I’m back… Part 2

I wrote the other day about being back in the open water.

Today, I’m writing about being back in the pool. Obviously, I’ve been in the pool quite a lot over the last few weeks, but those have been gentle, re-acclimatisation swims.

The swim today, however, was different. I really went for it. It was the first time in about 18 months that I’ve felt good enough to smash it.

The swim times, the amount I swam may not be quite up to what I used to be able to do, but that will come.

For now, I feel like I’m back.


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I’m Back…

… sort of!

A lot has changed since my last couple of posts last year. Things have improved with my health (physical and mental), things have improved professionally and things have improved A LOT personally.

As part of that improvement, I had my first open water swim of the year last week. Then my second and my third.

None of the swims were very far, but the very fact I did them, felt comfortable in the water and even enjoyed them, felt like a big step forward.

I was on holiday with my fiancee (yes, that is the big personal change!) and our kids in the Lake District last week and we were so lucky with the weather that Derwentwater looked positively inviting to swim in. Within about 2 hours of arriving we went down to the lake and into the water.

At first I splashed around with the kids for a bit. Then I swam a few strokes and it felt good. So I swam a few more. It still felt good. I decided to swim to the island, but it was feeling so good that I decided to swim all the way round it. It wasn’t far, but it’s a lot further than I’ve been for a long, long time.

Derwentwater – and *my* island circled!

We enjoyed that swim so much, that we made special plans to get in a swim again on two other days. It was lovely!

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Getting better…


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I’ll be fine…

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Wrong Lane

When you enter a lane that isn’t quite the right speed for you, you are making a choice about who you’re going to piss off.

If you enter a lane where everyone is swimming a bit slower than your natural pace, then you will slow down, frustrate and annoy one person – you.

If you enter a lane where everyone is swimming a bit faster than your natural pace, then you will slow down, frustrate and annoy the six or seven other people in that lane with you.

When you enter a lane that isn’t quite the right pace for you you are making a choice about whether you want to sacrifice six or seven other people’s swims for the comfort of yours.

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Romance, like beauty, is very much in the eye of the beholder.

A big romantic gesture is only that if it will be received as one. Otherwise it’s a bit stalkerish and weird.

It turns out that life is not like the films.

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Covid, Lack of Sleep and What’s Next…

Today New Zealand announced that they officially have no cases of Covid-19 at all and so have lifted nearly all of their lockdown restrictions.

Here in the UK we can’t say the same.

Although I’m going to try and be calm while I write this post, I’m incredibly angry about the way our Govt has handled all of this.

Firstly of course, there is the years and years of neglect of our key services – the NHS, social security etc – by successive Tory governments. This has led to the fact that all our services were effectively being held together by the goodwill of the people that were [over]working within them.

Secondly, there is the fact that the government front bench was selected based on the strength of their support for Brexit, rather than their actual suitability to run a government department. Pick your favourite incompetent minister from Raab, Hancock, Patel, Jenrick, Rees-Mogg, through to Boris himself. All have, so far, proved themselves to not being up to the job of actually governing.

Next there is the delay in acting, the initial promotion of the herd immunity strategy, the lack of PPE, the shipping of patients from hospitals to care homes, the failed track and trace, the weak messaging, the ‘urging’ people back to work before it was safe to do so, the mixed messages about schools, etc etc.

At this point I need to point out that I am clearly not an expert on this and I’m not suggesting that the situation the government was in was anything other than incredibly difficult. I’m not even suggesting that I could have done a better job of it – but then again I didn’t ask to be Prime Minister. The difference is that Boris did ask to be Prime Minister and then has failed dramatically. I’m not saying that *I* could have done better, but there are plenty of people who could have done.

But now of course we get to the Dominic Cummings situation.

What I am angry about here is not so much what Cummings did – I mean obviously I am a bit – but how it was covered up, lied about and generally excused by the government.

If Cummings had come out and said:

“I’m sorry. I did what I thought was best for my family in the circumstances, however I now accept that it was wrong and I should have stuck to the lockdown rules.”

then all of it would have blown over within a couple of days. But instead we got the “good father” bullshit in pre-packaged quotes from the government and they twisted and contorted all the previous ‘rules’ to ensure that Cummings hadn’t broken any.

It was the absolute contempt for the rest of us that came through during that episode that has of course been the root cause for all of the delays and poor performances so far. What is really the issue here is that this government actually doesn’t give a shit about you and I. They care about their own interests and that’s all.

From a personal perspective for the last four weeks or so (ever since Boris went on TV ‘urging’ people back to work before it was safe to do so because he was more concerned about the economy than people’s health) I’ve struggled to sleep. I suspect that it is to do with my brain trying to process my anger at the situation – but whatever it is it’s horrible and not something I’d like to go through again. I’m knackered.

So what’s next?

