Wednesday 31 December 2014

Masters the Conference - a novel excuse ?

I've been full of good intentions to keep swimming after the Nationals but so far I've only managed one swim.

Tuesday 28th October, the reason for this fairly predictable cessation of swimming activity (well it's winter why bother?).

Actually I hadn't stopped swimming activity because the end of the week became a blur of preparation for 3 days at ASA HQ in Loughborough attending a series of meetings and finalising arrangements for the National Masters Conference.

That's before you take into account the hours I spent putting together my presentation,,, scary stuff I can tell you. I did take my kit and was planning to try out the university pool on Friday afternoon but was rather overtaken by events. The Conference turned out to be great fun, and ticked all of the boxes in terms of our objectives. Steve Bratt's explanation of what makes a successful Masters club, and Maggie Kelly's talk on her experiences as a swimmer, were entertaining, humorous.  and fascinating insights into our sport from their own perspectives.

The afternoon was focus groups and I was really impressed that in the groups I dropped into everybody was enthusiastic and contributing in a really positive way. Looking good for next year which is more than I can say for my swimming. Anyway for what it's worth I made the first Tuesday stint after the Nationals and it was down hill all the way from there.

250 metres
200 free @ 3:30
2 x 100 free @ 2 mins
200 free @ 3:30
2 x 100 free @ 2 mins
200 free @ 3:30
2 x 100 free @ 2 mins
200 free @ 3:30
2 x 100 free @ 2 mins
200 free @ 3:15
4 x 50 free @ 1:00
200 free @ 3:15
4 x 50 free @ 1:00
150 free @ 3:00
8 x 25 free @ 30
50 swim down
3000 metres

Sunday 26 October 2014

Road Trip ASA Nationals 2014 - Day 3

What a great weekend; fantastic craic, swimming going in the right direction, cracked the top 50 in the Decathlon and made it home in time for the Strictly results show, also picked up a few medals, it doesn't get any better than this.

Swiftish 50 breast in a head to head with Amanda, we obviously frightened off Maggie Kelly, (not sure why with her 50 and 100 split in the 200 being pretty close to what we swam in the individual)

Also a pretty good 800 almost a minute faster than Swansea, amazing how far a little bit of training will take you.

Now for a non contact sport I've returned from the weekend with a fair number of war wounds, a skinned finger, and pinch bruises from trying to put that bloody suit on and a fairly spectacular cut, bruised and swollen arm from slipping in the bath at the hotel on Friday night. I am also struggling to lift my arms above my head.

Maybe I need some time off to recover..... but some great memories to keep me going through the winter.

600 warm up
50 breast 39.75
250 swim down
800 Free
200 swim down
1900 metres

Road Trip ASA Nationals 2014 Day 2 Sleep in my Speedo?

A heavy day ahead. 400 free, 100 breast, and 400 IM what on earth was I thinking! The only credible explanation I can come up with was in that flood of relief of finally persuading the computer to say yes, I was clearly temporarily  mentally incapacitated.  (Have a look here and here and here there's more and the links are in the wrong order but you get the picture right!)

More importantly it was time to unleash my devious and cunning plan on my fellow competitors! or more accurately take the new bodysuit for a spin.

But first could I get into it? The answer was well sort of......with a little help from teenage triathlete. I had tried it on in the privacy of my hotel room, (as you can see from these ever so flatterring photos) to squeals of derision and hilarity from a hugely supportive daughter.

I'm not sure that the technique we adopted for inserting oneself into this garment is approved by Speedo but it worked for us. Although overcome by hysteria TT was able to place her foot on my hip (to brace herself) then grab the shoulder strap and pull whilst I was able to somehow contort my arm through the fiendishly small opening. Success I was in it (or most of me was!).

And yes I can just about bend over to start.
Now should I sleep in it to avoid having to go through that performance again?

Anyway the swimming, well the 400 free was fairly smooth and 3 seconds faster than South Shields last month, with the suit holding up well.

The 100 breast was next up, with Amanda Heath judging to perfection how much effort she needed to beat, me not a lot as it turns out. (a mere .06 of a second) well there's no point in overdoing things is there!

Then the 400 medley. Now how many opportunities are there to be dq'd in a 400 medley?I have to go back to 2001 to find the last time I swam this event and really I struggled with working out what entry time I should put in.

This was difficult because the last time I'd swam a straight 100 fly (here) it had been slightly disastrous and excruciatingly painful and more to the point I could finish after 4 lengths I didn't have to carry on for another 300 metres afterwards.

I ended up in the first heat and any delusions of grandeur I had because I'd actually hit the pads first evaporated when I got out to be critiqued by teenage triathlete who appeared to have morphed into Evil Mutant Swim Coach 9.0, tutting at my splits and announcing, "your fly was horrible, your backstroke hideous, breaststroke ok and free too slow" hmmm thanks for that, I was just pleased to have finished.

600 warm up
400 free 5:24.
200 swim down
400 warm up
100 breast 1:29.08
200 swim down
400 IM 6:29...
200 swim down
2600 metres

Saturday 25 October 2014

Road Trip ASA Nationals 2014 Day 1

So first day of nationals and I arrive at Sheffield realising that I am in desperate need of some racing suits.

Following the wardrobe malfunction in Montreal (see here) I was reduced to swimming in a vintage (2002) old knee skin and quite simply the baggiest saggiest Diana suit imaginable (which had a previous life as a Judy Hattle suit).

My first stop was the Speedo Shop where I discovered (with the help of the Speedo body scanner) that rather surprisingly l don't have the body shape for performance swimwear! Well you be the judge!

