Sunday 28 July 2013

Weather halts first Flog on the Tyne

Saturday evening brought a torrential downpour on Tyneside not quite as bad as the June 2012 flooding, but serious enough to cancel the Tyne River training swim.

I was hoping that I would be able to check off about 11k in my challenge today as we were planning a swim from Newburn to the Quayside.

But the risk of the sewerage systems overflowing with the volume of water resulted in our swim being cancelled on elf and safety grounds. Gross.

Bother, turned up at Consett and "elected" to swim the aerobic set with Clarkie a 3k straight swim. Actually squeezed out 3200 metres in just under an hour which gave me my first green week since April.

It was mind numbingly boring though! but I'm quite relieved I was talked into the swim at Ellerton yesterday.

3200 straight swim
100  swim down

Saturday 27 July 2013

Gentle Paddle around Ellerton

I am allegedly planning a training swim down the Tyne tomorrow, it is reputedly about 11 - 12 k and I'm a bit concerned as the furthest distance I've ever swum is 5k. My plan today was to have a day off and rest up!

I was then talked into doing a "gentle" 3k event at Ellerton Lake in North Yorkshire. On the basis that it was a very low key affair.

I decided beforehand that under no circumstances was I going to be drawn into a race with Bob and also that as it was such a lovely day and the temperature was a very pleasant 22 degrees that I was going to save my neck from any further vicious wet suit rubs and swim in my cossie.

I set off at a fairly steady pace and was happy to let Bob get on with it when he passed me at the first turn. (Happy may be slightly overstating my views about the situation but I wasn't going to chase him down).

A swimmer in a rather fetching pink cap also passed me at this point but managed to go spectacularly off course and started swimming back the way we'd come. My aim then became to stay in front of this navigationally challenged swimmer (believing "it" to be female). I was helped in this aim by a repeat of this error the second time around.

By the third and fourth lap I was beginning to get into my stride and picked up my stroke cadence to make sure I stayed ahead of Pinky and I was also pretty sure that I was catching Bob down the back straight (although I will concede this could simply be my wishful thinking).

So despite it being two-nil according to Bob, (who conveniently forgets about the 20 years worth of defeats I've inflicted upon him) a great morning out, a lovely low key event and I even managed to swim through some weeds without worrying about what was lurking in them! I also discovered that Pinky was a guy called Martin, as we swopped experiences about the race afterwards.

Fantastic morning but will this have completely bu**ered me up for tomorrow? Only one way to find out!

Thursday 25 July 2013

Surfs Up ! (Inspired by a Spire swim)

Talk about "wild swimming", turned up on the boat ramp at Tynemouth at about 7 pm this evening  with a handful of other Tossers. Most of whom eschewed wetsuits!

What a bunch of animals, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and stuck with the rubber suit. We struck out for a swim along the beach to the Spire and back a quick 2k.

It was pretty choppy on the swim out but as we turned and headed for home a pretty big swell sprung up which made swimming hard work but great fun, and really challenged my sense of direction.

It was great fun and I caught a couple of great rides onto the beach body surfing. A fantastic evening I didn't want to get out. All in all well worth leaving the sofa and telly for.

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Now there's something you don't do every day!

Bit of an unusual day today, as for some unfathomable reason I was called upon at the invitation of a red Judge (that's a High Court Judge for the non lawyers amongst you) to give a speech of welcome at a swearing in ceremony for a new District Judge on behalf of the Local Law Society. (God when and how did I become so establishment!)

Swearing in ceremony? "easy peasy", my work colleagues will undoubtedly testify that I'm an accomplished master in expressing the most basic and base anglo saxon.

About 9 o clock last night I suddenly panicked about the enormity of this and spent about 4 hours crafting a few coherent and hopefully appropriate sentences, which including looking the Judge up in Debretts and working out how I should address him. My Lord!

Just as well I did because it was a frightfully formal but strangely uplifting experience as Newcastle's newest recruit to the bench swore to uphold the law without fear or favour or ill will to man. Wonderful sentiments; but I have to say it was one of the most intimidating experiences of my life as I stood up to address a room full of judges.

Well I survived this ordeal more or less intact and was rewarded by Bob volunteering to babysit teenage triathlete so I could go swimming. Now it's been about 3 months since I inflicted myself on my team mates at Gateshead and I rocked up this evening to discover the squad had been ravaged by holidays. Quiet Claire and myself sneaked into the guys lane as none of them had turned up.

