‘Let un sink as swims’

December 31, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m the one in the orange hat. It’s nicer than the pool, but where has everyone else gone?

I gave daughter #1 a book of Saki short stories for Christmas, which dislodged the incantation ‘Let un sink as swims’ from the back of my head where these things huddle.

Anyway, I looked it up, and the story also has the phrase ‘and legs churned the water in a helpless swirl of flapping and kicking….the wildly bobbing body …rolled and twisted under the surface’.

Which brings me to yesterday’s swim. Becki and I went to the pool for a quick (ha!) bit of aquathlon practice.

I should clarify here that I never describe myself as a triathlete; in conversation, I will admit to doing a few triathlons, but I think there is a difference there. But, even people that only do a few triathlons should think about mixing a bit of swimming into their training.

In late September, I did a walrussy clamber on to the beach at the Dawlish Triathlon. In late November I splashed around a heavily-occupied hotel pool for five minutes. And, er, that’s it for my swim training in recent history.

I still didn’t think (I don’t know why) that I would be as slow and struggling as I was yesterday though. I have put the times in to shame myself; 10:05 for 400m, and 15:30 for 600m. I’m sure that’s slower than when I first started swimming. And got lapped by Becki, plus a bit more.

I did a hilly running penance afterwards, but enough is enough. I can’t be doing with writing any more about my rubbish swimming.

It’s time to get a grip, and do some proper training.

Starting from the day-after-tomorrow, obviously, let’s be realistic here.

Three runs

December 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Top of Brat Tor

Top of Brat Tor

#1 – cold and crisp at High Down, and Becki and I went for the direct route up the west face of Brat Tor to blow the cobwebs away before some mild Christmas-and-pasty shopping in Tavistock.  

At the top of the tor I sometimes feel a little cross, and then it  was on and up across mild tussocks to Chat Tor (which we agreed looks like a cow pat, in the nicest possible way).

We peered into the wilderness eastwards, and then it was back to breaking the ice on top of the bogs to Sharp Tor. A stumble-and-bump of a descent through the clitter (it’s not the rocks that get you, it’s the gaps where the rocks aren’t), and then a nice run across to Doe Tor for a look down on to the way home.

Stepping stones turned into a paddle across the Lyd at a pool that’s warmer in the summer, then a quick whiz back on close-cropped grass for tea and mince pies in the car. 

#2 – dark and wet coming home late from work, and my prescribed 4x 1,000m round the track evolved into 4 x 4 minutes round the streets.

Being too clever by half, I set my shiny new interval-timing-watch  to shout beepily at me when the 4 minuteses were up (and the 90 second recoveries too), allowing no hiding and no slacking. 

This plan would have worked better if I had properly read the instructions for the watch. I’m used to the stretching effect that interval and turbo work has on time, and how the seconds get slower as the breathing gets faster.  But even so, something over five minutes into the allegedly-four-minutes first effort, my oxygen-starved brain was realising that something was definitely up (and not just the hill).

As it turned out, I had set the watch for 4 x 4 hour efforts, with a 90 minute recovery between each one. Ambitious? Moi? Three rather shorter efforts later, and I was in front of the woodburner with some  red wine (and some press ups, but we’ll explain that another time).

#3 – Tavistock again, but a work trip this time, punctuated by another diversion to High Down and a 35 minute threshold effort along the old tramway and back along rougher ground.

I don’t run hard enough when on the moors, so this was an eye-watering step in the right direction. It’s a long gradual pull up to the tram points above Lake Down, and the way back down had the wind against me to add some continuity of effort.

Unlike run number one though, there were no views! The hills were still there, and the valleys too, and the clouds were high and so was the sun. Didn’t see a bit of it though, just me and some grippy shoes, and a good attitude and the ground ahead. Good to be out.

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