Friday night

Back in the 90’s Whigfield sang about “Saturday night” the song often blasted out, in my student halls, while it’s residents, often tipsy on Lambrini, acted out the moves, along the corridors. That was the 90’s, that was Saturday night…this was my Friday.

I made plans, early on, as to what to do that Friday night. I was pretty skint, given that my last pay day, was a distant memory and I’d had to pay for both Christmas and New Year. There were no wild parties, just lots of trips to visit my family, who reside in various parts of the country.

I already had a swim planned, at my hotel. I did think, that I would maybe meet up with a others involved with Swimathon, but as it transpired, they were staying in a different hotels.

My first consideration was food, but my budget was very limited! I decided to go for a walk, get my bearings, enjoy some time to myself, some fresh air and food for tea!

It was already growing dusk, but the weather was a considerable improvement, to home. For one, I could walk, without risking falling over and making an idiot of myself. Staying on your feet, is always good!

I really enjoyed my walk, taking in the sights and sounds of London. I sorted myself out with some food. I decided on a bit of picnic tea: salad, fruit, yogurt and other bits of nibbles. Having a fridge in my room, was certainly of an advantage!

Tea bought, i headed back to my hotel. After enjoying a bit of a picnic, in my room, was time to head to the pool.

The pool area was really lovely and relaxing. There was also a sauna, jacuzzi and steam room, which unfortunately out service. The pool, was at most, 15mtrs. More like a bath than a pool! This however, cost me the nominal fee of Β£3.50. Cheaper than what it costs, to swim at my local leisure centre, the day before.

The pool was, initially empty, I was joined, from time to time, by others. Once the were six of in the the pool, it was packed! I decided that as the pool was small, not to concentrate too much on distance, but rather use it as technique and tumble turn practice session.

I am aiming, to complete my 400m, as all freestyle and use tumble turns, in opposed to open turns. Tumble turns, are those used in competitive freetyle. They also help to improved your time. I am being realistic however, in recognising that with others in the lane, some of whom may be less experienced, than I, it may not always be safe.

Tumble turns, once learnt, are relatively easy to execute. They must, however be taught by an professional swimming teacher, because there is a risk of injury, if they are not carried, correctly. My swim coach, knows of a swimmer who burst both his Achilles tendons, while doing a tumble turn. Ouch!!!

Although I can now, complete a tumble turn, correctly, I still get water up my nose, which hurts! This leads to streaming eyes subequently, I can’t see where the hell I’m swimming.

The next hour, was spent practicing tumble turns, without getting water up my nose. It wasn’t always successful and i knew my sinus’s would play up, if I wasn’t careful, leading to me sounding like I had a heavy cold. This wouldn’t be a great outcome, come the following day, when I was being filmed

Overall though I was happy with my progress, I realised that if I consistently breathed out, through my nose, as I turned, it prevented water, from going where it shouldn’t!

I also decided, when the pool was empty, to practice butterfly. Butterfly, is an anti-social stroke! The pool, was empty of people, when I started. At the end, I think I had nearly emptied the pool of water and three people had joined me in the pool. Oops sorry!

Swim completed, it was time to head back upstairs to prepare for the following day….

View from my hotel, at night

The in-betweeny bitΒ 

Christmas is done and over, for another year. I had an amazing time, with my family, who live in the Midlands and we celebrated, not just Christmas, but making it to Christmas. 

This year, has been one of the most challenging ones, ever for my family, with several members having faced life threatening illnesses and personal tragedies. 

I returned home, on the 27th December and returned to work on the 28th. Feeling like the proverbial, post Christmas, beached whale that comes with having, ate too much and drank too much (though daily dog walking and running after four toddlers, burned some of the excess off). I needed to swim! 