There was a brief opportunity to catch up on the new babies in the squad, Awesome Emma's daughter and Marie Helene's son and then it was down to business. As you can see in the absence of Fairy Snow Baby, Matt the Cash and Proudy it fell to me to set the session and it has all the hallmarks of a Binge Special.

Synchro dad turned up during the first kick set and then proceeded to hurl abuse at me for the rest of the session, god I've missed these guys!

Warm Up 800 change stroke each 25
8 x 25 kick @ 50 secs
400 pull with paddles @ 7 mins
2 x 200 pull with paddles @ 3:30
4 x 100 pull with paddles @ 1:50
8 x 25 kick @ 55 secs
4 x 100 IM @ 2:15
2 x 200 IM @ 4:30
400 IM
8 x 25 sprint 7 metres strong for remainder of length
200 swim down
4000 metres total

Monday 22 July 2013

Broken Binge?

Now the trouble with being horribly unfit is that when you do eventually make it back into the water you have completely gone to pot. Your feel for the water is non existent, your timing is off, your breathing sucks (in all the wrong places) and your judgement at turns is woeful.

To add insult to injury I successfully managed to smash my foot off the trough during one turn. At least I hit the wall that time which was something I singularly failed to do in the rest of the session.

I was also periodically suffering from cramp in my toes and ruminating that I should have stayed at home watching the TV.

Evil Mutant Swim Coach 1.0 kept encouraging me that this particular repeat should be "fast," I advised him it was all relative as I tried to hang onto the back spot in the joggers lane. Ah well I've clawed back one lost day in the mile a day challenge.

333 m 6wim, 33 kick, 66 swim, 33 pull, 66 swim
3 x 100 @ 1:45 hard
6 x 100 2 @333 m 66 swim, 66 kick, 66 swim, 66 pull, 66 swim
266 m 66 s 1:45 hard 1 @ 2:00 recovery x 2
9 x 100 1 @ 1:45 hard 2 @ 2:00 recovery x 3
swim down
300 100 kick, 100 pull, 100 swim
266 66 kick, 100 pull, 100 swim
233 66 kick, 66 pull, 100 swim
200 33 kick, 66 pull 100 swim
33 flop to the end

Sunday 21 July 2013

Mini Binge courtesy of Delta Airlines?

In true Binge style there's been a bit of a swimming drought over the last couple of months where I haven't quite managed to make a structured swim session.

Apart from the occasional open water foray at TynemouthConiston Buttermere and Orlando (and of course those rather unassuming performances in Plymouth), even on holiday recently apart from Lucky's Lake Swim, I assiduously avoided the apartment complex's swimming pools.

The instances of getting seriously wet were limited to being caught in a couple of serious thunderstorms, a couple of raft rides, Splash Mountain and a few days at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Not a serious swim in sight.

Now to avoid any problems from the advertising standard's authority and to make sure that this blog lives up to its title and does what it says on the tin! I thought I'd start making up for lost time as my swimlog tells me that we are 55% of the way through the year and I've completed a mere 31.2% of my annual challenge leaving me 406,000 metres to swim in the remaining 5 and a half months of 2013, or approximately 16 k per week.

So this morning I traipsed down to Tynemouth to join the Tossers (a rather depleted 3 of us swam 2k across the Bay, ) the water was a much more comfortable temperature compared with this but still pretty cool. I'm obviously getting a bit braver as I managed to swim over some frondy wavy stuff without suffering an attack of the heebie geebies.

Thanks to Jonny and Helen for the company.

As if that wasn't enough I thought I'd make my first pool session since early May, and turned up at the Sunday session in Consett.

I discovered that I am eternally grateful to none other than Delta Airlines for allowing me to complete the swim. It's a long story but involves the head strap in my goggles perishing and crumbling as I stood on the pool side, darn, not to worry Proudy had a spare goggle strap in his bag, and he was only there because his daughter's flight from the states was delayed by 10 hours and he wasn't in Mnachester picking her up.

Of course after this morning's exertions and the last 3 months lack of exertion I'm not sure I'm particularly grateful to them for allowing me to complete this afternoons session as god it hurt! and still does.

So a cool 4.6 k for the day, clawing the lapse back?

