Sunday was better

After the disaster that was Saturday, Sunday turned out to be a better day.

The kayak hire place (that hired out the kayak on Saturday with a broken seat, that made my experience quite a lot tougher) offered us an actual kayaker for the Sunday swim, so that we would have someone with more experience and skill if the water got as choppy again. What it actually meant for us was an extra body and Rach no longer had to kayak for me and could actually swim – getting back at least some of her lost swim from Saturday.

Originally Rach’s plan was to set off as a solo swim after the event had set off. She had informed the safety boats and had promised to keep out of the way of championship swimmers. They knew she was competent and would have a tow-float, so had promised to keep an eye on her too.

However, the BLDSA being what it is, as soon as the organisers were aware of this – coupled with the fact that they knew they had a spare kayaker – she was immediately placed as a late entry into the event.

So three of us from Team Bear set off to do the 3-mile one-way swim.

After the previous day, the berating of myself and a poor night’s sleep I wasn’t feeling on top form. But equally I had made the decision not to mope and attack it properly as I felt it would have been disrespectful to Rach to do anything else.

While the weather wasn’t as bad as Saturday, it was still a ‘little’ choppy. The first 500 or so metres across the lake from the start were certainly tough, then we turned to swim down the lake with the wind and chop [mostly] to our back. A breeze pushing us down the lake is predominantly helpful, although it can disrupt rhythm at times and increase the likelihood of taking in mouthfuls of water. So a couple of stops mid lake to spit out water and regain my rhythm aside, I pushed on and swam hard.

Rach beat me (as expected), but I was pleased with a time of 1:34.

And to top it off, Cathy completed the swim – her longest ever and after she had kayaked through the horrible conditions (and kayaked it all) the day before.

There are more thoughts to be had about the Saturday (which may well be blogged), but in the end it turned out to be a successful weekend and a lovely bunch of Bears to spend it with.

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Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit

So far I’ve not had a DNF as a swimmer. On my first attempt at providing kayak support for a swimmer I’ve had just that.

I’m so sorry for ballsing up your swim Rach.

I just couldn’t keep up with her in the conditions and so as a safety precaution we both had to get out – again sorry Rach.

I was trying as hard as I could and was just not moving forward – she was swimming great and so swimming away from me, I was kayaking on the spot and was no use to man nor beast (nor swimmer).

Bollocks! I am heartbroken about it.

Sorry Rach.

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Swimming the channel

Taken from my JustGiving page – https://www.justgiving.com/patrickJPRaspire

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Thank you for taking the time to visit my page.

Starting in September I’ll be swimming 22 miles – the equivalent of swimming across the English Channel – to raise money for people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury.

Every eight hours someone is paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury. It can happen to anyone at any time, and there is currently no cure. Every pound that I raise means that Aspire can provide practical help to a spinal injured person, allowing them to live a more independent life, so please donate as much as you can and help make a difference.

Although I’m a swimmer, this is still a challenge, but to make it ever harder for myself I plan to swim 1 mile per day over 22 days in 22 different local pools. I suspect that this will be a logistics challenge as much as a swimming one.

I’m also working with Aspire to help raise the profile of this event, but will be doing the challenge and hoping to raise money as a regular participant.

I’d be grateful for your support.

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Aspire does great work, so I’d love your support.

But as I mentioned, I’m also working with them to raise the profile of this event to pools and leisure centres. If you want to persuade your local pool to get more involved in the challenge please let me know (you can do it without their direct involvement though – just swim!).

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Early morning dip

All this talk of triathlons made me realise that I needed to get back to my first love – swimming. So I got up at 5:30am this morning to get to the lake for 6:30.

I was a bit late setting off, but I still had plenty of time for 8 laps. It’s a 1/2 mile loop, so simple maths means that is 4 miles. But as I’m a free spirit as a swimmer and I refuse to adhere to society’s desire for straight lines (I swim wonky), plus I need to add a bit for coming into the jetty to feed, I’m rounding it up to 6,900 metres.

Not bad before breakfast.

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Half a man

Sorry, that should actually be half an ironman. At least that’s what I hope I’ll be next year.

Team Bear LogoOnline I mix with a right group of nutters and some of them did the Outlaw half ironman this year – as it’s local to me I went to watch it. And although the swim bit is way too short and there’s far too much cycling and running involved it seemed like a fun event and a challenge that I’d like to take on. But you know… one day… not now.

