 meters mixed outdoors
4 x 25's dive in outdoor pool
1 x 50m in the indoor pool
2 x 25's for dive indoor pool
1150 metres

Thursday 31 May 2012

Normal(?) Service Will Resume Shortly

Hi there remember me, I haven't quite given up swimming but we've had a catastrophic broadband failure at home.

You don't realise how dependant you are on the Internet do you? It's nearly as bad as being without the leckie.

Anyway I'm currently esconsed in a trendy restaurant on the Quayside as Billy no mates. It's very pleasant and I'm really enjoying the background Harry Connick Jnr but I probably should have checked out the arrangements and venue before departing.

Sort of sums up my day really when the highlight was collecting a parking ticket at that unfortunately named "Civil and Family Justice Centre"
Aah company!

Never tried blogging from my phone before. An update on the yardage challenge and my first open water swim of the season to follow over the weekend.


Sunday 20 May 2012

Mm Mm Mm Mm My Corona (or Clarkie nearly gets the Knack)

Now I had an inkling as I drew up at the pool this afternoon that I wouldn't be seeing Clarkie! I wonder where that came from?

The silver lining was that his absence allowed Evil Mutant Swim Coach 1.0 to subject us to the session that he'd covered yesterday morning. (lack of imagination there Martin!). Leaving Cloughie, "Hungover Paul" and myself to drag ourselves through this little lot!

400 as 200 swim, 133 pull, 66 kick
2 x 200 steady @ 3.30
1 x 66 hard @ 80s
3 x 66 easy @ 80's
2 x 66 hard @ 80s
2 x 66 easy @ 80s
3 x 66 hard @ 80s
1 x 66 easy @ 80s
4 x 66 hard @ 80s
2 x 200 steady @ 3.30
3 x 33 @ 40s hard
2 x 33 @ 40s hard
1 x 33 @ 40s easy
1 x 33 @ 40s hard
2 x 33 @ 40s easy
233 swim down
2800 metres

If you think the title's a little bit obscure you are obviously way too young to remember this bit of classic pop/rock 

Saturday 19 May 2012

A strange Steve Jobs look, (sartorially speaking)

I had a very strange day at work on Friday; as most of you will be aware I am not noted for my sartorial elegance, and my usual attire (jeans, T shirts and hoodies) drives my ever so cool, sophisticated and a la mode daughter (aka as Teenage Triathlete) to disowning me.

I was interviewing for a new practice administrator so no clients and I thought whoopee! a dress down Friday; couldn't be too sloppy though, so donned, black jeans a black silk cowl neck top aspiring for the "Jobs" look (without the facial hair thank you, but it seemed  an especially appropriate look given my task for the day.) I hasten to add that it was not an Issey Miyake design and I paid nowhere near $175 for it either.

I stepped out of the shower to be met by, "oh you look nice" from TT, and it didn't stop there, my assistant at work commented "Oh wearing your Christmas Party clothes" and then our current practice manager weighed in. What was going on? I felt a bit paranoid and maybe I need to rethink my usual work wear..................

A  rather poor link coming up here but from business suits to rubber suits; the Open Water season has started, and although I haven't been brave enough to dip a toe or any other part of my anatomy in the rather chilly (11degrees or thereabouts) water; about 100 brave (and foolish) souls turned up at Woodhorn on Thursday evening for a spot of open water training.

Fairy Snow Baby and Marie Helene had both taken the plunge and survived with frost bitten toes and faces and scalded nether regions as they shook so violently trying to hold cups of tea afterwards. Despite this they gamely turned up for this morning's little paddle. The session was a Binge/FSB collaboration and we both deliberately ignored Matt the Cash's request for some kick!

8 x 75's @ 10s RI alt 25 back, 25 breast & 25 free
400 @ 6.45 pull with paddles
300 @ 5 mins pull with paddles
200 @ 3.20 pull with paddles
30 seconds rest
400 @ 6.45 swim
300 @ 5 mins swim
200 @ 3.20 swim
8 x 4 x 25 IM @ 2.05 drill half fly
6 x 100 @ 2.05 free swim 25, drill 50 10s RI max last 25
400 swim down
4200 metres

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Lack of discipline and arithmetically challenged

Great session tonight everyone got stuck into the 100's and although it seemed like a lot, when I opened my mouth and the main set popped out, it went over pretty quickly. I was holding 85's/86's without much bother.

I did find it easier to draft off the back of the guys lane rather than lead the second lane (thanks Matt the Cash), but I must say there was a worrying lack of discipline in the lane, and that doesn't include the arithmetically challenged Proudy being unable to count to 12 (well he's only got 10 fingers you know).

