Sunday, 26 July 2015

Learning to Crawl

Hello. I've been too busy to write much lately. Part of it's work and part of it's adding swimming into the regular mix of activities. I really want to be swimming a bit better before the Craggy Island Triathlon at the start of September, and it's not that long to go.

I used to swim really regularly and got quite strong, but my stroke was breast stroke. Eventually I found it was giving me a sore lower back and I've read since that this is a problem with breast stroke. The word from above is that the best for you and most efficient stroke is what us old folk's used to call front crawl and Peter's nephews and niece call "free-style". From hearing this I determined some years ago to stop with the breast stroke and get better at crawl....

And I have made SOME headway. I don't feel as constantly panicked for instance, as I did when I started this crawling business. But, if I might use a swimming metaphor to describe my swimming progress, I have left the shore of breast stroke far behind and am now no longer much use at that, and yet, the far shore of competent crawl is still some distance away. Or it looks near, but when I get my head down and thrash for some time, and look up again, it doesn't seem any nearer....(or quite often I find I've been going in the wrong direction. Open water swimmers will know what I'm going on about here.)

So here I am, out in the middle of the channel. It's futile to turn back, but can I really make it the rest of the distance?

I took a swim improvement class in the winter but I only made it along twice. I was better than the other swimmers and the pool was freezing and we had to spend too long just dangling around. It was at 8pm and I like being in bed by 9pm. Warm bed wins over cold pool. I think Confucious said that orignially.

So I've been trying to swim 3 times a week. 2 pool swims during the week and one outdoor swim at the weekend.

I've got a book on swimming and a DVD on swimming too. The trouble is getting myself to read or watch them. It's tempting to try to lend them to someone else. I think Mike Lynch has got a similar swimming video.

He to me; "I've got blah blah swimming video you could borrow if you like." Me - "Yeah I've got the total immersion one if you'd like that." Him - "Well I've got Splash!" Me - "Yeah, I've got that one with Bobby from Dallas in it." Him - "The Man from Atlantis?" Me - "yeah that."

By now I am laughing, which is enjoyable. But swimprovement has been forgotten - again.

So, to end this essay upon swimming, I'll tell you how this weekend turned into a kind of triathlon. Yesterday I had the car back after it had been away having an MOT for three days. The MOT was nearly done, apparently, when a problem arose with the brakes. It turned into an epic but the thing seemed to be alright now. Me and P went a lovely 14 miler round the coast. I'd been working long hours so it was great just to be out and this was his first run after his suspected Lyme disease.

On the way back, however, I came to a roundabout and I put my foot on the brake which went straight down to the floor. Oooh. Not a nice feeling at all. There was no-one coming so no harm was done, but it meant pulling over and waiting for the rescue truck in Longniddry. The pressure came back almost immediately but I had no way of knowing if it would happen again or what the story was. Peter and I had a couple of hours wait in a lay-by as the sun departed and it started to pour with rain. It could have been worse. We could have been hurt but weren't and we were right across the road from a sandwich shop so we had rolls and cups of tea.

We'd meant to go a run and a swim at the Pentlands today but now with the car out of action that seemed out of the question. Unless we cycled there of course... I dismissed this idea at first. I haven't been cycling with P in quite some time. I thought I'd be knackered by the time we got up to Threipmuir and the last thing I'd be wanting to do was go for a swim.

I've got a mountain bike but I've got slick tyres on it. I thought about changing them this morning before we set off. But as Peter pointed out "Do you want to go today or will we go tomorrow morning?" Not the time to be starting work on the bike. I set off with the bike as it was.

We went on some new paths up from the WOL path, up into the foothills of the Pentlands. They were very nice and not really challenging but on the way down a steepish narrow path with loose gravel, my bike and it's slick tyres lost all traction and my wheel went out from under me. Ir looked like I was going to crash headfirst into some barbed wire. Hmmm. Very soon I was on the deck. I landed side-ways on my ear actually. I counted my legs but there were still two there. One was a bit bashed. And one hip was bashed,. And one finger was staved. And the other palm was bruised. After marching round in a couple of tight circles the initial pain had worn off and we were good to go again.

Up at Threipmuir, the worst thing was dragging my rubbery suit over the fresh wound on my leg. And the water was a wee bit cold. We swam all the way over to the other side and then back. I was awful slow.

Then we cycled back. Peter's initial sympathy had turned into humour and he kept giving me sage snippets of advice. "Try and stay upright here if you can" he would twinkle at me. Feck off.

So that was a good day out. I thoroughly enjoyed getting out on the bike. But I'm dreading taking the car back to the garage tomorrow. I don't want to see Kenny the mechanics face when he sees me coming again....

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