Sunday 26 January 2014

FFC 2014 minus 7 and counting

It's 7 days and counting to the start of the annual madness that masquerades under the guise of the February Fitness Challenge.

I've registered to do this again in my continuing quest to achieve some semblance of fitness. This is a great idea simply swim every day in February. 4 weeks of putting swimming first and trying to establish swimming as a routine activity.

I failed last year having found myself stuck in the police station and crashed and burned on day 21. But I'm up for it again this year and hopefully it will help me really cement the swimming habit which I'm beginning to get back into.

The weather was disgusting this afternoon as I set out for the Consett Masters session, heavy winds and horizontal sleet turning to snow once I crossed the snow line (somewhere around Hassockfield dentition centre). The rather wintry conditions must've put everybody off as only 4 of us turned up and there was no EMSC 1.0 either.

I must say I was a bit worried as I parked up outside the pool that they'd cancelled the session as the usually crammed car park was virtually empty but I was assured that it was on and made my way to the pool side. Where I encountered the first hurdle in my quest to swim every day next month as I was told next weeks session had been cancelled. I now have 7 days to find somewhere to swim next Sunday then.

As for today EMSC 2.0 stood in and set the work out I only managed the 200's because I was swimming pull and the rest between the 5th and 6th repeat was around 7 seconds.

400 warm up
6 x 200 pull @ 3:30
4 x 100 pull @ 2 mins
3 x 66 pull @ 1:20
2 x 66 pull @ 45 secs
6 x 33 breast kick @ 50 secs
233 swim down
2700 metres

Beckleberry Dad 1 Beckleberry Son 0 (It's all about timing)

I know last Saturday's post left you on the cliff hanger as to whether or not Beckleberry dad safety made it to the airport, on time or at all, and whether or not the dispute with Beckleberry Son was really about a flight departure. see here

Well I'm pleased to report that Beckleberry dad caught his flight without any hassle. His destination... Rimini probably a bit better weather than the North East.

He was back for Saturday's session and in great form, as the usual lane 2 inhabitants had to contend with Custardy Sgt Mark deciding that he would drop down a lane and lead us.

Definitely a bit different session to what we usually do and would set for ourselves and the quality stuff number 1 was not very pleasant particularly by the third time around. The session was notable for the return of son of toosmartwatch. See paragraph 2 and 2.1 in the glossary page for an explanation.

Whilst I managed to successfully change the batteries on the watch and the chest strap, I haven't managed to locate the little widget thingy which plugs into my laptop to download the data from the session. So no fancy heart rate graphs at the moment but watch this space!

800 warm up as
150 fr swim 50 kick
150 br swim 50 kick
150 back swim 50 kick
50 fr, 50 br 50 ba, 50 kick

50 fly 150 back @ 30 sRI
50 ba 150 brst @ 30s RI
50 brst 150 free @ 30 s RI
200 free

3 x 500 no 1 (ish)
150 brst as 100 hard 50 stretch @ 3:30
100 brst 25 kick hard 25 DPS @ 2:30
50 brst max  @ 90s
200 steady @ 4:30

2 x 200 broken @ 4:00
No1 10 secs @ 100
no 2 10secs @ 100, 10 secs @ 50

300 pull swim down

3800 metres total

Technique Tuesday for the Third Consecutive Week

Back to the grind on Tuesday with my third consecutive Gateshead masters session at Blaydon.

And there it was in the middle of the workout yet another technique set and again building on the stuff we'd done in the previous two weeks.

Am I detecting a master plan here from EMSC five point zero (or has he just been reading some book?)

I have to say I do enjoy the change of pace, even though I'm pants at lateral kick, (hell I'm just pants at all types of kick and I feel like I've swum more kick in the last three weeks then I have in the last three years.

All in all a tidy 4.2k

300 as 100 swim free, 50 swim back
200 IM kick 25, drill 25
400 (can't remember what this was)
8 x 25's progressive 1-4 5-8 @ 45
2 x 25 lateral kick, skull right arm @ 60
2 x 25 lateral kick, skull left arm @ 6-
4 x 25 skull 4 strokes, swim 3 strokes
50 free for technique
2 x 25 lateral kick, skull right arm @ 60
2 x 25 lateral kick, skull left arm @ 60
4 x 25 skull 4 strokes, swim 3 strokes
50 free for technique
4 x 200 @ 3:40 free hard last 50
1 x 200 IM @ 4:00
4 x 200 @ 3:40 free hard third 50
1 x 200 IM @ 4:00
2 x 200 @ 3:40 free hard second 50
200 swim down
4200 metres

Sunday 19 January 2014

Binge catches up (and wot no hundreds?)