All the guys kept stopping before the wall and standing up, so I reckon I was only swimming about 98 metres per repeat. It was like being back in the junior squads when such a heinous crime as standing up before hitting the finish would be met by a roar from the coach and the mantra "Gold medals hang on the wall" which I'm not sure if that was really true but as a kid I believed it. The screaming would probably be classified as child abuse or bullying now.....

800 warm up as
4 x 200 @ 20s RI alt 100 free, 100 kick, 100 free 100 pull 100 free 100drill
4 x 50's free @ 60 descending
3 x 4 x 100 @ 1.45, 1.40, 1.35, 1.30*
200 recovery
2 x 4 x 100 @ 1.45, 1.40, 1.35, 1.30
200 recovery
1 x 4 x 100 @ 1.45. 1.40, 1.35, 1.30
200 recovery
4 x 50's free @ 70 no 1, stretch, no 2, max 1st 15 m, no 3 max 15m around turn, no 4 max last 15m
4 x 50's IM @ 70 as 25 fly, 25 back, 25 breast, 25 free
4 x 50's no 1 @ 70 no 1, stretch, no 2, max 1st 15 m, no 3 max 15m around turn, no 4 max last 15m
4 x 50's IM @ 70 as 25 fly, 25 back, 25 breast, 25 free
200 swim down
5100 (*coz Proudy did 13 of these)

Sunday 13 May 2012

Bitter and Twisted?

There was some serious ribbing about this at today's Consett session. Fresh from his holiday Clarkie eventually made it to the pool and enquired whether or not I was still bitter and twisted?

Fortunately I was able to assure him that I would remain bitter and twisted probably for the rest of my life. (I think the technical term is Mentally Scarred)

Busy session this afternoon with Proudy, the Mighty Morgan, and others struggling with the speed work and left the pool with an extremely red face and totally knackered.

6 x 100 warm up @ 1.50 alternate 33 easy, 33 hard
33 @ 35
66 @ 70
100 @ 1.45
133 @ 2.20
166 @ 2.55
200 @ 3.30
166 @ 2.55
133 @ 2.20
100 @ 1.45
66 @ 70
33 @ 35
33 @ 40
100 @ 2.00
166 @ 3.20
100 @ 2.00
33 @ 40
33 @ 45
66 @ 90
100 @ 2.15
66 @ 90
33 @ 45
333 swim down
2800 metres

Saturday 12 May 2012

Hello Dino Il Bagnino (Cheesy Mascot and new Facebook friend)

So a month to go to the World Championships and Dino Il Bagnino pops up on Facebook. (Dino the lifeguard for the unlinguists amongst you).

The organising committee also began to release details of the entry. Over 8000 swimmers registered for the pool events and almost 2000 have signed up to do the open water.

So with the other aquatic disciplines there are over 10,000 competitors. 430 Brits amongst them. This is going to be a monster event. (even if it has the cheesiest mascot)

I reckon this'll present the Italians with a teensy weensy logistical challenge trying to cope with these sort of numbers and perhaps it explains why they haven't managed to respond to the frantic e-mail queries.

I'm predicting chaos and lunacy but it's going to be great fun, simply can't wait. I just need to do some training first.
To that end I made training this morning and it was back to sessions by committee. I moved into the guys lane again, and valiantly hung off the back, dodging Mark Hindhaugh Wanderoff! whose directional sensors during the backstroke bits were seriously all over the shop.

100 back, 100 breast, 100 free, 100 drill
16 x 50's @ 55
8 x 125's @ 2.20 50 pull, 25 kick, 50 swim
8 x 50's back @ 70 s recovery
3 x 100 no 1 stroke @ 3.30 no1 swim, no 2 broken 10s @ 50, no 3 broken 5s @ 25
6 x 50's medley changeover @ 65 s recovery
3200 metres

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Fairy Snow Baby ratchets up the pressure.

Made a Tuesday night session tonight, the first for a while, although I missed the warm up. Fairy Snow Baby had set the workout, and I think he'd had too much red meat for tea.

Having arrived late, it was straight into a fairly fast and heavy set. There were already 7 swimmers in my usual lane, so I slid in behind the guys in the fastest lane and spent the session drafting off Matt The Cash.

Pleased with my swimming although I was hanging on for grim death by the end. Great way to blow out the cobwebs after the weekend. Need to knuckle down for the next 5 weeks build up to the World Championships.

