april 25 -splashmouth

DISTANCE: 924m

TIME: 48mins

“I’m going for my most half-arsed swim ever”, I inform my colleagues, as I head to the pool this lunchtime. Tired Monday-itis in full swing and I can NOT be bothered. But I still head over to the pool anyway, knowing somewhere deep down that that would be better than lying down under Jeremy Bentham’s chair to sleep until they move me on.

Swim was FINE in the end, but I am annoyed as once again my lap counting was off. In fact, I thought I had done one extra lap than I intended, but actually I’d done one less. CHIZ 😦

At one point I had the slow lane to myself for a minute so I tried another SPRINT! I did not make it to the end of the pool, alas. I think I made it to over 25m but then ended up getting too little oxygen and too much chlorine in mouth… oops. Let’s call it a work in progress.

I even considered trying a length of BACKSTROKE for one crazy moment – but I’m not brave/crazy enough for that yet, even in an empty lane…

As for !SUPER SPLASH BRO! who turned up about halfway through the session: tell me, how can your splash STILL hit me and make me splutter even when I am breathing on the OPPOSITE side to where you are swimming past me?! Gahhhh!!! Still – I suspect I would have to put up with this when I am in  RACING CONDITIONS? (yeah yeah “turtle grand prix” is that)? So perhaps I shall just consider this guy to be getting me practicing for TOKYO 2020! (I have decided to spend Rio in front of the telly eating chorizo sausage and regret nothing, sorry Team GB).

SEE YOU NEXT WATER TIME

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april 25 -splashmouth

22 April – all of the lights alluvthelihhhhts

Distance: 850m.
Time: 41mins

A new pool today! A ladies evening session at King’s Cross. A 25m pool featuring “mood lighting” and a play pool AND jacuzzi?! Radio Rental! Points of note:

1. I tried my first ever sprints! Actually rather fun! Coach Chlorine made me do another one halfway down the pool as we were finishing up so she could check me out. The review was not bad, which is Coach being very kind to my sluggish ways. I am told I could work on hand entering the water in a smoother way with less splashes. Apparently I am not too bad at this when going at usual slow ways (‘working on my form’) but flailed a bit more when attempting speed. Fair enough! I will try again when in a relatively free 25m pool. Alas, the last sprint brought on cramp immediately on my shove off the wall. I think I may have pushed off too hard – something that I have read about that real swimmers do! So whilst it hurt – lookitme! Making mistakes actual fast swimmers make! Where is my FASTSKIN?

2. flipping heck KX pool has the tiniest changing rooms ever. I don’t even K.

3. Realised a little more about the mechanics of wonder widget. Having left my phone at home, I wasn’t able to update the pool length from 50m to 25m. On syncing at home, it told me I did 34 lengths, total distance 1700m. Um… Whilst I would love to do 1700m in 41m I strongly doubt it. So what it must do is simply register turns, and base it’s tracking on the distance you’ve pre-established on the app. I guess that’s cool? But it confirms that it’ll never track laps where you’ve had to turn around halfway through or anything like that. Hmm, ah well. I am pleased enough with this distance and time, given it involved a bit of chatting and getting in and out of the pool to fetch pull buoys! Only did 2 pull buoy lengths in the end.

4. Jacuzzis are bonkers.

22 April – all of the lights alluvthelihhhhts

20 april – return to the scene of the swimathon

DISTANCE: 1,000m

TIME: 46mins

IMG_20160420_222605

Oh my DAYS! For the first time ever, me and the wonder widget AGREE that I swam what I set out to do! Gold Medals HERE WE GO!*

It is so much EASIER counting laps when there’s much less of them!

In reality, I think I may have swum a little more than this, as the slow lane had a few jams which caused me to switch out through half a length and swim back the other way. However, given the bang on 1000m tally, and the fact that you have to specify the length of pool in the app before a swim, I think that the wonder widget times in a more rigid manner than linking distance directly to stroke count? Which is what I had assumed it did?

I’m starting to think I should have done a bit more extensive research rather than getting carried away, but I don’t regret it really, it’s still pretty nifty a device!

All in all this was a LOVELY swim, the pool was grand, I felt comfortable for most of it, didn’t get any cramp, and my last two laps were particularly nice. I started breathing on my right hand side, and suddenly felt I was stretching more with my arms and maybe getting in a bit more power? This could be all in my mind, or because I knew I was nearing my target, but maybe there’s something to it?

SEE YOU NEXT GOLD MEDAL TIME!

*They’re definitely not made of chocolate and from a Westfield tat shop!
20 april – return to the scene of the swimathon

18 april -heated bliss

DISTANCE: 858m

TIME: 1hr 05??

Back to the indoor heated 33m pool. Timing courtesy of Wonder Widget, and seems a little bit off to me? I was really disappointed when it told me the above – I had aimed to try and do ~1km, but I appear to have mis-counted two laps somewhere. I’m also sure I wasn’t in there for 1hr5! Ah well?

Everything nearly went disastrously wrong as I FORGOT MY TOWEL – argh! Thankfully I realised this BEFORE I got into the pool rather than afterwards. An emergency trip upstairs and forking over a tenner got me an emergency towel. “Your choice of super-absorbent or ‘bath'”, they said.

Now, I am a fan of microfibre towels as ANY FULE KNO, but sometimes you just want something warm and fluffy, darn it! I’m sure it was probably the memories of shivering in Brockwell Lido coming back. So, I picked the fluffy towel and dashed back downstairs and finally made it into the pool.

