Saturday 15 June 2013

British Masters Road Trip 2013 Plymouth Day 1

It's a very long drive from deepest darkest Ebchester to England's riviera, on the South Coast (heck Plymouth is a very long drive from anywhere!) and perhaps not surprisingly very few Northerners have made the trip South (a long way South) for the British Masters Championships.

Nice new pool, shame about the meet really, as the realisation that 3 open water swims in the last 6 weeks probably wasn't going to cut it in this competition, was gradually dawning on me. I think I knew that all along but there's that point where your delusions become replaced by reality.

Well it hit me about 30 meters into the 50 free as I watched the speed merchants in my age group kick into hyperspace and I seemed to be stuck over the same set of tiles on the pool bottom for an inordinate amount of time, as my arms whirled pointlessly and my legs kicked furiously... to absolutely no effect!

Didn't bother with a warm up or swim down and 3 events to look forward to on Saturday!

Saturday 8 June 2013

Binge: The Ultimate Humiliation? Revenge of the Triathlete.

Bob showing his "wild side"
Now I have at times been known to be fairly scathing about the swimming ability of triathletes see here.

Not least in relation to my long suffering husband who is still smarting from the following exchange we had at the ASA National's in 1992 in Ponds Forge, Sheffield.

Bob: "how do you get down to the pool side from this side of the balcony?"

Binge: " You know where you go to collect your medals? oh you wouldn't know that would you."

Well it's taken him almost 21 years but he finally gained his revenge. At the Buttermere 5k this morning I suffered the ultimate humiliation when he finally managed to swim faster than me. I'm not sure who was more surprised me or him, he looked truly shocked as he watched me stagger from the water. (Your legs somehow stop working and go all wobbly when you are continuously horizontal for over 90 minutes).

Had I realised he had swum past me I certainly would have picked up the pace over the last kilometre or so. But respect where it's due, I did say well done (through clenched teeth)

Apart from that it was a fabulous day, as we drove over there were clear blue skies and the scenery as we wound our way through Borrowdale Valley and up Honister Pass was breathtaking. We arrived at the swim and discovered the usual crowd of Tossers including Cloughie who was swimming the 10k, new guy from our masters sessions and Teenage Triathlete's physic's teacher.

Looking down Buttermere from the start.
The swim was fabulous as well.  The  5k is basically a lap around the lake dodging into some of the little coves. The water was flat calm and crystal clear you could see the bottom to a depth of about 10-12 feet.

I navigated around the lake swimming over the top of the shelf that slopes away in to the grey/greeny bluey depths.

The views of the fells, the waterfalls and cirques were to die for and swimming around the lake looking up at that majesty gave you just a bit of a different perspective.

Coming back up the lake the sun was behind us and with your head down you could see your shadow in the depths outlined by shafts of sunlight which emanated outwards from the shadow to the surface like sparkly fibre optic cables. Simply stunning. Quite an ethereal experience.

The organisation of the event was first rate and with free hot drinks, just brilliant home made fruity flapjack and tiny exquisite gingerbread men sporting blue (5k) or orange (10k) swim caps, it really hit the spot and we headed for home with smiles on our faces, a great day out.

On the journey back I was reflecting that I had learnt two things from today, firstly if you put anti fog spray in your goggles it is advisable to wash it out before you put them on, I am currently nursing a very sore and bloodshot eye. Although I have to say it worked as I had a great view for the entirety of the swim.

Secondly I need to do some proper swim training if I'm going to swim Henley and The Tyne River (Bob reminded me of this) not to mention the fact that there's the little matter of the British Masters next weekend and I haven't been in a pool for over a month.

Sunday 2 June 2013

Binge and Cinderella's day trip to Coniston ( a case of marital coercion?)

Cinderella showing off his dryrobe
I'm not quite sure how he managed it but my better half, (shown here resplendent in his dryrobe, (or so he thinks)) somehow persuaded me to enter the Epic Swim in Coniston today. (Now I know how Vicky Pryce felt!)

He was planning to swim the 3.8k but a nasty cough and a 3.8k swim yesterday left him dropping down to join me in the 1 mile event and meant we didn't have to arrive there in the middle of the night for a 9 am kick off.

At an alleged 12.5°c it felt positively tropical compared to last week's efforts! see here The water was also much clearer although just a bit busier as I tried to avoid the scrum in the middle by hanging to the right of the course.

I navigated the majority of the course without too much difficulty, although a couple of the buoys were a bit too far apart for my challenged vision.

That is until the end; there I was swimming at the back of a little group when Mr competitor started to whisper in my ear. I began to gently kick and pull a bit harder and i started to ease past the group just as we approached the buoy, I turned a tight 90° around the buoy and then really started to kick and pick up my stroke cadence, clear water and I was confident I had left my group in my wake when I crashed into a safety canoe, who kindly pointed out that I had turned too early and sojourned some 50 metres across the lake when I shouldn't have turned until the next buoy. Bu**er!

Despite this mishap I really enjoyed the swim (apart from walking over the stoney beach with frozen and numb feet). Bob arrived 5 minutes or so behind me, minus one wetsuit bootie. It had fallen off during the swim, and he'd turned around to catch it then he'd given it to a safety canoe to nurse back to the finish for him.

Needless to say we had to hang around till everyone had finished waiting for Bob's Prince Charming to arrive, hoping upon hope that the car wouldn't have turned into a pumpkin by the time we returned to the car park, and our matching dryrobes wouldn't be mistaken for royal robes, (they did garner a fair number of approving comments!)

Anyway a great day out, though all the better for bumping into Masters swimmers Judy Brown from Warrington who completed the 3.8k, Paul Urwin who I last saw in Riccione in 2013 and Nicky Parkes and I bumped into a fair number of Tossers Paul Bowman and Tony Greener to mention 2. Bring on the Utterly Buttermere 5k next week.