Friday 28 February 2014

Near Disaster?

I had a nasty scare this evening as I stood on the pool side waiting for the kids group to get out and our session to start.

All of a sudden the emergency alarms went off. The coach began to lead everyone on the pool side to the emergency exit.

I didn't fancy standing around outside in my cossie in sub zero temperatures not to mention the havoc this disaster would cause to my attempt to swim every day.

Fortunately the alarm died and we were able to resume our activities,
so the 2014 February Fitness Challenge came to an end at Gosforth pool this evening with a fairly unassuming session.

If I'm being honest I was pretty knackered and couldn't really muster any enthusiasm to swim the fast
bits fast but I puttered along and  covered just over 2,800 metres to take my monthly total past the 100k mark.

I'm just contemplating having tomorrow off.....

600 warm up 300 free, 200 back, 100 best
6 x 50 @ 15 s RI no 1
2 x 100 @ 20 s RI hard
2 x 75 @ 15 s RI Hard 0 easy
4 x 50 @ 60s
8 x 25 @ 40
4 x 50 @ 60s
2 x 75 @ 15 s RI Hard 50 easy
2 x 100 @ 20 s RI hard
525 metres swim down
2825 metres total
101,875 metres 

Thursday 27 February 2014

Nearly there!

So my penultimate FFC dip took place this evening in Consett's adult session. They have two lanes roped off and I found a trio of former Consett masters thrashing up and down when I arrived.

I slotted in and I managed a pretty steady 2.5k in about 45 minutes. It was a pretty unimaginative session but this effort brought me tantalisingly close to the magic 100k figure for the month so I was well chuffed.

One more day.

1000 warm up
800 pull
400 pull
300 mixed swim down
2500 metres

The post with the forgotten title

Great swim this evening with 10 of us in the plodders lane. EMSC 1.0 decided to up the pace and we were faced with the following little number.

The aim of the second shorter set was to swim faster than the first set. I didn't quite manage faster but on a neutral basis they were no slower and it was good to go under 90s for a 100.... Only 2 sessions left!

6 x 100 @ 2 mins 1-3 66 swim 33 kick, 4-5 66 swim 33 pull, 6 100 swimSet 1
2 x 200 @ 4 mins hard  2:53, 2:55
200 easy @ 3:30
4 x 100 @ 2 mins hard  85/86's
1 x 100 steady @ 1:50
6 x 66 @ 80 sec hard
5 x 100 steady 66 swim, 33 alternate kick/pull
Set 2
1 x 200 @ 4 mins  2:53
200 steady
2 x 100 @ 2 mins 85/86
1 x 100
3 x 66 @ 80s
400 swim down
3,900 metres

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Evil Mutant Swim Coach mixes it up while Nessy gets keen

Only three days left and I just can't wait to have a day off.

Although all this commitment has been worth it as there are definite signs that I am a better swimmer then I was at the beginning of the month. (admittedly not much better but at least I can now get under 45 for a 50 free)

Nessy turned up again this evening and was mad keen as our own Rob Ness Monster led the lane out for most of the session, a much better effort than last Tuesday's I reckon at this rate he'll have to migrate into the top lane. I was late as usual and missed the first 10 minutes of warm up.

Just when you think you've got a particular Evil Mutant Swim Coach worked out he goes and throws you a curve ball.

I mean for a kick off he made us start at the other end of the pool! So we had to congregate between sets at the deep end, I mean that takes a bit of effort to hang on the wall rather than just standing around.

Then he gave the teckneek set a complete body swerve and finally he made us do a 50m sprint from a dive! eek!

All that extra effort climbing out the pool and I managed a measly 37.5 and that was with a flyer. (old age and treachery) I saw on Twitter the other day that there's a special place in hell for people who leave the wall 2 seconds early! I know that my custom built spot is ready and waiting.

4 x 50's @ 60
400 free
200 drill
4 x 50's @ 60
3 x 200 @ 3:30 no 1 catch/up, no 2 DPS, no 3 stroke
6 x 50's sprint @ 1:40
3 x100 @ 2:10 brst no1 drill, no 2 DPS, no 3 stroke
4 x 50 brst sprint @ 1:40
200 easy
3 x 200 @ 3:45 no 1 catch/up, no 2 DPS, no 3 stroke
6 x 50's sprint @ 1:40
3 x100 @ 2:20brst no1 drill, no 2 DPS, no 3 stroke
3 x 50 brst sprint @ 1:40
100 Easy
50 from a dive 37.5 (with a flyer)
225 swim down
4225 metres total

Monday 24 February 2014

4 More Days,

Well that's 24 days down and only 4 more to go in this year's FFC.

Little by little the total yardage is creeping up and I'm now well over last year's effort and 2012's total as well. Nicely homing in on 2011's 102,000 metres.