My priorities are and always will be my swimming goals, but I realise that they are actually quite a long way away and the lack of a more immediate ‘big’ goal has seen me drift since the 2swim4life swim.

It’s not just the recent heat that has made me become a bit listless. I had a bit of a reality check the other day and realised that I needed to have a challenge, to start training again (for my mental wellbeing as much as physical), and lose that bit of weight that has started creeping back on. So I pre-registered for next year’s Outlaw half ironman.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve committed to it, but after more conversations with the aforementioned nutters, it my own mind I have committed.

Of course I have some worries:

– That I am as rubbish at cycling and running as I fear
– That it’ll break me for future swimming
– That I’m just doing this to distract me from my current single status, but it will actually restrict me from ever being not single – you know: “That was a lovely date, when can we do it again?” “Well, I have a gap in my training schedule in 12 weeks time.”
– That real life and work reasons will get in the way and I’ll be undercooked by event time – I’m not sure I have enough time to do all the swim training I want to do
– That it’ll get addictively expensive – have you seen some of those tri bikes?
– That I’ll just be the rubbish fat bloke at the back of the field

I’m pretty sure the nutters will help me with some of these fears. I think a bit more training will help me to overcome some of the others and well, who knows.

So, when the email comes through for registration it looks like I’ll be signing up.

*Gulp*

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Cricket… hmmm

Well, it turns out that I am rubbish at cricket.

Perhaps that’s not altogether unexpected as it’s about 30 years since I last played, but it’s still hard to have the truth so brutally revealed to you.

Actually, I’m going to blame my son for all of this. He started going to the kids’ sessions at the local cricket club and it was great fun to take him and then sit in the sun with a pint in hand watching them all play. After the sessions he would want to have some more practice so I would bowl for him a bit. As I was doing that I was giving him tips and hints about his batting, or advising him about his bowling technique. And to be honest I sounded like I knew what I was talking about (or at least I did to me).

Time to put my money where my mouth was. I went to the adult nets session and didn’t disgrace myself, so I put myself forward for selection.

It turns out that on the actual cricket pitch things are a bit different.

I’ve now played two matches and the stats don’t make great reading:

– Matches lost – 2
– Over bowled – 0
– Catches dropped – 2 (although 1 was genuinely only a half chance at best)
– Fielding errors – 2 (at least)
– Balls faced – 7 (in two innings!)
– Runs scored – 0
– Pulled muscles – 2

My batting stats. Ouch!

My batting stats. Ouch!

It’s not the kind of stats that light up Wisden.

In the first match I thought I fielded ok. I dropped a good chance for a catch in the deep, and also had a very hard chance that I was just pleased to get a hand to. But other than that I ran about quite well and made what I felt were a few decent stops in the field.

When it came to batting I hit my first ball straight to the square leg fielder, but it was a good contact. But then in the next over I got over excited and pushed an easy catch back to the bowler. I wasn’t too disappointed as I could rationalise it as being a bit rusty – but at least I hit the ball cleanly and can [kind of] do it.

The second match was awful though. In the very first over in the field I chased a ball to the boundary and within about five paces I felt two muscles go – the very top of my thing on my right leg and my gluteus in my left leg – or if you’re not an expert in anatomy, my bum muscle! I spent the next few hours hobbling round the field trying to do the best I possibly could, which wasn’t very good at all.

Then when it came to batting I faced three balls. The first I confidently left to the off side. The second I confidently left to the on side. The third I swung at, missed completely and ended up being stumped! I didn’t even hit a single bloody ball!

Absolutely rubbish. And now that’s it for about seven weeks as swimming stuff, holidays and childcare take over.

Having said all of that, I might be rubbish, but I loved it. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and at times I would pinch myself that I was actually a part of a ‘picture postcard’ scene. So if they’ll have me back I think I’ll give it another go in a few weeks time.

A picture postcard scene. Photo courtesy of @135notout

A picture postcard scene. Photo courtesy of @135notout

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DNS

Today was the BLDSA’s Wykeham lakes swim and although I was entered, although I was there at the venue in time to register, although I’d had a brief dip yesterday and wanted to swim I did not start (DNS).

