LetJog14 Update

I’ve mentioned this before, but this year I’ve joined in with an online group who are all planning to run from Land’s End to John O’Groats over the course of the year. And when I say run, they are using that distance as motivation for their training and want to cover the equivalent distance (rather than run those actual roads) of 1,460kms this year.

It has been great motivation for us all and it has been to good to keep in contact with everyone through the Facebook group. Some of course completed the distance very early in the year (and my even get all the way back to Land’s End), others will unfortunately miss out. For a few, me included, it was always planned to ‘just’ hit the target by the end of the year.

While most of the participants are runners, I did modify the details somewhat to fit in with my plans of primarily swimming. For every kilometre I’ve swum, I’ve multiplied it by 3; I’ve divided cycling distance by four and kept running distances as is.

Before illness and injury struck there was an outside chance that I could complete the distance at the end of November during a 10k I had entered. But the 10k had to be missed and so did the training for it. As of yesterday I was just over 56kms away from hitting the goal, but a good swim (x2) and a go on the bike in the gym last night means that I am now only 42kms away.

Will I get there before the end of the year?

If I could run (as well as swim etc) then I’d be confident of doing so, but my leg still isn’t strong enough to let me do many (if any) running kms before the end of the year. And I’m not a confident enough cyclist to go out and do much on wet and dark roads. So it’ll mainly be gym biking and swimming that will see me through and to do that I have to rely on the gym being open when I can train.

So… it’ll be close.

Current totals are:

- Swimming – 390.52kms (adjusted to 1,171.55)

- Running – 128.13kms

- Cycling – 471.27kms (adjusted to 117.82)

- Total – 1,417.50kms – left to go 42.50kms

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Ah… I’ve missed you

I went for a swim today.

There shouldn’t be anything unusual in that, but there is unfortunately. In fact, until today, I’d not swum since November 24th. Which is, by a very long way, the longest gap I’ve had between swims this year. (I’ve a couple of gaps of up to a week, but they either preceded or followed a specific long swim). I can’t even use the excuse that I was doing other things, as that swim on November 24th was the last exercise I’ve done.

I posted just at the start of this period of inactivity about my illness and injury, and on top of that I’ve had a serious outbreak of ‘can’t-be-arsed-itis’.

But today I went to the pool.

And I swam.

At first a gentle 100m warm-up, then a few gentle 200m sets (I say ‘sets’, I was just swimming up and down, but resting at the end of each 200m). And then to finish I did 500m.

And it felt good.

The water was welcoming and I remembered how to do it. I’d even go as far to say that I enjoyed it – well I must have done, as I’m going again this evening!

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Big thanks to Speedo

1000kmstowindermere:

Originally posted on my Open for Business blog.

Originally posted on Open for Business:

The other day I posted this.

This morning I received this package from Speedo.

Speedo Goodies

Thanks Speedo :-)

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I’m gonna swim from Europe to Asia

It’s not actually that far, just about 4.5km, but it sounds good and I’m expecting it to be great fun.

I’m going to do it as part of the Hellespont trip organised by SwimTrek (who I did the April trip with) and it’s all part of the research for my Open for Business book. I’ve blogged about it on the Open4Biz blog:

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One of my target swims for next year is Hellespont, which is the famous swim in Turkey in which you cross from the European continent to the Asian continent.

Photo blatantly stolen from the SwimTrek website.

It’s a swim that has always captured my imagination as an iconic international swim. It is also a great place to meet international swimmers and to see if they can share some of the experiences that I have with regards to the links between open water swimming and business – or perhaps even more usefully, learn from their different experiences.

So I’m delighted to say that I’ve booked the swim for next August already.

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Read the full post here.

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I’m writing a book – Open For Business: business advice from a fresh [water] perspective.

Please check out my crowdfunding site to pre-order a copy – https://www.sponsume.com/project/open-business

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I’ve been stabbed

Although it was all done with careful precision and I gave my full consent.

I’ve been having some physio for my injured leg and yesterday the physio wanted to use acupuncture needles. I’ve never had it before, so I was more than happy to give it a try. Apparently I was a “very good responder” as the muscles were twitching away – which is what she wanted to happen.

The needles are about 2cm into my leg in this video.

I have to admit that it felt a bit weird, not painful, but certainly strange. Although if it helps mend me then I’m happy to do it again.

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Illness and injury

I was supposed to be running a 10k run today, but I’ve picked up an injury. I’ve knackered my leg.

Since the end of the swimming season I’ve done a couple of sprint triathlons – which included a 5k at the end of each – and I’ve also been training up for the 10k. It would seem that my cardiovascular fitness was fine to get me through that, but because I haven’t run for ages my biomechanics just weren’t there. I’m very flat-footed and so that means that my calf muscles need to work overtime to provide extra support to compensate for that. Because I just launched into 5ks and beyond it strained those muscles and ligaments too much.

At the moment, I’ve been told that I need to wear soft heels as much as possible – so no slippers around the house, instead I’m wearing my running shoes. As I’m not wearing them to run in at the moment, that’s fine.

And on a side note, fortunately Andrew was able to take my place on today’s run and acquitted himself excellently.

While I’ve been feeling sorry for myself that I can’t run for a while, I’ve been consoling myself that at least I can still swim – or I could. I’ve picked up an ear infection and I now need to stay out of the pool for a week.