Busy session this evening and I found myself leading lane 2, not particularly because I was the fastest but because there were only 5 of us, whereas there were 10 in the other lane. When we got to the main set EMSC 1.0 rather pointedly said this is all for extra rest, obviously EMSC 666 isn't the only one reading this blog.

400 free alternating swim 66 kick 33, swim 66 pull 33
6 x 100 @ 2:00
4 x 66 @ 1:20
2 x 33 @ 40
4 x 100 @ 1:50
4 x 66 @ 1:15
4 x 66 @ 35
2 x 100 @ 1:40
4 x 66 @ 1:70
6 x 33 @ 35 secs
700 swim down
3500 metres

Sunday 23 February 2014

Here's one I made earlier.

Off to Gosforth for my final Sunday swim during the February Fitness Challenge and for some reason my counting in these daily totalisers...

Wow there's a blast from the past was it Blue Peter that had a totaliser for their Christmas Appeal? where you would save silver milk bottle caps to make a new lifeboat out of.....blimey silver milk bottle caps remember them.

Well to get back to the point (get down Shep!) for some reason my totaliser has lost 200 metres but both of my current swim logs are recording the same 81,200 metres

I'll bow to the superior calculating power of a spreadsheet over the "here's one I made earlier" totaliser and put in a correction.

I've swum over 28k this week and I can feel every screaming muscle in my back, shoulders, fact you name it and it's aching.

Now this afternoon's highlight was a breaststroke technique set, EMSC 666 mentioned to me he'd been reading my blog (funny really I didn't think he was that educated) and right on cue out came the technique! Now I understand that not everybody is that enthusiastic when the technique involves breaststroke and particularly as the drills were quite difficult.

The best though was breaststroke legs where instead of a simultaneous leg action you swam one kick with the left leg and one with the right consecutively... boy was that a weird sensation it felt as if you were riding a bike in the water... Anyway Kate Nicholson struggled with the drill and eventually collapsed in fits of laughter in the middle of the pool which set the rest of the squad off in hysterics as she giggled and chuckled her way painfully slowly to the end.

Nice one to end on though.

6 x 50 @ 55 free
6 x 50 @ 55 drill
6 x 50 @ 55 free
2 x 100 free @ 1:50
4 x 50 @ 60 sec back
8 x 25 @ 40 free
2 x 200 free @ 3:30
12 x 25 free @ 40s own choice
2 x 150 br/st @ 3:30
12 x 25 free @ 40s
600 with paddles and fins
300 br/st drills and technique work
25m to rescue a hoop on the bottom
3725 total

Saturday 22 February 2014

Do or Die Saturday

My meterage (god isn't that an awful word) for the third week of the challenge was slightly down, so there was nothing for it but to throw caution to the wind and do two sessions today.

I still can't really believe that I rationally came to that decision and then voluntarily inflicted 8k of swimming on myself. But I did.

One of the positives for today though was that I rediscovered the CD player in my car. I usually listen to the radio (five live) (or occasionally some hapless client's interview under caution, (makes for riveting audio trust me)) in the car.

But, I drove down to the Pool this afternoon in glorious sunshine with an early Springsteen album (The Wild the innocent and the East Street shuffle in case you're interested) blaring out the speakers.

I was pretty sure that at about 7 minutes into "New York City Serenade" Bruce could've been singing "he's swim  min, swim  min, swim im inin"

OK in my dreams, but you see how obsessed I've become with this immersion in water lark.

I am a little worried that my brain's developed a terminal case of chlorine rot, but I did enjoy singing along at the top of my voice (though rather tunelessly I may add).

Now swimming back to back 4k sessions is not such a clever thing to do particularly at my age and level of fitness. I've also acquired some exquisitely painful cossie rubs.  I'm really suffering for my art and looking forward to my lie in tomorrow morning ......

Now thankfully there's only 6 days left of this year's February malarky left and whilst I don't really want to pre-empt anything it's looking promising that I might actually cover more than 100k metres for the month, (provided I hit all of next week's sessions of course.)

4 x 200 @ 30 s RI
8 x 25 Progressive 1-4 & 5-8
6 x 50 free @ 55
2 x 50 free @ 50
6 x 50 free @ 55
2 x 50 free @ 50
200 @ 5 mins
6 x 50 free @ 55
2 x 50 free @ 50
6 x 50 free @ 55
2 x 50 free @ 50
200 @ 5 mins
2 x 200 IM @ 4 mins
600 pull with paddles swim down
50 metres head up breaststroke!
4050 metres

200 free @ 15s RI
4 x 50 free progressive to 80%
200 free @ 15s RI
4 x 50 free progressive to 85%
200 free @ 15s RI
4 x 50 free progressive to 90%
400 free steady @ 30 s RI
4 x 25 @ 10 s RI
300 free steady @ 30s RI
4 x 25 @ 10s RI
200 free steady @ 30s RI
4 x 25 @ 10s RI
100 free steady @ 30s RI
4 x 25 @ 10s RI
200 free steady @ 30s RI
4 x 25 @ 10s RI
300 free steady @ 30s RI
4 x 25 @ 10s RI
400 free
450 swim down
4150 metres
Total for the day 8200

Friday Saddo Session Mark III

A late session at work and I escape just after 8pm to face a dilemma, I thought the session started at 8:15 and with a 30 minute drive was it going to be worth it.

