Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Long swims...and counting down to Malta

All of the club training I've been doing over the winter has been great, but I really feel like I've lost a lot of the habits of just zoning out and swimming which I'm going to need for the qualification swim in a couple of weeks (only 10 days and I'm off to Malta - swimming, and hopefully some sunshine). So, I thought I'd do a long swim this morning to see how I'm doing on the head side of things. Instead of joining in the regular club session at 5.30am, I took over the end lane and just swam for the two hours, followed by an hour in the public swim - 9km in total. I was pleasantly surprised how I managed mentally with it, and I found myself a fairly quiet head space - although, by way of entertainment, I was keeping an eye on what the others were doing. For the final hour, I was lucky enough to be joined by my friend, Laura, who did a great job of guarding the lane we were using, fending off slower swimmers so that I could keep swimming without too much interruption. I was tired at the end of it though, which is a bit worrying - I feel like I should be more comfortable with that distance by now. But then again, I did 10km (in two separate swims) on Sunday, and I think I still had that in my arms too. I came home and ate a daddy-bear sized bowl of porridge and have had a quiet day working (with a little snooze this afternoon to help things along).

Sometimes this Channel swimming thing feels totally manageable, and at others, completely daunting.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Goodbye to Robin...

It's a sad week for all of the members of the City of Coventry Swimming Club masters section as our coach, Robin Leonard, is stepping down. The masters section only really got going last year, thanks to Robin. Before that, for several years he's been running a session from 5.30-7.30 every Tuesday morning aimed at triathletes. It takes an extraordinary level of commitment to give up two evenings a week and one horribly early morning, week after week, and we were the lucky beneficiaries not only of his time, but also his expertise...and his apparently infinite ability to cook up brutal sessions. I was a reluctant convert to the "joys" of speedwork, preferring the steady plod, and barely able to muster anything remotely approximating a sprint. But while I'm still not in danger of breaking any records, I'm a better, stronger, more confident swimmer than I was a year ago, thanks to Robin's carefully devised, and infinitely varied, programme of suffering. We'll all miss him.