Did you miss me? I thought about a Gary Glitter picture to illustrate my return but on reflection that's in rather poor taste. So I've been playing some blogging catch up today and I'm finally up to date after a binge blogging session.

This has been a bit of a marathon as I've swum about a dozen times since my last blog, and I've had a pretty good January. I'm well on track having completed over 32,000 metres so far. 

I need to hit 50k per month, give or take a bit. The work out this afternoon was strange. I couldn't work out which was worse; the 66's on 80 hard with a decentish amount of rest, or the easier (allegedly) on the short or no rest. 

As you might imagine towards the end it all became a continuous swim with a the occasional grab turn.

66 free (should’ve been 200)
2 x 33 kick
133 free
2 x 66 pull
66 free
2 x 100 @ 1:45
3 x 66 @ 80 hard
1 x 66 @ 70 steady
2 x 66 @ 80 hard
2 x 66 @ 70 steady
1 x 66 @ 80 hard
3 x 66 @ 70 steady
2 x 66 @ 80 hard
2 x 66 @ 70 steady
3 x 66 @ 80 hard
1 x 66 @ 70 steady
2 x 66 @ 75 hard
1 x 66 @ 65 steady
1 x 66 @ 75 hard
2 x 66 @ 65 steady
2 x 66 @ 75 hard
1 x 66 @ 65 steady
1 x 66 @ 65 hard
1 x 66 @ 60 steady
133 swim down

2800 metres

Beckleberry Barnie

Great turn out at Gateshead this morning for a coachless session, although he'd left our work out for us including a nasty set of 75's started off fine but rapidly deteriorated into a continuous swim.

Beckleberry dad and son were there and got into a great dispute by the time we had reached the 5 x 75's.

I didn't catch the full argument but it was about 9 am by then and Beckleberry junior was berating Beckleberry dad that he had to get out now I think because he had to pick up his passport and tickets and they had to be at the airport for 10:15.

Much to my amazement and totally out of character Beckleberry dad decided that he still had enough time to finish the 5 x 75's. Such dedication.

400 free
300 free (100 drill, 100 kick, 100 drill)
200 IM drill
100 IM
9 x 75 @ 1:30
100 IM @ 2:30
7 x 75 @ 1:25
100 IM @ 2:30
5 x 75 @ 1:20
100 IM @ 2:30
3 x 75 @ 1:15
100 IM @ 2:30
2 x 75 @ 1:10
450 pull swim down
3800 metres

Wednesday Sesh

If Sunday had been quiet then the Wednesday session at Consett was madness with 19 of us in two lanes.

I think I'm beginning to cope with swimming again as for the first time I wasn't hanging off the back and there were a couple of stragglers behind me.

I have to chuckle at the 80%  bit cos at the moment it's all just survival swimming.

Warm Up
200 @ 133 swim 66 pull
133 @  66 swim 66 drill
 66 @ kick
8 x 100 @ 2:00
200 free @80% @ 4 mins
6 x 100 @ 1:50
2 x 100 free @ 80% @ 2 mins
4 x 100 @ 1:40
3 x 66 @ 1:20 @ 80%
2 x 100 @ 1:30
6 x 33 @ 40 secs
300 swim down

Missing Sunday Session and another Cunning Plan from EMSC 5.0

Now for some reason I can't find the session I swam at Consett last Sunday which was the first Sunday sesh of the year, and everyone must've had enough in the first week because there was only about 5 of us in the pool.

My toosmart spreadsheet tells me I covered 2566 metres and also for the first time accepts that my 2014 target for the year is a sensible one. As I finish with a green week having clocked up just over 12,766 metres.

I missed Monday night so on Tuesday it was down to Gateshead and the ministrations of EMSC 5.0. and yes last week wasn't a flash in the pan as the technique set appeared again and followed on quite nicely from last week, (not that it made it any easier.)