I was seriously wobbling, but a quick check on Newcastle Masters reminded me it started at 8:30 so there was still time for a pretty decent session. As usual the sesh was poorly attended so I had a lane to myself and swam next to Peter French who was swimming part of the session with fins on and hoping EMSC 666 might not notice his rather large blue feet.

We worked our way through the following set which was varied and quite enjoyable, and almost worth giving up a Friday night for. It did however mean that I'm 75% through the February Fitness Challenge, only a week left.

I was also especially taken by Magda's luminescent orange micro fibre bathrobe.

200 free
2 x 100 alt back & brst 15s ri
4 x 50 @ 55s free
4 x 100 @ 2:00 1:55, 1:50, 1:45 decreasing
2 x 200 back and brst 50 kick, 50 drill 100 swim
12 x 25 @ 45 secs kick with fins
12 x 25 @ 40 secs IM order
300 pull swim down
2300 metres

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Binge and the Rest

A funny thing happened during this evening's session there I was puttering along and then all of a sudden I was getting rest.

What's going on here I think, as my recent Consett sessions have all been virtually continuous swims. I did point out to EMSC 1.0 that this was a bit of a novel concept i.e the rest bit (not the hundreds) and he needed to make sure that was what he intended as we didn't really want him to lose his reputation and have people think he was a push over.

After last night's session I was swimming much better and was probably swimming the 100's under 90 which is a bit of a mini break through compared to how I've been going.

Queenie Reid had obviously had too many Weetabix for breakfast this morning as after the final hard one hundred she actually asked EMSC 1.0 "what's the main set?" eh Joan we've already done 3000 metres!

1 x 333 66 swim 66 kick
1 x 333 66 swim 66 pull
1 x 333 66 swim 66 drill
1 x 100 steady @ 2 mins
2 x 100 66 steady, 33 fast @ 2 mins
3 x 100 33 steady, 66 fast @ 2 mins
4 x 100 fast @ 2 mins
30 secs rest
1 x 100 66 steady, 33 fast @ 1:50
2 x 100 33 steady, 66 fast @ 1:50
3 x 100 fast @ 1:50
30 secs rest
1 x 100 33 steady, 66 fast @ 1:40
2 x 100 fast @ 1:40
30 secs rest
100 fast (approx 83 seconds)
700 swim down 66 kick, 133 pull
3700 metres

Binge and Beckleberry Dad meet Nessy

We were joined in the pool this evening by Mr Ness swimwear himself, who will of course henceforth be referred to in this blog as Nessy.

That's if he turns up again and we haven't killed him off. Rob Ness dropped in behind me and stayed there drafting off me for the first half of the session before I finally gave in and dropped to the back. There was no other word for it I was swimming absolutely pants.

If it wasn't February I know that I would've wimped out and gone home after about 800, but I just gritted my teeth and slopped along at the back.

Nessy and Beckleberry dad seemed to be pretty much in the groove and just got on with it. Nessy even seemed keen to come back to another session, we'll soon knock that out of him.

400 free long and loose
2 x 200 IM no 1 kick, no 2 drill
4 x 100  build
8 x 50 up IM down free
6 x 25 kick arms by your side @ 60s
4 x 25 kick arms in front @ 60s
4 x 25 2 kick to 1 pull @ 45s
4 x 25 dps @ 45s
4 x 25 sprint @ 45s
4 x 100 @ 2 mins 25 fly hard 75 free easy
4 x 100 @ 2 mins 25 free 25 back hard 50 free easy
4 x 100 @ 2 mins 50 free 25 brst hard 25 free easy
4 x 100 @ 2 mins 75 free 25 sprint
4 x 100 @ 2 mins

Monday 17 February 2014

Calling International Rescue (well help from Binge)

I'd just sat down to eat my dinner this evening when my mobile phone went off. It was a distraught husband who had suffered a puncture in his tyre on his cycle home and needed rescuing.

So Binge leapt into action, (well once I'd finished my dinner). It was a pretty awful night and I rescued the forlorn Bob and his Phat Bike sheltering under a railway bridge in Birtley.

We then had an interesting 10 minutes trying to fit said Phat bike into the back of a Ford Fiesta which led to the inevitable argument about whose car was better. His logic was his was best because his Bike fitted better! who on earth wants to evaluate a car on the ability to stuff a fat ugly and puncture prone bike into the back of it?