I spent the next hour trying to pour myself into two suits and failed miserably..I was knackered and by then the session had started and I realised I had a date with destiny....well ok 50 backstroke taking me seriously out of my comfort zone!

So it was on with the vintage Speedo and a fairly pedestrian 50 back, am I the only swimmer in the world who can swim 50 breast faster than 50 back? Followed by 200 breaststroke in the evening, a PB for the season with 3:18, a rubbish time but going in the right direction.

On a whim as I was leaving I decided that there was nothing for it but to buy the bigger of the two suits I couldn't get on, maybe I'll shrink this evening...... so I parted with a chunk of money and received new kneeskin and a free pair of goggles and a hair management system (swimming cap to you and me) although as I hate wearing hats I'm not sure whether that was a worthwhile deal.

Then it was back to the hotel for dinner with Sumo, Judo and Matt the Cash, our hotel was infiltrated by zillions of Norwich City supporters (well okay about 12), and Delia Smith was one of them dining in the hotel pressure there for the chef then "Lets be aving you!"

400 warm up
50 back 42 something
150 swim down
400 warm up
200 breast 2:18.
1200 metres

The Apprentice "You're Tired"

The die hard binge swimming fans (fan) out there may well be wondering if they were witnessing the birth of yet another non swimming binge as usually when overwhelmed by the pressure of the approaching National Masters Championships I stop swimming.

Fear not, just because I've had a blog less week doesn't mean I haven't been swimming; It just means that real life's intruded and instead of squeezing out the swimming I've had to skip the blogging.

As you can see from the photo I've had to do my share of being a grown up which included such onerous tasks as having dinner with the delightful Nick Hewer.

Anyway back to the point of this Blog, my swimming well of course I cleverly didn't write down last Saturday's session with the Ryton Triatletes or Consett's Sunday sesh with EMSC 1.0 and given that these took place at least a week ago there isn't a chance that I can remember the fine detail of the set except that I covered about 4000 on Saturday and 3000 on Sunday.

I did however make swimming on Thursday night, with Proudie, Sparkie Walton and Cloughie where EMSC1.0 had a three thing going on the fast ones were around 62's and the slow ones drifted off to 75's although they were generally around 69's. Bring on the Nationals.

Thursday 22nd October

250 warm up alt 50 f/c swim, 50 f/c pull, 50 f/c swim, 50 f/c kick, 50 f/c swim.
3 sets of 12 x 75
No 1 3 x 75 hard 1 x 75 easy @ 2:00
No 2 2 x 75 hard 1 x 75 easy @ 2:00
No 3 1 x 75 hard 1x 75 easy @ 2:00
150 steady swim down ( not that a swim down is ever anything other than steady!)
3100 metres

Sunday 12 October 2014

Deja Vu.......boring post redeemed by it's brevity.

It was another Sunday session and after getting off lightly over the last two weeks, Evil Mutant Swim Coach 1.0 didn't disappoint: our main set consisted of a mere  27 yes you read that right 27, 100's.

Although to be fair to him the fast sets were sort of broken up, it all started so well with nicely judged rep times, but I lost it a bit by the middle of the second set of reps.

There was only 5 of us in the Masters lane and no sign of the skiving Queenie Reid!

Proudie made one of his uncommon Sunday visits and led the lane out with Big Clarkie, we were able to swim down as widths that's why the yardage is 3.2k instead of the usual 2.7 - 2.9 ish.

266 warm up
3 x 100 @ 60-70% pace @ 1:45
3 x 100 @ 70-80% pace @ 1:50
3 x 100 @ 90% pace on 2 mins
1 mins rest
3 x 100 @ 60-70% pace @ 1:45
3 x 100 @ 70-80% pace @ 1:50
3 x 100 @ 90% pace on 2 mins 10 secs RI @ 66
1 mins rest
3 x 100 @ 60-70% pace @ 1:45
3 x 100 @ 70-80% pace @ 1:50
3 x 100 @ 90% pace on 2 mins 10 secs RI @ 33
33 swim back
200 swim down

OMG! I should know better (the diary of a hung over swimmer)

Is this the most surreal view from a hotel window.
I'd lost count after 1 G&T, 1 Glass of Prosecco, 1 bottle of red, and 1.5 pints of lager....

The clock in the hotel bar was saying 3:23am and something was telling me it would have been a smart move to call it a day at around about 11pm, but there was clearly a bit of a disconnect going on between my brain and the rest of my body, which was having such a good time.

I did eventually accept defeat and stumbled back to my room where this surreal image confronted me. As you may imagine for a girl who doesn't get out much I was truly the worse for wear and collapsed into bed trying to work out if there was an alien abduction going on or the directors of Bolton Wanderers were trying to bolster income by running a cannabis farm.

12 hours later and back on Tyneside, (obviously the alien's were not interested in very drunk middle aged women) I dragged myself down to the pool for a session (in the water not on the drink). It was a real struggle, as you can imagine I wasn't feeling too clever. I had a mental tussle with myself  to stay in throughout the whole session...and I was feeling quite proud of myself that I did.

Not a particularly stunning performance but brownie points for tenacity.....

14 x 50's as
5 f/c @ 20 s RI
4 f/c @ 15 s RI
3 f/c @ 10s RI
2 f/c @ 5s RI
1 x 400 @ 7 mins every 4th length kayak/head up
1 x 400 @ 7 mins every 4th length fist
1 x 400 @ 7 mins every 4th length single arm drill
1 x 400 @ 7 mins every 4th length breathing very 5
1 x 400 @ 7 mins every 4th length swim
2 x 6 x 50 12.5 kick 12.5 sprint 12.5 drill 12.5 sprint
250 swim down

Not all pools are created equal, (or even even!)