6 x 200 @ 3.10 averaged sub 2.50's
8 x 100 @ 1.35
4 x 100 @ 1.50 steady 75, 5s RI 25 hard
50 back *
8 x 50 @ 50 5s RI @ 25
200 swim down
16 x 50's IM order drill @ 65s
150 swim down

* should have been 200 but went to the loo

Sunday 6 May 2012

Road Trip 2012 Day 3, Harsh Decision?

Grrrrrrr, spit, fume, swear, gnashin, rashin fashin rick rastardly!

My best 50m breaststroke for about 7 years and then bugger if they don't disqualify me for a flyer. Video evidence attached here (careful it's ugly!)

A dreaded DQ darn, blast, bother (well actually I wasn't anywhere near that polite), not that I could've controlled it mind, I just twitched completely involuntarily;

All of that after a weekend of pretty mediocre/downright disastrous freestyle swims, it provided a mere 5 seconds of satisfaction as I came second in my heat (behind a 25 year old) looked up smiled at the time and was then plunged into despairing and swearing as the scoreboard confirmed the result and my eradication from the event.

Nice exchange of words with the referee though who was surprisingly unsympathetic. But did give me a whole new character for my blog........enter Evil Mutant Swim Ref 1.0. (sour grapes?) There were some interesting officiating decisions, including the roundly booing of the disqualification of all of the swimmers in the first heat of the 400IM.

Great weekend of swimming and chatting at everyone's favourite venue, and some top swimming (although not particularly from me) to nicely warm up for the World's in 5 weeks time. OK rant over normal service may resume in the future.

700 warm up
50 breast 39.43
800 free 11.55.87
650 swim down
2200 metres

Saturday 5 May 2012

Road Trip 2012 Day 2, Sheffield

Day 2 of the British Gas British Masters Championships, a 400 free to look forward to after yesterdays "dissaaaster darling" in the 1500, I can report it didn't get any better in the quarter mile. But things looked up a bit this afternoon in the 200m breast and free which were better than I've swum for the last 3 years or so.

Aunty Nic shares the spotlight with Toby
Max & Zoe
I had a great chat with Eddie Riach about his 1500, we were discussing the mental approach to the event which always starts off the programme, We both thought you sort of have this mental dilemma, that if you really go for it, you're going to compromise your whole weekend and perhaps more to the point..... it'll hurt like hell. So you back off a bit and once you do that you;re knackered anyway.

The event is great though, the entry is about half the ASA National's in Sheffield and it's pretty laid back, I enjoyed presenting medals to the record breakers including Nic Latty who was joined on the podium by her very proud nephews and niece.

A mere 50 breaststroke tomorrow morning followed by an 800 free to round the weekend off (and finish me off) although I'll be pleased that I no longer have to stick handfuls of surplus flesh into my Diana kneeskin or roll the extremely tight top part of the suit simultaneously over bum, hips and stomach, it's not a pretty sight trust me!

700 warm up
400 free 5:42.57
700 warm up
200 Breast  3:17.02
200 swim down
200 Free  2.39.83
200 swim down
2600 metres

Friday 4 May 2012

Road Trip 2012 Day 1 Sheffield British Championships

So Teenage Triathlete got an unexpected day off school for acting as my chaperone and coach and we travelled down to Sheffield for the British Championships.

First up 1500 m free, I was hoping to go sub 22 mins but suffered a minor aberration, after leading at the 200m stage I think I sort of panicked and backed off a bit (well ok a lot).

I was a bit hissed off at  the time, so hissed off that I gave up on the swim down; but things looked up in the 100 breast with a sub 90 for the first time in 4 years.

400 free first up tomorrow, so shortish blog tonight.

600 warm up
1500 free 22:38.69
600 warm up
100 breast  1.29.43

Thursday 3 May 2012

Too Little Too Late?

Panicking a teensiest bit about my lack of effort for the approaching (fast approaching) British Championships, and having been sent to a non existent meeting I found myself with an opportunity to skulk off to the local pool.

Not a particularly clever move as an officious life guard advised me that wearing paddles was forbidden! Like since when? I've been using them for about a year at that pool, and there were only 3 other swimmers in the water at the and safety fume. So a bit of a truncated sesh...

400 warm up mixed strokes and drill
400 pull @ 6.45
2 x 200 pull @ 3.30
6 x 33 brst kick @ 50s
200 swim down

Even Shorter? Not quite!

A bit of a quiet Sunday session but EMSC 1.0 couldn't quite resist sticking in the odd 100 here and there just for forms sake. A bit concerned about how I'm going to survive Sheffield next week.