I had an ear infection before and it was very possibly the most painful thing I’ve gone through. For about three days I lived in a cycle of:
– Take the strongest painkillers I could
– Snooze for a couple of hours as they took effect
– Wake up and watch West Wing to distract me as the painkillers wore off
– Repeat

Fortunately this infection isn’t anywhere near as bad. But I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself and the no swimming feels pretty painful :-(

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Psychological Strategy

I was asked this morning on Twitter by a friend of mine, “What psychological strategy do you use when it gets tough on a long swim?”

I was going to reply on Twitter, but I realised that it probably needed more than just a tweet, it needed more than 140 characters. So here goes…

Team Bear Logo I’ve recently joined a virtual team called Team Bear. One of the main reasons that it appealed to me is the motto they have, which is “Suffer but NEVER surrender.” And that is one of the things that gets me through. I’ve never yet had a DNF (did not finish) for all the swims I’ve done and I want to do all I can to make sure I don’t have one.

It’s the old question of, how would you feel the minute after you’ve stopped? If you can honestly say that it was the best decision (and in swimming that can be about health reasons, especially hypothermia) to stop then do so. But if once you’ve retired you realise that maybe you could have just carried on, then you’ll regret it – if I’m struggling I do that analysis… and then carry on.

Another thing I’ve learnt through experience is that I need to play to my own strengths. And although it’s tough in open water swimming I’m a talker, so that’s what I need to do even while swimming. I’m someone that likes to downplay the effort involved, downplay the hardship and make jokes / comments about the trivialities. One of the reasons that I didn’t do as well this year in Windermere was that I was trying to be too focused and that’s just not me.

One thing that did help massively during Windermere was when I took a break and started swimming breaststroke for a couple of minutes. My boat crew leaned over to see if I was ok. I shook my head and explained that I was finding it hard. “Of course it’s bloody hard,” was the incredibly caring and considerate reply. And actually that helped enormously as I realised that that was all it was – a bit of hard work. It wasn’t any more serious than that, it just required me to dig in. Well I could do that, so I did.

Mmmm carb loading before the Channel Relay

Mmmm carb loading before the Channel Relay

Finally, one of the biggest ways to stop yourself struggling in the first place is to feed well. If you don’t, then energy levels drop and if energy levels drop then you can feel the cold more and all of that affects your ‘head’. Just imagine starting the day without your normal cup of tea or coffee, then go to the worst work meeting you can imagine, now think what kind of mood you’ll be in. That’s what it feels like if you’re swimming without proper nutrition. If you can crack that, then most of the psychological battles become minor skirmishes. If you don’t crack the nutrition, then they become full-on wars which you may lose.

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Two different swims

Last night I went to see Ray at SwimCanaryWharf again. The summary – some big improvements, but still plenty of work to do.

This morning I went to swim here:

London Aquatic Centre

London Aquatic Centre

It was great to treat myself to a 50m pool and just swim without all those nasty drills that Ray gives me to do!!

I’ll try to get a full review of my experience at the Aquatic centre later, but you could read Simon’s from H2Open in the meantime if you like.

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A great haul

The open water season is over – or at least it is for me, I don’t swim in lakes and seas when it gets proper cold. So it’s time to look back on the season and see how it’s gone and what I’ve achieved.

I could write a lot of words about this – but I think this photo is a great summary.

The season's haul

From the back, left to right we have:

- Windermere certificate and swim hat – a tough, tough swim for me, but still another 10.5 miles under my belt and I can start to see it as more of a learning experience now.

- Colwick Park certificate and swim hat – the first event of the season and I can’t say I enjoyed the swim (probably due to poor nutrition), but it was a lovely and local day for me.

- Coniston certificate and swim hat – I always like Coniston, it’s just a beautiful swim.

- Wykeham Lakes certificate (x2) and swim hat – a 5km swim, followed a little later by a 1km swim, hence the two certificates.

- SwimTrek hat – provided as part of the Long Distance Training course I did with them in April in Mallorca. A great, GREAT trip and I met some amazing swimmers.

- 100% swimming hat – provided by Paul of 100% swimming as we sat and chatted one day at Activities Away.

- French pebble – probably my most treasured swimming possession. A memento of the channel relay I did in July and although I didn’t collect the pebble myself, I will do one day.

Not a bad season all told.

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This may be foolish…

… but here goes.

After a quick Twitter mention of this tweet (http://twitter.com/SkyNewsBreak/status/532960564340064256) by a friend of mine I drafted this.

I’m a little conflicted by all the Ched Evans stuff.

In no way do I support him, or what he did.

But he’s done his time according to the legal system and in theory should be allowed to work again. I’m not sure if a lot of this is down to the fact that his work is getting incredibly well paid for kicking a pig skin around – if he worked in a shop or a factory would we care as much?

That’s not to say that the legal system might not need changing and that his sentence may well not have been long enough. Nor is to say that, from what I’ve read, he’s not a nice person and I wouldn’t want to work next to him (nor have him represent the team I support). But if we stopped all the ‘not nice’ people playing football we’d only have enough professional players left to fill one team.
Btw – I’m very open to discussing this further and modifying my opinion…
*Dons tin hat and prepares for the brickbats*

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