3 x 200 @ 30 secs rest, 200 long and strong, 100 kick, 100 drill, 200 DPS,
300 breast kick
6 x 75 @ 1:45  25 kick, 25 drill, 25 swim, IM order
24 x 25 on technique as
          3 x 1-2  left arm extended lateral kicking
                3-4  rt arm extended lateral kicking
                5-6  12 kicks then 3 strikes
                7-8  DPS
5 x 350 @ 6:30
         1  200 easy, 150 hard
         2 100 easy, 150 hard, 100 easy
         3 150 hard, 200 easy
         4 350 hard
         5 350 easy
6 x 50 @ 65s
4000 metres

Coachless Saturday (11th January)

No EMSC 5.0 today (Saturday the 11th ) but he had kindly left a session on the pool side. Not having a coach as a final arbiter meant that Bob and I had a bit of a domestic about the final set, as I interpreted it incorrectly (opting for an easier version).

Although it goes against the grain to have to admit this he was right and his lane swam it correctly whilst we swam further but got the order wrong.

Remember I'm still smarting from the humiliation of being beaten by Bob here and here and even the revenge here still leaves me with unfinished business. Further motivation....

Warm Up
400 free @ 30 s RI
4 x 100 @ 30s RI No 1 50 kick 50 drill
12 x 25s @ 40 secs IM Order prog 1-3, 4-6, 7-9 10-12
4 x 350's as
  350 @ 6.30 300 dps 50 hard
  350 @ 6.30 200 dps 150 hard
  350 @ 6.30 100 dps 250 hard
  350 @ 6.30 350 hard
16 x 50@s @ 65 medley changeover 25 hard 25 easy
400 swim down pull
3700 metres

Mmmh EMSC 5.0 has a cunning plan...a technique set!

Tuesday 7th January and one week into 2014 drive down to Gateshead to find Evil Mutant Swim Coach 5.0 was present and raring to go. He was much keener than me as I turned up about 20 minutes late and caught the very end of the warm up.

I was devastated by the kick set and was swearing and spitting at the coach under the water, when to my great surprise the next set was....a technique set.

Bloody hell I mean it's all getting just a bit proper! I really enjoyed it and managed to drop my stroke count over the set from a pretty lousy 22 to around 18.

The thing is though if you do technique properly it's just as painful as the eyeballs out stuff not to mention your muscles ache for longer.  Here's what I did.....

100 swim
200 IM
200 free
400 breast kick 75 steady 25 hard
4 x 25's fist swimming @ 60
4 x 25's claw swimming @ 60
4 x 25's DPS @ 60
4 x 25's sprint @ 60
6 x 150 @ 2:50
4 x 25 recovery @ 30s
4 x 150 @ 2:50
4 x 25 recovery @ 30s
2 x 150 @ 2:50
4 x 25 recovery @ 30s
100 swim down
3500 metres

It's Monday so it must be hundreds?

I predicted pain and humiliation along the road to the 2014 challenge and was rewarded with both, on Monday night when I made it to Consett Masters session and had to endure hoots of derision from the posse which included such original comments as “so you’re not dead?” “who are you?” “is it February?” and my personal favourite “are you lost?”

I obviously wasn’t the only swimmer determined to live up to my New Years Resolutions, as there were 18 of us crammed into 2 lanes and yet again I was straggling off the back as we ploughed our way through a typical Evil Mutant Swim Coach 1.0 session.

Now EMSC 1.0 lives by the mantra “it’s Sunday so it must be hundreds” he must’ve missed not having a Sunday session for the last three weeks so much that he decided to celebrate and welcome us all back with a new mantra “it’s Monday so it must be hundreds” It was suggested by one of my team mates that the choice of set was to welcome me back. I wasn’t convinced! 

I’ll keep you informed as to how long this particular bout of Binge Swimming lasts for “plus ca change, plus c’est  la meme chose”

Warm up
33 easy
66 33 easy 33 hard
100 33 easy 66 hard
66 33 easy 33 hard
33 easy
2 x 100 @ 2 mins
4 x 33 @ 40 secs
4 x 100 @ 2 mins
4 x 33 @ 40 secs
6 x 100 @ 2 mins
2 x 33 @ 40 secs
8 x 100 @ 2 mins
333 swim down

Enter Evil Mutant Swim Coach five point zero

So on the opening Saturday of 2014, and full of resolve and good intentions I roll out of bed at 7:30 am and turn up at Dunston Pool for the first time since May last year. To be faced with of all things :-  a swimming coach!

Now we’ve muddled along at Gateshead with the swimmers just setting the sessions, for longer than I care to remember; but there he was larger than life and clearly eager to earn the distinguished title of Evil Mutant Swim Coach 5.0 (five point zero).