Swimming this week has proven to be a bit of a challenge, in fact I've had an absolute fail and things were looking pretty dodgy for Friday as I found myself at a conference in the Macron Stadium at Bolton.

Having endured a day of death by powerpoint (why do presenters think people are interested in an essay on the screen?) I found myself with half an hour or so to spare and rather than catching up with my email I thought I'd check out the hotel pool.

Mmmh 15 metres with 3 head up breaststrokers! and wavy walls. But needs must so I dropped in and tried to plough as inoffensive a channel as possible so I didn't upset the regulars.

I managed to cover around 750 metres before hitting the sauna.

750 metres

The Forgotten Session... Sunday 5th October....

Just realised I didn't finish my Blog off last Sunday. It's so long ago I've only a hazy memory of what happened during the course of this particular hour of torture.

My abiding recollection is spending the whole session hanging off the back of Joanne Edwards and Ian Clarke (little Clarkie) as opposed to Ian Clarke (big Clarkie) confused?

I obviously am because today's photo has nothing to do with the contents of this blog, but it does illustrate the wind tunnel effect of the new pools at La Santa.

So it was a pretty routine session..... with EMSC mixing up Sunday hundreds with Sunday two hundreds just to show how versatile he was.

66 swim
200 swim
3 x 200 @ 3:30
2 x 100 @ 2:00
2 x 200 @ 3:30
2 x 100 @ 2:00
3 x 66 @ 1:90
1 x 200 @ 3:30
2 x 100 @ 2:00
3 x 66 @ 1:30
4 x 33 @ 1:00
166 swim down
2700 metres

Sunday 5 October 2014

Can we fix it?

No Gateshead Masters this morning as there was a swim meet at Dunston pool so I had no alternative then to mix it with the triathletes this afternoon, who were sans coach as Bob was running a coaching course somewhere else.

I bouled (is that really a word or am I imagining it) up to the pool unusually early, parted with the six quid session fee, and we eventually wandered onto the pool side around 4:05.

I did mention last week that it is clearly ingrained in triathletes that they must fart around before a session, I suppose that's to help mentally prepare them and get them in the zone for the doing up of their wetsuits, administering body glide and sorting out their transition gear and the zillion and one other things they have to do to their kit. They've obviously never swum with an Evil Mutant Swim Coach before!

I just got on with the session and the rest of my lane got in after the 1st 100, they were only meant to do 6 so I obligingly started again. Actually it was a great session and we were all working quite well as a team.

I hung on to the lead followed by some big fit looking bloke whose name escapes me and Wendy (not her real name but wife of Bob the builder who is actually called John, or he was when he replaced part of our ceiling last month) we were also joined by Mrs Fairy Snow Baby.

Just about holding onto those sub 90 100's again, although I think we were all suffering a bit at the end of the main set and the word "sprint" for the final piece of work had to be interpreted rather loosely.

7 x 100 @ 1:50 25 hard breathing twice, 75 easy
8 x 50 @ 15s RI  25 kick/25 swim  25 drill/25 swim
400 free @ 7 mins  6:00
2 x 25 kick @ 10 sRI
350 free @ 6:15  5:15
2 x 25 kick @ 10s R
300 free @ 5:30 4:30
2 x 25 kick @ 10s R
250 free @ 4:30 3:45
2 x 25 kick @ 10s R
200 free @ 3:15 2:57
2 x 25 kick @ 10s R
150 free @ 2:30  2:15
2 x 25 kick @ 10s R
100 free @ 2:00  90
2 x 25 kick @ 10s R
50 free
2 x 6 x 25 @ 40 sprint
300 swim down
3850 metres

Saturday 4 October 2014

Eventually and in the nick of time the computer said ...........

Well it took 4 club officials from two different clubs, 4 members of the registration team at the ASA, one very unsympathetic Masters Swimming Officer, 8 texts, 6 emails and 12 telephone calls but finally ...... with just 24 hours left to the Nationals closing deadline the computer said YES.

Wow what a relief. To celebrate I entered 7 events including the 400 medley and the 50 back. (you can tell I'm thinking about my decathlon total can't you?) and I've never swam a backstroke event at the Nationals before so that'll be novel.

I thought I'd better get some training in so I tripped off to the public masters session at Stanley this evening and even arrived on time and on the right day (Thursday). EMSC 1.0 offered me the choice of 150's on 3:20 or 200's on 3:20. Emboldened by Sunday's session I opted for the 200s and stepped up for the 3:20 turn around time.

It was hard work holding the sub 3mins time but I was fairly pleased with the results, not great but I guess this is all about the direction of travel.

200 warm up
3 x 200 @ 3:20 (1:57, 1:55, 1:53)
3 x 100 @ 2:00
3 x 200 @ 3:20 (1:55, 1:55, 1:59)
3 x 100 @ 2:00 50 hard 50 easy
3 x 200 @ 3:20 (1:59 1:57, 1:53)
3 x 100 @ 2:00 25 hard 75 easy
200 swim down
3100 metres

Sunday 28 September 2014

Binge to the Rescue

So there I was in the middle of my Sunday morning housework routine when I received a telephone call from Bob. He had a technical problem on his bike and could I go and rescue him?

So I set off for the wilds of deepest darkest Northumberland secretly pleased to swap the tedium of chores for the raw, wild beauty of the North Pennines.

Unfortunately mission accomplished and we were home in time for me to make the Sunday session at Consett.

Where I discovered that in a rather fiendish move EMSC 1.0 had abandoned Sunday 100's but obviously keen to live up to his evil mutant title was intent on inflicting twice the pain with a set of Sunday 200's. All of them nicely under 90 seconds per hundred pace.

