Posts Tagged ‘swimming’

Swimming Mount Fuji

Thursday, September 30th, 2021 | Sport

After finishing the English Channel swim and I wanted another challenge. But there wasn’t anything else in the sea so I’ve been swimming up a mountain for the past four months.

The Amphibian

Wednesday, September 15th, 2021 | Sport

The Amphibian is an open water swimming challenge run by Evolve Endurance at the Blue Lagoon. It is a one-kilometre lap of swimming and you have four hours to complete up to ten laps.

I would like to be a marathon swimmer. Until a few months before lockdown, I thought it was literally impossible for me to swim front crawl because of a nasal issue. When I mastered it, it really changed what I thought was possible. And a marathon swim (generally thought of as 10k) would really top that off. But could I get ten laps done in the time limit?

Mass starts are back and I refuse to start at the back of the crowd because that gives me an extra 20-30 metres to swim. So, I ended up right in the washing machine with arms and legs going everywhere. Between the battle for position any drafting effect I completed the first lap in 21:34.

The water was over 20 degrees. Lovely and toasty. Despite this, I felt a slight chill after the second lap and decided to keep the work rate high to maintain my body temperature. From this, I think we can safely conclude that the Norseman is not in my future until I spent a lot of time doing cold water acclimatisation!

After that, I settled down to a consistent pace of 23 minutes per lap. Starting and finishing the fifth lap was exciting because I had never swum more than four kilometres before so this was a new record for me. I set myself five laps as my target with anything above this being a bonus. I went through the 5k mark is just over two hours.

I had one more good lap in me and then after six kilometres, I started to feel the fatigue. My pace slowed down to around 27 minutes per lap. I was chafing a little in my right underarm. Adjusting my suit did not help but flushing it did. But everything else was getting tired, too.

Because swimming is gentle on the body, I somehow thought that I would not be as sore as when I ran my first marathon. But my whole upper body was getting tired and sore. But the most soreness came from a place I did not expect: my cheeks. Three hours of blowing out air under the water were taking its toll and my whole face was tired.

After completing lap eight, I was clear I was not going to make ten. Knowing that nine would be the limit made it slightly easier psychologically. But tired arms and the feeling that my left calf was cramping made it difficult to push. I was very glad to reach the beach area for the final time.

I finished in:

3:56:23

I was the second-to-last athlete out of the water. It was a challenge rather than a race so there were no placings as such. But of the 78 swimmers that started, I came 22nd. The 21 athletes ahead of me completed all ten laps. This included Leigh with a 3:36:57 swim and Gareth from Wakefield finishing a couple of minutes ahead of me. Everyone else did fewer laps and who can blame them: nine is the most amount of work you can do without being able to call yourself a marathon swimmer 😂.

This is the final Evolve event meaning that I have done every single one of theirs this year. It has been so good to get back to racing (and they ran some during 2020 as well!). Thank you to Bev, Morg and all of the volunteers and water safety crew for making the events possible.

parkrun PB and Leeds Dock swimming

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 | Sport

Last Saturday, Leeds Dock opened up for open water swimming. Jp, Graeme and I completed Woodhouse Moor parkrun then headed down for a dip.

As it was only my third parkrun back, and I have got a lot speedier since I ran a 22:06 in 2018. So, without meaning to but simply trying to keep JP in sight ahead of me, I ran a PB of 21:05. I think I could go faster as I was held up at the start, but I don’t want to pretend I wasn’t working hard!

I would sum up the swim at Leeds Dock as cold. But nice. I am dubious of their self-admitted guesses that it was 17 degrees. I would have guessed at 15-16 but could be mistaken. Once I was swimming, though, it wasn’t too bad. It was mostly the initial getting in and warming up as it was jumping in or use the ladder: no gentle bay area like you get at the Blue Lagoon.

They have a 240-metre loop and there were only a few other swimmers in the water so no traffic to navigate. The water was clean and weed-free. You couldn’t see the bottom but that’s true of basically everywhere I have swum.

English Channel virtual swim

Saturday, May 29th, 2021 | Sport

I have done a bunch of the Conqueror challenges including Route 66 that used to be the longest one. Taking on the shortest, the English Channel, was something else. Why? Because I wanted to swim it. When the pools opened again I wanted something to motivate me so swimming the 32 kilometres seemed like a good challenge.

I have been in the pool and the lake quite a lot as I try to work on my swim. Progress is going well: I have made some speed gains already in the six weeks since the pools reopened. Everything else is a land-based challenge so I might end up swimming up Everest or around the pyramids next!

Roka Pro Swim pull buoy review

Sunday, October 18th, 2020 | Reviews, Video

A pull buoy is designed to keep your legs floating while doing swim drills so that you can work on improving your arm stroke. In this video, I will review the Roka Pro Swim pull buoy.

What can I say? It’s a pull buoy. It is a good size: maybe slightly larger than the typical pull buoy you get at a pool but not so big that it will not fit in your bag. It has good buoyancy and allowed me to get into my stroke on pull drills. It is symmetrical so you cannot adjust the buoyancy based on its orientation but I never actually do that anyway.

Huub tow float review

Monday, August 3rd, 2020 | Reviews, Sport, Video

In this video, I will review the Huub safety tow float. It follows on from my video last week about how to inflate the thing.

Mugiro neck protector

Thursday, July 9th, 2020 | Reviews, Sport, Video

If you are experiencing wetsuit chafing on the back of your neck and lube isn’t doing much for you, you may want to upgrade to the Mugrio neck projector. It’s a thick rubber collar that sits between your skin and your wetsuit and does a great job of protecting my precious skin.

How to inflate the Huub tow float

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020 | Sport, Video

I recently purchased a Huub safety tow float so that I could swim in lakes with slightly less fear of drowning. All very well and you would think it would be obvious how to inflate it. But it wasn’t and took us a bit of time to figure out. To save anyone else the hassle of how to do it, here is a video on it:

TL;TR is the valve can be stuck at first, so use the crap to press it up and down a few times. Then make sure you’re blowing as hard as you can as you need to press the valve down with the pressure of the air before it will begin inflating.

Garmin activities not uploading

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 | Tech

If you watch is syncing with Garmin Connect or Garmin Express, but not appearing in Garmin Connect, it could be that the activity has corrupted.

You can fix this by plugging your Garmin watch into your computer, browsing to Device/Garmin/ACTIVITY and finally finding the .FIT file. Try uploading this to Garmin Connect manually. If it says unsupported file type, you know you have a corrupt file.

Take it to Fit File Tools and run it through their fit file fixer. Download the result and try re-uploading it to Garmin Connect. Hopefully, it should be accepted this time.

Swimming 3km

Friday, March 27th, 2020 | Sport

I’ve been working super hard on my front crawl since September: getting in the pool three times a week, every week, and relentlessly doing drills. It’s going well. In February, I reached 3km continuous.

Unfortunately, now all the pools are closed so everything has come to a halt. Lakes are too cold, and there are movement restrictions anyway. Let’s hope that better times are on their way soon.