Swim itself was OK? Didn’t feel particularly energetic. Started to get a sneaking suspicion that I have somehow fooled my brain into a sort “oh why yes I am totally 733+ swimX0R can’t you tell from my beefcake arms of steel”-inspired partiality for long course pools and deep ends, perhaps? Stopped at the end of lengths quite a lot and had a few stupid choking moments.

I can at least report that the fluffy bath towel was an enjoyable experience! I would almost go as far as saying it is the “charm point” of the changing rooms (which tbh are a bit of a bl00dy dump but you get wot you pay for == not a lot which is TICK but also UMMM sometimes less hair in the showers would be nice…)

18 april -heated bliss

17 april – first COLD WATER swim at BRRRR-ockwell lido!

LO! Time to record my first post-swimathon swim. Pretty much a month off? So why not break my swimming duck with:

DISTANCE: 300m

TIME: don’t know

WATER TEMPERATURE: 12.8 degrees

Brrrrrrr-rrrrrrrr! Yes, o reader, I went to an unheated pool, Brockwell Lido to be precise! As I waited for fellow swim crew member (watching the clouds run into the previous blue sky), I rubbernecked on the current swimmers. Oh, there’s someone in a wetsuit! How amusing! Oh… and another! And… another. And… oh.

I think of the SLAZ in my swimming bag. It hasn’t let me down so far! I get changed, and we head to the pool. I splash my neck with cold water.

ARGH JEEBUS FLIP ARGH WHAT TH-, I muse calmly.

The water is juuuust that bit colder than a cold water shower that has run for a while under the directions of Commandant Pingu. This is some serious cold, I think. But we’ve paid by now! What exactly we’ve paid I’m not sure, as the young gentleman who lets us pay in cash wasn’t sure about our amount of change, and I a/ had any coffee; and b/ all my thoughts are about wet-suit zips (“dangly”) so I just took whatever change he gave me, tra la la.

The pool has steps, so I walk in rather than my usual splish in. CORRECT DECISION. It is AGONISING. It hurts, AND shocks. When I’m in up to my waist, I decide that – like swimming in the sea – the only thing to do is just to duck in and set off.

WARGHRHRHRHHHH! In hindsight, this is a MISTAKE! Having now looked up things like “cold shock” and “nervous reactions”, I realise I should have hung around immersing myself at the shallow end for a while first. I set off – first stroke of crawl aborted as I was gasping like I’d just sprinted 200m. I genuinely could not put my head underwater, and I was shivering like like a little trembly chihuhua without its coat on.

The first 50m HURT. Shivering, couldn’t breathe, hands hurting, feet hurting.

100m was a little better, but still painful.

150m, I manage like three strokes of crawl, but my heart is still going and I’m still gasping.

200m: BR all the way

250m: manage around 6 strokes of crawl twice, and manage to get head underwater a bit more.

300m: feet are REALLY feeling numb and achey now, but am managing a tiny bit more crawl.

At this point, I give it a rest. I think I could have just about done another 100m, but my feet would have been in agony by then. I join fellow swim crew member on the pool-side. Both of us are tomato-red all over from the cold. I slap myself about a bit on the arms and legs – “like buff swim guys! hrrrngh!”, and we talk in delighted tones about how warm the concrete is, and how warm AIR is, and how warm EVERYTHING that is not that ICE BATH of a pool is, and so on.

I am pretty sure straightaway that my endorphins/shock reactions are dialled up to the max, and alternatively quite impressed (and a little awed) at just the fact having that reaction to the cold water in the first place – a new physical thing, that has happened to me! That’s actually pretty cool! I’m also pretty pleased that I just went and did it in the first place.

Another feeling quite close to elation arises that I didn’t choose the 80? 100m?? Tooting Lido for my first cold swim. Yikes!

Overall: whilst that HURT, it was in an interesting and exhilarating way, so I would kind of like to do it again? But, I may well invest in some neoprene socks if I were to do a swim in those temperatures again.

PS: afterwards, a bit of a frustrating lunch in the Prince Regent (the Lido cafe has a 45min WAIT, wtH?), one of those pubs that does “table service”, i.e. you go and queue up at the bar to place an order, they tell you to go away and then come back to take your order as an when they feel like it, whilst your insides are about to start gnawing on the coasters in desperation. They also consider ox cheek and ox tail to be interchangeable, and getting your bill is a trying ordeal. Has any pub ever managed successful table service? I DOUBT IT…

 

 

17 april – first COLD WATER swim at BRRRR-ockwell lido!

Oh dear oh dear

Still no actual swimming #content from me to share with you! BUT, I have been working on another swimming project (ladies night/chlorine right), writing up the Masters, and of course following the endless tweets from @britishswimming with all the results from Tollcross.

Also, whilst researching my own swimming data visualisation plans, I found this handy map that someone else has made of Them London Pools. I looked at their Crystal Palace post – ok ok it’s from 2011 and Things Were Different – but they refer to the playing of piped music, what the heck? OK, I’ve only been to CryPal ONCE myself and that was in the evening, but that is snooker blimming loopy…

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?dg=feature&msa=0&mid=zp__J-qxIeZ4.kBUuGUYz4S5s

Courtesy of the pretty nice Swimming Round London blog, which I believe a fellow swim-crew member mentioned to me on a trip to Marshall St baths one time.

It is anecdotes like this that will get me the swimming PULITZER!

Oh dear oh dear