On Monday I went to the local swimming pool. I was nervous getting back to running after my lay-off, but nothing compared to the thought of swimming for the first time in a few years.
I learnt to swim at school but they were more ‘not drowning’ lessons than actual ‘swimming’ lessons as there was no real attention to technique – just short term survival in the water.
In theory I can swim very well – I’ve studied the websites and YouTube videos – it’s just when it comes to doing it in real life that it all falls apart. I can make some forward progress in the water, but it is nothing like a fair return for all the effort, gasping and splashing that goes into it. On Monday I swam for about 30 minutes, front crawl(ish) but with no idea of how many lengths I managed.
The triathlon in September has an open water swim so I have an open water training session arranged in less than two weeks (hence getting into the water now) but so much more practice is going to be needed to get anything useful out of that session.
My biggest problem is that I have been told that with open water swimming there are no pool ends every 25 metres where you can pretend to be turning while desperately clinging on and sucking in air. What are they thinking of?
I was in rather the more comfortable surroundings of a run of just over 7km (4.4 miles) on Tuesday morning – dry land is much underrated in my opinion.
However, I must try to improve my swimming fairly quickly, and, sadly, the best way of doing that seems to be to do more swimming. Therefore it was back to the pool in the evening for 30 minutes, but remembering to count the lengths swum – 40 (1km).
After a day off on Wednesday it was back to the gym for an hour on Thursday morning and back in the pool in the evening. Another 1km but just a little faster at 28 minutes.
I don’t know if it’s a sign that I’m doing it right or doing it wrong but I can feel some muscles (the latissimus dorsi – the ‘lats’?) being worked by the swimming that haven’t been worked in the same way by the running, cycling or gym. Up to now, I’ve not had too much use for arms or shoulders either so they are also getting a better workout in the pool.
Bike shop volunteering session on Friday morning – a nice variety, working on a child’s bike, an adult’s mountain bike and an old Dawes Galaxy tourer, complete with bar end shifters. Quite a bike in its day and a generous donation by someone.
I went for a solo run on Saturday, pushing the pace and distance a little – 10.5km (6.5 miles) at just under 4 hour marathon pace. I keep thinking that the training in the gym, running, swimming and on the bike will come together so that all of them will miraculously improve. No sign of that happening.
It was cycle training lessons for children at the cycle park on Sunday morning (pretty well non-stop jogging by the side of nervous young cyclists) and I got on the turbo trainer in the late afternoon for a lacklustre 13.4km (8.3 miles) in 30 minutes.
A tough week with 7 sessions of one sort or another. Even though the swimming doesn’t take too long, I find it very tiring – perhaps I should try doing it better?
After three session of flailing around in the pool this week, I can confirm that I can swim in the sense of making some forward progress in the water – but cannot swim in the sense of looking like I know what I’m doing.
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: A doctor who invoked a storm on his people cannot prevent his house from destruction
2. BBC News website: Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua fight less likely
Fury had agreed to fight Joshua in a highly-anticipated fight in August but the boxing authorities have concluded that Deontay Wilder had a contractual right to face Fury for a third time, by 15 September.
Fury said Wilder asked for $20m (£14m) to forego his right to the fight and allow Fury to fight Joshua, while Wilder’s trainer said he had no interest in step-aside money and wanted the fight.
I’d just like to say that I would be prepared not to fight Tyson Fury for much less than $20m.
3. BBC News website: Yoga can now legally be taught in Alabama public schools
The state’s department of education barred yoga in 1993, citing its connection to Hinduism.
The new law limits yoga to stretches and poses, and prohibits non-English descriptions as well as “any aspect of Eastern philosophy and religious training”. Chanting is also not allowed, including the use of the sound “om”.
4. BBC News website: Severe weather kills cross-country runners
At least 21 people have died as high winds and freezing rain hit participants in the 100km (60-mile) race in the Yellow River Stone Forest, a tourist site in Gansu province, China, state-run media reported.
The race was halted when some of the 172 runners went missing, Xinhua news agency said. The bodies were found by search-and-rescue teams on Sunday.
That is so sad and so extreme. It puts all my whinging about a bit of rain on a run into perspective
5. Did you know: The collective noun for a group of flamingos is ‘a flamboyance’