It’s the first time I’ve ever done that when it wasn’t fitness or injury that prevented me from starting. Today it was life that got in the way.

Yesterday I did a kayaking course at the Trafford Water Sports Centre (which I’ll blog about later). The early start and full day on (and partly in) the water meant I was tired by the end of it. However, I’d arrange to stay with a friend in York to make me closer to Wykeham – which is just down the road from Scarborough – so I drove over there. But it was to be no quiet night in. Instead my friends had an 80s night to go out to, so I went along with them.

If I’d been determined to swim I’m sure I could have drank less, got to bed earlier and generally been more committed to the whole exercise. But I wasn’t. I decided to relax and spend time with friends that I’ve not seen properly for at least a year – and so this was the result:

It was a good night!

It was a good night!

So I drove up to start, said hello to a few people and then left them all to their swim and drove home again.

I’m quite comfortable with that though. As I said before, I’m being more relaxed about my swimming at the moment and I’ve also got to spend the afternoon working in preparation for a busy week next week.

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A Change of Pace

I’m a big fan of the Team Bear ethos of “Suffer, but never surrender”. In fact I like nothing more than being the first into the lake and the last out, or pushing myself so that I can hardly breathe at the end of a sprint session in the pool, or using the weights and feeling an ache the next day in places that you didn’t realise you had, or doing a cardio session and almost literally having to wring your t-shirt dry afterwards. I love all that.

But I’m not sure I can do that anymore. Or at least not right now.

Let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger (none of us are, sorry to break that to you) and how I have adopted the suffer but never surrender mentality up until this point is to think that unless I’m suffering, then it’s not worth it. So, if I can’t run 10k, then why run? Or if I can’t swim at least a 3k pyramid session, is there any point going to the pool at all?

It’s that attitude [of mine] that has to change. Because it leads to one of two things: 1) not doing anything – “I’ll only manage a short swim, so why bother” or “the pool will be full and I won’t be able to do a proper set, so I just won’t go”; or 2) breaking myself. And the two are usually linked, as I break myself when I push too hard after not doing anything for a while: “I can do this, I’ve done it before, so what that I’ve not done it for three months… OUCH!”

Instead of suffering, for the next few months I want to just enjoy moving around. I’ve not got any big events planned this year, so no reason to suffer, and my previous mentality might have seen me become a bit of a couch potato. Instead I just want to be more active. It doesn’t have to be big and macho, but a gentle bit of exercise to counter balance all the sitting around I do for work.

Last night’s run was the perfect example. A nice 20 minute jog around a lovely village (I’m lucky to live somewhere beautiful) on a lovely evening – and all while my tea was cooking.

So from now on my plan is to take the chance to be active as much as possible and to ignore [some of the] goals and targets and just enjoy it. So more walking, more running, more gentle weights sessions at home and more quick dips in the pool and lake.

Of course it won’t last forever and at the back of my mind is the thought that I’m probably not all that fit at the moment. Instead of being fit I have trained my body to be able to perform one particular task – and even then I’ve broken it slightly as I’ve had a shoulder injury for the past week that will keep me away from swimming until at least the weekend. So a slightly more wholistic approach might improve my general fitness and put me in a much better position to be able to suffer in the future.

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You know you’ve made it…

… as a blogger when someone offers you a free haircut in return for a review.

The hairdresser in question is KH Hair and there are a few local to me (the nearest is in Newark), so it all sounded good. Unfortunately it didn’t work out this time as we couldn’t find a time that they could fit me in (which is a good sign if they’re busy).

If the chance arises again then I’ll provide a snip-by-snip account!

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I’ve been for a run

That might not be big news for most of you, but for me it means a lot. The last time I ran was the middle of March!

I didn’t go far, just a little pootle around that took just less than 20 minutes (so I’m gonna call it about 2.5kms), but it was lovely.

Post run selfie

Post run selfie

In fact it worked out perfectly. I put some veg in the oven to roast, ran, came back and had a slow and long stretch but a quick shower and by that time my veggies had roasted. A bit of Breaking Bad to keep me company while I ate and here I am now blogging about it all. I might even do it again soon!

UPDATE

I enjoyed it so much last night that I went again this morning. Same route and same process (although I didn’t roast any veggies this time), but just a gentle pootle in the sun to get me moving. And it was lovely. :-)

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