I think one of the pre requisites of being a swim coach is to possess a healthy  streak of sadism and a desire to inflict exquisite pain on your poor athletes flogging themselves up and down the lanes. Actually I understand that sadism is a mandatory module in a level 1 coaching course, and it soon became apparent, that EMSC 5.0 possessed this characteristic in spades. 

Not only that but he had obviously studied my team mates in previous sessions and had identified all of our weaknesses, you know butterfly, medleys, kick or whatever else we usually avoid like the plague because its too boring or too hard or too painful.

Well they were all there and incorporated in that first session much to my horror.  However having someone on the poolside makes a huge difference and although I had gone with the intention of getting out after an hour I survived the full 90 minutes, albeit only just; as the straggler off the back of Lane 2. I even found myself trying quite hard on a 100 IM timed swim towards the end of the session, (I was rewarded with a pants time for an obscene amount of effort.)

350 Free 50 kick, 100 drill, 200 swim
300 back 50 kick, 50 drill, 200 swim
300 brst 50 kick, 50 drill 200 swim
8 x 25's free @ 40 secs build 1-4 & 5-8
350 IM @ 7 min 50 fly,
8 x 50 IM order @ 70 secs
350 Free stroke  @ 70 secs
200 IM @ 4:20
4 x 50's IM  @ 70s
200 free stroke
4 x 50's free
1 x 100 IM timed 1:40
300 swim down
3650 swim down

2014 The return of Binge and another resolution to be broken.

Not sure whether it's registered in the consciousness of my readership yet (all 3 of you), but there has been a distinct lack of Bingeing in swimming pools and blogging as 2013 drew to a close.

But there's something about the human condition that when January rolls around we resolve to make a fresh start and to immediately break all of the bad habits which have been ingrained into our psyche for decades? 

You could call it a triumph of hope over experience but this year was no exception as I resolved (yet again) that I was going to take swimming seriously, get fit and for the third time of asking complete my mile a day challenge.  

My starting point for this year’s campaign was to download a copy of Trondi’s spreadsheet (which can be obtained from the site) so that I can track my progress over the year. I enter 590,000 metres as my target distance and the programme starts to shake, convulse and snigger and then reports to me that this is not a sensible target. I realise I needed to rediscover the swimming habit and pretty quickly.

So returning to work after the holidays  and during my first lunch break I tear myself away from the post Christmas divorce rush, for my first swim of the year. I had anticipated that as it was still the school holidays the pool would be busy, but not in the least, clearly the kids were still wrapped up with their Christmas presents or put off by the weather. The pool was surprisingly tranquil with about 6 others most of whom were head up breaststrokers.

I chose the empty lap lane but was soon joined by a bloke who insisted in swimming next to me rather than in a chain. This guy had a good stroke, a fair turn of speed, tumbled and was easily out pacing me. I did try and hang on to his feet for a while, I just couldn’t help myself, particularly when he said in a rather patronising tone that he was “impressed” that I was tumble turning! but despite this additional motivation I was quickly left floundering and overwhelmed by the effort. 

As I was swimming along I tried to justify my poor performance by the fact that he was doing 2 length sprints and I was swimming an 800 warm up but I finally just resigned myself to the fact that any come back was going to be a long, painful and probably humiliating process.

800 warm up alternating 66 free swim, 66 catch up
8 x 100 pull @ 1:55
6 x 33's @ 50 secs
200 swim down
2000 metres

2013 Swim Sessions end here, and introducing the latest devotee to Binge Swimming

As I was flicking through the South China Morning Post (as you do) the publication revealed that the inmates of Hangzhou detention centre were placed on an enforced mini vegetarian binge for a week, a move which was deeply unpopular with the inmates. 

A little further digging revealed that this was because they had been joined by the double Olympic Champion Sun Yang who was sentenced to a weeks “administrative detention” for driving without a licence.

I loved the irony in the fact that Sun Yang was deeply suspicious about the quality of meat served to him in prison and fearing steroid contamination elected for a vegetarian diet during his incarceration. Such is this man’s celebrity status in China that the prison officials placed the whole of the establishment on a non meat regime.

Now this story chimed with me on a number of different levels, firstly from a professional point of view, the speed and severity of the punishment were breathtaking. Sun Yang was arrested on the 3 November after driving a Porche Cayenne into a bus, and released from prison on the 11th November having served his sentence. Clearly the Chinese don’t mess around when it comes to criminal justice, nor do they encourage celebrity lawyers such as Mr Loophole

In this country it is inconceivable that a custodial sentence would be handed out under these circumstances, and even if a court were considering this, it would be a month or so before he was sentenced. Sun Yang’s treatment also compares unfavourably with say Michael Phelps’ drink driving episode.