We were eventually successful but only after I'd pushed the passenger seat so far forward Bob had to sit with his chin on his knees as I drove him back to his car (karma)

It reminded me that as a kid my brother was  a big Thunderbird fan, and he was insistent that their call sign F.A.B stood for Fund A Birds.

Anyway I was back in time to collect my swimming gear and make the Consett session which was hard work I am suffering a bit with this cumulative effort but only 11 more days to go.

200 free @ 3:30
6 x 33 drill@ 45
133 free @ 2:30
4 x 33 drill@ 40
66 @  80
2 x 33 drill @ 35
2 x 200 @ 3:30 free
8 x 33 @ 40s
3 x 133 @ 2:20 free
4 x 66 @ 80s
4 x 100 @ 1:45
2 x 100 @ 2 mons
6 x 66 @ 1:10
566 swim down
4033 metres

Sunday 16 February 2014

Binge Finds Second Gear (and might not be quite as senile as she thinks)

I've quite taken to the Newcastle Session on a Sunday afternoon, whilst it's a bit of a drag to drive over to Gosforth, I like the fact I'm swimming 25 metres instead of 33 and there are proper lane eraser lane ropes (less chop).

As much as I hate swimming anything but freestyle in training, a bit of variety and swimming medleys is probably good for me. The quality stuff at the end of today's session was totally lung busting but proved to me that I'm beginning to find another gear. It's all pretty slow still, but it seems to be gradually improving.

I was swimming behind Peter French who kindly commented that I had shown a marked improvement since the first session I had attended (a mere 2 weeks ago). Thanks for the encouragement Peter I did drive home with a smile on my face.

That's the problem with getting older, it's difficult to tell whether the rubbish way you are swimming is down to your lack of training and complete unfitness or whether it's simply down to the fact that you are fast approaching senility and your physical abilities are deteriorating as quickly as your mental functioning.

350 free @ 6:30
12 x 25 kick @ 45s
8 x 50's up IM order down free @ 70 s
2 x 200 IM @ 4mins
4 x 100 alternate 100 back @ 2:10, 100 best @ 2:15
400 free @ 7 mins
8 x 50's IM order @ 70s
2 x 100 broken 10s @ 50 @ 2:40
4 x 50's broken 10s @ 25 @ 2:30
200 broken 10s @ 50 and 100, and 10s @ 125,150 & 175
450 swim down
3700 metres

Saturday 15 February 2014

Binge and the February Fitness Challenge Part II

I struggled to drag myself out of bed this morning and missed Gateshead's session. It was only an hour having been curtailed by a kids age group meet, so I opted for the lie in and the Triathlon session this afternoon.

They've had an influx of fast kids since I was last there so I ended up at the back of lane 2 although by the time the main set came around I'd worked my way to second spot and held on for grim death.  I struggled a bit on the kick set (God I hate kick).

This afternoon's efforts took me over 50k metres for the month and 100k for the year.

2 x 300 @ 6 mins 75 swim, 25 pull,
4 x 100 @ 2 mins 75 swim 25 kick
6 x 50 @ 70 25 swim 25 drill
5 x 400 @ 7 mins 50 drill 300 swim 50 drill
8 x 50 kick @ 70s
8 x 50 pull with paddles @ 60s
300 pull swim down
4400 metres

Groundhog Day?

The half way point in the February Fitness Challenge roles round with Valentines Day and there was more than a touch of Groundhog Day about it.

Yet again I found myself at a hearing in the rather falsely named Civil and Family Justice Centre in Durham see here for a previous adventure in the world's most inappropriately named building and here for last years action when I was acting as a Taxi for teenage triathlete who went out for dinner in Newcastle.

But taxi duties over by 8:15pm I found myself yet again wending my way towards Gosforth Pool to catch some water time at the saddo session. There's something even more sad about swimming tonight with 7 of us with nothing better to do.

EMSC 666 had two different sessions going I looked at the turn around  times for the "fast guys" and went for the steady aerobic stuff. It was the pull with paddles which sold it for me. I did end up as Billy No Mates as everyone else (well all 6 of them opted for the other set.)

4 x 200 free @ 3:45
1000 pull with paddles
4 x 200 kick with fins @ 4 mins
250 swim down

Friday 14 February 2014

Posh Bogs and Swim Logs

I've probably already whinged on about how I'm having the week from hell at work, well I only just managed to scrape a swim yesterday evening.

For the last couple of days I've been engaged in a final hearing which was meant to take place at the Law Courts on the Quayside, but at 4:30 the evening before it was intended to start we receive a telephone call from Court Admin advising that the hearing had been moved to North Tyneside Magistrates Court.
This means you have precisely 30 minutes to track down your client and tell them they have to schlep clean across Tyneside to some freezing cold miserable 1980's building for what they consider to be the most important couple of days of their lives.

