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