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Starting to get my swimming mojo back

Starting to get my swimming mojo back

It has been a long road, Shingles absolutely wiped me out and it has only been in the last week that I feel the drive to swim long coming back. Until last week every swim over 3km was a chore and felt terrible, and then last week last week I managed, a Monday 4km swim (with 4×100 IM at the end – out of practice on these!!):

a Wednesday 10k swim:

a Friday 3km swim:

…and a Friday evening 2.1km swim


…and a Saturday morning 3km swim:

All in all a good week – the shoulders really felt it on Sunday and the 4km in the pool this morning was really tough for the first 1km…times are better than at this time last year – 1:33-1:40/100m, as opposed to 1:40/100m average, which surprises me as I still don’t feel it….I still feel in recovery mode…

This week’s aim is to beat the swims I had last week….so 4km today, 10k Wed, Fri/Sat OW but with a 3-4km swim somewhere on Tue or Thur…next week is Chicago week, so swimming will be limited albeit in the rather beautiful pool in the Intercon in Chicago…

The Intercontinental Pool

As to races, these are still planned to be:

Thames Marathon/Bridge to Bridge – 14km

Windermere One Way – 17.5km

Serpentine Super Six – 9.6km

The Thames Marathon will be my 4th time doing it, and Windermere the 2nd. The Serpentine swim is a new one though, and I am doing it for charity, a little more information has come out on this since I last posted:

Super Six: Swim six miles with a combination of one-mile and two-mile events during the day. All the ‘Super Sixers’ will start in the same one-mile wave, then how you complete the total distance is up to you. Choose to swim event after event, or take a break before you continue on with your swim

Sounds like fun – looking at it I think I will swim 4 mile swims and then do a 2 mile at the end… I think….regardless I am raising money for a small charity that helps disabled and disadvantaged children in the UK to participate and progress in sport. This is done via mainly small grants to help buy much needed equipment. If you can help at all please head over to my donations page, THANKS!!

Until next time,





Hmmmm….so there goes my plans for the year….

Hmmmm….so there goes my plans for the year….

Well as I guessed would happen, my year of racing is well and truly in bits…..for once not due to injury but instead because of…guess what…work….yep I was asked to step up and support one of the global directors and now my diary is in freefall…between now and mid June I have three trips to Chicago, one to Madrid (for over a week) and one to Mexico City (for two days)…unfortunately these clash with at least two of the races I was planning and another clashes with my eldest daughter’s play….

So….where does that leave me…well…I think I need a new challenge in my diary, I am seriously considering the Bridge to Bridge swim (, their description of it is:

BRIDGE TO BRIDGE is a 14 km endurance downstream River Thames swimming event, from Henley Bridge to Marlow Bridge. This event is more relaxed than a race, and is aimed only at serious open water swimmers who would like to include a long distance challenge in their summer open water swimming season

14km…hmmm….can I do it? Well the longest I have swum ‘open water’ is between 4-5km when training for IMCH…and the furthest I have ever swum is 10km but I was in my teens and it was in a pool…so 14.1km…..could be interesting – I reckon I could keep up with the silver pod or at a stretch the gold pod….hmmm….

Two weeks after this is the Monster Middle….a 70.3ish race near Ely…it appeals as it is close…my biggest concern though is training….I just seem to be in a complete training vacuum…whenever I think things are getting better I seem to take two steps back….either through injury/work or illness…

Regardless I am still keen to race this year and I would like to do at least one 70.3, a long swim and maybe a couple of Oly distance races….let see what happens….

On the plus side the new Huub Archimedes is simply stunning…a 1.8km swim in it was executed with little effort in 28mins…it is supple, buoyant well fitting (in size SS) and the bicep/calf release panels really do seem to work…it is light years ahead of my old Orca Alpha…and I really mean that…

Once I have had a bit more experience I will write a more complete review


Swimming and a good end to week one of the taper!

Swimming and a good end to week one of the taper!

So the theory goes that tapering is all about winding back the distance so you don’t hurt yourself before the race whilst uping the tempo a little to push yourself and reinforce the neuromuscular pathways you will be using in race….

