It has been a long time since I swam with Mr Earthquake. Certainly before his own successful Channel Crossing in June of this year. (It has to be said the sea had not warmed any and the temperature was around 12 -13 degrees. Possibly warmer in parts) He was successful in an epic time of 21.23. (That was his official time, unofficially it was 21.25 which is the time Dan published)
The weekend of October 12 was to change this. The forecast for the weekend was not great. Rain and wind was predicted. As tradition dictates we met at Sunny Sands at 10am. This is quite late for my first swim of the day, being as I am an early riser but I was happy to have a bit of a lay in and a leisurely breakfast. Feels like my holidays then.
I arrived at 10am and Dan was already there. Tamsin, Lex and Max were playing on the beach already and there were three other people. John, whom I have met before. He is a Swan Lake swimmer and a friend of Dan's. His eyesight has deteriorated but he does not let this stop him from enjoying the sea.
Neil Kapoor and Grantley Bridge were unknown to me. Both are planning and it has to be said training for an Enduroman events next year. (Arch to arc which involves a channel swim) Coincidently both are swimming on a similar tide to my solo.
Imagine my amazement when Tamsin got into her swim kit. I had heard she could swim and have seen pictures of her allegedly swimming in Swan Lake. But I have never seen this with my own eyes. Within seconds we had a two way relay of six women planned for 2015! We just need to find 4 more women who are not sea sick!
We went into the water. It was still a balmy 15 degrees. The waves were rolling and we all swam with smiles on our faces. Dan had beach butler duties although Lex executed the towel duty like a seasoned pro meeting Tamsin with her towel as she got out. I stayed in and Dan joined me. Neil, John and Grantley had already got out. Dan and I stayed in for a swim and a bob and of course the proverbial chat. Who us? Of course!
The sun had come out and I was truly too warm in my dry robe. It will be great for when it is truly cold but is a bit much when the air temperature is 15 degrees and in the sun. Nevertheless wearing it was easier than carrying it.
The plan was to go to the Lifeboat for lunch. I needed to nip to the bank in town. On my way I passed Frizbees. Not being one to pass an opportunity by, I went in to discuss future hoody requirements. The equation N+1 applies to hoodies as well as to bikes, bags, shoes and Captain Webb memorabilia.
Back to the life boat. Laura as ever accommodating was able to provide me with Heinz tomato soup and chips. Lovely.
We then went back to the beach for a double dip. Tamsin got in first having to put on the cossie she had worn earlier thus indicating that she had failed to follow the motto "be prepared". No longer part of the Guiding, Brownie or Scouting movement, I showed that this was still part of my code of living. In fairness I think it helps that I am the proud owner of about 7 swimming cosies (remember N+1 – it applies to swimming costumes too). Tamsin on the other hand was wearing a costume that was too big for her having already lost a considerable amount of weight. She told me she had asked for a swimming cossie for her birthday which had been the day before. However requesting it the day after your birthday is not going to improve the chances of receiving it for the big day!
John had disappeared. He has said that he was going for his swim kit but we suspected he may have been having a lay down. So the four of us, Tamsin, Neil, Grantley and I all went in for a second dip. The weather forcast proved to have been wrong and there was a beautiful sunshine that really warmed the back while we swimming. Smiles all round. Again Lex demonstrated her beach butler skills.
It was a great weekend. I was invited to join the group for dinner that night but declined. I had suspected that they would go the All you can eat buffet so had made a chilli. I was correct. It is not my favourite place to eat and I was once poorly after eating there and have not been back.
It was great to see them. We discussed the prospect of a Christmas dinner. Laura is not sure she is going to do it this year at the Lifeboat. Never the less we will find somewhere to eat on the December weekend.
The plans for the following day for me were dependent on the weather. The forcast again was for heavy rain and wind. I had a contingency to swim with Ali. Because of her shoulder injury she was not ready to swim in rolling waters ands the sea was not smooth enough for her to swim safe from injury. .
Sunday dawned with heavy rain as predicted. I arranged to meet Ali at 10am. The plan was to do our CSS sets.
Critical Swim Speed is the speed at which you are destined to swim 100m repeats. This is calculated by swimming a timed 400m (16 lengths of the pool) having a rest and then swimming 200m (8 lengths of the pool)
Ali was cautious about how wise this would be for her. We agreed that a compromise would be for her to swim steady and use this as a baseline for future efforts.
I set off first. I did not have my watch and so Ali was timing me. I swam my little heart out and managed to count the laps. At 14 lengths (350m) she tapped me on the shoulder and told me her watch had stopped.
What did I do. Nothing. I treated the news with a calm acceptance. You see I knew this was going to happen. The watches we both use turn themselves off if you do not move for a while unless you have them in pause mode. I always time other people in pause mode. I knew as I set off that Ali probably did not realise this. She is not the most technically proficient person I have met! And Miche was not there to help her.
I accepted this for what it was and realised that after a rest I would be doing it again.
And so we timed each other and took our times. Mine was slower than i have been for a while at 2 mins dead. Ali (who bear in mind was not really trying) managed a 2.02 per 100m.
That is our baseline. From here on in there will only be improvements.
We returned to Miche's bistro for sausage sandwiches. It has been a while since the bistro was opened. As we arrived I was relieved to notice that the sign said "Bistro open".
As we ate our sandwiches we planned our menus at the bistro for future swim training adventures.