Well, our numbers are coming down, but I expect there to be a second spike. This will be caused by the V-E Day celebrations, by people being ‘urged’ back to work and by idiots congregating on beaches on bank holidays. It will of course, however, be an opportunity for the racists to come out of the woodwork and blame it on the recent #BlackLivesMatter protests.

— As an aside on that – if you spout white privilege nonsense about ‘all lives matter’ then please take some time to read up on the subject and think about what black men, women and children have to go through every day. While I know that I’m not perfect and I have a lot to learn I will call out as bullshit comments from my friends and contacts on social media as and when they need calling out. —

But with such a feeble government that has shown it has no plan and cannot communicate clearly the policy it does have it will be left to ‘the people’ to make their own decisions about how and when we come out of this.

For me that will be about keeping as much physical distancing in place as possible – I don’t like the term social distancing as I want to be sociable with as many of my friends as possible, although I accept that it’s not possible to be *physically* close and to hug them. As opportunities to take part in ‘normal’ activities slowly open up again I will join in if I am confident of that physical distancing can happen. For me this will mainly be tennis and swimming.

I think that I and others will look to meet more friends at a distance – no packed beaches, but maybe a distanced picnic, glass of wine in a back garden, or a walk.

I’m hopeful that by adding a bit more ‘normality’, a bit more social contact that I will be able to relax (and sleep) and that life will get on and not feel on hold. Obviously, I want to hug, to go to the pub, to go out for meal, to date, to take my son to the cinema, but for many of these things I will hesitate even when they are opened back up.

But of course the most important thing that I will do is not forget this time and vote against this government, these individuals, that party at every opportunity I can in the future.

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Small worries

We’ve all got some big things to worry about at the moment – our health and that of our friends and family; and for many people financial worries.

However, even in these times, we all have small worries.

Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

We know that they’re not as big as the ‘big’ ones, but they are still there, they still affect us, and for some people struggling to cope with the big worries, it can be the small ones that tip us over the edge.

I’m no expert, but I’m fairly sure that the brain can’t really distinguish between a big worry and a little one – they are still worries and still take up brain space and gnaw at us.

Let’s help

This is where we can all help, this is where a little kindness could really come in useful. Can I suggest two ways that we could help?

  1. Don’t be that person that comments on a post with, “there are people dying and that is all you have to worry about.”
  2. Let’s actually promote people to get their small worries of their chests. It may be the we can help them with advice and support, or it may just be that by sharing them they feel better anyway.

We know there are people dying, but whether the window cleaner can still come round is still a worry.

So let’s create a new hashtag on social media #smallworry and get people to post their worries. Then let’s search for that hashtag and offer help and support where we can.

What’s your small worry?


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Given the current circumstances I don’t even know if this is still happening – but it hasn’t officially been cancelled as yet, so here goes.

The holiday company Neilson is advertising for a role as an Ambassador. It sounds great as the main requirement is that you share your passion for sport and being active – something that I already do anyway. On top of that, you get to go on a couple of Neilson holidays to experience more and new sports (I’ve been on one in the past and their great holidays). And to top it all, you also get some new gear and some free tuition (tennis lessons, here I come).

If anyone reading would like to apply, then go here: https://www.neilson.co.uk/ambassador

If you don’t want to apply yourself, then please can you support my application? The initial phase of the application process is to submit a video and ask for public votes. So please can you vote for me?

My video is here: https://woobox.com/vs27oj/gallery/0y2H9i0x5_Q

Please watch, please enjoy, please share and please vote.


Oh and don’t forget to #GetYourActiveOn

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Filed under Cycling, Kit, Running, Swimming, Work

No more swimming

So that’s it then. My local pool has been shut down due to the Coronavirus. Obviously it means no more swimming for me (especially as it’s not warm enough for me outside just yet) – but it also means that there are people who now have an uncertain future about their job, while for others the centre provided important physical and social benefits to help them that they may not be able to get elsewhere.

I hope all of those people are ok.

What they’ve said is that it will be closed for a month and then they’ll reassess at that point.

There are numerous articles flying around online, especially in the swimming communities, that chlorine in pools at least inhibits the virus and possibly kills it. So that the pool itself is one of the safest places to be – but of course it’s different for the changing rooms, while our pool is based in a centre with lots of other activities [formerly] taking place.

For me it means that I need to change my exercise habits. I’m not going to stop exercising, but I can’t include swimming or the gym as part of that.

I had started social distancing anyway. While not in full social isolation I was limiting the things I was doing and the potential for being with other people. However, swimming, for me at least, was always going to be one of the last activities to survive the changes.

What I will do from now on is replace it with running. I’ve been trying to do more running anyway and this will force my hand. Some stretching and body weight exercises followed by a 5k run (or mainly walk to start with I’m sure) is how I’ll be keeping fit. Hopefully the added benefit of being out in the fresh air will outweigh the fact that I’ll miss swimming and I’m rubbish at running.

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Filed under Running, Swimming