Well I hope I haven’t peaked a week too early is all I can say! Yesterday was one of the best races I have ever done, swimming or tri! I entered the Great East Swim (GES) 1 mile swim (1600m) on a whim a couple of weeks back just to hone the competitive swimming element of tri. During Marshman I had a panic attack, the start was more challenging and competitive than IMCH and other more recent tris combined with having my goggles pulled off, so I decided I needed more OW swimming and racing practice so two weeks ago when I managed one OW swim (the second this year) I thought well lets combine an OW swim with a race – the GES looks good 🙂

Wind forward to yesterday morning and we (the family) arrived at Alton Water for the GES, my first competitive swim since I was racing Masters pool swimming during my PhD – nearly fifteen years ago! The onsite organisation was a bit of a cluster – lots of tents and signs for spectators but a lack of direction to the start….anyway I eventually found it and waited to be logged in. Our warm up time arrived and we got into the (frankly tiny) patch (about 10mx10m) of water to try and warm up – we had a whole resevoir why such a small warm up area???? I kept waiting for more orange hatted people to turn up for our wave but we ended up with most of the 60 entered in the wave – apparently I had entered the top Age Group (AG) wave – the next wave was the elites….as far as I know I was the only triathlete there all the others were OW swim specialists…oh dear, this could be a disaster I thought…..we had an “interesting” warm up led by a fitness instructor and the starting klaxon was set off  (by the German chap who came 2nd in the elites). Prior to the race I had not really thought about the difference of swimming races vs triathlons that much, i.e. in a triathlon the klaxon or gun starts the time for everyone, in this OW race the time started when an individual went over the timing mat – hence I could have waited at the end and gone over on my own and into clear water, but I didn’t instead I was in the second row and sprinted in to the water. A short session of aqua-ruck later I was in clear water and heading for the second buoy. After a pretty uneventual swim – which involved a fair amount of drafting two other swimmers and trying not to kill people from the previous wave (who were soooo slow and just appeared from nowhere doing breaststroke….) I rounded the last buoy and headed for the exit chute. In a triathlon I would have controlled my pace a little more and thought about T1 from about 400m out but this was a straight thrash for the end (and it shows on the video) – I jumped up onto my feet as soon as my fingers hit the bottom and sprinted for the mat – over the line in 24:44! Sub 25mins is a pretty good time for an OW 1 mile race to give some idea I was 38th overall out of 1285 swimmers, 32nd Male and 4th in my Age group (and gender), all without specific training for the race – I guess if I get bored with triathlons I could always make a go of racing OW swimming!!!

Lizzie recorded a videos of the swim finish – and a photo too!:
A good day’s work! Very happy and slightly surprised!!
So why is this blog post not just entitled – a good swim? Well this morning I did a turbo 10mile time trial, basically a 25min warm up and then flat out for 16km of the last section of the Marshman route. My previous best for 10mile TT was 27:42 this morning I managed it in 26:01 🙂 Okay it was the turbo but I have it fairly well dialed in for accuracy as I managed 535W max/237W av and HR 186 max/162 av which is pretty close to what it should be!!
So there you go – taper 2/52 done – two swims, three turbo sets one rest day and a race – DONE! Next week is the final taper week to UK 70.3 IM in Wimbleball – turbo x2, swim x2 and 1 road session to test the bike. Also I have my mid week test run – my biggest fear…..why well three weeks ago I put some small tears in my Achilles tendons and I have been icing/ultrasounding/resting them as much as possible – if they are not 80% on Wednesday then Wimbleball will be a swim/bike and probable/planned DNF on the run….it was my A race but it is now my B race with Ireland 70.3 as my main focus….fingers crossed.
Finally if you find this interesting and want to sponsor my efforts please go to and donate some money for the Urostomy Association – they helped my mother – a really worthwhile cause!!
Keep well
Swimming and the impact of a two week layoff….

Swimming and the impact of a two week layoff….

So following my VO2max on Sunday yesterday was a 30min run @ 6:10/km pace (2hr 1/2 marathon pace), the legs did not want to run….but I still managed to keep the to the target pace (in fact towards the end it was becoming easy!).

Swimming this morning was a mixed bag….the set was:
400 (100 Swim, 100 pull, repeat) – easy
DR1: (6 x 75 as: 50 DR into 25 Swim 3,5,5 breathing -ALL PULLING)
1) 3/4 catch-up
2) Single Arm
3) 3/4 catch up
4) Fists
5) 3/4 catch up
6) swim – best stroke count
MS: 4 x 400
*(85% TEMPO, comfortably hard) – Keep form. Consistent spilts are the GOAL! 30s rest b/t reps
CD: 50 Easy – put stroke back together, finish with good form.

Not sure what happened – warm up and drills good but it all fell apart the 4x400s ranged from 5:48 to 6:05 no consistency, the first one felt really easy (5:48) and I could not slow down it just felt good, number two and three (5:54, 6:01) were both okay but gradually harder and by number 4 I was gone (6:05) breathing was off (inhaled water – I never do that), turns were sloppy and my stroke was falling apart…..I am guessing it is the lack of swimming for nearly two weeks that has blunted my longer distance endurance….ho hum….at least on the positive side I finally built my single speed bike (42/18 gearing – see the previous post) so I will be using that a lot more for chores and maybe a couple of training rides – just to make my one local hill a little harder!