Today’s #AspireChannelSwim was a return to the 7am sessions. I had pretty bad insomnia last night and I’d hoped to lie in until 9am and then do a lunchtime swim. But I woke up at 5am and there was little point lying in bed wide awake so I figured I’d get my swim in.
The session was very quiet, perhaps the quietest morning session I’ve seen. I had a lane to myself for the whole hour. I felt reasonably good after the usual struggles over the first 10 lengths. I thought I’d swum quite strongly for the hour. Somehow, though, I ended up doing 4 fewer lengths than either Monday’s or Tuesday’s hour-long swim
After swimming until 10pm last night, I waited until the midday swimming session today for my #AspireChannelSwim. It was a quiet session, which I much prefer.
The swims seem to be getting harder now, not easier. Whereas I’ve always been able to step up the time or distance I was attempting each week, this week I’ve dialled it back to 1 hr a day but it’s as hard last week’s 1½ hr per day. Still, I managed another 100-length swim in that hour today, so my pace is still at the upper end of where it has been.
I think the increased pace is a result of my evolving technique. I’m using a slower stroke pace but maximising the amount of my hand and forearm that pushes on the water and the distance it does so for.
So, I’ve got some blog posts to go back over and catch up on (unless you’re reading this in the future and I’ve already done them). :¬/
Today’s swim was the weirdest yet. I couldn’t drag myself out of bed for the early morning swim. Monday mornings are always really busy too, so I planned to go for a lunchtime swim. But I forgot that I had a lunchtime appointment. So I ended up going for my first 9pm swim.
The first 20 minutes of the swim were awful. My pacing was far too quick, my stroke was erratic and short, and I felt worn out after just 5 minutes. At that point, I wasn’t sure I would manage a full 10 minutes, let alone an hour. It took nearly the rest of the first half-hour to recover but then I went on to do another 100-length hour. How is that possible?
I’ve now passed the 66 miles marker, which was by far my highest target distance, and I’ve still got 8 swims to go (more if I’m able to swim whilst on holiday).
You can sponsor me at https://phoole.rocks/aspirevark
How have I not blogged since Tuesday? Well, I know how, I even know why, but it does feel a little remis.
All 3 swims were 132 lengths, 2 miles, and all 3 of them took around 1hr 22 to 24 mins. And I think I may have found my current physical limit. Yesterday’s swim, the 5th 2 miler in a row, really hurt; from the 2nd length onward in a way that I haven’t had so far in this challenge.
Wednesday’s swim was reasonably straight forward, although the muscle fatigue was already setting in. On a “normal” swim my muslces, particularly my shoulder muscles, start to ache/burn after the first 2 lengths but normally settle down after 10 or so. I’ll usually take a quick break and a sip of water after 10 lengths, shake my arm muscles out and then carry on in sets of 15 to 30 minutes (20 to 40 lengths at a time). On Wednesday it was a good 45 minutes before my shoulders and arms accepted that I wasn’t quitting and stopped complaining. The next 40 minutes felt quite strong and I was tempted to carry on beyond 2 miles, but wanted to keep some reserve for the rest of the week.
Thursday’s swim was tougher both physically and mentally. On Wednesday Sharon and I went to Cardiff to see Tim Minchin in concert. It was a 4½ hour drive there and a 2½ hour drive back on Thursday morning. So by the time I went for a swim I had totally used up any patience I had for doing repetitive stuff whilst listening to music. I found the first hour of the swim boring in a way that I haven’t since I started swimming with headphones on and music playing. I almost quit twice and thought I’d make up the distance on Friday. The first time I kept going because I was listening to the Phoole & The Gang radio show from Friday 25th Oct and at the point I was going to give up Phoole gave me a shout out and asked her audience to pile in on the sponsorship. The second time I just couldn’t bring myself to quit having already done 3 2-mile swims and being within touching distance of the 4th. The last 20 minutes were less tedious but only because the adult swim session finished and the pool started to fill up with kids that I had to dodge.
Friday’s swim wasn’t so tough mentally but was incredibly difficult physically. My legs ached from fatigue for the first time since I started this challenge. Whilst they did eventually give it up and fall in line my arms and shoulders ached and burned for the whole swim. I took more breaks and thought I was swimming slower but still ended up with almost exactly the same time as Thursday. I’ve been adjusting the “catch” phase of my stroke after watching some more YouTube videos and I think that might have increased my speed and compensated for the slower cadence.
No swimming this weekend but I’m feeling the after-effects of the 10 miles this week. My arms and shoulders ache and my back hurts. I haven’t been this weary since the end of my Two Saints’ Way walk. I’d like to keep up the 2 miles per day rate though so I’m hoping I recuperate by Monday morning.