At the end of January I signed up to the Aspire Channel Challenge for 2019.Continue reading
At the end of January I signed up to the Aspire Channel Challenge for 2019.Continue reading
Last week I posted about the start of the Aspire Channel Challenge and the fact that I managed a big fat zero in terms of swimming.
Well this week was a bit better and I’ve finally started. I managed 5.25miles this week, so I’ve not quite made up for last week but it’s a good start.
And please do sponsor me if you can.
This week has seen the start of the first ever January Aspire Channel Swim.
The concept is simple – swim the length of the channel (22 miles) in your local pool over 12 weeks. I’ve signed up but decided to make a vow to double the distance, so I need to swim 44 miles by 22nd April. As a (slightly lapsed) swimmer I felt that I should be able to do that – I mean it’s a bit less than 4 miles per week.
Unfortunately for me, a combination of family issues, work and laziness meant that I’ve got off to a poor start and managed a big fat zero this week.
So, as I said, the Aspire Channel Swim starts next week…
And if you want to sponsor me for this you can do here.
I’ve just remembered a nightmare I had the other night.
I had been phoned up by a channel pilot to swim the channel – but I didn’t have a support team. In fact I don’t think I’d even asked anyone if they would help me out. In the dream I then had to abandon the swim.
You’d all be there for me if I needed a channel crew (if I ever decided to do it) wouldn’t you?
… especially straight after swimming.
But that’s what I did last night as I took part in the first of the One Hundred Percent Swimming Aquathon series.
It was an 800m swim, followed by a 3km run and most entrants seemed to be triathletes who were using it as a gentle training exercise. Not fat blokes who barely run.
Actually that’s not true about the barely running thing, as I’ve been going to as many Parkruns as I can this year and finding myself both enjoying them and getting a bit faster. But running after a hard swim is new to me.
I was the only non-wetsuit swimmer and I started at the back of the pack to let all the triathletes fight it out at the front. Once the water settled though I started to move through the field and probably came out of the water about halfway in the field (of 67 entries). I could have held back a bit on the swim, but decided that I’d go as hard as I could for two reasons: 1) it would be the only chance I had of getting ahead of a few people; 2) it was a good ‘sprint’ training session for me.
After the swim I needed to sit down and dry my feet before I put my trainers on and set off running, so I don’t think my transition was the quickest! But then it was the run and bloody hell I struggled.
In the end I finished in 37:22, which I suspect could be broken down roughly as follows: 16min swim; 2min transition; 6:30min per 1km lap of the run. Of course what I realised is that for most of those entering the swim was a slog, but the run was just a sprint; for me it was very much the other way around.
Anyway, that’s my current PB and I’ll try to beat it next time (although I can’t make the second event in the series).
The open water swimming season has started for me – and started with a bit of a bang.
The 6-hour swim was something that I’d signed up for ages ok. Back in a time when I thought that I’d be able to get several lake swims in ahead of the swim and it would be a great training swim. Back before we had that horrible cold weather (can we even remember that now we’re having a mini heatwave). In the end, with winter dragging on through into April I managed a very short dip at 9 degrees in Sale with Cathy and a couple of ouchy swims in 12 degrees water at Activities Away.
In the end the weather turned in time to warm the lake up to 14 degrees in time for our swim and so swim we did.
I realised afterwards that I hadn’t swum continuously for longer than an hour at this year and that this was only my fifth ever swim of 6 hours or longer. But at the time I just swam around the half mile course swimming from feed to feed (and huge thanks to my swim buddy Hayley who was in charge of the feeds) until the 6 hours was up.
It was great to turn my winter swimming in the pool into a good open water swim. I’ve done quite a lot of pool work and a lot of gym work over the last few months. I’m still conscious of my bad back – and it is something that hasn’t been ‘fixed’, but is being ‘managed’, but not causing any real problems at the moment – so a lot of gym work has been done to stretch and strengthen the areas that need to be stretchier or stronger.
While in the pool I have been doing ‘sprint’ sets. Of course the term sprint is relative when my swim goals are 10.5 miles, so a sprint set for me has been a timed 1km or 2km swim in the pool. But I have noticed improvements and am feeling good about my swimming at the moment. It was good to test that out in open water.
Then next Sunday (20th May) will be the Colwick Park swim and the start to the BLDSA swimming season.
I am organising this swim again (but for the last year) and there will be a 1km swim – that people can turn up and enter on the day – a 3km swim and a 5km swim. As well as organising it I’m going to swim the 3km event, so that will be nice to ‘race’ in open water after the long training six hour swim.
The season has started. I wonder what it will hold for me.
I’m compelled to write this following the recent Harvey Weinstein allegations.
