Monday, 18 April 2011

Less and More

School holidays always present added logistical considerations, what with working shifts, child care and now the Easter break, it will come as little surprise that the last week has been a little stop/start in terms of training, however..every cloud...

Monday I managed an hour in the pool at Total Fitness, though I haven't been back since. I didn't get back to the water 'til Thursday when I had a really nice swim at Ellerton Lake (with Amanda Bell and Jo Charlton) the temperature had settled to a steady 55f, I got into a nice rhythm swimming 5 laps in the desired 60 minutes.

The facebook group I mentioned on a previous post, were then invited to a Sea swim at Seaton Carew on Saturday 16th, the day was fine and warm, very little breeze and glass like water conditions,joined by 3 other swimmers (Amanda, Kate, Phil) and Charlie armed with the camera for evidential purposes, I swam for another 40 minutes at 50f 10c...I was delighted that all three other attendees agreed to take the plunge without the rubber for the final two or three minutes..I just wanted them to experience the water and the freedom without their second skin. There was no complaints and everyone seemed to have a great time, to the extent that most are looking forward to more time in the salt...I told you salt is good for you!

Sunday was another gorgeous day, which allowed for another trip to the coast, this time accompanied by KGB, I entered the water alone swimming for another 47 minutes at 51f (there was a patch at 53f which felt amazing, though it didn't last!) The sea was once more glass like in appearance, I don't really like the water being so patchy as the good news is allowed followed by the bad.. which makes me clench my teeth under water and curse out loud! That said I am pleased with the progress and should top the hour in the sea this week all being well. I have also been nursing the remnants of an ear infection as you will notice by the cap in the photographs, it seems to be doing trick..better safe than sorry.
So... for all I only made the pool once, the increase in open water time is good, looking back on last years records I can see that I am around a month ahead, which is ideal considering the enormity of the goals that lay ahead. After all it is now less than two weeks til the swim4life (24 miles in 24 hours) closely followed by the gruesome Champion of Champions in Dover Harbour.
There has also been some other excellent news...swimming alone in cold open water for anything more than a couple of hours can be soul destroying, hence I am grateful to the other swimmers joining me at this early point in the season. However, better still is the my new find - Peter Windridge France, he is an English Channel aspirant with a slot booked for this summer with CS&PF Pilot Lance Oram, he only lives in Leeds about 60 miles away. In an ideal world we will be able to meet up and perform our longer training sessions together which I can tell you makes a massive difference.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Salt IS good for you

Having been blessed with unseasonal glorious sunshine for more or less the whole week, I am pleased to report more progress with this years acclimatisation, on Saturday (10 April) I had another trip to Ellerton Lake where I met some more new swimmers via the new facebook group. It came as no surprise to find the water temperature had jumped up to 55f  (about 12.5c) I swam for 60 minutes finishing the afternoon with monster portions of chocolate cake courtesy of Dominic Gillespie or rather his wife.

Sunday brought another beautiful day, so nice that we decided to drive to Seaton Carew...the plan was to just get in and feel the cold water of the North Sea on my skin, I told KGB I intended to basically breast stroke for ten minutes to asses the temperature knowing full well it would be no where near as comfortable as the fresh water of the lake. Once through the small breakers I soon found it possible to get on with some freestyle, it was a little bumpy but very invigorating, I exited the salt water after 30 minutes.. delighted with the session I drove home on a high as a result of the return to salt water.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Open Water Swim North East England

There seems to be more and more events and information being made available relating to swimming on the Internet, only for one to be re directed to a facebook login page, I therefore made the decision against my better judgement to reactivate my account just recently. The next logical step after last weekends OSS swim was to create a group for those local to me, for support/advice/general communication and planning. I have done so and called it Open Water Swim North East England.

Without further ado future swim meets were being scheduled, starting today at noon, that said the only other anticipated participant was delayed to the point of non attendance. Having already arrived at Ellerton Lake, I decided to take the plunge solo, a brief mental battle followed as I edged into the water, (it was way harder than Saturday being alone this time). The sun was shining, so I set myself the goal of two laps, to double the previous effort from five days ago, to my delight I was feeling good so continued for a further lap and half exiting the water after 45 minutes at 52F. A great step forward. I am looking forward to another dip this coming weekend where all being well I should top the hour.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Double Dippers

Training and plans for the year ahead are progressing well, I finally had a telephone conversation Andy Williams regarding our joint venture for the summer, that being the two way, 21 mile, Windermere swim..we have agreed on the broader issues and intend to rendezvous in the Lake District soon to iron out the finer details. Basically we will be swimming the lake both ways non stop together, utilising two safety/escort boats. Having spoken to Andy (who also a swimtrek guide) I am now really excited about this major challenge.

Training wise I continue to build both time and distance in the pool in preparation for the first obstacle of the year..the 24 hour 24 mile swim for life at Guildford Lido which is now only a matter of weeks away. Last week was consistent in the pool with no real side effects (other than usual chlorine issues) as previous I will avoid boring you with the break down of each session, you can however leave a comment if you want to be enlightened!

Monday 28 March..6500m @Total Fitness
Tuesday 29 March..3500m @David Lloyds
Wednesday 30 March.. 2500m @Total Fitness day
Friday 1 April..10,000m @Total Fitness ..a mind numbing set!
Saturday 2 April..1000m @Ellerton Lake
Sunday 3 April ..6900m @Total Fitness
Total 30,400m

A pleasing week for me, however if you think I am making the effort, check out Sally Goble who is also entered in the swim for life, she recently swam 12 one mile repetitions in the lido! quite frankly putting me to shame, you can read her write up here. Awesome swimming Sal, see you soon.
Saturday finally saw KGB and I venture back to Ellerton Lake for the first time this year where we met the ever jovial Sarah Tunnicliffe and several OSS swimmers, arriving at the car park slightly behind schedule around 11am we received lots of hugs and greetings before briefing the swimmers/making suggestions as to what route to take, then the moment came to enter the frigid water. 
This was to prove a major shock to the system, normally my initial dip of the year is just jumping around in the sea getting my skin accustomed to the chill, today however was a straight forward jump in and get on with it type approach. My breathing took some controlling after entry, however I eventually managed to get into my front crawl and the accompanying brain freeze! One lap for starters at 50f 10c, before exiting the water, coloured up like a lobster, ready for what Sarah describes as the calorie free window, much cake and hot chocolate later I managed to persuade several swimmers to take a second dip. Even talking some into shedding the rubber..This was by far easier on the system, with little if any breathing issues, still had the ice cream headache but that's normal for me at this stage. Double dipping is definetely the way forward.
Overall a great start to the outdoor season thanks to the organisational skills of our friend Sarah.

Almost forgot..thanks to Clare Woodhead for taking the photos