I'm ashamed to admit that I got out after the main session and decided I would miss the VO2 max set which was planned (a bleep test over widths) with hindsight probably a good move.

166 f/c 20 s RI
2 x 66 f/c pull @ 20s RI
4 x 33 brst kick @ 20 s RI
166 f/c
4 x 200 f/c @ 3:30 (2:56, 2:56, 2;58, 2:56)
133 o/c easy recovery not f/c
3 x 200 f/c broken @ 100 for 15s @ 3:30 (2:55, 2:55, 2:55)
133 o/c easy recovery not f/c
2 x 200 f/c broken @ 66 for 10s @ 3:30 (2:53, 2:53)
133 o/c easy recovery not f/c
1 x 200 f/c broken @ 33 for 5s (2:45)
266 swim down
3100 metres

The Quest for Registration Nirvana Part III "Deja Vu?"

Still on the quest for Category 2 status on the ASA's database, but progress because Gateshead's registration officer sent me a text first thing saying she'd sort it out today (Friday). By the end of the day she forwarded the following email.

"Looking at her record. You are her main club so she should be paying you her memberships fees and you can make the upgrade to her membership. You have been charged her cat 1 membership at renewals this year. If she wants Consett to be her fee paying then we need to swap her clubs around and they will need to send in the form and electric batch to us"

ASA Memberships

Ehh...but I'm a masters swimmer how do I know who deals with registrations in my club....mmh we've been here before haven't we. 

Just then I had one of those lightbulb moments. Of course contact our new Masters Swimming Officer! I'd only given her the job she has to help! I dispatched an email and within about 5 minutes she answered

 " me up off the floor. In SER meeting at mo. Will look at it after lunch J

After that sympathetic response (well it was a Saturday morning after all) I reverted to Plan B.  Ring Queenie Reid; who was able to tell me who dealt with registrations at Consett.. ah ha progress but better than that:- 

Queenie was also able to pull the records she had and thought that Michael (her husband) could sort it out for me. Fingers crossed because that deadline is looming and I'm working my way up to being Mrs Stroppy with registrations on Monday.

My trials and tribulations didn't end there. As I was driving to the Saturday triathlon session my phone rang, it was Bob (who coaches the session) saying he'd left his bag at home and could I go back and get it?

This request was met with just a smidgeon of bad grace as I was nearly at the pool. If I was very lucky I calculated it would take me 35 mins to turn round, drive home, collect the bag and drive back to the pool!  Which would mean paying six quid for about 50 minutes swimming and probably only 2000 metres. 

In one of those rather pointed "oh don't bother I'll do it" "no it's ok I'll do it" conversations that only married couples can have, I found myself turning around and as I asked where he had left it he hung up! Typical man! 

Anyway I rang him back to ask where he'd left it and there was a bit of a pause and he said "oh... I think I know where it is, in my car" "what!!!!!! **** **** **** (please feel free to insert whatever your favourite expressive expletive is at this point, I can assure you I used them all)" It had fallen off the back seat as he had driven down.

The up side of this was that I was only 10 minutes late (and missed about 3 minutes of swimming because one of the enduring traits of triathletes at swimming session is that they always fart about before they get in) and he paid for my swim. 

Which was quite enjoyable. 

2 x 50 @ 60 secs
6 x 50 @ 60 progressive
6 x 50 @ 60 progressive
6 x 100 @ 2:00 with paddles
2 x 50 o/c drill @ 10s RI
5 x 100 @ 1:55
2 x 50 o/c drill @ 10s RI
4 x 100 @ 1:50
2 x 50 o/c drill @ 10s RI
3 x 100 @ 1:45
2 x 50 o/c drill @ 10s RI
2 x 100 @ 1:40
2 x 50 o/c drill @ 10s RI
1 x 100 @ 1:35
2 x 50 o/c drill @ 10s RI
250 swim down
3650 metres

The Quest for Registration Nirvana Part II

Thursday 25th September.  Ok I know you're desperate to learn the outcome of Binge's attempts to become a Category 2 swimmer before the closing date for entries to the Nationals.

Well my Facebook message worked and EMSC 3.0 came through with a telephone number for Gateshead's registration officer, so I sent her a text explaining my dilemma.

Obviously emboldened by my (self) promotion into lane 1 on Monday, I felt that I should keep up the pressure and moved into Lane 2 during the public Masters session. This courageous move was despite the fact that I had read the white board and knew that the 100's were off 1:45 which I managed pretty well getting over 20 seconds rest for most of them.

Still haunted by the fact that the computer said no........

250 warm up
4 x 100 f/c @ 1:45
3 x 75 f/c @ 1:20
2 x 50 f/c @ 55
25 swim @ 30
2 x 50 f/c @ 55
3 x 75 f/c @ 1:20
4 x 100 f/c @ 1:45
75 swim down
1 x 100 f/c @ 1:45
2 x 75 f/c @ 1:20
3 x 50 f/c @ 55
4 x 25 f/c @ 30
3 x 50 f/c @ 55
2 x 75 f/c @ 1:20
1 x 100 f/c @ 1:45
350 swim down
3050 metres

Saturday 27 September 2014

I'm a Masters Swimmer how do I know who deals with registrations in my club?

After Yesterday's T60 it was business as usual and I was beginning to think about the Nationals at the end of next month and trying to keep the swimming going in the run up to Sheffield.

Also in an extremely unbingelike show of foresightedness I attempted to enter the ASA Masters Nationals today (Monday).

Aargh no. The online entry system rejected my entry telling me "you are not a competitive swimmer".

Well I know that in my swimless binging periods that might be true but it seemed a bit rude and insulting for a computer to say this to me, because sometimes I can be quite competitive, and he should know cos he does the rankings!!

