Tag Archives: Activities Away

Double Dip

After falling out of love with swimming I’m back to enjoying it more and more. This can be shown by the fact that on Tuesday I swam twice.

The first swim was a 6:30am start at a local lake next to Nottingham Sailing Club. They only opened for swimming last year, but it’s a great set up – especially as we have use of the sailing club showers and changing rooms. It makes for a perfect set up for a pre-work swim. The lake itself is set out as a c. 650m loop and I did 6 wide laps for a total of just over 4km in an hour and a quarter.

The second swim of the day was a charity event run by the excellent 100% Swimming up at the Activities Away lake. The idea was to predict how far you could swim in 20 minutes 17 seconds (20:17) and the closest to their prediction won. It was all organised in Aid of the Ethan Maull Foundation.

I predicted a total of 1,050m and decided to use it as a way to push myself as hard as I could for 20 minutes. About 300m in I got into rhythm with a wetsuited swimmer and we pushed each other around and I ended up just going past my prediction and finishing on about 1,060m.

It was a great event and hopefully it will be able to launch nationally next year. Thanks all for organising it.

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Cold Water Miles

I’m already over halfway through my Aspire Channel Swim – but there’s still time to sponsor me (please go here).

For miles 12 and 13 I got back to my cold water roots and swam in the open air, although in two very different experiences.

I was in London overnight on Thursday and so on Friday morning I had set my mind to swim at Parliament Hill Lido. I’ve heard so much about it through swimming friends on Facebook and although the only other lido I’ve swum at is the one in Guildford, I love the idea of them.

The downside of Parliament Hill Lido is that to get to it on public transport is a bit of a pain, it’s not super well connected and as I was carrying not only my swimming kit, but also my work bag and an overnight bag it felt like a bit of a trek.

However, once there it was lovely.

A friendly atmosphere (although I didn’t really speak to anyone), beautiful, cool and clean water and an amazing ‘space age’ design for the pool meant that I really enjoyed my swim. The exterior is an old-fashioned lido with a brick wall to the premises and slightly dilapidated (but clean and functional) changing and showering facilities. However the pool itself has a metal base that makes the water appear even cleaner and somehow ‘shinier’. As most pools have brick or tiles it felt strange entering this metal ‘world’, but it made for a great swim.

Happy, but chilly.

Happy, but chilly.

The pool is 60m long, so my original plan was to swim 30 lengths to make sure that I crossed over the 1,600m needed for a mile, but I was enjoying it so much that I swam an additional 4 lengths to go over 2k (I’m only counting the first mile to my Aspire total). I could have stayed in longer, but I was starting to feel the chill and I realised that I had a full working day to tackle.

But, and consider this a warning, I’ll definitely be back Parliament Hill Lido!

Mile 13 was on Saturday and I fancied more outdoor, cold water, so I made my way to my ‘regular’ lake, called Activities Away, up near Lincoln. I say regular, but I’ve probably only been about 4 times this year.

No metal bottom here. Instead there were weeds and fish to keep me company. The lake is marked out with an 800m lap, so two laps would equal the mile I needed to do, but I was enjoying it too much, so I did an extra lap (again, only counting the first mile towards the Aspire challenge).

Tea and cake at Activities Away - the real reason we swim!

Tea and cake at Activities Away – the real reason we swim!


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8km before breakfast

I’m doing the Bridge to Bridge swim at the weekend, so I thought I should check that the shoulders and head space can cope and do a long swim this week. As it turned out this morning was my only chance for that, so I got up at 5:30am to go off to the lake and swim.

And swim I did. Just over 8km in just over two and a half hours.

I’m very pleased with that!

This morning's swim

This morning’s swim

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Swimming video

On Tuesday of this week, instead of my usual 3 hours of swimming up at Activities Away I was filmed getting in and out and swimming around. It’s all part of my Open for Business plan and I’ll be able to reveal much more soon.

But in the meantime here’s a short clip of me swimming.

As you can see, we’re using a GoPro camera. For the first bit it’s strapped to my head, then Tracey from Orange Media filmed me from under water. I think it looks great.

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I’m not angry, just disappointed

I went for a truly wonderful early morning swim this morning. The lake I normally train in has changed its opening hours and created more slots for swimming. One of them is from 6:30am on a Tuesday morning, so at 6:15am I was the first car parked in the car park and I was ready to sign in and get swimming.

Activities Away this morning.. LovelyIt was beautiful, the mist was still rising off the lake, the sun was just waking up and starting to warm up the day, while the lake was warm from all the recent great weather. In fact the lake was possibly too warm – my guess is about 21 degrees C.

Yet there were still people getting in today wearing wetsuits. Why?

I’ve nothing against wetsuits per se, it just seems such a shame to “protect” yourself from such beautiful water. Now I understand triathletes who have to train in race conditions, but for casual swimmers, on a day like today…?

I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed


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Three miles, two swims

Last night I wasn’t sure whether I’d go swimming today. I’d had a long day in London (and some great meetings), but by the end of the day due to a couple of personal things it felt like a tough day. Friday is my night down the pub with a few beers and darts, yet Saturday was the only day I could do a lake swim this weekend (we’re doing a charity bike ride as a family tomorrow). So should I go to the pub and relax and unwind and have a few beers, or should I be a little bit more cautious so that I can have a big swim in the morning?

I had decided to have the beers, but in the end once I got to the pub I only fancied a couple. It was a good night, good fun and great darts (no quality, just fun) and I just didn’t fancy any more beer. So I woke up this morning feeling fit and raring to go.

I set off and got to the lake for 10am got changed and went in – it was beautiful.

Today's swim

Today’s swim

On the drive up I got into my head the notion that I should follow up the lake swim with a dip in the pool back in the village. I’m not sure why, it just seemed like a good idea.

After 2 miles in the lake I got out, got changed and set off. A flask of tea in the car helped to warm me up [a bit] and I got back into the village just as lane swimming was starting.

The first few minutes in the pool were tough. I hadn’t fully warmed up and was shivering quite a lot and it didn’t seem like such a good idea. Fortunately however I did start to warm up and really enjoyed a relaxing mile.

So, three miles, two swims in 1hr 43mins.

Today's time.

Today’s time.


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Swimming Rule # 168

If you set off to the pool / lake in your costume then make sure you remember your underwear, otherwise you’ll be doing an unnecessary commando on your way home.

– – –

Fortunately I remembered this rule as I set off for my first UK open water swim of the year. I only intended to do a short swim, so the 2km I did was perfect. It was great to be in the lake again, to feel the sting of the cold water and the buzz of getting warm again at the end.

I wasn’t convinced I’d enjoy it and was a little nervous as I’d had a couple of beers last night and was feeling tired (both of which can cause the cold to affect me more). But once I got in it was great.

Roll on next weekend for another open water swim.


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