Run, run, swim (pool), swim (open water!), gym, mechanic, run

Hammersmith Bridge – still closed (and will be for some years yet)

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

14 thoughts on “Run, run, swim (pool), swim (open water!), gym, mechanic, run

  1. olderrunner2

    Glad to see that you are doing better with your swimming and had an open water swim. The more you swim, the better, and more confident, you will be at it. I’ve only worn a wet suit once, many years ago. As I recall, getting it on and off were both a chore. You may need to practice that too. There’s probably some trick to it.

    Nice that you got to spend the night and run in London. Glad your knee isn’t giving you any more trouble.

    Cracked up at Boaty McBoatface. Also funny about the NZ fugitive. Wonder what the police thought when he landed?

    Poor dog. At least he did have someone to catch it before it got too far off the ground. I hope it wasn’t terrified.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Omil Post author

      I think you’re absolutely right about practice with the wetsuit – I’ve heard ‘transition’ described as the fourth discipline of the triathlon. I’m pleased you enjoyed ‘Boaty McBoatface’ – I was concerned that it might be one of those examples of English humour that doesn’t travel well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. theleadlesspencil

    I have always wondered about having a go at a triathlon. The swimming would be my weakest link too. Maybe try practising the wet suit in the shower, just to get extra transition practice. Although having never having tried one myself, I have no idea if that advice is any good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Omil Post author

      I think the thing to do is to first try one with a pool swim. I did one like that and really enjoyed it – but swimming front crawl and being overtaken by a breaststroker was a bit embarrassing. My mistake is thinking it would be easy to try one with an open water swim. Good idea about the wetsuit practice – I think I may have waited too long to take it off last week so it got too dry. I suspect I’d boil in the bag if I tried to cycle and run in it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. unironedman

    T1 is the best craic ever. So yes, practice getting out of the wetsuit. It’s handy enough really; as you jog up from the water to the bike, you are pulling off the hat and goggles which naturally end up in the suit, as you pull the cord behind your back to unzip. Peel the top down to your waist by the time you reach the bike. Ideally have a towel to stand on in case of grit or sand on your feet. Then peel off the bottom. Roll the suit off you like skinning an eel usually works better than trying to get your fingers and thumbs in and work it down over your ankles. Lots of Glide is a help too; all over the neck, wrists and LOADS on the lower legs and ankles. A bottle of water to wash the feet can be a help too. T1 can be a mucky place! Watch a few pros doing it on telly and it looks a doddle. It can be, with practice…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Omil Post author

      Thank you.The velcro round the neck and the zip came undone well but I think I then pulled the arms down to below the elbow and then it stopped, then I pulled down at the ‘fold’ and so ended up trying to remove it four layers thick (and the same with the legs). I can’t help but think that ‘four layers thick’ describes my approach to the whole removal thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. unironedman

        Well it is something that needs a little practice for sure. But you’ve discovered the neoprene variation of ‘you cannot fold a piece of paper, no matter how large, more than seven times’ conundrum, except with a wetsuit, it’s two folds and you’re goosed. I’m assuming this is an open water swimming wetsuit, yes?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Omil Post author

        Yes open water, it’s a Foor Classic probably 3mm, I think. I’ve heard that people take scissors to the leg and wrist areas but with my current technique I might need to cut it back above the elbow and knee (at which point I suppose it doesn’t satisfy the requirements of a triathlon).

        Liked by 1 person

      3. unironedman

        No need to go cutting anything. If you want a shorty, buy one. That’s a perfectly good suit that doesn’t need any snipping. It’s just technique, that’s all. Assuming we’re not in it to win it, then what harm taking an extra couple of minutes to get sorted in transition? 30 seconds longer on the feet could mean no grit in your shoe and a much more comfortable ride and run, for instance.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The Omil Post author

        The wetsuit will remain as God intended it to be. I’ve decided that I may have to create a new category for the race – ‘Time minus transition 1’. Of course, I might need to create “‘Time minus swim and transition 1’, ‘Time minus swim and both transitions’ …

        Liked by 1 person

  4. unironedman

    I’m glad to hear it! And oddly enough, transition seems to create the most angst for folk starting out in triathlon, myself included. ‘The Fourth Discipline’ and all that guff doesn’t help, I guess. Sure, if you’re a Brownlee, then you need to be in and out in 30 seconds. For the rest of us, the extra minute is worth it to make sure we haven’t made a really rookie error, like heading off with our bike and no helmet, or forgetting gels or glasses… I’ve no doubt with your methodical approach to things that you’ll sort it out without much fuss.

    My only super hot tip: for short stuff like sprint or even olympic, forget clip-in shoes for the bike (unless it’s a real hassle to change the pedals) and use baskets. That way, you can put on your running shoes in T1, and get out quickly without too much faff (you may see some folks adjusting pedal/crank position with rubber bands… just… no!) and then in T2 you just ditch the bike and run. If you’re getting in or around 30km/h average speed, you’re not going to get any benefit from clip-in shoes.



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