As a defence solicitor and master of the excuse for not swimming I also loved his mitigation. “ I've been focusing on training and competition, I had only a hazy knowledge of laws, which led to my mistake," Did he really say he was unaware that he required a licence to drive? The Chinese really need more imaginative lawyers or PR consultants.

I was struck by the somewhat paternalistic and patronising comments of the Chinese swimming authorities and the reserved nature of the Chinese Press in relation to the story, I’m sure that an English press wouldn’t have been able to resist a headline on the 10th November along the lines of “the Sun’ll come out tomorrow”. Further research in more left field publications did unearth some rather restrained attempts to dish the dirt particularly the devastating insult that Sun Yang was a “supercilious athlete” from a predictably anonymous member of the Chinese National Squid! (their typo)

And finally the news that Sun Yang has been suspended from swimming by the Chinese Swimming Authorities, smacks of double jeopardy and cruel and unusual punishment. “Henceforth you will not inflict terrible pain and suffering on yourself” but it did lead to my own bit of supersilly pondering, as to whether within this supremely talented being there was a Binge Swimmer yearning to escape and further could Sun Yang become the most famous proponent of Binge Swimming. Certainly his ability to produce such exquisitely crafted excuses  suggests that he possesses the fundamental characteristic to evolve into the consummate Binge Swimmer.

The similarities between me and Sun Yang of course don’t stop there as I have been known to be equally cavalier about my driving licence, having been forced to attend at Sunderland Magistrates last year to persuade them to allow me to retain my licence. I wonder if with a little training I could emulate at Masters level some of Sun Yang’s achievements in the pool? 

I know that I should be looking forward to next season as I age up into the 55 years age group, (good grief when did I get to be so old?)  but my current lack of fitness and motivation do not bode particularly well for the upcoming season; when having temporarily slipped out of Judy Hattle’s age group I’m now facing Amanda Heath, the phrase “out of the frying pan and into the fire “springs to mind.

With the Christmas season in full swing, I’ve rather characteristically thrown myself into the festivities and somewhat unsurprisingly swapped Binge Swimming for just simply Bingeing. So no time for training at the moment, but with next year in mind I dragged myself to the pool to take part in one of Bob's triathlon sessions on the penultimate evening of the year in preparation for my New Year's resolution. No doubt inspired by the thought that I need to live up to being a role model for Sun Yang. 

So stay tuned for next year's exploits in Binge Swimming.

400 warm up
4 x 50's back @ 70 s
4 x 50's breast working on underwater phase @ 70s
4 x 50's free one arm up pool breathing on passive side @ 75
4 x 25's fly kick @back
4 x 50's breast arms fly legs @ 90s
200 free
2 x 100 free
100 swim down

1800 session

yearly total 262650

Binge creeps over 260,000 metres for the year.

I set out this year to cover 590,000 metres in the pool and despite a promising start have failed quite spectacularly.

I was tempted not to bother swimming at all for the rest of the year as the Christmas festivities take hold, but the more I put it off the more I know the comeback has got to hurt.

Capitalising on yesterday's Tesco set I made 200 metres further before I completely lost interest. That brings my yearly total to a little over 260,000 metres pathetic. But if at first you don't succeed...

200 free @ 3.45
200 catch  up @ 4 mins
200 free, back, brst @ 4.15
200 catch up @ 4 mins
200 free 
4 x 100 pull @ 1:55
200 swim down

Binge Shopping (and a short December Dip)

There may not be much Binge swimming going on at the moment but give the season I can console myself with some Binge shopping; 

Which at this time of year (December) occasionally throws up the odd interesting challenge, like the email I received from the husband suggesting that I might like to buy him some cycling training DVD’s for Christmas. That seemed easy enough particularly as he’d helpfully provided me with a link to the site.

You can imagine the repercussions and alerts from my firm’s firewall when I clicked on the link to be taken to a site called “Sufferfest” and  I can tell you the situation didn’t improve when I selected the requested downloads with such thought provoking names as “Sufferama” “Hell hath no fury” and the particularly  evocative “Rubber Glove”. I just hope they arrive in plain brown wrappers.

Anyway lunchtime Tesco set (every little helps) ends the drought.

400 up free down alternating back & breast
400 up free down catch up
4 x 100 @ 2 mins pull
200 swim down