Admittedly we haven’t heard this much on this occasion (or at least I haven’t), but a phrase that is often repeated when a sexual predator is found out is “not all men.” The not so subtle subtext to that is that hey, come on, we’re not all like that, most men are ‘good guys’, so women you’ll just have to learn which ones to ignore.
But I’m going to call that out as bullshit.
It’s bullshit because it puts the onus on women to learn / cope with / avoid the ‘bad guys’ and it doesn’t challenge or try to stop the men’s behaviour.
It’s bullshit because even without blatant sexual assaults there is a lot of behaviour by many men that women find threatening, uncomfortable, invasive and just downright icky. The ‘not all men’ mantra stops men from challenging or questioning their own behaviour.
But it’s mainly bullshit because while it is true that not all men are sexual predators it is true that all (or nearly all) women have a story that is about, at best, inappropriate sexual behaviour by a man towards them, but very often is about downright sexual abuse.
And men, you don’t have to have a wife / daughter / mother to be appalled at this – be appalled because it is wrong.
– – –
Just over 12 months ago I wrote a similar post to this after Trump’s admission about “grabbing”. It’s amazing that it needs writing again.
Last year’s post (which you can read here: Men – it’s time to get angry) was inspired by a Twitter conversation asking women for their first sexual assault – not the only one, because the female author of the tweet knew that most women had suffered multiple assaults. You can still see the thread here: https://twitter.com/kellyoxford/status/784541062119456769.
In last year’s post I talked about four things that men (actually anyone, but I was directing it at men) can do:
Unfortunately it’s still appropriate and I suspect that there will be many more of these stories to come out in the future.
The two best diet aides are sleep and happiness.
Sleep is an obvious one. When I’m tired I crave extra energy, extra food and often extra sugar. Extreme tiredness morphs into extreme hunger before I even know what I’m doing. Chocolate equals energy.
When I swim I need food to fight the cold, to keep me warm. When I don’t swim then I need food to keep my soul warm. Happiness needs to be nourished.
I can cope better with sadness if I’m well fed – or badly fed, just as long as I’m not hungry and sad at the same time. That’s a tough combination that multiplies both feelings.
And of course the two are often linked. Sadness can lead to an inability to sleep or at least to sleep well. While adding weight (or not losing it) leads to a feeling of worthlessness, which is rarely followed by happiness.
So it looks like I can’t wait until I’m skinny to be satisfied and happy with myself…
Lac Leman (or lake Geneva as we know it in English) is a real bucket list swim for marathon swimmers. At 70km long it is a similar distance to a two-way English Channel swim and has been swum by only a very select group of swimmers.
That’s why, this summer, I was delighted…
… to be invited to visit some friends who live near the lake.
I didn’t bloody swim it, of course I didn’t – I’m nowhere near a good enough swimmer to do that. I did have a nice dip this morning though.
As for the weekend, I had a lovely time. A really relaxing weekend with friends, mountains, a lake, wine and LOTS of cheese.
Maybe one day I’ll be back with more serious swimming intentions…
Last night I slept rough in Nottingham. I bedded down in my sleeping bag in the cold, dark night and did my best to sleep while exposed to the elements.
I was lucky though, it was just a one off for me as a way to raise money for charity.
The fact is that many people have to do this as a way of life and that’s a disgrace in modern Britain. One of the stats we learnt is that rough sleeping increased by 132% since 2010. While 3 years ago there were 13 officially counted rough sleepers in Nottingham. Over the last 2 weeks that number has been counted as 85!!
My experience of rough sleeping was with about 100 others as part of the CEOsleepout at Notts County’s ground. We all met up at about 8pm and mingled as we were told some of the stats I mentioned above. Then at about 11pm we made our way outside and put our bedding down at the edge of the pitch.
In the end I coped fine with the experience. I struggled to sleep at first, but clearly slept well as when I woke up at 6am I was the only person left pitchside bar one other person in the corner of the pitch. I’d slept through everyone else waking up, getting up and clearing away all their sleeping kit before making their way inside. So I quickly joined them for a well deserved cup of tea.
However I was able to sleep so well because I knew it was only for one night. It was dry, I was safe and I knew that I was going home afterwards. I was able to dry my sleeping kit off as soon as I got home and start my day no worse for my little ‘adventure’.
Yet there are many people that don’t have those luxuries. They have to bed down in kit still damp from the before, often in places that put them at risk from the elements and possibly worse. And they have to do that night after night. It was to draw attention to those people and to raise money for the charities that support them that we did it – so if you can please spare some pennies by going to my JustGiving page: http://www.justgiving.com/Patrick-Smith-sleepout.