Have you noticed there's no arguing with these things? Nothing for it but to ring the ASA registration department and explain that I paid my swimming registration fee to one of my clubs in January. Yes the helpful lady on the other end of the phone said Consett club paid your £22.50, but your ranking club is Gateshead and Whickham and they have you down as a Category 1 (non competitive member) you'll need to have Gateshead upgrade your membership!

But I'm a Masters swimmer I don't have the first clue who deals with registrations in my club, ah well that's what Facebook was invented for isn't it? message to EMSC 3.0.....

In the meantime I was goaded into swimming in the fast lane by Queenie Reid at the Monday night session (she's got a lot to answer for that woman) where I spent the entire time hanging off the back.

4 x 200 f/c@ 20 s RI
no 1 swim
no 2 133 swim 66 pull
no 3 66 swim, 66 pull, 66 kick
no 4 pull
3 x 133 @ 2:40
4 x 100 @ 1:45
2 x 166 @ 3:30
5 x 66 @ 70
1 x 200 @ 4:00
6 x 33 @ 35
33 fast
66 slightly slower
100 slightly slower
133 slightly slower
166 slightly slower
200 easy
133 swim down
3500 metres

Swimming for a good cause

AARGH today's session was an EMSC 1.0 classic: a T60! Now whilst it was all in a good cause (McMillan Nurses) it was just a tad taxing on the shoulders.

Now somehow Queeenie Reid managed to avoid the full T60 and settled for a T30. After she'd talked me into it as well!

The event was attended by former international swimmer Gordon Johnson who is battling terminal cancer and is determined to raise as much as possible for McMillan nurses in whatever time he has left.

Gordon and Sue Johnson
It sort of puts my whinging into perspective really. I covered a 3666 metres in the hour so a pretty good boost to the weekly total.


Sunday 21 September 2014

A day at the beach

Busy day at the beach today (well ok yesterday cos I'm a bit behind on the blogging front) as the North East Masters Championships moved to the New Haven Pool.

We were honoured with the presence of our Masters Swimming Officer, so I had a night on the town to introduce her to the sights and the locals on Friday evening (well dinner and a wander along the quayside).

Anyway the new pool at South Shields is terrific (although I didn't read the car parking notice properly and ended up with a ticket! (It was £1.00 all day off season! doh!)

I had entered 7 events with an eye on my decathlon total; unfortunately this included my nemesis event the 200 medley.

I still have nightmares about swimming the 200m IM at Swansea in 2003 and turning from backstroke to backstroke much to the amusement of my team mates whose guffaws I could hear as I finished the length off breaststroke.

Well I provided yet another moment of entertainment as I executed my backstroke turn at the 75 metre mark; flipped over and missed the wall by about a metre! as I sculled back I was yet again accompanied by hoots of laughter from the gallery.

Which leaves me a long medley and a backstroke event to swim somewhere in the next 3 months. Botheration.

I have to admit that immediately I missed the wall the fight went out of me as I knew the officials wouldn't miss that!

It was the first time I've ever swum an event which awarded medals solely to the top three men and women on the basis of the age adjustment formula.

Of course the moral of this tale is that you should do a proper warm up and work out the position of the wall and what the ceiling's like etc, etc. Diving in and swimming the standard Binge 600 metre free warm up is totally inadequate for racing other strokes.

600 warm up
400 free 5:27.37
50 breast 42.
100 free 1:15.01
200 IM 3:16 (DQ)
200 Free 2:36.68
100 IM 1:30.14
50 fly 42.

Binge in yet another temporal anomaly!

Oh dear the senior moments are coming thick and fast at the moment, drove over to Stanley this evening parked the car and wandered into reception 15 minutes early, placed my money on the counter and uttered "please can I swim".

The receptionist looked at me quizzically (well OK if I'm being honest as if I was bonkers) and enquired "Aquafit?" "No Masters?" "aah that'll be tomorrow night"

Doh not just 15 minutes early but a full 24 hours and 15 minutes early. Never mind I was able to make the Consett session more or less on time.

Which included this little lot with a bit of quality 100's to round things off! Yet another shortish session from EMSC 1.0, do you think there's something wrong with him?

400 swim @ 30 RI
200 pull, 200 swim @ 30 s RI
133, pull 133 kick 133 swim @ 20 s RI
100, kick, 100 swim, 100 pull, 100 swim @ 15s RI
8 x 100 @ 2:00 hard 1:23, 1:26, 1:26, 1:28.5, 1:25, 1:25, 1:25, 1:25
4 x 100 @ 2:00 broken for 5s @ 66  1:25, 1:25, 1:23, 1:24
2 x 100 @ 2:00 broken for 5s @ 33  1:16, 1:18
300 swim down
3,300 metres

Monday 15th September and a 4 length thing going on

This week's efforts started off well with a Monday night training session at Consett, where Evil Mutant Swim Coach 1.0 had this 4 length thing going on. 

The sole redeeming feature of the session was the fact that it was mercifully short and although we had an hour and half pool time we'd finished after about 70 minutes. 

Oh and I suppose the fact that I was beginning to feel that the work I'd covered over my holiday was having a positive effect.

I was basing this on the rather dubious evidence that I think I am starting to swim at sub 90 secs for a hundred pace marginally more frequently and with less effort than it had taken before the summer break.

133 swim
66 swim 66 kick
133 swim
66 swim 66 pull
133 swim
4 x 133 @ 2:35 steady
1 x 133 @ 3 mins fast
3 x 133 @ 2:30 steady
2 x 66 @ 1:30 fast
2 x 133 @ 2:25 steady
4 x 33 @ 45s fast
1 x 133 steady @ 2:25
4 x 33 @ 45 s fast
1 x 133 steady @ 2:30
2 x 66 @ 90s fast
1 x 33 @ 2:35 steady
1 x 133 @ hard
1 x 133 steady
200 swim down
3400 metres

Monday 15 September 2014

EMSC losing his touch?