AM Tynemouth Longsands  2K

PM Consett
3 x 100 @ 2 min
2 x 66 @ 45s 1st and last 5 metres hard
2 x 100 @ 1:50
2 x 66 @ 45s 1st and last 10 metres hard
1 x 100 @ 1:40
2 x 66 @ 45s all sprint
1 x 266 @ 5:20
2 x 133 @ 2:50
3 x 66 @ 1:20
4 x 33 @ 40s
1 x 133 @ 2:30
2 x 66 @ 1:10
4 x 33 @ 35s
1 x 66 @ 60
2 x 33 @ 30
2 x 200 swim down

I Survived Lucky's Lake Swim (during a welcome diversion from Walt Disney World)

Sunrise at Lake Cane
I've just discovered the most absolutely fabulous way to start your day! Sadly I would need to commute approximately 4,500 miles each way to enjoy it, which makes incorporating this into my daily routine rather impractical.

In the madness and mayhem that is an Orlando Theme Parks Holiday, Bob managed to locate a small oasis of glorious calm and tranquility which provided one of those swimming Zen experiences. I'm talking here about Lucky's Lake Swim

The Lucky in the title is Doc. "Lucky" Meisenheimer a fantastically generous-hearted eccentric whose passions include amongst other things Swimming, Yoyo's and Zombie movies.

Check out his websites for a full flavour of this man's appetites and abilities which are truly remarkable, not to mention a series of FAQ's which indicate a keen sense of humour and brought a smile to my face.

Of note Lucky's wikipedia entry lists (amongst other achievements) a mention in Ripley's believe it or not for swimming half a mile with his foot in his mouth. All I can say to that, as someone who spends significant periods of the week opening her mouth and putting her foot in it; is simply respect!

Now: Chez Lucky is a colonial pile opposite Universal Studios. (you get a pretty good although rather surreal view of Hogwarts as you drive out)  Lucky's property fronts Lake Cane and since 1989 he has invited the world to join him for his early morning lap (or 2).

The weekday swims start at 6:30 am which was day break during our stay. You park on Lucky's front lawn (honest!) and just make your way to the dock. This is America of course so there's a liability waiver to sign and then you're off.

We entered the water in the breaking dawn as the first warm orange fingers of light crept across the lake towards us. It was great watching the sun rise above the trees as I swam towards the light on the far side of the lake, which marked the turn around point. A series of red buoys make the course very easy to navigate

The starting signal is the dogs barking you off from the dock, I'm not sure if the dogs can tell it's 6:30am or they just take one look at the bods in
Proud member of
the100K club
Digger the Dog
the water and say "come on guys just get on with it!" Bob (who did a number of these swims) was accompanied on one occasion by Digger the dog! Bob is keen to point out that the dog trailed behind him.

The crossing is 500m so it's a round kilometre there and back. Once you finish your first swim you have to sign the "wall of fame" or in my case the ceiling of fame as there's no room left on the wall!

Binge and Lucky (not sure what the gator's called)
Your induction is not complete until you have your photo taken with Lucky himself and his prize trophy Gator (no relation to Slimebo the Lake Cane Monster)

You are also provided with a free bumper sticker and patch to mark your acceptance into the Aquatica 1k club.

Lucky feeding the regulars.
If you are a regular survivor there is a series of rewards for completing various landmark numbers of crossings starting at 25, then 100, 150, 200 and 500. Having notched up 7 crossings whilst we were there Bob reckons on our next visit he'll hit the 25 club!

The morning of my swim, there were about a dozen or so of us, the regulars were really welcoming and friendly and went out of their way to make us feel part of their group, their swimming skills covered a wide range of ability (and no I wasn't last). 

The chat afterwards was great and the whole experience was simply life-affirming, it left me firstly wishing I'd made the effort to visit earlier in the holiday; secondly wondering what is it about swimmers that makes them such fantastic company? and thirdly marvelling at the generosity of the Meisenheimer household and their neighbours who endure this constant early intrusion 6 days a week (there's no swimming on Sunday). A big thank you from a grateful Brit.

On reflection the swim might just have been the highlight of my holiday, at the very least it runs riding a broomstick, playing a Quidditch match, fighting a dragon or meeting Stitch a very close second.

So the next time you find yourself in the area, check out Lucky's Lake Swim you won't regret it, Lucky and his crew will make you feel like you're long lost friends and the line to enter the lake is refreshingly short.