Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A catch up on swimming

Well, this is supposed to be a swimming blog...so as promised a post to catch up a bit on my swimming.  Swimming was rather neglected earlier in the year - there were weeks when I wasn't even hitting 20km in the water - and I definitely felt a bit off my game.  Not surprising when my body was so tired from the marathon training!

Masters swimming
After the marathon, I joined the local masters club.  I'd wanted to join them before but they only had one session a week, which was 8-9pm on a weeknight, which just didn't work for me.  There is no way I would sleep after swimming that late at night!  However, this year they introduced a second session on a Sunday 6-7pm.  It happens 3-4 times a month (the other session in the month, the pool is used for lifeguard training) and in general I'm making it along 2-3 times a month.  It is a very quiet session, so plenty of coach attention.  We generally do a mixed strokes warm up of about 1k which is fun and different for me, and then we either do some stroke development (I totally loved the 2 weeks that we spent practising backstroke) or some front crawl fitness work.  I love having a bit of sociable swimming and even though I never feel like going out at 6pm on a Sunday night, I always come back having enjoyed it.  I think just a little bit of fitness work reminds me to swim faster and I feel like I'm noticing some improvements.

Start of the openwater swimming season
I haven't really done so much openwater swimming this season because there hasn't been a huge imperative for me to get in and get on with it.  I've been very busy and tired and so lie ins on Sunday mornings have been more important! I started my season by attempting a 3.8k swim at Box End at the end of April.  It was very cold and I decided to get out after 1.2k as it was just not sensible to continue and this year I have no need to absolutely push myself.  I was a bit grumpy because I am pretty sure that I could have completed a 1500m and I was overly cocky choosing the 3.8k!

Lake District swimming
In the lakes twice in the space of just over a fortnight and I was lucky enough to get in 3 amazing swims.  I had a lovely swim in Rydal Water in May. I'd never swum there before and it was simply incredible to be swimming in this lake all by myself surrounded by wonderful scenery (Mr JKS watched from the bank with the binoculars).  In June, Mr JKS and I did a nice swim in Coniston, crossing the lake and swimming to "Wild Cat Island" and back (probably about a mile in total).  The next day, I abandoned paddleboarding half way through the session to have a swim in Derwentwater which was also pretty good.  I'd like to swim the length of that at some point.

Lock to Lock 4k
Finally, I took part in this very local swim ten days ago.  It was pretty well organised and the fastest 4k I've ever swum, thanks to the gallons and gallons of water rushing down the river after all of the rain in the preceding week!  I came in at under 52 minutes and was very surprised to get to the end so fast, it didn't seem like nearly enough swimming.  I was 3rd woman back which was nice although a shame that there were only prizes for 1st!  I'm signed up to do the 6k in a couple of weeks and the 10k in September.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Windermere Marathon

This is a somewhat overdue post since Windermere Marathon happened at the end of May and it is now the end of June, but better late than never.  We had a mixed day out for a variety of reasons but it was lovely weather and a nice accomplishment to have under the belt.  I came down with what seemed to be a cold on the Wednesday before and then turned into a chest infection which I am still recovering from a month later and had a horrific cough. Fortunately, it seemed that exercise suppressed the cough to some extent and I only coughed at the points where we totally stopped and didn't need the cough mixture I was carrying in my bag.  You'll notice in the pictures that I look quite wrapped up - this was more to deal with the photosensitivity that I have as a result of my medication - I had arm protectors on as well.

We did well on the first half of the race, hitting halfway in just a little over 2h and only walking up one very big hill (where there were bagpipers playing!).  I took a few selfies while we were running and a picture of the amazing scenery.

The second half was a lot harder.  Mr JKS began to struggle and was having problems keeping his heartrate at the right level, so we ended up doing a lot of walking with a bit of running.  Unfortunately, by the time he was feeling ok again, with about 6 miles to go, my legs had seized up totally from the hard first half and then walking, so we were only able to continue this to the finish.  However, there was an ice cream van at about 21 miles which we'd heard about in advance, so had some cash ready, and had a "cider refresher" between us which was just lovely as it was very hot.  There was also an unofficial feedstation with a chap giving out flapjack and sweets from the boot of his car in a layby and that was also very much appreciated!

We were pleased to finish and get our medals!  We crept in just under 5 hours which is really quite respectable in my opinion for a hilly course.  Overall I enjoyed it although I didn't feel that I got a full experience of running around the lake that I have swum up and down several times now.  The first half was the most picturesque through lovely rolling countryside, but no views of the lakes.  The second half was mostly along pavements next to the road that goes along the lake, so there were glimpses of the lake, but not very close and more views of the traffic.  But it's pretty cool to have run/walked around the lake as well as swum it :-D  Oh and the goody bag was excellent - local beer, nice neckbuff, kendal mint cake, teabags, a pen...and we enjoyed doing a "smaller" more friendly race to our Brighton/Milton Keynes marathons earlier in the year.

Unfortunately my post marathon recovery didn't go quite to plan and I ended up with a knee injury by running before all of my niggles had been ironed out.  4 weeks later I'm still not running, and we were incredibly disappointed to miss out on doing Coniston marathon (although we still had a fab 24 hours in the lakes with swims in Coniston and Derwentwater and some paddleboarding and lunch at our favourite cafe in Glenridding). I'm really missing running though and not totally sure on the prognosis :( On the plus side, the extra time for my swimming has been good.  And I still owe the blog a post on swimming!  Maybe later this week...