Things improved on the second day as we were then transferred to The Moot Hall in Newcastle, which is a wonderful historic building, lovingly restored but rather imposing and not a very user friendly place.

You can almost imagine the trapdoor under the dock which opened up depositing the poor defendant directly onto a waiting boat on the river below to be transported to Australia or wherever.

It does however possess the most pretentious loo I've ever seen, and all the more remarkable for being in a public building.

As for the continuing February Fitness Challenge I struggled to catch the last 25 minutes of the public session to complete a Tesco set of 1200 metres easy swimming. I think I needed the break.

1200 metres

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Garbage Yardage and Continuous Swims

There was a fair bit of garbage yardage in this evening's session as my body sort of fell apart doing this huge set of short rest (or rather no rest) intervals.

I was not the only one struggling, poor Cloughie's recovering from a chest infection and was lamenting his loss of form. (He was still tons faster than me). In a rare moment of compassion EMSC 1.0 relaxed the turn around times, a bit like last night's set they were meant to decrease as we worked our way down the set.

Anyway that's my monthly total completed in only 12 days according to my swim log.

1000 warm up
4 x 200 free @ 3:30
8 x 100 free @ 1:45*
60 secs RI
2 x 200 free @ 3:30
4 x 100 free @ 1 :45*
60 secs RI
1 x 200 free @ 3:30
2 x 100 free @ 1:45
366 swim down

Uncomfortable to Ugly

I left work early to attend a CPD lecture, but I planned to catch the last hour of the Gateshead session at Blaydon and  figured that I could cope with a shorter swim.

Well I turned up at the University to discover I was a mere 2 days early! never mind I now had plenty of time to make the swim work out early for a change. I joined Proudy on the pool side and he apologised for getting in my way the previous evening, although he did stress he thought I'd seen him and that I was clearly in the zone.

No EMSC 5.0 at the start of the session but the warm up was on the whiteboard. We all puzzled over the 100 br 3 fr scrawled on the board and there was a lengthy and lively debate as to what it meant, I'm not sure why but I thought it was 3 strokes breaststroke 3 strokes freestyle, another suggestion was 3 lengths breast 1 length free but the 100 br 5 fr didn't work for that proposal so we set off and swam this rather bizarre drill.

When EMSC 5.0 eventually turned up it was all revealed that we should've swum breathing every 3 strokes. Ah well just shows the combined IQ of our lanes is probably a negative digit. The Hungarian set was meant to be swum with shorter repeat times as you descended no chance of that.... particularly as EMSC described the set as "the first parts uncomfortable the second parts ugly"

500 free long and strong
400 (100 dps, 100 br 3 fr, 100 back dos, 100 br 5 fr)
300 kick 50 steady 50 hard
200 free stretch
20 x 25 @ 45 s drills
  1-4 dps
  5-10 torpedo kick
  11-16 dps + max kick
  17-20 sprint stroke count
16 x 25 sprint @ 30sec
8 x 50's @ 55s
4 x 100 @ 1:50
2 x 200 @ 3:40
400 @ 7:30
2 x 200 @ 3:40
4 x 100 @ 1:50*
300 swim down
* as you can see I missed the end of this set.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Barking BInge

The week from hell coming up at work with back to back final hearings all week, if I survive till 5pm on Friday then it will be a minor miracle.

It's a bit like having back to back exams you cram the day/night before so that all of the facts are at your fingertips then splurge it all out and start again. The cramming's had to move back a little later than usual as I'm still determined to keep the swimming going.

Back to struggling through an EMSC 1.0 session this evening, * the warm up was quite complicated but I got in late and couldn't work out what I was meant to be doing so I've just recorded the distance I covered. I was christened Mrs Grumpy by Proudy because I barked at him when he got in my way during my swim down.

Warm up 633*
3 x 200 @ 3:30
6 x 100 @ 1:45
9 x 66 @ 70
1 x 200 @ 3:30
2 x 100 @ 1:45
3 x 66 @ 70
700 swim down
3733 metres

Sunday 9 February 2014

A glimmer of hope?

As you might've guessed I've been catching up on my blogging this evening and I know you've all been worried that my February Fitness Challenge has spectacularly crashed and burned, but no I've just had a bit of a busy week and keeping this self indulgent waffle up to date has taken second place.

After the excitement of a night out in the company of Trafford Masters yesterday, it was back to Newcastle Masters Session this afternoon. I have come to the conclusion that I am obviously suffering from a bout of OCD. For some obscure reason I thought I would probably cover 800 metres more than if I swam at Consett, so as a sop to my developing masochism I found myself back at Gosforth pool with EMSC 666.

Despite this being my 9th consecutive day in the pool I really enjoyed the session except the fly, oh and the kick and the nasty 50's at the end, and now you come to mention it the backcrawl and the IM weren't too good either.