On the 28th I made two, unfortunate discoveries…one I have mis-placed the charger for my new swimming watch! As it has a step counter, I tend to wear it all the time. A new charger has been ordered, but it’s stuck in the bottle neck that is the Christmas and New Year post. My watch is now switched off, to reserve battery for essential operations, like swimming. Consequently, the app on my phone thinks I’m doing absolutely b@@ @@er all and it keeps shouting at me to move! 

The other, was rather more frustrating than the first…I chucked my swimming back in my car, before work, excited about my evening swim.

I pulled up, outside the pool, to find the place in darkness. Realising that this was not some, sort of cost cutting on behalf of the council,  or setting a new “swimming in the dark” challenge I resorted to modern technology and Google. The pool was shut, after five, till 3rd January, when normal operations re-commence! 

Not to be thwarted by one shut pool, I frantically searched other pools, in the vacuity. I quickly discovered that three other pools: Washington, Haven Point and Jarrow, all closed their doors at 5pm. The situation, in Gateshead, was even more dire; their staff had left the building and gone home at four, at all four pools! 

What the…..

Now, living where I do, I’m surrounded by water…but the River Tyne is a bit grim and the North Sea, bloody cold, at this this time of year, so swimming was not happening! 


However, later that night, I had a brain wave…the Aquatic Centre in Sunderland. It’s far from my favourite pool, for a number of reasons, but it was a pool and as I quickly learnt, it was open till eight on Friday. 

So on Friday, I went to the Aquatic Centre, I returned to the place where my swimming journey began, where I had my first lesson eighteen months earlier…what a journey it’s been! 

Unfortunately, group lessons didn’t work out and I switched to Swim NE and another venue and then, only then did I really begin to learn to swim and my journey began. 

So here we are 2017 and I am looking forward to seeing where the journey will take me, this year.

Waiting for a lesson…

My friend P has just pointed out to me, quite rightly, that it’s been ages since I last updated this blog.

Life has got a bit in the way, with demands of work etc, but I have been swimming regularly, despite this. I just haven’t updated my blog to reflect the fact. 

I am waiting for a lesson now, I’m sitting here, boiling like a lobster in a pot amd desperate to take my swimhat off, but I know I’ll never get it back on properly, when the time comes to start my lesson! 

Hopefully, this evening, I will write a little update…

Bye for now

πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸŠπŸŠπŸŠ πŸ‘‹πŸ‘

Front crawl and all that guff…

Front crawl is the stroke, I struggle with most. Nothing seems to work, properly, together. I get one bit right and everything else is “slightly off”.

It looks so easy when others swim front crawl, mine looks a bit of a mess. So we’re (myself and my tutor) are working on my front crawl.

Yesterday’s lesson was tough, but at the same time, good. My tutor J took the time to swim underwater, alongside me, to point out my faults, things I need to work on.

It’s frustrating at times, I am sure it’s frustrating for my tutor as well, as we go over the same things and it doesn’t quite work. Again!

I have awoken this morning, my hip is really aching, from the training drills, I did. Not, may I add, the Black and Decker kind, we’re not putting pictures up in the pool!

Sometimes I do want to give in, I can swim now, but I want to swim well, be able to swim distances, enjoy it and keep myself fit and active and ultimately, raise money for charities.

Sewing badges

I’ve decided,  to sew my badges on my towel, realising that it may be a bit of an arduous task as there are 13 in total, I decided to cheat a bit. As a girl guide leader, training I know that such a thing as “badge glue” exhists. Perfect, or so I thought, bit of glue, clag (stick) them on, jobs a good ‘Un!

Boyed up, with my initiative, I got in my car and headed down to local retail park which predictably, for Saturday, was heaving.

I headed in to the large craft store outlet and purchased, the afformentioned glue. After a quick diversion in to the newly opened, sports store a few doors I headed home, excited at the thought of trying out my new purchase.

After reading the instructions carefully, feeling almost like a Blue Peter presenter, I set to work on my new project.

I decided to go for a tester, my 25m badge. I did as instructed, applied glue to both badge and towel, then after waiting for it to go tacky, applied the badge to towel. The glue immediately soaked through, both towel and badge, leaving a dark sticky residue on the badge. Not a good start.

