Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Back in the swing of things....

Hope everyone's long weekend was as good as mine :)

First of all, my sore throat is least it hasn't been bothering me since Saturday, so that's a good sign! I'm not sure if it was the active manuka honey that Mark kindly suggested for me to take or just all the cold water over the weekend scaring my body into getting better or even just the long weekend and unexpected nice weather making me feel better!! But regardless I'm feeling a hundred times better than I was last week :)

It was a great weekend, managed to get four open water swims in....

I was in Sandycove on Saturday, the weather was only ok and the water was rough, so not ideal conditions for my first swim back after being sick! But I got in and swam for 8 and a half minutes, so still a little longer than my last open water swim and much tougher with the rough conditions. The water was considerably warmer than my last swim (probably three degrees C or so), it didn't feel warm though after being out of it for so long again!

Sunday was a much nicer day, the kind of day that you hope for on a summer long weekend and don't always get here in Ireland! I think it encouraged lots of people to get back into the water too, Sandycove was jammed...I don't know what parking is going to be like in the summer when it was already pretty much full up there on the first nice day in May! The water was nice too, still got the usual cold headache but it felt warmer than the day before, probably more of a psychological thing than anything else! The temperature was measured at 11degrees C (51.8 degrees F) but since I hadn't taken a reading on Saturday I can't compare and see if it's just all in my head or not. I swam for 10 and a half minutes, did my own little mini triangle which was probably about 500metres, it was pretty rough again even with the nice day so I was pretty happy with what I'd done. It was so nice too to get out of the water and to be warm heading to the car rather than shivering!

Then on Sunday evening I got a call from Ned to say that there were some people swimming in the river in Fermoy on Monday morning and would I like to come along. So I jumped at the chance...even though I was going out Sunday night! I was home relatively early and relatively sober Sunday night but it was still a drag to get myself out of bed on Monday morning...not helped by the fact that it was cloudy and there was a light mist outside, I just wanted to snuggle back under the covers instead! But I made myself get ready and went to meet Ned who was driving down. By the time we got there the mist was gone, it still wasn't particularly inviting weather though! There were 5 of us swimming, myself, Ned, Sylvain (who's attempting the channel swim on the same set of dates as me), Eddie (who's attempting the channel this September) and Ciaran. Two in wetsuits, three of us in just swimsuits. Ned reckoned it was probably about 12 degrees C (53.6 degrees F) so a little warmer than the sea at the moment. We set off, I was planning to try to stay in for about 20minutes in the warmer temperature. Since we were swimming upriver it was much tougher on the way than on the way back so I was thinking of swimming for about 15minutes and then turning around. But it turned out that me and Ciaran were about the same speed, so after about 15 minutes we chatted and decided that we'd try to get as far as the half-mile marker and turn there. Which ended up taking us about 28 minutes! But it's amazing the difference that the extra degree or so made, even after the 28 minutes I was more comfortable than after 10 minutes the day before! So we turned, and literally swam twice as fast back! It felt great having the flow with us, it was so much easier! We got back in 14 minutes so just over 40 minutes altogether, which was a huge improvement for me. I think that having someone there really helped me to stay longer because I knew that if anything did happen there was someone there to realise it! I just need to find someone (or a few people) in Sandycove now that are a similar speed to me so that I have someone to swim with there.

Monday morning was a huge boost to my confidence, I knew then that I could do a mile in the open water pretty comfortably and that after 40 minutes in the water I was fine, I wasn't too cold afterwards or anything. So then when Tuesday came around I figured that I'd try to get to Sandycove that evening. I organised a lift down and headed off around was a nice sunny evening in the city but a lot colder by the sea! I was swimming on my own with Sarah watching so I headed out to the corner and back in a small triangle...but by the time I got back in I'd only done about 9 minutes and was feeling fine so I headed back out again in in the other direction this the time I got back in I'd done 17 minutes altogether and had to get out then because I was caught for time. But I was almost as cold after that 17 minutes as I had been after the 40 the day before...I really never realised how much a degree or two's difference makes!
So is a day off after swimming the past 8 days without a break, and then I've got pilates tomorrow evening and master's swimming after, I think the plan is to video our strokes and analyse them so that would be good, make me admit to all the bad habits!! And then I'm back in Sandycove again for the weekend-Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

And the last piece of good news...looks like I'm finally back in business as regards a car: it's taxed, insured, inspection booked for next week and a few small problems are fixed. So I'm mobile again :) No more excuses now for missing training sessions!

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