Now if Saturday was quiet, Sunday's session at Consett was positively deserted, there were 4 of us turned up, so I spent the afternoon trying to draft off Queenie Reid.

Completely unsuccessfully I may add as I couldn't swim nearly fast enough to keep up with her.

Anyway I felt pretty good for someone who's just returned from holiday and was swimming reasonably comfortably.

It was a SunDay session and we were only given 4 x 100's maybe ENSC has gone soft over the holidays?

200 f/c, 166, pull, 66 kick
166 f/c, 66 pull
66 f/c
400 steady @ 7 mins
3 x 66 @ 90 breast hard
400 broken 15s rest at 266, 266 steady, 133 faster pace
3 x 66 @ 90 free hard
400 broken 15s rest each 133, 133 steady, 133 faster, 133 faster
3 x 66 @ 90 free hard
4 x 100 @ 15 s RI decreasing time, 1:35, 1:31, 1:30, 1:25
133 swim down
3000 metres

Binge stars in an inadvertent remake of Hitchcock's Torn Curtain.

After a summer of swanning around the world (or should that be swimming around the world) it was back to training reality.

I'd spent the week ducking and diving and generally avoiding the pool and any swimming (apart from the unfeasibly long one in Kielder) so I finally turned up at the regular Gateshead Masters Session on Saturday.

It was pretty quiet with only 6 of us so I chose to swim in Lane 1 as there was no sign of the Fairy Snow Baby, Matt the Cash et al. Son of Beckleberry turned up to keep me company for part of the session. I must say it was a bit of a shock to the system swimming in a 25 metre pool (in an oops turns sort of way) and indoors.

The disaster of the day involved a re-enactment of that Hitchcock classic Torn Curtain. (Remember the Julie Andrews, Paul Newman movie where they are escaping from Eastern Europe on a bus)

As I drove home I passed Teenage Triathlete standing at the bus stop in our village, I waved at her and then turned into our drive.

Arrived home.......only to discover that I didn't have a front door key and she'd cleverly locked us out.....grrr queue "lights camera action" and it was chase that bus to eventually catch up with her and relieve her of her key!

500 f/c 100 swim, 100 drill
100 brst kick
300 f/c DPS
100 brst kick
100 f/c
16 x 25 brst
1-4 kick
5-8 slide
9-12 2 kick 1 pull
13 - 14 DPS
4 x 200 IM @ 4mins
400 loosen
4 x 150 IM @ 3:15
400 swim down
3,800 metres

Saturday 13 September 2014

The Kielder 10K Challenge

Back to earth with a bit of a bump, we flew into Newcastle landing at around 1:45am on Friday morning, and our finely honed plan for onward travel home went into action.

This comprised Teenage Triathlete and me legging it off the plane and through immigration, abandoning Bob to collect the baggage and his bike! whilst we jumped the taxi queue.

A short taxi ride to my parents to collect my car, then nip back to the airport to pick up Bob. I'd pinched Bob's wallet to pay for the taxi and dropped it into my bag, and then cleverly left the bag at my parents.

it was all going so smoothly and I was en route to the airport when I realised I didn't have any cash on me to pay to get out of the short term car park!

Aargh it was 2:30 am at this time so I thought I'd be clever and pick Bob up in the opening of the car park to a nearby hotel. Whilst we were loading up the car a security guard took great delight in advising me that I would receive a £60 ticket for the pleasure! botheration.

I had a couple of days out of the water but Sunday morning found me getting up at silly o clock (it was still dark!) to drive to Kielder, because for some silly reason I had thought it would be a good idea to do the Kielder 10k.

Kielder is the largest man made reservoir in Europe and holding the event had taken literally years of negotiations with a very risk averse Northumbria Water.

The swim was due to kick off at 7:30 am and involved parking at one end of the reservoir and catching a shuttle bus to the start.

What a fabulous morning, not a cloud in the sky, not a breath of wind, to a ripple on the lake it was simply glorious.

The event had attracted about 140 entries, but less than 20 were doing the 10k swim.

We were in two waves and the water temperature was a fairly benign 16 degrees, there was a mist rising off the water on the other side of the reservoir and the stillness of the morning and the tranquility of the scenery was just fabulous.

That was until I took one of my famous navigational snafus! I think I must've gone about 300 metres in the wrong direction before a rib turned me round!

As we turned north after the 4th kilometre to head to the top of the reservoir the wind picked up slightly and it became a little choppy and I was having to work pretty hard. Fortified at the various feeding stations by Jelly Babies!

Binge during an audition for the part of Igor 
It seemed an awfully long way back down the lake swimming into the sun, in places the water was pretty shallow and the last leg into the finishing funnel just went on and on.

I'm not sure if it was the length of time in the water or screwing my face up to let water seep into my goggles so that they would demist and I could see where I was going; But by the time I'd finished my face had swollen pretty grotesquely and I looked something like a cross between Quasimodo and a hamster.

There are some incredibly flattering photos of me floating around courtesy of Jane Sutton (thanks Jane!) and the Fairy Snow Baby.

But what a great event, and certainly worth thinking about for next year, brilliantly organised, the wilds of Northumberland, staggering scenery and sunshine, decent coffee, peanut brittle and chocolate muffins it's hard to imagine a more perfect day!