I was almost beginning to feel like a swimmer again, no doubt assisted by having some pull with paddles work. The 50's at the end were excruciatingly painful but definitely faster than plod plus, and probably represented a minor breakthrough, maybe there's life in the old dog yet.

Now there's an interesting dynamic going on between Evil Mutant Swim Coach 666 and the swimmers in the water. It's quite unlike anything I've ever encountered before and does make me chuckle so I plan to attend a couple more sessions there to savour this.

350 free @ 6:30
150 back @ 3:00
2 x 100 brst @ 2 mins
2 x 25 fly drill
200 IM
2 x 100 back @ 2:00
4 x 50 brst @ 70 secs
6 x 25 fly @ 45 secs
8 x 50 @ 70 kick with fins
2 x 50 free kick with fins
6 x 50 @ 70 back kick with fins
4 x 50's @ 70 free kick with fins
600 pull with paddles
3 x 50 @ 2 min RI
400 pull with paddles swim down

Binge and Bob go wild in Manchester

Week 2 of the challenge and no EMSC five point zero although he had thoughtfully left a session on the pool side.

After the tedium of Friday night things picked up on Saturday as I had been  invited to Trafford Metro Masters Dinner Dance to present British Masters  Cherriman award to their very own "anorak" Alan Rowson who has single handedly rewritten the age adjustment formula for the Decathlon competition.

Bob and I had a fantastic night in company with almost 90 swimmers. (even if we had to endure Big Nev's speech) (only joking Mr Barton sir)

I was particularly taken by the fact they made a big fuss about their improvers, as well as a very big fuss about their star Masters (and trust me they have shed loads).

The only downer of the night was walking from the function to the hotel in heels..... I don't do them very often and my balance is bollocks particularly after a sherbet or two. It was Manchester so of course it was raining as well but not enough to dampen our spirits, thanks guys for a great night.

600 warm up 200 swim 200 catch up 200 swim
4 x 50's IM drill @ 65
8 x 25's build 1-4 and 5-8
400 free @ 7 mins
4 x 100 free @ 1:50
4 x 100 free @ 1:50 pull with paddles
4 x 100 free @ 1:50 build each 100
400 IM @ 8 mins
4 x 100 IM @ 2:15
600 swim down pull with paddles

The Saddo Session

Now Friday swimming has always been a bit of a problem for me as neither Consett nor Gateshead have a Masters work out to celebrate the end of the week.

Problem solved though according to their web site City of Newcastle Masters had a sesh down at Gosforth pool from 8:30 - 9:30pm. Now what sort of individual spends a Friday evening thrashing up and down a pool at prime pub time?

Well clearly the answer to that slightly rhetorical question is a Sad Binge Swimmer, because I found myself making excuses and dragging myself away from a work's night out (a leaving do for our Financial Administrator) just as things began to get interesting.

We had been for dinner at a Thai place in Consett "Tiger Bills" or something which seemed to be suffering from a touch of schizophrenia as it advertised Bar/Wok/Grill and couldn't really make it's mind up if it was an eastern influenced eatery or an American Diner. I plumped for the burger and regretted eating the cucumber from the accompanying salad as it repeated on me throughout the swim session.

Most of my work colleagues had consumed a fair amount of wine and were heading for the newest chic wine bar in town, having just acted for the owner's wife in a divorce I figured it would be sensible to dip out.

What a saddo! I found myself driving down to Gosforth at 8pm to have Evil Mutant Swim Coach 666 inflict the following little set on me. Unsurprisingly there was only 7 of us turned up, I had a bit of a chat with EMSC 666 at the end and explained the madness I was attempting for the month, and couldn't tell if he was impressed or incredulous.

I also drove off from the pool without switching my headlights on which attracted the attention of a Traffic Plod who blue lighted me at Kenton Road.

I stopped, got out and was very apologetic and polite to him. (Obsequious even) that's because you never piss off a policeman because he has huge discretionary powers over your freedom at least for the next 12-24 hours if you truly upset him.

The chlorine aroma which was wafting over him, obviously convinced him that I hadn't just come from a pub and after a ticking off I was on my way.

8 x 50 @ 60 25 swim, 25 drill
8 x 25 @ 40
200 back
200 free
2 x 100 IM @ 2:00
200 breast
200 backstroke
200 free
2 x 4 x 25 kick with fins
8 x 25 @ 40 sprint last 12.5 metres
300 swim down
2500 metres

Binge and the February Fitness Challenge Day 6

Nearly missed out today, as a University challenge evening for Teenage Triathlete threatening to derail the February Binge.

Fortunately Bob turned up and whisked her off home leaving me to try and find a parking spot around Gateshead Leisure Centre, which is no mean feat I can tell you. The trials of 6 consecutive days swimming were beginning to tell and I was swimming rubbish.

