Sunday, 13 September 2009

Settling back in...

I've started to get back into something approximating (gentle) training, but it's still fairly hit and miss - I managed 4 short swims. (c. 3500m each) during the week, plus a trip to the gym, a couple of run/walk sessions in the park, and even... believe it or not...a short trip out on my bike.

I did my first club session, post Jersey, last Tuesday, and really struggled with the speed sets - all those weeks of plod mode had left me feeling like I had no other swim register to switch to. But I'm sure it will come back quickly enough. I also went to Bosworth on Saturday for a lake swim. It was a beautiful day - crisp blue sky - but when Penny and I arrived at 7.30am, there was a thick mist over the lake making it look less warm that it actually was. I have to admit that I really struggled to get in and spent far to long standing on the slipway, water up to my thighs, unable to take the final plunge. I don't think that I can really have lost the acclimatisation to cold yet; to be honest, I think it was more that I've let go of the mental habits that I'd cultivated for dealing with the cold - and especially getting in. But once I was in, it was just gorgeous. The mist was licking just above the surface of the water, and for the first lap, I couldn't see any of the usual landmarks. I kept the shore in sight to my right, and just swam. It was SO quiet, and the water was really still; from my perspective in the water, the surface looked thick, like melted chocolate (thoughts of food never far away!). After a lap or two, the mist burned away, but the water stayed still and quiet. Perfect.

Learning to love cycling is proving to be a slow process, but as I said above, I did venture out on my old road bike this week for an hour. I can't really say that I enjoyed it, but it's early days and for now I'm remaining optimistic. It's been over a year since I've ridden anything other than the 3 miles to the office on my hybrid commuting bike, so I wasn't feeling very relaxed, but I did manage to get the whole way through the ride without forgetting to unclip my feet from the pedals when I stopped, so this is something. I have spoken to lots of knowledgeable people about bikes, and have done quite a bit of browsing / testing of possible purchases, but haven't decided yet on a bike. Special mention, though, should go to my Channel relay team mate, Jamie Goodhead, who wins the prize for explaining the basics of bike geometry (and why I should care) in a way which not only made perfect sense, but which didn't give me traumatising flashbacks to every secondary school maths lesson I ever had (unlike the myriad of websites I've been reading, most of which have left me with a dull buzzing sensation behind my eyes). You never know - I might even make a decision soon....

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