10 k in 3hours and 10 minutes

(Yet Another) Road Trip Day 14 Home time

Sadly last day today, we have a fairly late flight out of Arrecife which should put us in Newcastle at 2am tomorrow morning, but that does give us a full day so after packing I sauntered down to the pool for about 9:55. Impeccable timing as my lane mate from yesterday was just about to dive in. (Clearly she has the same sense of time and urgency that I do.)

She gamely slotted in behind me and we worked our way through the full session. It was great having company, as I seriously doubt that I would've finished the session on my own.

We had a great chat after the session, turns out she (Anne-Marie Hutchinson) is a triathlete and physiotherapist and planning a mountain bike trip to South America! As you do.

Anyway we worked our way through a tidy 4200 metres to bring my Lanzarote work outs to a close with Anne-Marie demonstrating epic drafting skills! (hmm typical triathlete)

AM Session
300 f/c @ 20 s RI 75 swim, 25 kick
3 x 100 IM Order @ 20 s RI (25 dril, 25 swim, 25 kick 25 swim)
6 x 50 f/c @ 10s RI (25 hard 25 easy(
6 x 50's @ 20 s RI breathing, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5
8 x 150 f/c  @ 3mins
200 brst 50 drill, 50 kick
8 x 100 f/c @ 2:10
200 back 50 drill 50 kick
8 x 50 f/c @ 80
200 f/c 50 drill, 50 kick
Session Total 4,200 metres
Holiday Total 66,250 metres

Thursday 4 September 2014

(Yet Another) Road Trip Day 13- Leaky Pools and things are getting crowded

Aargh disaster, one of the two new pools at CLS is closed for maintenance until the end of October.

Now I had long since taken to swimming in the old pool so initially I figured that this wouldn't affect me.

Wrong, because the blissful serenity of the old pool was interrupted by an influx of new pool refugees and horror of horrors I was forced to share my lane with a very tall and thin triathlete.

I figured she must have at some time been a swimmer because her lane etiquette was just perfect. She even asked me politely if I minded if she joined me. We were pretty well able to swim around each other depending on our individual sets.

Now as Triathletes go she was pretty good and we got chatting as you do (particularly when it gives you extra rest) she asked what time I intended swimming tomorrow morning and I guessed at 9:30 although commented that this might well be over optimistic.

During the course of the session my written schedule blew off the pool side and became soaked and the plastic pocket filled with water, the effect of this was that the writing became almost illegible and whilst I could work out the rest of the set I couldn't for the life of me read the afternoon session nor could I remember what the repeat time for the morning sessions were.

By the afternoon I just slopped in and worked my way through 1600 to round the day's yardage up to 6000.

AM Session
5 x 200 alternate odd free steady @ 20 s RI evens 50's drills @ 10s RI
Main Set
400 free steady
2 x 100 IM
2 x 200 free
4 x 50's brst 25 kick 25 swim
4 x 100 free
4 x 50 back 25 kick 25 swim
8 x 50's free
2 x 100 IM
10 x 100 @ 15 s RI odd free, even 50 best kick 50 best swim

PM session
8 x 200's concentrating on not swimming fast and doing whatever I fancied with no rest and a minimum of effort.

Tuesday 2 September 2014

(Yet Another) Road Trip Day 12

The observant amongst you may have noticed that Day 11 is missing, this is quite simply because I finally succumbed to a full rest day and felt the benefit of it when I got back in this morning.

Looking at the session the 200's were pretty consistent more or less holding the same time despite the decreasing turn around time.

Swimming by yourself is pretty sole destroying and can lead to you being bored beyond belief so I needed to challenge myself by thinking about breathing patterns and strokes.

I settled into a hard but comfortable rhythm with a steady breathing pattern, breathing every 6 strokes for the first 50 (45 strokes) and the first 12 strokes of the second 50, (47 strokes) and then holding 47 strokes and breathing every 4 strokes for the last 100. Not particularly fast but smoother that I've been swimming. Not sure if I'm going to make this afternoon so I thought I'd publish this now!

AM Session
4 x 50's f/x @ 20 s RI
4 x 50's f/c @ 15 s RI
4 x 50's f/c @ 10s RI
4 x 50's f/c @ 5s RI
Main Set
4 x 200 @ 3:45 (3:17 - 3:20)
4 x 100 IM @ 30s RI
3 x 200 @ 3:40 (3:20)
4 x 100 IM @ 30s RI
2 x 200 @ 3:35 (3:20)
4 x 100 IM @ 30s RI
1 x 200 @ 3:30 (3:23)
200 swim down
4200 metres

PM Session
400 free @ 7:20
2 x 200 IM @ 4:10
4 x 100 pull with paddles @ 1:50
8 x 50 f/c @ 60
4 x 100 pull @ 1:50
2 x 200 @ 4:15 50 back, 50 best
400 free 200 drill 200 swim
2800 total

Daily Total 7000

Sunday 31 August 2014

Yet Another) Road Trip Day 10 The start of a rest day after a record breaking August

It was all getting just a bit much for me today so I decided I'd take the rest of today and tomorrow morning off. I am also celebrating because August (thanks to two rather long road trips) has just been my most successful month in terms of people reading this blog so thanks guys (all 7 of you)

So after a rather leisurely swim and breakfast I did a stretch and relax class and then flopped down with a rubbish novel and spent the rest of the afternoon on a sunbed.... isn't that what holidays are for?

Oh and practising the black art of taking selfies, Bob seems to need more practice at it though!

