Tag Archives: Ullswater

Windermere v3

This Sunday I’m hoping to swim Windermere.

I say hoping because there’s a lot that can happen between now and then (not least that we haven’t finalised the logistics) and a lot that can happen during the swim. But I’m committed to making it happen, so all things being well, by Sunday evening I will have swum Windermere.

If I do it, it will be my third length of England’s longest lake (at 10.5 miles) and that fact alone surprises me. I still don’t really consider myself a swimmer, but I seem to be doing a good job of fooling everyone, so I’ll keep going until the charade is spotted.

From a swimming perspective this year started badly with a mental and physical hangover from last year’s bad back. I couldn’t quite find the motivation at the start of the season and so the goals I set at the start of the year will be mainly unfulfilled (that’s for another post). However, over the last few weeks I’ve really started to enjoy my swimming again and have enjoyed both the physical challenge and meditative quality of swimming longer distances. Ever since the Ullswater swim I’ve had my swimming mojo back.

So after the channel relay I decided I wanted to do more. I did have a 2-person relay planned, but unfortunately that fell through, so Windermere was the next logical choice.

I’ve done it before. The first time I just loved being there, the second time I tried too hard to ‘achieve’ something and had a very bad day at the office. Hopefully for the third I can do something between those two. I have a goal, but I also want to enjoy it and have a good day. Fingers crossed.

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One last thing – I have been raising money for charity over the last few weeks with the channel relay and this Windermere swim. This is the last time I’ll mention it, but if you can spare a few pennies for the MNDA then I’d really appreciate it.

Please donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patrick-smith-swim

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Ullswater done, Derwentwater done

Yesterday I swam the 7 mile length of Ullswater with the BLDSA.

It was chilly, windy and all in all a bloody tough swim. It split into three very distinct sections for me.

Part 1 – horrible, cold and really not much fun. I knew I wouldn’t finish and would be getting out “soon” (it was never now, but always “soon”). I took my first feed after an hour and then every 45 minutes from then and the second feed seemed to be an age away. I really didn’t enjoy this section of the swim.

Part 2 – it started soon after he second feed and was probably timed with the sun coming out a bit, but I suddenly felt ‘in the zone’ and really enjoyed it. From being desperate for my second feed to happen I pushed the third one back five minutes as I did t want to break my rhythm. For about two hours I actually enjoyed myself and was swimming well.

Part 3 – was when the shoulders began to ache and the cold got into me a little bit. At this point the end couldn’t come soon enough.

But the end arrived. I touched the buoy and turned round to thank my kayaker. Then burst out laughing.

A wave had caught her against a jetty (that she had positioned herself against so I wouldn’t swim into it) and flipped the kayak over. So she joined me for a swim for the last 50m. I rescued the paddle, hence this photo.


So in summary a cold swim (13.8 degrees), a long swim (7 miles), a tough swim, but almost an enjoyable one.

Today was Derwentwater and a little easier. The water was fractionally warmer (14.3 degrees), the weather was calmer and nicer and it was shorter (5.25 miles). But the main thing that made it easier for me was that I was kayaking and not swimming.

That said I was kayaking for an amazing swimmer and a very fast one. She covered the 5.25 mile course in a little over 2 1/4 hours and swam brilliantly throughout.

As a kayaker it was my job to be there as safety support if needed (I wasn’t), but also guide the route and feed when needed. The speed she swam at meant that I was kept pretty busy with both of those.

She was the first swimmer home, so I’m going to take some credit for that (I’m not really, but it was amazing to watch a proper swimmer).


A good weekend so far.

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Update – I also swam 6km in Coniston on Monday – you know, just for fun!

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2013 Challenges

Originally the plan was to swim Windermere next year – so my plans were quite simple: keep swimming. Now, having done it a year early I need to revise those plans, or at least reconsider them.

Windermere was obviously a big thing for me so I’d like to do some significant challenges and not just drift back into my old slobbish ways. That said, training for Windermere took a lot of effort and time and I need to be able to do other things with my time (not least family and work).

The compromise I’ve reached is that I’d like to set myself some big challenges for 2014 and that 2013 will be a bit of a “transition” year. I’m not fully decided on what the 2014 challenges will be yet, but it may be (and please don’t tell anyone just yet) a half ironman triathlon (I’ve done the Olympic distance previously) and another marathon (I’ve done two – London and Dublin – but way back in 2004).

So, to prepare for those, 2013’s challenges look a bit like this:

– More swimming. I want to re-do Bala and Coniston and to beat my times. So I’m aiming for 4hrs 15mins for Bala and sub-3hrs for Coniston. I also want to do the 7 mile Ullswater swim.

– Triathlons – I’d like to do at least three sprint triathlons next year. Luckily for me there are two organised in my village every year (run by One Step Beyond).

– Running – To help me focus on the running a bit more I’ll enter at least two 10k events.

– Cycling – Of a triathlon, it’s the cycling element that I enjoy the least, so rather than ignore it I need to “face the fear”, so I’ll enter at least one long cycling event.

– Three Yorkshire Peaks – on top of all of that I’m going to do the Three Yorkshire Peaks next year. It’s the year I turn 40 and an old mate of mine and I decided a couple of years ago that we’d do something to celebrate this landmark year. What we really wanted was an excuse to have a weekend away drinking beer, but this attempt to prove that we can keep up with the youngsters appeals to us as well.

Hmmm, busy year then 🙂

 

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Kayaker Needed

As I’ve mentioned in my posts about the Bala swim and the Coniston swim, the kayakers are an essential part of the event and the effort they put in to support the swimmers cannot ever be over-appreciated.

If anyone would like to feel the immense gratitude of a swimmer, then we are looking for a kayaker for a swim in Ullswater this Sunday (29th July). It’s not for me, but for my cousin. It’s a 7 mile swim that starts early on Sunday morning, but should be finished by lunch time, so you can get home in time for your roast dinner.

If there is anyone that could do it, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll pass on your details – we’d be very grateful.

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