A gentle run to start the week – one of the usual routes for just over 7km (4.4 miles) at just under 6 min/km. The weather is still bizarre – very pleasant on the run, hailstones soon after we finished.
I’d contemplated swimming in the evening but in the afternoon I did some digging and fencing of the new vegetable area with our son, between showers, and that finished me off for the day.
We all ran the same 7km route on Tuesday morning (with the amount of rain we’ve had recently, it seems the safest bet) but I managed to mow for the first time in a couple of weeks. I’m told that last year in May we had 20 days of 20℃ (68℉) or more – so far this year there had been just the one.
In the evening I went back to the pool. There is a lot to think about with this swimming lark – not least ‘breathe out with face under the water and in with face out of the water’. One theory seems to be that the more you swim, more stuff becomes natural, leaving you to concentrate on fewer but more important things. If I ever find out what on earth those important things might be I’ll be making progress.
I managed another 1.1km – with the 1km in 28 minutes again.
I’m nowhere near to mastering swimming but it’s a more comfortable experience than it was … and having made it more comfortable I’m going to try it in the open water to increase the discomfort factor exponentially.
Thursday came with improved weather. The coaching session was being shared with a friend (who has also signed up for the triathlon in September) so we dutifully turned up at the lake – it’s an old gravel pit about 20 miles away – with wetsuits and little in the way of swimming skills or confidence.
I’ll admit to having serious concerns about the whole thing as I had never swum in a river or lake and am a wimp in the cold. I have no idea whether it was especially cold or not for open water swimming but the water was 16.4℃ (61.5℉). The instructor was very good with the necessary acclimatisation and gave us just a small number of things to work on, rather than throwing a dozen things at us to confuse us completely.
We were in for nearly 50 minutes which was spent getting us happy in the open water and working on breathing, the leg kick and sighting. I expect we swam no more than 800m but I did at least do a 100m swim (which is no big deal for most people, but is a step up from lengths of a 25m pool).
Clearly, there is basic swimming technique to be learned and honed – and then open water techniques to be added to that, but I came away feeling much happier about swimming in the open water.
To my surprise I really enjoyed the session – and the pike, swans, geese and goslings didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence. For a poor swimmer, it’s a bit daunting to realise what 750m of water looks like – but it has given me some confidence that I might be able to do it. We are going to book another open water session in July.
One new concern – I loved the extra buoyancy the wetsuit provided but my transition time between the swim and the cycle could be as long as the swim itself, given my total incompetence at getting out of it.
An hour in the gym on Friday morning, followed by a session in the bike shop and supper with friends.
On Saturday I drove up to London with my wife after a day in the garden. We stayed at the flat overnight (the first time for over a year!) and had lunch with friends on Sunday, but not until one of my great delights from any trip to London – a run along the Thames Path in the morning.
West Kensington to Hammersmith, join the Path at Hammersmith Bridge, down to Putney Bridge, over that and a short way up the Path on the other side, and back again. A very nice 10km in an hour and the first run for many months without a compression top beneath the running shirt.
An interesting week in many ways. The knee is ok but I’ve almost forgotten about training for the ultra in July as that would make me want to ramp the mileage back up and that might not be wise. I’ll keep the running going for the sheer pleasure of it – and I now have an aim of improving the swimming. The instructor said that three times a week is needed to improve significantly – it’s going to be difficult to fit that in with the gym and cycling too.
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: The storm worsens when it’s ending
2. BBC News website: New dark matter map reveals cosmic mystery
An international team of researchers has created the largest and most detailed map of the distribution of so-called dark matter in the Universe but the results are a surprise because they show that it is slightly smoother and more spread out than the current best theories predict. The observation appears to stray from Einstein’s theory of general relativity – posing a conundrum for researchers.
I may not sleep tonight
3.BBC News website: Robot submarine Boaty McBoatface in Loch Ness dive tests
An online initiative in 2016 asked the public to suggest a name for a new polar exploration ship.
‘Boaty McBoatface’ was the suggestion that gained most support (124,109 votes) but UK government ministers rejected this as inappropriate, and ordered that the ship be called RRS Sir David Attenborough. It was decided, however, that one of its robot submarines could be named Boaty McBoatface.
Bloggy McBlogface hopes that Nessy McNessface isn’t bothered by the intrusion into its lake
4. BBC News website: New Zealand fugitive charters helicopter to police station
A man who had been on the run in rural New Zealand hired a helicopter to fly to a police station and surrender. The man, who faces assault charges, spent five weeks apparently hiding in a small town in North Otago.
He told local media his time there had been “great”, but he was ready to leave “the middle of nowhere”.
On release from jail, I wonder if he’ll get the job as the town’s PR and tourism consultant
5. BBC News website: Man arrested for ‘flying’ dog with helium balloons
Indian police have arrested a YouTuber for tying helium balloons to his pet dog “in an attempt to make it fly”.
The man shot a video showing his dog attached to balloons, which he then lets go of as the pet starts to fly in the air. A few seconds later, someone on the balcony of the second floor of a building catches the dog.
Mr Sharma said he followed all safety measures, but deleted the video after a social media backlash.
I wonder where you find the list of ‘all safety measures’ for tying your dog to helium balloons