AM Session
200 f/c steady @ 20 s RI
2 x 50 Bk/s steady @ 10 s RI
200 f/c steady @ 20 s RI
2 x 50 Br/st steady @ 10 s RI
200 f/c steady @ 20 s RI
2 x 50 Fly steady @ 10 s RI
200 f/c steady @ 20 s RI
400 f/c build to 90% @ 30 s RI
2 x 200 IM @ 30s RI
4 x 100 f/c (50 drill, 50 kick) @ 20s RI
8 x 50 IM Order (Fast?) @ 30s RI
4 x 100 alternate back best  stroke length
2 x 200 IM @ 30s RI
400 f/c reduce from 90% - easy
100 swim down
4000 metres

Saturday 30 August 2014

(Yet Another) Road Trip Day 9 - Binge succumbs to a Snickers Ice Cream Bar and a Magnum (in the interests of science)

Another cloudless day with empty swimming pools and blisteringly hot sunshine I was almost looking forward to this afternoon's swim.

So this week I've covered, at a fairly ponderous pace 32,450 metres which is a distance pb for this year and I've still got tomorrow's swim to count.

My arms and legs start malfunctioning once I get into the high twenty somethings so I might not be in a fit state to finish off blogging about this road trip.

I have successfully managed to get through today without undertaking any extraneous activity, purely because although psyched up to do the AB Attack session I turned up at the wrong venue!

I did however discover that the supermercardo sells Snicker's Ice Cream Bars, which look suspiciously like a Magnum.

In the interests of science (of course I had to try both to decide which was the most superior product (especially as I have waxed lyrical about regular Snickers bars (here and although I never mentioned them in the post they kept me going here.) I can say without hesitation the Magnum Almond bar won hands down (just incase you were interested)

AM Session
Warm Up
8 x 50 @ 10s RI Brst, 25 drill, 25 swim
4 x 100 @ 20 s RI 25 drill, 25 swim
8 x 50 @ 20 s RI Progressive 1-4 & 5-8
9 x 200 f/c as
no 1 steady 15s RI
no 2 25 fast 75 steady @ 20 s RI
no 3 50 fast 150 steady @ 20s RI
no 4 75 fast 125 steady @ 30s RI
no 5 100 fast 100 steady @ 30s RI
no 6 125 fast 75 steady @ 40 s RI
no 7 150 fast 50 steady @ 40 s RI
no 8 175 fast 25 steady @ 60s RI
no 9 200 fast
8 x 100 IMs @ 2:30 (25 fast IM order rest steady)
8 x 50 pull paddles DPS @ 75  reduced from 32 - 25
100 swim down
4300 metres
PM Session
Warm Up
5 x 200
no 1 f/c easy @ 20 s RI
no 2 f/c build to 85% @ 20 s RI
no 3 IM Drill @ 20 s RI
no 4 f/c build to 90% @ 20s RI
no 5 IM Kick
4 x 50 Br/st drill @ 10s RI
4 x 50 Br/st kick @ 10s RI
2 x 100 @ 30 s RI  1:35 : 1:37
400 pull with paddles 6:17
4 x 50 f/c drill @ 10s RI
4 x 50 f/c kick @ 10s RI
350 swim down
2750 metres
7050 metres total

Friday 29 August 2014

(Yet Another) Road Trip Day 8 - An Accidental Selfie!, Stand Up Paddling & Pilates

Well another tough day in paradise! The start of the second week and as I worked my way through this morning's session the sun appeared and burned off the cloud cover leaving a brilliant blue sky, which of course I thought I'd show off with a black and white piccie!

This was an accidental selfie as we walked back from the beach. (TT and I'd been stand up paddling! see below) I noticed she took a picture using one of the buttons on the side of her phone. I tried with mine and voila or should that be vila!

We also had an interesting hour on a "stand up paddle board" what on earth is the point of that? It took forever to paddle up the lagoon and is no comparison to a kayak. Although on reflection I suppose your legs can get tanned as they are in the open rather than shoved in the cockpit of a canoe.

Teenage Triathlete had cunningly taken a lesson in stand up paddling before I arrived but I did eventually get the hang of it.

I didn't really feel like swimming properly today, but there's something about having someone put themselves out for you, (in this case EMSC 4.0 who had kindly written the session out for me) anyway I dropped into the water and worked my way through all of this morning and a fair bit of this afternoons. My swim workout was curtailed because I had to fit it into the 50 minutes between Ab Attack and Pilates.

I'm not really sure why I chose to undertake any of these activities as a full day on a sun bed would have been just as exhausting. And the only good thing about AB Attack is it only lasts 25 minutes! (and I can only do 20)

AM Session
Warm Up
400 f/c steady 20 s RI
100 kick 20 s RI
300 f/c steady 20 s RI
100 IM drill 20 s RI
100 IM kick 20 s RI
100 IM swim
1 x 200 IM steady @ 30 s RI
2 x 200 f/c @ 3:45
4 x 50 fly @ 15s RI
2 x 200 f/c @ 3:45
4 x 50 back @ 15s RI
2 x 200 f/c @ 3:45
4 x 50 brst @ 15s RI
2 x 200 f/c @ 3:45
4 x 50 f/c @ 15s RI
1 x 200 IM steady
Swim Down
300 metres
4200 metres
25 mins AB Attack
PM Session
300 f/c steady @ 20 s RI
2 x 50 Back @ 10 s RI
200 f/c steady @ 20 s RI
4 x 50 (2 x back, 2 x brst) @ 10s RI
100 f/c steady@ 20 s RI
6 x 50 (2 x back, 2 x brst,2 x fly) @ 10s RI
400 f/c steady 30 s RI
4 x 100 @ 30 s RI (25 IM fast 75 f/c steady)
4 x 50 IM order fast @ 30 s RI (should've been on 60s but I wasn't going very fast and I was running out of time
200 steady swim down
2,400 metres
6,400 metres total
50 minutes Pilates class......