The only silver lining was the fact that it was only an hour session.

50 fly drill 100 back swim @ 3:15
50 back drill 100 brst swim @ 3:15
50 brst drill 100 free swim @ 3:15
50 free drill 100 free swim £ 3:15
50 fly hard @ 70 secs
100 back steady @ 2:20
150 @ 3:15
50 back hard @ 70 secs
100 brst steady @ 2:20
150 @ 3:15
50 best hard @ 70 secs
100 free steady @ 2:20
150 @ 3:15
50 free hard @ 70 secs
100 free steady @ 2:20
150 free @ 3:15
3 x 200 broken @ 4 mins
 No 1 10 secs @ 50 3:09
 No 2 10 secs @ 100 and @ 50 3:05
 No 3 10 secs each 50 3:00
200 swim down
2600 metres

Binge and the February Fitness Challenge Day 5

Day 5 and a Consett session goes over 4k to put me nicely ahead of target.

I say nicely but actually it was anything but nice I was doing a fair bit of continuous swimming punctuated by some grab turns.

I suppose I have to ask myself is this really doing me any good? and heck I've only 23 days of it left.

300 warm up
9 x 33 @ 40 secs
4 x 66 @ 70, 33 @ 35
4 x 100 @ 1:45
200 free every 3rd length kick
4 x 66 @ 70, 33 @ 35
200 free every 3rd length pull
12 x 33 @ 35 secs
200 free every 3rd length kick
4 x 33 @ 35, 66 @ 70
200 free every 3rd length pull
4 x 100 @ 1:45
300 swim down
4100 metres

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Binge and the February Fitness Challenge Day 4

Day 4 of the 2014 February Fitness Flog and I'm beginning to get into the rhythm of Evil Mutant Swim Coach five point zero's Tuesday night sets.

After the technique set comes a monster freestyle set which I invariably cannot finish, tonight it was 3 sets of 4 x 200 on a decreasing turn around time. There was a minor essay on the white board explaining how each set should be harder (more evidence that he's been reading too many books) but as my eyesight is rubbish I can't read the clock properly and I'd forgotten the chest strap for my toosmartwatch I simply went plod and plod plus.

Fortunately I only managed 2 of them as we ran out of time.

150 free*
400 IM drill
250 kick**
200 Free
100 IM
Technique set
2 x 25 @ 45 secs  stroke
2 x 25 @ 45 secs dog paddle
4 x 25 @ 45 secs head up freestyle
4 x 25 @ 45 secs water at eyebrows
2 x 25 @ 45 secs  think!
2 x 25 @ 45 secs  stroke
2 x 25 @ 45 secs dog paddle
4 x 25 @ 45 secs head up freestyle
4 x 25 @ 45 secs water at eyebrows
2 x 25 @ 45 secs  think!
4 x 200 @ 3:50
6 x 50 back @ 1:15 turns and 4 dolphins kicks off wall
4 x 200 @ 3:40
6 x 50 breast @ 1:15 (there was something to think about here but I'd lost the will to live at this point
200 free
300 swim down
4500 metres

* this should've been 500 metres but I arrived late
** this should've been 300 but our lane leader (a bloke of course!) miscounted!

Binge and the February Fitness Challenge Day 3

Day 3 of the FFC and lots of grown up stuff going on at work today, so I was pleased to escape to the pool so that I could switch off.

I found myself at Consett Masters Monday session and shock horror we flogged our way through almost 4k and not a hundred repeat in sight. A fairly busy session in the company of the usual suspects.

Sparky Walton was fresh from his exploits at the Chill Swim in Windermere over the weekend..Brrrr not for me. I am a complete wuss when it comes to open water and I need my wetsuit.

Despite all the usual turmoil I was feeling quite smug about my efforts so far this month when I read on facebook's "did you swim today?" about someone who swam 11k yesterday! Maybe I could just retire and spend all of February immersed in chlorine.

4 x 200 @ 3:45
No 1 steady
No 2 hard every 3rd length
No 3 hard every 2nd length
No 4 hard
4 x 5 x 133's as
  5 x 133 @ 2:30
  1 x 133 @ 2:30
  2 x 66 @ 1:10
  1 x 133 @ 2:30
  2 x 66 @ 1:10
  1 x 133 @ 2:30
  1 x 133 @ 2:30
  4 x 33 @ 35
  1 x 133 @ 2:30
  4 x 33 @ 35
  1 x 33 @ 2:30
  5 x 133 @ 2:30
433 swim down
3,900 metres

Sunday 2 February 2014

Introducing the devil incarnate Evil Mutant Swim Coach 666

Day 2 of the February Sufferama and the disaster which was anticipated here was  averted with a bit of forward thinking (now that's a Binge first)

The Consett Masters session was cancelled today, but Newcastle Masters came to my rescue suggesting I might like to drop onto their session at Gosforth.