400 warm up
3 x 33 hard @ 45s
100 steady recovery @ 2 mins
3 x 66 hard @ 90s
200 steady recovery @ 4 mins
3 x 100 hard @ 2.15
300 steady recovery @ 6 mins
3 x 133 hard @  3 mins
400 pull steady
2400 metres

Binge Swimmer's shortest post

 A bit of catch up blogging going on here, starting with last Thursdays session at Gateshead Leisure Centre the only good thing about it was that there was no kick.

250 warm up alternating free and back
2 x 200 free @ 3.15
4 x 50's free progressive @ 60
2 x 200 free @ 3.15
4 x 50's free progressive @ 60
2 x 200 free @ 3.15
4 x 50's free progressive @ 60
5 x 4 x 25 @ 2 mins
150 swim down
2700 meters

Sunday 22 April 2012

half the distance = twice the pain (or last night's knickers take a trip)

I sauntered across the car park to the pool this morning
blissfully unaware that last night's knickers were trailing out the bottom of my jeans. I didn't notice till I sat down on one of the sofa's in reception.

Trust me, it's not easy to surreptitiously remove the offending item so that none of your surrounding team mates notice!

Anyway to business, we were graced with the presence of Evil Mutant Swim Coach 3.0 and for a Saturday morning swim this seemed a bit easy only 2.8k. ONLY 2.8k!!!!

There's nothing quite as exquisitely painful as trying to swim fast particularly when you are unfit and overweight but I suppose it's needed.

200 easy
5 x 150's odds 50 kick, 50 pull, 50 swim
               evens 50 fly drill, 50 back, 50 brst
12 x 50's @ 75 as
15m max 35m easy )
35m max 15m easy )  x 3
35m easy 15m max )
15m easy 35m max )
20m push 5 m easy @ 60s
20m push 5 m easy @ 60s
25m push @ 60s
75 easy @ 1.30
35m push 15m easy
50m easy @ 1.30
25m max, 25m strong
100m easy @ 2.30
50m max
100m easy @ 2.30
20m push 5 m easy @ 60s
20m push 5 m easy @ 60s
25m push @ 60s
75 easy @ 1.30
35m push 15m easy
50m easy @ 1.30
25m max, 25m strong
100m easy @ 2.30
50m max
100m easy @ 2.30
150 swim down
2800 metres

Methane avoidance tactics

I was congratulated by EMSC 3.0 for my tactics in training tonight, (Thursday*) eye balls out and hanging on to the penultimate place in lane 1. (usually I'm hanging on about 10 metres at the back and 30seconds off the pace!)

My ever observant coach had realised that the moving up a space in the lane had nothing to do with a desire to push myself to the limits, but simply to avoid this (thereby ensuring that the Methane Emitter was behind me.)

3 x 50's back @ 65**
4 x 50's brst @ 70
4 x 50's brst kick @ 1.20
200 free @ 3.15
2 x 100 pull @ 1.45
4 x 50 kick @ 1.20
2 x 100 pull @ 1.45
200 free @ 3.15
2 x 100 pull @ 1.45
4 x 50 kick @ 1.20
2 x 100 pull @ 1.45
200 free @ 3.15
150 swim down
2500 metres

* bit late blogging this
** you can tell who was late getting in

Sunday 15 April 2012

The Lobotomising effect of a Meet Entry Form

I know that I've written about this before but where oh where does my capacity for reason disappear to when I fill in the entry form for this event.

I received an e-mail on Friday from Lisa Simpson, Doh! (not that Lisa Simpson,) at the ASA events office asking me to check my entries and let her know if there were any errors or mistakes, or rather let El Presidente AKA Mr Gordon know.

Not sure if it was stupidity or stunning over confidence in my ability or simply just a mean streak which insisted I got value for money from my swims, but I'm sure that none of these excuses will persuade Mr G (a man reknowned in masters circles for his boundless patience and tolerance) that I entered them in error and he should let me withdraw from the 1500, 800 and 400 free. (What was I thinking about?)

I think the explanation is it's because I sort of scan through the sessions select my breaststroke events and then start looking for an event in most of the other sessions which I can swim. I don't give any consideration for the cumulative effect of fatigue and whether or not racing over nearly 2 miles in one weekend, 3350m to be precise (hang on that's more than 2 miles!) is really a clever idea or more fundamental yet; can I really do this?

On the bright side I guess with warm ups I should keep my mile a day challenge more or less up to date but this is truly a very painful way to accomplish it.

On the subject of pain, this afternoon's session left me with a badly bruised hand having clattered Dazz the Wazz during the earlier part of the set. The lane lines on the bottom of the pool are off centre so I was swimming a bit too close to his side...ouch!

