Sunday, 28 July 2013

Swimming, The Great Manchester Swim and SUMMER

Somehow, while I was busy enjoying myself, three months slipped by without a blog post!  It's a very good sign actually, that I have been busy with real events; busy running, swimming, cycling, gardening, reading.... busy enjoying myself, too busy to blog about being busy!

So here's an update from me on what has so far, been a glorious Summer of pretty hardcore fitness enjoyment!

I DID join the triathlon club, which means I have been swimming every weekend pretty much for the last two months, in a lake and I am now feeling much more relaxed swimming in my wetsuit and swimming in open water.  It is a fabulous place, a flooded quarry with beautiful aquamarine water, which is so clean and clear.  The owner has a lot of fish in there, including some koi carp, who are very nosey when we go swim with them - and I have finally got over my fear of seeing fish in the water with me as I swim (which was silly- of course I should have known I would see fish if I swam in lakes!)  There is a marked-out course and safety cover, and we have spent quite a few lovely Sunday mornings at the lake as a family - the children have been having picnic breakfasts by the lake as Dylan and I took it in turns to swim. 
The beautiful lake at Blue Lagoon

Me, free-styling home!

We share the lake with some big friendly fish!
As the temperature continued to rise throughout July, so did the water temperature and several times we have swam in water which is over 22 °C.  This is very warm, not far off some pool temperatures and warm enough for many triathlons to insist its swimmers don't use a wetsuit.   Unfortunately we are unable to swim without one at the lake (club rules), but it hasn't prevented me enjoying experiencing open water swimming in lovely warm water which makes matters so much less complicated, no acclimatising, no screeching as the water enters your suit, and no numb fingers!

Last weekend I took part in the Great Manchester Swim in Salford Quays, which is the third year I have done this event.  It was very different this time; in previous years the water has been either 12° or 16° and it has been grey and drizzly.  This year, it was beautiful and sunny, the temperature had been close to 30° for several weeks beforehand and the water temperature reached 22°!   I had also done far less distance training, compared to previous years, where I had been swimming one mile distances at least once per week in a pool, although I had been swimming around  one kilometre, nearly every week in the open water instead. 

The organiser took the unusual and unexpected decision to make wetsuit wearing optional and I JUMPED at the chance to experience an open water swim without my neoprene!  I knew I would be less buoyant, less streamlined and therefore slower, but I very much have a love/hate relationship with my wetsuit and I am a confident swimmer, so I decided it had to be done! 

It was the best decision I could have made - it was amazing swimming in open water, completely free of my wetsuit and I felt as though I was in the pool, but with the sun shining down on me and the brilliant atmosphere of the Quays all around me.  Front crawling WAS harder, and I was slower, but it was a fabulous swim and I had a huge grin on my face all the way round!  My time was one minute slower than the previous year, which wasn't too bad at all, especially as I am not as swimming-fit this year.  I am now looking to swim wetsuit-free again before the heat of the Summer leaves the water, it truly is addictive, invigorating and extremely freeing.  I have a weekend in the mountains in Wales up and coming; watch this space!

So much to say, so little time, I shall update again later this week with a cycling and running update - thanks for reading!

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