Now I have to confess that I had mixed feelings about accepting this kind invitation as it meant swimming with yet another swim coach who has of course now earned the title of Evil Mutant Swim Coach 666.

Devotees of this column may be forgiven for thinking that my challenge has morphed from a mile a day into trying to swim with every single swim coach in the North East; and if you are being super observant you will have noticed that I have miss numbered this particular individual, who should rightly be six point zero but it seemed to me the number of the beast was apposite because we have history me and EMSC 666.

Not always good either but the highlights did include his coaching me a mere 26 years ago when I set my lifetime PB's for breaststroke and I was reminded that he does have a great eye for technique and timing when he gave me some stroke correction pointers during the breaststroke sprints. However making me swim 6 x 25's fly simply added to the justification for calling him 666.

The turn around times were do able but I'm not sure that you could properly call the sets of 6 x 25's sprints; but I survived them probably swimming at a slightly faster pace then my usual "plod" I think it's a pace deserving of the term "plod plus".

I really enjoyed my swim with the Newcastle lot, they were friendly and welcoming and Rachel very kindly let me lead the lane, (I soon realised that she was tons faster than me but was politely giving me about 15 seconds head start!)

One thing though I didn't catch Peter at the end of the session to pay for my swim so I owe them a fiver, I'm good for it honest and I'm sure I'll be back there before the month's out. Cheers guys and thanks.

4 x 4 x 75 @ 10s RI Medley order 25 kick 50 swim (only managed 14 of them)
3 x 4 x 100 @ 2:15 as
  No 1  50 free, 25 fly kick 25 fly swim (drill in my case)
  No 2  50 free, 25 back kick 25 back swim
  No 3  50 free, 25 brst kick 25 best swim
  No 4  100 IM
4 x 6 x 25 @ 40 secs (sprints!) medley order
12 x 50's pull with paddles @ 70 secs 1-6 free, 7 -12 best
50 swim down
3500 metres

February Fitness Challenge starts here. Just do it!

February 1st and we're off on the February Fitness Challenge again you're still not too late to set off on this see the Barracuda Website for further details here.

You can still make 27 days of the challenge (assuming you didn't swim yesterday) which is still good enough for a gold day award. A silver day award is averaging at least 5 swims a week.

I'm not sure why I should be so evangelical about spending the month, in perpetual pain and stiffness, with bingo wings and neckline friction burns and emanating a continuous chlorine odour but this is the one time in the year when I try not to think about swimming (because I can inevitably come up with at least three reasons why I shouldn't go) I just do it.

My aim is to swim 100,000 yards so this was a great start.

500 swim stroke count every 4th length
300 IM 50 fly drill, 100 ba and brst 50 free
8 x 25 @ 45 build 1-4 & 5-8
100 kick max
3 x 4 x 200 @ 3:45 as
  no 1 DPS
  no 2 pull with paddles
  no 3 build to max last 25
  no 4 max decreasing pace
300 swim down
3800 metres

EMSC 5.0 butters up BInge

Interesting day at work on Monday, there I was standing next to my desk when there was an almighty crash and the window came in. I looked up to see some teenager legging it ironically in the direction of the police station.

It must've been a very slow crime day in Consett because the local plod turned up virtually immediately to take a statement, and a description of the fleeing youth.

Their arrival was so swift I'm sure they probably bumped into the offender on their way across. They said they would check the CCTV (pointing in the wrong direction)

I was pretty sure that I wouldn't recognise the individual again and my ID would fall foul of all of the R v Turnbull guidelines. To give them credit they realised they were flogging the proverbial dead horse so I didn't have to give a statement ending in the immortal phrase "no one had any right or authority to hurl bricks at my window".

Now swimming on Tuesday proved interesting, firstly Evil Mutant Swim Coach 5.0 turned up muttering about some column in the Swimming Times and wondering how he came to feature somewhat unfavourably in it! Then during our technique set, he was very complimentary about my execution of the back/free rollover drill, (an unusual attack of modesty prohibits me from repeating his actual phrase)

It struck me that he was clearly worried that he may feature in future episodes, ahh the power of the press!

50 m free (got in late)
3 x 400 @ 7:30
as 200 free 200 back
    200 free 200 best
   100 breathing 3's 100 breathing 5's
3 x 6 x 50's @ 75 1st set ba, 2nd set brst 3rd set free
as 1-2 sprint first 15 m
    3-4 hard in and out of turn
    5-6 sprint last 15 m
26 x 25 back and free tecnique set back/free rolloover drills
12 x 100 @ 1:45
   1-4 breathe every 4 strokes
   5-8 breathe every 5 strokes * sneaky extra 30 secs rest
   9-10 breathe every 6 strokes
  11-12 breathe every 7 strokes
300 swim down
4400 metres