After ensuring the badge was, joined to the towel, I left it to dry. An hour later, I returned, picked the towel up, only to witness the badge, part company with the towel, fall to the floor, picking up bits of fluff, on the residual glue, from the carpet on landing.

Somewhat disappointed, with the lack of success, it’s back to the drawing board. A needle and cotton. Or else, take it with me, when I next visit my grandma and do as I did as a Guide, ask her to sew them on!

Swimming with emotion…

It’s Monday, it’s 2am and I’m wide awake, I am due at work in 7 hours. I can’t sleep.

I’m laid here, thinking about the week ahead, the challenges of the week ahead. Finally this is it,  after weeks of anticipation, hard work, practice, training and brilliant support from my swim tutors at Swim NE, this is the week I take part in Sport Relief, a chance to “swim myself proud”.

I am already incredibly happy with my progress so far, people tell me I’m an inspiration. I am only an inspiration if I inspire others to give it a go, to get in the pool, or to take up some form of exercise or sport.

If someone, had told me, 10 months ago I would where I am now, I would of laughed at them, yet here I am. Here I am, preparing for Sport Relief, having progressed to ASA stage 8 and swam a mile.

The excitement is beginning to build, I want to do this, no I want to smash this. My sponsorship total stands at Β£135, my aim was a Β£100, I thought it would be difficult to reach that. I have been left, humbled, at the overwhelming support and kindness from family, friends friends and collegues.

I want to stand on the side of the pool afterwards, smiling, proud and wearing the “Sport relief medal”, knowing that this is something I’ve worked for, something I’ve achieved. Knowing in doing so, I will have helped raised money for those in need, those in poorer countries, those in our country. It  may be only a tiny amount of the final total, but as a famous supermarket states “every little helps”.

The person, who helped inspire me, who shared his love of swimming with me, who took me swimming as a child, my grandad, won’t be there. He left us, many years ago.

Sadly, he had given up swimming many years prior to my birth, being announced to him in the White Swan pub, where he gone for a rare pint. Though he expressed a wish to teach us to swim, he never was able to. I remember, though, how he described with pride, the fact he’d swim the width of the River Humber as in his youth and I hope, that some of my ability to swim, was inherited from this wonderful gentleman.

This week, and the swim itself, isn’t going to be easy, but as my friend described me “I’m a stubborn, crazy red head” if I can find a way I will. It’s so frustrating, that I’ve worked so hard for this, yet I have no real control over when my asthma decides to “kick off”. I’m already maxed out on meds, there’s nothing else they can prescribe me, currently, to reduce the incidence and severity of exacerbations.

What I do have control over, is how I manage the exacerbation. I’m not going to roll over and give up. I’m determined, if it safe to do so, if my lungs are able to cope with the demands swimming places on them, to swim the 1.5km. Not just for me, but those who have sponsored me, supported me, taught me and for those who will gain benefit from the money raised.

I want smash this!!

Training and drills

Yesterday, I headed to the pool, to carry out the drills as setting out for me to carry out by J.

It went reasonably well, though my lungs were a tad grumpy for some, unknown reason. Stupidly, I also failed to wear my swim watch so I have no idea as to my total distance or efficiency of my stroke.

I am starting to get a little panicked, now, as well. It’s only three weeks to the Sport relief swimathon, I’m in the grey area now. If I get a cold or chest infection, there’s a very real chance I may not be able to complete or even partake in this event.

I know I can do 1.5km-I have the badges to “prove it”, but partaking in such a huge event, with others watching, will be very different to pootling up and the pool, on my own. My biggest concern, is that, buoyed up by the event and atmosphere-I go out to fast, and tire by 400m. The first 400m needs to carried out at a leisurely pace, to allow me to warm up, and not be spent, belting up and down the pool trying to emanate Becky Adlington!