The family gathering on Sunday was good but surprisingly exhausting. Who would have thought that BBQing burgers, sausages, chicken and skewers of halloumi and courgette could be so tiring.
Monday was a Bank Holiday – we did very little but waved goodbye to our older son and his girlfriend in the afternoon. I drove our younger son back to London on Tuesday. Post lockdown, he’s been spending more time back there and was finally moving back to start a post-graduate teaching course. It’s been a real treat to have him – but it’s right that he gets back to London life.
After chores in the morning, I ran on Wednesday afternoon – my first run for nearly 2 weeks. I did just over 11km (nearly 7 miles) at no great pace but it was good to be back out running.
On a grey and breezy Thursday my triathlon friend and I drove over to the lake and swam in the scary open water. The aim was to do a test swim of the triathlon’s full distance, in the open water and without stopping. I appreciated that not being able to do it would be a bit of a disaster – but it seemed worth the gamble.
It was hard going from the first stroke and well before I got half way I was sure that the gamble had failed. I seemed to be moving very slowly, with no rhythm and was unable to get my breathing right. At that point it was clear that the triathlon was not going to happen for me because I was not able to do a 750m open water swim. No exaggeration for effect, it was completely dispiriting.
If I had been near the bank, or had a buoy to cling on to, I’m fairly sure I would have stopped and accepted that I could not do the triathlon’s swim. Only bloody mindedness and the fact that I was stuck out in the lake made me carry on.
However, bit by bit it didn’t seem to be getting any worse and by half way I thought I might as well try for a little further. Slowly, it started to improve and then came a glorious moment when I realised I could do it. In all, I swam a little over 1km (the triathlon swim is 750m) in about 27 minutes – a bit faster than I do it in the pool.
Interestingly, my friend also completed the swim but he too went through exactly the same feeling of despair that he was not going to be able to do it. I have no idea what was going on – perhaps it just hit us as we went beyond the distance we had previously swum without stopping? Whatever it was, I’m glad I experienced it then and not at the triathlon itself.
I still find the lake a ‘testing’ environment, but might it become the NQS SOW (not quite so scary open water)? My sighting in the water has improved but I need to do it more often as I am still largely unable to swim in a straight line outside the pool.
Another bit of good news – the water temperature of the lake was 18℃ (just over 64℉). Wetsuits are allowed up to 22℃ (71℉) so, if the lakes are similar, the triathlon swim will be in a wetsuit. Thumbs up for buoyancy and warmth – thumbs down for getting out of it in a hurry. Better weather is coming next week but it couldn’t raise the water temperature by 4℃ in just 8 days … could it …
Announcement – no sinuses were hurt in the making of this swim.
I ran with my wife on Friday morning. A gentle 6km (3.7miles) as she gets back into it after a manic August – that was followed by my regular session at the bike shop.
We ran the same route on Saturday morning, a bit faster in a good deal warmer weather and the same again on a cooler Sunday morning, a bit faster still. After that I mowed and got on the turbo in the afternoon – just the 30 minutes @ 30.6kph (19mph).
Quite a week in its own way – highs and lows with the swimming (happily not in that order) and back to the running. Roll on the triathlon.
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: No-one gets wealthy by throwing away what they have acquired
2. BBC News website: Paris speed limit falls to 30km/h
A speed limit of 30km/h (18mph) has come into force across Paris in a drive to improve the environment. The aim is to cut accidents, and reduce noise and pollution.
The number of street parking bays is being halved and most vehicles are expected to be banned from the city centre next year. Cycle lanes have increased and streets are being redesigned to make districts more pedestrian friendly.
There appears to be a majority in support of the measures and although there are opponents, others point out that the average speed in Paris is already less than 16km/h.
3. BBC News website: Does feeding garden birds do more harm than good?
Evidence has been building recently that supplementary feeding could disrupt a delicate ecological balance beyond our windowsills and gardens and now a research paper has posed the question of whether it might do more harm than good.
According to the research, there are a few species that are now habitual feeder users – familiar garden visitors including great tits and blue tits. They appear to be receiving a boost from feeding and this could be at the expense of other “subordinate” birds.
4. BBC News website: French police car crashes after passenger fires Taser in the direction of the driver
Six officers were in the vehicle when the driver lost control and hit a parked car in Roubaix, near Lille, on Saturday. The police car left the scene without stopping. “They were having fun amongst themselves and act like idiots,” said the lawyer for the officer who fired the Taser.
The officer who discharged the Taser will be prosecuted for intentional violence with a weapon and endangering the lives of others. Two off her colleagues are accused of hit-and-run and aiding and abetting a hit-and-run.
Les mots me manquent