My next project…

1 Nov

This week has been so hectic. On Monday, I was hoping to be able to go running, but I ended up having to get my phone fixed, which took a lot longer than I had hoped. Fortunately, I was able to make the 8pm swimming session.

There were just two of us in the slow lane, which was nice. Unfortunately, the main set was 12x25m off 30s. This is the kind of set that I hate, as it’s something that is simply unachievable. I can swim 25m in 25s… but that’s a single length swum to the best of my ability. I can just about manage 29s lengths consistently… but I need more than 1s of recovery between them. Although I am willing to be challenged, I find it incredibly demotivating to be given an impossible set to swim. It took a lot of strength not to get out of the pool and leave the session.

At the end of the session, we were asked to swim 400m. I started behind the guy in my lane, which was beneficial as with a bit of effort I was able to draft him, however, after four lengths, he pulled over, so I had to continue swimming on my own. I picked up the pace a little bit and realised that I felt OK. I was also starting to pull ahead of my lane-mate. I decided to continue picking up the pace to see how far ahead I could get of the chap in my lane, but didn’t feel that I was pushing too hard. I was really surprised when I checked my watch at the end to see that I’d finished the 400m in 8:56. It’s the first time that I’ve timed myself over the distance since April, when I did it in 9:30, so I was pleased that I have improved. I’d really like to time myself for an all-out effort as I reckon that I could do it in 8:30 now.

On Tuesday, I booked to go to a SUTRI spinning class and was really looking forward to it. I love spinning, but the last time I went to a spin class was over two years ago when I worked at Bournemouth University. Unfortunately, the evening did not go as planned as my car refused to cooperate and I arrived at the Jubilee Sports Centre 5 minutes late. I walked past the room where the class was taking place, but I couldn’t see a spare bike and I couldn’t face the embarrassment of walking into a full room. After a few minutes of crises and debating just going straight home, I decided to wait in the reception and then join the 8pm SUTRI swimming session.

At about 7:55pm, I went into the pool where I could see a few people gathering at the deep end. One guy was wearing shorts and t-shirt, so I figured that he might be a coach – at last, I got something right. I explained that I had no idea of the format, so I was told that the first lane was mainly mixed drill sets, whereas the other lanes were focused on endurance swimming, with people doing 2-3k per session. I know I’m capable of swimming more than 2k in a session… but then I saw people starting to dive in. I can dive, but only just, so I decided to go into the drills lane.

I did a 50m warm up, by which time more people had got in – there were 12 of us in the lane, which is more people than I’m used to. We did various drills that I’m used to, such as ‘fingertip drag’ drill and ‘catch up’ drill. It was tricky swimming in such a packed lane, mainly because I couldn’t swim slowly enough. Overall, I thought that it was a good start for me as it gave me confidence.

On Wednesday, I led a hill training session with Lordshill. I would really liked to have joined in, but it’s not really possible when coaching – especially as there’s such a wide ability range in the group.

My mum, aunt and cousin came to visit from Cornwall on Thursday. My mum brought my latest project with her – my dad’s bike. It’s a Raleigh Olympus that dates back to about 1977, so it’s older than I am. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do it up and cycle it in Japan. If that plan doesn’t work out then at least it should help me to develop my bike maintenance skills.

Raleigh Olympus bicycle

Raleigh Olympus bicycle

At the moment, the bike isn’t fit to be ridden. My dad passed away on 23/06/02, so the bike definitely hasn’t been ridden for over 12 years and I would imagine it may have been a few years before then that my dad actually last rode it. I have lots of memories of my dad taking me to playschool on this bike – I had to sit on the crossbar! I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get the bike out on a stand in the garden tomorrow and give it a basic clean. Then I’m going to start with the wheels. I need to buy more tyres and innertubes and need to remove the rust from the wheels.

In the evening, all of us went to see Wicked, which is on at the local theatre. I really enjoyed it, although I probably needed an earlier night.

Yesterday, we went up to London to view the poppies at the Tower of London. It is a really clever idea that has clearly captured the public’s imagination. However, many people seem to be under the illusion that the poppies will magically disappear on 11th November and it was also half term, so there were huge crowds at the Tower.

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My mum and two of her four sisters

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This morning, I was Run Director at Southampton parkrun. I think a lot of the local students may have been out at Halloween parties so the event wasn’t as busy as it can sometimes be – there were about 515 runners. None of the very fastest runners seemed to be there. I’m wondering whether they are saving their legs for the Lordshill 10 mile race tomorrow!

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