But my first green week since February and maybe back on track?

400 warm up
200 @ 3.30  (35s per length)
2 x 100 @ 2.00 (40s per length)
3 x 66 @1.30 (45s per length)
6 x 33  50 s
2 x 100 @ 1.45s pull (35s per length)
3 x 66 @1.20 pull (40s per length)
6 x 33 pull 45 s
3 x 66 @ 1.50 kick
6 x 33  @ 55 kick
6 x 33  @ 50s max
100 swim down
2500 m

Saturday 14 April 2012

Wherefore I know not, I have misplaced my ability to swim! I'm in great company though.

It seems that I'm not the only swimmer struggling for a bit of form at the moment having caught this tweet from Dame Becky yesterday.

Not quite sure that the stakes for me are quite as high as they are for her though. I also think I'm not in any particular phase of training periodisation which is causing my slump in form, I'm just old and past it.

So to Saturday morning training! pretty good turn out, Fairy Snow Baby, Matt the Cash, Synchro Dad, Beckleberry Dad, Park Ranger and Custardly Sgt Mark so when I came up with my suggestion for the main set they all nodded in agreement and thought that's OK.

Hmm it wasn't, I was knackered by the third set and even resorting to that old faithful, pull with paddles didn't help, as Beckleberry Dad said "well done you actually made it harder!" and Fairy Snow Baby whose been struggling with a chest infection for a few weeks gave up and got out. On the bright side probably the  longest session I've done for a while and it looks like I might have a green week.

600 warm up every 4th length not freestyle
3 x 200 progressive @ 3.30
8 x 50's back @ 65
2 x 4 x 25 IM @ 2mins
20 seconds rest
3 x 200 progressive @ 3.30
8 x 50's back @ 65
2 x 4 x 25 IM @ 2mins
20 seconds rest
3 x 200 progressive @ 3.30 *
8 x 50's back @ 65
2 x 4 x 25 IM @ 2mins
4200 metres

*did these pull with paddles cos otherwise I wouldn't have had any rest

Thursday 12 April 2012

EMSC 3.0's 50p mix up challenge and a mystery malodorous methane moment.

To ensure a good turn out at training this evening Evil Mutant Swim Coach 3.0 resorted to desperate measures...emailing us all with a challenge. Can we swim sub 60 for 50 kick? with a 50p mix up (assorted Haribo to you southerners) on offer to anyone who was successful.

Of course I'm a sucker for this and as EMSC 3.0 had thrown down the gauntlet I had to be there to pick it up and run with it. I nailed the first 50 with a 58 second swim (and then spent the rest of the session bitterly regretting my earlier exuberance)

I was struggling with the 400 pace work but as we covered 900 metres in the set (400 how does that work?) and the only other notable thing was seeing a visible methane bubble emanate from a team mate's bottom and burst with a rather nasty pong as it surfaced.


5 x 4 x 25 @ 1.45*
3 x 3 x 50's @ 70 alternate kick, pull and swim
100 @ 2.30
50 @ 1.15
100 @ 2.30
50 @ 1.15                   The aim of this set was to swim
100 @ 2.30                 100's at 400 pace.
50 @ 1.15                   The first 4 were 85 and I drifted off
100 @ 2.30                  the pace somewhat.
50 @ 1.15
100 @ 2.30
50 @ 1.15
100 @ 2.30
50 @ 1.15
150 swim down

*not sure if these were on 1.45  cos I was late and never really tuned into the set

Tuesday 10 April 2012

The Return of the Binge (well nearly)

April may have started well from the swimming perspective but the resolve very soon petered out. Easter weekend was a complete swimming wash out, with pool hell being replaced by DIY hell.

Yes I am a complete saddo and ended up in B and Q with the world and his wife on Friday. I finally got around to replacing and re grouting the tiles in the kitchen (they'd fallen off when the place was re wired in 2005!), and having progressed from the kitchen to our bedroom which hadn't been painted for a similar period of time.

To be honest there was no swimming on over the weekend so I wasn't actually proper sciving. But this evening came as a bit of a shock to the system as I've just gone 9 swim free days and I am so stiff after a weekend of DIY efforts. I need to start taking this seriously or I'll be completely demoralised by the British Championships which are less than 4 weeks away.

OK I'm up to date with the blogging now so hopefully normal service will resume....

600 warm up  drill every 4th length
200 breast @ 4.30
200 breast @ 4.30 broken at 100 for 30s
200 breast @ 4.30 broken each 50 for 15s
500 pull with paddles recovery
2 x 100 swim down
1900 metres